Highlights

  • The Foreign Ministers of member states of the League of Arab States held their traditional annual meeting in New York at United Nations headquarters on 30 September 1996. The Ministers focused their attention on recent developments in Jerusalem and the serious dangers the Middle East peace process is facing. The Ministers discussed the adoption of Security Council resolution 1073 (1996) and then the planned Washington Summit. The meeting established a follow-up committee, composed of Algeria, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, a representative from the Gulf States, and the Secretary-General of the League. A committee was also established to follow up the issue of electing Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali for a second term as Secretary-General of the United Nations.
  • The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) celebrated its 35th anniversary in a commemorative meeting, which took place at United Nations headquarters on 24 September 1996. The meeting was chaired by President Ernesto Samper of Colombia, in his capacity as the Chairman of the Movement, with the presence of many other Ministers of member states. The meeting adopted a declaration, which, among other things, reaffirmed "the right of self-determination of all peoples, taking into account the particular situation of peoples under colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation." The next day the Ministerial Meeting of NAM was held and adopted a comprehensive communique.
  • The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) moved its headquarters to Gaza City. The new headquarters was recently inaugurated by President Yasser Arafat and Mr. Peter Hansen, the new Commissioner-General of UNRWA. Before the inauguration, UNRWA signed a headquarters agreement with the Palestinian Authority. UNRWA will continue to maintain some departments in Amman, Jordan, where meetings of the Advisory Committee will take place, and will maintain all of its field offices, including the Jerusalem field office.
  • The Twentieth Congress of Socialist International affirmed the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and statehood. The Congress also admitted Fatah, the main Palestinian political group, as an observer member of the movement. The meeting was held at United Nations headquarters in New York from 9-11 September 1996 and was attended by many world leaders.
  • The Foreign Ministers of the member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) held their annual coordination meeting on 2 October 1996 in New York. They adopted a special declaration on Al-Aqsa Mosque calling for immediate action by the international community to prevent any recurrence of the Israeli actions and to protect the Islamic holy places in Jerusalem. They also endorsed a special communique on Jerusalem, issued by the Committee on Palestine.