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UNITED
NATIONS
A S

        General Assembly
        Security Council
A/43/691
S/20219

30 September 1988

GENERAL ASSEMBLY SECURITY COUNCIL
Forty-third session Forty-third year
Agenda items 37 and 40
QUESTION OF PALESTINE
THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Report of the Secretary-General


1. The present report is submitted in accordance with General Assembly resolution 42/209 A of 11 December 1987 on the question of convening an international peace conference on the Middle East. The operative part of the resolution reads as follows:

"The General Assembly,

"...

2. On 2 September 1988, the Secretary-General, in pursuance of the request contained in paragraph 3 of the above resolution, addressed the following note verbale to the President of the Security Council:

3. On 21 September 1988, the President of the Security Council sent the following reply:

4. On 2 September 1988, the Secretary-General addressed a note verbale to the Permanent Representatives of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic, and to the Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The note drew attention to the report requested of the Secretary-General in General Assembly resolution 42/209 A, and asked for an up-to-date statement concerning their respective positions on the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. Their replies are reproduced below:

Egypt

Israel

Jordan

Lebanon

Syrian Arab Republic

Palestine Liberation Organization

Observations

5. It will be evident from the above statements of the positions held by the members of the Security Council and the parties directly involved in the conflict that the Secretary-General is again obliged to report to the General Assembly that the necessary agreement does not exist for the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. It is true that all the members of the Security Council believe that it is desirable to convene an international conference and it is at least possible to identify in the replies of the parties agreement that there should be an international framework for the negotiation of a just and lasting settlement. But the familiar and deep differences remain about the nature of that framework, about its powers, about the basis on which it would be convened, and about who should take part in it. It is thus clear that much further work will have to be done and positions will have to change if an international negotiating process acceptable to all is to be established. Meanwhile, all the members of the Security Council wish the Secretary-General to pursue his efforts and consultations for the convening of an international conference.

6. The present state of affairs is one that causes me grave concern. The violence and suffering in the occupied territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip continue unabated and underline the need for progress on the diplomatic front. The continuing occupation of those territories is not acceptable to their inhabitants and will not become so. It is necessary therefore to find a political solution which will satisfy both the legitimate political rights of the Palestinian people and the right of Israel, like other States in the area, to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.

7. Recent months have seen tangible progress towards the settlement of many of the major conflicts which beset the world. They are not solved yet but promise is to be found in the fact that the parties to these conflicts have come to the conclusion that the issues cannot be resolved by war and that negotiated settlements must be sought. These beneficent winds of change have not yet reached the Arab-Israel conflict, which remains one of the most tragic and threatening in the world. There is thus an urgent need to establish a process acceptable to all for the negotiation of a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement. I shall continue to work for that end.

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