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By a draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Economic Cooperation Organization (document A/63/L.39), the Assembly would call for increasing the technical assistance of the World Trade Organization, among others, to Economic Cooperation Organization States that are at various levels of development, with some pursuing accession to the world trade body. Welcoming the trilateral agreement among the Economic Cooperation Organization, the Islamic Development Bank, and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) for projects under the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway network, the Assembly would also appreciate Economic Cooperation Organization efforts to develop energy trade in the region.
Further by the text, the Assembly would call for strengthening technical assistance provided by United Nations bodies, especially the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and call for increased cooperation between the Economic Cooperation Organization and United Nations bodies to combat the production and trafficking of narcotic drugs. Finally, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to submit a report on the implementation of the present resolution at the sixty-fifth session.
The Assembly also had before it the report of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) on the protection of global climate for present and future generations of mankind (document A/63/414/Add.4), which contained a draft resolution on that topic, by which the General Assembly would stress the seriousness of climate change and call on States to work towards achieving the ultimate goal of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It would also invite parties to the Kyoto Protocol to continue to make use of the information contained in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Further by the text, the Assembly would recognize the need to provide financial, technical and capacity-building resources to developing countries adversely affected by climate change, and call on the international community to fulfil commitments made during the fourth replenishment of the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund. Finally, it would invite the Secretariat of the Framework Convention to report, through the Secretary-General, at its sixty-fourth session on the work of the Conference of Parties, and include on the provisional agenda of that session a sub-item on the “protection of global climate change for present and future generations”.
Action on Draft Resolutions under Agenda Item 16 on Question of Palestine
Speaking before the vote, the representative of the United States said that the four resolutions, in combination with 15 other resolutions to come before the Assembly this year, form a clear pattern of institutional bias. The United States had clearly stated its policy that there should be two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace. The United States backed that policy with support for both sides, consistent with agreements made at the Annapolis, Maryland conference, and contributed financial support to both the Palestinian Authority and refugees. There was no contradiction between support for Palestinians and that for Israel, as both sides needed support to achieve a just and lasting peace.
She was distressed that, each year, the General Assembly devoted a disproportionate number of resolutions on the Middle East, with disproportionate criticism of Israel. These resolutions, along with others on the Middle East, were repetitive and unbalanced, at odds with the General Assembly’s action regarding any other State, and placed demands on the Israeli side, failing to see that both sides must take steps towards peace. The United States accepted that the General Assembly may look into practices of States but, last year, adopted 14 resolutions criticising Israel. In that same year, it adopted only six critical of other States. She supported some and opposed others. The 21 resolutions on alleged Israeli violations stretched to 61 pages. The Assembly was on course to repeat that pattern, which represented an unjustified focus on one Member State. The situation in the Middle East did not merit three quarters of all the time the Assembly devoted to review of its 192 Member States.
Of notable concern were drafts on the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, as well as the work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices. They perpetuated the perception of an inherent United Nations bias and failed to properly demand action from both sides. The millions of dollars spent could be better utilized towards direct aid, including that to needy Palestinians.
The international Quartet must be seen as an honest broker, she continued, and she expressed concern that those resolutions could not only have a corrosive effect on negotiations, but also added nothing to the Security Council’s monthly discussions. They presupposed the outcome of permanent status issues that belonged to bilateral negotiations. In the 9 November briefings to the Quartet, both sides attested that the negotiating structure was effective, and noted that third parties should not intervene in the joint negotiations [absent their request].
The United States would continue to be at the forefront of addressing the underlying causes of the conflict. For such reasons, the United States could not support the resolutions.
The General Assembly then adopted by a recorded vote of 107 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 57 abstentions, its draft resolution on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (document A/63/L.32). (For details on voting, see Annex I.) The Assembly then adopted by a recorded vote of 106 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 57 abstentions (Annex II), the resolution on the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat (document A/63/L.33).
The resolution on the Special Information Programme on the Question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat (document A/63/L.34) was adopted by a recorded vote of 162 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 4 abstentions (Cameroon, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga) (Annex III).
The Assembly then adopted by a vote of 164 in favour to 7 against ( Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 3 abstentions ( Cameroon, Canada, Tonga) (Annex IV), the resolution on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine (document A/63/L.35).
Speaking after the vote was the representative of Iran, who stated its votes in favour of the resolutions were in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
The representative of France, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said he had voted in favour of A/63/L.34. The European Union welcomed the new elements introduced in the resolution, in the spirit of cooperation on the Palestinian mission. These improvements would encourage the parties involved to improve the programme between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The European Union was prepared to work with the Department of Public Information and all parties involved to meet the objectives of the resolution.
The representative of Belize requested that their vote in favour of those resolutions be on record.
Action on Draft Resolutions under Agenda Item 15 on Situation in Middle East Speaking before the vote, the representative of Iran referred to the unfounded allegations by Australia against Iran and rejected the distortions that were made under agenda item 15. Iran had condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Iran was a victim of terrorism. With its history and unqualified support of Israel, Australia should be the last judge of others in that area. Iran had fully cooperated with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and its nuclear programme was absolutely peaceful. If Australia was concerned about the Middle East, it should cease its complicity with the Israeli regime in war crimes and join with the international community in stability on the question of Palestine.
The General Assembly then adopted by a recorded vote of 163 in favour to 6 against (Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 6 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Fiji, Haiti, Tonga) (Annex V), the draft resolution on Jerusalem (document A/63/L.36).
The General Assembly then adopted by a recorded vote of 116 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, United States), with 52 abstentions, the draft resolution on the Syrian Golan (document A/63/L.37).
Speaking after the vote, on behalf of Brazil and Argentina, the representative of Brazil said he had voted in favour of the draft resolution on Jerusalem, and the two countries had understood that the central aspect of the resolution was linked to the illegal acquisition of land by force. That use of force violated international law. He urged Israel and Syria to renew negotiations and find a definite solution under the principal of land for peace.
The representative of Iran said he voted in favour of all the resolutions just adopted in a spirit of solidarity with the Palestinian people and Arab people under occupation.
The representative of Syria thanked the Assembly for its adoption, once again, with no interruption since 1981, of the resolution contained in document A/63/L.37 and other resolutions related to Palestine and the Middle East. He supported the international community’s continued positive response to upholding those objectives of the United Nations Charter and the backing of its right to restore its land, occupied by Israel and supported by a superpower for more than 40 years.
There was no doubt that voting for those resolutions sent an international message to Israel and those who supported it. The policies of aggression and annexation of land were practices that were rejected and repudiated by the entire international community.
He thanked all States that sponsored and voted for the resolution, and urged those whom abstained to lend their ears to the voice of international law that should govern their actions. Syria wanted to achieve comprehensive and durable peace, and to liberate the Syrian Golan from Israeli occupation. He urged the international community to help prevent the eruption of war by pressuring the party that impeded peace, Israel, and those who protected it.
The observer for Palestine expressed gratitude and appreciation to all the countries that played a very important role in introducing the draft resolutions and to all the countries who voted in favour. He also thanked all the political blocs, specifically the Arab Group, the League of Arab States, the African Union, the Non-Aligned Movement and the European Union, that collaborated to ensure the resolutions were drafted in responsible and balanced language that reflected the sentiment of the international community.
Bringing Israel into compliance with international law, and to uphold international law so that peace and justice could be achieved was a challenge to the international community. It was essential to end the occupation that started in 1967, and giving Israel preferential treatment was not in service of the United Nations or the international community, as it did not move the process forward to a peaceful solution. Those resolutions were balanced, and the majority votes in favour reflected their just and balanced approach, he stated.
“It has been too long… and it’s been too long because Israel has not been compliant,” he said. He recalled the 50 countries and organizations that convened in Annapolis to help the parties towards a solution. He had hoped that there would be a peace treaty by now that would allow for the birth of the Palestinian State. But, until that peace treaty was accomplished, it was “the duty of the international community to remain engaged in this issue until it was resolved in all its aspects,” and to that end, he pledged that he would continue to work until it was resolved.
He then offered hope that next year, if all parties involved moved towards peace, the Palestinian flag would join the other 192 flags at the United Nations, and he pledged that the Palestinian people would “reflect the essence of that peace treaty that will be the birth of our state.” He concluded by saying that he looked forward to not having to bother in discussion or resolutions of what was balanced or not balanced. He wanted to relieve the United Nations of all these resolutions.
What the Palestinian people wanted was to live with all their neighbours in peace and security, including Israel.
The Assembly then took up the report of the Second Committee on the protection of global climate for present and future generations of mankind, issued as document A/63/414/Add.4. There was no discussion of the report.
The Assembly adopted by consensus a draft resolution, entitled protection of global climate for present and future generations of mankind, recommended by the Second Committee in paragraph 8 of the report.
Turning to agenda item 44, Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields, the Committee then adopted by consensus draft resolution Global health and foreign policy (document A/63/L.28).
In other business, the Assembly then resumed its consideration of sub-items (c), (e) and (i) of agenda item 114, Cooperation between the United Nations and other organizations.
Speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), George Talbot (Guyana) introduced the draft resolution, entitled cooperation between the United Nations and the Caribbean Community, (document A/63/L.38). He said the preambular section of the draft would have the Assembly recall previous United Nations commitments to cooperate with CARICOM. After that, the draft would have the Assembly give due recognition to what the Community considered particular landmarks in the development of that cooperation.