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        General Assembly
28 November 1995


General Assembly
Foftieth session
Official Records

Third Committee
Summary record of the 18th meeting
Held on Thursday, 2 November 1995, at 3 p.m.






The meeting was called to order at 3.15 p.m.


Draft resolution A/C.3/50/L.8

45. The CHAIRMAN drew the attention of the Committee to draft resolution A/C.3/50/L.8 entitled "The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination", and said it would have no financial implications for the programme budget.

46. Ms. NEWELL (Secretary of the Committee) read out two revisions to the draft resolution. In the third preambular paragraph, "the Government of the State of Israel" should be replaced by "the Government of Israel", and in operative paragraph 2, the word "may" should be replaced by "could".

47. Mr. AL-MUTAIRI (Kuwait) and Mr. SALEH (Bahrain) announced that they wished to become sponsors of the draft resolution.

48. The CHAIRMAN announced that Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho and Mozambique had also become sponsors of the draft resolution.

49. Mr. YAACOBI (Israel), speaking in explanation of vote before the voting, said that, despite the title of the draft resolution under consideration, what was at issue was not self-determination but the commitment to the agreements signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the essential principles underlying the peace process. Israel had long advocated the principle of direct negotiations without preconditions as the framework to advance peace in the Middle East. That principle had formed the basis of the peace process begun in Madrid and had made it possible to initiate the ongoing bilateral negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbours, sign the Declaration of Principles on 13 September 1993 and subsequent agreements between Israel and the PLO, and sign the agreements culminating in the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan.

50. In his letter of 9 September 1993 to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat had said that the PLO was committed to the Middle East peace process and to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides, asserting moreover that all outstanding questions relating to permanent status would be resolved through negotiations. Although that commitment had been upheld in subsequent agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the draft resolution which the Committee had before it was intended to predetermine the outcome of the talks on permanent status and therefore contradicted the obligations undertaken by the PLO in the Declaration of Principles. For that reason, Israel would vote against the draft resolution and urged all Member States which supported the peace process to do the same. Nevertheless, Israel remained committed to the peace process and would spare no effort to bring it to a successful conclusion. Israel called on all parties in the negotiations to do the same.

51. Mr. BIØRN LIAN (Norway), speaking in explanation of vote before the voting, said that, notwithstanding his Government’s support of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, it should not be forgotten that the question of the permanent status of the Palestinian territories was the subject of negotiations between the PLO and Israel according to the Declaration of Principles of 13 September 1993. The agreement in the Declaration was based on mutual recognition and cooperation between the two parties. Norway considered that the Committee should be careful not to intervene in a decision which was for the two parties themselves to make. Norway would therefore abstain in the vote.

52. A recorded vote was taken.
53. Draft resolution A/C.3/50/L.8, as orally revised, was adopted by 134 votes to 2, with 14 abstentions.

54. Mr. PARSHIKOV (Russian Federation), speaking in explanation of vote after the voting, said that the realization of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people was the subject of negotiations between the parties concerned and that the Russian Federation was one of the sponsors of that negotiating process. That process had already achieved some positive results. His delegation did not believe it was helpful for the General Assembly to adopt resolutions which amounted to taking the side of one of the parties in that process, and had therefore abstained in the vote.

55. Mr. ARDA (Turkey) stressed the importance that Turkey attached to the right of all States in the region, including Israel, to live in peace within secure internationally recognized borders in accordance with the relevant resolutions adopted by the Security Council. His country’s vote in favour of the draft resolution reflected its commitment to promote all measures which might lead to complete reconciliation in the region.

56. Mr. REZVANI (Islamic Republic of Iran) said that, in the judgement of his delegation, the agreements concluded recently would not lead to the full restoration of the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights. He said that, despite having voted in favour of the draft resolution and while bearing in mind the position it had taken on the matter, the Islamic Republic of Iran wished to put on record its reservations about the final preambular paragraph and operative paragraph 2.

57. Mr. GARCÍA MORITÁN (Argentina) said that Argentina had abstained in the vote because it did not wish to be party to a decision which might directly or indirectly upset or harm the process of peace negotiations between the parties or influence it in any way.

58. Mr. KEENE (United States of America) said that the United States was committed to the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Significant progress had been made towards reaching that goal, such as the historic Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip which had been signed a few weeks earlier in Washington, D.C. The signing of the Interim Agreement and its implementation were clear signs that the process embarked upon by Palestinians and Israelis was creating a new relationship between the two parties which was directed towards making peace. The international community should do all in its power to support that process, including supporting the Palestinians as they sought to build new institutions and a better life for themselves.

59. The parties to those negotiations had agreed that permanent status issues should be covered at a later stage of the political process and they had recognized that some issues were so complex and sensitive that an interim period was needed before dealing with them. The United States had voted against the draft resolution because it did not think the United Nations should take a position on an issue supported by only one of the parties to the negotiations. The international community should promote and support the agreements reached by the parties and not interfere in the process by taking positions which could be seen as an attempt to prejudge those agreements.

60. Mrs. HORIUCHI (Japan) said that, despite voting in favour, Japan believed the adoption of the draft resolution did not advance the peace process in the Middle East, as operative paragraph 3 urged the international community to support only one of the parties to that process. Japan believed that it fell to the parties concerned to resolve the question of permanent status by means of negotiations.

61. Mr. HAMIDA (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) said that his delegation’s vote in favour reflected his country’s total support for the Palestinian people and its right to self-determination. However, his delegation wished to put on record that its vote in no way implied recognition of the so-called State of Israel. It also wished to express its reservations about the reference in the resolution to the peace process, as a just and lasting peace leading to the solution of the problems of the Palestinian people could not be achieved until all Palestinians had returned to their native soil, all their property had been returned to them, and a democratic State had been created throughout the length and breadth of the Palestinian territories, issues on which there was still disagreement between Arabs and Jews.

62. Mrs. BARGHOUTI (Observer for Palestine) said that the adoption of the resolution by such an overwhelming majority of votes reflected the concern of the international community for the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. She urged those countries which had abstained to give further consideration to the issue when the General Assembly completed the voting on the draft resolution. In her opinion, the negative vote of the United States and Israel could be interpreted only as a denial of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. It was time for the Palestinian people to enjoy all its rights on an equal footing with other peoples.

63. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee recommended that the General Assembly should take note of the Secretary-General’s report on the right of peoples to self-determination (A/50/485) and that the Third Committee had completed its consideration of agenda item 104.
The meeting rose at 5.10 p.m.

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