Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York

15 April 1999



The United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has convened the United Nations African Meeting in Support of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which will be held from 20 to 22 April at the Conference Centre of the Safari Court Hotel in Windhoek, Namibia. The meeting is organized in accordance with General Assembly resolutions 53/39 and 53/40 of 2 December 1998.

The Committee has been much concerned at the breakdown of the peace process following the freezing of the implementation of the Wye River agreements and the increased hardship and hopelessness of the Palestinian people living in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem. The meeting should address the most pressing issues in this regard and to promote intensified political and other action by African and other countries in support of the attainment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and for the success of the peace efforts.

The opening session of the African Meeting will take place at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 20 April, in the Conference Centre of the Safari Court Hotel. It will be addressed by: the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Namibia, Theo-Ben Gurirab; Under-Secretary-General and United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories and Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Chinmaya Gharekhan; the Speaker of Namibia's National Assembly and member of the Inter-Parliamentary Council, Moses Tjitendero; the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Ibra Deguene Ka; the Representative of Palestine; and representatives of governments, intergovernmental organizations and United Nations bodies and agencies.

Plenary I, in the afternoon of Tuesday, 20 April, is entitled "Promoting the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people -- a key to peace in the Middle East". The speakers will brief the participants on: the status of the peace process at the end of the interim period and efforts towards the realization by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights; the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem; and the role of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention. Speakers include the Secretary of the Committee for Israeli- Palestinian Dialogue, Latif Dori; the former Co-Director of the American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), Ibrahim Matar; the Director of the Israeli/Palestine Center for Research and Information, Gershon Baskin; and the former Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, Badr Hmaman.

On Wednesday, 21 April, the morning and afternoon sessions will be devoted to the role of Africa in supporting the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. Presentations will focus on action by African States towards promoting the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people within the United Nations system, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Non-Aligned Movement; the experience of African States in the struggle for independence and decolonization; the experience of Africa in the quest for economic independence and sustainable development; prospects for the promotion of bilateral economic cooperation, trade and the establishment of business partnerships with the Palestinian people; and the role of civil society in promoting instruction- building and in enhancing the role of women in society.

Speakers will include: the Editor, Southern African Political Economic Monthly, Nyasha Masiwa; the Director for Africa of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, Othman Jerandi; a Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Abuja, Umar Birai; the Permanent Observer of the OAU to the United Nations, Amadou Kebe; the Director-General of the Department of Women Affairs of Namibia, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah; the Head of the African Section of the Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organization, Julien Randriamasivelo; a lawyer in Bamako, Sohoyata Maiga; the Rector of the Universite Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Moustapha Sourang; the former Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Harare, Ceciwa Khonje; and a Professor of English Literature, Birzeit University, Nahla Asali.

Plenary III, on Thursday morning, 22 April, is entitled "Celebrating the new Millennium in a global vision of peace and reconciliation -- the Bethlehem 2000 Project of the Palestinian Authority", and will provide information on goals and status of the Project, as well as on the role of the international community in its implementation. Speakers include the coordinator General of the Bethlehem 2000 Project Authority, Dr. Nabeel Kassis; the Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches, Jerusalem, Dr. Harry Hagopian; and the General Secretary of the Council of Churches of Namibia, Reverend N.Z. Nakamhela.

It is envisaged that the main points of the proceeding will be summarized in a brief final document, which will be circulated in the afternoon of Thursday, 22 April. The closing session of the African Meeting will take place on at 3 p.m. Thursday, 22 April, in the conference room of the Safari Court Conference Centre.

A report on the proceeding of the African Meeting will be issued as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat in due course.

Invitations to attend the meeting have been sent to all member and observer States, United Nations agencies, bodies and programme, as well as interested intergovernmental organizations and all African non-governmental organizations accredited to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. A number of other non-governmental organizations interested in the subject have been invited to attend the meeting, as well.

The working languages of the meeting will be English and French.

Registration with the United Nations Secretariat will take place at the Conference Centre of the Safari Court Hotel, corner of Auas and Aviation Roads, Windhoek, on: Friday, 16 April, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 17 April, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Monday, 19 April, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration on Tuesday, 20 April, will begin at 8 a.m. All participants, observers and media representatives are kindly requested to avail themselves of the advance registration during these hours. From Tuesday, 13 April, the Meeting Secretariat will be operating at the Conference Centre of the Safari Court Hotel, Room Gamsberg, phone/fax: (264-61)228-542/256-899.


* Reissued to correct symbol of press release. It had been previously issued as PAL/1869.

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For information media - not an official record