Highlights

  • Non-Aligned Movement Takes Strong Positions on Palestine and the Middle East: The Ministerial Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was convened in Cartagena, Colombia from 19 to 20 May 1998. Among the many important issues considered by the meeting were Palestine and the Middle East, including the peace process. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Heads of Delegation at the meeting adopted strong and substantive positions in this regard, which were incorporated within the text of the Final Communique of the meeting.

In the segment on Palestine and the Middle East, the Ministers reiterated their traditional longstanding solidarity with the Palestinian people, and noted that these days mark the 50th Anniversary of the dispossession of the Palestinian people and the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their land, homes and properties. They called for the implementation of all U.N. resolutions on the question of Palestine, including those related to Palestine refugees. They reiterated their support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to retain their homeland and to have their own independent State with Jerusalem as its capital, and they reiterated their demand for the withdrawal of Israel, the occupying Power, from all the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and the other Arab territories occupied since 1967.

The Ministers also expressed support for the draft resolution submitted by the Arab Group and other States to the 52nd session of the General Assembly to enable the full participation of Palestine in the work of the U.N. and all its subsidiary organs. They reiterated that the Israeli participation in the work of the General Assembly must be in conformity with international law and the U.N. Charter.

In the segment regarding the Middle East peace process, the Ministers requested NAM countries to increase pressure and use all available measures, on regional and international levels, to ensure Israel’s compliance with the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference and the land for peace principle and its full implementation of all agreements, undertakings, and commitments reached by the concerned parties on all tracks during the peace talks. They also reaffirmed that failure by the Israeli Government to respond positively would require NAM members to take further appropriate measures.

A high level Palestinian delegation attended the meeting. It was headed by Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, who delivered a statement before the plenary meeting.

  • President Arafat Attends OAU Summit: The Organization of African Unity (OAU) held its annual Summit in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso from 8 to 10 June 1998. Palestine is an observer in the organization. President Yasser Arafat delivered a statement before the Summit and held several bilateral meetings with African leaders. At the Summit, the African nations reiterated their solidarity and position of principle in support of the Palestinian people through the adoption of a resolution on the question of Palestine and another one on the Middle East.

The resolutions adopted reaffirmed the right of the Palestinian people, under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, to exercise their inalienable national rights, including the right to return to their homeland and regain their properties and the right to self-determination, as well as the right to establish an independent state on their national soil, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with principles and resolutions of international legitimacy. The Summit also expressed its grave concern and condemnation of the violations by Israel of the principle of peace and peaceful coexistence and its lack of respect for the principles upon which the peace process is based.

  • Santiago, Chile Hosts U.N. Event on Palestine: The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People organized a seminar and symposium for Latin American and Caribbean Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOS) on the question of Palestine in Santiago, Chile, which was held from 26 to 29 May 1998. The meeting was chaired by Ambassador Ibra Deguene Ka of Senegal, the Chairman of the Committee, and was addressed by Mr. Juan Martabit, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chile. Several prominent panelists also participated in the symposium. The Palestinian-Chilean community, which has a considerable presence in the country, warmly received the participants and organized a public event as well as a reception in cooperation with the Embassy of the Representation of Palestine in Chile.