Question of Palestine home
11 January 1989
PROVISIONAL VERBATIM RECORD OF THE TWO THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED AND FORTY-FIRST MEETING
Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Wednesday, 11 January 1989, at 3.30 p.m.
Mr. LI Luye
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Sir Crispin TICKELL
United States of America
This record contains the original text of speeches delivered in English and interpretations of speeches in the other languages. The final text will be printed in the
Official Records of the Security Council.
Corrections should be submitted to original speeches only. They should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned,
within one week,
to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, Department of Conference Services, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.
89-60254/A 1200V (E)
The meeting was called to order at 4.45 p.m.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
The agenda was adopted.
LETTER DATED 4 JANUARY 1989 FROM THE CHARGE D'AFFAIRES A.I. OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF THE LIBYAN ARAB JAMAHIRIYA TO THE UNITED NATIONS ADDRESSED TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL (S/20364)
LETTER DATED 4 JANUARY 1989 FROM THE CHARGE D'AFFAIRES A.I. OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF BAHRAIN TO THE UNITED NATIONS ADDRESSED TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL (S/20367)
: In accordance with the decisions taken at the previous meetings on this item, I invite the representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to take a place at the Council table; I invite the representatives of Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Democratic Yemen, the German Democratic Republic, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Malta, Morocco, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Zimbabwe to take the places reserved for them at the side of the Council Chamber.
At the invitation of the President, Mr. Treiki (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) took a place at the Council table', Mr. Dost (Afghanistan), Mr. Shaker (Bahrain)
Mr. Mohiuddin (Bangladesh), Mr. Pah (Burkina Faso), Mrs. De Florez Prida (Cuba)
Mr. Zapotocky (Czechoslovakia), Mr. Al-Alfi (Denocratic Yemen), Mr. Zachmann (German Democratic Republic), Mr. Dasgupta (India), Mr. Madarshahi (Islamic Republic of Iran), Mr. Khamsy (Lao People's Democratic Republic)
Mr. Rakotondramboa (Madagascar), Mr. Diakite(Mali),Mr. Borg Olivier (Malta)
Mr. Bennouna (Morocco), Mr. Sevilla Boza (Nicaragua), Mr. Shah Nawaz (Pakistan)
Mr. Noworyta (Poland), Mr. Tanasie (Romania), Mr. Adam (Sudan), Mr. Al-Masri (Syrian Arab Republic), Mr. Karoui (Tunisia), Mr. Kamunanwire (Uganda)
Mr. Al-Suwaidi (United Arab Emirates), Mr. Mansour (Yemen) and Mr. Mudenge (Zimbabwe) took the places reserved for them at the side of the Council Chamber.
I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Bulgaria, Mongolia and the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic in which they request to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item on the Council's agenda. In accordance with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite those representatives to participate in the discussion, without the right to vote, in conformity with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council's provisional rules of procedure.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
At the invitation of the President, Mr. Stresov (Bulgaria), Mr. Maksinov (Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic) and Mr. Dugersuren (Mongolia) took the places reserved for them at the side of the Council Chamber.
: I should like to inform the Council that I have received a letter dated 9 January 1989 from the Alternate Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, which reads as follows:
"I have the honour to request that, in accordance with its previous practice, the Security Council invite the Alternate Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations to participate in the debate on the item entitled 'Letter dated 4 January 1989 from the Charge d'affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/20364)' and 'Letter dated 4 January 1989 from the Charge d'affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Bahrain to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/20367)'".
The request is not made pursuant to rule 37 or rule 39 of the provisonal rules of procedure of the Security Council, but if it is approved the Council will invite the Alternate Permanent Observer of Palestine to participate, not under rule 37 or rule 39, but with the same rights of participation as under rule 37.
Does any member of the Security Council wish to speak on this request?
(United States of America): The United States will vote against the proposal before the Security Council on two grounds. First, we believe that the Council does not have before it a valid request to speak. Secondly, the United States maintains that the Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) should be granted permission to speak only if the request complies with rule 39 of the rules of procedure. In our view, it would be unwarranted and unwise for the Council to break with its own practice and its own rules.
Members of the Security Council, let us ask ourselves this question, does a decision to break with our own rules and procedures enlarge or diminish the Council's ability to play a constructive role in the Middle East peace process? My delegation firmly believes such a decision diminishes the Council's ability to play such a role.
As all members of the Council are aware, it is a long-standing practice that Observers do not have the right to speak in the Security Council at their own request. Rather, a request must be made on the Observer's behalf by a Member State. My Government sees no justification for any departure from existing practice.
It is clear that General Assembly resolutions are not binding on the Security Council. In any event, there is nothing in resolutions recently adopted by the General Assembly that would warrant a change in Security Council practice. General Assembly resolution 43/177, which purported to change the designation of the PLO Mission, did so
"without prejudice to the observer status and functions of the Palestine Liberation Organization within the United Nations system, in conformity with relevant United Nations resolutions and practice".
That resolution does not constitute recognition of any State of Palestine, and the United States and the majority of the Members of the United Nations do not recognize such a State. Additionally, we note that in his letter to the President of the Security Council the observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization asked to participate in the debate on the Libyan incident
"in accordance with [the] previous practice"
of the Security Council.
The United States has consistently taken the position that under the provisional rules of procedure of the Security Council the only legal basis on which the Council may grant a hearing to persons speaking on behalf of non-governmental entities is rule 39.
For four decades the United States has supported a generous interpretation of rule 39 and would not object had this matter been appropriately raised under that rule. We are, however, opposed to special
departures from orderly procedure.
The United States consequently opposes extending to the PLO the same rights to Participate in the proceedings of the Security Council as if that organization represented a Member State of the United Nations. We believe in listening to all points of view, but not if that requires violating our own rules. In particular, the United States does not agree with the recent practice of the Security Council, which appears selectively to try to enhance the prestige of those who wish to speak to the Council through a departure from the rules of procedure. We consider this special practice to be without legal foundation and to constitute an abuse of the rules.
For all those reasons the United States requests that the terms of the proposed invitation be put to the vote. Of course, the United States will vote against the proposal.
: If no other member of the Council wishes to speak at this stage, I shall take it that the Council is ready to vote on the request by Palestine.
It is so decided.
A vote was taken by show of hands.
: Algeria, Brazil, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Finland, Malaysia, Nepal, Senegal, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Yugoslavia
: United States of America
: Canada, France, United Kingdom of Great Briain and Northern Ireland
: The result of the voting is as follows: 11 votes in favour, 1 against and 3 abstentions. The request has therefore been approved.
At the invitation of the President, Mr. Al-Kidwa (Palestine) took the place reserved for him at the side of the Council Chamber.
I shall now call on those representatives who have asked to be allowed to make statements after the voting.
Sir Crispin TICKELL
(United Kingdom): With regard to the request that has just been approved, as a result of which the Alternate Permanent Observer of Palestine will take part in the current debate in the Council, the United Kingdom abstained, as it did in the past when similar proposals were made regarding the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the Council's proceedings
Our abstention on this occasion - and in the future if the same proposal should be made again - does not mean that the United Kingdom has recognized the State of Palestine, as proclaimed unilaterally by the Palestine National Council on 15 November 1988 in Algiers. Our abstention should not be taken as implying any change in my Government's position on that matter.
(Canada) (interpretation from French)-. Canada abstained in the vote on the request to allow the Alternate Permanent Observer of Palestine to address the Security Council directly, because the request did not conform with the procedure followed in the past, when the proposal was made by a sponsor country.
Canada also wishes to draw the attention of members of the Council to General Assembly resolution 43/177 on the question of Palestine, which does not change the procedure and whose operative paragraph 3 is explicit in that respect. Canada does not oppose the Observer of Palestine's being heard in United Nations bodies, but it believes that the past procedure should continue to be followed. Furthermore, Canada recalls that it has not recognized the Palestinian State proclaimed in Algiers.
With regard to communications between Palestine and the United Nations and its various organs, Canada believes that General Assembly resolution 43/16^ which is relevant in this case, plainly addresses the direct circulation of those Communications as official documents of the United Nations and its various organs.
(Finland): My delegation's vote was based on the belief that the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) should be given the opportunity to participate in the Security Council debate in accordance with Previous practice. I wish to make it clear, however, that we do not regard the outcome of the vote as a change in the observer status of the PLO at the United Nations. For good or ill, the practice of granting an invitation to participate in Council debates, without the right to vote, has been given very wide application in recent years. In our view it should follow from today's decision that States which are not Members of the United Nations must also be entitled to have their requests to participate submitted to the Council for a decision without intermediaries.
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