Expressing cautious optimism about the results of a recent meeting between Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, the chairman of a UN Palestinian rights panel has stressed the need for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement, according to a document released today at UN Headquarters in New York.
In a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Chairman of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People says the 26 September meeting offered hope that the parties would resume full security cooperation leading to a permanent cessation of violence and the resumption of comprehensive peace negotiations between the two sides.
"Cautiously optimistic as we may allow ourselves to be under the circumstances, we should not lose sight of the problems lying at the heart of the question of Palestine, which will have to be tackled for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region to be achieved," writes Chairman Papa Louis Fall. He says the Committee remains "gravely concerned that the Israeli Government has not been able to embrace fully and unequivocally the fundamental principle of land for peace and apply in practice the commitments and obligations it entered into at Madrid and Oslo."
The letter points to the need for outside help in addressing the region's problems. "As the crisis persists and the parties continue to lack mutual trust and confidence, assistance by key international actors, including the co-sponsors of the peace process, the European Union and leaders in the regions, the United Nations and yourself remains crucial," Mr. Fall writes to the Secretary-General.
The Chairman stresses that the UN should continue to maintain its permanent responsibility with respect to all aspects of the question of Palestine, "until it is resolved in a satisfactory manner, in conformity with relevant United Nations resolutions, in accordance with international legitimacy, and until the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are fully realized."