Apr 15, 1988


BELGRADE APRIL 13 (IFDA) The ministerial session of the global system of trade preferences (GSTP) negotiating committee adapted by consensus Wednesday a resolution of special measures of assistance to Palestinian people, successfully resolving a divisive political issue that at one stage had cast a shadow an a successful outcome here.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) had wanted to sign the GSTP agreement, but could not do so since it was unable to exchange concessions and file a schedule of preferences.

A number of Latin American countries had privately said they would not be able to sign the agreement if the PLO was enabled to do so through an "exchange of concessions" with same court on since such an "exchange" would be fictitious and unenforceable in occupied Palestine, and would merely complicate the problems of GSTP participants which are also members of the general agreement on tariffs and trade (GATT'.).

A preambular paragraph of the resolution reads: "commending and rejecting the Israeli occupation and its restrictions an the Palestinian national economy, including its foreign trade."

In the operative part, the ministers decided that "the PLO, as a full member of GSTP, takes full part in the committee of participants, when established" and, as a special measure of assistance to the Palestinian people, "not to require the PLO to make (...) an a reciprocal basis pending this elimination of Israeli occupation."

The ministers also called for the granting of trade concessions and concrete preferential measures to Palestinian exports, and for treating Palestinian exports and imports through neighbouring parts and points of exit and entry on a transit basis.

Though adopted by consensus a number of Latin American countries expressed their reservations on the decision about the PLO taking 'full part' in the committee of participants, noting that only those participants whose names figure in annexe one as "participants" and have a schedule of concessions annexed to the agreement could be members of the committee of participants as provided for in the agreement.

Colombia, Chile, Uruguay, Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru were among those who expressed such reservations.

Zaire and Cameroon said they did not agree with the use of the ward "condemning" in the preamble.

However, Ibrahim Tabakovic of Yugoslavia, who chaired the meeting, noted that it was the long established practice of the 'group of 77 (G77) to support the Palestinian people, and the resolution adapted clearly reflected the right of the PLO to continue to participate effectively in the establishment of the GSTP.

As a full member of the G77 and of the GSTP, the PLO would take a full part in the committee of participants when established, he added._