Statement made by the Permanent Representative of Cuba at the first
meeting of the Committee on 26 February 1976*
I would like to make a few comments exclusively about the organization of work in the light of the introductory words which you, Mr. Chairman, uttered a few moments ago, and which we feel are altogether appropriate to the situation.
This is the first meeting of a most important committee. In our view, its important lies a first and foremost – as you yourself observed – in the mandate entrusted to it by the General Assembly; in the fact of its establishment, which indicates that the international community has radically shifted its position on the treatment of the Palestine question, that it has come to recognize fully the essence of the problem, which is at the same time the root of the situation of conflict in the Middle East, and that the General Assembly has recognized that the people of Palestine have national rights which are inalienable and has given such high priority to the pressing need for the formulation of a practical programme to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their national rights that it has seen fit to establish a committee solely to deal with that problem.
The importance of Our work is further emphasized – as is self-evident and as the Secretary-General was at pains to remind us this morning – by the fact that we have rather a tight schedule; we must prepare a report by 1 June at the latest for transmittal to the Security Council and must subsequently resume our discussion of the situation in the light of any action taken by the Council.
When opening the meeting, Mr. Chairman, you also quite rightly alluded to certain factors, sentiments and campaigns hostile to our Committee which surrounded the General Assembly's decision to establish it. Because of this, we should, we believe, proceed with the greatest caution as regards both the substance of our activity and the way in which we tackle the organization and preparation of our work in attempting to fulfil the mandate entrusted to us. We must bear in mind that, since its very inception, this Committee has met with an animosity whose origin is well known – and which it will presumably have to contend with throughout its existence – and that we must ensure, inter alia, that any decision we may adopt here and the approach we decide to follow should take into account those adverse elements.
Any problems and difficulties that this Committee may have to face are, to our way of thinking, none other than those which derive from the nature of the forces hostile to the exercise by the Palestinian people of their national rights. Our task is not complex or difficult in itself any more than is the task of any other United Nations "body which has to deal with questions relating to decolonization or the protection of national rights, since the cardinal principles and criteria which govern the outlook of Member States in this area are not only well known but in addition are supported by a very broad consensus of international opinion. The problems and difficulties derive in actual fact from the factors which give this Committee its exceptional importance. This having been said, I would like to state that my delegation would be amenable to the idea of holding informal consultations tomorrow morning regarding the election of the remainder of the Bureau and of meeting in the afternoon to complete the election of the Bureau and to take decisions regarding the organization of our work and the Committee's future programme of activities. On this question, I fully share the views expressed by the Ambassador of Tunisia regarding the need for this Committee to to work continuously throughout March, since it is clear from the resolution by which the Committee was established that its work has priority and since, in addition, we must submit a report by a given date. Furthermore, two months of this year having already elapsed, we have no alternative but to use the remaining time as fully as possible. We are confident that the Secretariat, in accordance with paragraph 6 of resolution 3376 (XXX) and in its usual spirit of cooperation, will take any action that may be necessary to ensure that we can make the fullest use of the time available from now on.
I would like to make a comment regarding item 5 of the provisional agenda circulated to us, namely, consideration and formulation of recommendations to the General Assembly. We feel that that item should be considered in the light of paragraph 4 of resolution 3376 (XXX), which refers specifically not only to the formulation of recommendations to the General Assembly, but also to the consideration and recommendation of a programme of implementation designed to enable the Palestinian people to exercise the rights recognized in resolution 3236 (XXIX), and which establishes that in the formulation of recommendations for the implementation of that programme we should take into account all the powers conferred by the Charter upon the principal organs of the United Nations.
On the question of our Committee's programme of work, I would simply add that we feel we should follow the normal practice of the United Nations and of General Assembly bodies which deal with questions pertaining to decolonization or the exercise of the national rights of peoples, that is to say that we should give precedence to any views, opinions and proposals that may be submitted to us by the representatives of the people whose national rights are at stake and regard these as the basis for the discussions.
In this connexion, we feel that if there is any United Nations body which Should give precedence to the views and. opinions of the Palestine Liberation Organization – which has attended and spoken at plenary meetings of the General 'Assembly – it is surely this Committee. We are therefore confident that any suggestions and proposals that that Organization may make – which will undoubtedly be highly valuable – will be forthcoming right at the outset of our work.
* Distributed in accordance with a decision of the Committee.
Document Type: Statement
Document Sources: Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), General Assembly, Special Unit on Palestinian Rights (SUPR) (See also - CEIRPP > DPR)
Subject: History, Inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, Middle East situation, Palestine question
Publication Date: 26/02/1976