United Nations A/54/PV.80

General Assembly Official Records

Fifty-fourth session

80th plenary meeting

Wednesday, 15 December 1999, 3 p.m.

New York

President: Mr. Gurirab……………………………..(Namibia)

The meeting was called to order at 3.15 p.m.

Agenda item 20 (continued)

Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance

Draft resolution (A/54/L.70)

(b) Special economic assistance to individual countries or regions

Draft resolutions (A/54/L.29/Rev.1, A/54/L.66, A/54/L.67, A/54/L.68, A/54/L.69)

(e) Assistance to the Palestinian people

Draft resolution (A/54/L.52)

The President: I call on the representative of Finland to introduce draft resolutions A/54/L.70 and A/54/L.52.

Ms. Rasi (Finland): I have the honour to introduce, on behalf of the European Union and the other sponsors, the following two draft resolutions: the draft resolution contained in document A/54/L.70, entitled "Safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel", and the draft resolution contained in document A/54/L.52, entitled "Assistance to the Palestinian people".

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The draft resolution notes the appointment by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. We hope that this appointment will have a positive impact on questions related to assistance to the Palestinian people.

The draft resolution welcomes the meeting of the consultative group in Frankfurt on 4 and 5 February 1999, in particular the pledges of the international donor community and the presentation of the Palestinian Development Plan for the years 1999-2003.

Furthermore, the recent meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee held at Tokyo on 14 and 15 October 1999, and the signing of the updated Tripartite Action Plan and the proposal to hold the next meeting in Lisbon are welcomed in the draft resolution.

It is the hope of the authors this draft resolution, like those of previous years, can be adopted without a vote.

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The President: Under sub-item (e), the General Assembly will now take a decision on draft resolution A/54/L.52, entitled "Assistance to the Palestinian people". May I take it that the Assembly decides to adopt draft resolution A/54/L.52?

Draft resolution A/54/L.52 was adopted

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Miss Rizk (Syrian Arab Republic) (spoke in Arabic): My delegation joined the consensus on resolution 54/116, "Assistance to the Palestinian people", which was just adopted. My delegation supports the operative paragraphs calling for assistance to the Palestinian people, proceeding from the support of the Syrian Arab Republic for efforts to assist the Palestinian people to develop and improve their living conditions.

However, my delegation has some reservations on some of the preambular paragraphs of the resolution just adopted, as we believe that they do not accurately or comprehensively reflect the difficulties facing the Middle East peace process.

The Syrian Arab Republic believes that the right path to the economic and social development of the Palestinian people and to alleviating the plight of that people requires the elimination of the genuine reason of their plight and suffering: the continuing Israeli occupation and, specifically, the colonialist settlement policies of the occupying Power.

Mr. Shacham (Israel): This year, as in years past, Israel joined the consensus on the resolution entitled "Assistance to the Palestinian people", and I would like to explain our position in this regard.

As we pointed out in our statement on this item, Israel is committed to the goal of enhancing the economic growth and welfare of the Palestinian people, which we see as an investment in a better future for the people of the region. This goal has been translated into a primary component of Israeli policy, which includes direct economic assistance to the Palestinians, cooperation on development and a wide variety of other projects that have yielded substantial results on the ground.

We welcome the concerted efforts of Member States, international financial institutions and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to aid in the development efforts. Israel has been fully cooperating with the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and the United Nations Children's Fund, as well as with other international organizations, in implementing programmes aimed at improving the living conditions of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

In this respect, it should be pointed out that Israel shares the hope that the United Nations Special Coordinator in these areas can assist in the crucial sphere of economic growth, enrichment and investment in the future. Israel is ready to cooperate with the Special Coordinator in this sphere.

Israel's participation in the consensus on the resolution should not be construed as implying any position regarding the present status of the areas referred to as occupied territory. Additionally, our support does not carry any implication regarding Israel's position on the permanent status of those territories – which, in accordance with all Israeli-Palestinian agreements, including the recent Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum – is a matter to be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians in the framework of the permanent status negotiations, which are now under way.

With regard to the comments made by my Syrian colleague, direct negotiations have restarted today in Washington between Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic. These talks join the ongoing negotiations that we are currently carrying out with our Palestinian neighbours. Israel believes that it is in the common interests of all the parties actively engaged in the negotiation of peace in the Middle East to aspire to the language of peace and the dialogue of reconciliation, not only in the negotiating room but also in international forums such as the United Nations General Assembly. In the light of this conviction – and in the interest of pursuing a new code of conduct between us – I would like to take this opportunity not to reply and would like to call this lack of reply to the attention of my Syrian colleague, as well as to the attention of the General Assembly.

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Mr. Jilani (Palestine) (spoke in Arabic): We would like, at the outset, to express our thanks to the member States of the European Union that have co-sponsored the resolution entitled "Assistance to the Palestinian people", as well as to the Member States of the United Nations that joined the consensus on the resolution.

We regret the statement made by the representative of Israel with regard to this resolution. We would like to stress that both the peace negotiations and the interim agreements are built upon Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), both of which stress the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of land by force. Furthermore, many other resolutions have been adopted at the United Nations – including 24 by the Security Council alone – that stress the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to all occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem.

We also regret that the representative of Israel continues to ignore the fact of the existence of a Palestinian people, which he could not even bring himself to mention.

Finally, I would like to say that the agreements that have been signed by both parties, and the final status negotiations, must take into account international law and the United Nations Charter and be in conformity with the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly.

Mr. Shacham (Israel): I would like to reiterate Israel's belief that it is in the common interest of all the parties actively engaged in the negotiation of peace in the Middle East to aspire to the language of peace and the dialogue of reconciliation, not only in the negotiating room but also in international forums such as the United Nations General Assembly.

In the light of this conviction, and in the interest of pursuing a new code of conduct between us, I would like again to take this opportunity not to reply and would like to call this lack of reply to the attention of the Palestinian observer delegation, which represents the primary beneficiaries of the resolution on assistance to the Palestinian people, as well as to the attention of the General Assembly.

May I take it that it is the wish of the General Assembly to conclude its consideration of sub-items (a) and (e) of agenda item 20?

It was so decided.

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The meeting rose at 7 p.m.


Document symbol: A/54/PV.80
Document Type: Meeting records
Document Sources: General Assembly
Subject: Agenda Item, Assistance
Publication Date: 15/12/1999