Friday, December 15, 2017

Opening Remarks by H.E. Zahir Tanin, Chair of Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform








2 JUNE 2010


Check against delivery

Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

Welcome to the first meeting of the fifth round of intergovernmental negotiations, and welcome to the first meetings in these new, temporary facilities. Hopefully, once we leave this building to move back into renovated conference rooms, one chamber in particular, we all know which one, will also have undergone some changes. For my part, I have no doubt that we will succeed, as I have personally been witness to the journey that you, the Member States, have taken since these negotiations began in February 2009.

Together, and in accordance with the modus operandi collectively embraced by Member States during the 19 February 2009 launch of the intergovernmental negotiations, we have held four exhaustive rounds of negotiations. During this time, you, the membership, have increasingly assumed responsibility for the negotiations process, aided, of course, by consensus decisions 62/577 and 63/565, our brightly shining lodestars, as well as a fully-invested President, and a body of work, including my letters and statements. But it is first and foremost you, the membership, and your burning desire to reform the Council that keeps us moving forward.

And as you recognized during our last meeting in January, no solution has ever appeared without a paper trail. Member States all united behind a call to move to text-based negotiations as the next step in the strict and good faith implementation of our negotiation mandate. As Chair, I of course complied with this universal request. Through a transparent and open process, in which I made myself available to any Member States or group thereof, I assumed my responsibility as Chair and produced an all-encompassing text, compiled in strict conformity with decision 62/557, which places your positions and proposals and the five key issues at the heart of these negotiations. The text, which reflects my enduring commitment to the principles of inclusiveness and transparency, consists of excerpts from the positions submitted by Member States, structured according to the five key issues, with an annex that includes these positions in their entirety. These are your words, and this is your text.

What you have before you today is the first revision, which incorporates the changes to the text that you, the Member States, requested before the 20 May deadline. To galvanize the negotiations on this text in an open, comprehensive, inclusive, and transparent way, I indicated in my letter of 10 May that the rest of the fifth round will be structured around concrete text-based negotiations on each of the five key issues as reflected in the text, during which Member States are encouraged to undertake more informal drafting exercises, merging language to reduce the obvious overlaps and finding language to bridge differences, while continuing to improve the negotiation text. I, as your Chair partial to progress, but impartial to any of the positions, will assist you in this endeavor, but it is up to you, the membership, to continue to create the positive momentum needed to move this process forward.

In so doing, we are following the custom of the house, and the desire of the membership to move forward. This means that Member States are the masters of their own positions, and that the text, which naturally remains open, will only evolve towards a higher degree of concreteness through increased creativity, flexibility and compromise on the part of Member States. I believe that this structure will allow the process to continue to progress in a fair, balanced and comprehensive membership-driven way in the pursuit of a solution that can garner the widest possible political acceptance by Member States.

I now open the floor for any comments. Thank you

Public Forum Closing Remarks by H.E. Mr. Zahir Tanin Head of Delegation Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Public Forum is drawing to a close. The delegation of the Committee is grateful for the very informative presentations by the invited speakers and enjoyed the lively exchange of views during the discussions. My special thanks go to the two moderators, Ms. Phyllis Bennis and Dr. Sylvia Tiryaki, who so ably steered us through the session.

Dear Friends,

The Palestinian people have suffered too much and for too long. All of us in every capacity — Governments, the United Nations and civil society — must each play our own role to bring justice back to them.

Today the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was able to learn from you – from your analyses of the situation on the ground, and about your efforts to bring peace and justice to Jerusalem. We’ve heard about your tireless advocacy work, your relentless protests, your personal sacrifices and your invocations of international law.

I would like to assure you that we will take your messages back to New York – to the members of the Committee, and through them, the wider membership of the United Nations.

You should know that the Committee stands behind your efforts and encourages you to keep working towards a just and lasting peace. We support all your efforts to broaden the movement, to involve more organizations and individuals in your efforts. And we will continue to work with you. Wherever possible, we will provide you with a platform, like this Public Forum here in Istanbul, to widen your outreach, your networking and coordination. We will keep cataloguing your actions and analyses in the UN Division for Palestinian Rights’ “NGO Action News”. In that regard, please keep the Division updated about your activities, new initiatives and campaigns, including your work with other stakeholders, such as trade unions or parliamentarians.

Also, wherever possible, we will be inviting your representatives to report directly at Committee meetings or to speak at events organized under the Committee’s auspices. And of course, we are always happy to hear about your ideas to enhance our future cooperation.

The important thing is that we all stay connected and work together towards our common goal: the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights, the right to self-determination, the right of return of the Palestine refugees, and an independent State with East Jerusalem as its capital.

I thank you once again for your participation in this meeting and with you a safe journey back.

With that, I declare closed the United Nations Public Forum in Support of the Palestinian People.

Public Forum Opening Remarks by H.E. Mr. Zahir Tanin Head of Delegation Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People


Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,

On behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, I would like to warmly welcome you to the United Nations Public Forum in Support of the Palestinian People.

Many of you also attended the United Nations International Meeting in Support of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process, which just concluded yesterday. Among the topics discussed at that gathering was the question of Jerusalem, as a key to Israeli-Palestinian peace. Since this issue is of utmost concern to us all, it will also be the focus for this meeting of civil society.

Jerusalem arouses global passions in a way that few other locales can. And yet those passions, instead of creating a bastion of cross-cultural understanding and harmony, are changing one of the world’s great cities from a symbol of spiritualism and co-existence into one of injustice and suppression.

The international community has never recognized Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem following its occupation in June 1967. Also our Committee views East Jerusalem as an integral part of the Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel. We regularly point out and criticize Israeli policies of creating facts on the ground and changing the demographic composition of the city.

Since 1967, Israel has built more than 50,000 homes for Israelis in East Jerusalem. Compare that to 600 homes for Palestinians, the last of which were built 35 years ago. Since they cannot build legally, Palestinians are being forced to build without permits, which often leads to Israeli demolitions of their homes. And when it comes to real estate in the holy city of Jerusalem, an Israeli can buy a home anywhere. But a Palestinian cannot.

As we all know, East Jerusalem is home to a wealth of religious, archaeological and cultural sites. But we are seeing control of many of these sites falling into the hands of extreme settler groups. As a result, the Christian, Muslim and Palestinian aspects of the city are being swept under the rug. And because of Israeli restrictions, Palestinian Muslims and Christians are losing access to the historical mosques and churches to which they are emotionally attached.

The Committee considers that a negotiated solution on the status of Jerusalem, which takes into account the political and religious concerns of all sides, should be an integral part of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and lasting peace in the entire region. It should include internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the freedom of religion and of conscience of its inhabitants, as well as permanent, free and unhindered access to holy places by the Palestinian people and peoples of all religions and nationalities.

Any agreement that does not include East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian State will not lead to sustainable Israeli-Palestinian peace. Also, Government-sanctioned settlement construction, transfer of settlers, house demolitions, evictions of Palestinian residents and other action aimed at altering or purporting to alter the legal status and physical and demographic character of the city, constitute violations of international law and must be ceased and rescinded.

It is my hope that today’s Public Forum will give you, as members of civil society, the chance to share your views on the situation in the city and to discuss on how to move forward on the topic of Jerusalem, and thus, on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in general. You will hear presentations on what is happening in the city today, including on home demolitions, forced evictions, settlements, the revocation of residency rights and IDs, and security concerns, including rising crime rates. A specific emphasis has been put on the role of non-State actors in promoting peace in Jerusalem, including through interfaith dialogue and people-to-people diplomacy.

Today’s meeting is part of our Committee’s programme of cooperation with civil society by providing venues and opportunities for organizations and individuals to come together to exchange views and broaden their international networks in support of the Palestinian people. Also, the Bureau of the Committee periodically holds consultations with civil society representatives to seek their input and new ideas as to how the Committee’s work could be improved. Moreover, the Committee continues to receive, with high appreciation, valuable analyses, statistics and other important information on the situation on the ground from academic institutes, think tanks and other organizations, which are extremely useful for our activities.

The Committee commends civil society organizations for their efforts to uphold international legitimacy with regard to the question of Palestine through advocacy and the mobilization of public opinion and for their initiatives aimed at alleviating the plight of the Palestinian people. The Committee also encourages civil society organizations to broaden their base, involving trade unions and other large organizations, and to focus and harmonize their advocacy efforts at the local, national, regional and international levels.

I would like to inform you that Phyllis Bennis, a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, and Sylvia Tiryaki, Deputy Director of the Global Political Trends Center here at Istanbul Kültür University, will moderate today’s Public Forum. On behalf of the Committee, I would like to thank Ms. Bennis and Dr. Tiryaki for agreeing to that role. I am sure we will have constructive and lively deliberations.

Thank you very much.

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan