H.E. Mr. Zahir Tanin, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations and head of the delegation of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, chaired the opening session of the United Nations’ Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People which is taking place today and tomorrow in Vienna, Austria. H.E. Johannes Kyrle, Secretary-General for Foreign Affairs of Austria, and Mr. Maxwell Gaylard, representative of the Secretary-General, spoke as well. H.E. Mr. Ali Al-Jarbawi, Palestinian Representative and Minister of Planning and Administrative Development of the Palestinian Authority, delivered the keynote address. Following the opening session, plenary meetings were conducted with participants including governmental delegations, NGOs, and UN system entities.
The Seminar is on “Palestine: Ending the occupation and establishing the State”. “Our committee’s position is that the illegal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory must end without conditions,” said Ambassador Tanin, who is also Vice Chair of the Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, in his opening remarks. He reiterated the support of the Committee for the just Palestinian demands and added that an end to the occupation should pave the way for a creation of an independent Palestinian State on all territories occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem. Mr. Tanin also stressed the importance of progress in the political area. He predicted that in two years time, if such progress was made, a clearly defined Palestinian State based on the pre-1967 boarders could be enshrined in a United Nations Security Council Resolution.
Further, Ambassador Tanin expressed the Committee’s gratitude for international support and beseeched the international community for specific donations to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and to ease devastating impediments on Palestinians in the West Bank. Donor support, he stated, is absolutely necessary to “promoting sustainable economic development and building institutions of the future Palestinian state”.
Tonight, Ambassador Tanin will host a reception for the participants of the Seminar. The Seminar will continue through the 25th of March, and will be followed by a meeting of Civil Society members on 26th March.