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


GA/9167
19 November 1996

ASSEMBLY ENDORSES INTENSIFIED COOPERATION BETWEEN
UNITED NATIONS, ARAB LEAGUE; NEED TO PROMOTE
PEACE,ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRESSED


Central American Situation Also Reviewed; General Acclaim For Political
Progress, Social Improvements Now Main Priority



The General Assembly this afternoon adopted without a vote a resolution on intensified cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States.

Introducing the draft, the representative of Syria expressed the League's desire for a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. For this to work, however, there had to be a balanced peace formula. The observer for the League of Arab States paid tribute to the continuing consultations and contacts between the United Nations and the League of Arab organizations at all levels. Efforts to resolve the question of Palestine were at the head of the concerns of the League.

The representative of Israel said he joined the consensus in favour of the resolution because of his country's desire to make peace with its neighbours, all of whom were members of the League of Arab States. Just as Israel was committed to peace, it was equally committed to regional economic cooperation. ...

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Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this afternoon to complete its consideration of the third annual report of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The Assembly was also scheduled to review the situation in Central America, and to discuss cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States.

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Cooperation with League of Arab States

For its consideration of cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States, the Assembly has before it a report of the Secretary-General (document A/51/380 and Add.1), and a 19-Power draft resolution (document A/51/L.8). Under the provisions of the draft resolution, the Assembly would request the Secretariat of the United Nations and the General Secretariat of the League to intensify their cooperation. It would also decide that a general meeting between the United Nations system and the League take place once every two years and that inter-agency sectoral meetings be organized regularly. It would also recommend that the next general meeting on cooperation between the representatives of the secretariats of the United Nations system and the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States and its specialized agencies be held during 1997. The resolution is sponsored by Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The report of the Secretary-General reviews meetings and other cooperative activities undertaken by the United Nations and its agencies, and the Arab League. An addendum to the report reviews activities of the Department of Public Information (DPI) taken to promoting independent and pluralistic Arab media. (For further details see Press Release GA/9166 issued today.)

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FAROUK AL-ATTAR (Syria), introducing the draft resolution, said the Arab League had often expressed its concern for the achievement of a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. For this to work, however, there had to be a balanced peace formula. The cooperation between the United Nations and the League must continue to be promoted, in order to achieve a peace that would endure, according to the principles of the Charter and in their spirit. He added that support for the Arab States in this trying period was a noble objective which ought to attract the support of all members of the international community. He called for the resolution to be adopted by consensus as a demonstration of this support.

MAHMOUD ABOUL-NASR, observer for the League of Arab States, paid tribute to the continuing consultations and contacts between the United Nations and the Arab League at all levels. Such meetings and visits reaffirmed the provisions of Chapter 8 of the Charter and allowed cooperation on a wide range of international issues. The world today was delicate and sensitive, he said, and required the strengthening the Charter of the United Nations and the promotion of its effectiveness. The League was ready to contribute in translating into action the declaration made by the heads of State and Government at the United Nations 50th anniversary last year.

He said the Arab League was following the efforts of the United Nations and the Secretary- General to resolve many issues around the world. The question of Palestine was at the head of the League's concerns. Unfortunately, the current environment did not call for optimism, given Israel's refusal to honour previously-reached agreements, and its plans to build new settlements, among other issues. The League hoped the opportunity would not be lost to build a just and durable peace. It was desirous of continuing cooperation with the United Nations in all fields. The draft revolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States was adopted without a vote.

Explanation of Vote

YAEL RUBINSTEIN (Israel), speaking in explanation of vote following the vote, said Israel's decision to join the consensus on the resolution had been guided by its desire to make peace with its neighbours, all of whom were members of the League of Arab States. Israel had also taken steps to implement the Interim Agreement signed with the Palestinians. Israeli Defence Forces had redeployed from six of the large Arab cities on the West Bank. Palestinians throughout the territories had assumed responsibility for their own affairs, including internal security, public order and all aspects of their daily lives.

She said that just as Israel was committed to peace, it was equally committed to strengthening regional economic ties. Israel was encouraged by steps taken to lift economic boycotts, such as last year's decision of the Gulf Cooperation Council to lift the secondary and tertiary boycott against Israel. It was hoped that those positive developments would find expression within the framework of the League of Arab States. The time had come for the members of the League to take further measures so as to eliminate their boycott against Israel altogether. As a first step, the League could adopt a decision similar to that taken by the Gulf Council.

She noted that the third Middle East/North African Economic Summit had been held in Cairo last month. Business leaders from Israel, the Arab States and Muslim States from beyond the region had met and concluded arrangements which would help augment the productive capacity of the region and contribute to its broad-based economic development.

Israel supported the cooperation between the United Nations and various regional organizations, including the League of Arab States. However, it was regrettable that Israel still did not belong to a regional group at the United Nations, due to the political objections of some Member States. Israel called upon the members of the League to lift their objections to the admission of Israel to the Asian Group.

She said Israel urged the establishment of joint projects with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), within the framework of regional agricultural development in areas under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Council. Israel felt the Arab world must devote a greater share of aid to the Palestinian Council, to match the aid given by such donors as the European Union. Israel welcomed efforts to advance the socio-economic, educational, health and cultural standing of the Palestinian residents of the territories.

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