United Nations (Jan. 27)
– Secretary General Kurt Waldheim has defended the issuance by the United Nations Postal Administration beginning this Friday of three stamps bearing the inscription “Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People” in English; French and German. The stamps, authorized by a General Assembly resolution in 1979, drew sharp protests from various groups and individuals.
Waldheim, in a statement read by a UN spokesman yesterday, responded to charges that the stamps may legitimise terrorism. “There was no intention, by implication or otherwise, to legitimate terrorism to which the UN remains strongly opposed, nor to jeopardize the legitimate rights of any of its member states,” the statement said. The spokesman noted that the stamps were being issued with the objective “of publicizing the inalienable rights of the Paletinian people.”
He added, “The importance of assuring the rights of the Palestinian people in the Middle East has been accepted by the vast majority of the world community, including all the parties directly concerned with the question of Palestine. “The spokesman noted that profits from the sale of the stamps “as in the case of all UN stamps, will be placed in the UN General Fund which is redistributed to its members.”
The stamps are valid only when posted from UN premises. The 15-cent denomination stamp, which bears its inscription in English, is for mailing from UN headquarters here. The UN has two post offices, one in the public area open to visitors and operated by the UN Postal Administration and the other in the Secretariat building which is managed by the U.S. Postal Service.
The two other stamps are for use at UN headquarters in Geneva. The one inscribed in French has a denomination of F.s. 0,80 and the one with the German inscription a denomination of S4. The English and French inscribed stamps were printed in quantities of 1.9 million each and the German inscribed stamp 2.1 million. All are printed in four colors and were designed by an American, David Dewhurst. Many stamp dealers said they would not distribute the stamps.