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


GA/9203
13 December 1996

GENERAL ASSEMBLY COMMENDS OAU EFFORTS
TO RESOLVE CONFLICTS IN AFRICA

Texts on Mine Clearance, Special Economic Assistance, Cooperation Between
UN and International Organization for Migration Also Adopted

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Also this afternoon, the Assembly called on States, the donor community, and international organizations to provide assistance to five specific States or regions, as follows:

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-- Economic and social assistance for the Palestinian people was called for to assist with the development of the West Bank and Gaza, and the dispersement of assistance already pledged was urged.

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Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this afternoon to consider several items, including cooperation between the United Nations and the International Organization for Migration, assistance in mine clearance, the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and its implication for international peace and security, and election of the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

In addition, it was scheduled to take action on reports of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) relating to the financing of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), and the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM).

Other matters scheduled to be taken up included the following: action on draft resolutions related to special economic assistance to the Comoros, Somalia, Rwanda, Congo, as well as to assistance to the Palestinian people; a draft relating to cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU); and recommendations of the Fifth Committee on the financing of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES), and the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP). (For background information on those items, see Press Release GA/9199 of 12 December.)

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Action

NIALL HOLOHAN (Ireland), speaking on behalf of the European Union, introduced the draft resolution on assistance to the Palestinian people. China and the Czech Republic also wished to co-sponsor the draft.

By the terms of that draft, the Assembly would urge States and organizations to extend economic and social assistance to the Palestinian people in order to assist in the development of the West Bank and Gaza, and to do so in close cooperation with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and through official Palestinian institutions. Also, organizations and agencies would be called upon to intensify their assistance in response to the urgent needs of the Palestinian people in accordance with the Palestinian priorities set forth by the Palestinian Authority, with emphasis on national execution and capacity-building.

Member States would be urged to open their markets to exports from the West Bank and Gaza and on the most favourable terms, consistent with appropriate trading rules. The international donor community would be called upon to expedite the delivery of pledged assistance to the Palestinian people to meet their urgent needs. The Assembly would stress the importance of the work done by the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories and of the steps taken under the auspices of the Secretary-General to ensure the achievement of a coordinated mechanism for United Nations activities throughout the occupied territories.

In addition, the Assembly would suggest the convening in 1997 of a United Nations-sponsored seminar on the Palestinian economy. The Secretary-General would be requested to submit a report to the Assembly's next session, through the Economic and Social Council, with assessments of the assistance actually received by the Palestinian people, as well as an assessment of the needs still not met and specific proposals for responding effectively to them.

The draft is sponsored by Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Speaking before action, DAVID PELEG (Israel) said that he wished to share his outrage at the murder of an Israeli woman and her twelve-year-old son and the wounding of five members of her family by Palestinian terrorists of the Popular Front. He called on the Assembly to condemn the murder and to extradite the murderers to Israel. Israel fully supported technical and financial assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. It had made a genuine effort to reach a consensus on the draft. Development could be reached only through consensus, and Israel hoped there would be more consensus resolutions relating to the Middle East.

The representatives of Qatar and France expressed the wish to be additional co-sponsors to the draft resolution on special emergency economic assistance to the Comoros.

The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution on special assistance to the Comoros without a vote.

The draft resolution on assistance for humanitarian relief and the economic and social rehabilitation of Somalia was adopted without a vote.

The draft resolution on international assistance to Rwanda for the reintegration of returning refugees, the restoration of total peace, reconstruction and socio-economic development, was also adopted without a vote.

The draft decision on special assistance to the front-line States and neighbouring States was also adopted without a vote. The draft resolution on assistance to the Palestinian people was also adopted without a vote.

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