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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
A/C.2/55/SR.34
15 November 2000

Second Committee

Summary record of the 34th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Wednesday, 15 November 2000, at 10 a.m.

Chairman: Mr. Niculescu .................................................................(Romania)


Contents

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Agenda item 98: Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (continued)

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The meeting was called to order at 10.40 a.m.

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Agenda item 98: Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (continued) (A/C.2/55/L.7/Rev.1)


Draft resolution A/C.2/55/L.7/Rev.1

23. The Chairman said that informal consultations on draft resolution A/C.2/55/L.7/Rev.1 had failed to reach a consensus.

24. If he heard no objection, he would take it that the Committee wished to put the draft resolution to a vote.

25. It was so decided.

26. Mr. Gamaleldin (Egypt) recalled that, in fact, one delegation had earlier requested a vote on the draft resolution. He urged all delegations to vote in favour of the draft resolution, which was consistent with the principle of international law, thus reaffirming their commitment to the resumption of the peace process. His delegation would continue to present a draft resolution on that topic every year until a successful and just conclusion of the Middle East peace process was achieved.

27. Mr. Megiddo (Israel), speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, said it was regrettable that the debate in the Second Committee was being used as a platform for levelling accusations against his country. Draft resolution A/C.2/55/L.7/Rev.1 was completely superfluous for it contributed nothing to the Committee’s consideration of pressing global issues.

28. The issue of control over natural resources was already covered by the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, signed on 28 September 1995. Furthermore, Israel and the Palestinian Authority had agreed to resolve all outstanding issues through direct negotiations. The Middle East was at a crucial crossroads, which could either lead to a resumption of negotiations based on the ideas discussed at Camp David or to violence, creating continuous instability in the region and threatening to undo all the progress achieved over the previous seven years. Israel was willing to accept the existence of a Palestinian state within the framework of a comprehensive bilateral agreement. However, it was opposed to the attempt by one side to advance its goals by unilateral action, which stood in direct contradiction to the principles of the peace process. Such an attempt would only fuel continued violence. His Government had repeatedly made clear that its objective was a negotiated peace settlement that would bring calm and security to all the people of the region. The subject of natural resources would be negotiated within the framework of such a peace settlement.

29. The peace process had already brought tangible economic and social benefits to the Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority. Those positive developments were a direct result of the peace process and the period of calm which had preceded the latest Palestinian violence. Had an agreement been concluded at Camp David, not only could the present situation have been avoided, but Israel and the Palestinian Authority would have negotiated other topics, including the subject of draft resolution A/C.2/55/L.7/Rev.1.

30. It was regrettable that the Committee should be discussing a draft resolution which was aimed at predetermining the outcome of issues that were to be directly negotiated between the parties themselves. The consideration of a draft resolution on sovereignty over natural resources was another attempt to intervene in matters relating to the peace process, which lay outside the scope of the Second Committee.

31. Israel would therefore vote against the draft resolution and urged other delegations which supported the peace process and the path of direct negotiations to do the same.

32. Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley (United States of America) said that her delegation continued to oppose the draft resolution on natural resources in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights for several reasons. It was inappropriate to interject the General Assembly into issues that were the subject of negotiations between the parties. The outcome of those negotiations should not be prejudged by United Nations resolutions. Despite the many difficulties on the road to peace, the two parties continued to reiterate their commitment to returning to the negotiating table.

33. The United States also objected to the reference to “the occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem” as another attempt to prejudge the final status negotiations. The United Nations must focus on strengthening its role as a facilitator of the peace process. Her delegation would welcome the opportunity to vote for a draft resolution that demonstrated the support and encouragement of the international community for the peace process. Unfortunately, the present unbalanced text did not meet the test. The United States would vote against it and urged other delegations to do the same.

34. A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:
Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:
Israel, United States of America.

Abstaining:
Kazakhstan, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of).

35. Draft resolution A/C.2/55/L.7/Rev.1 was adopted by 131 votes to 2, with 3 abstentions.*

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* The delegation of Bangladesh subsequently informed the Committee that it had intended to vote in favour of the draft resolution.


36. Mr. Bigot (France), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the Union had voted in favour of the draft resolution because it believed that the natural resources of any territory acquired by force should not be used illegally or inappropriately by the occupying Power. However, he wished to clarify the interpretation which the European Union gave to certain aspects of the draft resolution. He reaffirmed that the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 was applicable to the occupied Territory, and that any violation of the rights of the Palestinian people was illegal under the terms of that Convention. However, the issues raised in the draft resolution should be addressed in the framework of the final status negotiations of the Middle East peace process, which the Union hoped would be resumed as soon as possible. The resolution just adopted should not therefore be considered as being prejudicial to or prejudging the outcome of the negotiations. Any action or statement that could be so interpreted should be avoided.

37. Mr. Hirata (Japan) said that his Government had been deeply concerned over the recent clashes between the Israelis and Palestinians, which had caused 200 deaths and thousands of injuries. It deplored the fact that the clashes were continuing in spite of the understandings that the parties had reached on ending the violence. Japan urged the parties concerned to fully honour all the commitments they had made, in order to break the vicious circle of violence and restore calm in the region as soon as possible.

38. A negotiated peace was the only way to solve all outstanding issues and achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region. Japan would continue to fully support the parties concerned in their efforts to that end. In that spirit, his delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolution. His delegation felt strongly about the second part of paragraph 4 of the draft resolution, which expressed the hope that the issue discussed in the draft would be dealt with in the framework of the final status negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

39. His delegation’s support for the draft resolution was not intended to prejudge the outcome of the final status negotiations. Also, its acceptance of the words “permanent sovereignty” used in the draft resolution did not imply any changes in its position on the legal status of “occupied territories”. Finally, in his delegation’s view, the Second Committee was not the most appropriate forum for considering that type of text, since the issue involved was fundamentally political in nature.

40. Mr. Jilani (Observer for Palestine) thanked the sponsors of the draft resolution and the States which had voted in favour of it. The vote demonstrated the international community’s support for the peace process. In his view, there was no contradiction between the current peace process and respect for international law and international humanitarian law. Unilateral action, such as the building of illegal settlements and the confiscation of land and water, contravened international law. It was regrettable that one permanent member of the Security Council had objected to the reference to “the occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem” even though 25 Security Council resolutions reaffirmed that the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 was applicable to the occupied Territory. His delegation remained committed to the peace process and to the principles of the peace process which had been agreed upon at the Madrid Conference in 1990.

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The meeting rose at 12.15 p.m.

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This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of publication to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.


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