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

18 September 1980

Committee on Rights of
Palestinian People
56th Meeting (AM)


The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People this morning adopted portions of its 1980 report to the General Assembly, including its introduction, mandate, organization of work and action taken by the Committee.

Those sections -- I through III and part of section IV -- were all approved by consensus by the 23-nation Committee. Other portions of the section on actions of the Committee and the section containing the recommendations of the Committee to the Assembly, will be considered when the Committee meets again. (This report is not available as a document.)

Today, the Committee also decided it would issue as Committee documents two reports of seminars on Palestinian rights held this summer -- one in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania from 14 to 18 July, the second, in Vienna, from 25-29 August.

During a discussion preceding that decision, the representative of Egypt expressed the desire that the Committee discuss portions of the seminar reports dealing with the Camp David Accords. Falilou Kane (Senegal), the Chairman, stressed that the reports would be documents issued by the Committee, but would not be considered as reports of the Committee. Not "even a comma" could be changed, as the reports had been written by participating experts and reflected their views.

Resolution 34/65D of the General Assembly called for the holding of four such seminars, two in 1980 and two in 1981.

Victor Gauci (Malta), the Committee Rapporteur, introduced the draft report of the Committee to the Assembly, stating it had been dealt with at a meeting of the Committee's Working Group on 16 September.

Among other things, Mr. Gauci said the Working Group had also discussed a special poster issue and permanent exhibit on Palestinian rights and a proposal by the Vienna seminar that an international conference to consider the plight of the Arab inhabitants of occupied territories be held. Those matters should be discussed by the Committee, he suggested.

Mr. Kane, the Chairman, informed the Committee he had accepted an invitation to address the World Parliament of Peoples for Peace in Sofia, Bulgaria from 23 to 27 September 1980.

Mr. Gauci (Malta), the Rapporteur, said that a number of other invitations to address various groups had been received. He hoped Committee members would volunteer their services, as this was an important aspect of the Committee's work.

At the outset of this morning's meeting, Mr. Kane (Senegal), the Chairman said the death of Feliz Garcia-Rodriguez the Cuban diplomat, affected the entire diplomatic community in New York, and he hoped the host country and the United Nations would take measures to ensure the "perfect safety" of all diplomats.

Raul Roa-Kouri (Cuba) acknowledged the condolences and said he had already denounced the killing in the General Assembly. Seven attacks had taken place on the Cuban mission and its personnel in two years, and this was the first one to result in death. Such "barbaric attacks" had to be prevented in the future.

Discussion of Report of Committee to Assembly

MAHMOUD F. EL-SAID (Egypt) said that in paragraph 31, there was "excessive paraphrasing" of resolution 34/65 B and a resolution passed by a "low vote", and that had created a great deal of controversy. He suggested the paragraph stop after the first sentence.

Paragraph 31 reads: "The Committee deems it necessary to stress once more that the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, is indispensable to a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine which is at the heart of the Middle East conflict. The Committee recalled that in resolution 34/65 B the General Assembly had noted with concern that the Camp David Accords have been concluded outside the framework of the United Nations and without the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people; that the resolution had rejected those provisions of the Accords which ignored, infringed upon, violated or denied the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people including the right of return, the right of self-determination and the right to national independence and sovereignty in Palestine, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and which envisaged and condoned continued Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories occuped by Israel since 1967; that it strongly condemned all partial agreements and separate treaties which constitute a flagrant violation of the rights of the Palestinian people, the principle of the Charter and the resolutions adopted in the various international forums on the Palestinian issue, and declared that the Camp David Accords and other agreements had no validity in so far as they purport to determine the future of the Palestinian people and of the Palestinian territories occupied in Israel since 1967."

ZEHDI LABIB TERZI, of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said he was touched by the "excessive sensitivity" of Egypt. The Camp David Accords were a "flagrant violation" of the United Nations resolutions, and that should be shown in the report. The Camp David Accords had brought nothing to the Palestinian people but misery, he said.

SAID A. K. BAFI (Iraq) said the Committee had a good opportunity to voice its feeling over the "wretched and miserable" Camp David Accords and it should do so. Paragraph 31 should remain as is.

Mr. EL-SAID (Egypt) then said Egyptians had never participated in assassination squads which had roamed all over the world killing Palestians.

EFIM K. KATCHOURENKO (Ukraine) said no one was surprised at the "negative attitude" of the representative of Egypt. He wished to delete language from the report which was included in General Assembly resolution 34/65 B. Did he want the Committee to forget the resolution? he asked. Resolutions of the General Assembly could not be revised.

Mr. ROA-KOURI (Cuba) said General Assembly resolutions were binding. He did not believe that the paragraph should be reduced as the representative of Egypt had expressed. It should be retained as it stood.

Mr. EL-SAID (Egypt) failed to understand the logic of singling out a resolution adopted by the lowest majority ever in the General Assembly. He had strong reservations about retaining the paragraph as it stood. He would not reply to the remarks of the representative of the Ukraine.

ISSELMOU OULD SIDI AHMED VALL (Mauritania) said the report was factual and the questions dealt with were extremely important. He wished to retain the paragraph as it stood.

Mr. EL-SAID (Egypt) also said he had "strong reservations" on paragraph 37 which singled out one negative resolution of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Jordan in July.

Discussion of Seminar Reports

NABIL A. ELARABY (Egypt) said the approach of the Committee to these two seminars on Palestinian Rights held in Arusha and Vienna should be clarified. As they were United Nations seminars, they should remain in the context of the United Nations Charter and its resolutions. The Committee could not criticize an agreement reached by a Member State to recover its territory in accordance with United Nations resolutions.

The content of the reports had to be discussed at some point. He said two paragraphs of the report from Vienna -- mentioning the Camp David Accords -- had not been agreed on by consensus and the drafting of those paragraphs had been left to the Chairmen. He wished the Committee to discuss those two paragraphs. The report as drafted contained "inconsistencies".

Mr. TERZI, of the Palestine Liberation Organization said someone was "deliberately trying to obstruct the work of the Committee, on the eve of its submitting its report to the General Assembly". He did not see how the Committee could "interfere" in the work of seminars already completed.

Mr. KATCHOURENKO (Ukraine) said that it was logical the reports should be published as Committee documents. The Committee could not ammend "even a comma" in those reports.

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For information media - not an official record