Communiqué of the Ministerial Meeting of the Committee on Palestine
of the Non-Aligned Movement, Pretoria, South Africa,
3 May 2001
1. The Ministerial Meeting of the Committee on Palestine of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) invited the Members of the NAM Caucus of the Security Council, the Foreign Ministers of Egypt and Jordan, the representative of the UN Secretary-General, and the Chairman of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to a meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, on 3 May 2001. The Meeting was opened by H.E. Mr. Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa and Chairman of the Movement, and was addressed by H.E. President Yasser Arafat of Palestine. The Meeting was convened to consider the tragic situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, the derailment of the Middle East peace process, and the dangerously deteriorating situation in the Middle East as a whole.
2. The Ministers reiterated the traditional support of the Movement for the Palestinian people and the realization of their inalienable rights, including the establishment of their Independent State with Jerusalem as its capital. They reiterated the Movement's support for the Middle East peace process on its agreed basis, including the principle of land for peace, and stressed the importance of the establishment of comprehensive peace in the Middle East region.
3. The Ministers also reiterated the permanent responsibility of the United Nations towards the question of Palestine. In this regard, they stressed the specific responsibilities of the Security Council in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. They welcomed the involvement of the Secretary-General in the Middle East peace process and they also expressed their support for the work of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
4. Guided by the clear positions taken by the XII Summit of NAM held in Durban, South Africa in September 1998, as well as the Ministerial meetings held since the Summit, the Ministers specifically called for the following:
4.1 Reinvigorating the Middle East peace process.
4.2 Cessation of violence, destruction and punishing measures.
The Ministers called for the immediate implementation of the existing Palestinian-Israeli agreements and for the resumption of negotiations on a final settlement agreement covering all issues, with the aim of implementing Security Council resolution 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and taking into consideration the progress made by the parties in previous negotiations.
The Ministers called upon the cosponsors of the peace process and all other concerned and interested parties to support existing Israeli-Palestinian agreements and their implementation, as well as to increase their engagement towards the successful and speedy conclusion of a final settlement. The Ministers expressed their support in this regard for the Egyptian-Jordanian initiative. In this regard they welcomed the commitment made and support expressed by President Arafat to the said initiative.
4.3 The provision of protection for Palestinian civilians under Israeli occupation.
The Ministers called for an end to the excessive use of force by the Israeli occupying forces, cessation of destruction, closures, extrajudicial killings and all kinds of collective punishment against the Palestinian people. They also called for the immediate and full cessation of all settlement activities, which are illegal under international law. The Ministers also called on the parties to take the necessary steps and confidence building measures to bring the bloodshed and deterioration of the situation to an end. The Ministers called for the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1322 (2000) and resolution ES-10/7 of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly. They also called for the immediate implementation of the understandings reached at Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt, including the return to positions and arrangements prior to 28 September 2000.
4.4 Enforcement of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem.
The Ministers noted previous attempts to provide for appropriate international presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, to contribute in the provision of protection for Palestinian civilians. They also noted with appreciation the recent initiatives by the NAM Caucus to establish through the United Nations Security Council a mechanism for such protection, including the establishment of a United Nations observer force. The Ministers stressed the critical importance for the provision of protection for Palestinian civilians, including through action by the Security Council.
5. In conclusion, the Ministers decided to remain seized with the matter and called for all Members of the Movement to lend their full support towards achieving the above-mentioned goals. In this regard, they expressed their appreciation to the Members of the NAM Security Council Caucus for their efforts. They also urged Members of the international community to work with Members of the Movement with the aim of reaching agreement on the necessary steps to be taken. The Ministers recommended that the Movement mandate the Chair to work with the various forces influential in the Middle East conflict for the achievement of a just, durable and comprehensive peace which will enable the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable rights in freedom and sovereignty in their independent homeland.
The Ministers stressed the necessity of upholding international humanitarian law and recalled the obligations of the High Contracting Parties to the four Geneva Conventions to respect and ensure respect of the Conventions in accordance with common article 1 of the four Conventions. They called for the resumption of the Conference of High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention in accordance with the statement adopted by the Conference on 15 July 1999 in Geneva and in light of the continuing grave breaches and serious violations of the Convention by Israel, the occupying Power.