Session Journal
Summary of Meetings Held
Monday, 14 April 2003


First Meeting

Opening of the session (item 1)

His Excellency Mr. Mahmud Hamud, Minister for Foreign and Emigrants Affairs of Lebanon, opened the ministerial session in the presence of the sponsor of the session, His Excellency the President of Lebanon, General Emile Lahoud. Ms. Mervat Tallawy, Executive Secretary of ESCWA, read out a message from Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, before making her own introductory statement.


Second Meeting

Election of officers (item 2)

The Commission elected His Excellency Mr. Mohammad Zaki Abi Amer (Egypt) as Chairman of the twenty-second session; Mr. Abdallah Mohammad Khater (Qatar), and Mr. Makram Obaid (the Syrian Arab Republic) as Vice-Chairmen; and Mr. Mitri Abu Attiya (Palestine) as Rapporteur.

Adoption of the agenda (item 3) and organization of work (item 4)

The session adopted the agenda and organization of work in documents E/ESCWA/22/1 and E/ESCWA/22/2.

The impact of the lack of stability in the Western Asia region on economic and social development (item 9 (a))

A round-table discussion was held under this item.

Adoption of the Agreement on International Railways in the Arab Mashreq (item 8)

The secretariat presented the item and interventions were made by the delegates of Egypt, Oman, Palestine and the Syrian Arab Republic and the representatives of the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization and the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs in New York.

Round Table

A round-table discussion was held on the impact of the lack of stability in the Western Asia region on economic and social development, chaired by His Excellency Mr. Khalil Hrawi, Minister of Defence of Lebanon. The main speakers were Mr. Elias Sabaa, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Lebanon; Ms. Fahima Sharaf Al-Din, Secretary-General of the Arab Sociological Association in Lebanon and lecturer at the Lebanese University (LU); and Mr. Hisham Sharaby, lecturer at universities in the United States of America and at AUB and LU. Heads of delegations also participated.

Agreement on International Railways in the Arab Mashreq

During the signing ceremony held for the Agreement on International Railways in the Arab Mashreq, the Agreement was signed by the following member countries: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, the Syrian Arab Republic, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The head of the delegation of Bahrain said that his State would sign the Agreement on 17 April 2003.