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Summary record of the 43rd meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Thursday, 20 November 2008, at 3 p.m.
Chairman: Mr. Majoor ................................................................. (Netherlands)
Agenda item 63: Right of peoples to self-determination (continued)
87. The Chairman said that draft resolution A/C.3/63/L.52 had no programme budget implications. A recorded vote had been requested.
88. Mr. Attiya (Egypt), introducing draft resolution A/C.3/63/L.52, said that the following countries had joined the sponsors: Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Jamaica, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Rwanda, San Marino, Slovenia, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste and Togo. The draft resolution reaffirmed the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination. He hoped that it would be adopted by consensus, thereby sending to the Palestinian people a strong message of solidarity and encouragement. It would contribute to the long-overdue realization of their aspiration to have their own viable, independent, sovereign State, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
89. Mr. Khane (Secretary of the Committee) announced that the Central African Republic, Estonia and Ukraine wished to join the sponsors of the draft resolution.
90. Mr. Gonnet (France), speaking on behalf of the European Union; the candidate countries Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey; the stabilization and association process countries Albania, Montenegro and Serbia; and, in addition, Liechtenstein, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, said that the European Union remained committed to the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination. That right must be exercised with a view to achieving the goal set in the Quartet’s road map, approved by the two parties, of a viable, independent, democratic, fully sovereign Palestinian State, enjoying territorial continuity, living in peace and security side by side with Israel and its other neighbours. That offered the best guarantee for the security of the State of Israel and its acceptance as a partner within the region. The European Union therefore welcomed the results of the conference held in Annapolis in November 2007 and hoped that the dialogue resumed on that occasion would continue and lead swiftly to an agreement accepted by all. The negotiation process should be accompanied by closer cooperation on the ground and the strengthening of Palestinian institutions. The European Union called on the parties to honour their commitments, particularly in respect of movement and access between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
91. Ms. Halpern (United States of America), speaking in explanation of vote before the voting, said that the United States had worked continuously to support the social and economic development and legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, as demonstrated by its high level of assistance to them, and remained committed to the two-State solution. Her delegation could not support the draft resolution, however, as it reflected an outdated approach dating from a time when the Palestinian people believed that the solution to their problems lay solely with the United Nations. The United Nations must support both parties and be perceived by both as an honest broker between them. One-sided resolutions harmed the Organization’s credibility and performed no useful role.
92. At the request of the representative of Israel, a recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.3/63/L.52.
In favour :
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, 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, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, 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, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, United States of America.
Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji.
93. Draft resolution A/C.3/63/L.52 was adopted by 175 votes to 5, with 5 abstentions.
94.94. Ms. Halperin (Israel) said that her delegation fully supported the Palestinian people’s aspirations to self-determination, but only in the context of the two-State solution. As the President of Israel had informed the General Assembly the previous week, that solution was closer than ever before, particularly in view of the Saudi Arabian proposal, which had developed into the Arab peace initiative. Two weeks earlier, at a meeting of the Quartet held in Sharm el-Sheikh, the Israeli Foreign Minister had reaffirmed Israel’s recognition of Palestinian aspirations and had again stressed the need to recognize Israel’s interests, including its right to live in peace and security, which continued to be imperilled by rocket attacks by Hamas, denounced by the President of the Palestinian Authority himself. The resolution adopted was one-sided, particularly since it failed to take into account the security of Israel or the incremental steps set out in the road map. The former Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, had questioned the approach of the United Nations to the peace process, and Member States should consider whether such resolutions brought any relief or benefit to Palestinians. It was clear that they did not and that progress could only be made through bilateral negotiations, as at the Sharm el-Sheikh and Annapolis meetings. It was distressing that the Committee should choose to disregard such developments and had not done more to encourage genuine consultations between Israel and the Palestinian people. Her delegation had therefore called for a recorded vote and had voted against the resolution.
95. Mr. Zvachula (Micronesia, Federated States of) said that his delegation had voted against the resolution. Micronesia was committed to the two-State solution and could not accept some of the preambular paragraphs of the resolution, which prejudged the outcome of ongoing negotiations. Moreover, paragraph 2 endangered the impartiality of the United Nations and would not advance the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.
96. Mr. Bowman (Canada) said that his delegation had abstained from voting on the resolution as it did not address both parties’ responsibilities for reaching a solution. Canada maintained its strong support for the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination as part of the negotiated, two-State settlement laid out in the road map. He commended the bilateral negotiations begun in Annapolis and encouraged the parties to continue that process.
97. Mr. Díaz Bartolomé (Argentina) said that, while there was no denying the Palestinian people’s right to build an independent and viable State, the exercise of the right to self-determination required the existence of an active subject in the form of a people under alien subjugation, domination and exploitation, as established in paragraph 1 of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV). If there was no such subject, there was no right to self-determination. That right should also be interpreted in accordance with the purposes and principles set out in the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions 1514 (XV) and 2625 (XXV), and other relevant United Nations resolutions.
98. On the question of the Malvinas Islands, the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the Special Committee on Decolonization referred to the particular situation arising from that question. In particular, General Assembly resolution 2065 (XX), inter alia, and all the decisions of the Special Committee on Decolonization, recognized the existence of a dispute between the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom as the sole parties concerning sovereignty, establishing that the way to resolve it was through the resumption of bilateral negotiations in order to find a just, peaceful and definitive solution, taking into account the interests of the population of the Islands; the right to self-determination was not, therefore, applicable to that question.
99. Ms. Nadya Rasheed (Observer for Palestine) said that it was crucial to reaffirm the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, which was being denied. Israel’s vote against the resolution showed that it was opposed to the two-State solution, which required mutual recognition by the two parties. That was a prerequisite for negotiations. Israel’s continued colonization of the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, threatened the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, as did all the crimes and atrocities perpetrated against the Palestinians by the occupying Power. Moreover, the strong vote in favour of the resolution showed the failure of Israel’s attempts to misrepresent the facts on the ground.
100. She was perplexed by the dichotomous position of the United States, which, while expressing support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, denied the Palestinians’ right to statehood and to self-determination. She called on the United States delegation to reconsider its vote. The Palestinian people had been dreaming of statehood for more than 40 years and would never succumb to oppression.
101. Ms. Hibell (United Kingdom), speaking in exercise of the right of reply in accordance with rule 115 of the rules of procedure, said that the United Kingdom’s position on the Falkland Islands was well known: it had no doubt regarding its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands. That position was based on the principle of self-determination, as set out in article 1, paragraph 2, of the Charter of the United Nations and article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. There could be no negotiations with respect to the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless, and until, the inhabitants wanted negotiations to take place. The islanders had made it clear on several occasions that they did not want any change in the status of the islands.
The meeting rose at 5.55 p.m.
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Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.