REGULAR PRESS BRIEFING BY THE INFORMATION SERVICE
The Director of the Information Service briefed journalists about UN Middle East related developments; Mr. Bildt and Mr. Kukan's visit to Headquarters; Geneva press conferences and documents placed in the press room for information.
UN Middle East Related Developments
Starting with the Middle East, the Director of the Information Service said that journalists of course were aware of the resolution which had been adopted by the Special Session of the Commission on Human Rights late last night on the violence in the occupied Palestinian territories. The text of the resolution had been put in the press room, along with the press releases on the concluding meeting, in English and French, which were available before midnight.
Today, the Security Council would hear from the Secretary-General on his trip to Israel, Lebanon and Gaza. He would also speak about the Sharm El Sheikh summit. The debate on the violence in the occupied territories continued today in the General Assembly.
Jose-Luis Diaz, media and information officer for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that journalists who had stuck it out last night knew that the Fifth Special Session of the Commission on Human Rights had voted by 19 in favour to 16 against and 17 abstentions to condemn the grave and massive violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel. The resolution was adopted after consultations on a consensual text failed to result in an agreement. In the resolution, the Commission also called for the establishment of a human rights inquiry commission to look into the violence; and it also called on the High Commissioner to undertake urgently a visit to the region. Also foreseen were visits to the occupied territories by six Special Rapporteurs, by the Working Group on disappearances and by the Representative of the Secretary-General for internally displaced persons. The closing remarks of High Commissioner Mary Robinson to the Special Session had been placed in the press room.
As to when the High Commissioner might be going to the region, Mr. Diaz said Mrs. Robinson had addressed that question implicitly in her final remarks, saying she would determine in the coming days how to implement the provisions of the resolution. One element to be kept in mind regarding when the resolution was to be implemented was finding the funds. It had been explained at the Commission last night that around $814,000 would be needed to implement the provisions of the resolution.
Responding on whether Israel could refuse to welcome the High Commissioner on its territory, Mr. Diaz said he could not prejudge the response of Israel before the date and the framework of the visit were fixed. The Commission had called on the High Commissioner to visit the occupied territories and she would follow what had been requested.
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