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Source: International Telecommunications Union
27 March 1998



WORLD TELECOMMUNICATION DEVELOPMENT
CONFERENCE (WTDC-98)
          Document 126-E
          27 March 1998
          Original: French
Valletta, Malta, 23 March - 1 April 1998
          For information

Agenda item: 3.1
          PLENARY MEETING


Tunisia

SUPPORT FOR THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY


It is widely recognized that, in its main areas of activity, the International Telecommunication Union's overall strategy for the developing and new countries consists in strengthening and delivering assistance for integrated socio-economic and cultural development.

The Palestinian Authority has the task, in the territories for which it is responsible, of putting in place the infrastructure for harmonious economic and social development, including telecommunication networks and services.

Resolution 32 of the Plenipotentiary Conference (Kyoto, 1994) clearly stated that it was necessary and urgent to grant Palestine assistance in information, informatics and communication.

Despite the combined efforts of ITU-D and UNESCO, the establishment of a telecommunication network has not produced the expected results and has not met the aspirations of the Palestinian population in respect of telecommunication services.

Technical and financial assistance is still clearly a central concern for the implementation of BDT projects to improve and develop the Palestinian telecommunication network and services and to develop the skills that are needed to operate and maintain these networks and services.

Accordingly, the attention of the organizations of the United Nations system should be drawn to the need for an urgent and priority study of ways of providing assistance to the Palestinian Authority to improve and develop the telecommunication networks and services. It is also clear that the accession of the Palestinian Authority to membership in the International Telecommunication Union, which is likely to facilitate the implementation of ITU-D programmes in Palestine, would enable the Palestinian Authority to carry out a structured development programme based on various sources of financing.

Consequently, the accession of the Palestinian Authority to ITU membership should be decided upon rapidly, having regard to favourable precedents in the case of new countries and certain territorial entities.

Lastly, a rapid and harmonious development of telecommunication networks and services in Palestine cannot take place unless the Palestinian Authority is in a position to benefit from the resources of the telecommunication sector.

From this point of view, it is unusual, to say the least, that at a time when an international country code is specifically allocated to telecommunication network operators, a network serving the Palestinian population should not have one.

Furthermore, at a time when radio frequency spectrum resources are assigned on a non-national basis, it would be usual, to say the least, for the Palestinian Authority to have the right to assign radio frequencies within the territories for which it is responsible.

It is evident that not obtaining an international country code and the inability to make use of the frequency spectrum are obstacles at least as serious for the development of Palestinian telecommunication networks and services as the lack of financial resources, to the extent that they increase operating costs and therefore lower the efficiency of the networks.

In view of the foregoing, it is strongly recommended that ITU give all appropriate importance and urgency to the following questions:

– the accession of Palestine to ITU membership;

– the allocation to the Palestinian network of an international country code;

– recognition of the Palestinian Authority's right to manage and control the radio-frequency spectrum.

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