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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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        General Assembly
19 October 1983


Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Friday, 14 October 1983, at 3 p.m.
Chairman: Mr. SARRE (Senegal)

Adoption of the agenda

Consideration of the draft report of the Preparatory Committee for the
International Conference on the Question of Palestine on its second session

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 3.40 p.m.


1. The agenda was adopted.


2. Mr. ABOUCHAER (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) pointed out that paragraph 17 of the draft report did not reflect what had taken place. Since the French Government had refused to host the Conference, and since the Swiss Government had been less than anxious to host it - as demonstrated by the fact that, when Geneva had been put forward as an alternative, the Swiss Ambassador had expressed the hope that the Conference would be held elsewhere - he suggested that paragraph 17 should be amended. Accordingly, he read out the texts of two amendments. Similarly, paragraph 33 should be amended to reflect that the Round-table of Eminent Persons had been postponed at the request of the Austrian Government.

3. Turning to paragraph 51 he suggested that the words "and in the documents themselves" should be inserted in the second line following the word "documents", in order to reflect what had happened. Furthermore, the name of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) should be added to the last line of paragraph 59 (c), as the Preparatory Committee had decided that the General Committee of the Conference should include a representative of that organization.

4. He also pointed out that the list of documents reproduced in the annex to the report differed from the list which the Preparatory Committee had approved at its previous session, as could be seen from the report of that body (A/37/49, para. 24).

5. Referring to paragraph 47, he asked why no news bulletins had been received following the news missions to Western Asia organized by the Department of Public Information (DPI).

6. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) pointed out that the PLO had presented itself as a candidate for one of the vice-presidencies to be filled by the Asian States, but had made it clear that it would not agree to be a member of the General Committee of the Conference as an additional member. Accordingly, the wording of paragraph 59 (c) of the draft report was correct.

7. The French Government had not rejected the idea of the Conference being convened at UNESCO headquarters, nor had the Swiss and Austrian Governments refused to host the Conference and the Round-table respectively. It was his understanding that one of the main reasons for postponing the Round-table had been the Committee's failure to reach agreement on who should attend it. Moreover, he did not see why the phrase "and in order to ensure the success of the Conference" should be deleted from paragraph 17 as proposed in the list of corrections submitted by the Rapporteur.

8. He fully supported the request by the Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic regarding news bulletins of the news missions to the Middle East. Perhaps DPI could submit excerpts from the reports sent by the journalists involved, together with copies of the articles which had appeared subsequently in newspapers around the world.

9. Mr. BURAYZAT (Observer for Jordan) pointed out that the introductory wording to paragraph 59 stated that the recommendations in the subparagraphs which followed appeared in document A/CONF.114/L.2. He could not, however find a reference in that document to the recommendation contained in subparagraph (e).

10. Mr. SHEHATA (Observer for Egypt) said that, in principle, his delegation had no objection to the rephrasing of paragraph 17; however, the Preparatory Committee had received no official or unofficial communication from the French Government indicating its refusal to host the Conference, nor had any such communication been received from the Swiss Government. Accordingly, he fully associated himself with the remarks made by the Observer for the PLO. At the same time, however, the Preparatory Committee had heard a statement by its Chairman regarding his consultations with the French Government as well as an explanatory statement by the PLO and one by the Swiss Ambassador. Accordingly, he suggested that note should be taken of those statements in paragraph 17 and that reference should be made to the relevant summary record.

11. Mr. LOGOGLU (Turkey) said that the position of the French and Swiss Governments, as presented to the Preparatory Committee, should be properly reflected in the draft report. His delegation would prefer it if the Rapporteur could find the exact wording those Governments had used. Finally, he saw no reason to delete the phrase "and in order to ensure the success of the Conference" from paragraph 17.

12. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization), replying to the comment made by the Observer for Jordan concerning paragraph 59 (e), noted that the Preparatory Committee, at its meeting in Geneva on 29 August, had agreed on a statement made by the Chairman. That statement had later been read out by the President of the Conference and approved by the Conference. Perhaps the Secretariat could provide a copy of the statement, which referred to the full participation by the PLO in the Conference.

13. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the wording used in paragraph 59 (e) had already been checked against the wording used by the President of the Conference.

14. Turning to paragraph 17, he said he did not believe that the Committee should concern itself with unnecessary details. All the facts had been taken into consideration, including the various representations made by Governments. The reason he had suggested deleting the phrase "and in order to ensure the success of the Conference" was so as not to give the impression that one party was better equipped to deal with the Conference than any other. He felt strongly that the report should not reflect adversely on any Government. The main thing was that the Conference had been held and that it had been a success.

15. The CHAIRMAN said that the Rapporteur had made some very pertinent comments regarding the points raised at the meeting. Although some delegations had interpreted the French Government's statement as a refusal to host the Conference, the Committee had realized that the Government had been acting out of technical considerations. That was why the Committee had accepted the arguments put forward by the French, Austrian and Swiss Governments. Accordingly, he asked the Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic not to press his amendments. While it might be preferable not to mention any Government by name, the fact that the venue had been changed from Paris to Geneva could cause the question to be raised as to why the change had been made. There was no need to amend paragraph 33, as proposed by the Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic, for a combination of circumstances had prevented the Round-table of Eminent Persons from being held as originally scheduled.

16. Finally, the wording of paragraph 59 (e) was based on the text to which the Committee had agreed on 29 August. If members wished, that text could be circulated to all members of the Committee.

17. Mr. ABOUCHAER (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic), referring to paragraph 17, thanked the Rapporteur for his explanation and suggested that the wording of the paragraph should be left to his discretion. However, the purpose of his earlier comments had been to ensure that paragraph 17 contained a description - without going into details - of the discussions held in the Committee on 2 and 14 June 1983. At that time, many delegations had expressed concern that a Government's refusal to host an international meeting might set a dangerous precedent. He also agreed with the comments made by the representative of Turkey and by the Observer for the PLO concerning deletion of the words "and in order to ensure the success of the Conference".

18. With regard to paragraph 59, he indicated that his country had been happy to see the PLO participate as a full member in the Conference. Moreover, he had not realized that the PLO had wished to be a Vice-President of the Conference from an Asian State. Accordingly, he withdrew his previous suggestion and fully supported the comments made by the Observer for the PLO in that connection.

19. The CHAIRMAN reminded members of the Committee that among the difficulties cited by the French Government had been the fact that the Conference would be attended by people for whom the issuance of a visa might present problems. The discussion of that situation was, however, reflected in the record of the relevant meeting.

20. Mr. El SAID (Department of Public Information), replying to a question from Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization), explained that the results of the news missions described in paragraph 47 were the subject of Newsletter No. 3. The purpose of the missions had been to provide an opportunity for high-level news-media representatives from throughout the world to obtain first-hand information about the Palestinian question - for example, about the living conditions of the refugees. That purpose had been entirely fulfilled. DPI had already received many articles written as a result of the missions and would gladly provide the Committee with those articles in the original languages. DPI felt that, in the long run, the main impact of the missions would be to ensure a better understanding of the Palestinian problem in the future coverage and in the editorial policy of the news media concerned.

21. The CHAIRMAN asked DPI to prepare a compilation of the articles it had received and to submit them to the Committee for inclusion in the archives of the Conference.

22. Mr. BAALI (Observer for Algeria), referring to paragraph 17 and to the useful comments made by the Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic in that regard, said that, although he understood why the Rapporteur had avoided using any controversial wording, the paragraph as it currently stood was inadequate. For the sake of logic, there should be some indication, expressed in the way the Rapporteur deemed most appropriate, as to why the Committee had decided on 14 June to change the date and venue of the Conference.

23. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization), referring to the comments made by the Observer for Jordan, suggested that, since not all the provisions contained in paragraph 59 were to be found in document A/CONF.114/L.2, reference might also be made to the decision the Preparatory Committee had taken on 29 August 1983.

24. Mr. BURAYZAT (Observer for Jordan) agreed with the Observer for the PLO and suggested that the Rapporteur should draft a separate paragraph referring to the recommendation adopted by the Preparatory Committee on 29 August. In addition, he assured the Committee that Jordan had been more than happy to see the PLO participate as a full member in the Conference.

25. The CHAIRMAN suggested that the Rapporteur should make slight changes in paragraph 17 in the light of the comments made during the current meeting, and that he should draft a separate paragraph referring to the Preparatory Committee's decision of 29 August for inclusion under paragraph 59. If he heard no objection, he would take it that the Committee wished to adopt its report with those modifications.

26. It was so decided.


27. The CHAIRMAN, referring to the International Day of Solidarity with the
Palestinian People, asked those delegations which wished to participate, at the ambassadorial level, in the programmes organized in The Hague, New York and Geneva to so inform him as soon as possible.

28. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) suggested that the Committee might ask the United Nations offices in Vienna how they intended to observe the International Day. As he understood it, celebrations were also planned in Brussels and, if so, perhaps the representatives attending the events in The Hague could attend those in Brussels as well.

29. Since the theme of the events in New York was to be the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, he asked what activities had been undertaken in preparation for the Day, for example what photographs and special documents would be available for the occasion.

30. Mr. YOGASUNDRAM (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) said that he would provide information on preparations for the International Day at a subsequent meeting.

The meeting rose at 4.45 p.m.

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