21 June 2006

United Nations International Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace to be Held in Vienna     

VIENNA, 21 June (UN Information Service) -- The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will convene a United Nations International Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace on 27 and 28 June 2006 at the United Nations Office at Vienna. 

Participants in the Meeting will review the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, discuss the state of the political process and challenges ahead, as well as international efforts in support of Israeli-Palestinian peace. 

Invited to the Meeting will be internationally renowned experts, including Israelis and Palestinians, representatives of United Nations Members and Observers, parliamentarians, representatives of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations, the academic community, representatives of civil society, as well as the media.

The opening session will start on Tuesday, 27 June 2006, at 10.00 a.m. in the UN/UNIDO Boardroom on the 4th floor of the Conference Building at the Vienna International Centre.  Angela Kane, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs and representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, will deliver a message from the Secretary-General.  Statements will also be made by Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee; Ralph Scheide, Head of the Middle East Department of the Austrian Foreign Ministry; and a representative of Palestine.  This will be followed by a segment in which representatives of Governments, intergovernmental organizations and United Nations bodies and agencies will be invited to make statements.  Three plenary sessions will be held starting in the afternoon of Tuesday, 27 June.  Each plenary will have a discussion period.   

Plenary session I, under the theme "The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem", will begin in the afternoon of Tuesday, 27 June, at 3.00 p.m.  Participants will look into the physical obstacles in the path of achieving Palestinian statehood, assess the Palestinian economic and humanitarian crisis and look at the impact of the current situation on the Palestinian Authority.  Speakers in this session include Azmi Bishara, Member of the Knesset (National Democratic Assembly); Ghassan Andoni, Director of Public Relations, Birzeit University; Marwa Abu Dagga, Board Member of the Palestinian Working Women's Society for Development in Gaza; Knut Dethlefsen, Director of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation's Office in East Jerusalem, and June Ray, Head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Palestine in Ramallah.

Plenary session II, entitled "The peace process and challenges ahead", will start at 10.00 a.m. on Wednesday, 28 June.  During the session, experts and participants will discuss the parties' commitment to a platform of peace, enhancing prospects for peace through accepting the goals of the Road Map and the principles of the Arab Peace Initiative, the need to achieve a negotiated settlement of the conflict, and the importance of upholding international law, including United Nations resolutions.  Speakers will include Osama El-Baz, Political Advisor to the President of Egypt; Colette Avital, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset (Labour); Harald Haas, Senior researcher at the Institute for Strategic Research of the Austrian Defence Academy; and Andreas A.M. van Agt, Professor and former Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

Plenary III is entitled "International efforts in support of Israeli-Palestinian peace" and will start on Wednesday, 28 June at 3.00 p.m. It will consider the role of the Quartet and regional partners in efforts at resuming the political process, the permanent responsibility and engagement of the United Nations, the need for continued donor assistance to the Palestinian people, and the contribution of civil society to building bridges of trust between Israelis and Palestinians.  Speakers include Matthew Hodes, Director of the Conflict Resolution Programme at the Carter Center; Yahya A. Mahmassani, Permanent Observer for the Arab League to the United Nations at New York; Peter Hansen, former Commissioner-General of UNRWA; Neve Gordon, Professor at the Department of Politics and Government of Ben Gurion University; and Riad Malki, Director-General of Panorama, the Palestinian Center for the Dissemination of Democracy and Community Development in Jerusalem.

The closing session of the Meeting will take place on Wednesday, 28 June, at 5.30 p.m.   The report of the Meeting will be issued in due course as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat.

The official languages of the Meeting will be English and French.  Documentation will be available, to the extent possible, in the two languages. 


Participants are requested to register with the Secretariat either at its UNOV Office or prior to entering the conference room.  The Secretariat of the Meeting will open its office at UNOV from Thursday, 22 June 2006.  The main Secretariat is located in Office CO-232 (22 and 23 June) and CO-421 (26 to 29 June). 


For information on registration and to register contact:

Conference Secretariat
Fax: + 43 1 26060-5866 (Attn. Ms. M. Jacobs).
E-mail: Ms. Cheryl Simon at simon@un.org

For further information contact:

Sonja Wintersberger
Associate Information Officer, UNIS Vienna
Telephone: + 43 1 260 60 3430
E-mail: sonja.wintersberger@unvienna.org