Press Releases

    PAL/1887
    5 June 2001

    UNITED NATIONS LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN MEETING
    ON QUESTION OF PALESTINE, HAVANA, 12-13 JUNE


    NEW YORK, 4 June (UN Headquarters) -- The United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has convened the United Nations Latin American and Caribbean Meeting on the Question of Palestine, to be held on 12 and 13 June 2001 in Havana, in accordance with General Assembly resolutions 55/52 and 55/53 of 1 December 2000. The Meeting will be followed by an Non-governmental Organization Workshop on 14 June 2001.

    In the past several months, the Committee has joined the international community in expressing great concern about the dangerous escalation of violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and the continuing serious crisis in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. It is concerned about the alarming situation of the Palestinian people under occupation, the excessive use of force by Israel against them and the resulting large number of casualties, the dispossessing effects of the Israeli settlement expansion, the repeated closures of Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and the subsequent disastrous state of the Palestinian economy. The Committee firmly believes that the international community has a moral responsibility towards the Palestinian people. The Committee also reiterates its long-held view that the United Nations should continue to maintain its permanent responsibility towards all the aspects of the question of Palestine, until it is resolved in a satisfactory manner, in conformity with relevant United Nations resolutions and norms of international law, and until the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are fully realized.

    The theme of the Meeting is "Achieving the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people -– a key to peace in the Middle East". Experts will assess the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, consider the need to uphold international legitimacy as the path to a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the conflict and discuss ways to increase international support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, in particular, action by Latin American and Caribbean States. Invited to the Meeting will be eminent personalities, including high-level officials from the host Government and the Palestinian Authority, internationally renowned experts, including Palestinians and Israelis, representatives of United Nations Member States, parliamentarians, representatives of intergovernmental organizations and United Nations agencies, the academic community, representatives of non-governmental and other civil society organizations, as well as the media.

    The opening session of the Meeting will take place on Tuesday, 12 June, at 10.30 a.m., in Conference Room II of the Palacio de Convenciones de la Habana. The session will be addressed by senior officials from the host Government, Palestine, the United Nations, as well as by representatives of Governments, intergovernmental organizations and United Nations agencies. Felipe Pérez Roque, Cuban Minister for Foreign Affairs, is expected to deliver the opening address. Palestine will be represented by Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Danilo Türk, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, will represent the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, while Ambassador Ibra Deguène Ka, Chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, will speak on behalf of the organizers.

    A keynote presentation on the theme of the Meeting ("Achieving the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people -– a key to peace in the Middle East") will be made by Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization, at 3.00 p.m. on Tuesday, 12 June. Just after that, Plenary I entitled "The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem", will begin, with the participation of high-level officials and experts such as Kamal Hossain, Member of the Commission of Inquiry of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights; Corinne Whitlatch, Director, Churches for Middle East Peace; Abdelaziz Aboughosh, Assistant Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference; and Latif Dori, Secretary of the Committee for Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue. The presentations will be followed by a broader discussion with the participants.

    On Wednesday morning, 13 June, at 10.00 a.m., Plenary II will be devoted to "Upholding international legitimacy –- the path to a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the conflict". Presentations will be made by, among others, Musa Amer Odeh, Ambassador of Palestine to Brazil; Andelfo García, Professor at Columbia University in New York; Ilan Pappe, Professor of Political Science at Haifa University; and Mr. Eugenio Chahuan Chahuan, academic researcher and Director for Contemporary Arab-Islamic Studies at the University of Chile. A broader discussion will follow.

    Plenary III, starting at 3.00 p.m. on Wednesday, 13 June, is entitled "International support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people". Speakers include Ahmed Soboh, Assistant to the Minister for International Cooperation and Director-General of Diplomatic Training at the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, Palestinian Authority; Shafick Handal, Member of the El Salvadorian Parliament; Raimundo Kabchi Chemor, Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Santa Maria in Caracas; Maguito Vilela, Senator and President of the Brazilian Socialist Democratic Party; and Mr. Eduardo Kronfly Kronfly, Dean of the Faculty for Law and Political Sciences, University of San Martin.

    The closing session will take place on Wednesday, 13 June, at 5.30 p.m. The report of the Meeting will later be issued as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat.

    Invitations to attend the Meeting have been sent to all United Nations Member States and Observers, United Nations agencies, bodies and programmes, as well as interested intergovernmental organizations. NGOs accredited with the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and a number of other non-governmental organizations interested in the subject, have been invited to attend the Meeting as well. NGO representatives will have the opportunity to discuss in greater detail the role of civil society vis-à-vis the question of Palestine at a workshop to be held in the Meeting venue on Thursday, 14 June, starting at 10:00 a.m.

    The working languages of the Meeting will be English, French and Spanish.

    Participants are required to register and obtain Meeting badges prior to entering the conference room. A registration area will be set up at the main entrance of the Palacio de Convenciones prior to the Meeting and in the foyer to the conference room during the Meeting. Advance registration will be held on Friday, 8 June and on Monday, 11 June, from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. Registration on Tuesday, 12 June, will start at 8.00 a.m. Participants are kindly requested to take advantage of the advance registration in order to avoid delays on Tuesday morning, prior to the opening of the Meeting.

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