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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
Distr.
GENERAL
A/AC.183/SR.99
28 February 1984

ENGLISH
ORIGINAL: FRENCH

COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 99th MEETING

Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Tuesday, 21 February 1984, at 10.30 a.m.

Chairman: Mr. SARRE (Senegal)

CONTENTS

Adoption of the agenda

Consideration of the programme of work of the Committee for 1984-1985

Other matters





This record is subject to correction.

Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, Department of Conference Services, room DC2-0750, 2 United Nations Plaza.

Any corrections to the record of this meeting and of other meetings will be issued in a corrigendum.




The meeting was called to order at 10.50 a.m.


ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

1. The agenda was adopted.

CONSIDERATION OF THE PROGRAMME OF WORK OF THE COMMITTEE FOR 1984-1985
(A/AC.183/1984/WP.1 and A/AC.183/1984/WP.1/Add.1)

2. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, introducing the programme of work for 1984-1985, said that it was the fruit of co-operation between the Bureau and the Palestine Liberation Organization. It took into account all the points of view expressed within the Committee and the recommendations adopted at the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, concerning the convening of a peace conference on the Middle East. It was important to establish immediately a working group and several task forces which would be open to members of the Committee and to entrust each with a specific task. One of the tasks would be to oversee the preparation of reports and letters to be sent to competent bodies so that the world would be quickly informed of activities which might jeopardize the rights of the Palestinians. It was also essential for the Committee itself to take diplomatic initiatives and to concentrate on certain areas. Finally, the activities of non-governmental organizations and the Committee's relations with them should not be forgotten. The Secretariat had therefore prepared a separate document (A/AC.183/1984/WP.1/Add.1) which supplemented points 2 and 4 of the programme of work. Non-governmental organizations and the Committee must pursue the same objectives - in particular, that of working towards the convening of the Peace Conference on the Middle East.

3. Mr. EL-SAID (Department of Public Information) described the broad outlines of the programme of activity on the guestion of Palestine that would be executed in 1984 by the Department of Public Information in accordance with the mandate entrusted to it by General Assembly resolution 38/58 E. The Department would disseminate, in its regular publications, information on the activities of the United Nations system with respect to Palestine. Mention would be made of General Assembly and Security Council resolutions on the question of Palestine, documents adopted at the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, the work of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation in the occupied territories and of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories, as well as seminars which would be held by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Newsletters would be published on the same subject and audio-visual coverage would also be provided.

4. Pursuant to resolution 38/58 E, the Department would organize a fact-finding mission for journalists to the Middle East. That mission would take place at the end of April and the beginning of May, subject to the approval of Governments. With respect to regional encounters for journalists, the Department expected to hold a first encounter in Europe in June and another towards the end of the year.

5. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) fully supported the idea of regional encounters for journalists, but regretted that the first would not be held until June. With respect to visits by journalists to the Middle East, he assured the Department of Public Information of the full support of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

6. With respect to the programme of work of the Committee for 1984-1985 (A/AC.183/1984/WP.1), he believed that section B of the document was well conceived but he did not agree on the subject of the priorities to be established. The expression "In addition" at the beginning of paragraph 9 was questionable because, as indicated in paragraph 3 of resolution 38/58 A, it was the main task of the Committee to keep under review the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Achievement of Palestinian Rights which had been adopted by the International Conference on the Question of Palestine and which expressly requested the convening of an International Peace Conference on the Middle East.

7. In addition, in accordance with resolution 38/58 C, the Secretary-General was to inform the Palestine Liberation Organization of the convening of that Conference no later than 15 March 1984. However, to date, PLO had not yet been contacted by the Secretary-General and did not therefore know whether it was invited to attend that Conference. It would be desirable for the Committee to draw to the attention of the Secretary-General the fact that the Palestine Liberation Organization should be officially informed of the action to be taken by him.

8. In addition, it was regrettable that no step had yet been taken with respect to the meeting of specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system on economic and social assistance to the Palestinian people, referred to in resolution 38/58 D.

9. Finally, he noted that no seminar had taken place in Latin America in 1982 and 1983, and believed that it would be desirable to organize one in 1984 in that region.

10. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, referring to the questions raised by the Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization, said that the words "In addition" at the beginning of paragraph 9 of the programme of work merely indicated the new elements introduced by the Geneva International Conference on the Question of Palestine. With respect to consultation, the Committee would soon send the usual letter to all States Members of the United Nations. It would specify that the International Peace Conference on the Middle East was to be held with the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization. With respect to seminars, it was pointed out in paragraph 14 of the programme of work that seminars could be held in North America and South America. One could also regard the Americas as a single entity and organize only one seminar. To judge from past experience, the latter solution might be the best.

11. Mr. LESSIR (Tunisia) said that the activities of the Department of Public Information should be strengthened. The Committee should support the Department in organizing seminars and encounters. In some parts of the world, it was difficult to gather news; a working group or subgroup might be assigned to recommend action to be taken in that area.

12. Paragraph 10 (a) of document A/AC.183/1984/WP.1 stated that diplomatic initiatives and contacts designed to facilitate the implementation of the Geneva Declaration on Palestine must be undertaken. The task forces which would be the offshoots of the main Working Group would be responsible for establishing those diplomatic contacts. It might not be enough to speak of diplomatic contacts at that level. Moreover, it was not known who would be represented in the subgroups.

13. With regard to the pattern of rotation of seminars, he saw no reason why the seminars scheduled for North and South America could not be combined into a single seminar. In the meantime, Africa, which was the site of insidious developments and of an Israeli infiltration that was no less dangerous for having met many obstacles, should not be overlooked. A seminar should therefore be organized for Africa in 1984.

14. Mr. KORNEENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) had no objection in principle to the establishment of the task forces referred to in paragraph 10 of the programme of work. Nevertheless, serious thought should be given to the establishment of those groups and account should be taken of each individual situation. The wording of paragraph 10 was too general. The task forces ought to submit their recommendations to the Committee through the Working Group that would establish them. That was the practice which had been adopted during the preparations for the Geneva Conference, and it had proved very effective. In addition, the task forces should be open to any member of the Committee with a particular interest in the questions which they would consider.

15. He agreed that in its programme of work the Committee must accord priority to the implementation of the Programme of Action adopted at the International Conference on the Question of Palestine and promote the holding of an international peace conference on the Middle East.

16. Mr. LOGOGLU (Turkey) said he thought there was a contradiction between paragraph 14 of document A/AC.183/1984/WP.1 and paragraph 2 of document A/AC.183/1984/WP.1/Add.1. Paragraph 14 of the former document referred to the possibility of holding seminars in North America, South America and Europe. The reasoning behind the drafting of that paragraph appeared to be that greater effort was required to convince those who did not share one's point of view than to convince those who already subscribed to it. It was thus perfectly legitimate to hold seminars in North America and in Europe where the rights of Palestinians were not unanimously recognized. On the other hand, paragraph 2 of document A/AC.183/1984/WP.1/Add.1, which discussed the objectives of the NGO symposia and meetings, stated that "participation in the symposia and meetings is predicated on the basic acceptance of the rights of the Palestinian people". To limit participation in those symposia and meetings to non-governmental organizations which basically approved of the Committee's objectives would have the effect of limiting the impact of its activities. While not all non-governmental organizations should be allowed to participate, a way had to be found to reach those which, while displaying some hesitation, were open to dialogue.

17. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, saw no contradiction between the provisions of paragraph 14 of document A/AC.183/1984/WP.1 and those contained in paragraph 2 of document A/AC.183/1984/WP.1/Add.1, concerning the role of non-governmental organizations. The previous year, in preparing for the Geneva Conference, the Committee had adopted certain criteria by virtue of which no organization that was truly committed to a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine was excluded. Any new request to participate in the NGO symposia and meetings would be considered in the light of the same criteria. The process of winning over those who were not necessarily convinced at present of the question's intrinsic merit or who did not fully understand it must be continued.

18. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization), speaking on the question of public information, noted that Indonesia had hosted a meeting of Ministers of Information of the non-aligned countries, who had requested in the final declaration which they had adopted that the United Nations Department of Public Information should be provided with support for the publication of brochures and documents on Palestine and the implementation of the Programme of Action drawn up by the Geneva Conference.

19. With regard to the NGO meetings, it would be pointless to invite organizations which were opposed on principle to the existence of the Palestinian people and were attempting to annihilate it by all possible means. It was thus justifiable to state that participation in the symposia and meetings was predicated on the acceptance of the rights of the Palestinian people.

20. As for the holding of a single seminar for North and South America (A/AC.183/1984/WP.1, para. 15), it should be recalled that the United States of America was hostile on principle to the aspirations of the Palestinians, while the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean had almost always supported their cause. To bring together participants from those two categories might therefore jeopardize that cause. Moreover, it was practically certain that the United States would not allow such a meeting to be held on its territory.

21. The main task in organizing a seminar for North America was to draw attention to the actual existence of the Palestinian people and its rights and to the hostility which the United States showed to it. In contrast, the objectives of a seminar for South America would merely involve helping the countries of the region to increase their support for the Palestinian people, demonstrate greater solidarity with that people and gain a better understanding of its situation. Since the prospects were different in each case, it would be absurd to hold a single seminar.

22. As to the efforts which the Security Council must make in order to facilitate the organization of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, the Secretariat had not yet officially informed the Palestine Liberation Organization of the measures being taken. If members had no objection it might be desirable for the Committee to approach the Secretary-General in order to convey to him the PLO's concerns regarding the situation.

23. The CHAIRMAN recalled, with respect to the point raised by Mr. Terzi concerning paragraph 9 of document A/AC.183/1984/WP.1, that the Committee had emphasized the need to do everything possible to help organize the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. In its resolution 38/58 C, the General Assembly had requested the Secretary- General to report on his efforts in that regard no later than 15 March 1984. As for meetings of specialized agencies and bodies of the United Nations scheduled for 1984, the Committee might ask the Secretary-General what arrangements had been made in that connection in order to hasten the convening of such meetings.

Document A/AC.183/1984/WP.1

Section A, paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4

24. Paragraphs 1 through 4 were adopted.

Section B, paragraphs 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9

25. Paragraphs 5 through 9 were adopted.

Section B, paragraph 10

26. Mr. MAUNA (Indonesia), referring to paragraph 10, asked whether it was necessary to set up the five task forces planned; their duties would essentially be annual duties which had so far been carried out efficiently. The tasks outlined in subparagraphs (b), (c), (d) and (e) were not new; the Committee had been carrying them out successfully for many years. Task forces should be set up essentially to deal with new and particular aspects of the work programme; they should not be given routine work.

27. Mr. KORNEENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) proposed that the end of the second sentence of paragraph 10 should be amended to read as follows: "... make recommendations to the Committee through the working group, on what action need be taken." He shared the doubts expressed by the representative of Indonesia concerning the tasks outlined in subparagraphs (a) to (e). Subparagraphs (b) and (c) should be combined for there was a link between the two. The question of how many subgroups should be set up could be studied later. Maybe more than five such groups would be needed; maybe fewer than five. It was not necessary at that point to specify what subgroups needed to be set up. However, given the work programme, the Working Group could begin to study the question in detail.

28. The CHAIRMAN pointed out that the proposals contained in paragraph 10 were purely indicative. The second sentence of paragraph 10 might be reworded as follows: "In order to cope with this assignment, the Committee might, if it deems fit, request the Working Group to establish a number of task forces, each of which would concentrate on particular aspects of the work programme, and make recommendations to the Committee, through the Working Group, on what action need be taken." The last sentence of the paragraph and the ensuing subparagraphs might be deleted in order to take account of the comments made by the delegations of the Ukrainian SSR and Indonesia and to avoid setting up a rigid framework at that stage.

29. Paragraph 10, as amended, was adopted.

Paragraphs 11, 12 and 13

30. Paragraphs 11, 12 and 13 were adopted.

Paragraphs 14 and 15

31. Mr. LESSIR (Tunisia) proposed that Africa should not be mentioned in the first sentence of paragraph 14 and that it should be left to the Committee to decide whether to organize a seminar in that continent during the forthcoming year.

32. The CHAIRMAN suggested that paragraph 14 could be rephrased as follows: "For 1984, the Committee recommends that seminars should be held in Africa, America and Europe". The 1982 seminar in North America held at United Nations Headquarters had been given very limited coverage. No North American newspaper had mentioned it. For those reasons, it might be preferable to organize a seminar in South America and to invite participants from the United States of America and Canada to attend. Greater publicity might be achieved through an annual seminar held in a suitable location within the continent than through seminars held alternately in North America and South America.

33. Mr. GAUCI (Rapporteur) proposed that the Working Group should revise paragraphs 14 and 15 in light of the comments made at the present meeting.

Paragraph 16

34. Paragraph 16 was adopted.

Paragraphs 17, 18 and 19

35. The CHAIRMAN, referring to paragraphs 17 and 18, said that consultations with the Secretariat would be continued and that proposals would be submitted to members of the Committee as soon as possible. The words "the final week of August 1984", in paragraph 19, should be replaced by "during the month of August, at an appropriate date".

Paragraphs 20 to 25 and annex

36. Paragraphs 20 to 25 and the annex were adopted.

Document A/AC.183/1984/WP.1/Add.1

37. The CHAIRMAN endorsed the comments made by the representative of Turkey concerning the criteria which should govern participation by non-governmental organizations (para. 2). Dialogue should be encouraged and organizations which, although hostile, were sufficiently broad-minded, should not be barred from participating. It was up to the Committee to decide whether requests for participation by non-governmental organizations should be granted or not.

38. Document A/AC.183/1984/WP.1 was adopted.

OTHER MATTERS

39. The CHAIRMAN pointed out that the Committee had been invited to participate in the forthcoming meeting of the Egyptian Afro-Asian Peoples' Solidarity Committee to be held in Cairo from 10 to 13 March 1984. The latter was going, on that occasion, to convene an international conference to express its solidarity with the Palestinian people in its struggle to affirm its rights to self-determination.

40. He proposed to send a letter to the Secretary-General requesting him to invite all Member States of the United Nations to participate more actively in the work of the Committee and drawing attention to the call for convening an International Peace Conference on the Middle East contained in paragraph 5 of the Geneva Declaration and endorsed by the General Assembly at its thirty-eighth session.

41. It was so decided.

42. Mr. KUNADI (India) drew attention to the provisions of paragraphs 5, 6 and 7 of resolution 38/58 C concerning the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. The Committee had a special responsibility for the implementation of that resolution. Several weeks had elapsed since its adoption yet the Palestine Liberation Organization had not yet been informed officially of the content of that resolution. The Chairman must therefore contact the Secretary-General in that connection as a matter of urgency.

43. The CHAIRMAN said that he planned to do so in order to inform the Secretary-General of the decisions which the Committee had taken that day. The amount of money ($15,000) needed to give international circulation to the 1984 calendar - dealing with Palestine - which had been produced in collaboration with the Solidarity Committee of the German Democratic Republic was now available.

44. He therefore suggested that the calendars should be circulated.

45. It was so decided.

46. Mr. ZARIF (Afghanistan) said that the document published by the Department of Public Information concerning information given by the press on the International Conference on the Question of Palestine contained errors, including one blatant error: it stated that only 20 countries had participated in the Conference. The document did not reflect the facts regarding the manner in which the Afghan press had reported on the Conference. One of the duties of the United Nations information centre was to assist the Department of Public Information to disseminate information about the United Nations and to obtain any information that might be useful for its work. Unfortunately officials, either in the Department of Public Information or in Kabul, had not carried out their responsibilities properly. The Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations had gathered documents concerning information given by the Afghan press on the Conference and had sent them to the Committee through the Division for Palestinian Rights. He hoped that the Department of Public Information would do what was necessary in order to correct the shortcomings he had pointed out.

47. The CHAIRMAN said that he would take up the problems raised by the representative of Afghanistan with the Chief of the Division for Palestinian Rights. Account should be taken of the Tunisian delegation's comments concerning the support which the Department of Public Information should provide in connection with symposia and seminars on the Palestinian problem.

48. Mr. LOGOGLU (Turkey) said that he understood the difficulties involved in preparing a report such as that prepared by the Department of Public Information. However, he regretted that Turkey was not mentioned in the report even though the Turkish press, radio and television had given broad coverage to the International Conference on the Question of Palestine. He hoped that that mistake would not be repeated.

49. The CHAIRMAN, speaking as representative of Senegal, pointed out that Senegal had not been mentioned in the document either and asked the Department of Public Information to report more objectively on the coverage of the Conference by the international press. He was convinced that the Department of Public Information in no way wished to be prejudicial to the Conference and that it bore no malice towards any State.

50. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) drew attention to the very disturbing situation of Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon, in Beirut and in its surroundings and in the areas under Israeli occupation. He wondered whether the Security Council, which was considering new measures to be taken in Lebanon on the occasion of the withdrawal - at the request of the Lebanese people - of the multinational force, was considering taking steps to ensure the safety of those refugees and to offer them guarantees. No one could forget the tragic events which had occurred in the Sabra and Shatila camps in particular.

51. The just released paper drawn up by the Division for Palestinian Rights contained extracts from articles concerning recent developments affecting the rights of the Palestinians; it was unfortunate that that type of document referred to events which were several weeks old and not to current events. Relevant information should be available more rapidly. The Committee should draw the attention of the Security Council, by means of a formal letter, to some of the events which had been mentioned. That was very important.

52. Mr. SILOVIC (Yugoslavia) emphasized the importance of the questions raised by the observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Committee could authorize the Chairman to contact the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council concerning measures which could be taken in order to ensure the safety and protection of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon; the latter would be a prerequisite for the exercise of the Palestinians' inalienable rights.

53. The CHAIRMAN said that, if the Committee agreed, he would contact the Secretary- General or his representative and the President of the Security Council as soon as possible on the subject.

54. It was so decided.

55. Mr. EL-SAID (Department of Public Information), referring to the comments made by the representatives of Afghanistan, Turkey and the Chairman, said that the Department of Public Information had a serious and objective approach towards its work. It did not seek to report exhaustively on information published in the press concerning the International Conference on the Question of Palestine. Its time and staff resources were limited. It had been stated in the introduction to the document that the work of the Department of Public Information covered only 55 countries. The Department was nonetheless prepared to publish addenda if the countries in question provided the relevant information.

56. With regard to the comment by the PLO observer that the date selected for the meeting of journalists (June) was too late, it should be pointed out that the Department had planned its programmes concerning Palestine in such a way as to distribute activities properly throughout the year. A fact-finding mission was to take place in April. In view of the preparations needed it was not possible to bring the date forward. That mission would be followed by a seminar and other activities. With regard to the organization of symposia and seminars, he thanked the representative of Tunisia for his suggestion concerning the support which the Department of Public Information could be given.

57. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that it would be wise for the Committee to send a representative to the forthcoming meeting of the Afro-Asian Peoples' Solidarity Organization.

58. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee had taken note of the suggestion. He further recalled that the Working Group had not yet been set up officially. He suggested that the composition of the group should be the same as in the previous year, on the understanding that any member or observer could participate.

59. It was so decided.

60. The CHAIRMAN said that, despite a slight delay in their publication, the bulletins issued by the Division for Palestinian Rights were useful instruments for those who followed the situation in the occupied territories. The Division generally based itself on information given by the Arab press in the occupied territories and by the Israeli press. One factor which contributed to the delay in publication was that the information had to be translated. When the urgency of the situation so required it, immediate measures were taken and letters were sent to the President of the Security Council or to the Secretary-General.

61. In any event, the Division had been asked to review the matter more attentively and to try to provide the latest and most reliable information.

The meeting rose at 12.55 p.m.

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