PUTRAJAYA — The Ministerial Meeting of the Committee on Palestine of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was convened under the Chairmanship of the Honourable Syed Hamid Albar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia in Putrajaya, Malaysia on Thursday, 13 May 2004. The Meeting was attended by the Member States of the Committee namely, Algeria, Bangladesh, Colombia, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Palestine, Senegal, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The Meeting was also attended by the Member States of NAM currently Members of the Security Council namely, Algeria, Angola, Chile, Pakistan and the Philippines. In addition, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia were invited in view of their long-standing involvement in the issue. Sri Lanka attended in its capacity as Chairman of the United Nations Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories. The Members of the NAM Committee on Palestine and the NAM Caucus in the Security Council as well as other participating countries were represented by their Ministers and/or senior Officials. The Meeting was convened to consider the grave political and humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and recent developments concerning the peace process.
The Meeting was opened by the Honourable Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia and Chairman of NAM who delivered an address at the Meeting. In his address, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, inter alia, emphasized the unwavering support of the Movement to the struggle of the Palestinian people for an independent and sovereign state of their own. He also emphasized the importance of bringing forward the multilateral process, in particular through the proper discharge by the United Nations Security Council of Its role and responsibility in finding a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian question for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. In this regard, he expressed his strong belief that the United Nations Security Council should intervene effectively by establishing a United Nations mission or authorizing an international presence to monitor the situation, ease the tension and maintain peace and security in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. He also reiterated the urgent need for the international community to mobilize international public opinion to manifest solidarity with Palestine by starting a global, people-based campaign with the involvement of civil society in support of the continuing struggle of the Palestinian people and their elected leadership.
The Ministers of the Member States of the Committee on Palestine remained guided by the principles of Non-Aligned Movement and the positions on Palestine adopted by the XIII NAM Summit in Kuala Lumpur in February 2003 and affirmed their adherence to the positions set forth in the Statement on Palestine by the Summit as well as by the Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of NAM in New York in September 2003 which confirmed the Non-Aligned Movement’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and their leadership. The Ministers, after thorough discussions, including with the Ministers of the Members of the NAM Caucus in the Security Council, on developments related to the question of Palestine, have adopted the following specific positions:
1. The Ministers fully applauded the inspiring and thought provoking Address by the Honourable Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia and Chairman of NAM during the Opening Ceremony. They agreed to adopt the Address as an official document of the Meeting.
2. The Ministers expressed their grave concern at the continuous deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. They condemned the continuing Israeli military campaign against the Palestinian people, including the systematic human rights violations and reported war crimes. They condemned the willful killings of civilians, in particular extrajudicial killings, including those that recently took place in Gaza City which threatened to further destabilize the prevailing perilous situation. They condemned the continuing settler colonialism as well as the building of the expansionist wall. The Ministers also condemned the more than two-year confinement of President Vasser Arafat by the occupying Power and the repeated threats against his life, safety and well-being. They expressed their solidarity with the democratically elected President of the Palestinian Authority and stressed the necessity for ending both the confinement and threats.
3. The Ministers reiterated their deep regret that the Road Map has yet to be implemented and that the situation has been gravely aggravated by the Israeli Prime Minister’s “unilateral disengagement plan” as well as the Israeli-American exchange of letters. The Ministers affirmed that the above-mentioned plan as well as several passages within the letters violate international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the Palestine refugees, and are in complete departure from the Road Map. Accordingly, the Ministers affirmed that the plan and the letters are unacceptable and cannot alter the terms of reference of the peace process nor alter the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
4. The Ministers expressed the hope that the international community and the Quartet will undertake the necessary measures to salvage the Road Map and implement its provisions towards its stated aims and goals. They noted the outcome of the latest meeting of the Quartet on 4 May 2004. They also noted the reaffirmation by the Members of the Quartet of their commitment to the Road Map and its terms of reference and the position that any Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip should be a full withdrawal and a complete end to the occupation of the Gaza Strip and should be part of the Road Map. They further noted the need, however, for a decisive position calling for the complete cessation of settlement activities and of the construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as essential for the survival of the Road Map. They called for respect for the timeline agreed in the Road Map, in particular on the establishment of the State of Palestine in 2005. They also called on the Quartet to engage the United Nations Security Council, considering the Council’s Charter authority and its responsibilities for the maintenance of international peace and security.
5. The Ministers expressed grave concern about the vast devastation being caused by the expansionist Wall that Israel continues to construct in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and affirmed that, if completed, the Wall would render the two-State solution practically impossible to achieve. They condemned Israel’s non-compliance with the demand of the Tenth Emergency Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly to stop and reverse the construction of the Wall, and to remove the existing parts of the Wall and, in this regard, they reiterated the need for the complete cessation of all Israeli colonial settlement activities. They welcomed the referral of the matter to the International Court of Justice and expressed confidence that the Court will issue an Advisory Opinion versed in international law. They stressed the importance and centrality of such an Advisory Opinion and called for serious and comprehensive follow-up of the Advisory Opinion by the United Nations organs and regional organizations as well as by the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention.
6. The Ministers affirmed the important role, as well as the responsibility, of the Security Council with regard to the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They called on the Security Council to fulfill its responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations with regard to the violation of international law and the maintenance of international peace and security in relation to the tragic situation on the ground as well as to peace efforts. In addition, the Ministers urged the Security Council authorize an international presence and establish a United Nations peacekeeping mission or in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. They also called for compliance with all relevant Security Council resolutions and stressed the importance and usefulness of a comprehensive Security Council resolution in view of the current circumstances.
7. The Ministers expressed their commitment to a peaceful solution to the IsraeliPalestinian conflict and to the rights of the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and to sovereignty in their State, Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital. In this regard, they welcomed the adoption of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/58/292 entitled “Status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem” on 6 May 2004. They welcomed the convening of the meeting of the United Nations Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in Cape Town, South Africa in June 2004. They also agreed that this question will be further discussed at the 14th NAM Ministerial Meeting in Durban, South Africa in August 2004.
8. The Ministers stressed the vital role that should continue to be played by the Movement in which the Chair will lead the efforts with regard to the question of Palestine and towards a comprehensive peace in the region. They stressed the importance of ongoing contact and dialogue at the Ministerial level with the members of the Quartet as well as the permanent members of the Security Council. In this regard, they agreed to establish a Ministerial Delegation to be led by the Chair to undertake the necessary contacts with the relevant parties influential in the peace process with a view to facilitating the achievement of a just, durable and comprehensive peace in the region. They also stressed the importance of the work at the United Nations and urged NAM Member States to increase their efforts and to instruct their representatives to follow-up with regard to the abovementioned positions.
9. The Ministers recognized the need to further mobilize international public opinion on the question and to encourage the international community, in particular NAM Member States, to support and engage in activities that would contribute to reaching a just, durable and comprehensive peace in the Middle East region. In this regard, they acknowledged the important role of members of civil society the world over, including those in Israel, and invited them to contribute towards this process.
10. The Ministers recognized the need for the convening at the United Nations of a special meeting on Palestine at the beginning of the forthcoming 59th Session of the United Nations of the General Assembly in cooperation with other international and regional groupings to further mobilize the international community in support of the two-State solution based on the pre 1967 borders. They also urged that a civil society public forum be convened in parallel with this meeting.