U.N. African Meeting on Inalienable Rights of Palestinian People Held in Morocco

The United Nations African Meeting in Support of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was held in Rabat, Morocco from 24 to 26 June 2002. The meeting was held under the auspices of the U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), which is chaired by the Senegalese Ambassador to the U.N., H.E. Mr. Papa Louis Fall, and was hosted by the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco.

The meeting was organized by the CEIRPP for the purpose of increasing awareness of the ongoing plight of the Palestinian people and generating wider support for resumption of political negotiations aimed at achieving a just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine. The theme of the U.N. African Meeting was "Achieving the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people – a key to peace in the Middle East". Of course, in reflection of the current difficult situation being faced by the Palestinian people and Palestinian leadership, there was much focus on the suffering of the Palestinian people and the destruction incurred by Israel on the Palestinian Authority and its institutions and the Palestinian infrastructure.

Participants in the meeting included high-level officials, prominent political personalities and experts from Africa, international experts, and representatives of governments, U.N. agencies, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, parliamentarians, academic institutions and the media.

Moreover, H.M. King Mohammed VI of Morocco met with a delegation of the Committee, during which he stressed the importance of supporting the Palestinian people at this time of hardship and of persevering with efforts aimed at achieving a peaceful settlement, and referred to Morocco’s efforts in this regard. It is important to note that King Mohammed VI also serves as the Chairman of the Al-Quds/Jerusalem Committee of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

The meeting consisted of an opening session, three plenary sessions of expert presentations, each followed by discussion, and a closing session. Plenary I of the meeting focused on the impact of the Israeli military offensive in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. The topic of Plenary II was the challenges to a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine. Plenary III focused on the issue of international efforts aimed at salvaging peace in the Middle East and African support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

An important Final Communique was adopted by the participants prior to the meeting’s close. (The full text of the Final Communique can be viewed at www.un.org in the UNISPAL section of the Question of Palestine.)

Overall, the meeting was a constructive forum for promoting dialogue and focusing attention on important issues concerning the question of Palestine at this time. Moreover, the presentations and discussions furthered a more comprehensive understanding of the serious issues facing the Palestinian people in their ongoing, historic quest for an end to the Israeli occupation and a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement, including the establishment of the independent State of Palestine and the realization of their inalienable rights.