Resolution : CONF 206 14-18
Election of the Chairperson of the General Assembly
14. The General Assembly elected by acclamation H.E Ambassador Samuel Fernandéz Illanes (Chile) as Chairperson of the General Assembly.
15. The Chairperson thanked the General Assembly for his election and commented on the tremendous importance of the World Heritage Convention.
16. The Delegate of Algeria congratulated the Chairperson on his election and welcomed the three new States Parties to the Convention. He then asked that the representative of Palestine be accepted as an observer to the 13th General Assembly. The Delegates of Cuba, the Republic of Dominica, Egypt, the Republic of South Africa, Malaysia, Oman, India, Pakistan, Yemen, Benin, France, Finland, Laos, Costa Rica, Morocco, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, China, Zimbabwe and Angola supported Algeria's proposal. The Delegate of Israel spoke against the proposal commenting that the Palestinian authority was not a full-fledged state. The Delegate of France commented that Palestine enjoyed observer status at UNESCO and that Palestine had always enjoyed observer status at the General Assembly. He then asked if there were any legal reason to counter Algeria's proposal.
17. The Legal Advisor of UNESCO referred to Rules 2 and 16 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly. He concluded that according to Rule 2.2, Palestine could not be accepted as an observer at the General Assembly unless Rule 2.2 was amended in accordance with Rule 16. He noted however, that Palestine had been accepted as an observer in the past. The Delegate of Spain noted that the general view of the General Assembly was clear and it was not necessary to resort to amending Rule 2.2.
18. The Delegate of Algeria proposed an amendment to Rule 2.1 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly to state "The representatives of member States and observers of UNESCO…". The Chairperson then suggested that Algeria's proposal to allow Palestine as an observer be accepted. There were no objections. The representative from Palestine thanked the General Assembly for the decision and commented that it opened the way to dialogue amongst peoples that was the only way to achieve peace.