• G-8 Summit Issues Statement on Middle East Peace Process: On 20 June 1999, the G-8 Summit, which was held in Germany (in its capacity as G-8 Presidency), issued a statement on regional issues, including a statement on the Middle East peace process. [The G-8 nations include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russian Federation, the United States, and the United Kingdom.] The statement reaffirmed the positions held by the leaders of the G-8 nations on various aspects of the peace process, including the Palestinian-Israeli track, and emphasized important positions, such as the belief that the parties should seek to conclude permanent status negotiations within one year.
  • With regard to the process in general, the leaders reaffirmed their "support for a negotiated settlement in the Middle East, which should be based on the full implementation of existing commitments and the principles of land for peace, Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the Madrid and Oslo Agreements, Security Council resolution 425 (1978), and secure and recognized boundaries." Moreover, the statement called "upon all parties to the pursue the Middle East peace process with resolve, renewed efforts and good faith, leading to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace." In tandem with the individual tracks of the peace process, the Summit stressed "the importance of resuming the multilateral track of the peace process…"

    The leaders of the G-8 urged "both Israel and the Palestinians to implement fully and promptly the Wye River Memorandum, to combat terror, to fight violence and incitement to violence and to refrain from all activities that prejudge the outcome of the permanent status negotiations. We believe that the parties should set a goal of concluding the permanent status negotiations within a target a period of one year." Further, the leaders sought to "remind all parties that sustained economic development and improved living standards for the Palestinian people are real factors in securing peace and enhancing stability in the region."

    Of major significance was the position affirmed by the leaders in the conclusion of their statement on the Middle East peace process, in which the leaders stated: "We are convinced that peace and security and the fulfillment of the rights of all the people of the Middle East, including the Palestinians, are vital to a lasting, just and negotiated settlement that provides for the Palestinians to live as a free people on their own land."

  • A Delegation of CEIRPP visits Palestine: For the first time, a delegation of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) traveled to Palestine, from 16-18 June 1999, and visited several areas in the Gaza Strip. Headed by the Chairman of the Committee, Amb. Ibra Deguene Ka, the delegation was composed of the Permanent Representatives of Malta, Afghanistan and Mali. The trip proved to be an emotional experience for the delegation, in light of all the work they have accomplished in support of the Palestinian people and the attainment of their inalienable rights, including the right to have their own State. For the first time, the members of the delegation were able to see firsthand the situation on the ground in Palestine, visit a Palestinian refugee camp and see an illegal Israeli settlement in the Gaza Strip.
  • While in Gaza, the delegation had an opportunity to visit the Al-Amal Community Center of the Palestine Red Crescent Society and to observe several projects being implemented by the Palestinian Authority and the Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP) of the UNDP. The delegation met with the U.N. Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories, Mr. Chinmaya Gharekhan, as well as with other U.N. officials. They were also received by several Palestinian officials and had a meeting with President Arafat, followed by a dinner in honor of the Chairman and members of the delegation.

    Note: Palestine & The UN will not be published in August. The next issue will be Mid-September.