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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
5 May 2009

General Assembly

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New YorK

Background release

(Received from a UN Information Officer.)

NICOSIA, Cyprus, 4 May -- The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, with the agreement of the Government of Cyprus, will convene the United Nations International Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace on 6 and 7 May at the Hilton Park Hotel in Nicosia.  Mandated by the United Nations General Assembly, the theme of the Meeting is “Action by European, Arab and other parliamentarians and their umbrella organizations for Israeli-Palestinian peace”.

The objective of the Meeting is to emphasize the important role played by national parliaments and inter-parliamentary organizations in shaping public opinion, formulating policy guidelines and upholding international legitimacy in support of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine.  It will discuss ways in which lawmakers and their organizations can be instrumental in helping the parties resume and strengthen the political dialogue and in promoting and applying the principles of international law to efforts aimed at resolving the conflict.  Participants will assess the current situation on the ground and modalities for peace, discuss prospects of mobilizing parliamentary action in support of Israeli-Palestinian peace, and encourage coordination of the efforts undertaken by parliamentarians and their national, regional and international organizations.

Invited to the Meeting are representatives of United Nations Member States and observers, other intergovernmental organizations, United Nations system entities, members of the academic community, representatives of civil society organizations, as well as the media.  The various topics on the programme will be addressed by expert speakers, mainly parliamentarians, including Israeli and Palestinian legislations. 

The opening session will take place on Wednesday, 6 May, at 10 a.m. in the “Ledra B” conference room of the Hilton Park Hotel.  The Meeting will be opened by George Iacovou, Presidential Commissioner, representing the President of Cyprus.  Also speaking at the opening session will be Marios Garoyian, President of the House of Representatives; Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, Assistant Secretary-General and Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General at the Meeting who will deliver a message from the Secretary-General; Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, who will address the session on behalf of the Committee; Elissavet Papadimitriou, Vice-President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union; and Abdullah Abdullah, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, who will represent Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.  This will be followed by a segment in which representatives of Governments, intergovernmental organizations, inter-parliamentary organizations and United Nations system entities will be invited to make statements.

The opening session will be followed by three plenary sessions beginning in the afternoon on 6 May, which will address a variety of issues.  Each plenary will have a discussion period. 

Plenary I, entitled “Assessment of the current situation and the prospects for peace”, will begin at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 6 May.  Panellists and participants will discuss the sub-themes of the session:  “Prospects for the resumption of a genuine peace process in the wake of the military assault on Gaza”, and “The role of parliamentarians in the new political landscape”.  Speakers in this session will include:  Ziad Abu Amr, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council; Mostafa El-Feki, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Egyptian People’s Assembly; Takis Hadzigeorgiou, Member of the House of Representatives of Cyprus and former member of the Middle East Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union; Mohammad Barakeh, Member of the Knesset and Secretary-General of the Hadash Party in Israel; Dennis Kucinich (video message), Member of the United States House of Representatives; and Clare Short, Member of the United Kingdom Parliament. 

Plenary II, entitled “Looking ahead:  Identifying the most efficient ways in which parliamentarians can make a difference in advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace”, will start at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 7 May.  This session will focus on the sub-themes “The role of parliamentarians in raising awareness about the situation on the ground and in the political process”, “Networking:  How parliamentarians can keep the channels of communication open among themselves”, and “Comparative advantages:  areas in which parliamentarians can make a difference”.  Addressing this session will be:  Abdul Hadi Majali, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Jordan and President of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly; Louis Galea, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Malta; Qais Abdel-Karim Khadar, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council; Wolfgang Grünberg, Political Adviser, Deutscher Bundestag; Mossi Raz, Former Member of the Knesset; George Vella, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Middle East of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean; and Eleni Theocharous Kariolou, Member of the House of Representatives of Cyprus.

Plenary III, entitled “Coordination of efforts undertaken by parliamentarians to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace:  national, regional and other types of initiatives”, will take place at 3 p.m. on Thursday, 7 May.  The sub-themes are “Framework for action:  At the national level, through umbrella organizations, through regional organizations”, “Complementary roles of the legislative and executive branches”, and “Broadening the framework:  How parliamentarians can work with the United Nations and other entities”.  The panellists in this session include:  Abdullah Abdullah, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council; Michael Reinprecht, Head of Unit EuroMed at the European Parliament; Hector Amigo, Member of the Cuban National Assembly and President of the Commission for the Environment; Yariv Oppenheimer, General Director of “Peace Now”; and Stavros Zenios, Rector of the University of Cyprus. 

The closing session of the Meeting will take place from 5:30 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, 7 May. A press conference with the Chairman of the Committee and the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations will be held on 7 May at 1 p.m. in the meeting room.  Interested journalists will also have the opportunity to arrange individual interviews with members of the Committee’s delegation and participating speakers.

Participants, observers and the media are requested to register in advance with the United Nations Secretariat and obtain their badges.  Registration will take place in the area near the “Ledra B” conference room on the ground floor of the Hilton Park Hotel.  Registration will be open on Tuesday, 5 May, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  On 6 May, registration will start at 8:30 a.m.  The United Nations Secretariat is operating on the ground floor of the Hilton Park Hotel, in the “Curium” room, tel.:  357 22 695 514 (direct line) or 22 695 111 (hotel operator); fax:  357 22 695 51; e-mail:

The report of the Meeting will be issued, in due course, as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat.

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For information media • not an official record

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