Secretary-General Chairs First Meeting of CEIRPP in 2000 

The United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) held its first meeting in the year 2000 on 3 February.  At the meeting, the Committee adopted its program of work for 2000 and elected its officers, which form the Bureau of the Committee.  After the nominations were announced by Ambassador YelChenko of Ukraine and seconded by Ambassador Hachani of Tunisia, Ambassador Ka of Senegal was unanimously re-elected as the Chairman of CEIRPP, as were Ambassador Rodriguez Parrilla of Cuba and Ambassador Farhadi of Afghanistan as Vice-Chairmen and Ambassador Balzan of Malta as Rapporteur of the Committee. 

As is customary, the Secretary-General of the U.N., Mr. Kofi Annan, chaired the meeting until the Bureau was elected and also made a statement before the Committee.  In his address, the Secretary-General emphasized the encouraging opportunity for peace in the Middle East.  At the same time, however, he drew attention to ongoing problems creating difficulties on the road to peace, including among other things the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements throughout the occupied territory.  Moreover, he stated that real peace and stability could not flourish in the region without the improvement of social and economic conditions. 

In this regard, Mr. Annan stressed the important efforts being carried out by the United Nations, through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and other agencies, in providing assistance to the Palestinian people in numerous fields.  He maintained the necessity for continuing such humanitarian and developmental assistance for the Palestinian people, along with ensuring effective and focused U.N. support for the peace process.  In this respect, in closing, he expressed his hope that the Committee would one day soon witness the fruition of its steadfast work and efforts when the Palestinians will be able to exercise their inalienable national rights. 

The Committees first meeting of 2000 was also addressed by Ambassador Ka, in his capacity as Chairman.  Ambassador Ka reflected on the work of the Committee since its establishment in 1975, as well as the transformation in its membership, which now consists of 25 Member States and 24 Observers.  Despite signs of hope in the peace process, Ambassador Ka also noted the continuation of problems on the ground and the outstanding issues that remained to be implemented in accordance with the agreements signed by the two sides. Further, in discussing the role of CEIRPP in promoting the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, he emphasized that the involvement of the U.N. in the peace process was aimed at supporting it and not impeding negotiations.  In this regard, he maintained that the mandate of the Committee, as well as the work of the Division for Palestinian Rights, remained constant and more timely and relevant than ever. 

The Deputy Permanent Observer of Palestine, Mr. Jilani, in his capacity as Charge daffaires, participated in and addressed the meeting as well.  He expressed the appreciation of the delegation of Palestine for the work of CEIRPP towards the realization of the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.  Moreover, he stressed that the year 2000 must be the year of an independent Palestine, asserting that an additional and natural deadline for the achievement of a final settlement and full membership for Palestine in the U.N. was the forthcoming Millennium Summit being held at the U.N. in September 2000.  In closing remarks, he encouraged, and expressed confidence in, the Committees support for this goal.