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


GA/EF/2755
2 December 1996


UNCTAD IX OUTCOME, ANTI-CORRUPTION DECLARATION, SPECIAL SESSION ON

AGENDA 21 AMONG ISSUES IN TEXTS APPROVED BY SECOND COMMITTEE


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Acting also on the Council's recommendation, the Committee approved by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 17 abstentions a draft resolution on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources. Under its provisions, the Assembly would call upon Israel, the occupying Power, not to exploit, to cause loss and depletion of, or to endanger the natural resources in the occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan. (For details of the voting, see Annex.)

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Committee Work Programme

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to take action on all outstanding drafts before it.

Under its consideration of the report of the Economic and Social Council, the Committee has before it a twice revised draft resolution on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (document A/C.2/51/L.30/Rev.2). Under its provisions, the General Assembly would reaffirm the inalienable right of the Palestinian people and the population of the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources, including land and water. It would call upon Israel, the occupying Power, not to exploit, to cause loss and depletion of, or to endanger the natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan. 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 would be recognized. The Assembly would express the hope that that issue would be dealt with in the framework of the final status negotiation between the Palestinian and Israeli sides. The Secretary-General would be requested to report to the Assembly's fifty-second session on the implementation of the present resolution. The draft is sponsored by Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Malaysia, Mauritania, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Another draft resolution, sponsored by Syria, on behalf of the Group of Arab States, Afghanistan and Cuba, concerns economic and social repercussions of the Israeli settlements on the Palestinian people in the Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, occupied since 1967, and on the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Golan (document A/C.2/51/L.29). It would have the Assembly reaffirm that those settlements are illegal and an obstacle to economic and social development. The Assembly would recognize their economic and social repercussions on the people there. It would reaffirm the inalienable right of the Palestinian people and the population of the occupied Syrian Golan to their natural and all other economic resources, and would regard its infringement as illegal. The Secretary-General would be requested to submit to the Assembly at its fifty-second session, a report on the progress made in the implementation of the resolution. Also recommended by the Council is a draft resolution on corruption and bribery in international commercial transactions (document A/C.2/51/L.37). In the draft's preambular part, the Assembly would recall the work carried out by it and by the Council on the issue of illicit payments and on elaborating a code of conduct for transnational corporations, "consideration of which helped call attention to and raise international awareness of the adverse consequences of bribery in international commercial transactions", says the draft.

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Next, the Committee took up a revised draft resolution on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in Syrian Golan over their natural resources.

Mr. RAMOUL (Algeria), a Vice-Chairman, informing the Committee of the results of informal consultations on the draft, said in the beginning there had been two separate drafts on Palestine, which had now been combined in one text.

The representative of Malaysia said that, besides the original sponsors of the draft, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Cuba had joined as co- sponsors.

The Chairman said that at the request of the United States, the draft would be put to vote.

The representative of Israel said the issue of rights over natural resources was covered in the Interim Agreement between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel. Therefore, its inclusion in the draft text was superfluous. The efforts to change the terms of reference reached at Madrid through the back door were regrettable. Israel and the PLO had agreed to resolve matters in direct face-to-face talks. The principle of direct negotiations also applied to Syria and Lebanon. He called on Syria to engage in face-to-face negotiations. Moreover, the exercise of blaming all of Lebanon's woes on Israel was an old one. He also called on Lebanon to directly negotiate with his country. The present draft aimed to pre-determine the outcome of direct negotiations between the parties and was counter- productive to peace.

The representative of Lebanon said occupation hindered economic development. The Committee was not dealing with political issues. The international community should remain faithful to the United Nations Charter and should repeat that occupation was the worst enemy of economic development.

Security Council resolution 425 was very clear. It did not speak of peace talks and negotiations, but referred clearly to withdrawal of Israel to internationally recognized borders. Lebanon believed that the implementation of the present resolution would help ongoing negotiations and create a healthy environment. The occupation of southern Lebanon hindered economic development of the country. The occupying Power should leave Lebanon alone to resolve its problems.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in Syrian Golan over their natural resources by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to 2 against (United States and Israel), with 17 abstentions. (For details of the voting, see Annex I.)

In light of approval of the new version of the draft, an earlier version was withdrawn by its sponsors.

Speaking after the vote, the representative of Japan said his Government had contributed about $200 million to the Palestinian Authority and would continue to do so. Operative paragraph 4 contained issues which should be discussed in the final negotiations. Japan's support of the draft did not change its position on those issues. The Committee was not the forum for issues of a political nature.

The representative of Ireland, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said it had voted in favour of the draft resolution because it believed that the natural resources of any territory seized by force of arms should not be used inappropriately or illegally by the occupying Power. The European Union recognized the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to the occupied territories and reaffirmed that any infringement of the rights of the Palestinian people with regard to the Convention was illegal. Nevertheless, it held that the issues referred to in the draft resolution were matters which were to be dealt with in the framework of the permanent status negotiations of the ongoing Middle East peace process. The draft resolution adopted today should not therefore be considered as prejudicial to or pre-emptive of the outcome of those negotiations. Any action or statement which might be seen as doing so was best avoided. Finally, he said the European Union expressed disquiet at the introduction of a new item to the already overburdened agenda of the Assembly.

The representative of the United States said he had opposed the draft resolution, which was flawed. The draft injected issues which were subject in the ongoing negotiations in the Middle East peace process. The use of the term sovereign rights could prejudge the outcome of those negotiations. The specific reference to Jerusalem in the draft was unacceptable. Genuine assistance to the Middle East negotiations should be forward-looking.

The representative of Argentina said he supported the draft.

The representative of Australia said it had voted in favour on the basis of the fundamental purpose of the draft. The terms of the draft should not be considered prejudging the outcome of the ongoing negotiations. Australia was concerned about the introduction of the new item.

The representative of Canada also said his country was concerned about the increasing proliferation of new items. Canada had voted in favour of the draft which should not prejudge the outcome of the ongoing negotiations in the region.

The representative of Iran said it had voted in favour of the draft. That should not be construed as any recognition of Israel.

The representative of Eritrea said he would have voted in favour of the draft had he been present.

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Vote on Sovereignty in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

The draft resolution on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian Territory (document A/C.2/51/L.30/Rev. 2) was approved by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to 2 against, with 17 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Comoros, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Korea, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: Israel, United States.

Abstaining: Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Côte d'Ivoire, El Salvador, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Georgia, Kenya, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Paraguay, Ukraine, Uruguay.

Absent: Albania, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Grenada, Guatemala, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Palau, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Zaire.


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