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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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        General Assembly
10 January 1983




Held at Headquarters, New York
on Thursday, 6 January 1983 at 10.30 a.m.

Temporary Chairman: Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar (Secretary-General of
the United Nations)

Chairman: Mr. SARRÉ (Senegal)

Adoption of the agenda

Election of officers

Statement by the Secretary-General

Statement by the Chairman

Programme of work of the Committee for 1983

Preparation for the International Conference on the Question of Palestine

Other matters


*No summary record was issued for the 86th meeting.

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 A-3550, 866 United Nations Plaza (Alcoa Building).

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 10.55 a.m.


1. The agenda was adopted.


2. Mr. KOROMA (Sierra Leone) nominated Mr. Sarré (Senegal) to serve as Chairman of the Committee at the current crucial stage in the life of the Palestinian people. Mr. Sarré had made tireless efforts to bring peace and justice to the Palestinian people and to the Middle East and his delegation was sure that, if re-elected, he would continue those efforts.

3. It had been informally agreed that the other officers of the Committee should also retain their posts, and he accordingly nominated Mr. Roa-Kouri (Cuba) and Mr. Zarif (Afghanistan) for re-election as Vice-Chairmen and Mr. Gauci (Malta) for re-election as Rapporteur.

4. Mr. ILOVIC (Yugoslavia) said that the contributions made by the Chairman and other members of the Bureau to the work of the Committee were well known. He therefore seconded the nominations.

5. Mr. LESSIR (Tunisia) said that his delegation also supported the nominations. The members of the Bureau had done everything possible to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their rights, and the Committee should show its continued confidence in them by re-electing them.

6. The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN said that, if there were no other nominations, he would take it that the Committee unanimously re-elected the Chairman, the Vice-Chairmen and the Rapporteur to their respective posts.

7. It was so decided.

8. Mr. Sarré (Senegal) took the Chair.


9. The SECRETARY-GENERAL congratulated Mr. Sarre on his re-election as Chairman of the Committee, whose action was a strong endorsement of the leadership and guidance he had provided in the past year and a reflection of the Committee's confidence that he would continue his indefatigable efforts on behalf of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

10. The Committee's work assumed in 1983 even greater importance than before. The events of the previous year had created a new dimension and made the solution of the problem of the Palestinian people even more urgent. The world was now even more conscious of the rights of the Palestinian people and the need to implement them. He was sure that the Committee was aware of that new dimension to its responsibilities and that it would meet them accordingly.

11. The task before the Committee in the new year was a complex one, but he had no doubt that it would work untiringly and with dedication to serve its mandate both as the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and as the Preparatory Committee for the International Conference on the Question of Palestine. It was hoped that the Conference, scheduled for August 1983, would make a valuable contribution towards the solution of a problem that had been before the United Nations for 36 years.

12. He wished to assure the Committee that the Secretariat stood ready to give it all the necessary support in its deliberations in pursuance of the mandate entrusted to it by the General Assembly. The Committee also had his personal good wishes for a successful outcome to its important work.


13. The CHAIRMAN thanked the members of the Committee, on behalf of the Government and people of Senegal, for their expression of renewed confidence. He and the other members of the Bureau were honoured by the Committee's decision to re-elect them, which encouraged them to continue their-efforts to ensure that the just cause of the Palestinian people should prevail. All members of the Committee and all observers agreed that a just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine was a prerequisite for any attempt to restore peace and stability in the Middle East. The thirty-seventh session of the General Assembly had confirmed that, and another vital point which had emerged during the session was that all efforts, approaches and initiatives aimed at a settlement of the Palestinian question must take into account the actions and efforts of the United Nations as the guarantor of international peace and security.

14. Immediately after its establishment, the Committee had formulated recommendations for a just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question to the benefit of the Palestinian people and all the other peoples of the region. Although implementation of those recommendations had been obstructed, it was encouraging to note that they were now beginning to be taken seriously. The glimmer of hope which had appeared during the thirty-seventh session with the adoption, for the first time, of resolutions on the question of Palestine by a very large majority reflecting some change of attitude suggested that settlement of the issue had entered an active phase. Committee members and observers now had an opportunity to contribute further to the finalization of that active phase through the Committee's programme of activities for 1983 and by joining in making the International Conference on the Question of Palestine a success.

15. Tribute was due to the Secretary-General for the importance he attached to the speedy settlement of the Palestinian problem and for the efforts he was exerting to that end. Since assuming his office, he had made the Palestinian question a top priority for the United Nations. The Under-Secretary-General for Political and General Assembly Affairs and the Chief of the Division for Palestinian Rights were also to be commended for their good judgement and efficiency in rendering all necessary assistance to the members of the Committee.

16. Working for peace and justice was a sacred duty, and one should not be discouraged by the obstacles encountered; rather they should make one even more determined to bring about an era of justice and peace among men and nations.

17. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that the Committee's first meeting of 1983 reflected its determination to pursue its efforts to achieve a just settlement of the question of Palestine and restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, accomplishments which would be conducive to a comprehensive and lasting peace and to the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. He welcomed the unanimous re-election of the Chairman and other officers, whose commitment to the cause of the Palestinian people had been demonstrated by their perseverence.

18. Many events had taken place in 1982, and the Committee had never failed in its responsibilities during that year. The General Assembly had entrusted the Committee with even more responsibilities in 1983, and the Palestine Liberation Organization would be inviting the Chairman to participate in the first meeting of its National Council, to be held on 14 February.

19. He commended the Secretary-General for his commitment to the struggle for the restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people and assured the Committee of the full co-operation of the Palestine Liberation Organization, based on its faith in the Committee's commitment to the just cause of peace in the Middle East.


20. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the Working Group had proved useful in the past and he recommended that the Committee should re-establish it for 1983. Since he would be serving as representative of Malta in the Security Council in 1983, he suggested that the Committee should elect a Vice-Chairman of the Working Group in case he himself was unable to preside over it.

21. Of the three topics dealt with by the Working Group, he felt that the Committee should concentrate on the preparations for the International Conference. Invitations should be issued for all Member States, stressing the importance of the Conference, the Committee's hope that it would contribute to the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine and the importance which the Committee attached to universal participation in the Conference. In the general field of the preparation of studies, priority should be given to those required for the Conference. The film on Palestine should be updated or a new one produced. The compendium of United Nations resolutions on the question of Palestine should also be updated, and should emphasize the Committee's recommendations.

22. Although the Committee's capacity would be stretched to the limit by its
responsibilities in 1983, he was confident that it would be able to meet all the challenges facing it.


23. Mrs. MAIR (Secretary-General of the International Conference on the Question of Palestine) said that significant progress had been made in the preparations for the regional meetings. Bilateral negotiations had resulted in agreement by the Governments of the United Republic of Tanzania, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia to serve as host countries for their respective regional meetings. The African regional meeting would be held in Arusha from 29 March to 2 April, the Western Asian regional meeting in Sharjah from 25 to 29 April, and the Asian regional meeting in Kuala Lumpur, from 3 to 7 May.

24. The agenda, basic documents and background documents for each meeting were listed in document A/AC.183/1983/CRP.1, and relevant studies prepared by the specialized agencies and other United Nations organizations would subsequently be identified. Detailed plans were being made for the meetings, and invitations were being prepared and would soon be sent to Governments in the respective regions. A member of the Conference secretariat, accompanied by a representative of the Department of Conference Services, would be going on planning missions to each site in the next three weeks and would work closely with the liaison officer appointed by each Government, who would serve as the local co-ordinator. The secretariat was in close contact with all the relevant United Nations organizations to ensure the most efficient planning possible for each of the meetings.

25. She drew attention to the need for the Committee to consider the question of participation at the regional meetings. Representatives had received a list of the States members of the respective regional commissions; the Committee could use that formulation or examine an alternative and advise the secretariat of its decision as to which countries should participate in each meeting.

26. The limited budget for the Conference was a matter of concern. The cost of interpreters and translators at the regional meetings was one of the most expensive items, and the secretariat hoped that the Committee would agree to follow the precedent set at certain Asian regional meetings of using only English and French.

27. All United Nations bodies and specialized agencies had been encouraged to work closely with the Preparatory Committee and the Conference secretariat, and an ad hoc inter-agency meeting would take place in Geneva on 19 and 20 January. There would be a full discussion of current and future contributions by organizations of the United Nations system to the Conference and the secretariat expected inputs from the organizations and specialized agencies in terms of both documentation for specific subjects and active participation in the regional meetings.

28. The Conference secretariat had consistenly placed emphasis on the need to involve non-governmental organizations as widely as possible in the regional meetings and the Conference itself. It was preparing lists of NGOs, in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, which had demonstrated concern for peace in the Middle East and which might be invited to be represented by observers. The list of NGOs not in consultative status with the Council was being compiled with the two additional criteria set forth by the Preparatory Committee in mind. A pattern of NGO briefings had been established. The secretariat believed that an ancillary meeting structure, as utilized at the Sixth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, should be seriously considered for the Conference. The NGO network was a valuable resource for the world-wide transmission of information about the Conference and about the issue.

29. The foundation of the Conference was its public information programme, designed to familiarize the public both with the Conference and with the urgent need for a solution of the Palestinian question based on the guiding principles of peace and security, justice and equity. The programme included a periodic newsletter scheduled for wide dissemination, a Conference poster and logo and a brochure. A series of monthly articles on the subject of Palestine would be published in the UN Chronicle, with reprints available. Comprehensive press kits were also being prepared for press conferences, for regional meetings and for the individual use of interested journalists. Of special note were the news missions, which provided an unusual opportunity for selected journalists to visit the Middle East in conjunction with the regional metings.

30. The CHAIRMAN said that he wished to thank Indonesia for offering to host the next seminar to be held in the Asian region, the United Republic of Tanzania for offering to host the forthooming regional meeting in Africa and Sierra Leone for offering to host the Conference itself.

31. Mr. KOROMA (Sierra Leone) observed that, while the objectives of the regional meetings were implied in the conference room paper introduced by the Secretary-General of the Conference, spelling them out would encourage more informed and wider participation.

32. He asked what participants were likely to be invited to the regional meetings and whether they would include, for instance, non-governmental organizations or, in the case of Africa, the Organization of African Unity.

33. Regarding the agenda for the African regional meeting as listed in the conference room paper, he suggested that the wording "Political and juridical aspects of the question of Palestine" would be preferable to "Political and constitutional aspects ...".

34. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, said he agreed that the objectives of the Conference should be highlighted. Among the publicity material, an updated film on Palestine would of course be available and would present the objectives as well as a history of the question.

35. Apparently the time-table for the European and Latin American regional meetings was not yet definite, but he was glad that at least the Round Table of Eminent Persons had been scheduled for early June, since it would serve as a potential think-tank for European action. Logically, therefore, that meeting in Vienna should precede the European regional meeting.

36. The European and Latin American regional meetings would have a tremendous impact. Thanks to the co-operation of members of the Committee, all the Latin American countries had voted in favour of the General Assembly resolutions on Palestine, and the momentum of that achievement must be maintained. The Committee should therefore give priority to deciding on the dates and locations of the European and Latin American meetings within the next few weeks. The European Economic Community was not in a position to service the regional meeting, which must be held in a country where free expression of all views on Palestine was allowed. The Government of Malta would have been happy to host the meeting but was unable to bear the extra costs.

37. Mrs. MAIR (Secretary-General of the International Conference on the Question of Palestine), replying to the points raised by the representative of Sierra Leone, said that the objectives of the Conference were only implied in the note by the Secretariat because the paper was aimed primarily to give a time-table. In any publicity material, the objectives were paramount and would continue to be highlighted.

38. With regard to participation in the regional meetings, the lists of possible participants were being drawn essentially from the existing membership of the regional commissions. It was for the Committee to decide whether that was the basis it wished to use for invitations and whether it wanted to involve inter-governmental or any other bodies. The secretariat would be guided by the Committee's desires.

39. Where the agenda for the African regional meeting was concerned, the wording "political and constitutional aspects" had been used from the outset. The term "constitutional" referred to the whole aspect of the constitutionality or lack of constitutionality that prevailed in the disposition of the Palestinian people or, in substance, to the lack of a constitutional framework in which they could achieve their rights. The question was related directly to the process of colonization and dispossession which they had undergone. A perusal of the documentation proposed showed that those questions were central to the whole issue. It had been agreed that the specific legalities of the situation, such as the right to self-determination, would be dealt with at the Latin American regional meeting.

40. Regarding the timing of the Vienna meeting suggested by the Rapporteur, it would be difficult to schedule the European regional meeting after the first week of June, since that would not leave enough time for final preparations for the Conference itself in August. Ideally, therefore, the regional meeting should take place before the June meeting, during the time-slots still available in April and May.

41. Mr. KOROMA (Sierra Leone) said that, following the Secretary-General's explanation, he was willing to yield on the question of the use of the term "constitutional" in the agenda for the African regional meeting. From a puristic point of view it was of course unacceptable, since it implied the existence of a colonial Power, whereas the United Nations alone was responsible and no one country was going to draw up a constitution for Palestine. If, however, it was understood as the Secretary-General of the Conference had described it, namely, as an attempt to generate interest in Africa and to place the problem in a colonial setting, it could be accepted. He was prepared not to press the point, especially if the legal aspects were to be considered at the Latin American regional meeting.

42. Mr. BURAYZAT (Observer for Jordan) said that he shared the original objections of the representative of Sierra Leone to the wording of the agenda for the African regional meeting. There was a certain ambiguity to the term "constitutional" which might in turn lead to ambiguity in the choice and handling of topics. The term "juridical" would be more straightforward.

43. The CHAIRMAN said he was assured by the Secretary-General of the Conference that she would not be adamant on the use of the term "constitutional" and that the term "juridical" would be acceptable, since it would serve to focus public attention on the legal aspects, which could usefully be dealt with at the regional meetings on two continents.

44. Mr. SREENIVASAN (India) asked why the membership of the regional commissions had been chosen as the basis for the lists of invitations to the regional meetings, rather than the regional groups in the United Nations itself. Among the members of the regional commissions were some countries which did not belong to the regions concerned geographically but participated in the work of the commissions for economic and other reasons, and it might not be necessary or politically expedient to invite them to the regional meetings. The fact that some countries belonged to all the regional commissions might create a further problem. Lastly, he wondered whether any decision had been taken to invite States that were not Members of the United Nations. He presumed that the Working Group would review all those questions.

45. The CHAIRMAN assured the representative of India that that would be the case.

46. Mr. DIACONU (Romania) said that the list of non-governmental organizations not in consultative status which could be invited to the regional meetings and the Conference should not be closed until the Committee had been able to review it and the organizations of all countries had been given an opportunity to express a desire to participate.

47. In the case of the European regional meeting, there would be little point in using the United Nations regional groups as a basis. The views of the Group of Eastern European States were well known and needed no repetition, and it was doubtful whether a meeting of all the members of the Group of Western European and Other States could even be arranged. States and organizations from the entire European region must be brought together in the preparatory meeting for the Conference.

48. The CHAIRMAN pointed out that the lists drawn up on the basis of membership in the regional commissions were only tentative and would be reviewed at the next meeting of the Preparatory Committee.


49. The CHAIRMAN said the movement of non-aligned countries had asked that the Committee should be represented by one of its members at the Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting of the Co-ordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Countries to be held in Managua from 10 to 14 January 1983. Any member wishing to represent the Committee should so inform him.

50. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) drew attention to the fact that two members of the Committee, Malta and Pakistan, would be serving on the Security Council for the coming year, and he congratulated them on their election to the Council.

The meeting rose at 12.10 p.m.

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