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


GA/SHC/3547
4 November 1999



GENERAL ASSEMBLY ASKED TO REAFFIRM RIGHT OF PALESTINIAN PEOPLE TO

SELF-DETERMINATION, SEEK SUPPORT FOR THAT OBJECTIVE

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The General Assembly would urge all States and the specialized agencies and organizations of the United Nations system to continue to support and assist the Palestinian people in their quest for self-determination, under the terms of a draft resolution approved by the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) this afternoon by a recorded vote of 119 in favour, to 2 against (Israel, United States) with 2 abstentions (Uganda, Uruguay). (For details of the vote see Annex.)

By the terms of the draft, the Assembly would also reaffirm the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the option of a state.

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Action on Draft

The Committee then took up the draft resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.3/54/L.29). The representative of Egypt, as the main sponsor, said India and Brazil had joined as co-sponsors. Suriname, Gabon, Liberia, Congo and Zambia became additional co-sponsors.

The draft resolution was adopted by a recorded vote of 120 in favour, two against (Israel and United States) and two abstentions (Uruguay and Uganda). (See Annex.)


Explanations of Vote After the Vote

The representative of Syria said she had voted in favour of the draft. The great majority it had achieved was an affirmation of support for the struggle of the Palestinian people. Israel stood alone as an obstacle. Peace would be achieved when Israel complied with resolutions and withdrew from Arab territories.

The representative of Canada said he had voted in favour of the draft. The option of a Palestinian state was subject to negotiation. A resolution of the question should be reached by September 2000.

The representative of Australia said he had voted in favour. The phrases in paragraph 2, “the right to self-determination” and “not subject to veto” were redundant. They should have been deleted.

The representative of Israel said he had voted against the resolution. He supported the right of self-determination for people and their right to govern themselves; his country had recognized those rights in the peace process. The merits of self-determination were not in question but the inclusion of the phrase “the option of a state” in operative paragraph 1 was either superfluous or redundant with regard to self-determination. The challenge was to take the issue forward, including the right of the Palestinian people to decide on their own fate. The timing for that decision had already been determined. Pending resolution of the permanent status issue, all attempts at conjecture on the outcome would have the opposite effect.

The representative of the Russian Federation said that as a co-sponsor of the Middle East peace process, the Russian Federation had always called for a separate Palestinian state. He was ready to continue work with other agents in the peace process to create the right climate for negotiations.

The representative of Mongolia said she would have voted in favour and would do so in the plenary.

The representative of Finland, speaking for the European Union, said a negotiated solution should be sought on the basis of the existing framework, which was not subject to any veto. Israel should implement interim measures and continue forward with the negotiations.

The observer for Palestine said approval of the draft resolution was a very important step towards the right of sovereignty for the Palestinian people. It was linked with the “absolute right” of the Palestinian people to establish self-determination. The overwhelming vote in favour of the draft was proof of that right. The Palestinian people had the right to establish their own independent state. It was regrettable that the United States had voted against it. Israel, by opposing to the draft, had failed to recognize the right of the Palestinian people and threatened the continuation of the peace process. The right to self- sovereignty of the Palestinian people was a natural and inalienable right.

The representatives of Senegal, Oman and Burkina Faso said that if they had been present during the vote, they would have voted in favour.

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ANNEX

Vote on Right of Palestinians to Self-Determination

The draft resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self- determination (document A/C.3/54/L.29) was approved by a recorded vote of 119 in favour to 2 against, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: Israel, United States.

Abstain: Uganda, Uruguay.

Absent: Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Croatia, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Kiribati, Kuwait, Latvia, Lesotho, Madagascar, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco, Nauru, Nicaragua, Oman, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela.


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