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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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        General Assembly
7 May 1991

Original: Spanish



Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Monday, 8 April 1991, at 3 p.m.


Chairman: Mrs. DIALLO (Senegal)


Adoption of the agenda

Draft programme of work for 1991

Report on the Preparatory Meeting for the International NGO Meeting and the European NGO Symposium, held in Geneva on 25 and 26 March 1991

European Regional Seminar, held in Madrid on 27-30 May 1991

Other matters

This record is subject to correction.

Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, Department of Conference Services, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza.

Any corrections to the record of this meeting and of other meetings will be issued in a corrigendum.

The meeting was called to order at 3.50 p.m.


1. The agenda was adopted.

DRAFT PROGRAMME OF WORK FOR 1991 (A/AC.183/1991/CRP.1/Rev.1)

2. Mr. BORG OLIVIER (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the draft programme of work for 1991, which had been put into final form at a meeting of the Working Group of the Committee on 11 March 1991, contained a new section concerning priority issues in the Committee's programme of work for 1991. That new section stressed the importance of the implementation of all relevant resolutions of the United Nations on the question of Palestine and the Middle East situation. It also stated that the activities of the Committee in 1991 should focus on the following: the International Peace Conference on the Middle East; the intifadah of the Palestinian people, the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and the need for international support and assistance; international protection of the Palestinian people under occupation; and the increasing Jewish immigration and Israel's settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem.

3. Section III of the draft programme of work for 1991 also included a new subsection entitled "Action by the Committee", in which it was stated that the Committee would, in addition to continuing its past activities, take an active role in all aspects relating to the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East and would initiate a process of interaction with all concerned for the regular exchange of information and views. Paragraph 16 offered suggestions on various activities to be undertaken by the Committee.

4. The remaining parts of the draft programme of work had been drawn up according to the format of previous years. Thus, subsections B and C of section III contained details on the regional seminars, the NGO symposia and the International NGO Meeting to be held in 1991. With regard to the Asian Regional Seminar and NGO Symposium, the Government of Cyprus had offered to provide a venue for that joint event at a convenient date. To hold the symposium and seminar at the end of 1991 would create budgetary difficulties and would coincide with the General Assembly session. Consequently, the most convenient date would be January 1992, which the Government of Cyprus also happened to prefer. If necessary, consideration would be given to the possibility of holding another regional seminar in Asia during the biennium. In addition, as indicated in paragraph 26 of the draft programme of work, the Committee had decided to accept the offer by the Austrian Government to have the European Regional Symposium and the International NGO Meeting held at the Austria Centre in Vienna.

5. In section III.D of the draft programme of work, on studies and publications of the Division for Palestinian Rights, it was stated that the Division would prepare urgently and update regularly the compilation of the most recent statements and proposals regarding the peace process. The Department of Public Information was, furthermore, requested to prepare an attractive brochure on the International Peace Conference and the Division for Palestinian Rights was requested to study the feasibility of establishing a computerized database relating to the question of Palestine.

6. Subsection E of the document dealt with the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The same format as in 1991 would be followed, subject to further consultations on ways to add to the impact and effectiveness of the commemoration.

7. He hoped that the draft programme of work would be adopted in the course of the meeting, so that the Division for Palestinian Rights could begin to put it into effect.

8. Mr. AKSIN (Turkey) noted that the Asian symposium and seminar, scheduled to be held in 1990, would be held, at the proposal of the Greek Cypriot Administration, in southern Cyprus in January 1992. He pointed out that the holding of those meetings in an area that was the subject of a dispute would have negative consequences on the process of negotiations that the Secretary-General was trying to promote. Furthermore, to organize the symposium and the seminar in southern Cyprus under United Nations auspices would be contrary to the obligation under Security Council resolution 649 (1990) to treat the two Cypriot communities as equals.

9. The Turkish Cypriot people, who were conducting talks with the Greek Cypriot people on the question of Cyprus, held the view that the Administration of southern Cyprus represented only the Greek Cypriots. Consequently, the organization of the symposium and the seminar in southern Cyprus would arouse indignation in Turkish Cypriot public opinion and cause a negative reaction on the part of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

10. Turkey did not recognize the Greek Cypriot Administration of southern Cyprus. That Administration could not legally claim to represent the two peoples of the island. As a result, Turkey would not participate in meetings held in southern Cyprus. Its position, obviously, could not be interpreted as a lack of support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

11. Mr. MAVROMMATIS (Cyprus), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that he would not refer to the similarities between the occupied part of Cyprus and the occupied Palestinian territories. It was surprising that the representative of Turkey had used the terms that he had, although that was to be expected from a country that continued to occupy another country.

12. Turkey, on the other hand, did not object to the fact that a person who was presumably a representative of the Greek Cypriot authorities was participating in the Committee's meeting and introducing a report. Lastly, Turkey had the presumption to make a complaint against Cyprus when it was Cyprus that should complain about Turkey. He wished to draw attention to the fact that merely to allude to the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was a violation of Security Council resolution 550 (1984).

13. Mr. AKSIN (Turkey), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that since the actual situation in Cyprus was well known, he would refrain from responding to the statement of the representative of the Greek Cypriots.

14. The CHAIRMAN said that, if she heard no objection, she would take it that the Committee wished to adopt the draft programme of work for 1991.

15. It was so decided.


16. Mr. MAVROMMATIS (Cyprus) said that he had participated in the Preparatory Meeting as a member of the Committee delegation and that the Meeting had also been attended by members of the International Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ICCP), including its Chairman, Dr. Don Betz. The membership of ICCP now included the five Chairmen of the Regional Coordinating Committees, which had served to highlight the concerns and approaches of the non-governmental organizations of various regions and strengthen the bonds between them and the international community of non-governmental organizations. The Meeting had also been attended by four representatives of non-governmental organizations from the occupied Palestinian territories, namely, Dr. Anis Al-Qaq, Dr. Umaiyeh Khammash, Mr. Zakaria Odeh and Ms. Doris Salah. Israeli non-governmental organizations had been represented by Mr. Latif Dori, Mr. Tawfig Zayyad and Mr. Amnon Zichroni. In accordance with the decision of the Committee, two special representatives of the European Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ECCP) had also participated in the meeting and had assisted in formulating the draft programme for the Fifth European Symposium.

17. The members of ICCP and ECCP had met jointly and separately in order to elaborate draft programmes for the European Regional NGO Symposium and the International NGO Meeting to be held on 26 and 27 and from 28 to 30 August 1991, respectively. Working Papers Nos. 3 and 4 were the outcome of those deliberations. He recommended that the Committee should adopt those papers.

18. Referring to Working Paper No. 3, he pointed out that the draft programme of the Eighth United Nations International NGO Meeting proposed the establishment of three panels. Panel 1 would consider protection by the United Nations, United Nations resolutions and the situation from the Gulf to Palestine. Panel 2 would deal with the topic, Palestine update. Lastly, Panel 3 would discuss what had been been accomplished, what remained to be done and how to proceed in that regard.

19. The programme provided for the organization of six workshops. The suggested topics for discussion were in accordance with the recommendations of the Working Group. In that connection, a request was made to invite a larger number of Palestinian NGO representatives to participate in order to establish and strengthen the channels of communication between the non-governmental organizations in the occupied Palestinian territories, United Nations bodies with assistance programmes for the Palestinian people and other non-governmental organizations with similar support programmes. He proposed that the Committee should adopt the provisional programme of that meeting, which included a list of panelists, on the understanding that additional names, if necessary, would be proposed to the Committee at a later stage for consideration.

20. Lastly, he conveyed to the Chairman the request by the non-governmental organizations that the Committee should seriously consider inviting to the opening session of the International NGO Meeting the eminent persons listed in Working Paper No. 3. Their presence would further underscore the urgency of the need to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, which would also ensure the attainment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State.

21. The CHAIRMAN said that, if she heard no objections, she would take it that the Committee wished to adopt Working Paper Nos. 3 and 4.

22. It was so decided.


23. The PRESIDENT, referring to Working Paper No. 5, which contained the programme of the European Regional Symposium on the Question of Palestine, pointed out that the document summarized the results of the steps taken by the Committee concerning the meeting. If she heard no objections, she would take it that the Committee wished to adopt Working Paper No. 5.

24. It was so decided.


25. The CHAIRMAN said that Working Paper No. 2 contained a list of non-governmental organizations which had declared their support for the goals of the symposia and meetings sponsored by the Committee and had requested invitations to future meetings. Since the list had already been adopted by the Working Group set up for that purpose by the Committee, she took it that the Committee wished to adopt Working Paper No. 2.

26. Mr. AL-KIDWA (Observer for Palestine) said that the Committee's programme of work was an important contribution to the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. With regard to the non-governmental organizations which had requested admission to the meetings of the Committee, he recalled that, although at the Committee's last meeting no objections had been raised in principle, it had been felt that more information should be obtained on some of those organizations. It had not been possible to do that in the short period of time that had transpired since then.

27. Referring to the report on the security of the Palestinians in the occupied territories, which was to be submitted by the Secretary-General in accordance with Security Council resolution 681 (1990), he felt that the Committee could closely monitor that process through the Chairman. With regard to a political solution to the situation, he felt that the appointment of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the Middle East had been a wise initiative. The Committee, through the Chairman or other members of the Bureau, could establish the necessary contacts, for example, by approaching the Special Representative of the Secretary-General when he was at Headquarters. With respect to the visit by the United States Secretary of State to the region, he said that the Palestine Liberation Organization had given instructions to high-ranking Palestinian officials living in the occupied territories to accept the invitation by the United States Administration to meet with Mr. Baker in Jerusalem. A decision had also been taken to change slightly the composition of the delegation which would participate in those meetings so that everyone could take part in those exchanges.

28. The PRESIDENT thanked the observer for Palestine for his observations and assured him that his suggestions would be kept in mind.

29. She said that, if she heard no objection, she would take it that the Committee wished to adopt Working Paper No. 2.

30. It was so decided.

31. The CHAIRMAN said that, if there were no further matters for consideration, the meeting would be adjourned.

The meeting rose at 4.40 p.m.

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