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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.154
29 April 1988

ORIGINAL: ENGLISH

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

SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 154th MEETING

Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Tuesday, 26 July 1988, at 10.30 a.m.


Chairman: Mr. SARRE (Senegal)



CONTENTS


Adoption of the agenda

Report on the Twentieth United Nations Regional Seminar on the Question of Palestine (North America) and the Fifth United Nations North American Regional NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine

United Nations European Regional NGO Symposium and Fifth United Nations International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine (Geneva, 29 August-2 September 1988)

Other matters

Statement by the Chairman
_____

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 DC2-0750, 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 11 a.m.


ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

1. The agenda was adopted.

REPORT ON THE TWENTIETH UNITED NATIONS REGIONAL SEMINAR ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE (NORTH AMERICA) AND THE FIFTH UNITED NATIONS NORTH AMERICAN REGIONAL NGO SYMPOSIUM ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE

2. Mr. BORG OLIVIER (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the North American Regional Seminar and Regional NGO Symposium had been held in New York from 27 to 28 June and 29 June to 1 July 1988, respectively. He himself had chaired the Seminar, with valuable assistance from the representative of Cuba as Vice-Chairman and the representative of Sierra Leone as Rapporteur. Members of the Committee delegation had also opened and closed the Symposium.

3. The Committee had before it the conclusions and recommendations adopted unanimously by the Seminar. He had been authorized at the Seminar to complete its final report, in consultation with other members of the Committee delegation and the panelists concerned; with the Committee's approval the final report would be issued and circulated widely as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights. He proposed also that its conclusions and recommendations should, in accordance with past practice, be annexed to the Committee's report to the General Assembly.

4. The Seminar had been attended by representatives of 40 Governments, of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and of a number of United Nations bodies and intergovernmental organizations, national liberation movements and non-governmental organizations. Two panels had been established: one on the uprising in the occupied territories and the urgency of convening the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, with panelists from Canada, the United States of America, Israel, the Soviet Union and a Palestinian panelist; and another panel on the role of the PLO, with PLO participation. In its conclusions and recommendations, the Seminar had expressed deep concern over the current dangerous situation in the Middle East and over the policies and practices of Israel, the occupying Power. It had noted that the uprising in the occupied territories had for the first time raised serious doubts in the minds of many Israeli citizens about their Government's policies, because of the obvious destructive impact of continued occupation. Such doubts were also reflected in important Jewish communities in Western countries whose political and financial support was essential to Israel. The Seminar had reached consensus on the basic issues which must be addressed in order to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict: Israeli recognition of and respect for Palestinian rights; Arab acceptance of the State of Israel within internationally recognized borders; acceptance by Israel of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East under the auspices of the United Nations; and recognition by Israel and others of the right of the Palestinian people to participate in such a Conference through the PLO, its sole, legitimate representative. The Seminar recommended that the Conference be convened before the end of 1988.

5. The declaration and plan of action adopted by the North American Regional NGO Symposium were before the Committee; the report of the proceedings was being prepared and would with the Committee's approval be issued as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights. He also proposed that, in accordance with past practice, the declaration should be annexed to the Committee's report to the General Assembly. The Symposium, chaired by the representative of the North American Co-ordinating Committee for Non-Governmental Organizations on the Question of Palestine, had been attended by representatives from 46 non-governmental organizations, and by observers from 34 others. Again, two panels had been established: one on the uprising in the occupied Palestinian territories and the urgency of convening the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, with panelists from Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, and another on the implications of the United States legislation affecting the promotion in the United States and the United Nations of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. In addition, five workshops had been set up on the general theme of overcoming obstacles and organizing in North America.

6. In the declaration and plan of action adopted, the non-governmental organizations had resolutely reaffirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the fact that the PLO was their sole and legitimate representative; they had committed themselves to providing moral, political and material support for the uprising, whose goals as defined by its Unified National Leadership they supported, and had called for immediate intervention by United Nations peace-keeping forces to replace the Israeli occupying forces, in order to provide protection and ensure respect for Palestinian human and political rights. The plan of action contained practical strategies and support projects aimed at promoting a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, particularly through the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East.

7. Mr. OUDOVENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) said that his delegation had taken an active part in the work of the North American Regional Seminar, in particular in formulating the conclusions and recommendations, which, it hoped, would play an important role in mobilizing public opinion in favour of a rapid settlement of the Middle East crisis and its core, the Palestinian problem. The new political thinking was gaining momentum, offering the possibility of solving acute and long-standing issues. A clear demonstration of that was the emergence of a more favourable atmosphere for the peaceful settlement of regional armed conflicts. It was becoming increasingly evident that the conclusion of the Geneva accords on Afghanistan had stimulated the solution of armed conflicts in other regions of the world on the basis of the principles of national reconciliation. The Ukrainian SSR had greatly welcomed Iran's decision to recognize Security Council resolution 598 (1987) on the Iran-Iraq conflict; it consistently favoured peaceful political negotiations with a view to a just and comprehensive settlement, and supported the efforts of the Secretary-General in that respect. A political settlement of that conflict would constitute a major new step towards the defusing of regional conflicts.

8. Advantage should be taken of the favourable situation in the world to accelerate the process of bringing about a just and comprehensive Middle East settlement based on the principles of international legality, the Charter of the United Nations and United Nations decisions and balancing the interests of all countries. The occupied lands must be returned to the Arabs, the Palestinian people must be guaranteed the right to self-determination, and all States and peoples of the region must be allowed to develop freely and exist in security.

9. His delegation shared the deep concern expressed by participants in the Seminar about the dangerous situation which had developed in the Middle East as a result of the unremitting terror and violence in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel. The uprising, which had already been going on for seven months, confirmed the Palestinian people's determination to resist. At the end of the previous week, in mass demonstrations in almost all the territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip seized by Israel, the participants had called for an end to the occupation of ancestral Arab lands and the restoration of the legitimate national rights of the Arab people of Palestine. Despite the extremely brutal measures of repression resorted to by the Israeli forces, it was obvious that the uprising was ever more successfully challenging Israel's plans and its policy of oppression and once again demonstrating the resolve of the people of Palestine to gain their national rights.

10. The Seminar had unequivocally confirmed that the Palestinian problem, like other difficult issues of the region, could be solved only through the convening of an international conference on the Middle East, which should be convened under the auspices of the United Nations with the participation of all parties concerned, and also the permanent members of the Security Council. The Arab people of Palestine must, of course, participate, through their sole legitimate representative, the PLO. That had been reaffirmed in a message from Mr. Gorbachev to the Arab summit meeting held at Algiers in June. Only the PLO could take decisions on behalf of the Palestinian people and ensure that the Palestinians implemented such decisions.

11. His delegation fully supported the conclusions and recommendations of the Seminar, especially paragraph 11 in which the Seminar stressed the urgency of convening the International Peace Conference on the Middle East before the end of 1988. The Committee could promote the active involvement of the Security Council and above all its permanent members in setting in motion the machinery of the International Conference, and could make an appropriate appeal to the Council's five permanent members or to its President. Another possible course might be to send special high-level missions of the Committee to the capitals of the permanent members of the Council. As a first step, the Committee could hold special meeting to consider practical measures for the preparation of the International Conference within the United Nations as a whole, and in the Security Council in particular. Positive example was the special meeting of the Committee held in April 1988 to consider Israel's act of aggression against Tunisia, during which Abu Jihad, one of the leaders of the PLO, had been assassinated. The exchange of views at that meeting on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories had undoubtedly contributed to the subsequent constructive consideration of the question in the Security Council.

12. The CHAIRMAN said he would take it, if he heard no objection, that the Committee wished to take note of the Rapporteur's report on the North American Regional Seminar and Regional NGO Symposium. He would also take it that it decided that the final reports of the Seminar and the Symposium should be published by the Division for Palestinian Rights and that their respective conclusions and recommendations would be annexed to the Committee's report to the General Assembly.

13. It was so decided.

UNITED NATIONS EUROPEAN REGIONAL NGO SYMPOSIUM AND FIFTH UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL NGO MEETING ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE (Geneva, 29 August-2 September 1988)

14. The CHAIRMAN said that the Bureau, in consultation with the NGO Co-ordinating Committee, had determined the programme for the United Nations European Regional NGO Symposium, to be held in Geneva from 29 to 30 August 1988, and for the United Nations International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine to be held there from 31 August to 2 September. He drew attention to Working Papers No. 5/Rev.2 and No. 1/Rev.4, listing the experts who had agreed to participate. Additional suggestions had since been made regarding experts from Israel and the occupied territories, and the Bureau recommended that the Committee should approve those suggestions in principle, bearing in mind that the total number of experts invited by the Committee to the International NGO Meeting would be limited to approximately 15.

15. It was so decided.

OTHER MATTERS

16. The CHAIRMAN drew attention to two notes verbales addressed to the Secretary-General by the permanent missions of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and of Togo, containing suggestions regarding the Committee's work, in response to the letter sent out to all Member States by the Committee Chairman. He would take it, if he heard no objection, that the Committee wished to take note of those suggestions and take them into account in planning its future work.

17. It was so decided.

18. Mr. TERZI (Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization) asked when the Committee would begin to discuss the proposal made by the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic for a series of special Committee meetings to consider practical ways for the United Nations, and the Security Council in particular, to prepare for the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. If the Committee prepared an action plan in time, it could seek support for it at the forthcoming Ministerial Meeting of Non-Aligned Countries to be held in early September.

19. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee could be convened before September to consider, among other matters, the Ukrainian proposal, and its position on it could thus be put before both the non-aligned meeting and, subsequently, the General Assembly.

20. With regard to preparations for the African Regional Seminar and Regional NGO Symposium, the Egyptian Government had accepted the dates proposed by the Committee, 19 to 23 December 1988. The Bureau recommended that the Seminar should be held from 19 to 21 December and the Symposium from 22 to 23 December.

21. It was so decided.

STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN

22. The CHAIRMAN said it had been a great privilege and honour for him to preside over the Committee for eight years. Although the Committee's principal objective had not been achieved, great progress had been made, above all through the commitment of all the members and observers. The Committee must persist in its exalted task of working for a return to peace in the Middle East and the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. Senegal, for its part, would maintain and strengthen its commitment to the Palestinian people. With perseverance, the Committee's objectives would soon be reached, just as solutions were now being found to other seemingly intractable problems.

23. Mr. DOST (Afghanistan), Mr. ORAMAS-OLIVA (Cuba), Mr. DROUSHIOTIS (Cyprus), Mr. HIELSCHER (German Democratic Republic), Mr. RATH (India), Mr. RIANOM (Indonesia), Mr. RAKOTOZAFY (Madagascar), Mr. GHAZZALI (Malaysia), Mr. DIAKITE (Mali), Mr. BORG OLIVIER (Malta), Mr. UMER (Pakistan), Mr. MANSARAY (Sierra Leone), Mr. BEN HAMIDA (Tunisia), Ms. BARUTÇU (Turkey), Mr. OUDOVENKO (Ukrainian SSR), Mr. PAIC (Yugoslavia), Mr. WANG XUEXIAN (Observer for China), Mr. AWAWDEH (Observer for Jordan), Mr. MAHMOUD (Observer for Lebanon), Mr. DJERMAKOYE (Observer for Niger) and Mr. TERZI (Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization), who also read out a message from Mr. Yassir Arafat, paid tribute to the Chairman for his leadership of the Committee.

The meeting rose at 12.55 p.m.



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