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UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


Committee on the Inalienable Rights            
of the Palestinian People
278th Meeting (AM)
GA/PAL/947
6 April 2004

Committee on Palestinian rights approves arrangements for UN meeting on wall
in occupied territory, scheduled for 15 – 16 April in Geneva


The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People today approved provisional arrangements for a United Nations-backed international conference on the consequences of Israel’s construction of a barrier in and around the West Bank.  With the meeting set to open in Geneva next week, the panel also accredited 12 non-governmental organizations, working in support of Palestinian self-determination, to participate in the event.

Committee Chairman, Paul Badji, of Senegal said progress towards finalizing the details for the “United Nations International Meeting on the Impact of the Construction of the Wall in the OccupiedTerritory, Including in and around East Jerusalem”, set for 15 and 16 April, were “developing satisfactorily”.  He added that there was a chance that the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Ahmed Qurei, might address the meeting’s opening session.

According to the provisional programme adopted today, a representative of Secretary-General Kofi Annan would be among the speakers set to open the meeting, and, following an afternoon recess, a plenary -- “Construction of the Wall:  Devastating the Lives and Future of the Palestinian Population” -- would examine the scope of the wall’s construction and its humanitarian impact.  It would also feature Palestinian, as well as Israeli, views on the matter, and hear reactions from the wider international community.

The meeting’s closing day would be devoted to a morning plenary on the international legal implications of the wall, and an afternoon debate on the fate of the political process towards a two-State solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict as construction of the barrier moved forward.  Emphasis would be placed on efforts to uphold the “Road Map”, a plan calling for a series of parallel and reciprocal steps leading to two States living side by side in peace by 2005.  The role of the diplomatic Quartet sponsoring that plan –- the Russian Federation, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations -– would also be examined.  Presentations by representatives of non-governmental organizations and civic groups would close out the day’s agenda.

Mr. Badji also updated the Committee on some of the activities that had taken place since its last meeting in mid-March, saying that following the 23 March killing of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the Security Council had met to consider the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine.  He had been among some 40 speakers participating in the debate.

On 25 March, Algeria had introduced a draft resolution, which would have had the Council condemn “the most recent extrajudicial killing by Israel, the occupying Power”, that killed the Hamas leader along with six other Palestinians outside a mosque in GazaCity.  That text would have also condemned “all terrorist acts against any civilians, as well as all acts of violence and destruction”.  The Council voted on the draft, which received 11 votes in favour, with 3 abstentions, but was not adopted owing to the negative vote of one of the Council’s permanent members.

The Committee will meet again at a date and time to be announced.

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For information media - not an official record