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


Fifty-seventh General Assembly
Second Committee
34th & 35th Meetings (AM & PM)
GA/EF/3025
14 November 2002




SECOND COMMITTEE APPROVES TEXT ON PERMANENT SOVEREIGNTY OF PALESTINIAN,

ARAB SOVEREIGNTY OVER NATURAL RESOURCES IN OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

Draft Would Have General Assembly Reaffirm Inalienable
Rights in Recorded Vote of 124 in Favour, 4 Against, 2 Abstentions


The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) approved a draft resolution this afternoon by which the General Assembly would reaffirm the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the population of the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources, including land and water.

Also by that text, which was approved by a recorded vote of 124 in favour to 4 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, United States), with 2 abstentions (Cameroon, Papua New Guinea), the Assembly would call on Israel not to exploit, cause loss or depletion of or to endanger that natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.

By further terms, the Assembly would recognize the right of the Palestinian people to claim restitution arising from any exploitation, loss, depletion or damage to their natural resources, and express the hope that the issue would be dealt with in the framework of final status negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

The draft had previously been introduced by the representative of Venezuela, on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China.

Speaking in explanation of position before today's vote was the representative of Israel, while the representatives of Denmark (on behalf of the European Union and associated States) and Japan spoke in explanation of position after the vote.

The representatives of Syria and Sri Lanka, as well as the Observer for Palestine, made general statements after the action.

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Background

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to conclude consideration of environment and sustainable development.  It also heard introduction of a draft resolution on high-level international intergovernmental consideration of financing for development.

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Statements

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When the Second Committee met this afternoon, it took action on a draft resolution on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (document A/C.2/57/L.34).

General Statements Before Vote

The representative of Israel said the draft resolution contributed nothing to the objectives of peace in the Middle East.  It would neither advance the peace negotiations nor foster better relations between Israel and the Palestinians.  Israel was committed to peace and to the end of violence, but would vote against the biased and counterproductive draft resolution.

Action on Draft Resolution

The Committee then approved the text by a recorded vote of 124 in favour to 4 against (Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, United States) and 2 abstentions (Cameroon, Papua New Guinea).  (For details, see Annex.)

Explanations of Position After Vote

The representative of Denmark, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said she had voted in favour of the text, since the Union believed that the natural resources of any territory seized by force of arms should not be used inappropriately or illegally by the occupying Power.  She reaffirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to the occupied territories and also affirmed that any infringement of the rights of the Palestinian people with regard to that Convention was illegal.

However, she said, the issues referred to in the resolution were matters to be dealt with in the framework of the permanent status negotiations of the Middle East peace process.  The European Union remained committed, in close cooperation with its partners in the Quartet and in the Arab world, to assisting the parties in their efforts to find a final settlement to the Middle East conflict.  The resolution must not be considered as prejudicial to or pre-emptive of the outcome of those negotiations.  Any actions or statements which might be seen as doing so must be avoided.

The representative of Japan, noting that there were few signs of any improvement in the situation.  Japan was very concerned with the suffering of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.  He urged both sides to end the cycle of violence, calling upon Israel to show restraint in its use of force and upon the Palestinian Authority to end extremist acts.  Japan reasserted its support for the resolution, he added.

General Statements After Vote

The Observer for Palestine said the Palestinian Authority had repeatedly condemned suicide bombings in Israel, but a distinction must be drawn between those and violence taking place in Palestinian territory.  In the latter case, Palestinians had the right to resist occupation and any violent acts must not be confused with acts of terror.  President Arafat had condemned suicide bombings and Israel, in turn, should investigate killings and war crimes against the Palestinian people.

The representative of Syria said that the approval of the resolution had sent a clear message that the occupying Power should not exploit resources, and reaffirmed that the occupation was illegal, messages that Israel had continually ignored.  Settlement of the conflict in the Middle East would not take place in a violent climate.  The history of Israel was replete with acts that went beyond anything seen before.

The representative of Israel said the most useful thing the Palestinian leadership could do would be to end its regime of violence and terrorism and resume peace talks.

The representative of Sri Lanka said his delegation would have voted in support of the resolution if it had been present.

The Committee then resumed its discussion on environment and sustainable development.

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ANNEX

Vote on Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources

The draft resolution on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian and in the occupied Palestinian territory and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (document A/C.2/57/L.34) was approved by a recorded vote of 124 in favour to 4 against, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Comoros, Congo, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany. Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Against: Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, United States.

Abstaining: Cameroon, Papua New Guinea.

Absent: Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Jamaica, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nauru, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Palau, Panama, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam.


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For information media - not an official record