The Refugee Problem After the
Madrid Conference

The Moscow conference which convened in the aftermath of the Madrid conference in 1991, culminated in the establishment of five committees within the framework of multilateral negotiations including the refugees committee. The refugees committee concluded five consecutive meetings, two in Ottowa, Canada in 1992, a third in Oslo in 1993, a fourth in Tunisia in 1993 and the fifth meeting in Turkey in 1994, the representative of the European Community defined the specific program of work of the refugees committee through a briefing at the Ottawa conference in 1992. He summed up this program in the following few paragraphs; “It is the creation of the most appropriate conditions for holding bilateral talks to the extent of facilitating the job of negotiators and positively responding to the requirements of the concerned peoples in the bilateral and multilateral peace tracks”.

The representative of the European Community also stressed the necessity for highlighting the political objectives to be accomplished since the problem of refugees is of a political nature. Therefore, it should not be discussed in the absence of the political aspects and must abide by international laws which recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

The PLO representative called for the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 194, which entitles the Palestinian people equitable compensation and right of return. Though the majority of the participating delegations have considered the 194 resolution as a good basis for negotiations, the American delegation expressed its opposition to this resolution and threatened to ask for voting on this issue. In anticipating the influence of the US government, the PLO delegation was prompted to change his stand. It is worth noting that Israel didn’t send a delegation to attend his meeting.

In May 1993, the third conference was held in Oslo during ti, the Parepresentative reiterated the implementation of UN resolution 194 and 181. He stated according to resolutio273, Israel was made under the condition of its acceptance with these two resolution. The fourth meeting convened in the Tunisia capital, concentrated on the family reunification issue, particularly after the classification of Palestinian refugees into different categories including 1967 refugee. The representative of the Palestinian delegation disclosed the two types of refugees as follows: