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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)(See also > Committee on Palestine)
28 February 2003



Report of the Outgoing Chair on the Activities of the Non-Aligned Movement During its Full Term as Chair,
September 1998 - February 2003

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1. Introduction
      1.1 As outgoing Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, South Africa has the honour to present its concluding Report to the XIII Summit Conference of the NAM in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 24 to 25 February 2003.
3. Meetings and Activities of the Chair and Co-ordinating Bureau
      3.9 Following a request by His Excellency Mr. Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian National Authority, President Mbeki, in his capacity as Chairperson of NAM, convened a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the NAM Committee on Palestine on 3 May 2001 in Pretoria, South Africa, to discuss the deteriorating situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including Jerusalem. The Ministers adopted a Statement of the Chair and a Communiqué, which calls for four broad measures namely:
        • reinvigoration of the peace process in the Middle East;
        • cessation of violence and collective punishment measures;
        • provision of protection of Palestinian civilians under Israeli occupation; and
        • enforcement of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Territory, including Jerusalem
4. Activities of the NAM Co-ordinating Bureau in New York

      4.2 In the period covered by this report, the Co-ordinating Bureau addressed a number of additional important issues in monthly or extraordinary meetings in New York, such as the crisis in Kosovo; the resumption of the General Assembly's Tenth Emergency Special Session on the Illegal Israeli activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; humanitarian intervention; the status of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) in the United Nations and the NAM and methodology issues.
      4.3 In October 1998 the Chair of the Co-ordinating Bureau addressed a letter to the Chair of the Credentials Committee of the 53rd Session of the UN General Assembly, conveying the NAM position on Israeli credentials in the occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem.

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      4.10 On the question of Palestine, the Chair of the Co-ordinating Bureau in December 2001 addressed the Resumed Tenth Special Session of the General Assembly on the item "Illegal Israel Actions in the Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory". The Chair pledged the full support of NAM for a resuscitated peace process, which will culminate in a definitive final settlement towards an independent Palestinian State.

      4.11 At the request of the Arab League, an Extraordinary Meeting of the Co-ordinating Bureau was convened on 5 December 2001 to discuss the grave situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem.


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5.  Activities of the NAM Working Groups and Committees

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      5.6 Non-Aligned Security Council Caucus

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      5.6.3 On 20 March 2001, the NAM Security Council Caucus tabled a resolution in the Security Council on the situation in Palestine. The Resolution was voted on by the Council on 27 March, but was not adopted as the resolution was vetoed by the United States.

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      5.8 NAM Committee on Palestine

      5.8.1 A series of open-ended meetings of the NAM Committee on Palestine, Chaired by the Permanent Mission of South Africa, were convened to prepare for the Movement's participation in the Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, held in Geneva on 15 July 1999.


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9. The International Situation
      9,1 Palestine

      9.1.1 In accordance with the traditional long-standing support of the NAM Members for the Palestinian people, the Chair of the Movement remained actively engaged in pursuing the objective of promoting the rights of the Palestinian people in international fora in their pursuit of an independent State, and the broader objective of peace in the Middle East.

      9.1.2 The Co-ordinating Bureau met in January 1999 to discuss support for the resumption of the Tenth Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly to consider the agenda item on "Illegal Israeli Actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Palestinian Territory". A letter on behalf of NAM, supporting a request of the Arab League, was subsequently forwarded in January 1999 to the Acting President of the Assembly.

      9.1.3 In February 1999, the Chair of the Co-ordinating Bureau addressed the Tenth Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on the agenda item "Illegal Israeli Actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Palestinian Territory" on behalf of the NAM, expressing support for the convening of a Conference of High Contracting Parties on Measures to Enforce the Fourth Geneva Convention in Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem.

      9.1.4 In April 1999, the Chair of the Co-ordinating Bureau addressed a letter to the Swiss Permanent Observer in New York to convey to the Swiss Government, as the Depository State of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Movement's views and recommendations regarding preparations for the convening of the Conference of High Contracting Parties on Measures to Enforce the Fourth Geneva Convention in Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem.

      9.1.5 A South African delegation, in its capacity as Chair of the NAM participated and delivered a statement on behalf of the NAM at a UN African Meeting in Support of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, held in Windhoek, Namibia from 20 to 22 April 1999.

      9.1.6 A representative of the Chair delivered a statement, on behalf of the Movement, to the United Nations International Conference on Measures to Enforce the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, in Cairo, Egypt, from 14 to 15 June 1999.

      9.1.7 Members of the Movement participated in the Conference of the High Contracting Parties on Measures to Enforce the Fourth Geneva Convention in Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, held in Geneva on 15 July 1999.

      9.1.8 A representative of the Chair attended a United Nations Asian Meeting on the Question of Palestine held in Hanoi, Vietnam from 1 to 3 March 2000.

      9.1.9 The South African Ambassador in Paris delivered a statement, on behalf of the Chair during the United Nations International Conference on Palestine Refugees, in Paris from 26-27 April 2000.

      9.1.10 The South African Ambassador in Athens delivered a statement on behalf of the Chair of the NAM at the United Nations International Meeting in Support of a Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine and the Establishment of Peace in the Middle East, 24 May 2000.

      9.1.11 President Mbeki, as Chair of NAM, met with President Yasser Arafat in Pretoria, South Africa, on 4 August 2000, to be briefed on current developments in the Middle East peace process, and the efforts of the Palestinians to arrive at a Final Status Agreement. President Mbeki reiterated the longstanding support of the Non-Aligned Movement for an independent Palestinian State.

      9.1.12 At the request of the Arab Group, an extraordinary meeting of the Co-ordinating Bureau was convened on 13 October 2000 to discuss the situation in the Middle East, including Palestine.

      9.1.13 On 18 October 2000 the Chair of the Co-ordinating Bureau addressed the Tenth Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on the item "Illegal Israeli Actions in the Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory." The Chair pledged the full support of NAM for the efforts of the UN Secretary-General to broker peace in the Middle East.

      9.1.14 On 12 November 2000, President Thabo Mbeki, as Chairperson of NAM, addressed the Ninth Session of the Islamic Summit Conference in Doha. President Mbeki called for firm and effective steps to secure the rights of the Palestinian people, and to end the occupation of Arab lands.

      9.1.15 Under the agenda item "The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question", the Chair addressed the emergency meeting of the Security Council on 22 November 2000.

      9.1.16 At the high-level annual commemorative United Nations meeting on 29 November 2000 entitled "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People", the Chair of the Co-ordinating Bureau read out a Message from President Mbeki, on behalf of NAM. The Message was also read out at the UN Centres in Vienna and Geneva by the respective South African Ambassadors.

      9.1.17 At the request of the Arab Group, an Extraordinary Meeting of the Co-ordinating Bureau was convened on 5 Dec 2000 to discuss the grave situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. On 6 December, the Chair of the Co-ordinating Bureau, acting on the decision of the Ambassadors, forwarded a letter to the President of the Security Council expressing the serious concern of the Movement at the escalating number of deaths and injuries with the continuing excessive use of force by Israel.

      9.1.18 Speaking on behalf of the Movement in the Security Council on 15 March 2001, the Chair of the Co-ordinating Bureau outlined the devastation to the Palestinian economy since the onset of the crisis in September 2000. The Chair reiterated the view of NAM that it remains the permanent responsibility of the UN to stay fully engaged in the Question of Palestine until a definitive solution is achieved.

      9.1.19 In light of the further rapidly deteriorating situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including Jerusalem, the Arab League called for an open debate in the Council. The Chair of NAM, addressing the Council on 20 August 2001 on behalf of the Movement, called for a protection force for the people of the region, reiterating the NAM view that the question of Palestine is the core of the Middle East conflict.

      9.1.20 The Heads of State or Government at the XII Summit in Durban had reaffirmed the applicability of the 1949 Geneva Convention for the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (the Fourth Geneva Convention) to all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory including Jerusalem. In preparation for the reconvening of the Conference of High Contracting Parties of the Convention on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including Jerusalem, the Swiss Government has, since August 2001, commenced with consultations in Geneva. The NAM Troika (South Africa, Colombia, and Bangladesh) represents the Movement in this informal consultative group.

      9.1.21 At the high-level annual commemorative United Nations meeting on 29 November 2001 entitled "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People", the Chair of the Co-ordinating Bureau read out a message from President Mbeki, on behalf of NAM. The respective South African Ambassadors also read out the message at the UN Centres in Vienna and Geneva.

      9.1.22 At the request of the Palestinian Permanent Representative to the United Nations, the NAM Security Council Caucus met on 4 December 2001 to discuss the grave situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem.

      9.1.23 On 5 December 2001, at the invitation of the Swiss Government, South Africa participated in a reconvened meeting of the States Parties to the Geneva Convention. In this meeting the South African Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva represented the Non-Aligned Movement.

      9.1.24 Following the continued diplomatic efforts by the Palestinian Permanent Representative to the United Nations, a Security Council open debate was held on 14 – 15 December 2001 to consider an Egyptian – Tunisian sponsored draft resolution encouraging the establishment of a monitoring mechanism. The Chair of the CoB delivered a statement in the Security Council on behalf of NAM. The USA vetoed the draft resolution though it had the affirmative support of 12 Council Members and only 2 abstentions.

      9.1.25 As part of the NAM Chair’s initiatives to broker peace in the Middle East, President Mbeki hosted a Retreat in Cape Town, from 9-11 January 2002. The Presidential Retreat was conceived as an informal and non-prescriptive opportunity for Israelis and Palestinians committed to finding a peaceful negotiated settlement to meet together and hear first hand about the South African experience.

      9.1.26 The NAM Chair delivered a statement at the Security Council open debate that took place on 26 – 27 February 2002 subsequent to a draft resolution circulated by the Palestinian delegation. The resolution demanded the immediate cessation of violence, called for the comprehensive implementation of the Mitchell Report, the establishment of a monitoring mechanism and the resumption of negotiations on a final settlement.

      9.1.27 The Chair of the Co-ordinating Bureau sent a letter to the President of the Security Council on 7 March 2002 suggesting that the Council considers inviting Prime Minister Sharon and President Arafat to the Security Council to give a first hand account of the situation in Palestine and Israel.

      9.1.28 On behalf of the Movement of the Non-Aligned Countries, the South African Minister of Foreign Affairs attended the Summit of the League of Arab States held in March 2002 in Beirut, Lebanon at which she articulated the Movement’s long-standing position on the question of Palestine

      9.1.29 The NAM Caucus Members played an active role in the intense negotiations that culminated in the adoption of resolution 1397 (2002) on 13 March 2002. The resolution, inter alia, calls for the implementation of the Mitchell Report and Tenet Plan and the resumption of negotiations on a political settlement.

      9.1.30 The NAM Caucus was again intensely involved in the negotiations during the Security Council emergency session of 29 – 30 March 2002, which was requested by the Arab Group. The negotiations culminated in the adoption of resolution 1402 (2002). The resolution expresses grave concern at the deterioration of the situation, including the recent suicide bombings and the military attack against President Arafat’s headquarters and also reiterates the demand of resolution 1397.

      9.1.31 On 3 April 2002 the Security Council held an emergency meeting at the request of the NAM Chair and Tunisia (on behalf of the Arab Group to discuss the volatile situation in the Middle East. The NAM Chair delivered a statement and also sent a letter to the President of the Security Council reminding the Council of the recommendation made by some of its Members that the Council should send a mission to the region.

      9.1.32 On 4 April 2002, with the support of the NAM Caucus, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1403 (2002), which demands the implementation of resolution 1402 (2002) without delay. On 7 April 2002 the Arab Group, with the support of the NAM Caucus, called an emergency Security Council discussion on Israel’s decision to intensify its military operations in Palestine in contravention of Security Council resolutions 1402 and 1403 (2002). On 8-9 April 2002 the Security Council once again convened an emergency open debate at the request of the Arab Group to demand the immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Occupied Palestinian Territory. South Africa delivered a statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

      9.1.33 On 18-19 April 2002 the Security Council held an open debate on the situation in the Middle East. The Permanent Representative of South Africa delivered a statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. The Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1405 (2002), which emphasises the urgency of securing access of medical and humanitarian organisations to the Palestinian civilian population.

      9.1.34 As a follow-up of the mandate the Chair received from the Committee on Palestine meeting held in Pretoria, May 2001, to interact with forces influential in the Middle East conflict, and pursuant to the Spier consultations, the South African Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs met with representatives of several European countries holding leadership positions at the moment.

      9.1.35 On 7 May 2002, the Chair of the Co-ordinating Bureau participated in a meeting of the Tenth Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on "The Illegal Israeli Actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory", which was resumed in response to Israel’s refusal to comply with the provisions of Security Council Resolution 1405. The debate, which was convened at the request of Sudan (on behalf of the Arab Group) and South Africa (on behalf of the NAM), focused on Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.

      9.1.36 In further pursuit to the mandate received from the meeting of the Committee on Palestine in Durban, April 2002, Minister Dlamini Zuma, in her capacity as Chair of NAM at Ministerial level, headed a NAM Ministerial delegation to Ramallah in an expression of solidarity with President Arafat and the people of Palestine. The Ministerial delegation was comprised of the Minister of State of India, the Foreign Ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and the Secretary- General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Jordan.

      9.1.37 On 13 June 2002, the Chair of the Co-ordinating Bureau made a statement in the open debate of the UN Security Council, condemning Israel’s military incursions and expressed deep concern over the humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

      9.1.38 The Chair of the Co-ordinating Bureau also participated in a Security Council open debate held on 24 July 2002. The statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement condemned all acts of violence.

      9.1.39 Following the continued crisis in the Middle East, the Tenth Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly reconvened again on 5 August 2002, in response to a request by Oman (on behalf of the Arab Group) and South Africa (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement). The Chair of the Co-ordinating Bureau and a large number of NAM Members participated in the debate focusing on the Secretary-General’s Report on the Jenin incident and Israel’s failure to co-operate during the drafting of the Report.


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