SECOND COMMITTEE APPROVES TEXT CALLING ON ISRAEL NOT TO EXPLOIT, DAMAGE OR ENDANGER NATURAL RESOURCES IN OCCUPIED ARAB LANDS

16 November 2007
GA/EF/3202

SECOND COMMITTEE APPROVES TEXT CALLING ON ISRAEL NOT TO EXPLOIT, DAMAGE OR ENDANGER NATURAL RESOURCES IN OCCUPIED ARAB LANDS

16 November 2007
General Assembly
GA/EF/3202
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-second General Assembly

Second Committee

28th Meeting (PM)

Second Committee approves text calling on israel not to exploit,

damage or endanger natural resources in occupied Arab lands

Members Also Pass Drafts on Unilateral Coercive Measures,

Information Technology for Development, International Year of Astronomy, 2009

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) approved four draft resolutions today, including a text that would have the General Assembly call upon Israel not to exploit, damage, deplete or endanger the natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the occupied Syrian Golan.

By other terms of that text -– approved by a recorded vote of 143 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 5 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Nauru, Tonga) -– the Assembly would call upon Israel to comply strictly with its obligations under international law with respect to altering the character and status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  It would call on Israel also to cease dumping waste materials in the occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories, as well as stop destroying vital infrastructure, including water pipelines and sewage networks.  (See Annex I for voting details.)

The observer for Palestine, making a general statement after that action, said the vote sent a clear message that the Palestinian people had the right to self-determination over their natural resources and that the international community stood by them.  Its message was that the international community must hold all States to the same responsibilities and none was above international law.

On the other hand, Israel’s representative said the draft did not advance prospects for peace nor truly attempt to deal with the question of natural resources.  Rather, it was an abuse of the Committee’s mandate and its approval meant the Committee’s commitment to development was obstructed.  The text egregiously failed to reflect the reality on the ground.

In another action, the Committee approved a draft on unilateral measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries by a recorded vote of 107 in favour to 1 against ( United States), with 51 abstentions.  By that text, the Assembly would urge the international community to adopt urgent and effective measures to eliminate, condemn and reject any such measures against developing countries that were not authorized by relevant United Nations organs or were inconsistent with the principles of international law set forth in the United Nations Charter.  (Annex II)

Following that action, the representative of Portugal, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said she had abstained from the voting because unilateral economic measures should respect the principles of international law, including the international contractual obligations of the State applying them and the rules of the World Trade Organization, where applicable.  Such measures were admissible in certain circumstances, such as fighting terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or in upholding respect for human rights, democracy, the rule of law and good governance.  The European Union was committed to the use of sanctions as a last resort.

The Committee also approved two draft resolutions without a vote.  The first, on information and communication technology for development, would have the Assembly reaffirm the strong development orientation of the outcomes of the Geneva and Tunis phases of the World Summit on the Information Society and urge their full implementation.

By the terms of the final draft before the Committee, the Assembly would decide to designate 2009 the International Year of Astronomy and designate the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as the lead agency and focal point for the Year.  It would also encourage all Member States, the United Nations system and all other actors to promote the Year through public awareness campaigns on the importance of astronomical sciences.

Also speaking today were the representatives of El Salvador, Uganda, Peru, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Georgia.

Introducing the draft resolutions for action were the representative of Egypt and the Committee Vice-Chairman.

The Committee will meet again on Wednesday, 21 November, to take action on draft resolutions relating to its agenda items on the international financial system, sustainable development, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and globalization and interdependence.

Background

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this afternoon to take action on several draft resolutions relating to various agenda items.

Before the Committee was a draft resolution on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (document A/C.2/62/L.7/Rev.1), by which the General Assembly would reaffirm the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the population of the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources, including land and water.

By other terms, the Assembly would call upon Israel not to exploit, damage, cause loss or depletion of or endanger those resources, and to comply strictly with its obligations under international law with respect to altering the character and status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  It would also call upon Israel to cease dumping waste materials in the territories, and to stop destroying vital infrastructure, including water pipelines and sewage networks.

Also before the Committee was a draft on information and communication technologies for development (document A/C.2/62/L.28) and a text (document A/C.2/62/L.35) submitted by the Vice-Chairman of the Committee on the basis of informal consultations held on draft resolution A/C.2/62/L.28.  Both texts would have the Assembly reaffirm the strong development orientation of the outcomes of the Geneva and Tunis phases of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and urge their full implementation.  The Assembly would also request that the Secretary-General submit to the General Assembly, through the Economic and Social Council, a report on the status of implementation of the Summit outcomes, including recommendations on the follow-up process, for consideration at the 2008 substantive session of the Economic and Social Council.

The Committee also had before it a draft on unilateral measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries (document A/C.2/62/L.8), by which the Assembly would urge the international community to adopt urgent and effective measures to eliminate unilateral coercive economic measures against developing countries that were not authorized by relevant United Nations organs or were inconsistent with the principles of international law set forth in the United Nations Charter.  The Assembly would also call upon the international community to condemn and reject the imposition of such measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries.

In addition, the Committee had before it a draft on the International Year of Astronomy, 2009 (document A/C.2/62/L.11) and a text (document A/C.2/62/L.36) submitted by the Vice-Chairman of the Committee on the basis of informal consultations held on draft resolution A/C.2/62/L.11.  Both drafts would have the Assembly decide to declare 2009 the International Year of Astronomy, and designate the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as the lead agency and focal point for the Year.  It would encourage all Member States, the United Nations system and all other actors to promote the Year by taking action to increase public awareness of the importance of astronomical sciences and promote widespread access to new knowledge and experiences of astronomical observation.

Action on Draft Resolution

The representative of Egypt then introduced the draft resolution on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (document A/C.2/62/L.7/Rev.1).

The Committee approved that text, as orally revised, by a recorded vote of 143 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 5 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Nauru, Tonga).  (See Annex I.)

Explanation of Position after Vote

The representative of Portugal, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said she had voted in favour of the draft because natural resources seized by force should not be used illegally by the occupying Power.  The European Union emphasized the application of the Geneva Convention of 1949 and stressed that questions raised in the resolution should be addressed within the context of regional peace negotiations.  The text just approved should not affect those negotiations.

The representative of Israel said the text did not advance prospects for peace nor truly attempt to deal with situation of natural resources.  The draft was an abuse of the Committee’s mandate and egregiously failed to reflect the reality on the ground.  Israel had released $250 million in tax revenues to be transferred by year’s end, in accordance with the Palestinians’ wishes.

The representative of Canada said that, while the right to protection of natural resources was important to the viability of any future Palestinian State, the resolution did not contribute constructively to a lasting solution.  For that reason, Canada had decided to vote against the text.

The representatives of El Salvador, Uganda, Peru, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Georgia all said they had been unable to be present during the vote, but asked that their votes be recorded as being in favour of the draft.

In a general statement, the observer for Palestine thanked those Member States who had voted in favour of the text resolution, saying the vote sent a clear message that the Palestinian people had the right to self-determination over their natural resources which remained seized by Israel.  The message was that the international community must hold all States to the same responsibilities and that no Member State was above international law.  The international community must safeguard a people’s right to self-determination, and the text provided such moral and legal protection.  Calling the draft irrelevant was an insult to the international community.  Approval of the text was repeated annually because of the occupying Power’s belligerence.  Israel should be confronted, not tolerated and supported.

HASSAN ALI SALEH ( Lebanon), Committee Vice-Chairman, then introduced the draft resolution on information and communication technologies for development (document A/C.2/62/L.35), which was approved without a vote.

The representative of Pakistan introduced, on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, the draft on unilateral measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries (document A/C.2/62/L.8), which the Committee approved by a recorded vote of 107 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 51 abstentions (Annex II).

Explanation of Position after Vote

The representative of Portugal, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said she had abstained because unilateral economic measures should respect the principles of international law, including the international contractual obligations of the State applying them and the rules of the World Trade Organization, where applicable.  Such measures were admissible in certain circumstances in order to fight terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or to uphold respect for human rights, democracy, the rule of law and good governance.  The European Union was committed to the use of sanctions as part of an integrated, comprehensive policy approach that should include political dialogue, incentives, conditionality and, as a last resort, coercive measures in line with the United Nations Charter.

Committee Vice-Chairman SALEH ( Lebanon) then introduced the draft resolution on the International Year of Astronomy, 2009 (document A/C.2/62/L.36), which was approved without a vote, as orally revised.

(annexes follow)

ANNEX I

Vote on Permanent Sovereignty

The draft resolution of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (document A/C.2/62/L.7/Rev.1) was approved by a recorded vote of 143 in favour to 7 against, with 5 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, United States.

Abstain:  Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Nauru, Tonga.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Liberia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu.

(END OF ANNEX I)

ANNEX II

Vote on Unilateral Economic Measures

The draft resolution on unilateral measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries (document A/C.2/62/L.8) was approved by a recorded vote of 107 in favour to 1 against, with 51 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  United States.

Abstain:  Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Botswana, Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Israel, Kiribati, Liberia, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.