General Assembly supports establishment of Middle East monitoring mechanism

General Assembly supports establishment of Middle East monitoring mechanism

Resuming its emergency special session on illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the United Nations General Assembly today voted in support of the establishment of a monitoring mechanism for the region.

Adopting the first part (A) of the resolution by a vote of 124 in favour to 6 against, with 25 abstentions, the Assembly encouraged all concerned to set up the mechanism to help the parties implement the recommendations in the report of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-finding Committee, and to help "create a better situation" in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The two sides were called on to start the "comprehensive and immediate" implementation of the report's recommendations. Headed by former United States Senator George Mitchell, the committee published its report in May, 2001, calling for an end to the violence, the implementation of confidence building measures, and the resumption of negotiations.

The Assembly also demanded the immediate end of all acts of violence, provocation and destruction. The resolution condemned all acts of terror, particularly those targeting civilians, as well as all extrajudicial executions, excessive use of force, and widespread destruction of properties. It also noted the "essential role of the Palestinian Authority, which remains the indispensable and legitimate party for peace and needs to be preserved fully."

The second part of the resolution (B), adopted by a vote of 133 in favour to 4 against, with 16 abstentions, concentrates on the Fourth Geneva Convention, which covers the protection of civilians during wartime. The Assembly expresses full support for the Declaration adopted by the Conference of the treaty's High Contracting Parties and calls on the UN, its agencies, members and observers, to observe the Declaration.

Today's meeting, which heard from some two dozen speakers, was requested by Egypt as Chairman of the Arab Group and on behalf of the League of Arab States, and by South Africa as Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement.

The Assembly's action followed a meeting of the Security Council on Saturday concerning the situation in the Middle East. The Council failed to adopt a draft resolution which would have encouraged the establishment of a monitoring mechanism to help the parties. The Council's draft was defeated by a vote of 12 in favour with two abstentions (Norway and the United Kingdom) with the United States exercising its veto power.