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


ECOSOC/6090
24 July 2003
ECOSOC ADOPTS RECOMMENDATIONS OF SUBSIDIARY COMMISSIONS,
OTHER RESOLUTIONS, DECISIONS

Adopts Texts on INSTRAW, Information and Communication
Technologies, Ad Hoc Group on Guinea-Bissau, Israeli Occupation

(Reissued as received.)


GENEVA, 24 July (UN Information Service) -- The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) this afternoon continued to take action on recommendations from its subsidiary bodies, as well as on other resolutions and decisions on issues related to the International Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), information and communication technologies for development, Guinea-Bissau, human rights mechanisms, and the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of Palestinian and Arab people in the occupied territories.

ECOSOC decided, in a vote of 36 in favour and 3 against, with 14 abstentions, to take action and waive the 24-hour rule on a recently amended resolution on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab populations in the occupied Syrian Golan.

By the terms of the text, adopted in a vote of 48 in favour, and 2 against, with 3 abstentions, ECOSOC stressed the need to preserve the territorial integrity of all of the occupied Palestinian territory and to guarantee the freedom of movement of persons and goods in the territory, including the removal of restrictions on going into and from East Jerusalem, and the freedom of movement to and from the outside world.  Member States were also urged to encourage private foreign investment in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, in infrastructure, job-creation projects and social development in order to alleviate the hardship of the Palestinian people and improve living conditions.

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ECOSOC also took note of the annual overview report of the United Nations system Chief Executives Board for Coordination, 2002 (E/2003/55); and the report prepared by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan (E/2003/21); and Part I of the Report of the Commission on Human Rights on its fifty-ninth session (E/2003/23).

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Action on Resolutions and Decisions

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Subsequent to a call for an immediate vote on resolution E/2003/L.26 on which, under the rules of procedure of the Council, the representatives of Sweden and Australia spoke against and the representatives of Pakistan and Cuba spoke in favour of the move to an immediate vote, the Council adopted, by a vote of 36 in favour, 3 against with 14 abstentions, the move to an immediate vote on draft resolution E/2003/L.26.

The Council, preceding to the immediate vote called for by Egypt, adopted, by a vote of 48 in favour, 2 against, with 3 abstentions, resolution E/2003/L.26 on the Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab populations in the occupied Syrian Golan (E/2003/L.26), as amended.  By the text of the resolution, ECOSOC stressed the need to preserve the territorial integrity of all of the occupied Palestinian territory and to guarantee the freedom of movement of persons and goods in the territory, including the removal of restrictions on going into and from East Jerusalem, and the freedom of movement to and from the outside world.  ECOSOC also stressed the need of the work of the organizations and agencies of the United Nations and of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority; urged Member States to encourage private foreign investment in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, in infrastructure, job-creation projects and social development in order to alleviate the hardship of the Palestinian people and improve living conditions.

The results were as follows:

In favour(48):  Andorra, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burundi, Chile, China, Congo, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Sweden, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe.

Against(2):  Georgia, and United States.

Abstentions(3):  Australia, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

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Comments on Resolution on Economic and Social Repercussions of Israeli Occupation on Living Conditions of Palestinian People and Arab Populations in Occupied Territories

Making a general comment as a concerned State, a representative of Syria said that this decision should have been adopted at the previous meeting of the Council.  The Arab Group had garnered much support for the draft resolution, and had made a reference to the Road Map, which had been agreed by the European Union (EU).  The EU also wished to support the Road Map as the basis for a just solution to the situation in the Middle East.  Failure to adopt this draft resolution would lead Syria to insist on the need for a just and lasting peace on the basis of all the internationally accepted resolutions and the Madrid Process.

Speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, a representative of the United States expressed her disappointment in the occurrences of this meeting, which had violated norms of conduct of the Council.  There had been no reason to push for an immediate vote on this draft resolution.  Moreover, her delegation had already affirmed the US President’s commitment to assisting the two parties concerned in the conflict in the Middle East on the road to peace.  Yet the Council still had before it an unbalanced draft resolution.  One would not know from this resolution that there had been any Israeli deaths.  By the standards of this draft resolution, Palestinian deaths deserved international attention, but Israeli deaths did not.  The United States could not support such a position.  Secondly, the draft resolution made reference to issues not within the competence of the Council, issues which were dealt with directly in later stages of the Road Map.  The United States could not support the resolution and asked all those supporting the Road Map to vote against it as well.

A representative of Australia expressed deep disappointment that her delegation had not received 24 hours to consider the amendments proposed to this draft resolution.  Moreover, Australia felt that resolutions of this kind should be dealt with in the appropriate forum, which was not ECOSOC.  For this reason, Australia would abstain.

Speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, a representative of Japan said he had voted in favour.  There had been recent positive developments including the acceptance of the Road Map by both sides, and the announcements of truces by several Palestinian factions.  Yet, he reiterated the point that the agenda was a political issue that had been discussed in other United Nations forums; it was inappropriate to discuss this matter in ECOSOC.

A representative of Peru said that he firmly and wholeheartedly supported the peace process and hoped that the efforts of the Quartet would result in a halting of violence.

A representative of the Russian Federation said that he had voted in favour of the resolution.  As one of the Quartet, his country was interested in the full implementation of the Road Map and was grateful to the cosponsors of the resolution for agreeing to make amendments, which had ultimately allowed the Russian Federation to vote in favour of it.  However, the Russian Federation continued to feel that this was a purely political issue that should be discussed within those United Nations forums competent as such, the General Assembly and Security Council.

A representative of China said that a series of measures had been adopted by the parties to get negotiations back on track, a change welcomed by the Chinese Government.  There was an historic opportunity at present and China trusted that all parties concerned would seize this opportunity to promote the peace process.  The international community and particularly the United Nations had to play a more important role in resolving the conflict in the Middle East.  China was prepared to work to this end.

A representative of Israel, speaking as a concerned State, said he viewed the resolution as one-sided.  It called upon Israel to take unilateral measures and strayed far from the original subject of the living conditions of the Palestinian people.  Israel felt it was incumbent upon all members of the Quartet to desist from past policies of singling out one party to the conflict in multilateral forums and adopting one-sided resolutions.

A representative of Palestine extended his sincere appreciation to all those who had voted in favour of the resolution.  He drew attention to the fact that the United States delegation had voted against the resolution, knowing that it welcomed the Road Map, which was against the public policy of United States President Bush.  Moreover, the Israeli delegation represented a country that daily killed Palestinians and occupied Palestinian land by force.  Was it natural for the international community to take a stand for peace and for the United States and Israel to stand against it?

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