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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
Distr.
GENERAL
A/AC.183/SR.153
23 May 1988

ORIGINAL: ENGLISH

COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 153rd MEETING

Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Thursday, 19 May 1988, at 10.30 a.m.



Chairman: Mr. ORAMAS-OLIVA (Cuba)

CONTENTS


Adoption of the agenda

Statement by the Chairman

Report on the European Regional Seminar held at Berlin, German Democratic Republic, from 25 to 29 April 1988

Report by the Bureau concerning seminars and NGO meetings to be held in 1988

Other matters


This record is subject to correction.

Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, Department of Conference Services, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza.

Any corrections to the record of this meeting and of other meetings will be issued in a corrigendum.

The meeting was called to order at 10.50 a.m.


ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

1. The agenda was adopted.

STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN

2. The CHAIRMAN said that, in his capacity as Acting Chairman of the Committee, he had addressed a letter dated 13 May 1988 to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council (A/43/362-S/19881), in which he had reiterated the Committee's serious concern at the continued grave situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. The developments referred to in the letter showed that Israel, despite all the appeals and efforts of the international community, had chosen the path of military repression and continued occupation of the Palestinian territories regardless of the cost in lives and human suffering.

3. Those repressive policies and practices by Israel, which were in contravention of the fourth Geneva Convention, international human rights instruments and United Nations resolutions, were aimed at preventing the Palestinian people from exercising its inalienable rights and posed grave obstacles to the attainment of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region. In that connection, it was regrettable that draft resolutions submitted to the Security Council to ensure respect for the fourth Geneva Convention and promote a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the core of which was the question of Palestine, had twice been vetoed by a permanent member despite the unanimous support of all other members of the Council. It was therefore necessary for the Committee to reiterate its appeal to all concerned to take all possible measures for ensuring the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilians under occupation and take the necessary steps to convene the International Peace Conference on the Middle East in accordance with General Assembly resolution 38/58 C.

REPORT ON THE EUROPEAN REGIONAL SEMINAR HELD AT BERLIN, GERMAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC, FROM 25 TO 29 APRIL 1988

4. Mr. BORG-OLIVIER (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the Nineteenth United Nations Seminar on the Question of Palestine, which had been hosted by the Government of the German Democratic Republic, had held eight meetings during which 14 panelists had presented papers and participated in panel discussions on the uprising in the occupied Palestinian territories and the urgency of convening the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, the role of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the question of Palestine and European public opinion. Representatives of 37 Governments, the Palestine Liberation Organization, United Nations bodies and specialized agencies, non-governmental organizations and the mass media had attended the Seminar.

5. The report of the Seminar, which had been adopted unanimously, contained summaries of the panel discussions and conclusions and recommendations based on the deliberations. The Seminar had taken place at a crucial time in the struggle of the Palestinian people to regain its inalienable rights. The conclusions and recommendations adopted provided a sound basis for action both at the governmental and non-governmental levels. The participants had unanimously agreed that further efforts were necessary to convene the International Peace Conference on the Middle East in accordance with General Assembly resolution 38/58 C. The current trend in international relations and the growing awareness in many regions of the world of the plight of the Palestinians had to be utilized in order to expedite the convening of the Conference.

6. The participants in the Seminar had agreed that the current Palestinian uprising in the occupied territories confirmed that the Palestinians rejected Israeli domination and occupation and were determined to continue their struggle to regain their inalienable national rights. It had been felt that public opinion in general, and in Western Europe in particular, should play an active role in creating a situation in which the Palestinian people could exercise its rights. In that regard, recommendations had been made to encourage the United Nations to strengthen its co-operation with non-governmental organizations, promote participation by representatives of the Committee in national events organized by European non-governmental organizations, foster efforts to produce and update factual information on the various aspects of the life of the Palestinian people, promote the translation of publications containing such information into languages other than the official languages of the United Nations, and facilitate a closer dialogue between non-governmental organizations and Governments. Lastly, he proposed that, as in the past, the conclusions and recommendations of the Seminar, together with a short, factual introduction, should be annexed to the annual report of the Committee to the General Assembly and that the full report should be published as a special bulletin of the Division for Palestinian Rights and given the widest possible distribution.

7. Mr. HIELSCHER (German Democratic Republic) said that the Seminar had been a significant event in the efforts of the United Nations and, in particular, of the Committee to promote the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and convene the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. The Seminar had taken place at a time marked by unabated protests throughout the occupied territories. The uprising of the Palestinian people demonstrated that it could not be denied its right to self-determination, independence and the establishment of its own State. The conclusions and recommendations adopted by the Seminar assessed the situation in the Middle East, identified obstacles to peace in the region and pointed to areas where additional efforts and greater political will were needed to bring about a solution.

8. The Seminar had also underlined the central role played by the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, in efforts to ensure the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and convene the International Peace Conference, in which the PLO must participate on an equal footing with the other parties concerned. The German Democratic Republic had been pleased to host the Seminar. That reflected both its solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people under the leadership of the PLO, its commitment as a member of the Committee and its desire to carry out its obligations as a State Member of the United Nations. Lastly, he pledged that his country would do its part to implement the recommendations of the Seminar.

9. Mr. OUDOVENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) said that the Seminar had taken place at an important time in the life of the Palestinian people, who had risen up in protest against the occupying Power. The Seminar's recommendations were very important and could serve as a basis for further efforts to mobilize international public opinion to find a solution to the problem of the Middle East and its core, the question of Palestine. His delegation supported the proposal made by the Rapporteur concerning the conclusions and recommendations of the Seminar.

10. Mr. AL-KIDWA (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) expressed gratitude to the Chairman for having highlighted the situation in the occupied territories, particularly the increased Israeli acts of repression and aggression against the Palestinian people. In view of that situation, the United Nations should step up its efforts to secure the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and bring about just and lasting peace in the Middle East. He expressed heartfelt thanks to the German Democratic Republic for hosting the European Regional Seminar, whose recommendations would make a positive contribution to efforts to ensure the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

11. Mr. DOST (Afghanistan) said that the Seminar had been held at a time when world attention was focused on the uprising and struggle of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories; it would help mobilize the world public in its solidarity with the Palestinian people and support for the Palestinian cause and in particular would help expedite the process of the prompt convening of an international conference on the question of Palestine.

12. The CHAIRMAN said that if he heard no objection, he would take it that the Committee wished to take note of the report of the Seminar. The conclusions and recommendations would be annexed to the Committee's annual report to the General Assembly.

13. It was so decided.

REPORT BY THE BUREAU CONCERNING SEMINARS AND NGO MEETINGS TO BE HELD IN 1988

14. The CHAIRMAN said that the Bureau had met on 11 May 1988 and had considered the organizational and other arrangements for the other seminars, NGO symposia and the International NGO Meeting that were to be held in 1988. The results of the Bureau's deliberations were contained in several working papers that had been circulated by the Secretariat.

15. With regard to the North American Regional Seminar to be held in New York from 27 to 28 June 1988, the Bureau had considered the names of potential panelists and, in view of the limited time available for the necessary arrangements, had authorized the Division for Palestinian Rights to issue invitations to several experts who the Bureau felt could make a useful contribution to the success of the Seminar. The progress report was contained in working paper No. 7.

16. If he heard no objection, he would take it that the Committee wished to take note of working paper No. 7. The Bureau would pursue the arrangements for the Seminar and look into the possibility of inviting additional panelists if necessary.

17. It was so decided.

18. The CHAIRMAN said that, with regard to the North American NGO Symposium to be held in New York from 29 June to 1 July 1988, the Bureau had considered a progress report which was before the Committee in working paper No. 3/Rev.1. He had just been informed that Mr. Ramsey Clark had accepted the invitation to participate as an expert on panel II.

19. If he heard no objection, he would take it that the Committee wished to take note of working paper No. 3/Rev.1.

20. It was so decided.

21. The CHAIRMAN said that with regard to the European NGO Symposium to be held at Geneva from 29 to 30 August 1988, the Bureau, through the Division for Palestinian Rights, had remained in contact with the European Co-ordinating Committee of NGOs and would report to the Committee once the list of proposed panelists had been drawn up.

22. With regard to the International NGO Meeting to be held at Geneva from 31 August to 2 September 1988, the Bureau had considered a progress report which was before the Committee in working paper No. 1/Rev.3 and had decided that a total of five eminent persons, five witnesses from the occupied Palestinian territories and five workshop leaders should be invited to take part in the Meeting. The list of panelists and workshop leaders had been drawn up in consultation with the International Co-ordinating Committee of NGOs.

23. If he heard no objection, he would take it that the Committee wished to take note of working paper No. 1/Rev.3.

24. It was so decided.

25. The CHAIRMAN said that the Bureau had also considered the African regional Seminar and NGO Symposium to be held at Cairo, Egypt. Consultations were in progress with the Permanent Representative of Egypt concerning the possibility of holding the Seminar after the end of the forty-third session of the General Assembly, and the Bureau would keep the Committee informed of the outcome.

26. He recalled that the Committee had decided to establish a task force to review the arrangements for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The Bureau, at its meeting, had decided to designate Mr. Borg-Olivier, Rapporteur, Mr. Rath, Vice-Chairman of the Working Group, and Mr. Terzi of the PLO as members of the task force to review the arrangements for the International Day. The task force would begin its work shortly, and he requested any members or observers who might have suggestions on how to improve the observance of the International Day to communicate them to the Rapporteur.

OTHER MATTERS

27 The CHAIRMAN said that the document prepared by the Division for Palestinian Rights containing resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly and the Security Council in 1987 relating to the question of Palestine (document A/AC.183/L.2/Add.8) was now available.

28. Mr. BORG-OLIVIER (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the Bureau had entrusted him with the task of conducting consultations to resolve the outstanding issues which had been delaying the publication of the study to be produced by the Division for Palestinian Rights concerning the need to convene an international conference on the Middle East. He had received full co-operation during the consultations, especially from the PLO and the delegation of Jordan; a mutually acceptable format had been found that would make it possible to proceed with the final publication shortly.

29. Mr. MIRZA (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) said that following consultations with the relevant departments of the Secretariat, he could inform the Committee that the study would be available in pamphlet form by the end of May or early June 1988.

30. Mr. OUDOVENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) asked whether invitations to Member States to take part in the North American Regional Seminar could be sent out as soon as possible to allow time to make the necessary arrangements.

31. Mr. MIRZA (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) said that the invitations had been finalized and were being processed; they would be sent to the missions and organizations concerned early in the following week.

32. Mr. BORG-OLIVIER (Malta), Rapporteur, said that in view of the importance of the North American Regional Seminar, it would be worth while to contact missions after the invitations had been sent out to remind them of the importance of ensuring adequate participation at the seminar.

33. Mr. MIRZA (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) said that it would be possible to carry out that suggestion. Members of the Committee should also stress the importance of the Seminar in their contacts with members of other missions.

The meeting rose at 11.45 p.m.




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