|Date||22 October 1998|
Click on thebutton beside the speech or paragraph to expand it to a useful panel containing:
- The date of the speech
- A link to the original page of the PDF document
- A URL that can be used in most blogs
- A structured Citation template suitable for use in a Wikipedia article.
Those last two rows ("URL" and "wiki") use textboxes to hide most of the text.
To access this text, right-click in the textbox with your mouse and choose "Select All", then right-click again and choose "Copy". Now you can right-click into another window and choose "Paste" to get the text.
Agenda item 27
Cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States
Report of the Secretary-General (A/53/434)
Draft resolution (A/53/L.11)
I call on the representative of Egypt to introduce draft resolution A/53/L.11.
In my capacity as Chairman of the Arab Group for the month of October, I have the honour to submit, on behalf of the Arab delegations of Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Palestine, the draft resolution contained in document A/53/L.11, under agenda item 27, entitled "Cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States".
The League of Arab States is considered to be the oldest regional organization in the world, because it was established in March 1945 -- seven months before the founding of the United Nations itself. The League is proud to be very closely linked with the United Nations. Such a link is considered to be a real, tangible expression of the cooperation and coordination that are required under the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Charter between the United Nations and regional arrangements. I would note here that such links have been strengthened since the General Assembly at its forty-eighth session adopted by consensus a resolution on cooperation between both organizations.
There is no doubt that at present we see that the relationship between the two organizations is becoming more diversified as far as joint cooperation is concerned. Foremost among the issues of concern to the two organizations are matters related to international peace and security. In this respect, we believe that there is an urgent need to intensify cooperation and coordination between the United Nations and the League of Arab States in order to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East that will guarantee to the Palestinian people all their legitimate national rights, foremost among which is its inalienable right to establish its independent state. It will also guarantee the rights of Syria and Lebanon to regain their occupied territories.
From another perspective, the Arab States note with satisfaction the reference in document A/53/434 to cooperation between the League and the various organizations and specialized agencies of the United Nations system in the economic, social, developmental and technical fields, thereby benefiting all the member States of the League. We also note that there are other areas and greater opportunities for cooperation and coordination that should be pursued further, especially at the technical level, in order to achieve the common objectives of the two organizations.
In the preamble to the draft resolution submitted to the General Assembly, certain paragraphs stress the aspiration of both organizations to consolidate the ties existing between them in various fields and their desire to continue cooperation in order to contribute to the promotion of the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
In the operative paragraphs of the draft resolution, the General Assembly expresses its appreciation to the Secretary-General for the follow-up action taken by him to implement the proposals adopted at the coordination meetings between the two organizations over the last year. We also request the Secretary-General to continue his efforts to strengthen the coordination between the two organizations and the agencies related to both of them.
Operative paragraph 10 welcomes the results of the sectoral meeting on trade and development held in Cairo in June 1998. Paragraph 12 reaffirms the importance of holding the next meeting on cooperation between the representatives of the two secretariats during 1999, and a sectoral meeting on one of the areas of priority during the year 2000.
Finally, on behalf of the Arab Group, I should like to invite the General Assembly, which represents the international community, to support cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States through the adoption by consensus of the draft resolution before us.
In accordance with General Assembly resolution 477 (V), of 1 November 1950, I now call on the observer of the League of Arab States.
At the outset, allow me to extend to you, Sir, my warmest congratulations on your assumption of the presidency of the fifty-third session of the General Assembly. Your election to this lofty post bears witness to the trust we place in you and the appreciation of the international community for your country, Uruguay.
The League of Arab States came into being in March 1945 as the first regional organization within the framework of the new international order that was established following the Second World War. Cooperation between the League and the United Nations has developed gradually and continuously, and as a result we have accumulated considerable experience and achieved major objectives over the years. All of our experiences and achievements confirm the necessity and the importance of intensification of our cooperation to ensure international peace and security and to serve the common interests of both organizations, not only at the political level, but also at the economic, social, cultural and humanitarian levels.
In this context, allow me to reaffirm the keenness of the League of Arab States and its specialized agencies to continue and strengthen cooperation with the United Nations in all fields. This was referred to in the report submitted by the United Nations Secretary-General to the Assembly today in document A/53/434. That report contains the most important aspects of cooperation, coordination, consultation and exchange of information between the League of Arab States and the United Nations at all levels over the period covered.
The report of the Secretary-General that we have before us states that consultations were pursued between the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the League of Arab States both during the last session of the General Assembly and during the United Nations Secretary-General's visit to the Middle East in March 1998. At those meetings, the two Secretaries-General discussed Arab issues of regional and international importance, such as the questions of Iraq, Libya, Somalia and the Comoros, in addition to the Palestinian question and the peace process in the Middle East. Although they discussed those issues, in our view progress in efforts to contain or settle many of these crises depend to a great extent on constructive cooperation and fruitful consultations between these two Secretaries-General, in fulfilment of the common objectives and interests of both the United Nations and the League of Arab States.
At its last session, the General Assembly adopted a resolution to hold a sectoral meeting on the question of trade and development -- a priority area for the attainment of progress in economic and social development in the Arab region -- at the headquarters of the League of Arab States in 1998. That meeting was quite successful, as it stressed the importance of giving impetus to international and regional cooperation in the area of trade and development. In this respect, account was taken of the efforts to set up an Arab free-trade zone, to develop inter-Arab trade relations and to deal with the social and economic consequences resulting from world economic trends, while strengthening Arab economic potential with respect to competitiveness in the world markets. This was done in full awareness of the fact that the development ambitions of the Arab States cannot be fully achieved except in an environment of stability, security and just and comprehensive peace in the Arab region.
From this rostrum, at the last session of the General Assembly, the League of Arab States expressed its appreciation and support for the Secretary-General's report on reform which, inter alia, affirmed the Organization's determination to strengthen cooperation with regional organizations so that these organizations may increasingly become partners with the United Nations in all areas relating to international peace and security and the prevention of conflicts. The League of Arab States participated in the third joint meeting between the United Nations and regional organizations, held at Headquarters on 28 and 29 July 1998, on the question of cooperation to prevent conflicts. At that meeting, the League of Arab States expressed its concept of how to strengthen cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in this sphere. In this regard, it stressed preventive measures, including early warning systems, preventive diplomacy, preventive redeployment, preventive disarmament and peace-building on the basis of evolving economic and social capacities. We look forward to the meeting on follow-up, to be held by the representatives of concerned organizations on 10 and 11 December of this year, hoping that it might be possible through that meeting to set up new, practical mechanisms for strengthening cooperation in conflict prevention measures. This would accomplish complementarity of undertakings by the various organizations in accordance with the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Charter.
Despite the increasing role and importance of the League of Arab States in endeavours relating to international peace and security, as has been reflected in Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, the League does not yet have recognition by the host country of United Nations Headquarters; nor has it been granted the same full diplomatic status as other regional organizations in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter. That recognition of diplomatic status for the League of Arab States and other, similar regional organizations, such as the Organization of African States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, would bolster the capacities of the Missions of those organizations, facilitating their tasks, and removing some common obstacles to the fulfilment of their responsibilities in the host country. In this respect, we should bear in mind that the League of Arab States, as well as other regional organizations accredited to the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, are accorded full diplomatic status there. We are convinced that the Government of the United States will pay due attention to this question in light of the comprehensive support for this just request by members of the League of Arab States, the Organization of African Unity and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Efforts to resolve the Palestinian issue and to put an end to the Israeli occupation of the Arab territories occupied since 1967 is first among the priorities of the League of Arab States. We hope that present efforts to give new impetus to this peace process will lead to positive results which would contribute to the attainment of a just and comprehensive settlement to the Middle East problem.
At its last meeting the Council of the League of Arab States, at the level of Ministers for Foreign Affairs, held in September 1998, highlighted the importance of supporting the peace process on the basis of the resolutions of international legitimacy, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the land-for-peace principle and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to the establishment of its independent State with Jerusalem as its capital. Moreover, the League's Council stressed the need to implement Security Council resolution 425 (1978), which calls for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Israeli forces from all occupied Lebanese territory. The League also called on Israel to resume negotiations on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks from the point where they were stopped, more than two years ago. The Council of the League of Arab States has also called for the implementation of Security Council resolution 465 (1980), which declares the settlements established on occupied Arab land illegal and calls for the dismantling of these settlements. The Council of the League has also stressed that all measures adopted by Israel to change the geographic and demographic status of Jerusalem are null and void, in accordance with Security Council resolutions adopted in this regard. If the United Nations is truly keen on respecting the bases of international legitimacy, the rule of law and the commitment by all States, without exception, to the observance of the provisions of the United Nations Charter and the decisions of the Organization, the League of Arab States feels that it is high time Israel respected United Nations resolutions, particularly those of the Security Council. These are resolutions which must be complied with by all States, without exception. Otherwise, the United Nations would allow itself to practise double standards and thereby lose its credibility and efficiency.
In conclusion, I wish to reaffirm that our support for the United Nations stems from the profound conviction of the member States of the League of Arab States that there is a need to apply the principles, ideals and lofty goals of the United Nations Charter. If is also based upon the League's keen desire, as a regional organization, to have constructive cooperation with the United Nations in all fields in order to promote common interests in the areas of peace and development. These issues are highlighted in the draft resolution before the Assembly today, and I hope that it will be adopted by consensus.
We shall now take a decision on draft resolution A/53/L.11.
At the last session of the General Assembly the draft resolution on this item was adopted without a vote.
May I take it that the Assembly decides to adopt draft resolution A/53/L.11?
I shall now call on the representative of Israel, who wishes to explain a position on the resolution just adopted.
The delegation of Israel has joined the consensus on the resolution on this item for the fifth time in a row. In so doing, we are guided by the desire to make peace with our neighbours, all of which are members of the League of Arab States.
Today there is new hope for progress on the Israeli-Palestinian track, and we continue to strive for progress on the other tracks as well. The peace process, which began in Madrid in 1991, was, after all, based both on the bilateral tracks between Israel and its neighbours and on the multilateral track.
We take this opportunity to call upon the Arab States to resume participation on the multilateral track so that progress can be made in the crucial areas covered by this channel.
Peace and economy go hand in hand. One follows on the heels of the other. That is why Israel has continued to actively support the economy of the Palestinians in the territories through a variety of policies, packages and programmes. For example, through courses provided by the Centre for International Cooperation in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Israel trained some 700 Palestinians in 1997 alone in the fields of management, public health and agriculture.
Israel reiterates its support for increased efforts by Arab States towards similarly supporting the Palestinian economy, such as those undertaken by the European Union, Norway, Japan and the United States. In this context, Israel supports cooperation between the United Nations and various regional organizations, including the League of Arab States. Indeed, such cooperation is based on provisions of the United Nations Charter.
It is therefore regrettable that Israel alone remains excluded from the regional group fitting its geographic location, owing to the political objections of some Member States. Israel calls upon the members of the League of Arab States to honour Israel's equal right to participate in the Group of Asian States. The fact that Israel alone is still denied membership in any regional group directly contradicts the declared commitment of the United Nations to sovereign equality of all its Members, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter.
This is the first resolution on an issue relating to the Middle East to be adopted by the General Assembly at its fifty-third session. We are pleased that the resolution was adopted by consensus. We therefore take this opportunity to recommend that all parties to the peace process exercise restraint in both the language of resolutions to be submitted and all related statements. We cannot build confidence in the Middle East by engaging in polemical debates in New York. The peace process is, by its nature, bilateral between the parties; inflammatory rhetoric offered in international forums surely belongs to another era.
By resolving today to promote in word and in deed an atmosphere of cooperation and growth in the region, the nations involved in the peace process can transform today's hope into tomorrow's reality. Let us hope that they do not miss this historic opportunity.
May I take it that it is the wish of the General Assembly to conclude its consideration of agenda item 27?