By other terms of the text, the Assembly would express its full support for the ongoing peace process and the Declaration of Principles of Interim Self-Government, as well as subsequent implementation agreements, and call for their timely and scrupulous implementation. It would emphasize the importance of a more active and expanded United Nations role in the peace process and in the implementation of the Declaration, including the monitoring of the forthcoming Palestinian elections.
In addition to the text on a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, the Committee approved draft resolutions on its programme of work, the Division for Palestinian Rights, and the Department of Public Information (DPI), all without a vote.
By the terms of one text, the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to ensure the continued cooperation of DPI and other Secretariat units to enable the Division for Palestinian Rights to perform its tasks. It would also ask Member States to observe 29 November annually as the International Day of solidarity with the Palestinian people and to give it the widest possible publicity. It would ask the Committee to continue organizing, as part of the Day, an annual exhibit on Palestinian rights in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine.
Another text would have the Assembly reaffirm the United Nations permanent responsibility on the Palestine question until it was resolved. It would ask the Committee to keep the situation under review, report to the Security Council as necessary and cooperate with non-governmental organizations to heighten international awareness of the facts on the Palestine question. The Assembly would authorize the Committee to continue promoting the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and the mobilization of support and assistance for them.
The Assembly would also ask the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine and other United Nations bodies associated with the question to continue cooperating fully with the Committee and to make available relevant information and documentation.
By the terms of a draft text on the DPI, the Assembly would ask the Department to continue its special information programme on the question of Palestine for the biennium 1996-1997, with particular emphasis on public opinion in Europe and North America. The Department would be asked to continue issuing and updating its publications, including materials on recent peace developments, and to expand the production of its audiovisual material.
The DPI would be asked to organize fact-finding news missions for journalists to the area, including the territories under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority and the occupied territories, and to organize international, regional and national encounters for journalists. It would also be asked to assist the Palestinian people in the field of media development, in cooperation with the specialized agencies, particularly the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Addressing the work of the Division for Palestinian Rights, the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to continue providing the Division with the necessary resources, including the further development of the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine, and to ensure that it continued discharging its tasks. The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to ensure DPI's continued cooperation in enabling the Division to perform its tasks and in covering adequately the various aspects of the question of Palestine.
The Committee will meet again at a date to be announced in the Journal.
The Acting Chairman of the Committee, RAVAN FARHADI (Afghanistan), introduced the draft resolutions and said they had been considered and approved by the Committee's Bureau. The texts had been updated since last year to take into account the most recent agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The Permanent Observer for Palestine, NASSER AL-KIDWA, said the draft resolutions were balanced and met the proper criteria that had been adopted as guidelines by the Committee. According to those criteria, the drafts should reaffirm positions of principle based on United Nations resolutions and international law, and they should extend the necessary support to the Middle East peace process, and reflect the actual realities on the ground.
He expressed the hope that the draft resolutions would receive support from all Committee members and the overwhelming majority of United Nations Member States. During the past few years, since the beginning of the peace process, he said several changes had been made to the texts to be adopted by the General Assembly. Yet, there had been no change in the position of Israel with regard to the work of the Committee and the draft resolutions. He hoped that positive changes would occur in Israel's position in the future.
He said there had been discussion and consultations with the President and members of the European Union to have some members join the Committee on Palestinian Rights, and he was hopeful that an agreement could be concluded by the General Assembly's fifty-first session with the full support of the Committee. Regarding the draft on the peaceful settlement of the Palestinian question, he said it had been updated by mentioning the new Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza, which was signed by the parties on 28 September 1995 in Washington D.C.
Mr. FARHADI, the Acting Chairman of the Committee, said the draft on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine should receive the full support of the Committee and the General Assembly. He invited Committee members to become co-sponsors of the draft resolutions. Speaking as representative of Afghanistan, he said his Government had co-sponsored all four draft resolutions and hoped other members would do the same.
Mr. AL-KIDWA, the Permanent Observer for Palestine, referred to discussion in the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) which concerned the draft resolution on the Division on Palestinian Rights. There was a proposal by the Secretariat to redeploy two posts from the Division to other sections of the Department of Political Affairs, he said, and his delegation opposed the proposal. He recalled that a similar effort had taken place last year when the "Group of 77" developing countries had adopted a common position in opposition to the proposal. He expected the Fifth Committee to retain the Division's present structure without a redeployment of posts. The establishment of the Division and its present structure had taken place through a political decision of the General Assembly and the present situation should continue without any change until a political decision was taken otherwise.
Mr. FARHADI, the Acting Chairman of the Committee, invited Committee members to reaffirm the need to retain the present structure of the Division for Palestinian Rights.