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        Security Council
8 December 1990


Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Saturday, 8 December 1990, at 9 p.m.

President:Mr. AL-ASHTAL(Yemen)
Côte d'Ivoire
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland
United States of America
Mr. JIN Yongjian

Sir David HANNAY

This record contains the original text of speeches delivered in English and interpretations of speeches in the other languages. The final text will be printed in the Official Records of the Security Council.

Corrections should be submitted to original speeches only. They should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned, within one week, to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, Department of Conference Services, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.

The meeting was called to order at 9.10 p.m.


The PRESIDENT (interpretation from Arabic): I have been informed by the Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations of the passing, on 6 December 1990, of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia. I should like, on behalf of the Council, to express profound condolences to the Government and people of Malaysia on their great loss.


The agenda was adopted.


Mr. VORONTSOV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) (interpretation from Russian): In the interest of getting a decision by the Security Council on an important issue, namely, the defense of Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories, I officially move, under rule 33.3 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Security Council, that we adjourn this meeting and meet again at 3 p.m. on Monday, 10 December.

The PRESIDENT (interpretation from Arabic): The representative of the USSR has proposed, in accordance with rule 33.3 of the provisional rules of procedure, the postponement of this meeting until Monday at 3 p.m.

Mr. RAZALI (Malaysia): Mr. President, I should like to thank you and the members of the Council, on whose behalf you have spoken, for the tribute you have just paid and the respect you have shown to the late first Prime Minister of Malaysia. I shall convey the sentiments of the Council to his widow and to the Government of Malaysia. I thank you indeed for that tribute.

I have no option but to oppose the motion of the Permanent Representative of the Soviet Union. On the surface it may appear to be a very simple, reasonable motion, but we are talking about a matter that has been in the hands of the Council for nearly two months. We are talking about a subject that has had the benefit of discussion on paper for several days, perhaps even weeks, if one takes into account the efforts before this month.

This motion is an attempt to buy time, but for what reason? If the motion is to buy time in order to bring about a consensus on a draft resolution, it can be supported. But to my mind, if we accept this motion, it will mean further dilution of what is already a very balanced text - that of the draft resolution in document S/21933/Rev.2. I should like the Council to bear in mind the arduous efforts of the sponsors and other members of the Council who have drafted the text. We have now submitted the draft resolution to the Council for decision because we see no other way of giving it further consideration.

I do not want to repeat the debate we have just had in the informal meeting, but my delegation and the sponsors, which I represent, wish the Council to proceed to consideration of the draft resolution. I can think of no other means of supporting the Palestinians on the issue before us than by considering the draft resolution now before us. To my way of thinking, any debate would dilute the draft resolution of and serve the purpose of removing an important paragraph of the text. We would then be forced to take out operative paragraph 7 and consider it separately from the draft resolution as a whole. The sponsors of the draft resolution and the Palestinian delegation are very firm in their conviction that operative paragraph 7 is an integral part of the draft resolution.

I appeal to members of the Council to understand what the request for a postponement is all about. It is not to work towards a different formulation of paragraph 7; it is to work towards the exclusion of paragraph 7, in the interest of the position of an important member of the Council.

Mr. PICKERING (United States of America): I wish to address the motion put before the Council by the representative of the Soviet Union.

First, I assure Council members that we wish to continue with the good-faith efforts at negotiation which have been undertaken and have continued for the last four days to reach a mutually acceptable text. In that sense, we are ready to begin as soon as members of the Council are ready to see that happen. We have come quite a long way in that process of negotiation over these four days; members of the Council are aware of the details from documents that have been circulated this evening. I want to say how much I appreciate the efforts of the representative of Malaysia in bringing that text along.

We believe, however, that the peremptory cut-off this afternoon of the process of negotiation by the sponsors on behalf of the party they represent was not warranted or justified. It came after the United States had made a number of what we believe to be useful and helpful proposals, proposals which were neither addressed nor responded to in the process. We therefore believe that the request for additional time addressed to the Council by the representative of the Soviet Union is not only a valuable but a potentially useful step, and we will, of course, support the motion.

Mr. PEÑALOSA: (Colombia) (interpretation from Spanish): I would not have wished it to be at the beginning of a debate of this nature, Sir, that I would be congratulating you and your country on your assumption of the Presidency of the Council for this month. We are all aware of your ability as a diplomat and your qualities as an exceptional human being and an indefatigable worker. After your 20 years with the United Nations, many people can testify to this.

I should like also to thank Ambassador Pickering for his successful efforts as President of the Council last month. I wish to associate myself with the statement made by Ambassador Razali on the point under discussion. we are convinced that it is not really a question of four days of negotiations: more than a month has passed since a draft resolution was submitted; more than 15 days have passed since we requested a meeting of the Security Council to consider that draft resolution formally. At the request of some members of the Council, we agreed to a postponement of the consideration of the draft resolution until after 29 November.

So this is not a new draft resolution. It is not a draft resolution that could have taken anyone by surprise. Hence, I think that the message we are sending and shall continue to send if we postpone consideration of this draft resolution is not a very appropriate message.

Therefore, I should like to request members of the Council to join us in voting against the proposal made by the representative of the Soviet Union.

The PRESIDENT (interpretation from Arabic): I thank the representative of Colombia for the kind words he addressed to me.

Mr. ALARCON de QUESADA (Cuba) (interpretation from Spanish): Although we are in the midst of an apparently procedural discussion, I should like to discharge the very pleasant duty of congratulating you, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency of the Council for the month of December and of stating that we are sure that under your leadership the Council will be able to act in keeping with the goals and standards that should guide it.

I should also like to express our gratitude to Ambassador Pickering for the way in which he conducted the Council's work last month.

I wish first to thank the representative of the Soviet Union for having brought to the Council's attention the existence of its provisional rules of procedure. We all recall that for one month several members of the Council attempted - in vain - to remind everyone that this document existed and that the presidency of the Council should act in accordance with it. At one point we even felt guilty that we had dared to refer to the document, which in these new times would appear to have a somewhat subversive character. Therefore, we find it a very healthy sign that the Security Council is now openly availing itself of the norms and mechanisms that must be the sole guidance for its action - rather than capriciousness or arbitrariness.

Having said that, I wish to point out that the proposal made by the representative of the Soviet Union appears to be legitimate, for any member of the Council has the right to put forward any motion in accordance with 'the established rules. It is the same right that we four countries had when two weeks ago we asked the President to convene a meeting - which indeed has not yet been convened - to consider the draft resolution that is before us.

In any event, when the records of the Council are prepared, some minor adjustments may have to be made in them. I think that when the motion was made we had just adopted the agenda and, therefore, had just dealt with the first item - Adoption of the agenda. Mr. President, I did not hear you state that we were about to take up the second item - The situation in the occupied Arab territories. Undoubtedly, had you done so - as will be seen from the notes prepared by the Secretariat - you would have referred to the documentation that the Council has before it; and you would have reminded us of previous decisions taken by the Council to invite the representative of Palestine to take a place at the Council table and various other representatives who are seated here to do what they usually do at these meetings and have not had an opportunity to do now - that is, take a place at the side of the Council Chamber.

That clarification having been made, my delegation agrees with what has been said by the representatives of Malaysia and Colombia. Indeed, one need only glance quickly at the text of the draft resolution to see that it is the result of a lengthy process of consultations and negotiations. It would have the Council do something in connection with what was openly stated a little more than two months ago in this very Chamber - namely, take action promptly on the Secretary-General's report.

The Council has not been excessively slow in taking rather dramatic decisions, or decisions that could have very serious consequences for mankind. But with regard to this issue it has worked at a leisurely pace that is in obvious contrast to that other approach, so often praised in this Chamber.

I think it would be quite inaccurate to attempt in this meeting to give anyone the idea that there had not in fact been an intensive process of consultations and that a flexible stand had not been taken by the sponsors of the draft resolution. The history of this document, its various wordings and the points of view expressed by other delegations make it clear that such an attempt would be inaccurate. My delegation feels that the Council should have acted some time ago. If we are here on this Saturday, it is precisely because of our flexibility and our desire to meet the wishes of other delegations.

My delegation will vote against the motion that has been made because, quite frankly, we fear that at 3 p.m. on Monday we shall come face to face with a situation that will be quite similar to the one we witnessed in our efforts throughout November as well as this week - namely, resistance to having this body discharge its duty vis-à-vis the Palestinian people in terms that are far from excessive, indeed that are, if anything, too generous when compared to the problem involved and that are not at all like the strong language and tone of other resolutions of this very Council on the same subject.

But perhaps we shall have an opportunity to say more about this at some future date - perhaps on Monday, if the Council adopts the motion put forward, or else during this very complicated process of informal consultations which some would wish to use in order to bury key issues that the Council should, on the contrary, air in public.

The PRESIDENT (interpretation from Arabic): I thank the representative of Cuba for the kind words he addressed to me.

Sir David HANNAY (United Kingdom): I have asked to speak in order to support the motion put forward by the representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I am doing so because I regard this motion its not a motion for delay but a motion for taking action. The purpose of setting a time for a Council meeting on Monday is to allow the process of negotiation, which is under way within the Council and which was broken off this afternoon, to continue and come to a satisfactory conclusion.

It is on that basis that my delegation supports it, and I hope very much that all members of the Council will co-operate in ensuring that we do not arrive, as the representative of Cuba said we might, in the same state on Monday as we are now. Frankly, any delegation which takes the responsibility for ensuring that we arrive in the same state as we have now bears a heavy responsibility. My delegation will wish to use the period between now and then to negotiate on a text we can all support.

Mr. BAGBENI ADEITO NZENGEYA (Zaire) (interpretation from French): Mr. President, although this is a procedural discussion, perhaps you will allow me, Sir, to congratulate you on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for the month of December. Aware of your talents, your diplomatic skills and your knowledge of the United Nations system, and given that you have already presided over the Council, we are quite sure that you will very ably discharge your tasks and that the Council will reap the fruits of your experience.

I should also like to extend my thanks and appreciation to Ambassador Thomas Pickering for the outstanding manner in which he presided over the work of the Council in the month of November. I think that the ministerial debate we held in the Council, which enabled us to take a historic decision on the invasion of Kuwait, testifies to the competence and the determination with which he guided our work during the month of November.

We are engaged in a discussion, although rule 33 of the provisional rules of procedure states quite clearly that when a procedural motion is made the matter will be decided without debate. Rule 33 is quite precise on this and perhaps I might even read it out:

and then, at the end, it says:

Accordingly, my delegation expected that the proposal made by the representative of the USSR would immediately be put to the vote. We are a little surprised that a discussion is now being held on this question.

Having said that, and since other delegations have had an opportunity to state their views, I too would like to state that my delegation supports the proposal made by the representative of the USSR that the meeting be deferred until Monday, so as to enable the continuation of the consultations which have begun - consultations which have already enabled the parties involved to arrive at certain compromises on certain points and in which some agreements have been arrived at. Therefore, to the extent that such compromises may enable the Council to take a decision in a spirit of unanimity, I believe that this is an opportunity being given the Council to enable the parties involved to continue their consultations. Since the day is Saturday and the meeting would not be held until Monday at 3 p.m., as proposed by the representative of the USSR, it would allow time for the various parties to continue their consultations. Accordingly, my delegation supports the proposal made by the representative of the USSR.

The PRESIDENT (interpretation from Arabic): I thank the representative of Zaire for the kind words he addressed to me.

Before calling on the next speaker on the list, I should like to explain that, from the standpoint of procedure, we are speaking here of rule 33, point 3, which reads as follows: "To adjourn the meeting to a certain day or hour". That is why we can have a debate under this point 3. There could have been no discussion if a motion had been made to suspend the meeting or adjourn it for an hour or two. This is only to clarify the matter.

Mr. KIRSCH (Canada) (interpretation from French): Allow me on behalf of my delegation to congratulate you, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency for this month. Considering your personal qualities and experience, we are convinced, as we have already seen, that the Council cannot but benefit from your guidance in carrying out its work.

I should also like to congratulate Ambassador Pickering for the excellent manner in which he presided over the Council last month.

My delegation is of the view that the Council would be seriously mistaken were it to take a decision today on a draft resolution on which it is clear that additional consultations are needed before a decision is taken by this Council in a satisfactory manner. We believe that it is important to continue the negotiations which have begun and to continue them in a constructive spirit without prejudging their outcome.

We shall therefore support the motion presented by the representative of the Soviet Union.

The PRESIDENT (interpretation from Arabic): I thank the representative of Canada for the kind words he addressed to me.

Are there any other speakers?

Since that is not the case, I shall now put to the vote the proposal to adjourn the meeting until Monday at 3 p.m.

A vote was taken by show of hands.

The PRESIDENT (interpretation from Arabic): The result of the voting is as follows: 9 votes in favor, 4 against and 2 abstentions. The proposal by the USSR has been adopted.

Accordingly, the next meeting of the Security Council will be held on Monday at 3 p.m.

Before adjourning the meeting I wish to make a short statement: on behalf of my delegation. We hope that the postponement that has been decided upon by the Council will help the Council to reach agreement on the draft resolution by unanimity, since the issue under consideration is extremely grave and important. While the Council has been busy over the last four months with the Gulf crisis, it has before it now this other crisis of which it has been seized for over 40 years. Therefore, we hope that the negotiations will lead to a consensus. I believe that at this juncture, I have to explain, so that it will be clear to all, why my delegation voted, in addition to the other members, against the proposal to postpone the meeting.

Certain events took place on 8 October this year in Al-Quds which claimed the lives of 20 Palestinians. The Secretary-General then presented his report on 31 October. On 8 November we had the first version of the draft resolution whose last version we have before us now; on 26 November the first amended version was put forward, and today the Council has before it the second amended version. The Council will notice that there is a great difference between the final version and the first one as a result of the spirit of co-operation and concession displayed by the sponsors of the draft resolution.

We should not confuse this issue with any other issue under consideration. my delegation has made clear right from the start that we cannot limit our consideration to the single issue of the protection and safety of the Palestinians, because if we go down that road we shall have made the occupation a permanent fact. To undo part of the injustice done to the Palestinians by protecting them is only a first step and a temporary measure towards resolving the Palestinian problem and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Therefore, my delegation insisted in particular on mentioning Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) in all the drafts that have been put forward. My delegation also made a point of persistently mentioning the occupation and the entire crisis in all its aspects.

We have no wish to link the one crisis, in the Gulf to the other, in the Middle East. I want to stress that. What we want to do, however, is to link the issue of protection to the issue of occupation. We do not accept the separation of the issue of protection from the issue of occupation, because to freeze the issue of occupation would only mean, as I said before, the entrenchment of the present situation for many years to come. Furthermore, there is another linkage we wish to make. We want to link Israel to the Security Council. The question that begs an answer is: why is it that this State, of all the States of the world, is the one that never acquiesces in, agrees to or complies with Security Council resolutions? It did not even accept to receive one delegation from the Security Council.

In view of these considerations, we call upon - and demand of - the big Powers, especially the United States of America and the Soviet Union, to work towards a solution to this problem without considering any other problems.

In all modesty, we wish to state the following: we deal with two issues as parallel issues and not as inter-linked issues. We have to seek to achieve a parallel solution. To speak of linkage in order to avoid addressing a chronic problem, is indeed tantamount to freezing that chronic problem, and this is unacceptable to us.

I now resume my functions as President.

Mr. ALARCON DE QUESADA (Cuba) (interpretation from Spanish): I just want to state for the record that the Council has decided to meet again on Monday at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to consider what it had before it for consideration today - that is, the draft resolution submitted by four States in connection with the occupied territories. If, later on, someone wishes to create complications regarding this text, it will have to be done here, publicly. My delegation cannot accept the invention of new informal machinery, in an attempt to avoid what the Council has just decided upon publicly and openly. We are all called upon to meet in this Chamber on Monday at 3 p.m.

Mr. TADESSE (Ethiopia): At the outset I should like to congratulate you, Mr. President, on your assumption of your important office for this month. Given your very wide diplomatic experience and skill in dealing with many of the issues under consideration we are convinced that the work of the Council will be successful.

I should also like to express the appreciation of my delegation to Ambassador Pickering of the United States for the remarkable manner in which he handled the work of the Council last month.

For the record I should like to state that my delegation views the proposal initiated by the representative of the USSR, upon which we have just voted as only a procedural motion. We have adopted it without prejudice to the outcome of the negotiations and the fate of any of the paragraphs and their content. It is the conviction of my delegation that we can take this as an expression of added effort to arrive at a unified position and to obtain much broader support for the text under consideration. We believe this will further assist us in addressing not just the short-term concerns but the ultimate interests of the Palestinian people. Therefore, my delegation differs with any suggestion or implication that the vote on adjournment reflects on the substance of the text and the positions of delegations on the concerns it addresses.

The PRESIDENT (interpretation from Arabic): I thank the representative of Ethiopia for his kind words addressed to me.

Mr. PICKERING (United States of America): Mr. President, I understand that we have decided to adjourn, and I should like to make two non-substantive points, if I may, very briefly.

First, in the heat of the moment, and perhaps to avoid in any way at all prejudicing your vote on the question, I failed to congratulate you, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency, which I do now, whole-heartedly - the more so to make up for my oversight.

Secondly, I understood that in our informal meeting we agreed that we would hold another informal meeting following this formal meeting. Since I did not hear you say that, I wonder if that is indeed the proposal.

The PRESIDENT (interpretation from Arabic): I thank the representative of the United States for the kind words he addressed to me.

I intended to say before we adjourned that we would meet again this evening in the other room for informal consultations, as requested by the United Kingdom.

The meeting rose at 9.50 p.m.

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