Permanent Observer Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations
The Permanent Observer Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations presents its compliments to the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations and has the honor to transmit a note of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, with its attachments, in French and in English, concerning the conference recommended by Resolution ES-10/6 of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
A copy of this note has been sent to all Permanent Missions to the United Nations in New York and in Geneva.
The Permanent Observer Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations the assurances of its highest consideration.
New York, June 23, 1999
Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations
FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs presents its compliments to the High Contracting Parties to the 4th Geneva Convention. Referring to Resolution ES-10/6 adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 February 1999 recommending "that the High Contracting Parties to the 4th Geneva Convention convene a conference on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and to ensure respect thereof in accordance with common article 1", as well as to the Swiss note seeking for the necessary clarifications regarding the modalities of such a conference, it has the honor to bring the following information to their attention.
In response to the invitation addressed by the General Assembly to Switzerland, "in its capacity as the depository of the Geneva Conventions", in paragraph 7 of the above-mentioned Resolution, "to undertake whatever preparations are necessary prior to the conference", the Swiss Government has conducted in addition to the written enquiry a great number of informal consultations at bilateral level and with various groups of High Contracting Parties. The Swiss Government is now in a position to inform the High Contracting Parties to the 4th Geneva Convention on the results of these undertakings.
The High Contracting Parties
A large majority of High Contracting Parties considered in their answers to the above- mentioned Swiss note that the conditions needed for convening such a conference are met. Two Parties, one of them directly concerned, are strongly opposed to the Conference, whose legality they contest, and have announced that they do not envisage participating. While favouring as large a participation at the conference as possible, a great majority of High Contracting Parties expressed the opinion that unanimity is not a condition for the conference to take place. The answers received by the Swiss Government on its written enquiry have shown a large support by the High Contracting Parties for the holding of the conference on 15 July 1999. However, the informal consultations have shown that a number of High Contracting Parties consider under the new circumstances the timing of the Conference as not appropriate and that the Conference should therefore be postponed.
Since the United Nations Secretariat has confirmed to the Swiss Government that it will "make the necessary facilities available" to the High Contracting Parties, as requested in paragraph 8 of the above-mentioned Resolution, the conference could take place as recommended by the General Assembly "on 15 July 1999 at the United Nations Office at Geneva". This note is thus also transmitted to the Secretary General of the United Nations. All necessary practical information is contained in the enclosed attachment.
The written enquiry has confirmed that the conference should deal with "measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and to ensure respect thereof in accordance with common article 1", as recommended by paragraph 6 of Resolution ES-10/6. The informal consultation process has not given clear indications on what such a conference could achieve. The questions of the modalities of the conference and of the expected outcome are still open and need further clarifications. As a consequence, the question of the chairmanship also remains open. Given all these uncertainties, the Swiss Government plans to resume, if necessary, its consultations in Geneva again early in July.
In paragraph 9 of the above-mentioned resolution the General Assembly "expresses its confidence that Palestine, as a party directly concerned, will participate in ( ) conference". Given the support to this recommendation during the consultations, the Swiss Government transmits this note also to the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations. The consultations also revealed the wish of those High Contracting Parties, which are in favour of the conference, that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) shall participate as an observer at the conference.
For this reason this note is also addressed to the ICRC.
The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs avails itself of this opportunity to reiterate its highest considerations to the High Contracting Parties to the 4th Geneva Convention.
Berne, June 23, 1999
The Conference is foreseen to take place on Thursday, 15 July 1999 at the
Palais des Nations
Rooms IX and XI will also be made available. Room X will be reserved for the Presidency of the Conference.
The Conference may be opened Thursday, 15 July 1999, at 10.00 oclock in the Salle des Assemblees and conclude on the same day.
Delegations are kindly requested to complete the attached registration form and return it in due time to the Ad hoc Service Conference recommended by the United Nations General Assembly (ES-10/6) p.o. Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the International Organizations at Geneva- 9-11, Rue de Varembre-1211 Geneva 20, preferably by e-mail (Christelle.firstname.lastname@example.org) or by facsimile transmission (+41 22 749 24 37). The Permanent Mission of Switzerland will transmit forms to the Security Services of the United Nations.
United Nations Security Services will furnish badges to those conference participants who do not already have a United Nations Headquarters or Geneva grounds pass. Badges will be available starting on 12 July 1999 from 08.00 to 17.00 oclock at the Security Services Office, Villa "Les Feuillantines", 13, Avenue de la Paix, 1211 Geneva 10.
The relevant services of the governments participating are kindly requested to arrange for travel, entry formalities for Switzerland and hotel reservations for their conference participants.
Simultaneous interpretation for all meetings in the Salle des Assemblees is foreseen in the six official languages of the UNO and conference documents, as necessary, may be translated in the six official languages of the UNO, reproduced and distributed, without additional costs to the United Nations.
Postal service, telecommunications (telephone, fax) and banking services are
available at the Palais des Nations, 8-14, Avenue de la Paix, 1211 Geneva 10.
CONFERENCE RECOMMENDED BY THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN ITS RESOLUTIN
GENEVA, 15 JULY 1999
To be returned preferably by e-mail or facsimile transmission to:
Ad hoc Service Conference recommended by the United Nations General Assembly (ES-10/6) - p.o. Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the International Organizations at Geneva- 9-11, Rue de Varembe 1211 Geneva 20
via e-mail: Christelle.Jaggy@eda.admin.ch