29 October 1998


Press Release
GA/9491



ASSEMBLY URGES ENHANCED COOPERATION WITH ECONOMIC COOPERATION ORGANIZATION, ISLAMIC CONFERENCE AND ASIAN-AFRICAN LEGAL CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE

19981029
Authorizes November Meeting at Headquarters of Special Committee On Israeli Practices Affecting Human Rights of Palestinians and Other Arabs

The General Assembly this morning reviewed the cooperative relationships between the United Nations and the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee (AALCC), the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

Following discussion of each matter, the Assembly adopted three resolutions, all without votes, calling for enhanced cooperation between the Organization and those bodies respectively. In adopting the resolution on cooperation with the AALCC, introduced by the representative of India, the Assembly noted with satisfaction the continuing efforts of the Committee towards strengthening the role of the United Nations and its various bodies, including the International Court of Justice. It also noted the active participation of the AALCC in the programmes of the United Nations Decade of International Law (1990 to 1999) and programmes on environment and sustainable development, as well as in the Rome Conference on the establishment of an International Criminal Court.

By adopting the resolution on cooperation with the ECO, introduced by the representative of Kazakhstan, the Assembly invited the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) to enhance mutual cooperation with the ECO, focusing on implementing projects in ECO's priority areas, namely, transport and communication, trade, investment, energy, environment, industry and agriculture. It also took note of the Almaty Declaration, issued by the ECO in May, which re-emphasizes the importance of its member States to promote socio-economic development, enhance trade and an integrated transport and communications network in their territories.

By its resolution on cooperation with the Islamic Conference, introduced by the representative of Qatar, the Assembly urged the United Nations and other organizations of its system, especially the lead agencies, to provide increased technical and other forms of assistance to the OIC and its


General Assembly Plenary - 1a - Press Release GA/9491 48th Meeting (AM) 29 October 1998

subsidiary organs and specialized and affiliated institutions to enhance cooperation. Also, it requested the United Nations and the Islamic Conference to continue cooperation in their common search for solutions to global problems, such as questions relating to international peace and security, disarmament, self-determination, decolonization, fundamental human rights, social and economic development and technical cooperation.

In other action this morning, the Assembly authorized the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories to meet in New York from 2 to 5 November.

Statements were also made this morning by the representatives of Austria (for the European Union and associated States), Iran, Sri Lanka, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Ghana, Turkey, Senegal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Morocco, Malaysia and Tunisia.

The Secretary-General of the AALCC and the Permanent Observer for the OIC also made statements.

The Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. today to consider United Nations cooperation with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).


Assembly Work Programme

The Assembly met this morning to consider a letter from the Committee on Conferences. It would also consider United Nations cooperation with the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee (AALCC); the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO); the Organization of the Islamic Conference; the Organization of African Unity (OAU); and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Committee on Conferences

The Assembly had before it a letter from the Chairman of the Committee on Conferences (document A/53/298/Add.2), informing it that the Committee received a request from the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories to meet in New York from 2 to 5 November, during the main part of the Assembly's fifty-third session. According to the letter, the Committee does not object, on the strict understanding that such a meeting would have to be accommodated within available facilities and services so that the Assembly's activities are not adversely affected. The Committee would like the Assembly to explicitly authorize the Special Committee to meet in accordance with its request, subject to the conditions referred to.

Cooperation with Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee

The report of the Secretary-General on the matter (document A/53/306) states that, since 1980, the AALCC has participated in the sessions of the General Assembly as an observer. It has permanent observer missions in New York and in Vienna, and consultations between the United Nations and the AALCC routinely take place on matters of common interest, including representation at meetings and exchange of documentation and information. The AALCC has undertaken activities to mark the United Nations Decade of International Law (1990-1999) and prepares notes and comments on items before the Assembly, including on the work of the International Law Commission and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).

According to the report, during the period under review, meetings were held between the Secretary-General and the United Nations Legal Council and the Secretary-General of AALCC. Representatives of various United Nations bodies participated in the thirty-sixth (Tehran, May 1997) and thirty-seventh (New Delhi, April 1998) sessions of the Consultative Committee. The AALCC continues to accord priority to matters of interest to the United Nations and to initiate actions to strengthen the role of that Organization. The two organizations now cooperate not only in the field of international law, but also in the economic, environmental and humanitarian fields.

The AALCC also participated in the work on the Statute of the International Criminal Court. During the recent session, the AALCC organized a special meeting


General Assembly Plenary - 3 - Press Release GA/9491 48th Meeting (AM) 29 October 1998

to consider reservations to multilateral treaties, which emphasized universal acceptance of the existing reservation regime as set out in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

The Secretary-General reports that the Consultative Committee continues to promote wider use of the International Court of Justice. Following the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), the AALCC prepared a study on the enhanced utilization of the Court in matters relating to the protection of the environment. The AALCC also continues to monitor the work of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the International Seabed Authority. The Committee has prepared a progress report on the development of international trade law, and it has developed a scheme for the settlement of disputes in economic and commercial transactions. Under that plan, regional arbitration centres have been established in Cairo, Kuala Lumpur, Lagos and Tehran to assist in the promotion and implementation of UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. Steps are being taken to establish a similar centre in Nairobi to serve the countries in eastern and southern Africa.

The AALCC has conducted studies on the structure and functions of the World Trade Organization, as well as on its dispute-settlement mechanism. It has addressed the legal issues involved in the privatization of public sector undertakings and the liberalization of economic activities in the context of economic restructuring programmes. Another area of special interest for the Consultative Committee is refugee law and refugee problems, the report notes. In 1996, with assistance of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the AALCC organized a seminar and a meeting of experts on the topic.

Other issues currently before the Consultative Committee include the question of international instruments adopted by the United Nations on the environment, development, biological diversity, climate change and desertification. The item, entitled "Legal protection of migrant workers", has been on the agenda of the AALCC since 1996, with the objective of framing a model legislation. The item, entitled "Extraterritorial application of national legislation: sanctions imposed against third parties", has been on the agenda of the AALCC since its thirty-sixth session. The AALCC also concentrates on the general principles of the jurisdiction of States.

By the terms of the draft resolution (document A/53/L.9), the Assembly would note with satisfaction the continuing efforts of the AALCC towards strengthening the role of the United Nations and its various bodies, including the International Court of Justice, as well as the progress achieved towards enhancing cooperation between the two organizations. It would also note the active participation of the Committee in the programmes of the United Nations Decade of International Law and programmes on environment and sustainable development, as well as in the Rome Conference on the establishment of the International Criminal Court.


General Assembly Plenary - 4 - Press Release GA/9491 48th Meeting (AM) 29 October 1998

Also, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to submit at its fifty-fifth session a report on cooperation between the United Nations and the Consultative Committee.

The draft is sponsored by Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka and the Sudan.

Cooperation with Economic Cooperation Organization

The Secretary-General's report (document A/53/435), detailing cooperation between the United Nations system and the ECO, notes interaction between the ECO and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) leading to a joint project supporting ECO member countries in trade efficiency and economic cooperation. As executing agency for the project, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) undertook a follow-up joint mission with ECO to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in March to explore opportunities for cooperation in trade efficiency, trade and transport facilitation, and reforms and modernization of customs procedures. A second joint mission to Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan was undertaken in May, and the report was distributed to member countries in July.

During the period under review, cooperation intensified between the ECO and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the regional arm of the United Nations, in formulating a project on transport services crucial for the economic integration of the ECO subregion, which includes seven landlocked countries. In addition, a project is scheduled on strengthening subregional economic cooperation in trade and investment, including a commissioned study to look into the legal and administrative regimes influencing those field in ECO countries, with a view to advocating greater conformance between policies and business practices.

The report also notes other cooperative activities between the ECO and the United Nations' system, such as a draft memorandum of understanding currently being prepared between the ECO and UNCTAD. It also notes that the fourth joint event in a series of conferences relating to the status and health of women was held in Azerbaijan in September between the ECO and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Finally, the report notes that a memorandum of understanding between the ECO and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was signed in Tehran in December.

By the terms of the draft resolution (document A/53/L.14), ESCAP would be invited to enhance cooperation with the ECO, focusing on priority areas of the ECO, namely, transport and communication, trade, investment, energy, environment, industry and agriculture.


General Assembly Plenary - 5 - Press Release GA/9491 48th Meeting (AM) 29 October 1998

The draft would also have the Assembly welcome the signing of the ECO and the UNDP of the capacity-building project of the ECO secretariat, and encourages the UNDP to enhance the effectiveness of regional cooperation agreements and create an enabling environment for sustainable development in the area. Welcoming the signing by the ECO and the FAO of a memorandum of understanding, the Assembly would invite the FAO to work with the ECO towards attaining its objectives in the field.

By the draft, the Assembly would also call upon the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) and the relevant United Nations organizations to assist the ECO programmes pertaining to the world drug problem. International financial institutions re invited to assist with ECO regional development plans. Welcoming the creation of an international fund on saving the Aral Sea by the heads of Central Asian States, the Assembly would invite the international organizations to support rehabilitation programmes and projects in the areas suffering from ecological catastrophes.

The draft is sponsored by Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Cooperation with Organization of Islamic Conference

The Secretary-General's report (document A/53/430) details consultations between representatives of the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). During the annual meeting of foreign ministers of the member States of the Islamic Conference held in New York in early October, the Secretary-General, for the first time, addressed the meeting. During the period under review, cooperation on political matters intensified between the United Nations and the Islamic Conference, particularly regarding ongoing peacemaking efforts. Regular consultations were held and information was exchanged between the secretariats of the United Nations and the Islamic Conference, including on the situations in Somalia and Tajikistan. Regarding the peace process in Tajikistan, the Conference participated, as an observer, in the United Nations-sponsored inter-Tajik talks that concluded in 1997 with the signing of the General Agreement. The Islamic Conference is a member of the contact group established in connection with the peace process in Tajikistan.

A new dimension of cooperation between the United Nations and the Islamic Conference was added concerning the conflict in Afghanistan involving a joint United Nations/OIC peacemaking mission to Afghanistan and a number of neighbouring countries. The mission was followed by a series of meetings of the Afghan parties, held in Islamabad, under joint United Nations and Islamic Conference auspices. Despite the inconclusive ending of the talks, the co-chairmanship by the two organizations underlined the valuable potential of concrete joint cooperation in the field of peacemaking, the report states.


General Assembly Plenary - 6 - Press Release GA/9491 48th Meeting (AM) 29 October 1998

The OIC and the United Nations have established the following priority areas of cooperation: development of science and technology; trade and development; technical cooperation among Islamic countries; assistance to refugees; food security and agriculture; education and eradication of illiteracy; investment mechanisms and joint ventures; human resources development; environment; and the development of arts and crafts and promotion of heritage. The report also summarizes cooperation efforts between various United Nations agencies.

By the terms of the draft resolution (document A/53/L.13), sponsored by Qatar, the Assembly would urge the United Nations system, especially the lead agencies, to provide increased technical and other forms of assistance to the Islamic Conference and its subsidiary organs to enhance cooperation. Also, it would request that the organizations continue to cooperate in their common search for solutions to global problems, such as questions relating to international peace and security, disarmament, self-determination, decolonization, fundamental human rights, social and economic development and technical cooperation.

Committee on Conferences

The Assembly, in accepting the recommendation of the Committee on Conferences, authorized the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories to meet in New York from 2 to 5 November, using facilities and services available without adversely affecting the Assembly session.

Statements on Cooperation with AALCC

P.S. RAO (India), introducing the draft on AALCC, said that the AALCC had acquired a unique stature in promoting legal cooperation among Asian and African States. Its initiatives had been well received at numerous international conferences, and had contributed to an international order that was viewed as fair and equitable for all States.

It was a matter of great pride for the Consultative Committee that it functioned on a very economical budget, he continued. However, its aims could be pursued only with the availability of more funds. The clearance of arrears in contributions and raising funds through voluntary contributions could help. The work of the Committee was efficiently organized by a small but dedicated group of international law experts working under the guidance of an international diplomatic staff. He had no doubt that the cooperation between the AALCC and the United Nations would continue to grow stronger.

KURT HERNDL (Austria), on behalf of the European Union, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Cyprus, noted that the Legal Consultative Committee, in consultation with the International


General Assembly Plenary - 7 - Press Release GA/9491 48th Meeting (AM) 29 October 1998

Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), met on aspects of international humanitarian law and the future International Criminal Court. That meeting had provided additional opportunity for an informal exchange of views on the creation of such a body. The cooperative relationship between the AALCC and the United Nations had a positive impact on the work of the Sixth Committee (Legal), he said.

SAEID MIRZAEE YENGEJEH (Iran) said the AALCC played a significant role in exploring and harmonizing the needs, views and positions of African and Asian countries concerning various aspects of lawmaking at the international level. Striving for progressive development of international law and its codification linked the AALCC with the United Nations. Areas of cooperation between the two organizations was not limited to international law, but covered economic, environmental and humanitarian areas as well. The Consultative Committee had contributed significantly to the adoption of the Statute of the International Criminal Court in Rome.

JOHN DE SARAM (Sri Lanka) said that the ultimate objective and long-term responsibility of the AALCC in its relationship with the United Nations was to move its vast African and Asian membership collectively towards full participation in the many multilateral legal forums. The practice of consultation and coordination was one that other regional groups had already achieved. Africa and Asia still had a long way to go. Their difficulties were compounded by practical disadvantages in the legal field: an absence of adequate access or, sometimes, no access to documentation and legal periodicals, and limited centres of legal research and analysis.

The ultimate goal of the AALCC, he said, was to achieve full and effective consultation and coordination in the preparation of legal meetings which required the identification of issues, necessary information and argumentation. If there were to be meaningful proceedings in the multilateral legal context, all legal deliberative bodies must stand on the same plateau of awareness and knowledge. It was a difficult and distant goal, yet one that the Organization and the AALCC must strive to obtain.

YIN YUBIAO (China) said the AALCC had always given priority to the legal and other matters that the United Nations was concerned with. As a Member of the United Nations and the Committee, China was very pleased with the closer and expanded cooperation between the two organizations. His country hoped that they would further enhance their cooperation in the field of gradual development and codification of international law and other areas of common concern. It also hoped that the two organizations would serve as a model in developing closer ties and cooperation between international and regional organizations for the achievement of world peace and development.

SAODAH B.A. SYAHRUDDIN (Indonesia) said although the role of the AALCC was initially in the field of international law, it had broadened its objectives to provide a forum for international economic cooperation for


General Assembly Plenary - 8 - Press Release GA/9491 48th Meeting (AM) 29 October 1998

development. Indonesia was confident that the Committee would continue its endeavours to promote economic cooperation based on a framework which blended economic and legal aspects. Such cooperation was an effective instrument which could contribute to lasting growth. Indonesia was pleased to support the AALCC's activities and remained confident that such worthy efforts would continue to strengthen the Consultative Committee's contributions to the Organization and the international community.

WILLY C. GAA (Philippines) said when the newly independent countries of Asia and Africa were emerging from the colonial rule, the AALCC had served as a forum for consultation and cooperation on legal issues between the regions. The Committee had contributed to the formulation and progressive development of international law by taking into account the political and economic needs of those developing countries. Today, the Committee was facing the challenge of globalization. As it had already shown success in formulating common approaches to complex international legal issues, his delegation was confident that it would be able to cope with the new challenge.

In addressing the phenomenon of globalization, the United Nations had sought the cooperation of other multilateral organizations to strengthen normative, legal and institutional frameworks in the hope that the global economy could be managed more effectively and equitably, he said. In that regard, the Consultative Committee, with its experience gained in successfully changing the post-colonial landscape, could provide invaluable assistance.

JACOB B. WILMOT (Ghana), noting the measures taken by the AALCC to promote the ratification and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, joined the Consultative Committee's call upon developing countries to consider adopting a common policy and strategy for the interim period before the commercial exploitation of deep seabed minerals became feasible.

Ghana was pleased with the adoption of the statute for the International Criminal Court, he said. He welcomed that development in the collective effort to provide a legal and constitutional framework to hold perpetrators accountable for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and serious violations of international humanitarian law. It was pertinent to recall that the Committee's initiatives in that regard contributed to the legal regime of the Court.

TANG CHENGYAN, Secretary-General of the AALCC, said the Committee had established itself as a major forum for international cooperation, and its work programme had been oriented to meet challenges posed by contemporary international reality. Last year had witnessed a new chapter in the history of the Committee when it had been decided that its permanent headquarters would be in New Delhi. The work of the AALCC in support of the United Nations had been aimed at rendering assistance to its member governments in their


General Assembly Plenary - 9 - Press Release GA/9491 48th Meeting (AM) 29 October 1998

consideration of the agenda items before the Sixth Committee. Another significant aspect of the work of the AALCC had been promotion of ratification and implementation of major international instruments. It promoted a wider use of the International Court of Justice for the peaceful settlement of disputes.

The AALCC was often among the first regional bodies to study current legal developments of concern to the developing countries, he said. Among the questions under its consideration were the issues of extraterritorial application of national legislation; reservation to treaties; and human rights treaties. The Consultative Committee had established a symbiotic relationship with a number of organs and agencies of the United Nations and would continue to work to support the work of the United Nations bodies.

Action on Draft

DIDIER OPERTTI (Uruguay), the President of the Assembly, announced that Australia, Cyprus, Malaysia and New Zealand had joined the list of co-sponsors of the draft.

The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, the resolution on United Nations cooperation with the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee.

Statements on Cooperation with ECO

AKMARAL KH. ARYSTANBEKOVA (Kazakhstan), introducing the draft resolution as Chairman of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) since May, introduced the draft. She said the ECO, which brought together 10 States with a population of more than 300 million people, possessed considerable potential to support expansion of trade and economics development, the strengthening of humanitarian and cultural links, and interregional communications, she said. The ECO in May created prerequisites for intensified cooperation on the establishment of a favourable trade and investment climate in the region. The member countries of the organization and many European and Asian States were equally interested in that development. Since the establishment of the ECO, much important progress had been accomplished in the development of trade, communications, ground, sea and air transport systems, oil network and gas pipeline, as well as energy supply and information exchanges. Fuller and more effective use of the existing potential of ECO would benefit both the countries of the region and other States located outside it.

SEYED MOHAMMAD HADI NEJAD HOSSEINIAN (Iran) said the objectives of the ECO were to remove trade barriers within its region, expand of interregional trade, and ensure the gradual and smooth integration of its member States in the world economy. At the very centre of the region's potential were its oil and gas reserves, and rich mineral resources. The region also had considerable agricultural potential. All new members of ECO were at a stage of transition


General Assembly Plenary - 10 - Press Release GA/9491 48th Meeting (AM) 29 October 1998

from central planning to market-oriented economies. Strengthening the transit infrastructure at the regional level was urgently need to expand trade and increase investment opportunities. Protection of the environment, in particular, in the areas of the Caspian and Aral Seas and in some other areas of Central Asia, was among the major challenges before concerned countries of the ECO. He noted that the region was among the most vulnerable to illicit cultivation, trafficking and consumption of narcotic drugs.

The restructuring of the ECO required assistance from specialized agencies and other organizations and programmes of the United Nations system, as well as from relevant international financial institutions, he said. Those contributions should be geared towards promoting socio-economic infrastructure development in the ECO countries. Outside pressure to reshaping the economic and commercial relations among regional countries and their relations with the rest of the world were of concern. Viable and feasible routes for oil export and the export of raw materials had been halted due to outside pressure. The situation would inevitably result in very expensive substitute routes which adversely affected the environment.

Action on Draft

The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, the resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Economic Cooperation Organization.

Statements on Cooperation with OIC

NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER (Qatar), introducing the draft resolution, said the Islamic Conference was satisfied with its participation in the work of the United Nations and appreciated the close cooperation between them. The Group, since its establishment, was firm in its commitment to the principles and objectives of the United Nations. They jointly sought solutions to global problems in the areas of peace and security, disarmament, and economic and social development. The OIC hoped that its permanent mission in New York would be given the status accorded to other groups, such as the European Union, which included diplomatic immunity from the host country. Such a status would contribute to promoting the work of the mission. He hoped the draft would be adopted by consensus.

Mr. NEJAD-HOSSEINIAN (Iran) said the Islamic Conference members believed that effective, constructive and meaningful participation of Islamic countries in the management of international affairs was essential for maintaining international peace and security. They had, in various gatherings, considered areas of interest and importance, on which collective efforts needed to be exerted.

Furthermore, the Islamic countries had declared their strict adherence to cooperation for the protection and preservation of the environment, combating


General Assembly Plenary - 11 - Press Release GA/9491 48th Meeting (AM) 29 October 1998

terrorism and illicit drug trafficking, and respect for international law and the United Nations Charter, he said. They also expressed their desire to cooperate with the Organization on significant issues such as human rights and disarmament.

VOLKAN VURAL (Turkey) said, with members from all continents, the Islamic Conference represented a rich heritage, whose name "Islam" was derived from the word peace. Cooperation between the Organization and regional organizations had proven indispensable in a globalized world. His delegation fully supported the enhancement of cooperation between the two organizations and hoped that it would further contribute to global peace and solidarity.

SAODAH B.A. SYAHRUDDIN (Indonesia) said that, in the economic sphere, the imbalances and inequities of international economic relationships continued to bear heavily on the Islamic Conference member countries. Those matters underlined the importance of the effective and efficient functioning of the broad range of institutional and operational instruments which existed within the Conference for the conduct of economic cooperation. Above all, however, they underscored the imperative need for closer cooperation between the United Nations and the Conference in the socio-economic fields. Indonesia was heartened by the encouraging progress in the 10 priority areas of cooperation discussed in the general meeting between the representatives of both secretariats earlier this year. Indonesia looked forward to the development of specific proposals in such areas.

IBRA DEGUENE KA (Senegal) said that the OIC represented nearly one fifth of the world population. Member States of that organization attached great importance to cooperation with the United Nations, and the two organizations had established machinery for consultations to coordinate their efforts aimed at finding solutions to crises. The question of Palestine was among the crises at the forefront of attention of the Islamic Conference. Among other issues were Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina and, most recently, Kosovo.

The maintenance of peace and the search for peaceful solutions to crises were complemented by efforts to strengthen cooperation towards preserving the environment, solving the problem of refugees and promoting socio-economic development, he said. In that context, he welcomed the presence, for the first time, of the United Nations Secretary-General at the Conference Summit. Cooperation between the bodies must be encouraged, and the adoption of the draft under consideration would be a great contribution towards that end.

MOHD. ABDUS SHAHID (Bangladesh) said his country was encouraged by the growing relationship between the United Nations and the OIC, especially in the fields of preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and conflict resolution. However, the United Nations must always share the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. Efforts from regional organizations should be complementary to the Organization's efforts, not a substitute.


General Assembly Plenary - 12 - Press Release GA/9491 48th Meeting (AM) 29 October 1998

As the root of conflict rested in poverty, deprivation and discrimination, Bangladesh believed that a major focus of cooperation between the Organization and the Islamic Conference should address those challenges through all available means, he said. He called on the two bodies to continue addressing the challenges of development.

AHMAD KAMAL (Pakistan) said the strengthened cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC in recent years in preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution had yielded positive dividends. Their mutually supportive roles and efforts in some of the most egregious conflicts of modern times had received wider approbation and international recognition. The United Nations/OIC peacemaking mission to Afghanistan and to a number of neighbouring countries was a vital initiative that marked a new dimension in their cooperation.

At the same time, he said Pakistan welcomed "the positive gestures of the Taliban leadership" in deference to the demands of the joint mission to: allow the return of the remaining dead bodies of the Iranian diplomats; unconditionally release all Iranian prisoners; cooperate with investigations into the killing of the diplomats; assist in the investigations into the reported mass killings and mass graves; and allow the return of the United Nations agencies and international humanitarian organizations to Afghanistan to resume their work.

He said that it was a matter of concern that, even after 20 years, the Islamic Conference representative in New York functioned without formal recognition by the host Government. The Islamic Conference was being denied privileges and immunities which were essential for performing its functions. The Conference must be accorded all the required facilities, as envisaged in the United Nations Charter and the relevant provisions of the United Nations Headquarters agreement with the host country. The Governments of Pakistan and Switzerland had extended full diplomatic facilities to the Islamic Conference in their countries. There was no reason why similar treatment could not be accorded to the OIC in New York.

AHMED SNOUSSI (Morocco) said he applauded the joint efforts of the two organizations to resolve conflicts in Somalia, Tajikistan and Afghanistan, and he encouraged further such efforts in that area. With respect to cooperation in the economic and social fields, he welcomed the different aspects of cooperation outlined in the Secretary-General's report. Despite all the positive aspects, much remained to be done. The plight of a large number of Muslims in the Middle East, the Balkans and Afghanistan merited particular attention and demanded international efforts to find lasting solutions. For that cooperation to yield the desired results, it was necessary to give the two organizations the means to achieve their mandates. It was indispensable to grant the office of the Islamic Conference in New York the facilities and privileges to help it accomplish its goals.


General Assembly Plenary - 13 - Press Release GA/9491 48th Meeting (AM) 29 October 1998

RASTAM MOHD ISA (Malaysia) said a challenge for the OIC in the modern era was to present the true image of Islam as a religion of peace. Participants at a recent Islamic summit expressed concern at tendencies to portray Islam as a threat to the world, when Islamic civilization was firmly and historically grounded in peaceful coexistence. His delegation believed that the United Nations was uniquely placed to bridge the gap between the Islamic countries and the rest of the international community through dialogue and cooperation. Both organizations should continue to explore new dimensions of cooperation in the field of peace and security, as demonstrated in the Afghanistan peacemaking mission.

MOHAMED SALAH TEKAYA (Tunisia) said Tunisia was satisfied to know that consultations and cooperation between the two organizations could lead to new achievements in the fields of trade, food security, human development and assistance to refugees. In that framework, he called for new assistance to the Islamic Conference and its subsidiary organs. Accordingly, his country supported the draft on the cooperation between the two organizations. In conclusion, he expressed concern over the fact that the mission of the OIC in New York did not enjoy the same privileges as other missions because the host country had not recognized it.

MOKHTAR LAMAMI, Permanent Observer for the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said the United Nations and the OIC shared a commitment to search for solutions to issues of common concern such as: peace and security; disarmament; self-determination; fundamental human rights; social and economic development; and technical cooperation. Despite the complexities of the Afghan issue, the joint United Nations/Islamic Conference mission to Afghanistan helped to open up dialogues among the factions in that country and also with neighbouring countries. That effort paved the way for further cooperation and coordination between the two organizations in the search for viable solutions to a long-standing issue.

He said consultations between the Secretary-Generals of the United Nations and the OIC had continued, and they had agreed to field another joint mission to Afghanistan because of escalation of tensions in the area. Without doubt, those joint efforts were clear evidence that cooperation between the two organizations was possible in the sphere of peacemaking. In the field of socio-economic development, progress continued to be achieved in the areas of science and technology, trade and development, technical cooperation among Islamic countries, assistance to refugees, food security and agriculture, education and the eradication of illiteracy, investment mechanisms and joint ventures, human resources development and the environment.

He said that it was no secret that the permanent observer missions of the Islamic Conference, the League of Arab States and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) did not enjoy all the facilities and privileges that were available to the missions of some other regional organizations. However, the


General Assembly Plenary - 14 - Press Release GA/9491 48th Meeting (AM) 29 October 1998

missions of intergovernmental and regional organizations to the offices of the United Nations in Geneva enjoyed all those privileges and facilities, thus enabling them to undertake their tasks and responsibilities more effectively. It was hoped that those responsible for the implementation of the Headquarters agreement would take the matter seriously into consideration and give it the importance it deserved.

* *** *