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UNITED
NATIONS
A S

        General Assembly
        Security Council
A/44/731
S/20968

16 November 1989

GENERAL ASSEMBLY SECURITY COUNCIL
Forty-fourth session Forty-fourth year
Agenda items 37 and 39
QUESTION OF PALESTINE
THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Report of the Secretary-General

1. The present report is submitted in accordance with General Assembly resolution 43/176 of 15 December 1988 on the question of convening the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. The operative part of the resolution reads as follows:

The General Assembly,

"...

2. On 2 October 1989, the Secretary-General, in pursuance of the request contained in paragraph 6 of the above resolution, addressed the following letter to the President of the Security Council:

3. On 7 November 1989, the President of the Security Council sent the following reply:

4. In a note verbale to the parties concerned, dated 21 September 1989, the Secretary- General sought the positions, respectively, of the Governments of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic, and of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in regard to the International Peace Conference on the Middle East as called for in General Assembly resolution 43/176. The replies are reproduced below:

Note from the Permanent Representative of Egypt

Note from the Acting Permanent Representative of Israel

Note from the Permanent Representative of Jordan

Note from the Acting Permanent Representative of Lebanon

Note from the Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic
Note from the Permanent Observer of Palestine

* * *

Observations

5. It is clear from the communications set out above that sufficient agreement does not exist, either within the Security Council or among the parties to the conflict, to permit the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East as called for in resolution 43/176. This is particularly unfortunate since the resolution, which was adopted by the General Assembly in Geneva following an important debate on the question of Palestine and which welcomed the outcome of the Extraordinary Session of the Palestine National Council held in Algiers in November 1988, received much wider support than earlier resolutions concerning an international conference. The vote in favour of Assembly resolution 43/176 reflected the commitment of the international community to the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, with the participation of all parties to the conflict, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, on an equal footing, and the five permanent members of the Security Council, based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, primarily the right to self-determination.

6. When I last reported to the General Assembly on the prospects of convening an International Peace Conference on the Middle East (A/43/691-S/20219 of 30 September 1988), I drew attention to the fact that all the members of the Security Council believed that it was desirable to convene an international conference and that it was at least possible to identify in the views of the parties agreement that there should be an international framework for the negotiation of a just and lasting settlement. The Security Council has again invited me to pursue my efforts and consultations in respect of the convening of an International Peace Conference on the Middle East, and I shall do so. But, in light of the positions stated above, I cannot fail to note that there is still a lack of unanimity which inhibits the attaining of this objective.

7. Having said that, I fully share the concern of the Security Council which, while taking note of the positive steps and initiatives undertaken in the past year, remains preoccupied by the continuing lack of progress in achieving peace in the Middle East and by the increasingly serious situation in the occupied territories. Moreover, I am deeply worried by the fact that time is passing and that opportunities that have emerged in the past 12 months might slip away. I therefore welcome efforts that seek to pursue these opportunities in the hope that they will lead to an effective negotiating process. It remains my view that such a process will be meaningful only if it involves all the parties concerned and aims at a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including self-determination. Given the gravity of the situation and of the urgent need for progress, I shall spare no effort in carrying out the responsibilities entrusted to me by the General Assembly and the Security Council in this regard.

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