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        General Assembly
4 December 2002

Original: English

Fifty-seventh session
Official Records

Third Committee

Summary record of the 40th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Thursday, 7 November 2002, at 3 p.m.

Chairman: ............................................ Mr. Wenaweser (Liechtenstein)


Agenda item 107: Elimination of racism and racial discrimination (continued )

(a) Elimination of racism and racial discrimination (continued)

Agenda item 108: Right of peoples to self-determination (continued)


The meeting was called to order at 3.10 p.m.

Agenda item 107: Elimination of racism and racial discrimination ( continued)

(a) Elimination of racism and racial discrimination (continued ) (A/C.3/57/L.32)


Draft resolution A/C.3/57/L.35: The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination

37. Mr. Roshdy (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the sponsors, said that the draft resolution merely stressed the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and called for the urgent resumption of the peace process. He hoped that it would be adopted by consensus, although he was aware that that was a vain hope.

38. The Chairman announced that Albania, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Guyana, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Switzerland, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Yugoslavia wished to add their names to the list of sponsors.

39. Ms. Eskjær (Denmark), speaking on behalf of the European Union, the associated countries Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey, and, in addition, Iceland and Norway, said that the delegations for which she spoke were firmly committed to enabling the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination, and welcomed the international community’s objective of creating two sovereign States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized borders.

40. The European Union was actively involved in the efforts of the new coordinating mechanism, known as the Quartet (A/57/1, para. 15), to seek a comprehensive settlement. In that regard, the establishment and implementation of a “road map” leading to the creation of a Palestinian State in 2005 and the holding of democratic elections were of crucial importance.

41. Mr. Lancry (Israel) urged Committee members carefully to consider their vote on the draft resolution, which was a highly political issue under negotiation between Israel and Palestine. Although it contained human rights elements, they were essentially part of a much broader policy to be determined bilaterally between the two parties. Israel supported the principle of self-determination worldwide, including in the Middle East. At Camp David, more than 20 years earlier, Israel had recognized the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people on the condition that it was realized through peace negotiations.

42. Through the Oslo peace process, Israel and the Palestinians had agreed to recognize their mutual legitimate political rights in the framework of peaceful negotiations for a permanent solution to the conflict. More recently, negotiations between the two parties on outstanding issues pertaining to permanent status had come to a standstill with the renewed violence on the part of the Palestinians, following the 2000 Camp David Summit. Once the violence ended, the negotiations would be resumed. Meanwhile, the draft resolution pre-empted them and could only undermine their successful outcome.

43. He urged the Committee not to prejudge the issue, especially in the terms in which the draft resolution was couched. The result of the vote would show whether the practitioners of terrorism would be reprimanded or rewarded, and would determine whether Palestinian terrorists believed that they could persist in their murderous ways with impunity and still command the sympathy of the world. His delegation called for a recorded vote on the draft resolution and urged Committee members to reject it, since support for it would send the wrong signal at the wrong time.

44. A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Israel, Marshall Islands, United States of America.


Cameroon, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nicaragua.

45. Draft resolution A/C.3/57/L.35 was adopted by 156 votes to 3, with 3 abstentions.

46. Mr. Laurin (Canada) said that, while his country fully supported the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the creation of a Palestinian State, it believed that Palestinian interests and those of the region would be best served if that right were expressed through the negotiation process. He had voted in favour of the draft resolution because it both endorsed the right of the Palestinians to self-determination and emphasized the importance of the negotiation process in the fulfilment of that right, which Canada had consistently supported, as it did the rights of all States in the region to live in peace within secure, internationally recognized borders. Given the events of the previous two years, he echoed the call contained in the draft resolution for the immediate resumption of negotiations.

47. Mr. Choi (Australia) said he had voted in favour of the draft resolution because of its important restatement of Palestine’s right to self-determination. Had a separate vote been taken on each paragraph, Australia would have abstained on paragraph 1, not because it lacked sympathy for the Palestinians and their legitimate right to self-determination, but because a just, comprehensive and lasting resolution could come only from the parties themselves, through peaceful negotiations based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principle of land for peace, and on Security Council resolution 1397 (2002), which referred to two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized borders, a balance imperfectly reflected in paragraph 1. In the current situation in the Middle East, an immediate halt to the violence and an early and effective resumption of negotiations were henceforth more important than ever.

48. Mr. Roshdy (Egypt) said he had not replied earlier to the statement by the representative of Israel, in the hope that the Committee would do so through its vote. That vote was the Committee’s best reply to Israel’s accusation that Palestinians were terrorists and the avowal of its commitment to the realization of the right to self-determination in the region. Far from being terrorists, Palestinians were simply fighting for the realization of that right. He wondered how much time and how many draft resolutions were needed before Israel understood that fact. He hoped that 2002 was the last year such a draft resolution would be necessary and that by 2003 Palestine would have achieved self-determination.


The meeting rose at 6 p.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.

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