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Réunion africaine sur la question de Palestine qui se réunira à Pretoria les 9 et 10 mai 2007 - Communiqué de presse de l'ONU Français
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8 May 2007

General Assembly

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Background Release



Event to Be Followed by Day-long Public Forum on Israeli-Palestinian Peace

The United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will convene the United Nations African Meeting on the Question of Palestine, with the agreement of the Government of South Africa, on 9 and 10 May at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria.  It will be followed, on 11 May, by the United Nations Public Forum in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, to be held at the University of Pretoria.

The theme of the Meeting is “African solidarity with the Palestinian people for the achievement of its inalienable rights”.  The objective of the meetings, at this time of renewed efforts to restart the Israeli-Palestinian political process, is to encourage broad international action, including by African States, in support of achieving a viable Israeli-Palestinian peace.   Invited to the African Meeting will be internationally renowned experts, including Israelis and Palestinians, representatives of United Nations Members and Observers, parliamentarians, representatives of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations, and representatives of civil society and the media.

The opening session will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, 9 May, at 10 a.m., in the conference room (Jacaranda I and II) of the Sheraton Hotel.  The session is expected to be addressed by Essop Pahad, Minister in the Office of the President of South Africa; Tuliameni Kalomoh, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs and representative of the United Nations Secretary-General; Paul Badji (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; and Samih al-Abed, Minister for Public Works of the Palestinian Authority and representative of Palestine.  The opening session will be followed by a segment in which representatives of Governments, intergovernmental organizations and United Nations bodies and agencies will be invited to make statements.  The Meeting will continue in three plenary sessions, during which experts will address specific issues.  Each plenary session will have a discussion period.

Plenary I, entitled “The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”, will begin at 3 p.m. with the participation of Minister al-Abed; Gideon Levy, columnist with Ha’aretz newspaper, Tel Aviv; Basem Khaldi, Policy Analysis Officer at the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Jerusalem; Yasmin Sooka, Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights, Pretoria; and Iain Scobbie, Professor of Law, Human Rights and Peacebuilding in the Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.  The presentations will be followed by a broader discussion among the participants.

On Thursday, 10 May, at 10 a.m., Plenary II will be devoted to “International efforts aimed at achieving a viable Israeli-Palestinian peace”.  Presentations will be made by Sabri Saidam, former Minister for Telecommunications of the Palestinian Authority, Ramallah; Ran Cohen, Member of the Knesset of the Meretz faction; Henry Siegman, Director of the United States/Middle East project at the Council on Foreign Relations, New York; Ahmed Maher, former Foreign Minister of Egypt; and Ronald Kasrils, Minister for Intelligence Services of South Africa.  A broader discussion will follow.

Plenary III, starting at 3 p.m., is entitled “African solidarity with the Palestinian people’s aspirations for independence and statehood”.  Speakers include Salman al Herfi, Ambassador of Palestine to Tunisia; Soyata Maiga, Chairperson of the Association of Women Jurists of Mali, Bamako; Garth le Pere, Executive Director of the Institute for Global Dialogue, Midrand; and Saadi Altumaizi, Ambassador of Palestine to Ghana.  A discussion period will follow.

The closing session will take place at 5:30 p.m.  The Rapporteur of the Committee, Victor Camilleri, Ambassador of Malta to the United Nations, will present the final document.  Speakers in the closing session include Aziz Pahad, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa; Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations; and Committee Chairman Badji.

The working languages of the Meeting will be English and French.

At the United Nations Public Forum in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, to be held at the University of Pretoria (Senate Hall) on Friday, 11 May, representatives of civil society will have the opportunity to discuss in greater detail their role in supporting the peace process.  The Public Forum will provide non-governmental organizations, representatives of the academic community and the media with an opportunity to discuss issues of common concern, in particular civil society solidarity with the Palestinian people, as well as the relationship between African civil society and international efforts to support a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Invited to the Forum will be renowned experts, in particular those with expertise in the civil society movement, including Israelis and Palestinians.  Representatives of United Nations Members and Observers, and intergovernmental organizations, are invited as observers.

The Forum’s opening session will take place at 10 a.m. in the Senate Hall of the University of Pretoria.  The Forum is expected to be addressed by Councillor Khorombi Dau, Speaker of the Pretoria City Council, and Mr. Badji, Chairman of the Palestinian Rights Committee.  The Forum will continue in two round table discussions, during which experts will address specific issues.  During the two sessions, a broader discussion with the audience on all issues of common interest is to be expected.

The morning round table, entitled “Civil society in solidarity with the Palestinian people”, will begin at 10:30 a.m. with the participation of Amjad Atallah, President of the Strategic Assessment Initiative, Washington, D.C.; Mr. Levy, columnist at Ha’aretz newspaper; Adewale Adesoji Adeeyo, Publisher and Chairman of The Anchor Newspapers, Abuja; and Tayseer Arouri, Lecturer at Birzeit University and Member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Central Council.  The presentations will be followed by a broader discussion among the participants.

After a short lunch break, the afternoon round table, beginning at 2 p.m., will be devoted to “Joining forces -- African civil society and worldwide initiatives to support a peaceful solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.  Presentations will be made by Dan Kashagama, General Secretary of the African Unification Front, Nairobi; Diana Buttu, Former Legal Adviser to the PLO Negotiating Team and former Communications Director to the Palestinian President, Ramallah; Roelf Meyer, consultant on peace processes, Pretoria; Phyllis Bennis, Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Washington, D.C.; and Vasu Gounden, Executive Director of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, Durban.  A broader discussion will follow.

The closing of the Forum will take place at 4:30 p.m.  It will be addressed by Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele, Deputy Secretary-General of the African National Congress; Mr. Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine; and Chairman Badji.

The Public Forum will be conducted in English only.

Reports of both events will be issued, in due course, as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat.

All sessions of the African Meeting and the Public Forum are open to the media.


Participants and observers, including media representatives, are required to register and obtain Meeting badges prior to entering the conference room.  Please bring a legitimate photo ID to register, such as a national passport, national ID, press card or university ID, together with the letter of invitation.  A registration area will be set up in the foyer to the Jacaranda Room at the Sheraton Hotel.  Civil society representatives, including media, registering for the African Meeting, can, at the same time, register for the Public Forum.  Badges of the African Meeting issued to delegations of Governments and intergovernmental organizations will be valid for the Public Forum.  Advance registration will be held on Monday and Tuesday, 7 and 8 May, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Hotel Sheraton Pretoria.  Registration on Wednesday, 9 May, will start at 8:30 a.m.    Representatives of civil society, including the media, will have to register on Monday and Tuesday.  On Wednesday morning, 9 May, registration is reserved for participating delegations only.

For the Public Forum, participants and observers, including media representatives, are required to register and obtain badges prior to entering the Senate Hall.  A registration area will be set up in the foyer to the Senate Hall at the Administration Building of the University of Pretoria, Lynwood Road, Hatfield.  Registration on Friday, 11 May, will start at 9 a.m.

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For information media • not an official record

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