COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 117th MEETING
Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Tuesday, 2 July 1985, at 3.30 p.m.
Chairman: Mr. ORAMAS-OLIVA (Cuba)
Adoption of the agenda
Composition of delegations to future visiting missions, seminars and symposia Twelfth United Nations Seminar on the Question of Palestine/North American Regional NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine, New York, 8-12 July 1985 African Regional NGO Symposium, Dakar, 5-7 August 1985 International meeting of non-governmental organizations on the question of Palestine, Geneva, 9-13 September 1985
This record is subject to correction.
Corrections should be submitted in one of the working anguages. 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 DC2-750, United Nations Plaza.
Any corrections to the record of this meeting and of other meetings will be issued in a corrigendum.
Non-governmental organizations seeking Committee approval for participation in symposia and meetings
The meeting was called to order at 3.50 p.m.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
1. The agenda was adopted.
COMPOSITION OF DELEGATIONS TO FUTURE VISITING MISSIONS, SEMINARS AND SYMPOSIA
2. The CHAIRMAN said that, following extensive consultations, the composition of the Committee's delegations to be dispatched to various capitals to promote the proposed International Peace Conference on the Middle East had been determined. The delegation to visit Egypt on 24 and 25 July would consist of Mr. Sarre of Senegal, who was the elected Chairman, Mr. Gauci of Malta, the Ambassador of Turkey and Mr. Terzi, the presentative of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The delegation scheduled to visit Madagascar on 27-30 July and Burkina Faso on 1 and 2 August, would consist of the representative of Cuba, Mr. Gauci of Malta and Mr. Terzi. The delegation to Moscow and Kiev, on 11-16 August, would comprise Mr. Sarre of Senegal, Mr. Gauci of Malta and Mr. Terzi. It had also been suggested that the Eastern European group should nominate a representative from the region to participate in the latter delegation.
3. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that he appreciated the steps being taken by the Committee to implement its decision regarding visits to the capitals of States Members of the Security Council.
4. The Committee customarily included in each delegation a representative from the region to which the delegation was being sent. However, he noted that no representative from Africa was included in the delegations to the African continent, and he suggested that that omission should be rectified.
5. Mr. ABOUCHAER (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) wished to know why the question of visiting missions to capitals was now being discussed in an open meeting, whereas, except for the first time it had been taken up, it had been considered in closed session.
6. Inasmuch as there existed no complete record of his delegation's position on the subject, he wished to reiterate its major views. His delegation in principle opposed the idea of sending any visiting missions to capitals, for the reasons which it had outlined in the open meeting at which the decision to do so had been taken. Furthermore, his delegation opposed a visit to Egypt in particular, since that country was a party to the Camp David accords, which sacrificed the rights of the Palestinian people and would contribute nothing to the realization of those legitimate rights.
7. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that he failed to understand the Syrian representative's objection, since the Syrian delegation had endorsed the request by the General Assembly that the Committee should take action to promote the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East under United Nations auspices.
(Mr. Terzi, Observer, PLO)
8. If the Committee were to adopt the Syrian delegation's position regarding the sending of a visiting mission to Egypt, then it should by the same token oppose any contact with the United States, which had objected to the convening of the proposed conference and had constantly denied the rights of the Palestinian people, even its right to self-determination.
9. Mr. LOZA (Observer for Egypt) said that it was impossible to compare the positions of the United States and Egypt on peace in the Middle East or the convening of meetings.
10. The CHAIRMAN said that it appeared that the Syrian representative was asking the Committee to reconsider a matter which had already been settled, namely, to which countries visiting missions should be dispatched. It was his own understanding that the Committee was now considering only the views of delegations regarding the composition of the delegations to those missions.
11. Mr. ABOUCHAER (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) said that the question of sending visiting missions to capitals had been discussed in closed meetings and delegations had not had the opportunity to have their views recorded.
12. With regard to the remarks of the representative of the PLO, he said that his delegation had voted in favour of the General Assembly resolution on the question of Palestine in keeping with its position of principle on the subject. That in no way contradicted the remarks he had made at the current meeting: paragraph 4 of General Assembly resolution 39/49 A stated that delegations could be sent to international conferences, but made no reference to sending them to national capitals.
13. The CHAIRMAN said that he would discuss the Syrian representative's concerns with him after the meeting. Following a discussion in which Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, the CHAIRMAN and Mr. TERZI, (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) took part, the CHAIRMAN suggested that the officers of the Committee should meet within the next few days to review recommendations regarding the composition of delegations to future visiting missions.
14. It was so decided.
TWELFTH UNITED NATIONS SEMINAR ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE/NORTH AMERICAN REGIONAL NGO SYMPOSIUM ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE, NEW YORK, 8-12 JULY 1985
15. The CHAIRMAN drew attention to Working Paper 13, which contained the programme of the Twelfth United Nations Seminar on the Question of Palestine, to be held at United Nations Headquarters, in New York, on 8 and 9 July 1985, and Working Paper 10/Rev.1, which contained information regarding the participation of experts in the North American Regional NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine, to be held at United Nations Headquarters from 10 to 12 July 1985, as well as the agenda for the symposium. The Committee had not yet decided which of its members would participate in the Seminar; any members who were so interested should inform the Bureau.
16. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) recalled that the Committee had decided to hold the Seminar and the NGO Symposium as a continuous discussion. The Committee might therefore wish to consider having the participants in the panel discussion, which constituted part of the Seminar, participate in the NGO symposium as well. He also suggested that the Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem should be invited to address the NGO Symposium. Such an invitation was appropriate in view of the fact that one of the Symposium workshops was concerned with increasing the effectiveness of religious organizations in raising public consciousness concerning the question of Palestine. He had been informed that the Archbishop was prepared to participate if invited sufficiently early.
17. He also suggested that, since Mr. Shafiq Al-Hout, a panelist scheduled to participate in the Seminar, was unable to leave Beirut to come to New York, he should be replaced by Professor Abu Lughod, a member of the Palestine National Council and the Central Council of the PLO.
18. The CHAIRMAN said that, if he heard no objection, he would take it that the Committee wished to adopt the suggestions made by the observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization.
19. It was so decided.
AFRICAN REGIONAL NGO SYMPOSIUM, DAKAR, 5-7 AUGUST 1985
20. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee would be represented at the African Symposium by its Chairman and Rapporteur and the observer for the PLO. He drew attention to paragraph 4 of Working Paper 7/Add.3, which stated that it remained for the Committee to nominate one of its own members as a panelist on the panel to discuss NGO collaboration and the role of the United Nations. He invited members of the Committee to submit nominations to the Committee secretariat by the morning of 8 July 1985, after which time the nominations would be discussed among the members of the Bureau.
INTERNATIONAL MEETING OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE, GENEVA, 9-13 SEPTEMBER 1985
21. The CHAIRMAN drew the attention of the Committee to Working Paper 12, containing the agenda of the international NGO meeting on the question of Palestine, to be held at Geneva from 9 to 12 September 1985, and a list of prospective workshop leaders.
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS SEEKING COMMITTEE APPROVAL FOR PARTICIPATION AT SYMPOSIA AND MEETINGS
22. The CHAIRMAN drew attention to Working Paper 11, which contained a list of non-governmental organizations applying for the first time for the Committee's approval to participate in the forthcoming regional and international meetings.
23. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said he had no specific comments to make regarding any individual organization; however, he wished to be assured that the United Nations had ascertained that each organization on the list subscribed to the principles and work of the Committee, which was a prerequisite for obtaining Committee approval to participate in any of its meetings.
24. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee secretariat assured him that the organizations listed met all the relevant criteria.
25. Mr. OUDOVENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) said that any future lists of non-governmental organizations seeking Committee approval should be accompanied by some basic information about each organization. Such information should be relatively easy to obtain, since the Economic and Social Council considered applications from such organizations on a regular basis. His delegation believed that the list contained in Working Paper 11 should be tentatively approved, on the understanding that delegations would be given an opportunity prior to the forthcoming meetings to learn more about the organizations in question and to voice any objections they might have to them.
26. The CHAIRMAN said he had been informed by the Committee secretariat that information regarding the organizations listed in Working Paper 11 would be provided to all members of the Committee. If he heard no objection, he would take it the Committee wished to approve the organizations listed in Working Paper 11.
27. It was so decided.
28. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said he had just received a study on the living conditions of the Palestinian people prepared by the Division for Palestinian Rights. He had been somewhat surprised to receive it, since it was his understanding that the Committee had decided that the thrust of its work would be the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. While the Division for Palestinian Rights had been given the task of carrying out studies on efforts taken by the United Nations to convene that Conference, the appearance of a study on living conditions seemed to indicate that studies relating to the Conference were not the first priority of the Division. Perhaps the Secretariat was deliberately attempting to keep the public from learning about the peaceful efforts to settle the question of Palestine and about the real obstructions to those efforts. He wondered whether the Division for Palestinian Rights had been instructed not to carry out the study in question, or whether the Division was simply overburdened with work.
29. Mr. YOGASUNDRAM (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) said he was rather hurt by the last remark of the observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization, who seemed to feel that, after so many years of close co-operation, the Division would deliberately try to obstruct the work of the Committee.
30. The Division had drawn up a list of studies on a number of topics some time previously and had begun to carry them out at once so that they might be issued without delay. Only then had the Committee decided that the Division should carry out a study on peaceful efforts to settle the question of Palestine. Unfortunately, that study had been held up by the earlier studies; however, it was to be hoped that it would appear in the near future.
31. Mr. AL SAID (Department of Public Information) said that, in accordance with General Assembly resolutions 38/58 E and 39/49 C, a fact-finding mission had been sent to the Middle East from 31 March to 18 April 1985 and the Asian Regional Journalists' Encounter on the Question of Palestine had been held at Jakarta, Indonesia, from 7 to 9 May 1985.
32. Twelve prominent journalists from around the world had participated in the mission, which had visited Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic. In Tunisia, the mission had met with the Chairman of the Executive Committee and the Head of the Political Department of the PLO and had visited a Palestinian school for martyrs' children. Meetings had also been held with the Tunisian Prime Minister, the Tunisian Minister for Foreign Affairs and officials of the League of Arab States. In Egypt, the mission had met with government officials and researchers associated with the leading Egyptian newspaper, Al Ahram. In Jordan, the mission had met with various officials and had visited a Palestinian refugee camp and the Jordan Valley. The mission had been unable to meet with any senior officials in the Syrian Arab Republic but had visited a refugee camp, an UNRWA school and the city of Quneitra on the Golan Heights; it had also met with the director and staff of the UNRWA office at Damascus.
33. In the view of the mission participants, the mission had achieved its purposes of providing them with a first-hand opportunity to learn about various aspects of the Palestinian question in depth. However, most of them had complained about the failure to meet senior officials in some countries, a situation which could have an adverse impact on the ability of DPI to secure the participation of prominent journalists in the future. The mission had received extensive media coverage in the countries visited, and a compilation of articles published by participating journalists was available from the Department of Public Information.
34. The objective of the Asian Regional Journalists' Encounter had been to provide journalists with objective and balanced perspectives on the question of Palestine by bringing them together with a panel of experts on the subject. Twelve prominent journalists from Asian countries and several local journalists had participated in the Encounter, whose agenda and format had followed the pattern of previous Encounters. Presentations by the panelists had covered many aspects of the Palestinian question, and the Encounter had received wide coverage in the local media. The panelists had held a press conference on the second day of the Encounter.
35. A questionnaire had been distributed to journalists in order to elicit their views, remarks and suggestions on all aspects of the Encounter. The answers had revealed the following: (a) on substantive matters, there had been general agreement that presentations by panelists had been balanced, clear and well prepared. However, most of the participants had expressed the view that they would have preferred to have heard an Israeli official or representative. The Moderator had explained that the United Nations had, on previous occasions, invited Israeli representatives to participate in such Encounters, but that they had declined; (b) there had been general agreement that the information obtained during the Enounter had clarified some of the questions participants had had on the subject and that it would prompt them to seek further knowledge of the subject; they had also felt that they would be writing more stories, and with better understanding, on the subject in the future; (c) Journalists had agreed that the publications distributed had been satisfactory, pertinent and timely, although they had suggested that the publications should have been distributed prior to the Encounter so that they could have had enough time to read them; (as a result, arrangements would be made in the future for journalists to receive such publications in their home countries sufficiently in advance); (d) Most journalists had expressed satisfaction with the United Nations films screened during the Encounter. A compilation of articles published by Encounter participants was in progress.
36. The Latin American Regional Journalists' Encounter, which had been scheduled to be held at Georgetown, Guyana, from 13 to 15 June 1985, had been cancelled for reasons beyond the control of DPI.
37. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that, to his knowledge, the Committee had not yet received an invitation to attend the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women to be held at Nairobi later in the month, which he would attend.
38. The CHAIRMAN said that it was true that the Committee had not yet received an invitation to the Conference; when such an invitation was received, the Committee would take an appropriate decision.
The meeting rose at 5.15 p.m.