In an address to mark the eighth African Industrialization Day, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the General Assembly this morning that with industrial development, Africa could take decisive steps towards full throttle competition in the globalized marketplace. Without it, the countries of the continent would be condemned to persistent crisis, dependence on humanitarian relief and deepening poverty, despair and political unrest.
The Secretary-General said hope was the watchword in a good part of the continent with more and more countries experiencing remarkable economic growth. Despite progress, Africa was not benefiting as much as it could from globalization and the liberalization of trade. This year, the focus was on small and medium-sized industries, the backbone of industry on the continent and a major source of livelihoods. (For text of Secretary-General's statement see Press Release SG/SM/6402-AFR/30-OBV/22 of today's date).
The President of the Assembly, Hennadiy Udovenko (Ukraine), said the commemoration of the Day reaffirmed the principle of partnership and shared responsibility between Africa and the international community. The United Nations was committed to Africa's industrial development -- the key to the continent's transformation from poverty to prosperity.
Africa's leaders, he said, recognized the need for collective action and had taken several initiatives. United Nations organizations needed to work together more closely to encourage the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises in African countries. They should also pool resources to maximize the impact of their contributions to Africa's development.
The Assembly President said 20 November also marked Universal Children's Day, a day devoted to worldwide fraternity and understanding among children and devoted to their welfare.
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Also this morning, the Assembly adopted several resolutions and approved appointments to fill vacancies on United Nations subsidiary bodies and other organs.
In adopting a resolution on the zone of peace and cooperation in the South Atlantic, by a recorded vote of 157 in favour, to none against with one abstention (United States), the Assembly expressed concern at the situation in Sierra Leone and condemned the coup d'état there. It also urged the international community and international and private organizations to expeditiously fulfil their pledges on Angola in order to consolidate gains in the peace process.
The Assembly also selected Colombia by secret ballot from the group of Latin American and Caribbean States to propose a qualified candidate for the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU).
Adopting a resolution without a vote, the Assembly called on the Secretary-General and the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to submit a consolidated report containing a draft declaration and programme of action on a "culture of peace" at the Assembly's fifty-third session.
Acting on the recommendation of the Economic and Social Council, the Assembly proclaimed the year 2000 as the International Year for the Culture of Peace; the year 2000 as the International Year of Thanksgiving, and the year 2001 as the International Year of Volunteers.
The Assembly also filled vacancies on the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ); the Committee on Contributions; the Board of Auditors; the Investments Committee; the International Civil Service Commission and the United Nations Staff Pension Committee.
Statements were made by Bangladesh, Panama, South Africa, Argentina, Benin, Nigeria, Brazil, Côte d'Ivoire, Japan and Iran. The Secretary-General of the Economic Cooperation Organization also spoke.
Luxembourg, on behalf of the European Union, Japan and France spoke in explanation of vote.
The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Friday 21 November, to consider United Nations support of the efforts of governments to promote and consolidate new or restored democracies. It will also resume consideration of cooperation between United Nations agencies and the Economic Cooperation Organization.
Assembly Work Programme
The General Assembly met this morning to consider its agenda items on cooperation between the United Nations and the Economic Cooperation Organization; the Universal Congress on the Panama Canal, and the Zone of peace and cooperation of the South Atlantic. It was to take action on related draft resolutions.
It was also expected to consider the report of the Economic and Social Council, taking action on several related draft resolutions, and also on another text entitled "Towards a Culture of Peace".
Further, the Assembly was scheduled to appoint a member to the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and to approve appointments to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ); the Committee on Contributions; the Board of Auditors; the Investments Committee; the United Nations Administrative Tribunal; the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC); and the United Nations Staff Pension Committee.
Appointment of Member of Joint Inspection Unit
A Note from the Secretary-General (document A/52/110) includes Articles 2, 3 and 4 of the statute of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) which describe terms of appointment and selection procedures. The JIU consists of 11 inspectors, chosen from members of national supervision or inspection bodies, or from persons of a similar competence based on their special experience in national or international administrative and financial matters, including management. They serve in their personal capacity, are appointed for five-year terms, renewable for another term, and cannot be from the same State.
The Assembly President consults Member States to draw up, with due regard to the principle of equitable geographical distribution and reasonable rotation, a list of countries that are asked to propose qualified candidates. After consultations with the President of the Economic and Social Council and the Secretary-General, in his capacity as Chairman of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC), the Assembly President submits the names of the candidates to the Assembly for appointment.
Current members of the Unit are Andrzej Abraszewski (Poland), Fatih Bouayad-Agha (Algeria), John D. Fox (United States), Homero Luis Hernandez Sanchez (Dominican Republic), Eduard Kudriavtsev (Russian Federation), Sumihiro Kuyama (Japan), Francesco Mezzalama (Italy), Wolfgang M. Munch (Germany), Khalil Issa Othman (Jordan), Louis Dominique Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso) and Raul Quijano (Argentina).
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Since the term of Mr. Quijano expires on 31 December 1998, the Assembly will appoint a person to serve the five-year term, beginning on 1 January 1999.
Towards a Culture of Peace
The Assembly had before it a Note from the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (document A/52/292). According to the report, "a culture of peace consists of the set of values, attitudes and behaviours that reflect and inspire social interaction and sharing, based on the principles of freedom, justice and democracy, tolerance and solidarity; that reject violence and endeavour to prevent conflicts by tackling their roots; that solve problems through dialogue and negotiation; and that guarantee to everyone the full exercise of all rights and the means to participate fully in the endogenous development of their society".
The report describes UNESCO's educational activities which, it says, must be associated with social justice and sustainable human development. At the global level, UNESCO's educational activities promote international understanding, cooperation and peace, and human rights and freedoms. At the national level, especially in post-conflict situations, activities are coordinated with United Nations peace-building efforts. The UNESCO report was prepared in accordance with General Assembly resolution 51/101 of 12 December 1996. (For further details, see Press Release GA/9342 issued on 31 October.)
By the terms of a revised draft resolution (document A/52/L.4/Rev.1), the Assembly would request the Secretary-General and UNESCO's Director- General, taking into account the Assembly's debate, specific suggestions by Member States and the comments at the twenty-ninth UNESCO General Conference, to submit a consolidated report containing a draft declaration and a programme of action on a culture of peace at the fifty-third session. The Assembly would also decide to include the item in the provisional agenda of that session.
The draft is sponsored by Afghanistan, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chad, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea- Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Tajikistan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uruguay, Venezuela and Zambia.
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Economic Cooperation Organization
The Secretary-General's report (document A/52/313) outlines cooperation between the United Nations specialized agencies and the Economic Cooperation Organization (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyztan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan). Since signing a memorandum of understanding in March 1995, the organization and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have cooperated on two studies: on the reorganization of the secretariat of the Economic Cooperation Organization and on the complementarities of its member States' economies. The UNDP and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) are enabling the Economic Cooperation Organization to benefit from the Advanced Cargo Information System and the Automated System for Customs Data and Management.
Since signing a memorandum of understanding in July 1993, the organization and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) have cooperated on developing the transport sector in the region; a seminar on accession of member States of the Economic Cooperation Organization to the international conventions on rail and road transport; and a mining conference. The ESCAP is cooperating with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Economic Cooperation Organization on trade opportunities and investment study. In May, a meeting in Teheran between the heads of ASEAN and the organization focused on trade, investment, transport, communications, human resources development and poverty alleviation. An international transport project is being finalized by ESCAP, UNCTAD and the Islamic Development Bank.
Since their 1994 memorandum of understanding, the Economic Cooperation Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have held joint workshops on iodine deficiency disorder; breastfeeding and oral rehydration therapy; and immunization. They are also cooperating on a programme of action.
The signature of a memorandum of understanding between the organization and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in October 1994 has led to conferences on women's status and health and the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action. The UNFPA and the organization also planned a conference on male involvement in reproductive health and family planning in mid-1997.
In March 1995, the organization and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme signed a memorandum of understanding, according to which the drug control programme will offer technical assistance for the organization's Plan on Drug Control. The organization has signed memorandums of understanding on cooperation with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and UNESCO. A draft memorandum of understanding has been forwarded to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
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The Economic Cooperation Organization was originally created in 1977 by the Treaty of Izmir and revised at Ashgabat in 1996, and signed on 14 September 1996 in Izmir.
By the terms of a draft resolution (document A/52/L.20), the Assembly would urge United Nations agencies, organizations and programmes to increase cooperation with the Economic Cooperation Organization and call on international financial institutions to favourably consider the organization's regional development plans, especially a comprehensive transport and communications infrastructure.
The Assembly would invite ESCAP to take a more active role in cooperating with the organization. It would also ask the Secretary-General to submit a report on implementation of the resolution to the fifty-third session, and decide to include the item entitled "Cooperation between the United Nations and the Economic Cooperation Organization" in that session's provisional agenda.
The draft is sponsored by Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan.
The General Assembly also had before it a note verbale from the Mission of Iran to the Secretary-General (document A/52/332). Annexed to the note is the text of the Ashgebat Declaration, which reiterates the importance of transport, communication and the gas and oil pipeline network for the region and spells out priorities.
Universal Congress on Panama Canal
The Secretary-General's report (document A/52/435 and Corr.1), is submitted in accordance with Assembly resolution 51/5 of 24 October 1996. The Congress on the Panama Canal, which was held from 7 to 10 September, was an opportunity for user countries and the private sector to meet with the Canal administrators to ensure confidence in the changes in stewardship and the future legal and administrative regime. It addressed diplomatic relations between Panama and other Canal user countries. It also addressed the construction of a third set of locks which, because of the magnitude of the project, will require a multinational effort by all countries that include the Canal in their transportation and external commerce infrastructure.
The Congress agenda included panels on the transition, the Canal in the twenty-first century, investment opportunities and Panamanian maritime sector policies. According to the report, there is a deficit of approximately $500,000 needed to finance the Congress. The "Panama 2000 Encounter", organized by the UNDP in 1996, led to the signing of the declaration by participants to commit themselves to the conservation of the ecology of the Interoceanic Region, that would guarantee continued sustainability of the Canal.
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Zone of Peace and Cooperation of South Atlantic
The report of the Secretary-General (document A/52/462) includes replies from relevant organizations, organs and bodies of the United Nations system. At its fifty-first session the Assembly asked them to assist States members of the zone of peace and cooperation of the South Atlantic in their joint efforts.
The Assembly also asked the Secretary-General to keep under review resolution 41/11 in which it declared the zone of peace in the Atlantic between Africa and South America and subsequent relevant resolutions, and to submit a report that includes the views of States members at its next session.
The report notes the reply from Argentina that despite good Anglo- Argentine relations, efforts to end the sovereignty dispute over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) have not been possible. At the fourth meeting of zone members, in April 1996, Argentina fully supported the section in the Final Declaration on efforts to combat drug trafficking, and offered to host the fifth meeting in Buenos Aires in April 1998. It submitted a draft framework agreement on cooperation against drug addiction and trafficking to the South African Authorities. Argentina also addresses marine environment protection including: adequate regulation of the carriage of so-called "INF" -- irradiated nuclear free -- materials on ships; ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982) by zone members; and illegal fishing.
Brazil identifies the denuclearization of the South Atlantic as a central zone objective, the report says. With the increase in treaty signatures and ratifications, a nuclear-weapon-free South Atlantic is a closer reality. The zone's anti-drug initiative, launched at the fourth meeting, will enhance cooperation between States. Brazil favours adopting a new convention, within the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, that would set up mechanisms for cooperation on protection and conservation of the marine environment.
Ecuador believes that States able to provide the cooperation to ensure that the objectives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) can be fully met, should do so, the report says. Angola and Liberia should be able to achieve political stability to secure sustainable and equitable development based on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
According to the report, the United Kingdom cites cooperation on the conservation of fish stocks through the South Atlantic Fisheries Commission, and the South-West Atlantic Hydrocarbons Commission for the joint development of hydrocarbons as examples of developments in Anglo-Argentine relations which have helped to lessen tension in the south-west Atlantic.
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Addressing replies by the United Nations system, the report highlights the role of the Department of Public Information (DPI) in publicizing the Assembly's resolution to promote peace and cooperation in the South Atlantic and international efforts in the establishment of the zone. The Department also publicized United Nations support for governments in the promotion and consolidation of new or restored democracies, peacekeeping, human rights, armed conflict and children, and the independence of the judiciary.
The report says that involvement of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in the zone is in the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Similarly, the work programme of the Commission covers the need for guidelines in the application of the Convention on Biological Diversity to the marine environment and interregional cooperation in the operation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities. Interregional cooperation is called for in the prevention of the illegal traffic of dangerous products and wastes.
The report then highlights the work of various United Nations agencies, including UNDP, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNESCO, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to promote cooperation in the zone.
By the terms of the draft resolution (document A/52/L.24), the Assembly, expressing concern at the situation in Sierra Leone, would condemn the coup d'etat against the democratically elected Government by the military on 25 May, calls on the military junta there to relinquish power to that Government. On the situation in Angola, the Assembly would urge the international community and relevant international and private organizations to expeditiously fulfil their pledges to help facilitate the demobilization and social reintegration of ex-combatants, the demining process, the resettlement of displaced persons and the reconstruction of the Angolan economy, in order to consolidate the gains in the peace process.
The Assembly would decide to include the item in the provisional agenda of its fifty-third session and would request the Secretary-General to keep the implementation of resolution 41/11 and subsequent resolutions on the matter under review and to submit a report, including the views of Member States, to the Assembly at that session.
It would request relevant United Nations organs to render appropriate assistance that States of the zone may seek in their joint efforts to implement the Declaration. The Assembly would call on all States to cooperate in promoting the Declaration's objectives. It would ask them to refrain from any action inconsistent with those objectives, or with the Charter and relevant resolutions, particularly action which may create or aggravate tension and potential conflict in the region.
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The sponsors of the text are Angola, Argentina, Benin, Brazil, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Togo, and Uruguay.
Economic and Social Council
Based on the recommendations of the Economic and Social Council, the Assembly was expected to take action on a series of draft resolutions.
By the terms of one text (document A/52/L.15), the Assembly would proclaim the year 2000 the International Year for the Culture of Peace.
The sponsors of the draft text are Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Brazil, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Panama, Peru, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Vanuatu, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
By another text, (document A/52/L.18) the Assembly would proclaim the year 2000 as International Year of Thanksgiving.
The sponsors are Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Philippines, Swaziland, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.
By another text, (document A/52/L.18) the Assembly would proclaim the year 2000 as International Year of Thanksgiving.
The sponsors are Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Philippines, Swaziland, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.
According to the terms of a draft resolution recommended by the Economic and Social Council (document A/52/L.21), the Assembly would proclaim 2001 the International Year of Volunteers. It would also call for a concerted national, regional and international promotional and informational campaign with strong media participation. The Assembly would appeal to Member States and other participants to highlight 2001 as a special occasion benefiting people of the world in their quest for a better life, based on the voluntary commitment of individuals and groups, to give their time and share their resources and skills in the interest of those less advantaged.
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The Assembly would also ask the Secretary-General to take specific measures, within existing resources and with the support of voluntary resources, through all communications media at his disposal, particularly within the mandate of DPI, to give widespread publicity to preparations for and observance of the Year and to disseminate information on the subject.
By a text (document A/52/L.22), the Assembly would decide to take the action called for in resolution 1997/44 of 22 July of the Economic and Social Council, by proclaiming 2001 the International Year of Volunteers.
The Sponsors are Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of the Congo, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Vacancies in Subsidiary Organs and other Appointments
The report of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) on the appointment of members of the ACABQ (document A/52/670) lists candidates recommended to serve a three-year term, beginning 1 January 1998, to fill vacancies of members whose terms of office expire on 31 December. Recommended are: Ioan Barac (Romania), E. Besley Maycock (Barbados), C.S.M. Mselle (United Republic of Tanzania), Mahamane Amadou Maiga (Mali) and Hasan Jawarneh (Jordan).
The 16-member Advisory Committee examines and reports on the Organization's regular and peacekeeping budgets as well as the administrative budgets of the specialized agencies. It also advises the Assembly on other administrative and financial matters referred to it.
The report of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) on the Committee on Contributions (document A/52/671), lists the following candidates Uldis Blukis (Latvia), David Etuket (Uganda), Ihor V. Humenny (Ukraine), David E. Leis (United States), Prakash Shah (India), Kazuo Watanabe (Japan). They will serve for three-year terms beginning 1 January 1998.
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The 18-member Committee on Contributions advises the Assembly on all matters related to the apportionment of the Organization's expenses, including assessments of new members, appeals by members for changes in their assessments and the application of Article 19 of the Charter. That Article stipulates that a Member State shall have no vote in the General Assembly if its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of two years' assessments.
The report of the Fifth Committee on the Board of Auditors (document A/52/672) recommends the appointment to the Board of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of the United Kingdom for a three-year term, beginning 1 July 1998.
The Board of Auditors, consisting of three members, has joint responsibility for the external audit of the entire United Nations system.
The Fifth Committee report on the Investment Committee (document A/52/673) names Ahmed Abdullatif (Saudi Arabia), Fernando G. Chico Pardo (Mexico), and J.Y. Pillay (Singapore) to fill vacancies on the Investments Committee, serving three-year terms.
In its report (document A/52/674) on the Administrative Tribunal, the Fifth Committee recommends the appointment of Chittharanjan Felix Amerasinghe (Sri Lanka), Mikuin Leliel Balanda (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Hubert Thierry (France) to the Tribunal for three-year terms.
The Fifth Committee, in its report (document A/52/675) on the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), recommends the appointments of Mario Bettati (France), Joao Augusto de Médicis (Brazil), Lucretia Myers (United States), Alexis Stephanou (Greece) and Ku Tashiro (Japan) to the Commission for terms of four years beginning on 1 January 1998. It also recommended Alexei Fedotov (Russian Federation) to fill, until 31 December 2000, the remaining portion of the term of office of his compatriot, Alexander V. Chepourin, who had resigned.
To the United Nations Staff Pension Committee, the report of the Fifth Committee (document A/52/676) recommends the appointment for three-year terms of Carlos Dante Riva (Argentina), Tadanori Inomata (Japan), Gerhard Kuntzle (Germany), Vladimir V. Kuznetsov (Russian Federation), Philip Richard Okanda Owade (Kenya) and Susan Shearouse (United States). The Fifth Committee postponed the election of candidates to the remaining two vacancies on the Pension Committee from the Groups of African and Asian States.
The eight-member Staff Pension Committee represents the United Nations in the Staff Pension Board, which handles the Joint Staff Pension Fund of 19 organizations, including the United Nations.
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HENNADIY UDOVENKO (Ukraine), the President of the General Assembly, opened the meeting with a brief message on the commemoration of Africa Industrialization Day. He said that the Day celebrated several things, among them, the valiant efforts of the African people to achieve a better life for themselves through industrial development. Second, it was a reminder of the need to draw world attention to the industrial development of Africa. Third, it symbolized the solidarity of the international community with the countries in Africa. Above all, it reaffirmed the principle of partnership and shared responsibility between Africa and the international community in the industrial development of the continent.
For many years, he continued, the United Nations had actively supported African countries in their efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable economic growth and development through various initiatives, including the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa, the Industrial Development Decade for Africa and the newly-launched Alliance for Africa's Industrialization. An integral part of that commitment was the promotion and acceleration of Africa's industrial development. Based on the experience of the rich industrialized and the newly industrializing countries, there was increased recognition that industrialization held the key to the transformation of Africa from poverty to prosperity.
He said the continuing decline of the industrial sector, despite growing signs of economic recovery in many African countries, had been a cause of serious concern. It contributed to the widening industrial and technological gap between Africa and the rest of the world. It also raised concern about the ability of African industry to compete in a highly competitive global economic environment.
Africa's leaders, he said, recognizing the need to take collective and effective action to address that crucial challenge, decided in their Harare Declaration on African Industrialization to redouble their efforts to promote sustainable industrial development through private sector-led strategies and new global partnerships. They endorsed the launching of the Alliance for Africa's Industrialization as the principle mechanism for promoting private- public sector partnerships within Africa and between African and non-African enterprises.
While the United Nations system had done much to support the efforts of African countries to achieve sustainable development, much more needed to be done, he said. United Nations organizations needed to work together more closely to encourage the growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises in African countries. They needed to intensify their efforts to help small African entrepreneurs gain access to markets, investments, credit, technology and training. He commenced the contribution made by UNIDO over the years in facilitating enterprise-level cooperation between African and non-African
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business partners and in providing a range of technical support services to small enterprises, particularly women entrepreneurs.
He added that the development activities of United Nations agencies in support of industrial development in Africa should be better harmonized. The resources available throughout the United Nations system for that purpose should be pooled to maximize the impact of the system's contributions to Africa's development. An important step in that direction was the incorporation of the industrial development objectives of African countries in the formulation of country strategy notes and in the United Nations Development Assistance Framework. In conclusion, he said the development of Africa was a common challenge which required concerted and coordinated action on the part of the international community.
KOFI ANNAN, Secretary-General, said industrial development was a key element of sustainable economic growth. It helped countries achieve important social objectives, such as jobs and equity, and created opportunities for the integration of women. In rural areas, linked with agricultural development, it could help stem migration and relieve pressure on cities. With industrial development, the continent could take decisive steps towards full-throttle competition in the globalized marketplace. Without it, African countries would be condemned to persistent crisis, dependence on humanitarian relief and deepening poverty, despair and political unrest.
Hope was the watchword in a good part of the continent, he said. In 1996, Africa experienced growth of 4 per cent, which had not been seen in more than 20 years. More and more countries were experiencing remarkable economic growth. The private sector was beginning to play the role of a locomotive driving the economy. Everywhere, the voice of civil society was being heard. Decision makers were moving forward with political, economic and social reforms. Administrative transparency, political legitimacy and the rule of law were now the goals.
Despite progress, the results of African industrialization were still inadequate, he said. Because of many factors, Africa was not benefiting as much as it could from globalization and the liberalization of trade. This year's Africa Industrialization Day was focusing on small- and medium-sized industries, the backbone of industry on the continent and a major source of livelihoods. Small entrepreneurs played a key role in alleviating poverty and promoting economic progress, but they needed support from governments and the international community to upgrade workers' skills, improve their products' quality, find financing and gain market access.
Those entrepreneurs needed technology, a physical infrastructure and partners from their region and beyond, he continued. Last month's meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), UNCTAD and the International Trade Centre
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on the least developed countries was encouraging. With 33 out of the 48 least developed countries, Africa could benefit from the framework adopted at that meeting, especially the market access facilities that had been announced.
The United Nations would continue supporting partnerships with the private sector, he said. The UNIDO was already promoting technical assistance to small- and medium-sized businesses. Donor aid was declining, however, and Africa's leaders must be committed to economic fundamentals and building conditions to encourage investment. The industrialization of Africa would remain a top United Nations priority.
The PRESIDENT then reminded delegations that 20 November also marked Universal Children's Day, a day devoted to worldwide fraternity and understanding among children and devoted to their welfare. On that day in 1959 the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and in 1989 the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Quoting the novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, the President said, "In the little world in which children have their existence, whosoever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt as injustice". The international community must do its utmost to protect children all over the world.
Election to Joint Inspection Unit
The PRESIDENT announced that he had been informed by the Chairman of the group of Latin American and Caribbean States that Argentina and Colombia had decided to present their candidatures for one vacancy on the JIU.
He said the Assembly would hold an advisory vote by secret ballot to select from among the group, one country that would be requested to propose a candidate for appointment to the JIU. Although the advisory vote would not be an election, the Assembly would follow its rules of procedure governing elections.
The country receiving the greatest number of votes, and not less than a majority of votes of those present and voting, would be the country selected. The Assembly was not appointing a member to the JIU at this time. It was only selecting one country that would be requested to propose a candidate.
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Latin American and Caribbean States (one vacancy)
Number of ballot papers: 167 Number of invalid ballots: 3 Number of valid ballots: 164 Abstentions: 1 Number of members voting: 163 Required majority: 82
Number of votes obtained:
Colombia 86 Argentina 77
Having obtained the required majority, Colombia was selected to submit the name of a candidate.
The PRESIDENT of the Assembly said that after holding the appropriate consultations described in the article 3, paragraph 2 of the JIU statute, he would propose a qualified candidate to the Assembly for appointment.
Culture of Peace
ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) introduced the draft resolution on a culture of peace (document A/52/L.4/Rev.1) and announced that the Central African Republic, Chile, Jamaica, South Africa and Swaziland had joined as co-sponsors.
A representative of the Secretariat informed the Assembly that the resolution would have no programme budget implications.
Speaking before the vote, BEATRICE KIRSCH (Luxembourg) on behalf of the European Union, Estonia, Poland and Norway, said she attached great importance to the culture of peace. She reaffirmed the Union's commitment to the promotion of human rights. In recent weeks, the Union had considered the language of the draft text. She thanked the co-sponsors for having held informal consultations, but regretted that an agreement was not reached on the Union's proposals. They would have preferred further consultations on the item. They would transmit to the Director-General of UNESCO their proposals. The Union would, however, go along with the consensus on this item.
FUMIKO SAIGA (Japan) said the promotion of a culture of peace was an important task for the United Nations. She joined the consensus on the draft resolution. However, she was disappointed with the report of UNESCO's Director-General (document A/52/292), which should have discussed and incorporated the views of member States. The views of UNESCO's members should be properly represented. She also expressed strong reservations with
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operative paragraph 4 which concerns submission of a consolidated report to the General Assembly at its fifty-third session.
The Assembly then adopted the resolution on a culture of peace by consensus.
AQUILINO BOYD (Panama) said the main purpose of the Universal Congress on the Panama Canal, held at Panama City from 7 to 10 September, was to gain a clear vision of what the waterway would be like after its transfer to Panama in 1999. The users of the Canal had the opportunity to discuss the type of waterway that would best serve their interests in the future. The transfer would bring a surge of entrepreneurial activity, including the development of industrial zones and tourism.
Addressing the composition of the Congress, he said representatives of chambers of commerce, import and export associations, marine traffic, banks, insurance companies, governmental and intergovernmental agencies dealing with external trade and the academic world had participated. Sixty-five speakers had addressed the Congress and 345 media representatives from 19 countries covered the event.
He said the Congress was important as an open forum for the international community to introduce a consulting mechanism to examine the Canal's role in the twenty-first century. His country was convinced that the results of the Congress would contribute to increased world trade, intraregional economic growth and international cooperation, based on the principle of an interoceanic Canal that would be open to all users and world economies. The Congress had amply demonstrated that the maritime world recognized the stability of the Canal and that international maritime agencies confidently depended on its security.
He said the following important issues had been addressed: the importance of the Canal; its capacity to satisfy future demands; alternative solutions to resolve critical problems; a third set of locks; the competitiveness of the Canal; alternative Canal routes; the necessity of maintaining the lowest possible tolls and tariffs; the effects of increasing Canal tolls in the future; privatizing activities to reduce costs and increase efficiency; and conducting the Canal's operations according to sound business principles.
The Congress had also dealt with: establishing internal policies to protect employees; consistent Canal policy to make it a magnet in developing the maritime industry and other Panamanian economic activity; the necessity of studies on fair tolls; alternatives for the Canal; preserving the Canal's depth; future prospects; the importance of a consultative committee of users
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to act as a group authority for the Canal; changes in rules governing environmental issues; and transit costs for boats crossing the Canal.
The Congress participants had concluded that Panama had the human and technical capital to run the Canal when it reverted to it in 1999, he said. Most of the operations were already run by Panamanians, who made up 92 per cent of the Canal's 8,500 workers. The Congress had been a unique opportunity to gain a complete understanding of what lay ahead for the Canal. His country wanted to remain a key player in the maritime industry and had demonstrated it was well prepared to take over Canal operations.
FREDERICK O. BERGH (South Africa) introduced the draft resolution (document A/52/L.24/Rev.1) on the Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South Atlantic. He said the objectives of the Zone were being actively pursued by member States. In addition to peace, security and the mutual protection of the environment, each member State had further benefits to gain from its association with the region. Those included the promotion of: regional tourism; communication; technology and information exchange; and shipping and other transport links.
Quoting one positive example of such cooperation, he said a resolution of the Zone was adopted in March at the fortieth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which was held in Vienna. The resolution called for the United Nations Drug Control Programme to examine forms of assistance that could be extended to Zone member States, and for the Executive Director of the Programme to report on progress to the Commission at its forty-second session in 1998.
The region had made several contributions towards peace and security within its broader area, he said. Members of the Zone, both in a bilateral and multilateral context, had been involved in attempts to achieve a positive outcome to the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. Circumstances in Sierra Leone and Liberia had also demanded the attention of member States and each situation had been under their constant scrutiny. Zone countries were also attempting to develop more coherent strategies to engage issues of mutual importance through dialogue. The Zone offered a unique arrangement in which to create instruments for such dialogue and the exchange of expertise, at a bilateral and multilateral level. He urged all Member States to support the resolution.
ANA MARIA RAMIREZ (Argentina) said the Zone was created to promote understanding and improve the cooperation between the countries of the South Atlantic. Her Government believed that the fundamental concepts of democracy and political pluralism, respect for human rights and individual liberty had special significance. It considered those basic elements as the fundamental principles of the Zone of Peace initiative. The members of the Zone had held
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four high-level meetings, where decisions had been taken and declarations had been issued. Clear goals had been set in such fundamental areas as the maintenance of peace and security, the promotion of regional cooperation in the spheres of economic and social development and the protection of the marine environment.
Regarding the first goal, she said that the Zone should be nuclear- weapon free. Another area of concern was the transportation of radioactive wastes in the region, which posed too high a risk. On that issue, she supported the statutes of the International Maritime Organization on protecting the marine environment. She reiterated her Government's conviction that progress would be made at the fifth high-level meeting of the members of the Zone to be held in 1998. The Zone was an opportunity for its members to express their solidarity and volunteer their cooperation.
SAMUEL AMEHOU (Benin) said progress since the Zone of Peace and Cooperation in the South Atlantic was created in 1986 showed the determination of the Zone's countries to use it as a tool of peace and south-south cooperation. Developments in Liberia were a special source of satisfaction for Benin. Action by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), with support from the international community, had put an end to the civil war, and led to the holding of elections. He hoped the same result would be achieved in Sierra Leone.
He said peace and stability in the South Atlantic zone called for disarmament and strengthening the regime of non-proliferation of small arms and weapons of mass-destruction in the area. Benin and other countries were also working towards a total ban of nuclear weapons in the zone, as well as in the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa. Today the countries of the South Atlantic zone must focus their efforts on benefiting more from the economic and trade advantages that it offered, and strengthen cooperation on protecting the environment and combating drug trafficking.
I.E. AYEWAH (Nigeria) said that in facing issues of peace and security members of the zone of peace and cooperation of the South Atlantic had also dealt with crisis management and conflict resolution. For some difficult situations there had been solutions; others had proven intractable. While Liberia had found a solution after protracted effort, the other side of the coin was the continuing crisis in Angola. "Regrettably", he added, "Sierra Leone and the Congo have joined the list of intractable circumstances that needed the collaborative efforts of the international community to find durable solutions."
He said Nigeria commended the initiative of the ECOWAS and the action of the Security Council for the embargo which was imposed on Sierra Leone on the sale and supply of petroleum, petroleum-related products, and arms and related materials. Nigeria looked forward to "a hitch-free implementation" of the
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peace plan agreed in Conakry on 23 September between the ECOWAS Committee of Five on Sierra Leone and representatives of the junta.
He said Nigeria welcomed the return of stability to the Democratic Republic of the Congo but regretted that the Council had not been more forthcoming with the situation in the Republic of the Congo. That crisis had displaced over two thirds of the residents in Brazzaville and resulted in the destruction of the city's infrastructure. It had been further complicated by the involvement of external forces.
On other issues related to the region, he said the conclusion of the Treaty of Pelindaba, with the already established Treaty of Tlatelolco, would eventually achieve the goal of a South Atlantic free of nuclear weapons. The two treaties, together with others, were turning almost half the globe into a nuclear-weapon-free zone. Future projects for the South Atlantic zone members included cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking and protection of the marine environment. Another area of cooperation was the effort to prohibit the dumping of radioactive and hazardous wastes.
JOSE EDUARDO MARTINS FELICIO (Brazil) said the South Atlantic zone of peace was of great importance to his country. The countries of Africa and South America had initiated an understanding to search for solutions to common problems and act together to shape a common future. The almost completion of the process of decolonization had made it possible to moved towards more effective ways of cooperation. The zone was an invaluable instrument for both Africa and South American countries, with its initiatives to protect the environment and counter the illicit drug trafficking and its prohibition against nuclear weapons.
In order to ensure protection of the marine environment, he went on, the countries had started to exchange relevant information, and the navies of some member States had developed ways to work together. The process of democratization was also an important issue, and the draft resolution noted the situation in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Angola. For member countries of the zone, approval of the draft would be an invaluable contribution to peace and security and development.
KHIPHUSIZI JELE (South Africa), Vice-President of the Assembly, announced that Guinea-Bissau and Senegal had joined the list of co-sponsors of the draft resolution.
The Assembly then adopted the resolution by a recorded vote of 157 in favour, to none against, with one abstention (United States) (See Annex).
Speaking after the vote, FRANÇOIS RICHIER (France) said that, along with its partners in the European Union, France had voted in favour of the resolution and gave its full support to Angola, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
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However, France wished to register its traditional reservation regarding zones of peace in general.
Economic and Social Council: Drafts
YOUSSOUFOU BAMBA (Côte d'Ivoire), introducing the draft resolution on the proclamation of the year 2000 as International Year for the Culture of Peace, said the following countries were additional co-sponsors: Bhutan, Georgia, Guyana, Dominican Republic, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nicaragua and Turkmenistan.
He said the end of the cold war had not resulted in the full expression of a culture of peace. On the contrary, there had been an explosion of violence and inter-ethnic conflicts. Everything possible must be done to increase United Nations peacekeeping, preventive action and emergency humanitarian assistance. Short-term peacekeeping operations were not enough; in-depth, long-term education must be carried out to instil a culture of peace in troubled societies and root out the causes of war.
He said the choice of the year 2000 was fundamental for launching the promotion of the culture of peace worldwide. Peace must be re-invented in that year, which had symbolic importance as the start of a new millennium. The new millennium must be marked, especially among young people, by a final break with past behaviour and attitudes characterized by war, crises and violence. The UNESCO would coordinate the activities of the year of peace, which will be entirely funded by private contributions.
Ms. RAMIREZ (Argentina) introduced the draft on the proclamation of the year 2000 as the International Year of Thanksgiving. She said Cape Verde, Honduras, Marshall Islands and Trinidad and Tobago had joined the list of co-sponsors.
Argentina, she said, shared the international community's concern over the situation that mankind was now going through. The United Nations must see to it that those areas affected by natural disasters and regional conflicts received the necessary assistance. The proclamation would express a new commitment on behalf of the international community, leaving behind the old principles of isolationism.
HISASHI OWADA (Japan) introduced the draft resolution on the proclamation of the year 2001 as the International Year of Volunteers. He said Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Nepal, Paraguay, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and Uruguay had joined the list of co-sponsors.
He said Japan believed that the proclamation would extend recognition and increase legitimacy to volunteering, significantly expanding the number of people willing to offer their services. The year 2001 would be an auspicious
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moment to assess past achievements and give volunteer activities fresh encouragement. He hoped all Member States would support the efforts of volunteers to contribute to the health and well-being of people everywhere, and endorse the resolution.
He noted that the Assembly had two draft resolutions proclaiming the year 2001 as the International Year of Volunteers. The Secretariat distributed draft resolution L.21, which was the same as the resolution adopted at the substantive session of the Economic and Social Council last July. The co-sponsors of draft resolution L.22 proposed that action be taken only on that draft, the shorter of the two.
The Assembly, taking into account the proposal by Japan, decided not to take action on draft resolution A/52/L.21.
The Assembly adopted the draft text on the International Year of the Culture of Peace (document A/52/L.15) without a vote.
The Assembly then adopted the draft text on the International Year of Thanksgiving (document A/52/L.18) without a vote.
Lastly, the Assembly adopted the draft text on the International Year of Volunteers (document A/52/L.22) without a vote.
Appointments to Subsidiary and Other Organs
The Assembly decided to postpone action on the appointment of members to the United Nations Administrative Tribunal.
It then appointed Ioan Barac (Romania), E. Besley Maycock (Barbados), C.S.M. Mselle (United Republic of Tanzania), Mahamane Amadov Maiga (Mali) and Hasan Jawarneh (Jordan) as members to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) to serve three-year terms, beginning on 1 January 1998.
Next the Assembly appointed Uldis Blukis (Latvia), David Etuket (Uganda), Ihor V. Humenny (Ukraine), David E. Leis (United States), Prakash Shah (India) and Kazuo Watanabe (Japan) as members to the Committee on Contributions to serve three-year terms, beginning on 1 January 1998.
The Assembly then appointed the Comptroller and Auditor-General of the United Kingdom as a member of the Board of Auditors to serve a three-year term, beginning on 1 July 1998.
Next the Assembly appointed Ahmed Abdullatif (Saudi Arabia), Fernando G. Chico Pardo (Mexico) and J.Y. Pillay (Singapore) as members of the Investment Committee to serve three-year terms, beginning on 1 January 1998.
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The Assembly then appointed Mario Bettati (France), Joao Augusto de Medicis (Brazil), Lucretia Myers (United States), Alexis Stephanou (Greece), Ku Tashiro (Japan), and Alexei Fedotov (Russian Federation) as members of the International Civil Service Commission to serve four-year terms, beginning on 1 January 1998.
Lastly, the Assembly appointed Carlos Dante Riva (Argentina), Tadanori Inomata (Japan), Gerhard Kuntzle (Germany), Vladimir V. Kuznetsov (Russian Federation), Philip Richard Okanda Owade (Kenya) and Susan Shearouse (United States) as members of the Staff Pension Committee to serve three-year terms, beginning on 1 January 1998. The remaining two appointments were postponed by the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).
Economic Cooperation Organization
BAGHER ASADI (Iran) said his country attached great importance to regional cooperation, which would contribute to the well-being of people and the growth of the world economy. It welcomed efforts by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) to promote cooperation between regional groups, including the Economic Cooperation Organization.
As host to the headquarters of that organization, in Teheran, his country was pleased to note its achievements in communications, land, sea and air transportation, transnational gas and oil pipelines, energy, trade, exchange of information and human resources development. He said the new Mashhad-Saraks-Tajan railroad linking Iran and Turkmenistan would provide access to the sea for the landlocked countries of Central Asia. Cooperation with the United Nations would have a positive impact on daily life as well as on the promotion of peace and stability.
He then introduced draft resolution A/52/L.20, reading out the following revisions: corrections to misprints in preambular paragraph 4, line 2, (the year "1997" being changed to "1977", and the year "1977" being changed to "1996"); in operative paragraph 6, "calls upon" replaced by "invites"; in operative paragraph 8, line 5, after the words "technical assistance", the words "inter alia" to be added.
ONDER OZAR, Secretary-General of the Economic Cooperation Organization, said the organization was playing a pivotal role in promoting economic cooperation among member countries. It was also providing the framework for an infrastructural network for the newly independent republics in Central Asia and Azerbaijan to the rest of the world through road, maritime and air links of the neighbouring countries -- Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey. It was time to evolve a joint strategy for closer cooperation and coordination between the organization and the United Nations agencies, to pursue opportunities offered by the vast human and resource potential of the region. The draft resolution
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expressed that need and provided a number of proposals and guidelines for a future course of action.
He asked for the Assembly's cooperation in supporting the draft text, which, among other things, calls on the relevant international financial institutions to help implement regional infrastructure plans adopted at the organization's summit meeting at Ashgabat in May 1996. The Declaration provided for an important communications and transportation infrastructure, as well as a network of transnational oil and gas pipelines in the region. The programme aimed to help land-locked countries in the region promote interregional trade and to establish mutually beneficial economic and commercial interaction with other regions.
The Assembly postponed action on the draft until tomorrow.
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General Assembly Plenary Press Release GA/9357 50th Meeting (AM) 20 November 1997
Vote on Zone of Peace and Cooperation of South Atlantic
The General Assembly adopted the draft resolution on a zone of peace and cooperation of the South Atlantic (document A/52/L.24/Rev.1) by a recorded vote of 157 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention, as follows:
In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Republic of the Congo, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Abstain: United States.
Absent: Andorra, Bangladesh, Belize, Cambodia, Comoros, Croatia, Dominica, Federated States of Micronesia, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Israel, Lebanon, Mauritania, Palau, Rwanda, Seychelles, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uruguay, Uzbekistan.
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