About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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It is with some hesitation that I am speaking today in the general debate in Committee on the important question, if not the most important and most urgent all questions, which for more than a quarter of a century has troubled the Conscience of Members of the United Nations, because it is without any doubt something that has been created by our world Organization itself.
Many of my colleagues, both within and outside this Committee, may be rather surprised to see on this Committee the representative of a country which until last year had always abstained from voting in the General Assembly on almost all questions relating to the Middle East, including of course the Palestinian Question. The explanation for this regrettable situation which for a long time tarnished the image of our country and our people within our world Organization was due to the fact that my country, which was at the time a kingdom, the Kingdom of Laos, was in the grip of an inherently feudal and corrupt regime. That regime was firmly subjected to and conditioned by United States imperialism, which was a natural protector of Israel, and for the almost 30 years it was in power, had completely undermined the noble tradition of our people, whose natural sympathies went out to all people who suffer and even more to all those who are subjected to injustice. The Arab peoples which have been subjected to Israeli aggression and which are struggling to liberate every inch of their occupied territories enjoy our unreserved sympathy and support. We also lend our firm support to the just cause of the Palestinian people, who fully merit the sympathy, and support of the international community.
The Palestinian people more than any other people is a people that has suffered and is still suffering physically from the most serious injustice of our age. Therefore, after having overthrown the corrupt, feudal, monarchical regime and after having replaced it with a truly democratic republic of the people, our people, under the creative leadership of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, immediately reverted to its traditions by giving active support to the Arab cause, for example, during the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the non-aligned countries held at Lima in August 1975 and also at the thirtieth session of the United Nations General Assembly. The votes of my delegation at that session of the General Assembly and all the resolutions relating to the Middle East and the Palestinian question, in particular resolutions 3375 (XXX) and 3376 (XXX), the second of which established our Committee-, our vote in favour of resolution 3379 (XXX) on Zionism as a form of racism and also our decision last January to break off the diplomatic relations established by the former regime with Israel — all this shows clearly the firm determination of my country and Government to stand resolutely side by side with the friendly Arab peoples in determination to eliminate all the results of the Zionist aggression and to recover all their occupied territories, and it shows our determination to give our full support to the Palestinian people in their heroic struggle for their right to self-determination, independence and national sovereignty.
Our full membership in this Committee now is something which we welcome. will certainly give us an opportunity — at least we hope so — to contribute still more actively to correcting the injustice of which the Palestinian people has been a victim for more than a quarter of a century. Moreover, having ourselves been victims first of colonialist occupation and oppression and then the cruellest and most barbaric imperialist aggression, we understand perfectly the feeling of frustration of the Arab peoples in the present situation in the Middle East. We firmly support the determination of the Palestinian people, 1' by their legal and authentic representatives, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, to struggle by all means to regain their fundamental national right.
Having said this, I should now like to take up the substance of the question, that is main concern of our Committee. In this connexion, I should like to at the outset that the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly at thirtieth session of resolutions 3375 (XXX) and 3376 (XXX), the second of established this Committee, and also the General Assembly's adoption one earlier, at its twenty-ninth session, of resolutions 3236 (XXIX) and (XXIX) are milestones in the history of the struggle of the Palestinian e. For that heroic people those are major victories at the international and for our Organization they mark a decisive turning point in the way we approach the Middle East problem. Since then the world has seemed convinced that of the Middle East problem is the Palestinian question, in spite of the attempts by Israel to distort this truth.
The international community would accomplish a great deal by helping to crystallize views-on this correct exposition of the problem. Everyone knows that for a long time the world was misled and deceived by the vast Zionist propaganda machine and the United Nations itself only took up the refugee aspect of the Palestinian problem. Of course, in the last two years the world has become aware of the problem in its true context, but there still seems to be some resistance, which it is important to overcome once and for all since it is an obstacle to a definitive settlement of the Palestinian question.
My country, like many other countries, thinks that if there is no just and appropriate solution to this Palestinian problem within the foreseeable future the Middle East runs the danger of being plunged once again into military trials of strength which this time, in view of the armaments and military potential available to the parties concerned, could engulf the world. The suffering and frustration of the Palestinian people lave lasted all too long. Never in the history of our age has the world witnessed such systematic despoliation of a whole people as has been visited on the Palestinian people. Expelled from its national land in successive waves since 1948 as a result of the wars of aggression and expansion waged by Israel, the Palestinian people is now asking the United Nations, Which was at the origin of its sufferings, to find the solution to its problems — in short, to restore all its natural and inalienable rights. This demand seems to Us fully warranted and legitimate, in view of the fact that all these rights have been recognized and reaffirmed in resolutions cf the General Assembly, particularly in resolutions 3236 (XXIX) and 3376 (XXX). The main urgent task of our Committee is, as has been stressed by several representatives who have spoken before me, to help to translate these rights into reality. This is a task which everybody considers very difficult. In this connexion many suggestions have been made. We have studied very closely the extremely important statement made by the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization. We have also studied with all the care they merit the statements made by the representatives of Egypt, Syria and Jordan. The two-phase programme proposed by the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization seems to us very wise, and we wish to support it. We consider that the proposal for a first phase involving the return of the Palestinians who were displaced after the 1967 war, without prejudice to the right of return of the other Palestinians displaced earlier, is a very realistic proposal which merits our full support. However, as for the time-table for the return, we do not have any very clear idea yet. However, we would support the best solution, that is to say, the solution that has a chance of being put into practice, if not immediately, at least within the foreseeable future.
Since we are currently at the stage of putting forward views, we think it would be advisable for our Committee not to set aside a priori any of the suggestions or ideas which have been or may be put forward with the sincere aim of helping the Committee and the Palestinian people to attain their objective, share and fully support the view that it is essential that Israel should immediately cease its policy of fait accompli, that is, of establishing new settlements in the occupied territories. We believe that it should immediately withdraw its nationals from the settlements which have already been established and also that it should comply strictly with the provisions of the fourth Geneva Convention. In the future deliberations of our Committee we think the draft resolutions submitted by the non-aligned countries during the Security Council meetings on the Middle East last January and on Jerusalem two weeks ago contain very positive elements which should certainly be taken up again by us in drafting a plan for the implementation of the rights of the Palestinian people. Those draft resolutions admittedly were vetoed by the United States representative the Council, but this should not make us fear another veto and lose sight of is considered by the overwhelming majority of the international community and quite rightly defined by the representative of Syria in this Committee as the most generally accepted basis for a just and peaceful settlement in the Middle East.
Those are the few comments I wished to make and they are preliminary ones. It goes without saying that they are inspired by a sincere wish to act in close solidarity with the Arab peoples in general and the Palestinian people in particular. We shall not hesitate at a subsequent stage in the work of the Committee to make our modest contribution.
* Distributed in accordance with a decision of the Committee. English text based on the interpretation from the French.