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


GA/EF/2899
24 November 1999


SOVEREIGNTY OF PALESTINIANS OVER NATURAL RESOURCES REAFFIRMED IN TEXT

APPROVED BY SECOND COMMITTEE

Committee Approves Text on Coercive Measures Against Developing Countries;
Eight Further Drafts Approved Without Vote

The General Assembly would call on Israel, the occupying Power, not to exploit, to cause loss or depletion of, or to endanger the natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan. It would take that action according to the terms of one of ten texts approved this morning by the Second Committee (Economic and Financial).

Approved by a vote of 132 in favour to 3 against (Israel, Marshall Islands and United States) with 5 abstentions (Cameroon, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Zambia), the text would have the Assembly reaffirm the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the population of the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources, including land and water. (See voting annex II for details.)

The Assembly would also recognize the right of the Palestinian people to claim restitution as a result of any exploitation, loss or depletion of, or danger to, their natural resources. It would express the hope that the issue would be dealt within the framework of the final status negotiation between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

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Committee Work Programme

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to hear the introduction of, and take action on, a number of draft resolutions.

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Permanent Sovereignty of the Palestinian People

Also before the Committee was a text sponsored by Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Comoros, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Palestine 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 (document A/C.2/54/L.32). By its terms, the Assembly would call on Israel, the occupying Power, not to exploit, to cause loss or depletion of or to endanger the natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan. Also, it 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.

Further, the Assembly would recognize the right of the Palestinian people to claim restitution as a result of any exploitation, loss or depletion of, or danger to, their natural resources, and express the hope that this issue will be dealt with in the framework of the final status negotiation between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

Action on Drafts

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Permanent Sovereignty of the Palestinian People

Next, Mr. Niculescu introduced the draft entitled "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."

Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, the representative of Israel said that the draft resolution before the Committee was completely superfluous. Any separate discussion of the matter, ignoring the mutual commitments to reach a permanent agreement, would not be conducive to the negotiations currently taking place. In light of positive progress, it was regrettable that the Committee should be discussing a text which aimed to predetermine the outcome of issues that were to be directly negotiated between the parties themselves.

Israel believed that the United Nations could play a constructive role by supporting the achievements of the peace process and its essential frameworks, he said. By contrast, the draft was yet another example of an attempt to intervene in matters relating to the peace process and outside the scope of the pressing matters to be resolved by the Second Committee. Israel would vote against the draft resolution and urged delegations who supported the peace process and the principle of direct negotiations to do the same.

The representative of the United States said that his delegation opposed the resolution for several reasons. First, it attempted to inject the General Assembly into issues that were to be directly negotiated by the parties themselves. It also attempted to prejudge the outcome of the current negotiations. He also objected to the reference in the resolution to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including Jerusalem, which was simply another attempt to prejudge the final status negotiations. The unbalanced resolution did not serve the cause of peace. He would vote against the text and encouraged others to do the same.

The text was approved by a recorded vote of 132 in favour to 3 against (Israel, Marshall Islands and United States) with 5 abstentions (Cameroon, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Zambia).

Explanation of Vote

In explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of Finland, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the Union had voted in favour of the text, because the natural resources of any territory seized by use of arms should not be used inappropriately or illegally by the occupying power. However, the issues referred to in the present resolution were matters which should be dealt with in the framework of the permanent status negotiations of the ongoing Middle East peace process. The draft resolution just approved must not therefore be considered as prejudicial to those negotiations.

The representative of Bulgaria aligned himself with Finland’s statement. The representative of Japan said he hoped that issues addressed in the approved draft resolution would be dealt with within the framework of the permanent status negotiations. Japan’s vote in favour of the resolution should not be seen as a pre-judgment of the final outcome of those negotiations. Japan’s support did not reflect any change in its position. He added that the Second Committee was not the suitable forum for handling such draft resolutions. The representative of Syria said that the support provided for the resolution reflected the fact of the international community’s support for the peace process. It also reflected support for resolutions calling for full withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan and protection of the rights of its people. The international community understood the serious dangers and risks in the Middle East. The results of the vote clearly reflected the international community’s determination to bring about a just and permanent peace.

The observer of Palestine thanked the co-sponsors of the resolution and all states voting in favour. He said that there were no contradictions between the present resolution and the various regional agreements. There had been 24 Security Council resolutions. Israel pursued apartheid-like policies, especially in the exploitation of resources in the occupied territories. He supported the current peace process, and expressed the hope that it would lead to a just and lasting peace.

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ANNEX II

Vote on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people

The Second Committee approved draft resolution A/C.2/54/L.32 –- 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 –- by a recorded vote of 132 in favour to 3 against with 5 abstentions.

In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

Against: Israel, Marshall Islands, and United States.

Abstain: Cameroon, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Zambia.

Absent: Albania, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Hungary, Kiribati, Malawi, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, and Uruguay.


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