CEIRPP – Austria’s response – Note by the Chairman



The substantive portion of a reply received from Austria to the Secretary-General's letter dated 4 February 1977[Link] is reproduced below in conformity with the Committee's decision.


[Original: English]

[24 May 1977]

The Austrian Government have in the past expressed their views on the Middle East problem and the Palestine question on numerous occasions, both in the Security Council as well as in the General Assembly, and most recently in the debate of the thirty-first session of the General Assembly on the two relevant agenda items.

In these declarations the Austrian Government have consistently stressed the basic value of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) with regard to a just and lasting peaceful settlement of the problems in the Middle East which has to be based on the principle of respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area – Israel as well as her Arab neighbours – and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries.  Apart from their immediate relevance to the problems of the Middle East, these two resolutions also contain fundamental principles for the peaceful conduct of international relations.

The Austrian Government firmly believe that peace in the Middle East cannot be assured without recognition of the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people.  Austria has on many occasions professed its conviction that the right of self-determination is to be counted among the basic human rights. This right can therefore not be denied to the Palestinian people.  Furthermore, every people has the right to select its own representatives for the purpose of international negotiations. This right, therefore, must also be recognized to the Palestinian people and the necessary choice cannot be imposed upon them from outside.

The report presented by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people to the thirty-first session of the General Assembly constitutes a valuable contribution to the necessary search for ingenuity and flexibility which is needed to ensure that the Palestinian people attain their legitimate rights and aspirations.  The report thus supplements other efforts undertaken with a view to bringing about a peaceful solution to the problems in question.

However, the right of one party to a conflict can be recognized only to the extent that the rights of the other parties are not infringed upon. Thus it seems to be of utmost importance that in recognizing the rights of the Palestinian people and in assuring a national expression for these rights, the rights of all other peoples of the region, including the Israeli people, be equally acknowledged.

A peaceful solution of the problems in the Middle East presupposes mutual recognition of the legitimacy of the claims of the different parties and adjustments in the respective basic attitudes as well as a clear definition of the scope of an ultimate peace settlement and adequate guarantees for the sovereignty and national security of all parties involved. Widespread recognition of the usefulness of international guarantees and the mutual acceptability of the concept of demilitarized zones is an encouraging sign in this regard.

It is paramount that an early settlement of the conflict be found and a stalemate in the situation, which might degenerate into new outbreaks of violence, be prevented.  In the opinion of the Austrian Government, the Geneva Peace Conference constitutes an appropriate forum in which to elaborate – under the auspices of the United Nations and with the participation of representatives of all the parties involved, including the Palestinian people – an over-all and comprehensive peace settlement.  Austria, which considers the early reconvening of the Geneva Conference a matter of high priority, strongly urges all the parties to commit themselves to the resumption of the Geneva Conference.

The Geneva Peace Conference should generate, through a process of meaningful dialogue and negotiation, the necessary confidence and trust that alone can bring about the solution of all aspects of the Middle East problem.

In conclusion, the Austrian Government wish to renew their firm commitment to the principle of peaceful settlement of international conflicts in accordance with Article 2, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations.  It is this principle in particular which must govern all efforts to solve the crisis in the Middle East, including the problem of the exercise of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.



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