The General Assembly this afternoon called on the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to further the development and maintenance of peace and security in the Caribbean region.
By adopting, without a vote, a resolution urging expanded cooperation between the organizations, the Assembly also recommended that the second general meeting between the United Nations and CARICOM be held in 1999 to review implementation in agreed areas, and that consultations be held on additional measures to facilitate and strengthen cooperation.
Also this afternoon, during discussion of United Nations cooperation with the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the representative of Nigeria (speaking for the Group of African States) said it was imperative that the United Nations increase logistic and financial support to the OAU and other regional and subregional organizations. Such support would enable the OAU to be an effective partner of the United Nations in their mutual task of maintaining international peace and security.
The representative of Burkina Faso (for the OAU member States) said the United Nations must redress its development strategies for Africa, looking at the specific realities of the continent. Then, the United Nations could help African countries build political and legal environments conducive to development.
The Permanent Observer for the OAU also told the Assembly cooperation between the organizations required a new definition, as today's problems were increasingly complex. Noting that conflict prevention was the OAU's highest priority, he said peace could be advanced in certain African conflicts through regional initiatives. Some conflicts, however, were so complex that they required the involvement of the United Nations due to the enormous human, material and financial resources that must be mobilized.
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The representative of Austria (on behalf of the European Union and associated States) reiterated deep concern that instability seemed to be gaining ground in Africa. That downward spiral had to be stopped, he said. Economic growth had to be accelerated, and development programmes had to ensure that the poorest groups were the first beneficiaries. Human and social development should be moved to the centre of macroeconomic policy design and implementation.
During debate on the OAU, statements were also made by the representatives of Senegal, Swaziland, Tunisia, Japan, Norway, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Republic of Korea, and Benin.
The representatives of Guyana (on behalf of CARICOM), Austria (on behalf of the European Union), the Dominican Republic (for the Latin American and Caribbean States), Jamaica, Republic of Korea also spoke, as did the Secretary- General of CARICOM.
The Assembly will meet again on Monday, 2 November, at 10 a.m. to consider the question of the Falkland Island (Malvinas) and the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It would also take up the reports of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).
Assembly Work Programme
The Assembly met this afternoon to consider cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Cooperation with OAU
According to the Secretary-General's report (document A/53/419), he and the OAU Secretary-General decided in January 1997 to meet twice a year, along with their senior advisers, to discuss priority areas of cooperation and coordination. They have had four such meetings (Harare, 1997 during the OAU summit; New York, October 1997; Addis Ababa, April 1998; and New York, July 1998), during which they exchanged views on key African issues of common interest and concern. Regarding cooperation in the areas of peace and security, the United Nations Department of Political Affairs organized a meeting between the two Secretaries-General at Headquarters in July. The topic of the meeting was cooperation for conflict prevention, focusing on the challenges of early- warning and conflict prevention, the capabilities of the United Nations and regional organizations to meet those challenges, and practical modalities for collaborative interaction between them.
On the recommendation of the Department of Political Affairs, a United Nations liaison office with the OAU was established in Addis Ababa in April 1998 to strengthen cooperation between the two organizations. The office will help to facilitate the exchange of information, the coordination of initiatives and efforts in the areas of preventive diplomacy and peacemaking, and the democratization and peace-building processes in Africa. It will coordinate the implementation of cooperation programmes between the two organizations agreed to at their annual secretariat meetings.
In May 1998, the Office of the Special Coordinator for Africa and the Least Developed Countries in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs collaborated with the Department of Political Affairs in organizing the annual meeting between the secretariats of the United Nations system and the OAU. The Office of the Special Coordinator presented an analytical background paper on various initiatives on African development and on ways and means to harmonize them, in line with the relevant recommendation contained in the Secretary- General's report on Africa. The report also provides details on cooperation in the field of economic and social development between the OAU and various agencies of the United Nations system.
Cooperation with CARICOM
The General Assembly also had before it the report of the Secretary-General (documents A/53/275 and Add.1) detailing cooperation between CARICOM and a
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number of agencies, programmes, departments and offices of the United Nations, including: the Department of Political Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
The report reviews cooperation between the UNDP and CARICOM in the areas of poverty eradication; environmental management; good governance; development; and trade. In the area of trade and integration, the UNDP has been assisting in the establishment of a CARICOM single market and economy, through the design of an appropriate legal framework. Similarly, the World Bank and CARICOM cooperate to provide a framework for economic integration in the region.
The report also notes that the Department of Economic and Social Affairs will organize a workshop for representatives of public administration systems at all levels from the Dutch and English Caribbean islands. The workshop will outline and adopt a plan of action to improve public management and networking between government and social partners and promote greater efficiency in the public sector.
Regarding further cooperation with other entities of the United Nations and CARICOM, the report highlights collaborations in areas such as the environment, drug control, education, science and technology, the advancement of women, economic development, information and statistics, and population and development.
By the terms of the draft resolution (document A/53/L.15), the Assembly would urge the United Nations system to cooperate with the Secretary-General of CARICOM in order to initiate, maintain and increase consultations and programmes with the Community and its associated institutions in the attainment of their objectives. It would call upon the Secretary-General of the United Nations, in consultation with the Secretary-General of CARICOM, to continue to assist in furthering the development and maintenance of peace and security within the Caribbean region. It would also invite the Secretary- General of the United Nations to continue to promote and expand cooperation and coordination between the United Nations and CARICOM in order to increase the capacity of the two organizations to attain their objectives,
The Assembly would also recommend that the second general meeting between the representatives of CARICOM and its associated institution and of the United Nations system be hosted in 1999 in order to review and appraise progress in the implementation of the agreed areas and issues, and to hold consultations on additional measures and procedures as may be required to facilitate and strengthen cooperation between the two organizations.
The sponsors of the draft are: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Federated States of Micronesia,
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Fiji, France, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Vanuatu and Venezuela.
Statements on Cooperation with OAU
MICHEL KAFANDO (Burkina Faso), on behalf of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), said given the noble ideal of securing peace, the OAU and the United Nations could not act in contradiction. Their actions had to complement each other. Cooperation today was, however, exemplary and relationships were fully institutionalized. The only shadow was the awkward status given to the OAU's observer mission in New York. He called for the necessary extensions in that regard for the OAU to do its job properly in New York. The United Nations could also step up cooperation between the two organizations by taking note of the priorities set by the OAU at its thirty-fourth Summit. Both organizations aimed to achieve peace and security throughout the world. However, conflict settlement and prevention were areas that the OAU could not cope with alone.
He said the question to ask was, what kind of assistance could the United Nations provide in the development strategies of Africa. The Organization needed to redress its approach with regard to Africa. It needed to proceed by looking at the specific realities of the continent. The United Nations should be able to help Africa come to grips with the cultural dimensions of its development. It could help African countries build political and legal environments conducive to development, and help African States re-route military expenditure towards development.
ERNST SUCHARIPA (Austria), and on behalf of the European Union, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Cyprus, said conflict prevention and resolution in Africa were priorities for the European Union. In that context, the Union continued to support the OAU mechanism for conflict prevention, management and resolution. In May, the European Union had adopted a common position on human rights, democratic principles, the rule of law and good governance in Africa. That gave high priority to supporting the efforts of the OAU, subregional groups and individual countries in promoting respect for human rights and good governance.
He said the European Union had developed a consultative mechanism with the OAU. It would strengthen dialogue with that regional body and subregional organizations on concrete possibilities for backing their efforts in the fields of early-warning mechanisms, preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping, respect for human rights and the rule of law.
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Over the last 10 years, African countries had initiated reforms aimed at democracy and respect for human rights, he said. However, the mechanisms to solve and manage tensions and differences needed strengthening. Conflict prevention and management called for a pluralistic, civil society, which functioned through dialogue and the networking of various interest groups, and incorporated political systems based on cooperation rather than confrontation, as well as on the rule of law. The European Union remained concern that, in spite of important regional and subregional efforts, instability seemed to be gaining ground. That apparent downward spiral had to be stopped.
The fight against widespread poverty in Africa remained one of the crucial challenges of the times, he continued. In that context, economic growth had to be accelerated and development programmes had to ensure that the poorest groups were the first beneficiaries. Human and social development should be moved into the centre of macroeconomic policy design and implementation. Africa bore the primary responsibility for creating an environment where development was sustainable and prosperity ensured. Also, African countries must do their utmost to live in good neighbourly conditions.
IBRAHIM A. GAMBARI (Nigeria), on behalf of the Group of African States, said that although the Security Council had primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security, the OAU had a comparative advantage in assisting with the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in Africa. The OAU member states were nearer to conflict situations on the continent. They had greater understanding of the causes of African conflicts and tended to exhibit more political will to find solutions to those problems. Conflict prevention remained a challenge, both for regional organizations, like the OAU, and for the United Nations.
The OAU complimented the Council role in maintaining international peace and security, he said. Therefore, it was imperative that the United Nations increase logistical and financial support to the OAU, and other regional and subregional organizations, to enable them to become more effective partners with the Organization.
A committed and dedicated effort to pursue economic development was undoubtedly a prerequisite for peace and stability in Africa, he continued. In that regard, he welcomed the work of United Nations agencies helping translate into reality the objectives of the treaty establishing the African Economic Community.
IBRA DEGUENE KA (Senegal) said, thanks to the courageous joint actions of African leaders and people, the African continent had rediscovered the will to concentrate on the prevention and management of conflicts and on the development of Africa. In the economic arena, the struggle against poverty and the pursuit of regional economic integration were all being undertaken. All of those efforts were possible due to cooperation between Africa and the
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United Nations. The entire international community believed the best way to ensure peace and security in Africa was through the advancement of sustainable development. Without development, peace could only be fragile.
He believed that the status of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the League of Arab States and the OAU at the United Nations in New York should be reconsidered so that they could enjoy the privileges and immunities that were essential to the proper exercise of their responsibilities. The numerous challenges confronting Africa demanded the time, energy and appropriate global responses from the United Nations system and the entire international community.
MOSES M. DLAMINI (Swaziland) said to support Africa's efforts at preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping and peace-building, collective efforts were needed by the Central Organ of the OAU Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution; the OAU Conflict Prevention Division; and the United Nations OAU Liaison Office in Addis Ababa. His country supported the revitalization of the Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa and believed that it had an important role to play in promoting confidence-building measures at the regional level. For that reason, it was necessary to provide the resources to strengthen its activities.
Swaziland appreciated the initiative of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) to formulate and implement projects on human rights, democracy and the rule of law, he said.
ALI HACHANI (Tunisia) said Africa not only needed to help itself through inter-African cooperation and solidarity; international support was needed to overcome war, poverty and disease on the continent. He welcomed the consultations between the Secretaries-General of both organizations during their meetings twice a year.
Cooperation between the two organizations in the field of peace and security had yielded encouraging results, he continued. The OAU conflict- prevention mechanism would help reduce tension on the continent. That effort reflected the intention of African States to secure peace and stability. Nonetheless, the mechanism must be developed to contain crises more rapidly. Peace and security demanded address of underlying causes of conflicts.
The Organization also played a key role in the continent's economic and social development and in mobilizing support for African initiatives, he said. The decision of the Secretary-General to organize meetings with the OAU and the world's great institutions was a positive initiative that would hopefully mobilize sufficient funds for Africa. The Organization's cooperation with the OAU would increase chances for African success.
MASAKI KONISHI (Japan) said Japan was working to strengthen cooperation of the United Nations with regional organizations, particularly the OAU. In
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January, Japan had hosted an international conference on preventive strategy to devise a comprehensive approach for conflict prevention. The conference focused on the situation in Africa and had made recommendations concerning the enhancement of Africa's preventive capacity, especially early-warning capability.
Last week, he continued, Japan, together with the United Nations and the Global Coalition for Africa, had organized the second Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD II), which identified critical development issues in Africa and articulated the goals and objectives to address those issues. Japan was also cooperating bilaterally with the OAU. Through contributions to the OAU Peace Fund, it was helping establish a computer network connecting the United Nations, the OAU and other organizations for early warning of conflicts.
OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said Norway, for several years, had made financial contributions to strengthen African capacity in peacekeeping and conflict prevention.
He welcomed the efforts by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to assist the OAU in implementing programmes intended to strengthen the capacity of African organizations to meet humanitarian challenges. It was important that all parts of the United Nations system pay attention to Africa's development aspirations. He emphasized the importance of cooperation and coordination both at Headquarters and at the country level.
DAVID RUBADIRI (Malawi) said the regular consultations and exchanges of information taking place between the Secretary-General and the OAU were an important development. In addition, the United Nations Department of Political Affairs, as overseer of the programme of cooperation, deserved to be provided with ample resources and support in order to fulfil its mandate.
He said his Government attached considerable importance to the work being carried out by the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to strengthen capacities for African organizations and to build national capacities for disaster and emergency management. While his delegation welcomed the existing arrangements for cooperation between the United Nations and the OAU, it hoped that the trend would be continually strengthened with time. The short-term marginalization of the continent, resulting from the process of globalization and growing interdependence, should also not serve to undermine the existing partnership.
MACHIVENYIKA TOBIAS MAPURANGA (Zimbabwe) appealed to the United Nations and the international community to extend, in concrete ways, assistance to the OAU Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution. International support for Africa's efforts, including in the area of capacity-building, was needed so Africa's institutions and mechanisms could support the United Nations peacekeeping activities in Africa.
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Although various initiatives had been undertaken to address Africa's economic and social crisis, the Continent's economic and social woes had remained unmitigated, he said. Africa's sacrificial commitment to economic reform and restructuring programmes had largely gone uncomplemented by the requisite international support. Furthermore, Africa's endeavours to launch the African Economic Community and to revitalize the subregional groupings continued to be hampered by an unfavourable international environment. He challenged the international community to give priority, not only to the formulation of development initiatives in Africa, but also to their operationalization and implementation.
DURI MOHAMMED (Ethiopia) said the activities of the various United Nations agencies, such as the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the UNHCR, had to be closely coordinated with those of the OAU. Cooperation should be aimed at strengthening Africa's capacity through mobilization and provision of the necessary financial and technical assistance. Also, United Nations support for regional peace initiatives was indispensable.
The momentum for enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and the OAU needed to be maintained to implement the political and economic agenda identified by African countries, he said. While resorting to regional mechanisms and arrangements to prevent and resolve regional conflicts was a welcomed trend, regional efforts could not substitute the primary role and responsibility of the United Nations, particularly that of the Security Council, in the maintenance of international peace and security.
LEE SEE-YOUNG (Republic of Korea) said the United Nations and regional organizations had to concentrate more on crisis prevention, while the international community continued helping regional organizations strengthen their capacity for peacekeeping. Capacity-building was vital for swift response to conflict.
The Republic of Korea had participated in a number of United Nations peacekeeping missions in Africa, he said. Its attachment to Africa's peace and prosperity became even greater during its two-year membership in the Security Council. The Republic of Korea planned to increase human development programmes and grants in the framework of official development assistance (ODA).
FASSASSI A. YACOUBOU (Benin) said that cooperation between the Organization and the OAU would be strengthened by a human rights strategy that provided advice and technical assistance to African governments. There was no more pressing task today than replacing the continent's culture of violence and war, with one of peace. The promotion and protection of human rights were essential to that process. He called on the international community to make resources available to that end.
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Peace in Africa also required concerted efforts towards economic and social development, he said. His delegation welcomed efforts to increase ODA, convert bilateral debts of the poorest countries, liberalize access to the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative, improve market access for African products, and increase investment in Africa. Other African initiatives to pull Africa out from marginalization must be harmonized with the Secretary-General's recommendations, with specific sector targets and regular evaluations of their implementations.
AMADOU KÉBÉ, Permanent Observer for the OAU, said cooperation between the two organizations required a new definition, as problems today were increasingly complex. During the course of high-level or ad hoc meetings, both bodies attempted to reaffirm and redefine their cooperation philosophy. Unfortunately, the gap between the adopted programmes and their execution depended upon political will.
Conflict prevention was the OAU's highest priority, he said. While peace could be advanced in certain African conflicts through regional initiatives, the complexity of others required the involvement of the United Nations. Such situations demanded mobilization of enormous human and financial resources. In other areas, promoting democracy, good governance, respect for human rights and a culture of peace deserved the joint support of the organizations.
He then reviewed individual and cooperative efforts of the organizations to address post-conflict situations and the growing number of refugees and displaced persons in Africa.
The search for lasting solutions to economic development problems remained the concern of Africa, he said. Fear that Africa would lose ground under the sway of globalization was rampant. Globalization, he noted, would create repercussions in any link in its chain. Solutions were needed to increase the continent's capital flows and foreign direct assistance. The international community needed to reinvent the mentality of globalization. The Organization and the OAU would work in cooperation to prepare man and institutions for a better life in the twenty-first century.
GIAN N.F. BALESTRA (San Marino), the acting President of the Assembly, said that the draft resolution on cooperation with the OAU would be submitted to the Assembly at a later date.
Concerning the Assembly's work programmes, he said on Monday, 2 November, in the morning, it would take up the reports of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), the question of the Falkland Islands/Malvinas, and the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). On Wednesday, 4 November, in the morning, the Assembly would consider a new agenda item, entitled: "Dialogue among civilizations".
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Statements on Cooperation with CARICOM
SAMUEL R. INSANALLY (Guyana), on behalf of Caribbean Community (CARICOM), introduced the draft resolution on cooperation between it and the United Nations, noting the following countries had joined as co-sponsors: Algeria, Bahrain, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Dominica, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States.
The draft sought to reflect the achievements over the past two years and to promote even greater cooperation between the two bodies in the future, he said. The member States of CARICOM hoped it would be adopted by consensus.
PETER MANZ (Austria), speaking on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia and Cyprus, said the European Union noted a stronger CARICOM voice in international forums. He said progress had been seen also in the joint promotion of exports and a growing attraction of investment through the Caribbean Development Bank.
In February 1997, the European Economic Commission had signed a Caribbean regional indicative programme providing further resources for regional projects, he said. Considerable means were also made available to finance drug control projects. The European Union continued to be the largest provider of grant aid to the region. Diversification, economies of scale and better conditions of competition were factors which could promote economic growth and development in the Caribbean.
CRISTINA AGUIAR (Dominican Republic), on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean States, said Caribbean countries were striving to establish national measures to develop a new future, marked by economic growth, based on sustainable development and preservation of natural resources. The cooperation agreement signed in May between the United Nations and CARICOM made clear that there were new spheres of cooperation to be explored. It was necessary to develop cooperation and assistance, despite limited human and financial resources. She highlighted some areas of cooperation between various bodies of the United Nations system and CARICOM. The Caribbean region was mindful of the need to embark on a new path towards social and economic development.
PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) said that, since the fifty-first session of the General Assembly, the relationship between CARICOM and the United Nations had been formalized by the signing of the cooperation agreement between the two organizations in May 1997. She noted with satisfaction the wide range of United Nations bodies engaged in cooperative activity with CARICOM and fully endorsed the programmes of work being pursued.
Her country attached particular attention to the cooperation to implement international environmental action programmes. Jamaica also valued the
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collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Cooperation between the United Nations International Drug Control Programme and CARICOM on regional drug control initiatives was another area of meaningful collaboration. The United Nations had also provided assistance for the establishment of the CARICOM single market and economy. The CARICOM was placing great emphasis on its human resources development and looked to the United Nations system to support its aspirations.
CHO CHANG-BEOM (Republic of Korea) said the signing of the cooperation agreement between the United Nations and CARICOM in May signalled a diversification in cooperation between the two organizations. Collaboration could expand into peace and security, sustainable development and human rights. Although the geographical distance was great between the Republic of Korea and the Caribbean region, cooperative relations had been forged and expanded. His country paid significant attention to the interests of small island States, particularly the Caribbean countries, in their endeavours towards economic, social and political development.
In that context, the Republic of Korea had made consistent efforts to strengthen its bilateral ties with the Caribbean countries, through the promotion of trade, investment and greater exchanges of technical assistance, he said. It had also provided substantial technical assistance and actively participated in the international community's efforts to strengthen the democratic process and the protection of human rights in the region. Finally, despite the daunting task of overcoming the current financial crisis, his country would continue to contribute to CARICOM's efforts to promote peace and prosperity, by sharing its own experience in democratic and economic development.
ORLANDO MARVILLE, Secretary-General of CARICOM, said that the organization placed great importance on multilateral systems and rules. However, it expected those rules to take into consideration the varying levels of development in the sovereign States of the international community. In no international race did the amateur compete with the professional, nor did the lightweight compete with heavyweights in international competitions. Instead, differences were recognized and concessions provided. When speaking of a level-playing field, one ought to be certain that it was indeed level.
The CARICOM called on the international community to recognize and support the critical need of the small vulnerable States of the Caribbean, to be able to continue benefiting from the provisions of the European Union banana regime, he said. European partners had made every effort to comply with the World Trade Organization, yet, new challenges threatened. The CARICOM called on its "special friends" in the international community to support it on the issue.
Another area of concern to CARICOM and the Organization was the illicit trafficking in drugs and small weaponry, he said. He called for greater efforts to be made in programmes for drug-demand reduction. A number of other critical
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issues facing CARICOM included a resolution to the post-December electoral political crisis in Guyana. Another situation concerned Saint Kitts and Nevis as the latter pondered the issue of succession from the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. The Caribbean region must not be complacent on democracy, but must actively seek to strengthen democratic procedures. Further, the Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians needed to be strengthened to allow for much more cross-territory discussion on the issues affecting the region.
He said that,in July, CARICOM had accepted the application by Haiti for membership into the organization. While it was concerned over the country's political impasse, it continued to meet at a technical level to work out the terms and conditions of Haiti's membership.
The expanded Community would continue to require assistance from the United Nations in pursuing its developmental activities, he said, noting the establishment of a Caribbean single market and economy come 1 January 1999. He noted that four of the nine protocols necessary for the transformation to the single market and economy had been signed. The intention was to achieve economies of scale through the creation of a single economic space, rather than functioning as small economies. The single market would not promote a closed market, but instead lead to one well suited to investment and trade. The CARICOM would look to the United Nations and the international community to promote the development of its human resources and allow it to be more competitive in the global economy.
Mr. BALESTRA (San Marino), acting President of the Assembly, announced that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia had joined as a co-sponsor of the draft.
The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and CARICOM.
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