12 July 1999


Press Release
GA/COL/3018



SPECIAL COMMITTEE HEARS INTRODUCTION OF TWO DRAFT TEXTS RELATING TO IMPLEMENTATION OF DECOLONIZATION DECLARATION

19990712

Since the regional commissions played an important role in the integration of the Non-Self-Governing Territories in the Organization's programmes, efforts should be made to add those commissions to the list of United Nations bodies from which the Secretary-General requests information on assistance programmes to the Territories, Carlyle Corbin, Minister of State, Representative for External Affairs of the Government of the United States Virgin Islands, told the Special Committee on decolonization this afternoon.

As the Committee deferred action on a draft resolution on the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the United Nations specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the Organization, Mr. Corbin noted that the role of the regional commissions was critical to the full implementation of the Declaration, and Member States should be made aware of their activities in that regard. The text was submitted by the Chairman of the Special Committee, Peter Donigi (Papua New Guinea), and introduced by the representative of Saint Lucia.

Also this afternoon the Committee, due to proposed amendments and requests by members to confer with their respective governments, postponed action on a consolidated two-part Chairman's draft resolution on the questions of American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands. That draft was also introduced by the representative of Saint Lucia.

Under other matters, divergent views were expressed on whether the Special Committee should adopt the report of the Caribbean Regional Seminar -- held in Castries, Saint Lucia, from 25 to 27 May -- or merely take note of it with appreciation.


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Addressing the Committee on the report of the Regional Seminar, Mr. Corbin said that the Seminar was the one element of the Plan of Action of the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism that was actually being successfully carried out. It was, however, puzzling that after the Committee had conducted that important activity, some had sought to disassociate from the Seminar by not adopting its report.

He said it was ironic that the criticisms directed at the continued seminars were reinforced when the Committee did no more than take note of their recommendations, thus, minimizing their effectiveness. It was even more ironic that continued disapproval of the Seminar was directed by delegations which could never participate in them and, therefore, had no basis for such judgements.

Interpretation services were stopped at 6:15 p.m. as the Committee was in the process of discussing the various actions to be taken with regard to the report of the Seminar.

The Special Committee decided to continue discussions at a date to be announced.


Committee Work Programme

The Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples met this afternoon to take action on a consolidated draft resolution concerning American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guam, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands. It will also review the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations, and take action on a related draft resolution. In addition, the Committee will consider the report of the Caribbean Regional Seminar to review the political, economic and social conditions in the small island Non-Self-Governing Territories, which was held in Castries, Saint Lucia, from 25 to 27 May.

By the terms of the first part of the consolidated draft resolution on the Non-Self-Governing Territories (document A/AC.109/1999/L.15), submitted by its Chairman, the Committee would stress the importance of it being apprised of the views and wishes of the peoples of the Territories to enhance its understanding of their conditions. It would request the administering Powers, in consultation with the peoples of the Territories, to take all the necessary measures to protect and conserve the environment of the Territories under their administration against any environmental degradation, and would request the specialized agencies concerned to continue to monitor environmental conditions in those Territories.

The Committee would call upon the administering Powers, in cooperation with the respective territorial governments, to continue to take all the necessary measures to counter problems related to drug trafficking, money laundering and other offences. It would stress that the eradication of colonialism by the year 2000 would require the full and constructive cooperation of all the parties concerned and also required the full implementation of the Plan of Action of the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism and the relevant resolutions on decolonization. The Committee would also decide to adopt the report of the Caribbean Regional Seminar held in May, and the conclusions and recommendations contained therein.

By the text, the Committee would urge Member States to contribute to the efforts of the United Nations to usher in the twenty-first century in a world free of colonialism, and would call upon them to continue to give their full support to the Special Committee in its endeavours towards that goal. It would invite the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United nations system to initiate or to continue to take all the necessary measures to accelerate progress in the social and economic life of the Territories.


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The Committee would also request the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to include a component on the devolution of power to the Non-Self-Governing Territories in its programme on governance, and would call for closer cooperation between the Special Committee and the Economic and Social Council on furtherance of the provision of assistance to the Territories. The Committee would decide to conduct the necessary studies, in conjunction with the relevant regional groups, on the access of Non-Self- Governing Territories to programmes and activities of the United nations system, and those called for in the Plan of Action of the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism.

The second part of the text addresses conditions in individual Territories.

By the terms of the text on American Samoa, the Committee would request the administering Power (United States), bearing in mind the views of the people of the Territory through a democratic process, to keep the Secretary- General informed of the wishes and aspirations of the people regarding their future political status. It would call upon the administering Power to continue to assist the territorial government in the economic and social development of the Territory, including measures to rebuild financial management capabilities and strengthen other governmental functions of the government of the Territory.

By terms of the text on Anguilla, the Committee would request the administering Power (United Kingdom), bearing in mind the views of the people of the Territory ascertained through a democratic process, to keep the Secretary-General informed of the wishes of the people regarding their future political status. It would also call on the administering Power and all States, organizations and United Nations agencies to continue to assist the Territory in social and economic development.

Concerning Bermuda, the Committee would request the administering Power (United Kingdom), bearing in mind the views of the people of the Territory ascertained through a democratic process, to keep the Secretary-General informed of the wishes and aspirations of the people regarding their future political status. It would call upon the administering Power to continue to work with the Territory for its socio-economic development. It would also request the administering Power to elaborate, in consultation with the territorial government, programmes specifically intended to alleviate the economic, social and environmental consequences of the closure of the military bases and installations of the United States in the Territory.

On the British Virgin Islands, the Committee would request the administering Power (United Kingdom), bearing in mind the views of the people of the Territory ascertained through a democratic process, to keep the Secretary-General informed of the wishes and aspirations of the people


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regarding their future political status. It would request the administering Power, the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system and all financial institutions to continue to provide assistance to the Territory for socio-economic development and the development of human resources, bearing in mind the vulnerability of the Territory to external factors.

On the Cayman Islands, the Committee would request the administering Power (United Kingdom), bearing in mind the views of the people of the Territory ascertained through a democratic process, to keep the Secretary-General informed of the wishes and aspirations of the people regarding their future political status. It would request the administering Power, the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system to continue to provide the territorial government with all required expertise to enable to achieve its socio-economic aims.

The Committee would also call on the administering Power and the territorial government to continue to cooperate to counter problems related to money laundering, smuggling of funds and other related crimes, as well as drug trafficking. It would request the administering Power, in consultation with the territorial government, to continue to facilitate the expansion of the current programme of securing employment for the local population, in particular, at the decision-making level.

On Guam, the Committee would request the administering Power (United States) to work with the Territory's Commission on Decolonization for the Implementation and Exercise of Chamorros Self-Determination, with a view to facilitating Guam's decolonization and to keep the Secretary-General informed of the progress to that end. It would call upon the administering Power to take into consideration the expressed will of the Chamorro people, as endorsed by the people of Guam, and would encourage the Power and the territorial government to continue negotiations on the matter. The Committee would also request the administering Power to inform the Secretary-General of progress to that end.

The Committee would request the administering Power to continue to assist the elected territorial government to continue to transfer land of the people of the Territory. It would further request the administering Power to continue to recognize and respect the political rights and the cultural and ethnic identity of the Chamorro people of Guam and to take all the necessary measures to respond to the concerns of the territorial government with regard to the immigration issue. The Committee would also request the administering Power to cooperate in establishing programmes specifically intended to promote the sustainable development of economic activities and enterprises, noting the special role of the Chamorran people in Guam's development. It would further request the administering Power to continue to support appropriate measures by the territorial government aimed at promoting growth in commercial fishing and agricultural and other viable activities.


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Regarding Montserrat, the Committee would request the administering Power (United Kingdom), bearing in mind the views of the people of the Territory ascertained through a democratic process, to keep the Secretary-General informed of the wishes and aspirations of the people regarding their future political status. It would call upon the administering Power, the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system, as well as regional organization, to continue to provide emergency assistance to the Territory in alleviating the consequences of the volcanic eruption.

On Pitcairn, the Committee would request the administering Power (United Kingdom), bearing in mind the views of the people of the Territory ascertained through a democratic process, to keep the Secretary-General informed of the wishes and aspirations of the people regarding their future political status. It would also request the administering Power to continue its assistance for the improvement of the economic, social, educational and other conditions of the population of the Territory. In the section on St. Helena, the Committee would request the administering Power (United Kingdom), bearing in mind the views of the people of the Territory ascertained through a democratic process, to keep the Secretary-General informed of the wishes and aspirations of the people regarding their future political status. It would also request the administering Power and the relevant regional and international organizations to continue to support the efforts of the territorial government to address the socio-economic development of the Territory.

Concerning Turks and Caicos Islands, the Committee would request the administering Power (United Kingdom), bearing in mind the views of the people of the Territory ascertained through a democratic process, to keep the Secretary-General informed of the wishes and aspirations of the people regarding their future political status. It would invite the administering Power to take fully into account the wishes and interests of the government and the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands in the governance of the Territory. The Committee would call upon the administering Power and the relevant regional and international organizations to continue to provide assistance for the improvement of the economic, social, educational and other conditions of the population in the Territory. It would further call upon the administering Power and the territorial government to continue to cooperate to counter problems related to money laundering, smuggling of funds and other related crimes, as well as drug trafficking.

With regard to the United States Virgin Islands, the Committee would request the administering Power (United States), bearing in mind the views of the people of the Territory ascertained through a democratic process, to keep the Secretary-General informed of the wishes and aspirations of the people regarding their future political status. It would also request the administering Power to continue to assist the territorial government in achieving its political, economic and social goals. The Committee would


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further request the administering Power to facilitate the participation of the Territory, as appropriate, in various organizations, in particular, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS).

The Committee would express its concern that the Territory, which is already heavily indebted, was forced to borrow $21 million from a commercial bank to carry out its year 2000 computer-compliance programme, and would call for the United Nations year 2000 programme to be made available to the Non- Self-Governing Territories. The Committee would express its concern that the economic crisis affecting the Territory has resulted in accumulated debt of more than $1 billion, including disaster loans from the administering Power, overdue wage increases, vendor payments and contributions to the government's retirement system. While welcoming the measures being taken by the newly elected territorial government in addressing the crisis, the Committee would call upon the administering Power, in cooperation with the territorial government, to facilitate the Territory's action in resolving the economic crisis, including the provision of debt relief on loans borrowed for hurricane recovery and other financial assistance.

By the terms of the draft resolution on implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations (document A/AC.109/1999/L.11/Rev.1), the Committee would recommend that all States intensify their efforts in the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, contained in General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), and other relevant resolutions of the United Nations. It would reaffirm that the specialized agencies and other organizations and institutions of the United Nations system should continue to be guided by the relevant resolutions of the Organization in their efforts to contribute to the implementation of the Declaration and all other relevant Assembly resolutions. The Committee would reaffirm also that the recognition by the Assembly, the Security Council and other United Nations organs of the legitimacy of the aspirations of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to exercise their right to self- determination entails, as a corollary, the extension of all appropriate assistance to those peoples. The Committee would request the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system and international and regional organizations to examine and review conditions in each Territory, so as to take appropriate measures to accelerate progress in the economic and social sectors of the Territories. It would urge those specialized agencies and organizations of the United Nations system which have not yet provided assistance to Non-Self-Governing Territories to do so as soon as possible. The Committee would request the specialized agencies and other organizations and institutions of the United Nations system and regional organizations to


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strengthen existing measures of support and formulate appropriate programmes of assistance to the remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories, within the framework of their respective mandates, in order to accelerate progress in the economic and social sectors of those Territories.

The Committee would also request the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system concerned to provide information on: environmental problems facing the Non-Self-Governing Territories; the impact of natural disasters, such as hurricanes and volcanoes, and other environmental problems, such as beach and coastal erosion and droughts, on those Territories; ways and means to assist the Territories to fight drug trafficking, money laundering and other illegal and criminal activities; and the illegal exploitation of the marine resources of the Territories and the need to utilize those resources for the benefit of the peoples of the Territories. The Committee would recommend that the executive heads of the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system formulate, with the active cooperation of the regional organizations concerned, concrete proposals for the full implementation of the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and submit the proposals to their governing and legislative organs.

The Committee would encourage the Non-Self-Governing Territories to take steps to establish and/or strengthen disaster preparedness and management institutions and policies. It would request the administering Powers concerned to facilitate the participation of appointed and elected representatives of Non-Self-Governing Territories in the relevant meetings and conferences of the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system, so that the Territories may benefit from the related activities of those agencies and organizations. The Committee would also recommend that all governments intensify their efforts in the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system of which they are members to accord priority to the question of providing assistance to the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories.

The Committee would also request the Secretary-General to continue to assist the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system in working out appropriate measures for implementing the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and to prepare for submission to the relevant bodies, with the assistance of those agencies and organizations, a report on the action taken in implementation of the relevant resolutions, including the present resolution, since the circulation of his previous report. It would further request the specialized agencies to report periodically to the Secretary-General on the implementation of the present resolution.

The Committee also has before it the draft report of the Caribbean Regional Seminar (document A/AC.109/1999/CRP.2), which provides introduction to the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism and details the


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organization of the seminar and the conduct of the Seminar, including the proceedings, consideration of questions and issues and a summary of statements and discussions. Annexed to the report are: a message form the Secretary- General to participants of the Conference; statements by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Saint Lucia, the Chairman of the Special Committee, and the Permanent Representative of Saint Lucia to the United Nations; a list of participants; and a resolution on expression of appreciation to the Government of Saint Lucia.

According to the draft conclusions and recommendations contained in the report, the Seminar concluded that: in the process of decolonization, there was no alternative to the principle of self-determination, which was also a fundamental human right; all available options for self-determination were valid as long as they were in accordance with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned and in conformity with the clearly defined principles contained in the Charter of the United Nations, and as enunciated in relevant General Assembly resolutions and decisions; the United Nations had a valid ongoing role in the process of decolonization and that the mandate of the Special Committee was a major political programme of the United Nations; and there was still a need for identifying and implementing innovative practical and pragmatic approaches in the search for a specific solution to each of the remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories, in accordance with the freely expressed wishes of the populations concerned and in conformity with the Charter and relevant resolutions and decisions of the Organization.

Among others, the Seminar also concluded that: the specific characteristics of the remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories should, in no way, prevent their populations from exercising the inalienable right to self-determination in conformity with the Charter and relevant Assembly resolutions; the programmes on governance, in particular, of the UNDP, should include a component that addressed issues related to the Non-Self-Governing Territories; there should be closer cooperation between the Special Committee and the Economic and Social Council in furtherance of the provisions of assistance in the economic and political sphere from the United Nations to the Non-Self-Governing Territories; and there was a need for effective and constructive consultations between the administering Powers, member States of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the representatives of Non-Self-Governing Territories in the formulation of appropriate laws in respect of offshore banking.

Participants also supported the initiation, at the regional level, of a study on the access of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to programmes and activities of the United Nations in furtherance of the decolonization process. It was also recommended that United Nations Information Centres should be directed to disseminate information on decolonization to the Territories and to the administering Powers.


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Statements

Addressing the issue of the implementation of the Declaration on decolonization by specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations, CARLYLE CORBIN, Minister of State, Representative for External Affairs, Government of the United States Virgin Islands, said General Assembly resolutions on the item dating back to 1950 had provided the historic mandate for assistance from the wider United Nations system to the Non-Self-Governing Territories. Those resolutions stood as the legislative authority for the participation of those Territories as associate members or observers in the United Nations specialized agencies, and in the United Nations world conferences from 1992 through 1996. Reference should be made to the participation by many of the small Territories in the various United Nations world conferences cited . "Our statement on this item in 1998 gave a comprehensive picture of our activities, but no reference was included in the draft text presented to the Committee this year", he noted.

He said that more recently, as a result of Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) resolution 574 (XXVII) of April 1998, support was expressed for the extension of observer status for the associate member Territories of the United Nations regional commissions to participate in the special sessions of the Assembly that were being convened to review and assess the implementation of the programmes of action of those conferences, and in the work of the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies. Since the United Nations regional commissions played an important role in the integration of the Non-Self-Governing Territories in the Organization's programmes, efforts should be made to add those commissions to the list of United Nations bodies from which the Secretary-General requested information assistance programmes to the Territories.

He urged that a request for information be sent to the executive secretaries of ECLAC and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), respectively, so that their responses could be made available to Member States in advance of the considerations of the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) in the coming fall. The role of the regional commissions was critical to the full implementation of the Declaration on decolonization, and Member States should be made aware of their activities in that regard.

BERNARD TANOH-BOUTCHOUE (Côte d'Ivoire) said it was important to show the people of the Territories that their concerns and aspirations were being taken into account. That should lead the Committee to be more rigorous and pertinent in the positions taken, or otherwise there would be repetition year after year without anything being achieved.


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Action

PETER DONIGI (Papua New Guinea), Chairman of the Special Committee, invited the representative of St. Lucia to introduce a draft resolution relating to the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies of the United Nations and the international institutions associated with the United Nations (document A/AC.109/1999/L.1/Rev.1).

The representative of Saint Lucia said his delegation had proposed amendments to the draft. The proposed operative paragraph 16 would read: "The Special Committee welcomes the approval of resolution 574 (XXVII) of 26 April 1998 calling for the necessary mechanisms for its associate members including small island Non-Self-Governing Territories to participate in the special sessions of the United Nations General Assembly to review and assess the implementation of the plans of action of the United Nations world conferences in which the Territories originally participated in the capacity of observer, and in the work of the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies".

The proposed operative paragraph 17 would read: "The Special Committee also welcomes the adoption of General Assembly resolution 53/189 of 15 December 1998 which, inter alia, called for the participation of associate members of regional economic commissions in the special session (on small island developing States) subject to the rules of procedure of the General Assembly, and in the preparatory process thereof, in the same capacity of observer that held for their participation in the 1994 Global Conference".

The representative of Chile asked for time to allow every delegate to examine the proposed amendments. Had the resolution been approved by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)?

The representative of Saint Lucia said that as far as he knew it had been approved by ECLAC. He had no objections to delegates taking time to examine the proposed amendments.

The representative of Côte d'Ivoire said that customarily it was up to the initiator of the resolution to introduce and comment on it as well as to explain any proposed amendments so delegates could compare the two texts and react.

Mr. DONIGI (Papua New Guinea), Chairman of the Special Committee, said today was the last day for formal meetings this year. Did members need more time to deal with the resolution?

The representative of Chile said it would be a good time to consider the proposed amendment.


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Mr. DONIGI (Papua New Guinea), Chairman of the Special Committee, then suspended the meeting for five minutes to allow delegations to consult among themselves.

FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria), Rapporteur of the Special Committee, then explained what had transpired during the consultations.

The representative of China wanted to know whether the proposed amendment to operative paragraph 16 and the whole text would be adopted today. Her delegation needed at least 24 hours to seek guidance from the capital before adopting the amendments.

The representative of Chile said the representative of China should be given the minimum time she needed to consult her mission.

The representative of Côte d'Ivoire asked whether the other drafts could not be taken up while the representative of China sought clarification from her Mission or capital.

The representative of India said he had no problems with the proposed paragraphs.

The Special Committee then decided to accept the proposed amendments, subject to confirmation by the representative of China.

Mr. DONIGI (Papua New Guinea), Chairman of the Special Committee, then invited the representative of St. Lucia to introduce the omnibus draft resolution relating to 11 Non-Self-Governing Territories and contained in document A/AC.109/1999/L.15.

The representative of Chile said the proposed amendments to the omnibus resolution (document A/AC.109/1999/L.15) needed consideration in the capitals of Member States since it was an important consensus resolution.

The representative of Côte d'Ivoire said last year's omnibus text had been negotiated with the administering Powers. This year's negotiations had been delegated to two delegations -- Saint Lucia on behalf of the Caribbean Territories and Papua New Guinea for the Territories in the Pacific. They had done the work that the Committee normally did vis-à-vis the administering Powers.

The Chairman said the delegation of Papua New Guinea had consulted with the respective administering Powers. He hoped that all the administering Powers had been consulted in each regional case.

The representative of Saint Lucia said there had been consultations with the delegations of administering Powers. In fact, a letter had been received


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from the United Kingdom indicating the changes that it wanted made. Those requests had been incorporated. With regard to the final document, however, there had been a telephone call today from the United Kingdom in which it stated that it was not happy with the final document. That country, however, always had recourse to the General Assembly's Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization).

The Chairman then went through the draft and drew the Committee's attention to where the current resolution differed from last year's, indicating where new paragraphs had been added, others suppressed while highlighting the various amendments. He said the new amendments and changes were substantive and in view of that fact perhaps delegations did need time to confer with their headquarters and capitals.

The representative of the Russian Federation said his delegation was convinced that the aim of the resolution should be consensus. However, that would not be possible with the text before the Committee. The amendments were based on the recommendations of regional seminars of which there were still doubts. In that connection, there would be serious problems with the text as it stood now.

The representative of Côte d'Ivoire said time was needed to see how the views of the administering Powers could be incorporated into the document.

The representative of Saint Lucia said while he noted the reservations of the Russian Federation, there was one important observation to be made. It would appear that in the interest of consensus, a lot of new material from special conferences was never included in resolutions. One of the new features of this new resolution was that points made at seminars were reflected in the text. If there were no such inclusions the text then made a nonsense of the conferences in both the Pacific and the Caribbean.

The representative of Chile said it was important to realize that action on the draft could not be taken today. Consensus was important.

The representative of Cuba said that last Friday his delegation had been asked to examine the draft resolution and given the task of collating and comparing it with last year's text. Cuba agreed with the text introduced by the representative of Saint Lucia and was ready to take action on it.

The representative of Fiji said that a consensus resolution would only be useful if taking into account current developments in Non-Self-Governing Territories. Fiji agreed in principle with changes instituted by the Chairman. The Special Committee needed to move forward taking into account the needs of the people of the Territories.


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The representative of Côte d'Ivoire proposed an amendment concerning the Territory of American Samoa. In paragraph 3, language should be included stating that permission for visiting missions should be granted by the territorial government, as well as the administering Power.

Mr. DONIGI (Papua New Guinea), Special Committee Chairman, then called on the Rapporteur.

Mr. MEKDAD (Syria) said the tradition had always been to adopt by consensus then later have consultations with the administering Power in order to adopt in the Committee and the Assembly. The experience of the past years had demonstrated that information available would be inserted into the text and that new additions would be added. Consensus had to be reached in the Special Committee if it was to be reached in the Fourth Committee and the Assembly. He suggested the Committee held informal consultations to discuss opinions and viewpoints and prepare a draft that enjoyed consensus in the Special Committee.

The representative of Chile said he agreed with the Rapporteur's proposal.

Mr. DONIGI (Papua New Guinea), Special Committee Chairman, then proposed informal consultations to discuss amendments to the draft, including the one made by the representative of Côte d'Ivoire and the amendment in respect of the Territory of St. Helena.

Mr. CORBIN, addressing the Committee on the report of the Regional Seminar held in Castries, Saint Lucia in May of this year, said that the Regional Seminar was the one element of the Plan of Action of the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism that was actually being successfully carried out. That should be projected as a positive activity of the Special Committee. It was, however, puzzling that after the Committee conducted that important activity, some sought to disassociate the Committee from the Seminar by not adopting its report.

He said if a few delegations did not agree with all the recommendations in the Seminar report, then they should express their reservations on the specific paragraphs to which they objected, and those objections would be duly contained in the section of the resolution that adopted the report. Looking at the larger picture, if the Committee could not support the work of the Territories as articulated in the Seminar reports, then all of the verbal commitments made in terms of "taking into account the views of the peoples of the Territories" would be considered meaningless.

It should be clear that it was somewhat ironic that the criticisms directed at the continued mechanisms of the Seminar were re-enforced when the Special Committee did no more than take note of Seminar recommendations, thus


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minimizing their effectiveness. It was even more ironic that continued disapproval of the Seminar was directed by delegations which could never participate in them and, therefore, had no basis for such judgements. "But we give them that basis if we disassociate ourselves from the Seminar recommendations which reflect the views of the peoples of the Territories", he added.

Mr. MEKDAD (Syria), Rapporteur of the Special Committee, then introduced the report of the Caribbean Regional Seminar held at Castries, Saint Lucia, from 25 to 27 May.

He said that the delegation of the Special Committee had not only received valuable information directly from the representatives of the Territories, who discussed the problems they faced and their need of information and assistance, but had gained a first-hand perspective of the situation in small island Territories, particularly those in the Caribbean. The conclusions and recommendation contained in the report reflected many of the ideas emanating from the discussions and the views of the participants.

Though the preparations for the Seminar had been given just enough lead time, he said, it was felt that consultations in the Committee should commence even earlier to consider the venue, dates, subjects for discussions and the list of experts and other speakers who should be invited to participate in the next seminar. The seminar to be held next year would be the last regional seminar of the International Decade for the Elimination of Colonialism.

He emphasized the need for the Committee to continue holding such seminars, particularly as the opportunity to meet people from the Non-Self- Governing Territories in their own region was so limited. The problems faced particularly by the small island Territories were accorded a more realistic perspective when seen against the backdrop of the other islands in the region, and the related issues were better appreciated and understood. The support of neighbouring countries to the remaining island Non-Self-Governing Territories was perceptible, and the Committee's presence in the region lent strength to their own efforts.

It was hoped, he said, that the recommendations and conclusions contained in the report would help the Committee in the critical review of its work, as well as provide some practical options for consideration by the Committee in its implementation of the plan of action.

Mr. DONIGI (Papua New Guinea), Special Committee Chairman, then proposed amendments to the report on the Caribbean Regional Seminar.

The representative of Chile said that his delegation's position on the Seminar was that if the Special Committee took note with appreciation of the recommendations of the report, that would be an important point and a good


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guide for the Committee's work, demonstrating the importance of the last seminar in Fiji, of which note had been taken. If the conclusions and recommendations were to be adopted, it would mean that the Fourth Committee and the Assembly would have to endorse that making them legal and shaping the work of the United Nations. What was the status of civil society and non- governmental organizations? Who could not put forward recommendations? The right thing would be to allow members to study the contents of the recommendations.

Mr. MEKDAD (Syria), the Rapporteur, stressed that his delegation had no objection to the adoption of the report. That action would mean that the members of the Special Committee were united in their approach to questions of Non-Self-Governing Territories.

The representative of Côte d'Ivoire agreed with the Syrian delegate that the adoption of the report would demonstrate unity in the Special Committee approach.

Mr. DONIGI (Papua New Guinea), the Chairman, said interpretation services would end at 6:15 p.m.

At 6:15 p.m., the Special Committee continued its meeting without interpretation.

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