COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 145th MEETING
Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Thursday, 12 November 1987, at 10.30 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. SARRE (Senegal)
Tribute to the memory of His Excellency General Seyni Kountché, Head of State of the Republic of the Niger
Expression of sympathy in connection with the death of Mr. Abdulrahman El Sharkawi, Chairman of the Afro-Asian Peoples' Solidarity Organization
Adoption of the Agenda
Latin American Seminar, Havana, 15-17 December 1987
Draft resolutions on the question of Palestine
Programme of work for 1988
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 DC2-0750, 2 United Nations Plaza.
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.
TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY OF HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL SEYNI KOUNTCHE, HEAD OF STATE OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE NIGER
1. The CHAIRMAN, speaking on behalf of the Committee, expressed its deep regret on hearing of the death of the President of the Supreme Military Council and Head of State of the Republic of the Niger, His Excellency General Seyni Kountché, and requested that country's representative to convey the Committee's most sincere condolences to his Government and to the President's family.
2. Mr. DAITTA (Observer for the Niger), speaking on behalf of his Government and people, thanked the Chairman and the Committee for their tribute to the memory of President Seyni Kountché.
EXPRESSION OF SYMPATHY IN CONNECTION WITH THE DEATH OF MR. ABDULRAHMAN EL SHARKAWI, CHAIRMAN OF THE AFRO-ASIAN PEOPLES' SOLIDARITY ORGANIZATION
3. The CHAIRMAN announced with regret that he had just learned of the sudden death of Mr. Abdulrahman El Sharkawi, Chairman of the Afro-Asian Peoples' Solidarity Organization (AAPSO). He had conveyed the Committee's condolences both to the family of the deceased and to AAPSO, which had always firmly supported the Palestinian people's cause and the work of the Committee.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
4. The agenda was adopted.
LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR, HAVANA, 15-17 DECEMBER 1987
5. The CHAIRMAN said that details of the preparations for the Latin American Seminar had been circulated to Committee members in his letter of 6 November 1987. The officers of the Committee had recommended that the Seminar should be held in Havana from 15 to 17 December 1987 and, like previous seminars, should deal with the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, the question of Palestine and public opinion in the region, and the role of the Palestine Liberation Organization. They had also recommended a list of experts from several Latin American countries and from Israel, the United States of America and Europe and a number of Palestinians. Invitations had been sent to those who had indicated their availability, the list of whom should include the name of Mr. Tijl Declerq, member of the Belgian Parliament. It was hoped that countries represented in the Committee and interested in its work would participate actively in the Seminar, to the extent possible.
DRAFT RESOLUTIONS ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
6. Mr. BORG OLIVIER (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the three draft resolutions before the Committee essentially repeated those adopted in the past. Draft resolutions A, B and C authorized the continuation of the current programme of work
during the next biennium and related, respectively, to the work of the Committee, of the Division for Palestinian Rights and of the Department of Public Information.
7. The officers of the Committee took the view that it should have sufficient flexibility to adjust its programme of work to meet any new developments, while remaining within the overall appropriation for 1988-1989. Accordingly, they recommended that draft resolution A, paragraph 4, should be amended by inserting the words:
"and to make such adjustments in its approved programme of seminars and of symposia and meetings for non-governmental organizations as it may consider necessary in the light of developments"
in place of the words:
"where such activities would be considered by it to be appropriate".
8. The purpose of the amendment was to enable the Committee to suspend events in its programme and use the funds so saved to hold meetings away from Headquarters if it believed that they would give its work greater impact. It was understood that any changes made to the programme would not involve additional expenditures.
9. Because the three draft resolutions had financial implications, it was hoped that they could be adopted by the Committee and submitted as soon as possible for consideration by the budgetary committees.
Draft resolution A
10. Mr. GLAIEL (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) said that he had difficulties with the proposed amendment to paragraph 4 and could not approve the text without first referring it to his superiors. He would prefer any possible problems to be settled in the Committee rather than in the General Assembly.
11. The CHAIRMAN said that the amendment had only been proposed after due consideration and was intended to improve the Committee's mandate without affecting its substance. As had been pointed out, it did not alter the financial implications of the draft resolution.
12. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that, if it was clear that the amendment had no financial implications, he saw no need for further discussion.
13. Mr. BORG OLIVIER (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the amendment was not intended to introduce any new element into the Committee's mandate. Its purpose was to allow the Committee leeway, such as other Committees already enjoyed, to cut its programme and use the savings so made to hold meetings away from Headquarters if it felt that they would bring its work better publicity. No harm could result from allowing the draft resolution to go forward since it would be possible to discuss any proposed changes in the Committee's activities later.
14. Mr. WIJEWARDANE (Observer for Sri Lanka) said that the proposed amendment to paragraph 4 would be clearer, and just as effective, if its last five words "in the light of developments" were deleted.
15. Mr. BORG OLIVIER (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the proposed deletion was acceptable since the words in question had only been included to indicate why adjustments to the Committee's approved programme might be considered necessary.
16. The CHAIRMAN said that the deletion would be made. So far as the objection raised by the observer for the Syrian Arab Republic was concerned, he suggested that the Committee should adopt the draft resolution but defer submitting it for consideration of its financial implications until 16 November, so as to allow the Syrian delegation more time for thought.
17. It was so decided.
18. Draft resolution A was adopted.
Draft resolution B
19. Draft resolution B was adopted.
Draft resolution C
20. Mr. WANG Xuexian (Observer for China) said that he would like some explanation of the reasons for the changes made in the draft resolution as compared with its 1986 counterpart.
21. Mr. BORG OLIVIER (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the only material change had been the addition of the words "with particular emphasis on public opinion in Europe and North America" in paragraph 2, to qualify the reference to the continuation of the Department of Public Information's special information programme on the question of Palestine for the biennium 1988-1989. The addition had been made because greater efforts were felt to be required to inform public opinion in those areas about the question of Palestine.
22. Mr. WANG Xuexian (Observer for China) said that other changes had also been made, notably the omission of one of the subparagraphs in paragraph 2 of the resolution.
23. Mr. FASEHUN (Nigeria) said that he wished to know what impact the restructuring of the Department of Public Information (DPI) would have on its work with the Committee in the dissemination of information on the question of Palestine.
24. Mr. WIJEWARDANE (Observer for Sri Lanka) said that the failure to include in draft resolution C any mention of information regarding Israeli human rights violations in the occupied territories, a point dealt with in paragraph 2 (c) of the previous year's resolution (General Assembly resolution 41/43 C), particularly disturbed him as Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories. He believed that such a paragraph must be included in the current draft resolution.
25. Mr. EL-SAID (Department of Public Information) said that DPI remained committed to any priorities set for it by the General Assembly and that the only change that would be brought about by its reorganization would be a significant improvement in the quality of its programmes and hence of the impact of its information.
26. Regarding the elimination of a previously included subparagraph, it had been felt that by formulating paragraph 2 (b) of draft resolution C to read "to continue to issue and update publications on the various aspects of the question of Palestine", that would convey the essential point made in the previous year's paragraph 2 (c) regarding publications on the various aspects of the question of Palestine, including Israeli human rights violations. Indeed, DPI had already issued and distributed worldwide a booklet on Israeli human rights violations and had disseminated the Special Committee's report widely.
27. Mr. WIJEWARDANE (Observer for Sri Lanka), supported by Mr. GLAIEL (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic), said that the draft resolution itself must none the less contain a specific reference to Israeli human rights violations, and he strongly felt that the subparagraph in question should be restored.
28. Mr. EL-SAID (Department of Public Information) said that, regardless of the wording of draft resolution C, his Department would continue to cover the work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices; it had always been given full coverage in DPI periodicals and through all other channels of information.
29. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) suggested that the issue might be resolved by including a specific reference to the reports of both the Committee and the Special Committee in paragraph 2 (a) of draft resolution C.
30. Mr. BAALI (Observer for Algeria) said that, in view of the financial difficulties of the United Nations and the reorganization of DPI, it was important for the Committee to define very clearly the DPI mandate regarding Palestinian questions. He would therefore prefer to have the separate subparagraph included, but could support the suggestion made by the observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
31. Mr. BORG OLIVIER (Malta), Rapporteur, agreed that paragraph 2 (a) should be amended as suggested by the observer for the PLO and proposed adding after the word "Palestine" the phrase ", particularly those of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories". It was perhaps not enough, however, to single out only the reports, and he therefore proposed adding after the word "Palestine" in paragraph 2 (b) the phrase "including the monitoring of Israeli practices in the occupied territories and violations of human rights of the inhabitants".
32. Mr. TEKAYA (Tunisia), observing that the financial crisis should in no way affect the priority accorded by the General Assembly to the question of Palestine or curtail DPI activities to enlighten world public opinion on the matter, said that he supported the Rapporteur's proposals.
33. Mr. EL-SAID (Department of Public Information), supported by Mr. WIJEWARDANE (Observer for Sri Lanka), suggested that paragraph 2 (b) should be amended along the lines suggested by the Rapporteur, but that the amendment should consist of adding at the end of the last phrase of paragraph 2 (c) of resolution 41/43 C, namely, "including Israeli violations of the human rights of the Arab inhabitants of the occupied territories".
34. On the other hand, the proposed amendment of paragraph 2 (a), by mentioning only the reports of the two Committees, seemed rather to restrict the DPI mandate to disseminate information on all activities relating to the question of Palestine. He therefore felt that the proposed addition to paragraph 2 (b) might, of itself, satisfy all concerns.
35. The CHAIRMAN suggested that the Rapporteur and the representative of DPI should work together on a final text of draft resolution C that would take account of all the concerns expressed. He would take it, if he heard no objection, that the Committee wished to adopt draft resolution C provisionally, pending such amendment of the text.
36. It was so decided.
PROGRAMME OF WORK FOR 1988
37. The CHAIRMAN drew attention to the tentative calendar for 1988, which had been distributed to the members of the Committee, and which gave the schedule of proposed seminars, DPI events and NGO meetings. He informed the Committee that the German Democratic Republic had offered to host the European seminar in Berlin in May or June, and he requested the representative of that country to convey to his Government the Committee's appreciation for its generous offer. The Committee would revert to the programme of work for 1988 at its next meeting.
38. It was so decided.
39. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization), referring to recent events in the occupied territories such as the Israeli shooting of students and young girls in the Gaza Strip, the repressive measures taken in Bethlehem and the acquittal of Shin Beth murderers by the Israeli judiciary, all widely reported in the press, asked whether they had been monitored at the United Nations and what the Committee could do to make them known.
40. Mr. MIRZA (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) said that information on those events had been compiled and would be submitted later in the day to the Chairman of the Committee.
41. Mr. ELTCHENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) observed that the Extraordinary Arab Summit Conference which had just concluded in Amman, Jordan, had focussed on ways to establish peace in the Middle East after four decades of a tragic conflict that constituted a serious threat to international peace and security. All must work together towards convening a conference on the Middle East and a major role could be played to that end by the Arab States themselves, which must establish the necessary degree of co-operation and harmonize any action they took.
42. Also significant had been a recent meeting that had taken place in Moscow between the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Yasser Arafat, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. They had reaffirmed the need to continue to find ways to resolve the Middle East conflict. The only solution that would ensure enduring peace would be the convening of a properly authorized international conference under the auspices of the United Nations, with the participation of all interested parties, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and the five permanent members of the Security Council. The Ukrainian SSR would do everything possible to bring about the convening of such a conference.
43. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that he trusted that the host country of the historic Extraordinary Arab Summit Conference would have the text of its Final Declaration issued as a United Nations document, since it had a bearing on the Committee's endeavours to convene an international peace conference and would be useful to it in drafting its political resolution on the question of Palestine.
44. The PLO had always been aware, despite a recent malicious United States and Israeli campaign to the contrary, of the true position of the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian SSR regarding the Palestine Liberation Organization as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
The meeting rose at 12.25 p.m.