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Source: Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
25 June 2002
UNITED NATIONS AFRICAN MEETING
IN SUPPORT OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

Rabat, 24 to 26 June 2002
__________________________________________________________________________________



Theme: Achieving the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people –
a key to peace in the Middle East


Final Communiqué


1. The United Nations African Meeting in Support of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was held in Rabat, on 24 and 25 June 2002, under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Participants in the Meeting included eminent political personalities and experts from Africa, other international experts, representatives of Governments, Palestine, intergovernmental organizations, United Nations system entities, parliamentarians, civil society organizations, academic institutions and the media.

2. The Meeting was convened by the Committee with a view to further increase awareness of the plight of the Palestinian people and to enlist support for the resumption of political negotiations leading to the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine and the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. The participants assessed the impact of the Israeli military offensive in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem; considered the challenges to a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine; and discussed international efforts at salvaging peace in the Middle East, as well as African support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

3. The participants agreed that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory remained the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They emphasized that the continued reliance of Israel on massive military force throughout the Palestinian Territory, the relentless Israeli attacks against the Palestinian Authority, its institutions and its elected leadership, the closures, buffer zones and economic blockades, the repeated incursions into and reoccupation of Palestinian-controlled areas, the extrajudicial detentions and the killings of civilians, the destruction of public infrastructure and private property and all other illegal actions against the Palestinian people must be brought to an immediate end. They demanded that United Nations Security Council resolutions 1402 (2002) and 1403 (2002) be implemented without delay and that Israeli troops withdraw immediately to the positions they occupied before the start of the intifada in September 2000.

4. The participants welcomed resolution ES-10/10 adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations at its resumed tenth emergency special session on 7 May 2002 and said they looked forward to the publication of the report of the United Nations Secretary General on the tragic events that took place in Jenin and in other Palestinian cities during the recent Israeli offensive, as mandated by the aforementioned resolution.

5. The participants called upon the Government of Israel to honour its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention and immediately terminate all acts of violence against innocent civilians, stop destroying civilian and personal property, and cease forthwith all other illegal activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including settlement construction. They also demanded that the Israeli Government immediately cease construction of the system of barriers designed to separate arbitrarily the West Bank from Israel.

6. The participants expressed their belief that peacemaking efforts by the United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union and the United Nations, working in the framework of the “Quartet”, as well as by other international and regional actors should continue and should be intensified. It was essential that a meaningful political dialogue be immediately resumed, in parallel with improvements in the security situation and economic rehabilitation efforts. In this regard they noted the “Declaration on the Middle East” adopted by the European Council at the EU Summit in Seville, Spain, on 22 June 2002, as well as the statement made by the President of the United States George W. Bush on 24 June 2002 in Washington, D.C. They expressed the hope that the aforementioned initiatives would lead to the realization of the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized borders, as affirmed in United Nations Security Council resolution 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002.

7. The participants urged the Security Council to exercise fully its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations and to use all means at its disposal to ensure implementation of all its relevant resolutions. They reiterated that a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine can only be achieved on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002) and the “land for peace” principle.

8. The participants noted that the League of Arab States Summit had endorsed, on 28 March 2002, in Beirut, the important peace initiative put forward by Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, which called for full Israeli withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied since 1967, achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with United Nations General Assembly resolution 194 (III), and Israel’s acceptance of an independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital, in return for the establishment of normal relations between the Arab countries and Israel. The participants viewed this initiative as a very positive and constructive contribution to the overall efforts at achieving peace in the Middle East.

9. The participants endorsed the idea of deploying some form of international presence to monitor a ceasefire and restore confidence in the security and political fields.

10. The participants reiterated their support for the Palestinian leadership in its efforts to end the current impasse and also welcomed the reform process initiated by Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian leadership with a view to improving the institutions of the Palestinian Authority. In this regard the participants reaffirmed their recognition of the sovereign right of the Palestinian people to democratically elect their leadership without any interference.

11. The participants reaffirmed the permanent responsibility of the United Nations with respect to all the aspects of the question of Palestine, until it is resolved in a satisfactory manner, in conformity with relevant United Nations resolutions and norms of international law, and until the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are fully realized.

12. The participants commended Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, for his consistent support for the rights of the Palestinian people and his tireless personal efforts in the quest for peace and stability in the Middle East. They also expressed appreciation for the important work of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and his Office.


13. The participants noted with appreciation the important role played by UNRWA in rendering varied humanitarian assistance to Palestine refugees for over 50 years and called upon the occupying Power to take all necessary measures to assist the Agency in meeting the urgent challenges, to ensure the safety of its personnel and the security of clinics, schools and other installations and infrastructure, and to facilitate its access to all areas and persons under its responsibility.

14. The participants stressed that scaled-up international assistance was central to maintaining the viability and sustainability of the Palestinian economy and livelihood of the Palestinian population. It was of crucial importance for the donors to review their assistance programmes in order to develop quick, effective and efficient mechanisms of disbursing emergency assistance.

15. The participants acknowledged the increasingly important role played by civil society in providing emergency relief to the population of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, mobilizing support for the attainment by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights and for the establishment of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

16. The participants expressed appreciation for the role of African States, at various levels, including the Organisation of African Unity, the Non-Aligned Movement and within the United Nations itself, in promoting a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine.

17. The Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, H.E. Mr. Papa Louis Fall, and the delegation of the Committee were greatly honoured by an audience granted to them by His Majesty, King Mohammed VI of Morocco. His Majesty stressed the importance of supporting the Palestinian people at this time of great hardship and of persevering with efforts at achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Middle East conflict, and welcomed the efforts of the Committee in that regard. The Committee delegation expressed its deep appreciation of the active and constructive role played by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, in his capacity as Chairman of the Al Quds/Jerusalem Committee of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and by Morocco in various international fora, including the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, in the search for peace in the Middle East and the attainment by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights.

18. The participants also expressed gratitude to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, H.E. Mr. Taieb Fassi Fihri, and to the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco for hosting the Meeting and for the assistance and support extended to the Committee and the United Nations Secretariat in its preparation.

Rabat, 25 June 2002

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