The General Assembly,
Recalling that the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, being the birthplace of Jesus Christ, is one of the most historic and significant sites on earth,
Noting that the world will celebrate in Bethlehem, a city of peace, the onset of the new millennium in a global vision of hope for all peoples,
Stressing the monumental importance of the event for the Palestinian people, for the peoples of the region and for the international community as a whole, as it comprises significant religious, historical and cultural dimensions,
Aware of the Bethlehem 2000 project as a multi-faceted undertaking for commemoration of the event, which will begin at Christmas 1999 and conclude at Easter 2001,
Aware also of the needed assistance with regard to the above-mentioned project, and expressing appreciation for the steps taken towards increasing the engagement and participation of the international community, including donor countries, organizations of the United Nations system, in particular UNESCO, UNDP, and the World Bank, as well as the European Commission, religious institutions and others,
Expressing the need for immediate change in the situation on the ground in the vicinity of Bethlehem, especially with regard to ensuring freedom of movement,
Stressing the need for ensuring free and unhindered access to the holy places in Bethlehem to the faithful of all religions and citizens of all nationalities,
Expressing the hope for rapid progress in the Middle East peace process and the achievement of the final settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides within the agreed time, so that the millennium may be celebrated most appropriately in an atmosphere of peace and reconciliation,
1. Welcomes the impending arrival of this global, historic celebration in Bethlehem of the birth of Jesus Christ and the onset of the third millennium as a symbol of the shared hope for peace among all peoples of the world;
2. Expresses support for the Bethlehem 2000 project and commends the efforts undertaken by the Palestinian Authority in this regard;
3. Notes with appreciation the assistance given by the international community in support of the Bethlehem 2000 project, and calls for increased assistance and engagement by the international community as a whole, including private sector participation, to ensure the success of the Bethlehem 2000 project and the fruition of this monumental commemoration;
4. Requests the Secretary-General to mobilize the pertinent organizations and agencies of the United Nations system to increase their efforts towards ensuring the success of Bethlehem 2000 project;
5. Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its 54th session the item entitled "Bethlehem 2000" so that the Assembly may have a renewed opportunity to reaffirm its further support for the event immediately prior to the occasion of its commemoration.
Resolution No. 53/27, adopted on 18 November 1998, by the General Assembly by consensus.