Question of Palestine home
16 November 1998
Summary record of the 39th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Monday, 16 November 1998, at 10 a.m.
: Mr. Asadi ........................................(Islamic Republic of Iran)
Agenda item 12: Report of the Economic and Social Council (
Agenda item 93: Sustainable development and international economic cooperation
(e) Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the 1990s (
Agenda item 96: Training and research
(a) United Nations University (
Agenda item 97: 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 (
The meeting was called to order at 10.20 a.m.
Agenda item 97: 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
(Turkey), Vice-Chairman, introduced the draft resolution on the 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 (A/C.2/53/L.22). He announced that Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Morocco and Tunisia had become sponsors. During the informal consultations held on the draft resolution, one delegation had requested that a vote should be taken on it.
asked the Committee if it wished to put draft resolution A/C.2/53/L.22 to a vote.
(Morocco), speaking on a point of order, said that he wondered whether the Chairman was empowered to ask the Second Committee to put a draft resolution to a vote, or whether it should not rather be for a delegation to do so.
(United States of America) said that his delegation, during informal consultations, had asked that the draft resolution should be put to a vote.
said that it was indeed on the basis of the results of informal consultations that he was asking the Committee if it wished to put draft resolution A/C.2/53/L.22 to a vote.
It was so decided
(Bahrain) said that their delegations had become sponsors of draft resolution A/C.2/53/L.22.
(Israel) said that in its statement of 28 October 1998 on the item, his delegation had expressed the hope that the international community would support Israel's endeavours for peace in the Middle East. Evidently, those expectations had been too high. Inasmuch as the issue of control over natural resources was covered in the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement of 28 September 1995, the draft resolution under consideration was superfluous. Any discussion of the matter could not ignore the mutual commitments specified in that Agreement, with full respect for its provisions. Israel and the Palestinian Authority had agreed to resolve outstanding issues through direct negotiations, and progress had recently been made with the signing of the Wye River Memorandum. It was therefore regrettable that the Committee should be discussing draft resolution A/C.2/53/L.22. Israel would vote against the draft resolution and urged delegations that supported the peace process to do the same.
(United States of America) said that his country was firmly opposed to the draft resolution under consideration, for it presented two insurmountable problems. Firstly, it involved the General Assembly in the direct negotiations between the parties to resolve their differences, thereby predetermining the outcome of the talks. For the same reason, the use of the term "sovereignty" prejudged the outcome of the negotiations. That was all the more inappropriate in the light of the signing of the Wye River Memorandum, which had injected new movement into the peace process. Secondly, his Government continued to oppose all references to "the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem". Such references had no effect whatsoever on issues of sovereignty and prejudged the permanent political arrangements that could be determined only by the direct negotiations to which the parties had committed themselves. For those reasons, his delegation would vote against the draft resolution.
(Syrian Arab Republic) said that draft resolution A/C.2/53/L.22 condemned the Israeli policy of pillaging natural resources and confiscating land in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and in the Syrian Golan. The General Assembly was, indeed, directly concerned in the peace process, which was based on Security Council resolutions
and on the principle of land for peace. Any subsequent agreement should respect the provisions of international law and the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly. The Second Committee was directly concerned in the draft resolution under consideration since the Israeli occupying Power was acting in a spirit which was directly contrary to the principles of development and the dignity of the human being which the Committee defended.
A recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.2/53/L.22
Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen.
Israel, United States of America.
Bahamas, El Salvador, Georgia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Panama, Paraguay, Swaziland.
Draft resolution A/C.2/53/L.22 was adopted by 116 votes to 2, with 8 abstentions
(Austria), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the members of the European Union had voted in favour of draft resolution A/C.2/53/L.22 because they believed that the natural resources of a territory seized by force of arms should not be used inappropriately or illegally by the occupying Power. The European Union reaffirmed that the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 was applicable to the occupied territories and that any infringement of the rights of the Palestinian people under that Convention was illegal. However, the issues referred to in the draft resolution were matters to be dealt with in the negotiations in the ongoing peace process. The draft resolution which had just been adopted should therefore not be considered in any way as prejudicial to the outcome of those negotiations. Any action or statement which might be seen as doing so must be avoided.
(Japan) said that his country was following the peace process with great interest and was endeavouring to assist the parties involved. It had provided aid to Palestine and would continue that policy. His delegation had voted in favour of draft resolution A/C.2/53/L.22 and wished to emphasize that it agreed with the wording of paragraph 4, in which the General Assembly expressed the hope that the issue would be dealt with in the framework of the final status negotiation between the Palestinian and Israeli sides. It also wished to reaffirm that the draft resolution which had just been adopted in no way prejudged the ongoing negotiations. However, his delegation believed that the Second Committee, which was more specifically responsible for economic development and cooperation, was not the appropriate forum in which to deal with the matter under consideration.
(Lebanon) said that, if their delegations had been present when the vote had been taken on draft resolution A/C.2/53/L.22, they would have voted in favour of it.
(Bulgaria) said that his delegation wished to associate itself with the statement in explanation of vote made by the representative of Austria on behalf of the European Union.
said that, before the Committee concluded its consideration of agenda item 97, he wished to propose the following draft decision:
"The General Assembly takes note of document
containing a report on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan, prepared by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, covering the period from June 1997 to May 1998."
30. He said he took it that the Committee wished to adopt the draft decision he had just read out.
It was so decided
said that the Committee had concluded its consideration of agenda item 97.
The meeting rose at 11.25 a.m.
This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of publication to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.