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


GA/SHC/3536
25 October 1999

SELF-DETERMINATION MAIN THEME AT THIRD COMMITTEE MEETING,

INTOLERANCE AND XENOPHOBIA ALSO CITED


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Committee Work Programme

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this morning to conclude its general discussion of issues related to the elimination of racism and racial discrimination, as well as to the right of peoples to self- determination. (For background information, see Press Release GA/SHC/3533 of 21 October.)

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SOMAIA BARGHOUTI, of the Observer Mission of Palestine, said the Palestinian people were still being denied their basic and fundamental right to self-determination. In the 1993 Declaration of Principles, the two sides had recognized their mutual, legitimate and political rights. A genuine commitment to such recognition by necessity required recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. It was hoped that the recognition had not been undertaken by the Israeli side for a tactical reason only, as the current peace process was hoped to result in full recognition and would be manifested in the existence of the Palestinian state.

Real engagement in the peace process required the recognition by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, she said. It was inconceivable to recognize an adversary as a people, while refusing to recognize their right to self-determination. The peace process could not reach its normal, logical and successful conclusion without such recognition. Further, the establishment of the independent state of Palestine could not be subject to veto. While negotiating a final settlement, issues would be decided, including exact borders and the relationship between the two states on the basis of international law and international legitimacy. In May, the decision had been made to postpone a decision regarding a declaration of the Palestinian state, as a result of an international consensus on the need to conclude the peace process within a year. Based on that, it was expected that Palestine would participate as a full Member of the United Nations in the Millennium Summit of the General Assembly.

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