• U.N. Secretariat Continues to Implement GA Resolution on the Upgrade of Palestine: In implementation of General Assembly resolution 52/250 on the participation of Palestine in the work of the United Nations, the U.N. secretariat made some changes regarding Palestine in the November 1998 issue of the book of Permanent Missions to the United Nations( "the Blue Book"). The location of the category under which Palestine is listed was moved and placed immediately after non-member states and before the inter-governmental organizations. The title of Palestine’s category was also changed to "Entities Having Received a Standing Invitation to Participate as Observers in the Sessions and the Work of the General Assembly and Maintaining Permanent Observer Missions at Headquarters" instead of "Organizations Having . . ." Earlier, the word "Office" was used instead of "Mission." Another such change, at the request of the Mission, was the use of the title "Ambassador" in conjunction with "Permanent Observer of Palestine". It is worth mentioning, in this regard, that during the work of the 53rd session of the General Assembly, Palestine, for the first time in the history of the U.N., co-sponsored 21 resolutions and one decision.
  • Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) Makes Some Changes in its Program of Work: CEIRPP submitted the four annual resolutions to the 53rd General Assembly under the agenda item Question of Palestine. The resolutions, adopted overwhelmingly, dealt with the political aspects of the question of Palestine and with the practical aspects related to the program of work of the Committee and of the Division for Palestinian Rights, and of the Palestinian Program at the Department of Public Information. Some changes of a practical nature were made to improve the Committee’s program of work and to achieve maximum cost-effectiveness. As such, two important changes were made regarding cooperation with and the participation of NGOs. The first change directed efforts at organizing thematic international conferences and meetings that would be open to the participation of governments, NGOs and other components of civil society, to substitute for the perviously separate symposia and seminars. The second change channeled some of the Committee’s resources at assisting and cooperating with Palestinian NGOs on the ground, as well as at supporting some NGO activity in various continents.
  • Swiss Report on the Experts Meeting: The Swiss Chairman of the Experts Meeting on the Fourth Geneva Convention, which was held in Geneva from 27-29 October 1998, issued his report on the meeting on 11 December 1998. The report contained an introduction, as well as the Chairman’s summary which "reflects the views of the Chairman only." The report does not contain any substantial additions to the final remarks made by the Chairman at the end of the meeting. The report comes as a reaffirmation of the view that, while the experts meeting was useful, it did not move us any closer to the implementation of the resolutions of the 10th Emergency Special Session (ESS) on the convening of a conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on the enforcement of the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. The Swiss note, to which the report was annexed, speaks of carrying out new consultations to examine the results and to consider the advisability and modalities of possible subsequent actions bearing in mind the message conveyed by the 10th ESS. Many sides, however, maintained that consultations had already taken place and that relevant General Assembly resolutions have been pending for quite a long time and that they should be speedily implemented. Furthermore, the Palestinian side, in particular, raised several other important points with the Swiss side related to Palestinian interests and participation in that context.