UNISPAL Home

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


GA/9020
1 December 1995

GENERAL ASSEMBLY AUTHORIZES FUNDS FOR UNDOF
ON SYRIAN GOLAN HEIGHTS FOR PERIOD
1 DECEMBER 1995 - 30 JUNE 1996


Three Draft Texts Introduced with Opening
of Assembly Debate on Middle East Situation



The General Assembly this morning authorized up to approximately $18.8 million gross ($18.2 million net) for the United Nations Disengagement Force (UNDOF) on the Syrian Golan Heights for the period 1 December 1995 to 30 June 1996. It also began its debate on the situation in the Middle East.

The authorization for the UNDOF was made on the recommendation of the Assembly's Fifth (Administrative and Budgetary) Committee, which sent to the Assembly a draft resolution that was adopted without a vote. Also allocated to UNDOF in today's action was $16.1 million gross ($15.6 million net) that had previously been authorized and apportioned for the period 1 June to 30 November 1995.

Three draft resolutions on the situation in the Middle East were introduced to the Assembly this morning. By the terms of one, introduced by the representatives of the Russian Federation, Norway and the United States, the Assembly would welcome the peace process and stress the need for rapid progress on the other tracks of the Arab-Israeli negotiations.

Another draft, introduced by the representative of Morocco, would have the Assembly determine that Israel's decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on Jerusalem was illegal and had no validity. Under the terms of the third draft, introduced by the representative of Egypt, the Assembly would demand that Israel withdraw from all the occupied Syrian Golan to the line of 4 June 1967.

Speaking in debate on the situation in the Middle East, Syria's representative said "We are with the peace process, but we can never engage in anything that we do not believe in". Syria could not accept anything less than full withdrawal from the Syrian Golan because it aspired to achieve a peace that would respect the rights of all. "Full withdrawal from the Syrian Golan is the key to the totality of the peace process."

The representative of Israel invited the Syrians and Lebanese to stop hesitating and understand that through negotiations, peace could be achieved. Syria and Lebanon needed peace as much as Israel and the rest of the Middle East, as that would promote security and development. He expressed support for the draft resolution proposed by Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States, but stressed that Israel would continue to oppose attempts to bring issues into the General Assembly that should be discussed bilaterally between the parties.

Also speaking in the debate were the representatives of Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Malaysia, Cameroon, Jordan, Indonesia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. In addition, the representative of Syria explained his country's position on the resolution on financing UNDOF.

The Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m to continue its consideration of the situation in the Middle East. It will also take up the report of its General Committee concerning the allocation of items on the Assembly's agenda.

Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this morning to consider the situation in the Middle East. Before the Assembly were three draft resolutions on the Middle East peace process and a report of the Secretary-General on the situation in the Middle East.

By the terms of draft resolution A/50/L.24, the General Assembly would call upon Member States to extend economic, financial and technical assistance to parties in the region and to render support for the peace process. It would also welcome the peace process started at Madrid and express support for the subsequent bilateral negotiations. The Assembly would stress the importance of achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. It would express its full support for the achievements of the peace process, including the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the agreement on the Gaza Strip and Jericho area, the August 1994 agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities and the Protocol on Further Transfer of Power and Responsibilities signed on 27 August at Cairo.

According to the draft resolution, the Assembly would also express support for the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip signed in Washington, D.C., on 28 September and the agreement between Israel and Jordan on the Common Agenda, the Washington Declaration, signed on 25 July 1994. In addition, it would express support for the Jordan-Israel Treaty of Peace of 26 October 1994.

The Assembly would stress the need for rapid progress on the other tracks of the Arab-Israeli negotiations within the peace process, according to the resolution. It would welcome the results of the Conference to support Middle East Peace convened in Washington on 1 October 1993 and the appointment by the Secretary-General of the United Nations special coordinator in the occupied territories. It would also urge Member States to expedite economic, financial and technical assistance to the Palestinian people during the interim period.

Finally, the draft resolution would have the Assembly encourage regional development and cooperation in areas where work had begun within the framework of the Madrid conference.

That draft resolution was sponsored by Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States.

By the terms of draft resolution A/50/L.37, the Assembly would determine that the decision of Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem is illegal and therefore null and void and has no validity whatsoever. It would deplore the transfer by some States of their diplomatic missions to Jerusalem in violation of Security Council resolution 478 (1980), while calling once more upon those States to abide by the provisions of the relevant United Nations resolutions, in conformity with the Charter.

That draft resolution was sponsored by Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

By the terms of draft resolution A/50/L.38, the Assembly would demand once more that Israel withdraw from all the occupied Syrian Golan to the line of 4 June 1967 in implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions. It would reaffirm its determination that all relevant provisions of the Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention of 1907, as well as the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, continue to apply to the Syrian territory occupied by Israel since 1967. It would call upon the parties to these conventions to respect and ensure respect for their obligations under those instruments in all circumstances.

Further, according to the draft resolution, the Assembly would determine once more that the continued occupation of the Syrian Golan and its de facto annexation constitute a stumbling-block in the way of achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East region. The Assembly would declare that Israel has failed so far to comply with Security Council resolution 497 (1981). It would declare also that the Knesset decision of 11 November 1991 annexing the occupied Syrian Golan constitutes a grave violation of Security Council resolution 497 (1981) and therefore is null and void and has no validity whatsoever. And it would call upon Israel to rescind that decision.

The draft resolution was sponsored by Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Qatar, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

The report of the Secretary-General (document A/50/574) reproduces replies from Austria, Cape Verde, Japan and Mexico regarding the transfer by some States of their diplomatic missions to Jerusalem in violation of Security Council resolution 478 (1980) as well as regarding the Assembly's renewed demand (resolution 49/87 B) that Israel withdraw from all the occupied Syrian Golan.

Japan reports that its Prime Minister has taken steps to encourage direct negotiation between Israel and Syria; it supports the efforts of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) to achieve a peaceful settlement; and it is preparing to dispatch members of its self-defence forces for participation in UNDOF in February 1996.

Austria and Mexico both report that they are maintaining their embassies in Tel Aviv, and Austria adds that it supports the intensification of negotiations between Syria and Israel. Cape Verde says it has not taken any actions contrary either to resolution 49/87 B or to resolution 49/87 A, by which the Assembly once more called upon States with missions in Jerusalem to abide by the relevant United Nations resolutions.

Also before the General Assembly was the report of the Fifth Committee on financing of United Nations peace-keeping forces in the Middle East (document A/50/792).

The report would have the General Assembly authorize up to approximately $18.8 million gross ($18.2 million net) for UNDOF on the Syrian Golan Heights for the period 1 December 1995 to 30 June 1996.

That authorization was made at a rate not to exceed $2.7 million gross ($2.6 million net) monthly up to 30 June 1996, to be apportioned among Member States on an ad hoc basis. The Assembly also appropriated for UNDOF $16.1 million gross ($15.6 million net), previously authorized and apportioned, for the period 1 June to 30 November 1995.

Introduction of Draft Resolutions

HANS JACOB BIORN LIAN (Norway) introduced draft resolution A/50/L.24 adding the following sponsors: Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakstan, Luxembourg, Myanmar, Republic of Moldova, Netherlands, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay. He said the past year had seen great achievements in the Middle East peace process, but there had also been violent attempts to undermine it, most notably the tragic death of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The incidents that had taken place recently in southern Lebanon and northern Israel were a reminder that there was still much to be done before there was comprehensive peace in the region.

The purpose of the draft resolution was not only to welcome the achievements of the peace process so far, he said, but also to register the strong support of the United Nations for further efforts towards a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. It was vitally important that at the current critical stage, the world community, through the United Nations General Assembly, express its continued support for the peace process.

YURIY V. FEDOTOV (Russian Federation) also introduced draft resolution A/50/L.24, saying the major objective was to reinforce the peace process. Enormous efforts had been made to achieve a decisive turning point towards peace in the Middle East, though it was important that progress also be made on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks.

Russia favoured a comprehensive settlement without detriment to any of the parties. To ensure progress towards peace, he continued, there was a need for further material support to the region, which would include the financial and technical support urged in the draft resolution. By playing an active role, the United Nations could make an importance difference.

EDWARD W. GNEHM (United States) also introduced draft resolution A/50/L.24 saying that it provided an opportunity to the General Assembly to reaffirm its support for the Middle East peace process. Much progress had been made since the Madrid conference, but the continuing challenge was underscored by the tragic assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He hoped that Lebanon and Israel and Syria and Israel would also achieve progress in their negotiations. And he wished to reaffirm the United States' commitment to Lebanon's political independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The draft resolution was a clear signal to the parties that the international community recognized and supported their courageous efforts to reshape the world that future generations would grow up in, he said. And the draft clearly reflected the international community's view that assistance for development was a crucial priority and should be assisted by the international community.

AHMED SNOUSSI (Morocco) introduced the draft resolution on Jerusalem (document A/50/L.37). After reviewing its provisions, he expressed the hope that the draft would receive unanimous support.

NABIL ELARABY (Egypt) introduced the draft resolution on the Syrian Golan (document A/50/L.38). He stressed the need to end the Israeli occupation of all territories occupied since 1967, put an end to the arms race and improve the standard of living in the region, thereby laying the foundation for peace. Peace could only be successful if it covered all of the aspects of relations among countries in the Middle East. Natural economic relations could not flourish under conditions of occupation. A just and lasting peace would be the greatest guarantor of security of the region. Egypt was calling for the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, an objective supported by the international community as a whole. Unfortunately, no progress had been made in that area, he said, because Israel was refusing to negotiate the matter in a multilateral context.

He hailed the positive developments in the peace process, adding that difficulties remained. The Israeli Prime Minister had recently been assassinated by Israeli terrorists, reminding all that those opposed to peace would use all forms of violence to achieve their goals and must be stopped. Respect for peace meant that all parties must abide by their international commitments. He called on Israel to abide by its commitments and show a more positive spirit towards Syria and Lebanon. The best response to those who tried to assassinate peace was to establish peace as quickly as possible.

Statements Made

AHMED MOHAMED YOUSIF AL-DOSARI (Bahrain) said for peace in the Middle East, a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict was essential. A truncated peace was not sustainable. Reviewing the history of the peace process, he added that optimism was in the offing and had to prevail. He decried the continuing Israeli practice of settlements in order to change the demography of the area. It was unfortunate that no progress had been made on the Syrian track of the peace process, he continued. Bahrain reaffirmed its support for the position of Syria. It stressed the importance of maintaining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon and called on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon. Furthermore, it called on Israel to join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as that would be a step on the road to confidence-building.

GAD YAACOBI (Israel) said that despite the pain of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the people of Israel and the Government of Prime Minister Peres were determined to push forward to achieve a comprehensive regional peace. "We will not allow terrorists from any quarter to stop the peace process. This is our commitment."

He went on to reiterate the invitation made less than two months ago from the same podium by the then Foreign Minister Peres, who had asked that the Syrians and Lebanese stop hesitating and understand that through negotiations peace could be achieved. Syria and Lebanon needed peace as much as Israel and the rest of the Middle East. Peace would allow all to invest in people instead of weapons, in security instead of war and in development instead of confrontation. Negotiations between the parties had led to peace with Egypt and Jordan as well as agreements with the PLO. If Syria followed that course, he said, peace would be achieved.

Israel supported the draft resolution proposed by Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States, but it would continue to oppose attempts to bring issues into the General Assembly that should be discussed bilaterally between the parties, he said.

Peace would lead to regional cooperation, he stated. Two regional economic summits had already been held with broad participation. Such efforts to promote regional cooperation could lead to a Middle Eastern common market; the establishment of a network of energy, communications and transport infrastructure; and the promotion of tourism.

The United Nations did have an important role to play in fostering bilateral agreements and in promoting multilateral projects, he went on. Israel, which had cooperated with United Nations development projects in the West Bank and Gaza, encouraged their continuation. In recent years, the resolutions adopted on the situation in the Middle East had improved, but some still ran contrary to the new reality of the region. Such anachronistic resolutions should be removed from the Assembly's agenda. "The time has come to refrain from the rhetoric of years gone by."

SALEH AL-AMEIRE (United Arab Emirates) said the drafts being proposed kept pace with developments in the region. Some four years had passed since the peace process had begun in Madrid. The United Arab Emirates welcomed the recent agreements reached with Jordan and the PLO. An overall settlement of the Middle East question would require Israel to withdraw from the territories it occupied in the Syrian Golan and in southern Lebanon. All measures which aimed to alter the religious or demographic characteristics of the occupied territories, especially Jerusalem, ran counter to international law and were thus null and void.

He went on to call on Israel to become a party to the NPT and to comply with its commitments under international law so that peace, tolerance and development could prevail in the region.

AHMED AL-AKWAA (Yemen) said his country fully supported the success achieved in the peace process so far. It was critical that similar progress be achieved with respect to the Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese tracks. Israel's occupation of the Syrian Golan was a flagrant violation of the relevant international conventions and of Security Council resolutions on the matter. Israel's declaration that Jerusalem was its eternal capital conflicted with the decisions of the Security Council. It was necessary to address the problem, and the international community must shoulder its responsibility in that regard. Member States must not transfer their embassies to Jerusalem until a final agreement on the city's status was reached.

RAZALI ISMAIL (Malaysia) said he was happy to note that the Syrian-Israeli peace track had shown some progress, and he hoped that progress would lead to withdrawal of the Israeli forces from the occupied Syrian Golan. He remained concerned over the various acts of violence and hostilities perpetrated in southern Lebanon which had led to casualties among civilians; peace there could only endure by the return of the effective authority of the Lebanese Government in the area where the Israeli forces remained in Lebanon.

He agreed that the attainment of political, economic and social justice by the Palestinian people was essential to the achievement of a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. And a solution to the Middle East situation must also encompass the resolution of the status of the Holy City of Al-Sharif Al-Quds. There was also a need for effective, collective and forthcoming international assistance. As in the past, Malaysia would support any process that would advance and realize the achievement of a solution to the Middle East conflict.

AHMED HALLAK (Syria) said his country had long been working to achieve a just peace in the region which would restore land and rights. When the United States had presented its plan to Syria, it had been understood that not one inch of Syria's land occupied by Israel would be ceded. On that basis, Syria had participated in the Madrid conference. It had proposed the principle of land for peace -- complete peace for complete withdrawal. But Israel had used the negotiations to delay peace. Israel must understand that Syria's desire for peace could not mean letting go of one inch of its land. Israel, dreaming to extend its authority, wanted agreements that did not secure the right to self- determination. The agreements reached were only temporary truces. Anyone versed in history knew that all unbalanced and unequal treaties were destined to die.

He said that economic development could not take place until a comprehensive and lasting peace was established on all fronts, including settlement of the question of Jerusalem securing it as it had been -- Arab -- and Israel's withdrawal from all occupied territories. The core of the conflict was occupation, expansion and hegemony. Syria had no conditions on the peace process except for the adherence to international resolutions and the withdrawal of Israel from occupied lands. The time had come for the refugees displaced by Israel to return and to be compensated for the losses they had incurred.

All weapons of mass destruction must be removed from the region, he said. Disarmament must cover all countries of the region without exception and must be carried out under United Nations supervision. Syria had signed the NPT and other arms-control treaties, and it supported the initiative to make the Middle East a nuclear-weapon-free zone. Meanwhile Israel, the only State in the region to possess nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, had refused to accede to the NPT. Total nuclear disarmament was critical to security.

"We are with the peace process, but we can never engage in anything that we do not believe in", he said. Syria could not bargain away its rights. Syria's just cause was supported by the international community. Peace was the choice of Syria, but peace could not be based on a unilateral position. The other party must give due attention to Syria's constructive proposals. Syria could not accept anything less than full withdrawal from the Syrian Golan because it aspired to achieve a peace which would respect the rights of all. "Full withdrawal from the Syrian Golan is the key to the totality of the peace process." It was hoped that the draft on the Syrian Golan would enjoy the widest possible support.

ETIENNE ATEBA (Cameroon) exhorted the Israelis and Palestinians to respect the schedule for the execution of their agreement, in part as a way of undermining the efforts of extremists on all sides. The international community must give Palestine support and assistance as well as support the action of the United Nations special coordinator in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Cameroon also encouraged Governments of Israeli and Syrian to enter into negotiations as soon as possible to resolve the question of the Syrian Golan. And to resolve the question of southern Lebanon, Israel and Lebanon should enter into negotiations.

HASAN ABU-NIMAH (Jordan) said peace in the Middle East would provide the solid base for movement into new vistas of stability, security and co-existence among all the countries of the region. Jordan's treaty of 26 October 1994 with Israel had set the principles on future relations and cooperation in various spheres between the two countries.

He said efforts ought to be intensified to settle the question of refugees and displaced persons, Arab Jerusalem, settlements, sovereignty and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. Comprehensive peace required progress on both the Syrian-Israeli and Lebanese-Israeli tracks.

Any accord on Jerusalem should not ignore the fact that there was an overall international consensus that East Jerusalem was an organic part of the West Bank which was occupied in 1967, he said. Therefore, the recent decision by the American Congress to move the United States Embassy to Jerusalem would have a serious negative impact on negotiations. It would constitute an advance ruling on the status of the Holy City. Jordan condemned the decision and called upon the United States Administration to adhere to its declared position which was opposite to the Congress's decision on the matter.

ISSLAMET POERNOMO (Indonesia) said another series of breakthroughs were needed on the other aspects of the Middle East question which had so long frustrated and paralysed the peace process. Hopes generated by the milestones achieved on the Palestinian-Israeli tracks had not yet materialized. Progress on the Israeli-Syrian track and the Israeli-Lebanese track had not been achieved.

He said it was of concern that despite laudable efforts of the Government of Syria, progress towards ending the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights had been lacking. Israel's periodic raids against Lebanon were regrettable. The United Nations remained crucial in the resolution of the conflict, and Indonesia called on the Organization to augment its role both politically ad economically in the peace process.

GAFFAR M. ALLAGANY (Saudi Arabia) said the peace process in the Middle East would not be complete until progress was made on the Israeli-Lebanese and the Israeli-Syrian tracks. The principle of land for peace still awaited the definition of the term "land". Also, the difference between withdrawal and redeployment had to be clarified.

Referring to the deferment of the question of Jerusalem to a later date, he said the Israeli authorities had introduced demographic and other changes in the Holy City and that would impact on the negotiations on the city.

Saudi Arabia supported the achievement of full control of the Golan by Syria, he said. The fact that one of the countries in the region owned nuclear weapons threatened the security of the entire region. Therefore, it was hoped that Israel would accede to the NPT.

HUSEYIN E. CELEM (Turkey) said he hoped the legacy of Israel's Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin would help nurture the peace process. All acts aiming at undermining the peace process, particularly acts of terrorism and violence should be combated. After the shocking loss of Yitzak Rabin, some hoped that the peace efforts would stumble. "Today, we should all stand firm here to say: your hopes are in vain", he said. For peace lovers there was no time for idleness or anguish. Therefore, the decision of the Government of Israel to withdraw troops from Jenin was to be welcomed. Also, the transfer of responsibilities in Tulkarm had already begun.

The success in the peace process so far should be translated into better living conditions for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, he said. Turkey had donated $2 million in 1994 to the Palestinian Authority and had pledged to allocate $50 million worth of soft loans to the Palestinian Authority through the Turkish Eximbank. Now was the time for the international community to expect positive developments on the Israeli-Syrian and the Israeli-Lebanese tracks of the peace process. In that regard Turkey praised the continuing efforts of third parties. It believed that it was important to maintain the territorial integrity of Lebanon, and the Taif Agreements must be fully implemented to that end.

Action on Fifth Committee Report

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the resolution contained in the Fifth Committee report on financing UNDOF.

Speaking in explanation of position on that action, Mr. HALLAK (Syria) said that if the resolution contained in the report of the Fifth Committee had been put to a vote, Syria would have voted against it, in keeping with its long- standing position that the financing of the Force should be shouldered by Israel because that country's aggressive practices had prompted its establishment.


* *** *

______________________________________________________________________
For information media - not an official record