COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 118th MEETING
Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Friday, 23 August 1985, at 10.30 a.m.
Chairman: Mr. SARRE (Senegal)
Tribute to the memory of His Excellency Mr. Forbes Burnham, President of Guyana
Adoption of the agenda
Reports on missions to capitals
Report on the Eleventh United Nations Seminar on the Question of Palestine, Georgetown, 17-20 June 1985
Report on the Twelfth United Nations Seminar on the Question of Palestine, New York, 8-9 July 1985
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 DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza.
Any corrections to the record of this meeting and of other meetings will be issued in a corrigendum.
Report on the North American Regional NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine, New York, 10-12 July 1985
Report on the 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
Draft report of the Committee to the General Assembly
The meeting was called to order at 10.55 a.m.
TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY OF HIS EXCELLENCY MR. FORBES BURNHAM, PRESIDENT OF GUYANA
1. The CHAIRMAN paid tribute to the memory of His Excellency Mr. Forbes Burnham, President of Guyana.
2. On the proposal of the Chairman, the members of the Committee observed a minute of silence in tribute to the memory of Mr. Burnham.
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
3. The agenda was adopted.
REPORTS ON MISSIONS TO CAPITALS
4. The CHAIRMAN presented a report on a series of missions which the Committee had undertaken to the Governments of States members of the Security Council with a view to promoting the implementation of the Committee's recommendations and the prompt convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. In that connection, he recalled that, at the time of the Asian Regional Seminar and the Symposium for NGOs, a delegation from the Committee had been received by the Governments of China, India and Thailand.
5. In June, a delegation composed of the Chairman, Mr. Velazco-San José of Cuba and Mr. Terzi of the Palestine Liberation Organization had visited Peru and Trinidad and Tobago. Following that mission, the Chairman and Mr. Terzi had met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago in New York. At all those meetings, the imperative need for a prompt convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East and the leading role which the Security Council should play in that connection had been stressed. The Governments concerned had agreed that concrete measures must be taken as a matter of urgency and had expressed their determination to play an active role in bringing about a just and comprehensive settlement of the Palestine question under United Nations auspices.
6. Subsequently, a delegation composed of the Chairman, Mr. Gauci of Malta, Mr. Türkmen of Turkey and Mr. Terzi had visited Egypt from 23 to 26 July 1985. There they had been received by the Prime Minister, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, who had assured the Committee of their support for the convening of the International Conference and their commitment to the Palestinian people. Discussions had also been held with senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during which measures to be taken in the course of the fortieth session of the General Assembly and afterwards had been discussed. Specifically, a draft resolution aimed at encouraging the United States to take a positive stand must be carefully prepared so that it might receive as many votes as possible during the forthcoming session of the General Assembly. It had also been agreed that the impetus given thus far to the convening of the International Conference must be maintained. The mission, together with an Israeli journalist, had also participated in a journalists' encounter organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI).
7. Mr. GAUCI (Malta) said that a delegation composed of Mr. Velazco-San José, Mr. Terzi and himself had visited Madagascar from 28 to 30 July and Burkina Faso from 1 to 3 August 1985. In Madagascar, the delegation had been received by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and two Vice-Presidents of the National Assembly, and had participated in a journalists' encounter organized by DPI. In Burkina Faso, the delegation had met with the President, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Information and Culture and representatives of several organizations that were dedicated to the cause of the Palestinian people. It had been impressed by the vigour with which the Governments visited supported the Committee's work and their determination to see the Palestinian people enjoy its rights.
8. The CHAIRMAN announced that a delegation from the Committee had visited the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian SSR from 11 to 16 August 1985; however, as the participants had not yet returned to New York, a report on that mission would be presented at a later date.
9. Mr. OUDOVENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) said his delegation believed that the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East constituted the ultimate step in the settlement of the Middle East question, a settlement which must involve the creation of a Palestinian State. The Committee's work in that regard was significant because it attracted public attention while promoting the solution of one of the most pressing problems of the times. However, given that the main obstacles to the solution of that problem was the position adopted by the United States and Israel, the Committee should dispatch a mission to Washington, D.C. and make additional efforts to expand and intensify its activities in the Western countries that were members of the Security Council, particularly the United States.
10. As the Chairman had indicated, a mission had recently visited Moscow and Kiev. In the Ukrainian SSR, the mission, which had received wide media coverage, had met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and other representatives of the Government and non-governmental organizations.
11. Mr. MANSOUR (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) expressed
appreciation for the missions of the Committee and to the countries which had hosted the missions. He was confident that the missions would have concrete results both during and after the fortieth session of the General Assembly. It was extremely important that additional missions should be dispatched to the Western States members of the Security Council, particularly the United States, which was working to obstruct the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. Everything must be done to encourage the United States to reverse its
12. The CHAIRMAN pointed out that the visits to States members of the Security Council which had just taken place represented only the first stage in a series of visits to all members of the Council.
REPORT ON THE ELEVENTH UNITED NATIONS SEMINAR ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE, GEORGETOWN, 17-20 JUNE 1985
13. Mr. KARRAN (Guyana) said that the opening of the Seminar had included statements by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guyana and the Chairman of the Committee; messages from the Chairmen of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid, the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the United Nations Special Committee on decolonization had also been read out.
14. The Seminar had comprised five meetings during which eight panellists from seven countries had presented papers on the following topics: the role of the Palestine Liberation Organization; the question of Palestine and Latin American public opinion; and the International Peace Conference on the Middle East: the need for such a conference; efforts and prospects to promote a successful outcome and benefits thereof. In addition to the panellists, Seminar participants had included representatives of 11 Governments, three United Nations organs, two intergovernmental organizations, the Guyana Committee for Solidarity and Peace and representatives of the mass media in Guyana.
15. In view of the detailed argumentation and the depth of research contained in the papers presented by the panellists, the Seminar had decided that the papers should be published in full by the United Nations, together with the report of the Seminar, as an important contribution towards a more objective appraisal of the Palestine question. The Seminar had also decided to send a message of support to Chairman Arafat of the PLO.
16. The English version of the report of the Seminar, which contained summaries of the discussions of the three panels, had been distributed to members and observers of the Committee.
17. The CHAIRMAN suggested that the Committee should take note of the report of the Seminar, which would be annexed to the Committee's report to the General Assembly.
18. It was so decided.
REPORT ON THE TWELFTH UNITED NATIONS SEMINAR ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE, NEW YORK, 8-9 JULY 1985
19. Mr. TARASYUK (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) said that at the opening session of the Seminar the participants had been addressed by Mr. William B. Buffum, Under-Secretary-General for Political and General Assembly Affairs, on behalf of the Secretary-General, and by Mr. Oramas-Oliva, Vice-Chairman of the Committee. Messages from the Chairmen of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, the United Nations Council for Namibia, the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid, the United Nations Special Committee on decolonization, the League of Arab States, the Organization of African Unity, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the African National Congress of South Africa had also been read out.
20. During the Seminar's four meetings, five panellists had presented papers on the following topics: the role of the Palestine Liberation Organization; and the International Peace Conference on the Middle East: the need for such a conference; efforts and prospects to promote a successful outcome and benefits thereof. In addition to the panellists, the Seminar had been attended by representatives of members and observers of the Committee, three United Nations organs, three specialized agencies, one intergovernmental organization and three United Nations bodies, as well as approximately 15 non-governmental organizations. Six States had been represented by observers.
21. In view of the detailed argumentation and the depth of research contained in the papers presented by the panellists, the Seminar had decided that the papers should be published in full by the United Nations, together with the report of the Seminar, as an important contribution towards a more objective appraisal of the Palestine question. The report of the Seminar, which had been unanimously adopted, contained summaries of the panel discussions. The Seminar had also decided to send a message of support to Chairman Arafat of the PLO.
22. The CHAIRMAN suggested that the Committee should take note of the report of the Seminar, which would be annexed to the Committee's report to the General Assembly.
23. It was so decided.
REPORT ON THE NORTH AMERICAN REGIONAL NGO SYMPOSIUM ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE, NEW YORK, 10-12 JULY 1985
24. Mr. GAUCI (Malta) said that the Symposium had been attended by
100 representatives of 53 organizations, as well as a number of government observers and members of the Committee. The first day of the Symposium had been devoted to panel presentations, which had addressed such issues as trends in the media having a negative impact on the Palestine question, NGO collaboration with respect to the Palestine question, and the role of the United Nations in that area. On the second day, workshops had been held on methods available to NGOs to exert a positive influence on North American public opinion on the question of Palestine. The reports of those workshops, which were action-oriented in character, were available to members of the Committee.
25. A documentary film on Palestine had been shown and participants had elected a North American interim co-ordinating committee comprising seven Canadian and United States organizations which represented a broad constituency committed to implementing Symposium decisions in the coming year.
REPORT ON THE AFRICAN REGIONAL NGO SYMPOSIUM, DAKAR, 5-7 AUGUST 1985
26. Mr. GAUCI (Malta) said that 22 organizations had attended the Symposium, seven Governments had been represented as observers, and the League of Arab States, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization had also sent observers. The Symposium had focused on four topics: the International Peace Conference on the Middle East; the role of the Palestine Liberation Organization; the question of Palestine and African public opinion; and participation of non-governmental organizations in activities devoted to the question of Palestine. Those topics had been dealt with in four panels; the names of the panellists were contained in the report. Copies of the text of the final Declaration adopted at the Symposium had been distributed.
27. It had also been decided that an African regional interim co-ordinating committee for non-governmental organizations interested in the question of Palestine should be established. Mr. Moustapha Seck had been elected Co-ordinator and Mr. Ousmane Sarr had been elected Secretary-General of that Committee. On 13 August 1985, the representatives of several Senegalese non-governmental organizations and Pan-African non-governmental organizations represented at Dakar had made the following decisions at the request of the participants in the Symposium: firstly, the Interim Co-ordinating Committee for Africa should be composed of about eight persons chosen according to the criteria of regional distribution and "Pan-Africanness" and, secondly, in order to ensure proper representation of the African region at the international NGO meeting, a representative number of delegates of non-governmental organizations should be invited by the United Nations.
28. The CHAIRMAN suggested that the Committee should take note of the report of the Symposium, which would be annexed to the Committee's report to the General Assembly.
29. It was so decided.
INTERNATIONAL MEETING OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE, GENEVA, 9-13 SEPTEMBER 1985
30. The CHAIRMAN said that working paper No. 12/Add.1, containing a list of the experts who had been invited to the second international meeting of non-governmental organizations on the question of Palestine, had been distributed to the Committee. The list on page 1 of the working paper should contain the name of Dr. Primakov, Director of the Orient Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, who had agreed to take part in the meeting. Since some experts had already informed the Committee that they were unable to attend the meeting, the working paper also contained a list of persons who might be chosen to replace those experts.
31. Mr. MANSOUR (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that
two Palestinian women from the occupied territories, Sameeha Khalil and
Siham Barghouty, would attend the meeting if they obtained travel authorization from the Government of Israel. The same two Palestinian leaders had been invited to the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women, held at Nairobi from 15 to 26 July 1985, but had been denied permission to leave the West Bank. He asked what the Secretary-General was doing to avert a similar refusal on the part of Israel, and suggested that the Chairman of the Committee should consult with the Secretary-General in that regard.
32. The CHAIRMAN said that the Secretary-General had been in touch with the Israeli Government regarding the participation of Sameeha Khalil and
Siham Barghouty in the NGO meeting; so far, no reply had been received.
33. He suggested that the Committee should take note of working paper No. 12/Add.1 and should authorize the secretariat to extend further invitations to the NGO meeting at Geneva.
34. It was so decided.
DRAFT REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY (A/AC.183/1985/CRP.3)
35. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, proposed that, since the draft report of the Committee (A/AC.183/1985/CRP.3) had just been distributed, the Committee should not discuss the report at the current meeting. Arrangements had been made for a meeting of the Working Group on Wednesday, 28 August 1985, to examine the draft report, which would subsequently be presented to the Committee as a whole for adoption.
36. Mr. ABOUCHAER (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) said that the draft report should be carefully examined from the perspective of the General Assembly resolutions which called for the full achievement of Palestinian rights. Postponement of the consideration of the draft report would give all delegations and observers, especially the Arab States whose territories were occupied, a chance to evaluate the different aspects of the report and to express their views. He remarked that, although the words "draft report" appeared on page 1, the letter of transmittal on page 4 contained a reference to "the report of the Committee". He hoped that the letter of transmittal had been written in the context of a draft report and not a report.
37. The CHAIRMAN said that the letter of transmittal contained in the draft report was itself also a draft, and that delegations were free to propose any changes to the draft report or the letter of transmittal.
38. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, said that the contents of the report should not be divulged in a press release before the report was adopted.
39. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee would submit the draft report to the Working Group and meet thereafter to consider the report in detail.
40. The CHAIRMAN drew attention to working paper No. 11/Add.1, which contained an additional list of the non-governmental organizations that had requested permission to participate in meetings and symposia sponsored by the Committee.
41. Mr. EL-FATTAL (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) said that his delegation had difficulty with the Committee's practice of adopting draft documents or agreeing to them without giving the members of the Committee the opportunity to read them. In the past, the Committee had adopted documents some of the elements of which impeded its aims. His delegation could accept working paper No. 11/Add.1 but had very serious reservations regarding working paper No. 12/Add.1. That document contained the names of Israeli citizens who had aided the Zionist movement and had fought against Egypt, Palestine and Syria. Those persons had not been approved by the Arab people of Syria, and he requested the detailed curriculum vitae of each of them.
42. The CHAIRMAN said that some of the persons whom the Syrian Government had rejected had already participated in international conferences on the question of Palestine. When persons or non-governmental organizations accepted or espoused the principles set forth by the Committee on the defence of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, nothing prohibited the Committee from inviting such persons or organizations to meetings or symposia. In any event, the observer for the Syrian Arab Republic had been present when the Committee had considered working paper No. 12/Add.1, and he had had the opportunity to express his comments at that time.
43. Mr. EL-FATTAL (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) said that his Government had previously submitted its objections to the Committee regarding certain persons who had been invited to attend the Geneva Conference. Those objections were still valid.
44. The CHAIRMAN said that Madagascar, Turkey, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and Mr. Terzi, Permanent Observer for the PLO to the United Nations, had expressed their wish to represent the Committee at the international NGO meeting to be held at Geneva from 9 to 13 September 1985. He said that, if he heard no objections, he would take it that the Committee wished to endorse those delegations and Mr. Terzi as its representatives.
45. It was so decided.
46. Mr. NAQVI (Pakistan) said that he had represented the Committee at the United Nations Seminar on the Intransigence of the South African Régime with regard to Namibia: Strategies for Hastening the Independence of Namibia, held at Georgetown, Guyana, from 29 July to 2 August 1985. At the Seminar he had made a statement in which he had drawn a parallel between the struggle of the Namibian people and the struggle of the Palestinian people and had expressed the Committee's solidarity with the Namibian people.
47. Since the memory of the Eleventh United Nations Seminar on the Question of Palestine, held at Georgetown in June 1985, was still fresh in the minds of Guyanese citizens, the Seminar on Namibia had received wide coverage in the local press; in addition, many people had asked him questions about the current situation in the Middle East.
The meeting rose at 12.30 p.m.