18 December 1997


Press Release
GA/9386



ASSEMBLY CALLS ON STATES TO LOCATE, REMOVE, DESTROY LANDMINES

19971218

The General Assembly this morning called on Member States to locate, remove, destroy or otherwise render ineffective minefields, mines, booby-traps and other such devices as soon as possible, in accordance with international law. It also invited them to develop national awareness programmes about landmines, especially among children.

The Assembly took that action without a vote, through its adoption of a resolution on assistance in mine clearance. Also without a vote, it adopted texts on the situation of human rights and democracy in Haiti, the situation in Central America, and the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA).

By its demining text, the Assembly urged the international community to provide technological assistance to mine-inflicted countries and promote scientific research and development on humanitarian mine-clearance techniques and technology, so that such activities could be carried out more effectively, at lower costs, and more safely. The Assembly also urged the international community to provide the Secretary-General with information and resources useful in strengthening the United Nations coordination role in the field of mine awareness, training, surveying, mine detection and clearance, scientific research on mine-detection and clearance technology, and distribution of medical equipment and supplies.

By its resolution on Haiti, the Assembly authorized the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations component of the International Civilian Mission to that country (MICIVIH) until 31 December 1998. It welcomed the Secretary- General's recommendation to renew the mandate of the United Nations joint participation with the Organization of American States (OAS) in the Mission.

In adopting its resolution on the situation in Central America, the Assembly asked the Secretary-General, the United Nations and the international community to continue verifying implementation of all the peace agreements in Guatemala signed under United Nations auspices and to support MINUGUA. It asked the Secretary-General to continue supporting the efforts of Central American Governments to consolidate peace and democracy through a new,


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comprehensive sustainable development programme and through the initiative to establish the Central American Union.

By another resolution, the Assembly authorized renewal of MINUGUA's mandate from 1 April to 31 December 1998. It called on the parties to the Comprehensive Agreement of Human Rights and the other peace agreements to continue implementing their commitments under them. It also asked the international community to continue making voluntary contributions to the Secretary-General's Trust Fund for the Guatemala Peace Process.

Acting on the recommendation of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), the Assembly authorized the Secretary-General to commit not more than $10.6 million gross (nearly $10 million net) for the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) for the period from 1 July 1997 to 30 June 1998. It also authorized the Secretary-General to implement, without delay, the administration and payment procedures for awards in cases of death and disability sustained by troops in United Nations peacekeeping operations for incidents occurring after 30 June 1997.

In other action, the Assembly appointed the following persons to the United Nations Administrative Tribunal: Chittharanjan Felix Amerasinghe, Victor Yenyi Olungu, and Hubert Thierry. Acting on the nomination of the Economic and Social Council, it also elected Italy to the Committee for Programme and Coordination, for a term beginning 18 December 1997 and expiring on 31 December 1999.

Also this morning, the Assembly adopted the report of the Credentials Committee, hearing statements by the representatives of the United Arab Emirates, Iran and Pakistan. The representatives of Afghanistan and Pakistan spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Comoros, Ibrahim Ali Mzimba made a statement on the question of the Comorian island of Mayotte.

In other business, the Assembly decided to defer until its next session consideration of its agenda items relating to the aerial and naval military attack on Libya by the United States in April 1986, armed Israeli aggression against Iraqi nuclear installations, consequences of the Iraqi occupation of and aggression against Kuwait, the implementation of United Nations resolutions, and the launching of global negotiations on international economic cooperation for development.

Statements on mine clearance were made by the representatives of the Republic of Korea, Sudan, Australia, Angola, China and Cuba.

The Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. today to take action on the reports of its Second Committee (Economic and Financial).


Assembly Work Programme

The Assembly met this morning to continue consideration of assistance in mine clearance and take action on a related draft resolution. It was also expected to take action on drafts on Haiti and Central America. (For further details, see Press Releases GA/9376 of 8 December, GA/9381 of 15 December and GA/9385 of 17 December.) Also, it was to elect members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC), consider the report of the Credentials Committee, and take up three reports of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary). By the terms of the draft resolution on mine clearance (document A/52/L.69), the Assembly would call on Member States to provide the necessary information and technical and material assistance to locate, remove, destroy or otherwise render ineffective minefields, mines, booby-traps and other devices in accordance with international law, as soon as possible.

Member States and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations would be urged to provide technological assistance to mine- inflicted countries and to promote scientific research and development on humanitarian mine-clearance techniques and technology, so that mine-clearance activities could be carried out more effectively.

The Assembly would also invite Member States to develop national programmes to promote awareness of landmines, especially among children. It would also request the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly, at its fifty-third session, a report on the progress achieved on all relevant issues outlined in his previous reports to the Assembly on assistance in mine clearance and in the present resolution, and on the operation of the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance and other demining programmes.

The sponsors of the draft are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Mozambique, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Togo, United Kingdom and the United States.

Committee for Programme and Coordination Elections

The note by the Secretary-General (document A/52/440/Add.1) says the Economic and Social Council, in addition to nominating Member States for election by the Assembly at its fifty-second session to the Committee, postponed to a future session the nomination of two members from Western European and Other States for a term of office beginning on the date of the election and expiring on 31 December 1999. At its resumed session on 16 December, the Council nominated Italy for election by the Assembly.


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By the terms of the draft resolution on Haiti (document A/52/L.65), the Assembly would authorize the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations component of the International Civilian Mission to Haiti (MICIVIH) until 31 December 1998. It would welcome the Secretary-General's recommendation to renew the mandate of the United Nations joint participation with the Organization of American States (OAS) in the Mission. Its tasks would include providing technical assistance, at the Haitian Government's request, with institution-building, such as the training of the police and support for judicial reform and the establishment of an impartial judiciary. Those tasks would also include supporting the development of a programme for the promotion and protection of human rights, to further establish a climate of freedom and tolerance propitious to the consolidation of long-term constitutional democracy in Haiti, and to contribute to the strengthening of democratic institutions.

The Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to submit at least two reports on the implementation of the present draft and, in the last such report, on ways in which the international community may continue assisting in the tasks now being carried out by the Mission. The Assembly would again reaffirm the international community's commitment to continue technical, economic and financial cooperation with Haiti in support of its economic and social development, and in order to strengthen its institutions responsible for dispensing justice and guaranteeing democracy, respect for human rights, political stability and economic development.

The draft is sponsored by Argentina, Canada, Chile, France, Haiti, United States and Venezuela.

The report of the Fifth Committee (document A/52/737) says that if the Assembly adopted the draft, an additional $7,677,200 would be required under section 3, Peacekeeping operations and special missions, of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 1998-1999. An additional $596,100 would also be required under section 32, Staff assessment, to be offset by a corresponding amount under income section 1, Income from staff assessment.

By the terms of the draft resolution on the situation in Central America (document A/52/L.31), the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General, the United Nations and the international community to continue verifying implementation of all the peace agreements in Guatemala signed under United Nations auspices and to support the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA). The Secretary-General would also be asked to continue supporting the efforts of Central American governments to consolidate peace and democracy through a new, comprehensive sustainable development programme and the initiative to establish the Central American Union.

The Assembly would reaffirm the importance of international cooperation, particularly with the United Nations system and the donor community, in


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consolidating peace and democracy in Central America. It would also encourage Central American governments to implement the social programme to overcome poverty and unemployment, establish a more just and equitable society, improve public safety, consolidate a modern and transparent public administration, and eliminate corruption, impunity, acts of terrorism, and drug and arms trafficking.

The Assembly would recognize the need to support national and regional efforts to overcome the underlying causes of armed conflict, and promote the objectives of the Alliance for the Sustainable Development of Central America. It would welcome the signing of the Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace and the entry into force of the other agreements between the Guatemalan Government and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG) and their implementation. It would urge Guatemalan society to consolidate peace.

The draft is sponsored by Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Romania, Sweden, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The report of the Fifth Committee (document A/52/736) says that if the Assembly adopted the draft, an additional $173,800 would be required under section 3, Peacekeeping operations and special missions, of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 1998-1999. An additional $32,300 would also be required under section 32, Staff assessment, to be offset by a corresponding amount under income section 1, Income from staff assessment.

By a draft resolution on MINUGUA (document A/52/L.19/Rev.1), the Assembly would decide to authorize renewal of the Mission's mandate from 1 April to 31 December 1998. It would call on the parties to the Comprehensive Agreement of Human Rights and the other peace agreements to continue implementing their commitments under them.

The Assembly would ask the international community to continue supporting peace activities in Guatemala through voluntary contributions to the Trust Fund for the Guatemala Peace Process established by the Secretary-General.

The draft is sponsored by Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, United States and Venezuela.

The report of the Fifth Committee (document A/52/725) indicates that, should the Assembly adopt the resolution, an additional appropriation of $28.2 million could be required under section 3 of the proposed programme budget for 1998-1999. An additional appropriation of $1.75 million would also be required under section 32, Staff assessment, to be offset by a corresponding amount under income section 1, Income from staff assessment.

The report of the Credentials Committee (document A/52/719), informs the Assembly that it had accepted the credentials to the fifty-second session of


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the Assembly of the representatives of 144 Member States which had submitted formal credentials. It also accepted the credentials for representatives of 39 Member States which had otherwise been communicated, on the understanding that their formal submission to the Secretary-General would follow.

The report notes that the Committee was informed that two sets of credentials had been received, presenting two delegations to represent Cambodia at the Assembly's fifty-second session. One set, in a letter signed by King Norodom Sihanouk, presented a delegation headed by Mr. Unq Hout who was identified as "First Prime Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation". The other set, in a letter addressed to the Secretary-General by Prince Norodom Ranariddh, presented a delegation headed by Prince Norodom Ranariddh who was identified as "First Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia". The Committee, having considered the question of the credentials of Cambodia, decided to defer a decision on the credentials of Cambodia on the understanding that, pursuant to the applicable procedures of the Assembly, no one would occupy the seat of that country at the fifty-second session.

The Committee report also states that two sets of credentials had been received, presenting delegations to represent Afghanistan at the Assembly's fifty-second session. One set, signed by the "President of the Islamic State of Afghanistan", presented a delegation headed by A.G. Ravan Farhâdi who was identified as "Permanent Representative". Another communication, from the "Head of the Government of the Islamic State of Afghanistan", presented a delegation headed by Abdul Hakeem Mujahid who was identified as "Designate Permanent Representative". The report states that having considered the question of the credentials of Afghanistan, the Committee decided to defer a decision on the understanding that the current representatives of Afghanistan accredited to the United Nations would continue to participate in the work of the General Assembly pursuant to the applicable rules of procedure of the Assembly.

The report says the Credentials Committee recommends to the Assembly the adoption of a draft resolution, by which it would approve the Committee's report.

Reports of Fifth Committee

Regarding the appointment of members to the United Nations Administrative Tribunal (document A/52/674/Rev.1), the Committee decided by acclamation to recommend to the Assembly the appointment of Victor Yenyi Olungu, of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the United Nations Administrative Tribunal for a three-year term of office, beginning 1 January 1998.


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A draft decision on the financing of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) (document A/C.5/52/L.8), would have the General Assembly authorize the Secretary-General to commit up to $10.6 million gross (almost $10 million net) for the Mission for the period from 1 July 1997 to 30 June 1998. The sum would be in addition to some $178.9 million gross ($170.3 million net) appropriated last June by the Assembly.

By that draft, the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to employ locally recruited staff for General Service posts for the Mission in order to reduce the cost of hiring such staff, and then to report on the matter.

Action on a draft resolution on financial and temporal limitations to third-party liabilities of the United Nations, considered under the agenda item on administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of peacekeeping operations (document A/52/453/Add.1), was deferred to the Assembly's second resumed session scheduled for May to June 1998.

Statements, Action on Mine Clearance

MYUNG CHUL HAHM (Republic of Korea) said that as of 1 November, his Government had pledged over $41 million to the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance. The Secretary-General's reform initiative included transferring all activities relating to mine clearance, as well as the management of the Fund, to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The Republic of Korea believed that Department would be able to carry out its new tasks successfully. His country also attached importance to the Organization's ability to respond rapidly to mine-related contingencies, and supported strengthening of the Organization's demining standby capacity so that field operations could be initiated without delays, which might otherwise lead to further civilian casualties.

The Republic of Korea was unable to join the Ottawa process at this time because of the unique security situation on the Korean peninsula, he said. The narrow band of territory around the demilitarized zone was one of the most heavily mined places on earth. The Republic of Korea could not remove the mines because of the serious risks that would pose to national security, but at least the devices were confined to a small, marked and monitored area, far from any large civilian population and under constant, careful supervision.

Nevertheless, his Government was committed to the international community's efforts to eliminate the tragic human cost of landmines, he said. It had undertaken a voluntary moratorium on the export of anti-personnel mines, and was preparing to accede to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, including its amended Protocol II. It would also continue contributing to the Voluntary Fund. The United Nations should continue playing its central coordinating role in the global response to the landmine problem.


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YASIR AHMED ELSIDDIG (Sudan) called for greater cooperation and coordination between United Nations organizations and agencies involved in demining activities. The recent signing of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction reflected the will and determination of the international community in addressing the removal of landmines. Sudan had joined all international efforts to that end. However, there was no quick fix for that complicated issue, and there was a long and arduous way to go to solve the problem. Anti-personnel mines worldwide represented a heavy burden to mine- infested countries.

He said his country had prepared a comprehensive programme to address demining in all its humanitarian, social and environmental dimensions. That programme aimed at enhancing citizen awareness of landmines and protecting them, demining civilian areas, and assisting victims and those disabled by mines. He expressed appreciation for the efforts of the relevant Secretariat department to evaluate the mine situation in his country.

KAY PATTERSON (Australia) said her country was one of the 120 States which had signed the Convention on the prohibition of anti-personnel mines. However, that Treaty was not the end of the battle. Support for demining programmes straddled the boundary between relief and development. The majority of Australia's assistance was for direct mine-clearance activities, including surveys, and the use of detectors, sniffer dogs and some mechanical devices. It also provided substantial support for mine awareness programmes, and for the treatment and rehabilitation of mine accident victims. Countries such as Cambodia and Mozambique were major recipients of Australian food aid, as their arable land was so heavily mined. Her country's activities focused on the countries most heavily infested with landmines. It was the largest donor to Cambodia's landmine programme, and the third largest donor to Laos.

The ultimate aim of Australia's demining assistance was to build local capacity in affected countries to implement sustained demining programmes, she said. That goal required a long-term commitment. The sustainability of Australia's assistance was realized through support for institutional and technical development, as well as the careful use of long-term technical assistance. Foreign technical inputs were vital initially, but must build local ability to manage their own programmes. Awareness programmes must focus on the most vulnerable groups.

The rapidly expanding pool of demining resources must be coordinated to maximize its impact, she said. The United Nations had proven it was the best placed body to undertake that role, and it should receive the necessary support. The current world focus on the landmine problem represented the best chance for putting long-term solutions in place. A major focus must be development of new technologies. The capacity of resource-poor local institutions to use and sustain any new technology must be gauged. Australian


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companies were at the forefront of that research, and a new mine detector developed by Australia was being used in Cambodia. Australia was contributing more than ever to mine clearance, and its efforts were guided by a determination to maximize their practical impact. Australia anticipated providing 100 million Australian dollars for mine clearance and victim assistance over the period 1995-2005.

JOSEFA COELHO DA CRUZ (Angola) said that as one of the most mined countries in the world, Angola shared the deep concern of the international community with respect to the use of anti-personnel landmines. She cited in particular the loss of innocent civilian lives and the obstacles such weapons caused to reconstruction, development and freedom of movement during the process of post-conflict peace-building. Angola had signed the Ottawa Convention, which it hoped would be an instrument in the joint efforts to end the suffering caused by anti-personnel mines.

She emphasized the role of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in the field of mine clearance, particularly in the context of defining policies and priorities, as well as in operational activities and coordination. As a recipient country, Angola was concerned about the reduction of contributions each year to the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance, and appealed to the international community to devote additional resources to it.

The lack of improved mine detection and mine clearance technology was critical, she said. If the tragedy of landmines was to be prevented or reduced, and reconstruction and development in mine-infested countries promoted, new technology should be developed to expedite mine clearance and increase its effectiveness. Angola had a limited capacity to address the enormity of the mine problem affecting it. It was hoped that the joint project document signed by her Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for a two-year programme to support the development of the country's National Institute for the Removal of Explosive Devices would succeed, for the benefit of the vulnerable populations.

Although efforts in mine action programmes by the United Nations, individual countries and non-governmental organizations had intensified, more needed to be done, both within the United Nations system and in the international community at large, she said. The international community should join hands in helping mine-infested countries develop the national capacity to manage and execute comprehensive programmes, to promote the rehabilitation of landmines victims and their full participation in society.

The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution on assistance in mine clearance without a vote.


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XIANG WONG (China), speaking in explanation of position, said his Government supported the main thrust of the resolution and shared the humanitarian concerns associated with landmines. Over the years, China had joined in active efforts on mine clearance and was ready to assist countries in that endeavour, including the provision of training.

He said that some countries had signed the Convention on the prohibition of anti-personnel mines and China respected their humanitarian concerns and sovereign choice. However, the issue of security was also a humanitarian concern. Those concerns must be balanced, by taking account of the legitimate interests of countries for self-defence. For many countries which lacked advanced military weapons, landmines remained an effective means of self- defence until other technologies became available.

PEDRO NUNEZ-MOSQUERA (Cuba) said his country deemed the issue of assistance in demining to be highly relevant. It was hoped that the support for today's resolution would be translated into substantial, sustained and increased assistance, particularly by those countries which had greater resources. Nevertheless, the humanitarian concerns should not diminish the attention that should be paid to the related question of national security. A truly effective and universal solution would have to guarantee the correct balance between the humanitarian dimension and the right by States to self- defence, as stated in the United Nations Charter. Cuba offered to provide specialized personnel for demining activities, he said.

Comoran Island of Mayotte

IBRAHIM ALI MZIMBA, Foreign Minister of Comoros, said a conference on the question of the Comoran island of Mayotte had recently taken place under the auspices of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the international community in Addis Ababa. The participants set two objectives: to allow Comorans to take stock of a tragic post-colonial period and to lay the groundwork for the reconstruction of the country. Despite the fact that all Comoran Governments had remained open to constructive dialogue, no progress had been made on a peaceful settlement of the question of the Comoran island of Mayotte, which has been the source of a regrettable dispute with France.

France, a friend and privileged partner, held part of his country's destiny in its hands and had a decisive role to play in settling the dispute, he went on to say. Development would increase the chances for reunification. Mayotte must not be forgotten at a time when all political elements in Comoros were discussing ideas that would lay the groundwork for a State adapted to the requirements of modern times.

A peaceful solution to the dispute over Mayotte was necessary for good relations with France, he said. The international community must spare no effort in helping Comoros recover its unity and territorial integrity. The


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Comoros would like to obtain the Assembly's support for rapid implementation of its resolution on emergency to his country. The main obstacle to development there was the lack of an economic and financial programme and the rigidity of measures recommended by the Bretton Woods institutions. The international community should support an easing of measures relating to the structural readjustment plan. The Comoros proposed the creation of a tripartite committee including the Comoros, France and the United Nations to find the ways of reuniting the country peacefully.

Action on Draft Texts, Elections, Appointments

The Assembly then turned to a note by the Secretary-General (document A/52/440 and Add.1) reporting on nominations by the Economic and Social Council to fill one of the two remaining vacancies in the Committee for Programme and Coordination from among the Western European and Other States Group. Acting without a vote, it elected Italy to the Committee for a term of office beginning 18 December 1997 and expiring on 31 December 1999, as nominated by the Council. Regarding the remaining vacancy, the Assembly decided to keep the matter open on the agenda of its current session pending the nomination by the Economic and Social Council of a Member State from that region.

The Assembly adopted the draft resolution on the situation of democracy and human rights in Haiti without a vote.

The Assembly then took note of a letter dated 15 December from the Secretary-General to the President of the Assembly on progress in the implementation of the peace accords in El Salvador during the period from 1 July to 10 December (document A/52/731). In it, he proposes maintaining the presence of a unit, established under the administrative umbrella of the UNDP to follow up on the outstanding elements of the peace accords, for a further six months in the reduced form of one international staff member and one local consultant.

HENNADIY UDOVENKO (Ukraine), Assembly President, said that the following countries had become additional co-sponsors of a draft resolution on MINUGUA: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Jamaica, Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom.

The draft resolution on MINUGUA was adopted without a vote.

The Assembly President said the following countries had become additional co-sponsors of the draft resolution on the situation in Central America: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States.


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The draft on the situation in Central America was adopted without a vote.

The Assembly then appointed the following persons to the United Nations Administrative Tribunal: Chittharanjan Felix Amerasinghe, Victor Yenyi Olungu and Hubert Thierry.

Acting without a vote, it adopted the draft decision on the financing of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH).

The Assembly also adopted a draft resolution on death and disability benefits, contained in a report by its Fifth Committee (Administration and Budgetary) on the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations (document A/52/453/Add.1). By its terms, the Assembly authorized the Secretary-General to implement without delay administrative and payment procedures contained in his report on the question, for the payment of awards in cases of death and disability sustained by troops for incidents occurring after 30 June 1997. It asked him to settle such claims as soon as possible, and not later than three months after their submission.

By other terms of that text, the Assembly asked the Secretary-General to continue to take into account the fact that such casualties which resulted from gross negligence or wilful misconduct by the injured or deceased peacekeeper would not be compensated. He was asked to include that notion in the aide-memoire for troop-contributing countries.

Credentials Committee Report

The Assembly then took up the report of its Credentials Committee.

MOHAMMAD JASSIM SAMHAN AL-NUAIMI (United Arab Emirates) said that Israel, like any other Member State, must comply with the principles of international law, the United Nations Charter, and the resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council. The Assembly had adopted a number of important resolutions on the occupied territories, including Jerusalem, and the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to all the occupied territories. It had also adopted resolutions on the inadmissibility of any Israeli action to alter the status of Jerusalem. At its resumed tenth special session, the Assembly had adopted a number of resolutions on the legal status of the occupied territories.

The credentials of Israel should no way cover the territories occupied by force since 1967, he said. Despite the conviction that Israel's current policies did not respect the principles of the Charter or work towards achieving peace in the Middle East, he said he hoped that adoption of the report of the Credentials Committee would be an occasion to get the peace process back on track.


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JALAL SAMADI (Iran) said his country wished to disassociate itself with those parts which concerned Israel's credentials.

AHMAD KAMAL (Pakistan) said he wanted to comment on paragraphs 4, 5, 9 and 10 of the report of the Credentials Committee and hoped to get answers to his questions. The Committee had been unable to take a decision on the credentials of the delegation of Afghanistan. According to paragraph 4, two sets of credentials had been received from Cambodia. Paragraph 5 noted the decision of the Committee to defer a decision on the credentials of Cambodia, on the understanding that no one would occupy the seat of that country at the Assembly's current session.

He said paragraph 9 referred to an "analogous" situation regarding the two sets of credentials that had been received to represent Afghanistan at the session. According to paragraph 10, the Committee "stretches the applicable procedures of the Assembly" in its decision to allow the current representative of Afghanistan to continue to participate in the work of the Assembly. Pakistan regretted the use of the term "the current representative of Afghanistan accredited to the United Nations". The credentials of a non- representative, ousted and non-existent government had been challenged by the legally constituted government of Afghanistan.

The Organization of Islamic Conference had kept the Afghanistan seat vacant, in accordance with the decision by its Foreign Ministers in Jakarta in December 1996, he said. Pakistan considered the submission of credentials to be an internal matter of the people and Government of Afghanistan. It seriously regretted that the Credentials Committee had been partial, inequitable and unjust in its consideration of the credentials of the legitimate Government of Afghanistan. He urged the United Nations and the Credentials Committee to fulfil their obligations and pay due attention to the communications received from the legally constituted government of Afghanistan.

The Assembly then adopted the report of the Credentials Committee.

Right of Reply

MOHAMMAD YUNUS BAZEL (Afghanistan), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said the Islamic State of Afghanistan, presided over by President Rabbani, was the only holder of national sovereignty in Afghanistan. It represented and personified the continuity of Afghanistan as a State. Internal disturbances and civil war could not be considered as a cause for the extinction of a State as a political entity. The existence of foreign military personnel and the mercenary nature of the Taliban were well known. Last year, Pakistan had preached the transfer of Afghanistan's seat "to their stooge installed in Kabul". Citing information in the media and the Secretary-General's reports about the physical presence of military personnel


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in Afghanistan this year, he said that Pakistan was neither legally nor morally in a position "to chant the same song".

The vacant seat formula presented to the Assembly by Pakistan was another attempt to fragment Afghanistan and use the United Nations to achieve hegemonistic schemes, he said. Affirmation or adoption of such a formula would create a dangerous precedent.

Mr. KAMAL (Pakistan) said he did not wish to debate with people who did not control even 20 per cent of Afghanistan and who, even in those areas, could not control massacres. The vacant seat formula had been adopted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference for more than a year. Those who could not fulfil the criteria of statehood had no right to hold their country's seat in the United Nations. The Credentials Committee had taken two decisions which did not conform with each other. Pakistan wanted an explanation of how, in two similar situations, the Committee had taken decisions which were totally opposite to each other. Decisions should be based on principles and not on double standards or selectivity.

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