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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
Distr.
GENERAL
A/AC.183/SR.103
9 July 1984

English
Original: French

COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 103rd MEETING
Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Friday, 29 June 1984, at 10.30 a.m.

Chairman: Mr. ROA-KOURI (Cuba)

CONTENTS

Adoption of the agenda

Consideration of arrangements for the international NGO meeting to be held at
Geneva from 20 to 22 August 1984

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 DC2-750, 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 11.15 a.m.


ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA


1. The agenda was adopted.

CONSIDERATION OF ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE INTERNATIONAL NGO MEETING TO BE HELD AT
GENEVA FROM 20 TO 22 AUGUST 1984


2. The CHAIRMAN recalled that, at the preceding two meetings, some questions had been raised concerning the NGOs and individuals to be invited to the Meeting. There had been general agreement that those NGOs which had been invited in 1983 to the International Conference on the Question of Palestine should also be invited to the International NGO Meeting. Some members of the Committee had wanted to have a little more time to study the supplementary NGO list transmitted to them and had asked the Secretariat to provide information on those organizations, so that they could take a decision concerning their participation. That information was contained in the document which listed, by region, those NGOs which had not been invited to the International Conference but which had been invited to the International Meeting.

3. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said he was pleased to see Palestinian organizations included in the list of NGOs invited but noted that some of them had the words "East Jerusalem" after their name. Since there was only one Jerusalem and the United Nations itself considered that city to be an indivisible entity, the word "East" should be deleted.

4. The CHAIRMAN assured the observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization that the correction which he had requested would be incorporated in the list of NGOs.

5. Mr. NAQVI (Pakistan) recalled that, at the previous meeting, his delegation had requested further information concerning an NGO from the Asian and Western Pacific region, in order to establish whether that organization fulfilled the requirements for participation in meetings. Since the new document distributed did not contain any information on that organization, the representative of Pakistan wished to know whether the Secretariat could provide him with that information. He strongly regretted that invitations should have been issued without a prior decision by the Committee as to which NGOs should be included in the list.

6. The CHAIRMAN recalled that the Chairman of the previous meeting had said that, although it would in fact have been desirable for the Committee to approve the list of invitations in advance, in the present case, owing to lack of time, the Bureau had had to send out the invitations before the Committee had had a chance to take a decision on the list.

7. Mrs. REANDA (Secretary of the Committee) explained that the secretariat had no further information concerning the organization mentioned by the representative of Pakistan.

8. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that if that organization had been included in the list, that meant that its name had been brought to the attention of the Secretariat. In order to be included in the list, organizations had to fulfil two criteria: they must really exist, and they must support the objectives of the International Meeting.

9. Mr. ZARIF (Afghanistan) said that it had been the Afghan delegation which had brought the Peace, Friendship and Solidarity Organization of Afghanistan to the attention of the Secretariat. That organization had indicated its desire to participate in the International Meeting at Geneva. It was very actively engaged in alerting public opinion to the Palestinian cause, organizing various demonstrations and taking part in regional and international meetings on that question. It was therefore surprising to hear the objections of Pakistan, and one could only wonder about the reasons for its reservations, since one should surely welcome all who offered their support for the Palestinian cause.

10. Mr. LOGOGLU (Turkey) thought that it was no longer a matter of knowing which NGOs to invite, in view of the fact that the document which had been distributed indicated that they had already been invited. All that could be done now was to ascertain, after the fact, whether those NGOs met the existing criteria for participation and, if not, to decide whether their invitations should be withdrawn. On the other hand, it was perfectly legitimate for a member of the Committee to wonder whether a particular NGO fulfilled those criteria and to wish to obtain satisfactory information on that point.

11. The CHAIRMAN pointed out that the wishes of those Committee members who had desired more time to examine the supplementary invitation list, had been fully complied with. Any member could, in fact, request information on any organization, in order to determine whether it should be invited either to the Meeting in Geneva or to the Seminar to be held in Tunis. If members of the Committee provided information proving that a particular organization did not meet the critria and if the Committee endorsed their objections, then the invitation to that organization would be withdrawn.

12. Mr. BUSCH (German Democratic Republic) was of the opinion that the list should be approved as it stood and urged in particular that the Peace, Friendship and Solidarity Organization of Afghanistan should be retained on the list. The information provided by the Afghan delegation was sufficient proof that that organization worked effectively for the realization of the rights of the Palestinian people. It was hard to see what other condition could be required.

13. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) expressed apprehension lest discord should prevail. Unanimity could not be expected on absolutely all the NGOs, but the largest possible number of organizations should be invited, provided that they subscribed to the objectives of the Meeting. The controversy should not be prolonged unduly. Otherwise, objections might be raised to all the NGOs successively. That process, which was contrary to the main objective, should be cut short.

14. Mr. GAUCI (Malta) supported the observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization. The supplementary NGO list had been drawn up in order to give the widest possible publicity to the question of Palestine. It also contained the names of a large number of organizations in the United States, Canada and Western Europe, regions which called for special attention. The list had been compiled on the basis of established criteria, and the Bureau felt that any problems could be resolved through informal consultations among the members of the Committee. They should work together for the achievement of the objective of the current preparatory work, which was to ensure the largest possible participation at the International Meeting in order to increase understanding of the question of Palestine and to enlist support for that cause. He therefore proposed that the Committee should approve the list and settle the special case of the "Peace, Friendship and Solidarity Organization of Afghanistan" by consultation.

15. Mr. NAQVI (Pakistan) noted that the Committee was discussing a fait accompli, since it was bound by the initiative already taken by the Bureau. Pakistan was as desirous as other Member States, if not more so, of ensuring the universality of the Meeting, but it was of the opinion that if the Committee did not possess the necessary information to study the background of the NGOs invited, the Meeting ran the risk of welcoming puppet organizations that would in no way serve the Palestinian cause. Moreover, participating organizations should have a certain standing so as to be able to exert the necessary influence on public opinion to advance the Palestinian cause. However, in response to the appeal by the observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization and of the representative of Malta, his own delegation, while maintaining its reservations on the question of selection criteria, a matter of great concern to his delegation, would not stand in the way of the adoption of the list, if that was the wish of the Committee.

16. Mr. ZARIF (Afghanistan) said that the Afghan delegation could naturally vouch for any organization that it proposed to be invited to the International Meeting at Geneva. Afghanistan and all the organizations active in that country had a firm tradition of support for the Palestinian cause. Afghanistan could not be held responsible for some people's ignorance of the activities of the Peace, Friendship and Solidarity Organization. The Afghan delegation had already distributed press releases which set forth the position of that organization, but, in order to reassure those who still had doubts, it would collect all the statements of that organization and make them available to the Committee.

17. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, announced that Mr. Esmat Abdel Mequid wished to participate in the Geneva Meeting. Mr. Abdel Meguid, who had taken part in the establishment of the Committee when he had been Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations, would make a signal contribution to the work of the Meeting.

18. Mr. STANICA (Romania) said that, in spite of the lack of available information about them, the non-governmental organizations on the list should participate in the Geneva Meeting in so far as they supported the struggle of the Palestinian people. The longer the list was the better. The Romanian delegation felt that any delegation could request information on the non-governmental organizations on the list. It approved the list an would particularly welcome the participation of the Yugoslav League for Peace, Independence and Equality of Peoples and the Polish Committee for Solidarity with Peoples of Asia and Africa.

19. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) suggested that, since there were a number of religious bodies on the list of proposed non-governmental organizations, it might be useful to contact the American Friends Service Committee and the Mennonite Central Committee, which both played a very active role in the field and might be able to suggest the names of participants.

20. Mr. BURAYZAT (Observer for Jordan) said that he was not against the idea of inviting the NGOs on the list but would point out that nothing was known about some of them and that, in some cases, questions could be asked about their position on the Palestinian question. He would insist that inviting a non-governmental organization to the Geneva Meeting should not be interpreted as recognition of that organization and should not constitute a precedent for its participation in future meetings or conferences. The Jordanian delegation would like Mr. Abdel Meguid to be invited to the Geneva Meeting and also felt that an invitation should be sent to Mr. Anwar Nusseibeh, the former Jordanian Minister and Member of Parliament. Mr. Nusseibeh, who had not left Palestine since 1967, was active among the Palestinians or the West Bank.

21. The CHAIRMAN said that, if the Committee so agreed, the Secretariat would invite Mr. Anwar Nusseibeh to take part in the International NGO Meeting at Geneva.

22. Mr. LOGOGLU (Turkey) asked whether the list provided by the Secretariat was in fact a list of possible participants and whether any invitation must first be approved by the Committee. He would also like to ascertain how delegations should make known any reservations they might have with respect to proposed participants.

23. The CHAIRMAN said that no invitations had been sent but the Division for Palestinian Rights had approached some individuals to see if they would be available. The members of the Committee should transmit in writing any comments and reservations they might have, by the end of the following week, to the Chief of the Division for Palestinian Rights or the Chairman, on the understanding that a meeting of the Committee would be arranged if absolutely necessary.

24. Mr. SHEHATA (Observer for Egypt) said that the Egyptian United Nations Association, which had taken part in the International Conference on the Question of Palestine in 1983 and in the Djakarta and New York symposia, was not on the list of non-governmental organizations invited to the International NGO Meeting at Geneva. He asked whether an invitation had been sent to it. In addition, he said he supported the Rapporteur's proposal that Mr. Abdel Meguid should be invited to the Geneva Meeting, recalling that he had helped formulate the French-Egyptian draft resolution submitted to the Security Council in 1982.

25. Mr. YOGASUNDRAM (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) pointed out, for the benefit of the observer for Egypt, that, while no invitation had been sent to the Egyptian United Nations Association, the World Federation of United Nations Associations, of which the Egyptian Association was part, had been invited.

26. Mr. TARASYUK (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) said that he was grateful to the Secretariat for having provided ample information to help the Committee in its work. As to the list of panellists who might be invited to the International NGO Meeting at Geneva, he said that it was his delegation's understanding that the list was not yet closed and that delegations could propose additional names, which would of course have to be approved by the Committee. There were currently about 40 names on the list. He wondered how many participants were provided for and how the Committee's decision on the subject would be made.

27. Mr. YOGASUNDRAM (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) said that the 40 people on the list would probably not all be available and, in any case, there would probably be only 20 or so participants. Since there were now only seven weeks left before the Geneva Meeting, the list had to be prepared before the end of the following week.

28. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that, although an international meeting was being discussed, the list of prospective participants was not really an international one. It would be desirable if, as in the list of NGOs, Eastern Europe was represented as well as Western Europe. Turning to the list of topics that it was suggested should be considered at the Meeting, he suggested that item (iv) should refer to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace with "comprehensive" being added before "just and lasting peace".

29. The CHAIRMAN said that the exact wording of item (iv) was indeed that indicated by the observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization. In addition, the final list of panellists invited to the Geneva Meeting would certainly include representatives from that part of Europe not currently represented on the list. The members of the Committee who had suggestions to make on the subject were requested to do so in good time.

30. Mr. LOGOGLU (Turkey) said that the so-called list of panellists not only included the names of individuals but also the names of non-governmental organizations preceded by the words "representative of". He wondered why those organizations had not been included in the list of non-governmental organizations instead. He would also like some clarification on items (iv) and (v) of the list of proposed topics, as it was necessary to make sure that there was no overlapping between them.

31. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that item (iv) related to the future contribution that NGOs could make to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace, while item (v) concerned their current activities. Those were two different approaches, which were set forth in the Declaration of the North American NGO Symposium. In that connection, it might be useful if the Department of Public Information issued a document containing the statements made at that Symposium.

32. Mr. BURAYZAT (Observer for Jordan) said that, in item (i) of the list of topics, the words "International Law and Palestinian Rights" should be replaced by the words "The Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People under International Law", which would provide a clearer connection between the two subjects and would better reflect the aims of the Committee.

33. The CHAIRMAN suggested that, if there was no objection, the Committee should adopt the proposal of the observer for Jordan to change the wording of item (i) of the draft agenda of the International Meeting.

34. It was so decided.

35. Mr. YOGASUNDRAM (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) pointed out for the benefit of the representative of Turkey that the references to representatives of various non-governmental organizations contained in the list of prospective participants in the International NGO Meeting at Geneva did not mean that those organizations would be represented as such. They had simply been requested to indicate to the Committee a prospective participant, who would be invited in his individual capacity once his name had been transmitted. The organizations concerned were not included in the list of NGOs by region which had been transmitted to the Committee, because that list related exclusively to organizations that had not taken part in the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, which was not the case with the NGOs under discussion.

36. The CHAIRMAN proposed that, if there was no objection, the Committee should approve the list of additional non-governmental organizations invited to the International Meeting.

37. It was so decided.

38. The CHAIRMAN requested the members of the Committee to transmit their views on the list of individuals who might participate in the International NGO Meeting, together with any suggestions they might have in the light of what had been said by the observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization, to the Chief of the Division for Palestinian Rights or the Chairman by the end of the following week, so that the invitations might be sent in time. As to the list of topics to be considered at the International NGO Meeting, a preliminary exchange of views had already been held; the parts included in square brackets had been proposed by the representative of the Ukraine.

39. Mr. BURAYZAT (Observer for Jordan), referring to the list of topics to be considered at the International NGO Meeting, asked what was behind the addition of the parts of the text between square brackets. Topic (i) now covered two questions: the relationship between international law and Palestinian rights, and the campaign to alert public opinion. The second question was important enough to be treated as a separate topic, if that was desired.

40. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that the International NGO Meeting would not be a meeting of experts. It would bring together laymen, who would then explain to other non-experts what Palestinian rights were and, above all, would alert them to the fact that those inalienable rights already had a basis in law. Making the legal framework accessible to public opinion by presenting it in everyday terms seemed to be the basic function of the NGOs, and that had to be made clear.

41. Mr. TARASYUK (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) said that the proposal to add the texts between square brackets to the list of topics to be considered at the International NGO Meeting had been made in order to ensure that the proceedings of the Meeting would focus on two basic points: the recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and the involvement and role of NGOs in that process.

42. Mr. GAUCI (Malta) said that for the time being, the Committee simply had to define the main lines of the discussion. It would be for the NGOs participating in the International Meeting to steer the discussion in whatever direction they considered appropriate and to decide on the course of action they wished to follow. The Committee should not dictate to them.

43. Mr. SHEHATA (Observer for Egypt) endorsed the choice of the five main topics to be considered at the International NGO Meeting. They appeared quite compatible with the spirit of the Meeting. The texts between square brackets, which were intended to bring the discussion into sharper focus, were acceptable. However, the Committee should not go further, for there might be the temptation to be too specific about the agenda, which would limit the approach and freedom of the participants.

44. Mr. LESSIR (Tunisia) said that the topics initially included in the draft agenda of the International NGO Meeting were of a very general nature and could be dealt with at any kind of meeting. It would therefore be useful to retain the clarifications between square brackets, since they highlighted the other side of those topics, namely, the potential role of NGOs in the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and brought out the full importance of that role.

45. The CHAIRMAN said he also believed that it was better not to be too specific about the topics to be considered at the International NGO Meeting. The proposed additions merely indicated the main lines of the discussion; they did not go so far as to limit it. It should not be forgotten that the Meeting would focus essentially on the role of NGOs in defending the Palestinian cause and in seeking a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the problem of the Middle East. It was therefore useful to highlight that theme.

46. If there were no objections, he would take it that the Committee approved the proposed list of topics to be considered at the International NGO Meeting, as contained in the document before the Committee.

47. It was so decided.

OTHER MATTERS

48. The CHAIRMAN said that the Ninth United Nations Regional Seminar on the Question of Palestine was to be held at Tunis from 13 to 18 August 1984. The Committee had not yet received nominations from Africa or Eastern Europe regarding the experts and parliamentarians who would participate in the Seminar. He therefore urged Committee members from those areas to be in touch urgently with their Governments and the Secretariat in order that invitations might be sent out in good time to prospective panelists.

49. Mr. LESSIR (Tunisia) said it was his understanding that the Chairman had earlier proposed to invite to the Tunis Regional Seminar NGOs invited to the Geneva International Meeting. The first of the Seminars would be of a governmental and intergovernmental nature; NGOs would therefore be out of place. However, if they were to be invited, their names should be submitted to the Committee for consideration and action.

50. The CHAIRMAN said that the representative of Tunisia was mistaken. He could not remember saying that the NGOs invited to the Geneva International Meeting would also be invited to the Tunis Seminar, which, as everyone knew, was reserved for experts and parliamentarians.

51. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) inquired whether the Secretariat had prepared a provisional agenda for the Tunis Regional Seminar. As to the invitation of NGOs, it should be noted that the recommendations (A/37/49, para. 32) approved in General Assembly resolution 37/86 C referred only to "interested" organizations. The question of invitations should not be prejudged. It was for the Committee to determine whether or not prospective NGO participants met the criteria and could be invited.

52. Mr. YOGASUNDRAM (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) said that the Secretariat had prepared, as usual, a provisional agenda for the Tunis Regional Seminar, which would be communicated to Committee members as soon as it was finalized.

53. Mr. LESSIR (Tunisia) said he wanted to know if he was correct in understanding that NGOs would indeed be invited to participate in the Tunis Regional Seminar.

54. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that he wished to dispel the apparent misunderstanding. All he had said was that according to the recommendations endorsed by the General Assembly, if an NGO expressed a desire to attend the Tunis Regional Seminar, its request would be considered by the Committee before any invitation was extended.

55. Mr. GAUCI (Malta) said that arrangements for the Tunis Regional Seminar would be the same as for previous Seminars. There was not much time left to prepare for that extremely important meeting, which would be held at a critical phase and should represent a combined effort by Africa and Europe. Committee members should therefore communicate any suggestions to the Secretariat as soon as possible, orally if they preferred, so that all the necessary decisions could be taken during the following week.

56. Mr. SHEHATA (Observer for Egypt) announced that Egypt would nominate as a participant in the Tunis Regional Seminar an eminent parliamentarian, whose name would very shortly be communicated to the Secretariat with an indication of the Working Group to which he would belong.

57. The CHAIRMAN said that the North American NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine, held under the sponsorship of the Committee from 25 to 29 June 1984 in New York, had successfully concluded its work with the adoption by acclamation of a declaration, the text of which had been circulated to Committee members.

58. The Department of Public Information had made available, as requested at the 101st meeting, a collection of newspaper articles published by journalists who had participated in the United Nations-sponsored mission to the Middle East from 23 April to 11 May 1984. The Department had provided the secretariat of the Committee with the tape recording of a radio programme produced by two Argentine stations, and proposed to make available, as soon as possible, the copy of the script of a television programme produced in the Federal Republic of Germany.

59. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that he was grateful to the Department of Public Information for putting together an important dossier on the journalists' mission to the Middle East. He hoped that the Department would to the same with regard to the journalists' seminar held at Vienna from 4 to 7 June 1984, and that it would publicize the results of similar gatherings.

60. Mr. EL-SAID (Department of Public Information) announced that the Department was making preparations for a second journalists' seminar, to be held at Arusha from 3 to 6 September 1984, and was putting together an information kit on the seminar held at Vienna from 4 to 7 June 1984.

The meeting rose at 12.50 p.m.

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