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AGENDA ITEM 126: OBSERVER STATUS OF NATIONAL LIBERATION MOVEMENTS RECOGNIZED BY
THE ORGANIZATION OF AFRICAN UNITY AND/OR
BY THE LEAGUE OF ARAB STATES
Mr. AL-KIDWA (Obuerver, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that the General Assembly had accorded observer status to national liberation movements recognized by OAU and/or by the League of Arab Stateu, specifically to PLO and SWAPO, in response to the need felt by the majority of Member States for practical action to promote the implementation of the purposes and principles of the Charter. It was therefore considered essential that the representatives of colonial peoples and peoples under occupation should be allowed to participate actively in the work of the Organization in order to expedite the attainment of their right to self-determination. That would, in itself, be a significant contribution to the strengthening of international peace and security, since with the achievement of self-determination, a major cause of regional conflicts would be removed, namely colonialism and foreign occupation.
Observer status for such movements and the active role played by observers had proved to be most beneficial. The outworn concepts prevailing at the time of the establishment of the United Nations had been replaced by such notions as the universal character of the Organization and the major significance of entities other than States
Observer status for the recognized movements had enhanced their legal position in bilateral relations with a large number of States, and they had in some cases been granted full recognition and full diplomatic immunities. At the same time, they had not been accorded facilities, privileges and immunities by all countries that were hosts to international organizations or to conferences convened by, or held under the auspices of, international organizations of a universal character. That had been particularly true of the country that was host to the Headquarters of the United Nations. It was the collective responsibility of the United Nations and its Member States to ensure that the necessary facilities, privileges and immunities were accorded by the host country and were not a matter for bilateral negotiations with that country.
Observers were entitled to the necessary facilities, privileges and immunities under Article 105 of the Charter, which had always been interpreted as applying to invitees of the United Nations, and under the terms of the agreements concluded with host countries - in the case of United Nations Headquarters, those of articles 11, 12 and 13 of the Headquarters Agreement.
It was necessary to refer to the dispute that had arisen between the United Nations and the United States of America concerning the interpretation and application of the Headquarters Agreement. The United States had attempted to implement title X of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1988-1989, against the Permanent Observer Mission of PLO to the United Nations. While his delegation was gratified that the dispute had been settled with the decision of the United States Ad:uinistration not to pursue the matter, it would have been preferable if it had not arisen at all or had been settled on the basis of the host country's respect for Article 105 of the Charter, articles 11, 12 and 13 of the Headquarters Agreement, the repeated recommendations of the General Assembly or the advisory opinion given by the International Court of Justice on the matter. General Assembly resolutions 42/210 B, 42/229 A and B, 42/230 and 42/232 had unequivocally reiterated that the Permanent Observer Mission of PLO to the United Nations was covered by the provisions of the Headquarters Agreement and should be enabled to establish and maintain premises and adequate functional facilities. The violation by any host country of established precedent and its recourse to domestic law in that reoer,d should not be allowed to recur.
Experience had shown that there was a need to guarantee respect for the minimal rights of observers of recognized liberation movements. There was a pressing need for a multilateral convention under which host countries would be bound to accord to observer missions privileges and immunities similar to those accorded to Member States. Although the 1975 Vienna Convention did not deal with entities other than States, accession to that Convention by Member States, and particularly host countries, might ccnatitute a step towards the application of its provisions to observers of recognized national liberation movements.
Another aspect of the matter, and one that was no less important, was the need for action to ensure that the status of observer missions to the United Nations was strengthened and their ability to participate in its work enhanced. As well as being the legitimate representatives of their peoples, the recognized national liberation movements also represented States that would emerge in the near future. PLO currently assumed major responsibilities towards the Palestinian people in the political, economic, social and cultural !iel& and therefore required even greater support from the United Nations.
The necessary steps should be taken to strengthen the role of the recognized national liberation movements in the work of the United Nations, particularly by enabling them to transmit their views to all Member States and organizations of the United Nations system in a speedier and more effective manner throughout the year. That could be done by authorizing them to submit material for distribution as documents of the intergovernmental bodies of the United Nations under the appropriate agenda items without the use of intermediaries. That would have a positive impact by promoting dialogue and improving communications within the United Nations framework. PLO would work with SWAPO in conducting the appropriate consultations on the matter with the delegations of Member States, and hoped that the necessary arrangements could be made.