United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine, UN Conference Centre, Addis Ababa, 29 and 30 April 2013


Convening in Addis Ababa, at the Economic Commission for Africa, this year’s UN International Meeting on the Question of Palestine was dedicated to Africa’s support in achieving Palestinian independence and sovereignty, while drawing on the experience of African States in anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggles, as well as in post-colonial efforts to build effective governments and sustainable economies.

The two-day gathering at the end of April 2013 brought together representatives of 48 governments, members of UN and other international institutions, civil society organizations, academia and mass media outlets.

Addressing the meeting on behalf of the Secretary-General Ban, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Carlos Lopes said that a window of opportunity for renewed engagement has opened following the visits to the region by US President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry. He stressed that there is a need for a concerted push for peace this year if the two-State solution is to be salvaged.

In this quest for independence and self-determination, representatives of African States speaking at the meeting pledged their strong support to the Palestinian people. Joined by international experts and senior Palestinian officials, they contemplated Africa’s experience with decolonization, economic independence and sustainable development, considering the lessons that would be relevant and important for the State of Palestine. Speakers and participants alike agreed that to achieve full sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Palestinian people must form a national unity Government, warning that divisions only served to weaken and destabilize a nascent State. Experts urged African Governments to share their negotiating and institution-building tactics, create a continent-wide solidarity movement, and launch a regional peace initiative to help the Palestinian people in their endeavor towards sovereignty and statehood.

Closing the meeting, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People Abdou Salam Diallo welcomed the ongoing third-party facilitation aimed at resuming negotiations between Israel and Palestine. Pointing out the important role of African States at the UN as part of the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, he called for their increased support to the Palestinian people and their leadership.