In an address to the General Assembly this morning, the President of Mozambique, Joaquim Alberto Chissano, said the United Nations and the international community had invested much to ensure a lasting peace and stability in his country, and urged them to provide the means to consolidate it. President Chissano said that although democratic institutions were flourishing and the economy was improving, Mozambique still faced the challenge of rehabilitating hospitals, repairing roads and clearing land mines, and also had a heavy debt burden. He stressed that regional cooperation within the framework of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) was important in addressing problems in that part of the continent. Community members were adopting pragmatic policies to foster financial stability, private sector participation and market-led economic growth. Also this morning, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, resolutions on cooperation between the United Nations and various regional organizations, including the Latin American Economic System (SELA), the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the League of Arab States. It also approved observer status for the Andean Community.
In other action, the Assembly elected without a vote, the Bahamas, France, Mexico, Russian Federation, Uganda, the United States and Zambia to serve three-year terms on the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC) from 1 January 1998. It also approved the Secretary-General's note listing matters that are being dealt with by the Security Council. The representatives of Peru, Venezuela, Argentina, Suriname (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), Romania, Indonesia, Yemen, and Ecuador made statements. The Observers for the SELA, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the League of Arab States also spoke. The representative of Luxembourg, on behalf of the European Union, spoke after adoption of the SELA text, and the representative of Israel spoke after the adoption of the resolution on Cooperation with the League of Arab States.
The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m., Monday, 27 October, to consider the report of the International Court of Justice.
Assembly Work Programme
The General Assembly met this morning to hear an address by the President of Mozambique, Joaquim Alberto Chissano, and to elect seven members to the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC).
The Assembly was also expected to take up the following: notification by the Secretary-General of matters the Security Council has dealt or ceased to deal with; cooperation between the United Nations and the Latin American Economic System (SELA), the Organization of the Islamic Conference; the League of Arab States; and the observer status of the Andean Community.
Committee for Programme and Coordination Elections
Members of the CPC -- the main subsidiary of the Economic and Social Council and of the Assembly for planning, programming and coordination -- are elected by the Assembly on nomination by the Council. The Assembly will elect seven members for three-year terms beginning on 1 January 1998 to the 34-member CPC as follows: two members from African States; one member from the Eastern European States; two members from the Latin American and Caribbean States; and two members from the Western European States.
By its decision 1997/212 B, the Economic and Social Council nominated the following Member States to the CPC: Uganda, Zambia, Russian Federation, Bahamas, Mexico, France and the United States.
Seats are being vacated by: the Bahamas, Benin, France, Ghana, Mexico, Russian Federation and the United States.
The note by the Secretary-General (document A/52/392) in accordance with provisions under Article 12 of the Charter, lists matters relative to the maintenance of international peace and security that are being dealt with by the Council. The note also lists matters that, as of 1 January, have not been considered during the preceding five-year period (1992-1996).
Latin American Economic System
The Secretary-General's report on cooperation between the United Nations and the Latin American Economic System (SELA) (document A/52/376) notes that since its establishment in 1975, SELA's cooperation with the United Nations system, especially the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), has intensified and become more diversified.
The report cites various projects to address economic and social imbalances in Latin America and the Caribbean in which SELA, regional organizations and the United Nations participated. It highlights initiatives by the various groups to facilitate inter-agency coordination on social aspects of integration. The report acknowledges the contribution of regional and multilateral organizations and agencies in preparing the First Regional Conference in Follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development held in Sao Paolo, Brazil, in April. The ECLAC organized several meetings on
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international trade, transport and financing to improve and coordinate regional trade policies.
The report says SELA, the United Nations and other regional bodies also participated in meetings and workshops to address globalization and world change, integration in the Caribbean Basin, trade negotiations, competition policies and Central American integration. It emphasizes that cooperation between SELA and United Nations programmes, organizations and agencies is growing and diversifying, and inter-agency cooperation has been established in many areas in which optimal use is being made of existing resources for the benefit of regional countries.
By the terms of the draft resolution (document A/52/L.6), the Assembly would urge ECLAC to continue broadening and deepening its coordination and mutual support activities with SELA and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to renew and expand its financial and technical cooperation with the programmes being carried out by SELA in areas of mutual interest and concern. It would also urge the United Nations system to continue and intensify cooperation with SELA.
The Assembly would request the Secretary-General and the Permanent Secretary of SELA to assess, at the appropriate time, the implementation of the Agreement between the United Nations and SELA to report to the Assembly at its fifty-third session. It would also ask the Secretary-General to submit a report on the implementation of the text at that session.
The sponsors of the draft resolution are Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Organization of Islamic Conference
The Secretary-General's report (document A/52/377) details consultations between representatives of the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference member States held their annual coordination meeting at United Nations Headquarters to discuss the agenda of the Assembly's fifty-first session and review the international situation. In October 1996 a meeting between the secretariats of the two organizations discussed mutual interests and ways of strengthening cooperation and coordination in the political arena. There have also been regular consultations and exchanges of information between the secretariats on peacekeeping efforts, particularly in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Somalia. The Organization participated as an observer in the United Nations-sponsored inter-Tajik talks and signed the Protocol on Guarantees that was part of the final settlement.
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In May, at a meeting in New York between the Secretary-General and the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Azeddine Laraki, both sides expressed interest in expanding cooperation and it was agreed they would present concrete proposals on the matter.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference and the United Nations have established the following priority areas: development of science and technology; technical cooperation among Islamic countries; assistance to refugees; food security and agriculture; education and eradication of illiteracy; investment mechanisms and joint ventures; human resources development; and the environment. The report then summarizes cooperation efforts between various United Nations agencies and organizations serving as focal points during the period under review.
By the terms of the draft resolution (document A/52/L.2), sponsored by Indonesia, the Assembly would request the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to continue cooperating on solutions to global problems such as international peace and security, disarmament, self- determination, decolonization, human rights, social and economic development and technical cooperation. It would recommend that a general meeting between the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference take place in 1998 and that, in accordance with resolution 50/17, coordination meetings of United Nations focal points and agencies and that Organization and its specialized institutions be held concurrently with the 1998 meeting.
The Assembly would urge the United Nations and its agencies to provide increased technical and other assistance to the Organization of the Islamic Conference and invite them to multiply contacts and meetings on the focal points for areas of common interest. The Assembly would decide to include the agenda item on cooperation between the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the United Nations at its fifty-third session and request the Secretary- General to report then on cooperation between the two organizations.
League of Arab States
The Secretary-General's report (document A/52/378) says that the Secretary-General and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States meet and consult regularly on such questions of interest to both as Libya, Somalia, Iraq and the Middle East situation. Among high level contacts between the United Nations and the League, the report notes the signing in July 1996 of a cooperation agreement with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on the occupied territories and the Palestinian people. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) held meetings in September 1996 and March 1997 with the Secretary-General of the League and with the office of the League's Permanent Observer to the United Nations in October 1996.
The report includes a summary of the cooperation activities between the
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League and the United Nations system. At a July meeting in Geneva, the secretariats of the two organizations discussed preventive diplomacy and peacemaking, and agreed to set up permanent contacts between the Department of Political Affairs and the League's Department of International Political Affairs. They voiced their concern over landmines and agreed to continue supporting UNRWA.
By the terms of a draft resolution (document A/52/L.3), the Assembly would decide that the United Nations system and the League of Arab States should hold a general meeting once every two years and regular inter-agency sectoral meetings on priority development areas in the Arab States. The Assembly would also decide to include the item entitled, "Cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States" in its fifty-third session.
The Assembly would call on the United Nations to continue cooperating in its follow-up to multilateral proposals to strengthen and expand cooperation with the League and its specialized organizations; and to increase contacts and improve consultation mechanisms to accelerate programme implementation. Further, the Assembly would call on the United Nations to inform the Secretary-General by 10 June 1998 of progress in its cooperation with the League, particularly follow-up to the multilateral and bilateral proposals adopted at their previous meetings. The Assembly would also call on the United Nations to intensify cooperation on energy, rural development, desertification and green belts, training, technology, environment and information and documentation. It would request both secretariats to intensify cooperation on international peace and security, economic development, decolonization, self-determination and the eradication of racism.
The sponsors of the draft resolution are Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
By the terms of a draft resolution on the observer status for the Andean Community (document A/52/L.5), the Community would be invited to participate in Assembly sessions and work, as an observer. The Secretary-General would be asked to take the necessary action to implement that provision.
The sponsors are: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Statement by Mozambique President
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In an address to the Assembly, JOAQUIM ALBERTO CHISSANO, President of Mozambique, said a pluralist democracy and democratic institutions continued to flourish in his country and the economy was improving. However, there were many challenges. Hospitals had to be rehabilitated, roads repaired, and land mines cleared. There was also a heavy debt burden. The challenges were immense but not immeasurable. With the support of the international community, Mozambique would build a better future for its people. The United Nations and the world community had invested much to ensure a lasting peace and stability in his country. He urged them to recommit to providing the means for consolidating the peace. The country wanted to use its rich resources in a sustainable manner to create wealth and a better future.
He said that in 1996, the gross domestic product (GDP) grew by around 6.4 per cent and exports increased by 24 per cent. The inflation rate had declined sharply to 16.6 per cent, compared with 70 per cent in 1994. The currency had been stabilized and during 1997 all economic indicators were expected to improve. His Government, in close cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), had convened at Maputo a conference on Culture of Peace and Good Governance which recognized the relationship between peace, democracy and development, as well as the challenges all Governments faced in implementing those values and processes. He welcomed the efforts towards the adoption of a resolution on the issue.
Peace and democracy were fundamental tools for fostering development, especially with a fifth of the world's population still confronting absolute poverty, hunger and disease, he continued. Concerted actions were needed to reverse that situation and provide a sustainable development environment with emphasis on education, health care, potable water and housing. That required economic, social and environmental security. No country, no matter how big, could develop in isolation. Cooperation was needed to deal with such challenges as drug trafficking, money-laundering, refugee flows and environmental problems.
He said the challenges facing southern Africa could be addressed effectively only through collective efforts to bring about durable peace and stability, and sustainable development. His Government attached great importance to regional cooperation within the framework of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), which was a viable economic bloc poised to play a positive role in development efforts. The Community's 1997 annual summit of heads of State or government noted that all its members had adopted pragmatic policies to foster financial stability, private sector participation and market-led economic growth. It had also admitted the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Seychelles as members. The establishment of the Maputo, Beira and Nacala corridors were fundamental steps to improve transport and communication within the region. The concept of development corridors being established in southern Africa represented a new partnership between government, entrepreneurs and communities. Investments were being made to
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improve sea ports, railways, highway construction, gas pipelines energy and communication infrastructure, thus bringing integrated development to the region.
The Assembly noted the Secretary-General's note on matters being dealt with by the Security Council and of matters with which the Council had ceased to deal.
Elections for Committee for Programme and Coordination
The Assembly then turned to elections to fill vacancies on the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC). The President announced that the number of States nominated from the groups of African States, Eastern European States, Latin American and Caribbean States and Western European and Other States was equal to the seats to be filled from those regions.
The Assembly therefore declared that the nominated States from those regional groups -- Bahamas, France, Mexico, Russian Federation, Uganda, United States, and Zambia -- were elected to serve a three-year term on the Committee, beginning January 1998.
The President said the Economic and Social Council had postponed to a future session the nomination of two other members eligible for a three-year term from the group of Western European and Other States.
Latin American Economic System
Peru introduced the draft resolution (document A/52/L.6) on Cooperation between the United Nations and SELA .
NORMAN PINO DE LION (Venezuela) said his country was pleased to be a co-sponsor of the draft. It was convinced that SELA would continue to be an effective instrument for consultation and coordination in the Latin American economic integration process. He cited technical cooperation, investment, and social development as some of the activities being addressed and pursued by SELA in his region. His delegation appealed to the United Nations system to continue to give support to the Latin American region.
FERNANDO PETRELLA (Argentina) said his country supported the search for new mechanisms of cooperation between the United Nations System and SELA. Free market policies had been adopted in the region and trade and technical cooperation had been revitalized. However, much more remained to be done. Regional economic growth was not sufficient to quickly overcome social problems. Political coordination had developed in cooperation with the United Nations system. Existing problems must be faced in a coordinated fashion at subregional, regional and international levels. The draft resolution actively reflected the feeling in the region towards growth and modernization in Latin America.
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SUBHAS MUNGRA (Suriname), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the member States of the Community were in favour of broadening and deepening mutual activities between ECLAC and SELA. The small, vulnerable CARICOM economies feared marginalization in the ongoing process of globalization, and should be given special attention by the United Nations system to help them adapt. In projected action from 1997 to the year 2000, SELA had identified several priorities, including timely and adequate participation of Latin American and Caribbean countries in the rapidly changing world economy, strengthening the regional integration process and enhancing the competitiveness of member States.
He said SELA would give priority to promoting exchange of experiences among member States, preparing analytical and comparative studies and following up on key global economic issues, with special attention to regional and subregional aspects. CARICOM was pleased that cooperation between United Nations organizations and SELA had helped the institution implement its mandate more fully and expected this cooperation to be expanded in the future. The Assembly should unanimously adopt the draft resolution.
SORIN TANASESCU (Romania) said the convergence of interest between the United Nations and SELA on cooperation between them was a positive sign. The definition of social and economic policies, social aspects of regional integration and human resources in the restructuring process were just some of the issues being addressed by the cooperation. The South American common market and the trading organization SICA in Central America had demonstrated the profound benefits of cooperation. It had reaffirmed regional integration as a form of solidarity for smaller- and medium-sized countries facing globalization. SELA had been an open door for promoting regional integration. All of the concepts on economic efforts in Latin America were valuable and similar to processes in other nations. Cooperation and regional integration provided the opportunity to analyse the implication of those developments for future nations as models. Similar processes in eastern Europe and his country had also taken place. The possibility of exchanging experiences between Latin American countries and the countries of eastern and central Europe could be useful to both regions in the future.
ALAN WAGNER, observer of SELA, said the exchange of experience had been the main source of cooperation between the member States of the group. SELA had identified several priorities, including analysis of globalization; follow-up to relationships among countries in the region and their main economic counterparts; support for dovetailing economic approaches in Latin America; defining policies; technical cooperation within the framework of cooperation between developing countries; and cooperation on information technology. He said cooperation between SELA and the United Nations system was important, given the convergence of priorities at the regional level and the international agenda. He said SELA had strengthened ties with many United Nations agencies.
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Joint work with regional and international organizations was another aspect of its work. Cooperation with UNDP had been especially fruitful. This was carried out in support of small- and medium-sized companies in Latin America. In 1998, a project will be under way ensuring greater technical cooperation between the countries of the region, and SELA hoped this cooperation would be deepened and expanded during the next few years. The Assembly adopted the resolution without a vote.
Statement after Adoption MARC BALTES (Luxembourg), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the Union would have welcomed the opportunity for informal consultations before the draft was tabled. Referring to operative paragraph 3 of the resolution (relating to UNDP), he said the Union understood that decisions on such activities were for the Executive Board of UNDP to decide in the context of its agreed priorities and budget. Referring to operative paragraph 4 (on specialized agencies and United Nations programmes and funds), he said the Union would like further clarification on why the United Nations funds were added to the text.
Organization of Islamic Conference
Indonesia then introduced the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Conference.
AHMET ENGIN ANSAY, Observer for the Organization of the Islamic Conference, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference's Secretary-General, Azzedine Laraki, said Secretary-General Kofi Annan's report provided informative material on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and their subsidiary organs and specialized agencies. Strengthening cooperation in the political fields and expanding cooperation in several economic, social and humanitarian sectors had figured prominently at the two meetings between the Secretaries-General in New York in May and October, and also at the meeting of high-level officials on 4 October. The meetings had devoted particular attention to peacemaking efforts in Palestine, Afghanistan, Jammu and Kashmir and Tajikistan as well as peacekeeping efforts relating to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Azerbaijan, Somalia and Cyprus.
He drew attention to four operative paragraphs in the text. First, paragraphs 7 and 8, which recommended the convening of a special meeting of focal points of the organizations, agencies and specialized institutions of the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference concurrently in Geneva in 1998. He said that unlike its previous years, the convening of the two meetings in the same time-frame would be an efficient and economical way of pursuing objective cooperation and areas of common interest. Second,
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paragraph 9 encouraged United Nations agencies and organizations to negotiate cooperation agreements with their Organization of the Islamic Conference counterparts in priority areas. He said two memoranda of understanding signed by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in New York last year, and one with UNDP this year, had paved the way for the Islamic organization's systematic consultation and effective cooperation with those major United Nations bodies, adding to several agreements concluded in the past.
He said operative paragraph 10 urged the United Nations to provide technical and other assistance to the Organization of the Islamic Conference and affiliated institutions. At a time when the Organization of the Islamic Conference was initiating a four-year action programme of economic and technical cooperation among its member States, it would welcome such assistance which would go a long way in reinforcing and strengthening its institutional capacity for the operational challenges it would face in the process. None of the operative paragraphs involved any additional financial implications.
The Assembly then adopted the resolution without a vote.
League of Arab States
Yemen introduced the draft resolution on cooperation between the United States and the League of Arab States.
HOUSSEIN HASSOUNA, Observer for the League of Arab States, said he hoped the Secretary-General would visit the League's headquarters in Cairo soon. He recalled the July meeting in Geneva between the United Nations and the League, noting that the agenda included population and health, family planning, the environment and peace and security. The strengthening of social and economic cooperation in the region was proof of cooperation between the two organizations, he said. Both had taken part in reconciliation efforts in Somalia. Participants at the Geneva meeting had expressed concern over the problem of anti-personnel land mines; the recent Oslo agreement was an important step towards eradicating those weapons. They had also decided to hold a meeting on international trade and development in Cairo in 1998.
He said the League expressed support for the Secretary-General's report on reforming the United Nations. The League was ready to cooperate with the United Nations in maintaining international peace and security. It was also committed to a lasting and just peace in the Middle East. In September, the foreign ministers of the League's member States reiterated their commitment to a just and comprehensive peace in the region and the right to self- determination of the Palestinian people and an independent state. He said Israeli "foot-dragging" and refusal to implement agreements had reversed the peace process. The League asked the United Nations to assume its responsibilities and restart the peace process. That was the only guarantee
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for peace and security for the region. He called for a draft convention making the Middle East a nuclear-free zone, free of all weapons of mass destruction.
The Assembly then adopted the resolution without a vote.
Statement after Action
NAOR GION (Israel) said his country had joined in the consensus on the resolution, guided by the desire to make peace with its neighbours. Today, there was a new hope for peace on the Israel-Palestine track. The nine joint committees had resumed their work after meetings between Israel's Prime Minister and Chairman Yasir Arafat, as well as between the foreign ministers of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Further discussions were expected later this month in Washington, D.C.
Regrettably, he said, at the meeting of foreign ministers of the Arab League in Cairo, only Israel was blamed for the problems which had arisen in the peace process. The Arab Ministers had called for stopping the normalization process between Israel and its Arab neighbours, abjuring Arab participation in the multilateral track, adhering to the Arab boycott against Israel, and more. The ministers had emphasized their commitment to peace so hopefully, given the new prospects for peace, they would stand by their commitments.
He said Israel supported cooperation between the United Nations and various regional organizations, including the League of Arab States. It was regrettable that Israel did not belong to the regional political groupings which its geographical location warranted. He called on members of the League to lift their objections to the admission of Israel to the Asian group.
He called for increased cooperation between UNDP and the League of Arab States for the establishment of joint projects within the framework of regional agricultural development in the areas under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Council. Israel believed the Arab should contribute a greater share of aid to the Council to match aid given by the European Union, Norway, Japan and the United States. He said the draft resolution was the first on the Middle East adopted by consensus during the current session of the Assembly. He urged all parties to the peace process to exercise restraint in both the language and stated purposes of resolutions which were submitted. Confidence could not be built in the Middle East by political battles in New York.
Observer Status for Andean Community
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Ecuador introduced the draft resolution entitled Observer Status for the Andean Community, noting that Canada, Cyprus, France, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia had joined the list of sponsors.
RAMON ESCOVAR-SALOM (Venezuela) said the Andean Community had enabled its member countries -- Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela -- to promote balanced development and harmonious and equitable social and economic integration. The Community believed in a free trade zone without restrictions and they were negotiating with Mercusor (the South American common market) and CARICOM to extend that zone for the next 10 years. In addition they were involved with the European Community in promoting the transfer of technology. He said the dynamism which drove the Andean community was the belief in stable and productive employment, and the effective combating of poverty and marginalization as well as other forms of suffering which still affected a major part of its population. Venezuela saw globalization as a fundamental sign of the times at the turn of the century and recognized that much remained to be done. The final goal of the Andean Community was to improve the quality of life in the subregion. The Community's status as an observer in the United Nations was one way in which cooperation could be enhanced while helping it to achieve its goals.
The Assembly adopted the draft resolution.
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