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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
A/49/PV.88
14 December 1994

United Nations
General Assembly
Forty-ninth Session
88th Meeting
Wednesday, 14 December 1994, 3 p.m.
New York
Official Records

President: Mr. Essy ................................................................(Côte d'Ivoire)

In the absence of the President, Mr. Ansari (India), Vice-President, took the Chair.

The meeting was called to order at 3.30 p.m.

/...

Agenda item 40 (continued)

Question of Palestine

(a) Report of the Secretary-General (A/49/636)

(b) Draft resolutions (A/49/L.53, L.54, L.55, L.56)

The President: Members will recall that the General Assembly concluded its debate on this agenda item at its 72nd meeting, on 30 November.

I now call upon the Acting Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to introduce draft resolutions A/49/L.53 to L.56.

Mr. Remírez de Estenoz Barciela (Cuba), Acting Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (interpretation from Spanish): On behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, I have the honour to introduce draft resolutions A/49/L.53, L.54, L.55 and L.56. These texts all refer to the question of Palestine and have been drafted in the light of recent developments in the peace process, which the Committee has welcomed and supported.

At the outset, allow me to announce that Egypt, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates have become sponsors of draft resolutions L.53, L.54 and L.55 and that Djibouti, Egypt, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and Zambia have joined the sponsors of draft resolution L.56.

The first three draft resolutions (A/49/L.53, L.54 and L.55) give mandates to the Committee, the Division for Palestinian Rights and the Department of Public Information to undertake a programme of work in their fields of competence while taking current developments into consideration.

In draft resolution L.53, the Assembly welcomes the signing of the Declaration of Principles as well as the subsequent implementation agreements, including the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area of 4 May 1994. The Assembly reaffirms that the United Nations has a permanent responsibility with regard to the question of Palestine until the question is resolved in all its aspects in a satisfactory manner in accordance with international legitimacy.

The General Assembly also considers that the Committee has the duty and, indeed, can continue to make a valuable and positive contribution to international efforts to promote the effective implementation of the Declaration of Principles and to mobilize international support and assistance to the Palestinian people during the transitional period. The Assembly endorses the recommendations of the Committee contained in its report and requests the Committee to continue to keep under review the situation relating to the question of Palestine and to report and make suggestions to the General Assembly or to the Security Council, as appropriate. It also authorizes the Committee to continue to exert all efforts to promote the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, to make such adjustments in its programme of work as it may consider appropriate and necessary in the light of developments, and to give special emphasis to the need to mobilize support and assistance for the Palestinian people and to report thereon to the General Assembly at its fiftieth session and thereafter. The Assembly also requests the Committee to continue to extend its cooperation to non-governmental organizations and to take the necessary steps to involve additional non-governmental organizations in its work.

In draft resolution L.54, which deals with the work of the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat, the General Assembly considers that the Division continues to make a useful and constructive contribution through the organization of seminars and meetings of non-governmental organizations, as well as through its various informational activities, and requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Division for Palestinian Rights with the necessary resources in accordance with existing mandates and as provided for in the current budget.

Regarding the draft resolution in document A/49/L.55, negotiations have been continuing over the past few days and, as a result of these negotiations, I should like to make the following oral revisions.

First, paragraph 2 should be replaced by the following text:

Secondly, the phrase "and in particular the achievements of the peace process" should be added at the end of paragraph 3 (b).

In this draft resolution, on the activities of the Department of Public Information, the General Assembly also

as provided for in the current budget.

Draft resolution A/49/L.56 is entitled "Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine". In it, the General Assembly reaffirms the necessity of achieving a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, in all its aspects; expresses its full support for the ongoing peace process, which began in Madrid, and the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements; expresses the hope that the process will lead to the establishment of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East; and calls for the timely and scrupulous implementation of the agreements reached between the parties towards the negotiation of the final settlement.

In the draft, the General Assembly stresses the need for the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, primarily the right to self-determination, and for the withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967. It also stresses the need for resolving the problem of the Palestine refugees in conformity with General Assembly resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948; urges Member States to expedite the provision of economic and technical assistance to the Palestinian people during this critical period; emphasizes the importance for the United Nations to play a more active and expanded role in the current peace process and in the implementation of the Declaration of Principles; and requests the Secretary-General to continue his efforts with the parties concerned, and in consultation with the Security Council, for the promotion of peace in the region and to submit progress reports on developments in this matter.

The draft resolutions I have just introduced were formulated with a firm resolve to contribute to the current peace process and to make real progress towards a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine. A number of delegations have been consulted in the drafting of these texts, which represent the view of the majority of the members of the international community on the question of Palestine.

On behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people, and in the conviction that it is now necessary not only to maintain but also to reinforce our solidarity with the Palestinian people, I invite delegations to reaffirm their support for this objective and constructive approach by voting in favour of the proposed draft resolutions.

The President: I should like to inform members of a correction to paragraph 6 of draft resolution A/49/L.54. The penultimate line of that paragraph should read as follows:

We shall now proceed to consider draft resolutions A/49/L.53 to A/49/L.56.

A number of representatives wish to speak in explanation of vote before the voting. May I remind delegations that explanations of vote are limited to 10 minutes and should be made by delegations from their seats.

Mr. Krause (Germany): I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union, Austria, Finland and Sweden.

When the General Assembly dealt with this item last year, we stated that the signing of the Declaration of Principles had created a new political context for the activities of the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people, the Division for Palestinian Rights and the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat. In our view, the time had come to end the confrontation and conflict of the past and to open up new avenues for the peaceful coexistence of the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Although some progress has been made in that direction during the past few months, we still think that there is a strong need to adapt the three aforementioned organs to better reflect the progress achieved in the peace process. Therefore, the European Union has made some concrete and constructive suggestions to this end. To our regret, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was not in a position to take those suggestions into account at this stage. Therefore, the European Union will abstain in the voting on draft resolutions A/49/L.53 and A/49/L.54. However, we have taken note with satisfaction of the fact that the PL0 has declared its readiness for early negotiations with the European Union with the aim of adapting the mandates of the three organs to the new developments of the peace process.

The European Union expresses its hope that those negotiations will be conducted in a flexible and constructive manner and that they will yield positive results. We will review our position on resolutions 49/69 A to C during the fiftieth session of the General Assembly in the light of the results achieved during those negotiations.

The European Union welcomes the substantial and positive changes made in draft resolution A/49/L.56, entitled "Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine". These changes, which to a large degree reflect concerns of the European Union, will enable us to vote unanimously in favour of this draft resolution.

Mr. Parker (United States of America): My Government is unable to support the four draft resolutions C A/49/L.53, A/49/L.54, A/49/L.55 and A/49/L.56 C which have been introduced under agenda item 40, "Question of Palestine".

Draft resolutions A/49/L.53, A/49/L.54 and A/49/L.55 are artifacts of an earlier time, largely unchanged in their focus and purpose from years past. They have been overtaken by events on the ground in the Middle East. These draft resolutions promote institutions and activities whose approach to the question of Middle East peace is unbalanced and outdated. They do not support the process of negotiation now under way directly between the parties concerned. They do not contribute to a spirit of reconciliation in the Middle East.

This would be sufficient cause for concern were it not that these institutions and activities absorb financial and human resources that could be put to better use in another way. The international community has clearly stated its support for assisting the Palestinians in building the necessary economic infrastructure and social services. We believe that the General Assembly should consider carefully whether the activities supported by these resolutions represent the most effective use of United Nations resources in support of Palestinian needs. We believe that these resources would be better spent in support of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people.

One way to do this would be to assist the Special Coordinator in the occupied territories. Mr. Larsen has only a handful of people to assist him in his vital job of stimulating Palestinian economic development. My Government strongly advocates transferring resources from the unproductive activities and committees authorized in these draft resolutions to the Special Coordinator's vitally productive efforts.

Draft resolution A/49/L.56, entitled "Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine", speaks conclusively to issues that are at this moment under direct negotiation between parties in the region. As a co-sponsor of the Madrid peace process, my Government believes that it is inappropriate and unhelpful for the General Assembly to take a position on issues that are now under direct negotiation by the parties, in a process to which they have given their solemn agreement. At this important moment, we want to support that process of negotiation, rather than focusing on issues or statements that divide and polarize.

The United States supports the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. To our regret, the lack of balance in the draft resolution before us obviates their usefulness for the achievement of that objective. We will vote against them, and we invite others to do the same.

Mr. Jacob (Israel): Since September 1993, Israel and the Arabs have made historic steps forward in the peace process. Major developments included the signing by Israel and the PLO of the Declaration of Principles on 13 September 1993, and the subsequent Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area, signed in Cairo on 4 May 1994 and the Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities, signed on 29 August 1994. On 14 September 1993, Israel and Jordan signed the agreed common agenda which led to the subsequent Washington Declaration, signed on 25 July 1994, and culminated in the signing of the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty on 26 October 1994. In addition, bilateral and multilateral negotiations continue, and we look forward to progress on all tracks of the peace process.

We had hoped that at its forty-ninth session the General Assembly would respond to the new realities in the Middle East by changing and eliminating obsolete resolutions drafted at the height of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Regrettably, this has not happened. The draft resolutions before us do not reflect the new realities, nor do they reflect our hopes for a better future. Rather, they recycle old language and ideas which have hindered, rather than helped, efforts to bring about peace in our region.

Draft resolution A/49/L.53 endorses and authorizes the work of the "Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People". Draft resolution A/49/L.54 does the same with regard to the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat. Israel has opposed the existence of these bodies since their inception. They have obstructed dialogue and understanding through a one-sided and distorted portrayal of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Indeed, they stand in contradiction to the very principles upon which the peace process is based. In addition, these bodies expend valuable resources which should be devoted to more constructive activities, such as supporting social and economic development that would benefit Palestinians.

Draft resolution A/49/L.55 requests the Department of Public Information to, among other things, disseminate information on all activities of the United Nations system relating to the question of Palestine. We believe that this too is a needless expenditure of valuable resources which could be put to better use.

Draft resolution A/49/L.56, while somewhat changed, remains essentially the same as the resolution adopted last year. Like resolution 48/158 D, it attempts to predetermine the outcome of the negotiations on issues relating to permanent status, in contradiction to the Declaration of Principles. And, like the previous resolution, draft resolution A/49/L.56 is fraught with internal contradictions. On the one hand, it claims to support the peace process which began in Madrid. On the other hand, it attempts to undermine the fundamental principle of direct negotiations without preconditions, upon which the Madrid process is based. We believe that Member States that claim to support the peace process have a responsibility to oppose this draft resolution, as it strikes at the essential principles on which the process is based.

Accordingly, Israel will vote against the draft resolutions under this agenda item. We encourage others who support the peace process to do the same.

The President: The Assembly will now take decisions on draft resolutions A/49/L.53 to A/49/L.56.

We turn first to draft resolution A/49/L.53, entitled "Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People".

We shall now begin the voting process. A recorded vote has been requested.

A recorded vote was taken.

In favour: Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Against: Israel, United States of America

Abstaining: Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Draft resolution A/49/L.53 was adopted by 103 votes to 2, with 40 abstentions (resolution 49/62 A).*

The President: We now turn to draft resolution A/49/L.54, entitled "Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat".

We shall now begin the voting process. A recorded vote has been requested.

A recorded vote was taken.

In favour: Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Against: Israel, United States of America

Abstaining: Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Draft resolution A/49/L.54 was adopted by 105 votes to 2, with 40 abstentions (resolution 49/62 B).*

The President: We turn next to draft resolution A/49/L.55, as orally revised, entitled "Department of Public Information of the Secretariat".

A recorded vote has been requested.

A recorded vote was taken.

In favour: Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Against: Israel, United States of America

Abstaining: Georgia, Russian Federation, Tajikistan

Draft resolution A/49/L.55, as orally revised, was adopted by 142 votes to 2, with 3 abstentions (resolution 49/62 C).*

The President: We turn next to draft resolution A/49/L.56, entitled "Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine".

A recorded vote has been requested.

A recorded vote was taken.

In favour: Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Against: Israel, United States of America

Abstaining: Belarus, Georgia, Marshall Islands, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Uruguay, Uzbekistan

Draft resolution A/49/L.56 was adopted by 136 votes to 2, with 7 abstentions (resolution 49/62 D).*

The President: Before calling on the first speaker in explanation of vote after the vote, I remind delegations that explanations of vote are limited to 10 minutes and should be made by delegations from their seats.

Mr. Samadi (Islamic Republic of Iran): My delegation voted in favour of the draft resolutions contained in documents A/49/L.53, L.54 and L.55. However, I would like to express my delegation's reservations concerning all parts of the draft resolutions that might be construed as any form of recognition of Israel.

My delegation did not participate in the vote on draft resolution A/49/L.56, since we believe that the recent agreements will not lead to the full restoration of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

Mr. Amer (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) (interpretation from Arabic): Draft resolutions A/49/L.53 to L.56, which the Assembly has just adopted, adequately cover the needs of the Palestinian people and will be conducive to support for all efforts towards that people's exercise of its rights. That is why we voted in favour of the draft resolutions.

We wish, however, to put on record our reservations with regard to the contents of the said resolutions that could be construed as recognition of what is known as Israel or welcome for the ongoing peace process, as we believe that that process does not provide the desired just, comprehensive and final solution to the Palestinian problem or to other problems of the Middle East.

My delegation wishes to reiterate that the resolution of the question of Palestine could be achieved only through the implementation of the many resolutions adopted by the United Nations which the international community continued to reaffirm over the past four decades. We believe that those United Nations resolutions provide the most appropriate framework for a just, comprehensive solution that would enable the Palestinian people to exercise all its legitimate inalienable rights, including the right to return to its homeland and to exercise self-determination.

The events of the recent past have shown that the efforts of the international community have helped in resolving the problem of South Africa which was similar, in many ways, to the Palestinian problem, and have enabled the people of South Africa to establish a united, non-racial and democratic State. This continues to be a model upon which the Palestinian problem could be solved through the establishment of a democratic State in Palestine wherein Arabs and Jews may live as equals.

Mr. Al-Attar (Syrian Arab Republic) (interpretation from Arabic): My delegation voted in favour of draft resolution A/49/L.56, entitled "Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine". That positive vote does not imply that we are either in favour of or against the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements and other agreements signed by Israel and Palestine, to which reference is made in the ninth and tenth preambular paragraphs and in operative paragraph 3 of the draft resolution.

Mr. Hasan (Iraq) (interpretation from Arabic): My delegation would like to express its reservations concerning the wording of the third preambular paragraph of the draft resolution in document A/49/L.53, and the wording of the fifth preambular paragraph of the draft resolution in document A/49/L.55.

The President: In accordance with General Assembly resolutions 3237 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974 and 43/177 of 15 December 1988, I now call on the Observer of Palestine.

Mr. Al-Kidwa (Palestine): Let me express our deep appreciation to all Member States that voted in favour of the draft resolutions that have just been adopted under agenda item 40, "Question of Palestine". I wish to convey special thanks to Member States that sponsored those draft resolutions, and to all members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

With the adoption of those draft resolutions, the Assembly sends the proper message to the parties by reaffirming the commitment of the international community to a just and peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and by affirming the role of the United Nations in this regard. By doing so, the Assembly contributes positively to the creation of a better atmosphere in the region and strengthens the position of all those who believe in international legitimacy and the principles of international law and who are effectively seeking a lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

We had hoped that these draft resolutions, and other draft resolutions relevant to the question of Palestine, especially those that reaffirm the rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination, would be adopted by consensus in the light of the new situation in the area, for change should take place in both directions if it is to be genuine and realistic. Unfortunately, achieving consensus was not possible, and this has basically been due to what we view as a wrong Israeli approach, one that expects the Palestinian side to give up its inalienable rights and positions in advance and expects the United Nations to give up its own responsibilities towards the question of Palestine as well C all in return for the beginning of the peace process.

Let us recall that the peace process on the Palestinian-Israeli track is still at the beginning, and furthermore deals with a transitional period. The agreement to postpone negotiations on the final settlement issues does not and should not detract from the Palestinian positions of principle on those issues, and it certainly does not and should not result in a decrease in the responsibilities of the United Nations in this regard.

No one should say that the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and those of international law and international humanitarian law, as well as Security Council resolutions, are irrelevant at any time or in any place. No one should tell the General Assembly to give up its position, enshrined in those principles. Such calls will mean the real prejudging of the outcome of the negotiations through the acceptance of the imbalance of power and the illegal de facto situations that have already been created by the Israeli side. Further, actions illegal under international law remain illegal, and do not become less illegal with the beginning of negotiations.

We had hoped for a more balanced position in the General Assembly on the part of the co-sponsors of the peace process, away from partisan support for one side or, on the other hand, from unjustified changes in position at the expense of the Palestinian people. We firmly believe that the successful development of the peace process requires, among other things, more balanced and objective positions to be taken by each of the two co-sponsors and by them together.

We do believe that the peace process has achieved important progress. We also believe that we at the United Nations have done our best to support that process and to reflect the new realities the way they are. We are sure that the international community and the United Nations will always shoulder their responsibilities in respect of the question of Palestine until a final settlement is effectively reached. Let us only hope that the parties concerned will adhere to their contractual obligations and implement the agreements reached without further delays and difficulties.

Finally, we would like to express our thanks to all Member States with which we have worked to produce what we believe to be a very good and useful package of draft resolutions, which has received overwhelming support in the Assembly. We are satisfied with today's results and we are proud of that support.

The President: The Assembly has thus concluded this stage of its consideration of agenda item 40.

/...


The meeting rose at 4.45 p.m.

Annex

Changes in recorded and/or roll-call votes

Resolution 49/62 A

Subsequent to the voting, the delegation of Angola advised the Secretariat that it had intended to vote in favour.

Resolution 49/62 A, B, C and D

Subsequent to the voting, the delegations of Afghanistan, Burundi and the Sudan advised the Secretariat that they had intended to vote in favour; the delegation of Uzbekistan had intended to vote in favour of resolution 49/62 D.


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