30 October 2000


Press Release
GA/9799



ENDING DEBATE ON LAW OF SEA, ASSEMBLY URGES EFFORT TO COMBAT PIRACY; CALLS FOR ACTION ON UNAUTHORIZED FISHING IN NATIONAL WATERS

20001030

Stronger Links Sought between UN and Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, Islamic Conference, League of Arab States

The General Assembly this morning, concluded its consideration of its agenda item on oceans and the law of the sea with the adoption of two resolutions –- one on efforts to prevent and combat piracy and armed robbery at sea; the other on large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing. The Assembly also considered cooperation between the United Nations and three other bodies -– the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the League of Arab States –- on which it also took action

The resolution urging States to prevent and combat piracy and armed robbery at sea, and to bring perpetrators to justice was adopted by a recorded vote of 143 in favour to 2 against (Turkey, Saint Kitts and Nevis), with 4 abstentions (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela). (See Annex I.)

The Assembly called on States to cooperate fully with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and to become parties to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Maritime Navigation and its protocol. The international community was urged to assist developing countries, and particularly small island developing States, to acquire data and prepare charts or lists of geographical coordinates for publication under various articles of the Convention and to prepare information the Convention called for.

In other terms, the resolution asked the Secretary-General to establish a voluntary trust fund to assist States to settle disputes through the Tribunal and another voluntary trust fund for the training of technical and administrative staff. That fund would provide personnel and technical and scientific advice to help developing States in planning and in providing the information called for in the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf's Scientific and Technical Guidelines. Also sought was a voluntary trust fund for assisting developing countries to attend meetings of the Consultative Process, to which States would be invited to contribute.

Further, the Assembly called on donor agencies to keep their programmes under review to ensure all States had the economic, legal, navigational, scientific and technical capacities and skills necessary for full implementation


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of the Convention on the Law of the Sea and for the sustainable development of the oceans and seas, particularly keeping in mind the rights of landlocked developing States.

The Assembly urged States to continue development of a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) international plan of action on illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, as a priority, and to prioritize action on marine pollution from land-based sources.

In a recorded vote of 103 in favour to none against, with 44 abstentions, the Assembly adopted a resolution on large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing, unauthorized fishing in zones of national jurisdiction and on the high seas, fisheries by-catch and discards, and other developments. By the text it reaffirmed the importance it attached to the long-term conservation, management and sustainable use of marine living resources of the world’s oceans and seas. (See Annex II.)

By the resolution, all States were encouraged to implement the international plans of action of the FAO for reducing the incidental take of seabirds in longline fisheries, for the conservation and management of sharks and for the management of fishing capacity. Those States that had not already done so were urged to reduce by-catch, fish discards and post-harvest losses.

The Assembly also urged States to continue development of an FAO international plan of action on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, so that the FAO Committee on Fisheries would be in a position to adopt elements for inclusion in a comprehensive and effective plan of action.

By the same terms, the Assembly called upon the FAO, the IMO, regional and subregional fisheries management organizations and arrangements, and others to take up the issue of marine debris as a matter of priority and, where appropriate, to promote better coordination and help States to fully implement relevant international agreements.

The President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, P. Chandrasekhara Rao, said the rule of international law in international relations could not be maintained unless international disputes were resolved by peaceful means. The establishment of new tribunals in recent years was a positive development. The effect of more tribunals being available to the litigants was that more disputes had come to be resolved by parties by means of their choice.

Satya N. Nandan, Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority, said it was clear that the Authority had an important role to play both as a global repository of data and information and as a catalyst for collaborative research at the international level. The fact that the regulations on prospecting for polymetallic nodules in the international seabed area had been adopted meant the Authority was now in a position to issue the first set of seven licences or contracts for exclusive exploration by the seven applicants who were registered as pioneer investors by the Preparatory Commission.


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The representatives of Turkey, Mexico, Venezuela, France (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Norway, Cuba, Singapore and Japan explained their vote.

The representative of Saint Kitts and Nevis indicated that his vote had been recorded in error. It should not have been a vote against the resolution, but a vote in favour.

In other action this morning, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a draft decision by which the General Assembly decided to include in the provisional agenda of its fifty-sixth session the item entitled "Cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test- Ban Treaty Organization".

The Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission, Wolfgang Hoffman, said that with the adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) one of the longest treaty negotiations in the history of arms control and disarmament had been brought to a successful end. The Treaty banned all nuclear test explosions, for military as well as civilian purposes. It had assumed a pivotal role in the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The Treaty and its verification regime focused on preventing the explosive testing of nuclear devices and therefore impeded the development of ever more sophisticated and qualitatively new nuclear weapons.

The Assembly also adopted, without a vote, a resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. By its terms, the Assembly would request the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to 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.

Further to the terms, the Assembly urged the United Nations and other organizations of the United Nations system to provide increased technical and other forms of assistance to the Organization of the Islamic Conference in order to enhance cooperation.

The representative of Armenia explained his position on the resolution.

In a final action this morning, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States. By the resolution's terms, the Assembly requested the Secretariat of the United Nations and the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States to intensify further their cooperation for the realization of the purposes and principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations; the strengthening of international peace and security; economic and social development; disarmament; decolonization; self-determination and the eradication of all forms of racism and racial discrimination.

By the text, the Assembly also recommended that the United Nations and all organizations of the United Nations system should make the greatest possible use


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of Arab institutions and technical expertise in projects undertaken in the Arab region.

The Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States said the League had been the first regional organization to establish a relationship with the United Nations. Today he welcomed its new role of cooperation with the United Nations in legal, cultural and political areas. The League had favoured consolidation for peace, security and development. It was clear that the situation in the Middle East required a just, lasting peace based on cooperative efforts between the United Nations and the League.

Israel's representative said his delegation had joined the consensus, guided by the desire to make peace with its neighbours. In joining that consensus, Israel wished to demonstrate to all parties its willingness to forgo unnecessary discord in international forums, and to stress the need to exercise restraint in the language of resolutions and all related statements. He rejected the language used at the latest summit of Arab League States in Cairo, and called on Palestinians to halt violence and incitement, and to immediately restore calm and order.

The representatives of Mexico, Philippines, France (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Australia, United States, Austria, China, Argentina, Canada, Malaysia, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Norway, Iran, Qatar, Bangladesh and Iraq also spoke.

The Assembly will meet again tomorrow, 31 October, at 10 a.m., to take up, among other items, consideration of peace, security and reunification on the Korean peninsula.



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Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this morning to conclude its consideration of oceans and the law of the sea. It was also scheduled to take up consideration of: cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization; cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference; cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States; an agenda item entitled "Towards global partnerships"; and peace, security and reunification on the Korean peninsula.

(For detailed background information on oceans and the law of the sea, see Press Release GA/9796 of 26 October.)

Under this agenda item, the Assembly has before two draft resolutions.

A text on oceans and the law of the sea (document A/55/L.10) is sponsored by Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chili, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lesotho, Malta, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Mongolia, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.

By its terms, the Assembly would call upon all States that have not done so to become parties to the Convention on the Law of the Sea, and on all States to harmonize national legislation with the Convention's provisions and to ensure their consistent application.

The Assembly would urge the international community assist developing countries and, particularly, small island developing States, to acquire data and prepare charts or lists of geographical coordinates for publication under various articles of the Convention and to prepare information the Convention called for.

It would ask the Secretary-General to establish a voluntary trust fund to assist States to settle disputes through the Tribunal, invite contributions to it, and report annually to States party on the status of that fund. The Assembly would also call upon States to consider ratifying or acceding to the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the Tribunal and to the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the Authorities.

It would ask the Secretary-General to establish another voluntary trust fund for training of technical and administrative staff, the provision of personnel, and technical and scientific advice to assist developing States in planning and providing information called for in the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf's Scientific and Technical Guidelines, and to report annually on the status of that fund.

By other terms, the Assembly would call on donor agencies to keep their programmes under review to ensure all States had the economic, legal, navigational, scientific and technical capacities and skills necessary for full implementation of the Convention on the Law of the Sea and the sustainable development of the oceans and seas, and, in doing so, to bear in mind the rights of landlocked developing States.

The Secretary-General would be asked, in cooperation with competent organizations and programmes, to review efforts to build capacity, as well as to identify duplication and the gaps, to ensure consistent approaches in implementing the Convention, and to include this information in his annual report on oceans and the law of the sea.

By other terms, the Assembly would urge States to continue development of a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) international plan of action on illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, as a priority, and to prioritize action on marine pollution from land-based sources. It would urge States to take all practical steps, in accordance with the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, to prevent pollution from ships and from dumping.

They would also be urged to take measures to prevent and combat incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea, including through regional cooperation, to investigate or cooperate in the investigation of such incidents wherever they occur, and to bring perpetrators to justice in accordance with international law. For that, it would call on States to cooperate fully with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and to become parties to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation and its protocol.

The Assembly would recommend the second meeting of the Consultative Process organize its discussions around the areas of marine science, and the development and transfer of marine technology, as agreed. The Secretary-General would be asked to establish a voluntary trust fund for assisting developing countries to attend meetings of the Consultative Process and invite States to contribute to this fund.

Before the Assembly was a draft resolution on oceans and the law of the sea: large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing, unauthorized fishing in zones of national jurisdiction and on the high seas, fisheries by-catch and discards, and other developments (document A/55/L.11), sponsored by Australia, Barbados, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Tonga and the United States.

By the terms of that draft, the Assembly would reaffirm the importance it attaches to the long-term conservation, management and sustainable use of marine living resources of the world’s oceans and seas, and the obligation of States to cooperate to this end, in accordance with international law. All States would be encouraged to implement the FAO International Plans of Action for reducing the incidental take of seabirds in longline fisheries, for the conservation and management of sharks and for the management of fishing capacity.

By other terms in the draft, the Assembly would urge those that have not already done so to reduce by-catch, fish discards and post-harvest losses.

The Assembly would call upon States and others entities to ratify or accede to it, and consider applying provisionally, the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks provisions of the Convention on the Law of the Sea, to take measures to deter reflagging of fishing vessels flying their flag to avoid compliance with applicable obligations, to ensure that fishing vessels entitled to fly their flag do not fish in areas under the national jurisdiction of other States, unless authorized, or fish on the high seas in contravention of conservation and management measures.

The Assembly would urge States to continue development of an FAO international plan of action on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, so that body's Committee on Fisheries will be in a position to adopt elements for inclusion in a comprehensive and effective plan of action at its twenty-fourth session.

The Assembly would also appeal to all concerned to promote the application of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries within their areas of competence. It would invite the FAO to continue its cooperative arrangements with United Nations agencies on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and to report on priorities for cooperation and coordination in this work to the Secretary-General for his annual report on oceans and the law of the sea.

The Assembly would call upon the FAO, the IMO, regional and subregional fisheries management organizations and arrangements, and others to take up the issue of marine debris as a matter of priority, and, where appropriate, to promote better coordination and help States to fully implement relevant international agreements.

By other terms, the Assembly would recommend that the biennial conference of regional and subregional fisheries management organizations and arrangements with the FAO consider measures to strengthen further the role of those organizations in all aspects of fisheries conservation and management, and that the FAO consider inviting intergovernmental organizations relevant to its work to join that biennial conference.

The General Assembly had before it a note by the Secretary-General (document A/55/422) transmitting a report on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) submitted by the Executive Secretary of the Commission.

The Executive Secretary made reference to the following activities undertaken by the Provisional Technical Secretariat in 1999: the commissioning of the International Monitoring System (IMS); the establishment of the Progressive Commissioning Plan of the International Data Centre (IDC); the establishment of the global communications system; the development of the On-site Inspection (OSI) Operation Manual, training, and procurement of OSI equipment; the development of the evaluation framework, promotion of a CTBTO Quality Assurance System, and increase of synergies between evaluation and quality assurance; support to policy- making organs; finance and budgetary matters; personnel issues; procurement; internal audit; legal services; outreach activities relating to public information, external relations and international cooperation; and the conference held pursuant to article XIV of the Treaty in October 1999.

According to the Executive Secretary, in 1999 the first stations in IMS technologies sent data to the IDC. The IMS achieved a major advance in the procurement of equipment for seismic, T-phase and radionuclide stations. The major accomplishments in the seismological monitoring system were in upgrades of existing seismic monitoring facilities to meet the technical requirements of the Preparatory Commission, and in laying the groundwork for installations of new stations by means of rigorous site survey and site preparation programmes.

Similarly, in the infrasound monitoring system, the major focus was on the completion of site surveys. The Executive Secretary noted that the principal achievement of the hydroacoustic monitoring system was the commencement and progression of work on three hydrophone stations. In the radionuclide monitoring system contracts were established for the procurement of detector systems, air sampler systems and automatic station systems.

The Executive Secretary also cited accomplishments in four IDC programmes, specifically, the management, technical coordination and training programme; the monitoring programme; the scientific methods and data fusion programme; and the infrastructure programme. Another advance occurred in the installation of Global Communications Infrastructure (GCI) equipment, providing global satellite coverage of the Middle East and In addition, the development of the OSI Operational Manual was viewed as a priority for the States signatories and the Provisional Technical Secretariat because of its importance in guiding the executive of OSI operations.

Also before the Assembly was a draft decision on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO (document A/55/L.5), submitted by Mexico, by which the General Assembly would decide to include in the provisional agenda of its fifty-sixth session the item entitled "Cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization".

The report of the Secretary-General on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) (document A/55/368) stated that, during the period under review, the United Nations and the OIC continued their consultations on political matters, especially those concerning ongoing peacemaking efforts, which have become an important dimension in the cooperation between the two organizations. Both Secretaries-General had a number of bilateral meetings during the period. Among other things, they discussed the situations in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Kosovo and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Both organizations continue to hold regular consultations, in particular between the Department of Political Affairs and the Permanent Observer Mission of the OIC to the United Nations, on a number of issues of mutual concern.

With regard to the conflict in Afghanistan, both the United Nations and the OIC remained in very close contact and intensified their political cooperation. The Secretary-General’s Personal Representative for Afghanistan, Francesc Vendrell, participated as an observer in indirect talks with the United Front and the Taliban convened by the OIC Committee for Afghanistan. On 1 March, the members of the OIC Committee briefed the Secretary-General on their activities. They informed the Secretary-General that the efforts the OIC regarding Afghanistan were of a complementary nature, in support of the central role of the United Nations in the search for a peaceful resolution of the long-lasting Afghan conflict.

Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 54/7, a general meeting on cooperation between the United Nations system and the OIC and its specialized institutions was held at the United Nations Office at Vienna, from 11 to 13 July. Working papers prepared by the participating organizations, agencies and institutions of the two organizations discussed cooperation in such areas as food security, the protection of the environment, water control, agricultural information systems, multilateral trade, cultural heritage, investment and technology promotion, and reproductive health programmes.

Before the General assembly was a draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC (document A/55/L.17) sponsored by Malaysia.

By the terms of the draft, the Assembly would request the United Nations and the OIC to 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.

Further to the draft, the Assembly would encourage the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system to continue to expand their cooperation with the subsidiary organs and specialized and affiliated institutions of the OIC, particularly by negotiating cooperation agreements, and invite them to multiply the contacts and meetings of the focal points for cooperation in priority areas of interest to the United Nations and the OIC.

The Assembly would also urge the United Nations and other organizations of the United Nations system, especially the lead agencies, to provide increased technical and other forms of assistance to the OIC and its subsidiary organs and affiliated institutions in order to enhance cooperation. The Assembly would request the Secretary-General to report to the Assembly at its fifty-sixth session on the state of cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC, and would include the issue in the provisional agenda of its fifty-sixth session.

The Assembly also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States (A/55/401) submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 54/9 of 18 November 1999. Part II of the report contains information about consultation and exchanges of information. During the period under review, the secretariats of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, as well as the Office of the Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States to the United Nations, continued to maintain close contact on matters of mutual concern to the two organizations.

Part III of the report contains a summary of the reports of the organizations and agencies of the United Nations system on their cooperation with the League during the period under review. It represents a follow-up to the proposals adopted at the joint meetings held at Geneva in 1997 and Vienna. Part IV of the report discusses a sectoral meeting on youth and employment between the United Nations and the League of Arab States.

Also before the Assembly was a resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States (document A/55/L.18). By terms of the draft, the Assembly would call upon the specialized agencies and other organizations and programmes of the United Nations system to continue to cooperate with the Secretary-General and among themselves, as well as with the League of Arab States and its specialized organization, in the follow-up of multilateral proposals aimed at strengthening and expanding cooperation in all fields between the United Nations system and the League of Arab States and its specialized organizations;

The Assembly would call upon the United Nations organizations and agencies to strengthen the capacity of the League of Arab States to benefit from globalization and information technology and to meet the development challenges of the new millennium, as well as to participate whenever possible with organizations and institutions of the League of Arab States in the execution and implementation of development projects in the Arab region.

It would also call upon the specialized agencies and other organizations and programmes of the United Nations system to increase their cooperation with the League of Arab States and its specialized organizations in the priority sectors of energy, rural development, desertification and green belts, training and vocational education, technology, environment and information and documentation.

By the draft, the Assembly would request the Secretariat of the United Nations and the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States to intensify further their cooperation for the realization of the purposes and principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, the strengthening of international peace and security, economic and social development, disarmament, decolonization, self-determination and the eradication of all forms of racism and racial discrimination.

The text is sponsored by Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Palestine.

The Assembly also had before it a draft resolution on peace, security and reunification on the Korean peninsula (document A/55/L.14).

By the term of the resolution, the General Assembly would recognize that the historic summit meeting, held in Pyongyang in June 2000, between the two leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea and their joint declaration represent a major breakthrough in inter-Korean relations and in realizing eventual peaceful reunification.

The Assembly would also encourage the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea to continue to implement fully and in good faith the joint declaration and other agreements reached between the two sides, thereby consolidating peace on the Korean peninsula and laying a solid foundation for peaceful reunification. Furthermore, the Assembly would invite Member States to support and assist, as appropriate, the process of inter-Korean dialogue, reconciliation and reunification so that it may contribute to peace and security on the Korean peninsula and in the world as a whole.

The text is sponsored by Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bhutan, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian federation, San Marino, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Viet Nam.

Statements on Law of Sea

P. CHANDRASEKHARA RAO, President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, said that under the Convention the Tribunal could offer flexible mechanisms for settlement of disputes. Parties could chose between having a dispute heard by the full Tribunal, which included all its judges, and having a dispute heard by one of its special chambers. The Tribunal had formed the following special chambers for dealing with particular categories of disputes: Chamber of Summary Procedure; Chamber of Fisheries Disputes; and the Chamber for Marine Environment Disputes. The Tribunal was also required to form an ad hoc chamber for dealing with a particular dispute submitted to it, if the parties so requested.

The rule of international law in international relations could not be maintained unless international disputes were resolved by peaceful means, he said. It was equally important that judgements rendered by international courts or tribunals were implemented in good faith and in time by States and other parties to international adjudication. It was encouraging to note that the Millennium Declaration had found it appropriate to call upon Member States to ensure compliance with the decisions of the International Court of Justice. That exhortation was equally relevant in respect to decisions of all international courts or tribunals. The establishment of new tribunals in recent years was a positive development. The effect of more tribunals being available to the litigants was that more disputes had come to be resolved by parties by means of their choice. There was also the additional factor that several of the newly created tribunals were also accessible to non-State entities.

The financial situation of the Tribunal remained far from satisfactory, he continued. As many as 35 States parties to the Convention had never paid their assessed contributions. Timely payment of contributions had an important bearing on the ability of the Tribunal to discharge its functions effectively. Establishment of trust funds, with a view to providing financial assistance to States for costs incurred in connection with disputes before international adjudicative forums, was not a new concept. The availability of such funds could overcome the financial impediments to the judicial settlement of disputes and promote their peaceful settlement. The Tribunal welcomed the decision of the tenth meeting of States parties to the Convention to recommend to the Assembly the establishment of a trust fund for the purpose of providing financial assistance to States to help them in proceedings before the Tribunal.

There had not been much progress, he said, in the matter of the ratification of the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Since he last spoke to the Assembly in November 1999, only two more States had ratified the Agreement, making the total number of ratifications four. For the Agreement to enter into force, at least 10 instruments of ratification or accession needed to be deposited with the Secretary-General. He welcomed the provision in the draft resolution calling upon States that had not done so to consider ratifying or acceding to the Agreement.

SATYA N. NANDAN, Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority, felt that the adoption of the Regulations on Prospecting for Polymetallic Nodules in the International Seabed Area would establish a standard form of contract for exploration for polymetallic nodules, as well as standard terms and conditions for such contracts. The fact that the Regulations had been adopted meant the Authority was in a position to issue the first set of seven licences or contracts for exclusive exploration by the seven applicants who were registered as pioneer investors by the Preparatory Commission. He hoped that those contracts could be concluded in the very near future so that a report could be made to the next session of the Authority on the progress of exploration under the contracts. In reference to the draft resolution on ocean and the law of the sea (document A/55/L.10), paragraph 14, which concerns the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the Authority, he urged all Member States to consider acceding to the Protocol at the earliest opportunity.

Continuing, he took note of the Authority’s series of international workshops on issues relating to deep seabed mining. The current year’s workshop was on mineral resources other than polymetallic nodules, specifically hydrothermal polymetallic sulphides, cobalt-rich crusts and gas hydrates. The workshop was extremely useful in broadening the knowledge of the international community of the resources of the deep seabed and in highlighting the potential mineral wealth of the oceans. It was clear that the Authority had an important role to play now both as a global repository of data and information and as a catalyst for collaborative research at the international level. The Authority’s next workshop, he went on, would be convened in 2001 and would deal with the standardization of data collection and evaluation from research and exploratory activities undertaken in the deep seabed, both with respect to the mineral resources and of protection and preservation of the marine environment.

On administrative matters, it was encouraging that the majority of Member States had fulfilled their obligations promptly because it had helped the Authority to manage its finances in a responsible and efficient manner. He repeated a call he made last year for all Member States to consider seriously their participation in the meetings of the Authority, since it was apparent that, without the presence of Members at the meetings, the Authority’s ability to take decisions would be affected. The Secretary-General’s report (document A/55/61) was comprehensive and very useful. It was also necessary to note the 28 ratifications out of the 30 needed for the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement, which had become the reference point for the review of fisheries management organizations worldwide. The Agreement had been used as the basis for the establishment of two important regional fisheries management organizations in the western and central Pacific Ocean and in the south-east Atlantic Ocean. In closing, he wished to commend the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea for the work it had done and for the great contribution it had already made to ensuring the integrity and effectiveness of the system for the peaceful settlement of disputes.

Action on Draft Resolutions

Speaking before the vote, TEOMAN MUSTAFA UYKUR (Turkey) said his delegation would vote against the draft resolution on oceans and the law of the sea (document A/55/L.10) because some of the elements contained in the Convention, which had prevented Turkey from approving the Convention, were reflected in the draft. The Convention did not make provisions for special geographical situations and did not make provisions for registering reservations on specific clauses.

Regarding the draft contained in document A/55/L.11, on large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing, he said the draft contained certain elements, in particular the context in which it referred to the Convention. The rights and duties of coastal States under their national jurisdiction could not have any effect upon their rights as far as the question of delimitation of such zones was concerned.

GUSTAVO ALBIN (Mexico) said the draft resolution on oceans and the law of the sea (document A/55/L.10) had a reference to a 10-year period, which was a matter of concern. The establishment of trust fund in paragraphs 9, 18 and 20 did not affect the possibilities of participation in the meeting of the States parties. Regarding paragraph 41 of the draft, he said that, in that paragraph, the second meeting of the Consultative Process would not address the rights of States to address other issues.

He could not support the draft resolution on large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing (document A/55/L.11). He objected to the fifth and sixth preambular paragraphs, in which mention was made of the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the western and central Pacific Ocean and the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Fishery Resources in the south-east Atlantic Ocean. The Assembly was not the forum for those issues. Regarding operative paragraph 19, he said all activities relating to fisheries should be in accordance with international instruments available. He regretted that paragraph 26 included reference to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. That issue was in the process of being discussed in other international forums.

MARTHA DI FELICE (Venezuela) said she would abstain in the vote on the draft resolution A/55/L.11. The fourth preambular paragraph and operative paragraph 3 referred to the Convention on the Law of the Sea. Venezuela was not party to the Convention and believed that they were not subject to the provisions of this Convention, so long as they had not provisionally accepted them.

FRANÇOIS ALABRUNE (France) spoke on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Republic of Moldova and Monaco. He said he Union would abstain in the vote on the draft resolution on ceans and the law of the sea. The draft contained useful elements, but consensus could not be reached among the countries he was representing. For example, it contained reference to the Galapagos Agreement, which raised difficulties with regard to the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea, particularly with reference to the high seas. He drew attention to the importance attached to international cooperation for the conservation and management of living marine resources. He actively supported efforts to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and could not endorse certain misinterpretations in the law when creating certain fisheries organizations, some of which did not respect the principles of the 1982 Convention.

MARCELO VAZQUEZ (Ecuador) said that he attached great importance to thee matters addressed by the draft resolution. It set out an adequate balance between the different positions. It also raised matters of importance to developing countries, of which Ecuador was one. Furthermore, it took note of an important new international development, the Galapagos Agreement. For those reasons, Ecuador would vote in favour of the draft.

The President of the Assembly announced that Antigua and Barbados, Austria, Dominica, Haiti, Jamaica, Lybia, Kenya, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Panama and the Bahamas had become co-sponsors of the draft resolution on oceans and the law of the sea, as contained in document A/55/L.10 and Corr.1.

In a recorded vote, the Assembly then adopted the text on oceans and the law of the sea (document A/55/L.10) by a vote of 143 in favour, to 2 against (Turkey, Saint Kitts and Nevis), with 4 abstentions (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela). (For details of the vote, see Annex I.)

The Assembly’s President announced that Belize had become a co-sponsor of the draft resolution on large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing (document A/55/L.11).

In a recorded vote, the Assembly adopted the resolution (document A/55/L.11) by a vote of 103 in favour, to none against, with 44 abstentions (Annex II).

The representative of Saint Kitts and Nevis, in a point of order, announced that his vote should have been recorded in favour of the resolution on oceans and the law of the sea.

Explanation of Votes after Vote

CRISTIAN MAQUIEIRA (Chile) said the item on large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing had traditionally been supported by his country. Despite that long- standing support, Chile had to adopt a position with reservations concerning the resolution. Regarding straddling stocks and highly migratory stocks, known as the New York Agreement, his Government believed that the Agreement did not provide enough protection and would allow the interference of third countries. For that reason, Chile had not acceded. His Government subscribed to the framework in the Galapagos Agreement, which set out agreements for coastal States. That agreement was entirely compatible with the Convention on the Law of the Sea and imposed an obligation on Sates to work together. Chile was surprised that the European Union abstained. He hoped the European Union would have an exchange with the Assembly regarding its objections.

RICARDO LUIS BOCALANDRO (Argentina) said his Government favoured both resolutions.

HANS WILHELM LONGVA (Norway) said he had voted in favour of the resolution on large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing (document A/55/L.11) and regretted that the resolution had not been adopted by consensus. There were admittedly shortcomings in the draft and he agreed with the European Union that certain agreements for preservation in the Galapaqos Agreement did give rise to questions of compatibility with the Convention. It was not sufficient to reduce discards through the use of selective techniques. The practice of discards should be prohibited. The positive elements of the resolution, however, outweighed the negative elements. He hoped it would be possible to return to consensus in the future.

SORAYA ELENA ALVAREZ NUÑEZ (Cuba) said her delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolution on oceans and the law of the sea (document A/55/L.10) as her country was firmly committed to the Convention as the legal framework within which all activities relating to the oceans and the seas should take place. She regretted that the draft, in operative paragraph 39, contained inappropriate drafting. Issues relating to finances ran counter to Rule 153 of the Rules of Procedures of the General Assembly. The Fifth Committee should address those issues.

DESMOND WEE (Singapore) said that his delegation had voted in support of the draft resolution because it contained many constructive elements that encouraged responsible fishing practice. However, it also contained references to some regional fisheries agreements. The terms of those agreements and the way they were implemented must be consistent with international law, in particular the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

KOICHIRO SEKI (Japan) said that the draft resolution made an effort to find solutions to illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. Japan agreed with the conclusions in the paragraphs on those matters. Consensus had not been achieved in other paragraphs, however. Therefore, Japan had abstained in the vote

WOLFGANG HOFFMAN, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, said that on 10 September 1996, the General Assembly had adopted the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) by a vote of 158 in favour to 3 against, with 5 abstentions. With the adoption of the CTBT, one of the longest treaty negotiations in the history of arms control and disarmament was brought to a successful end. A few months ago, an agreement to regulate the relationship between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission had been adopted. With the adoption of the relationship agreement, the Commission became a new member of the United Nations family. The relationship agreement provided for close cooperation and coordination between the two organizations. The CTBT banned all nuclear-test explosions, for military as well as civilian purposes. It had assumed a pivotal role in the nuclear non-proliferation regime. While the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and its verification regime addressed the proliferation of weapons grade fissionable material, the CTBT and its verification regime focused on preventing the explosive testing of nuclear devices. The CTBT, therefore, impeded the development of ever more sophisticated and qualitatively new nuclear weapons and was expected to stop vertical, as well as horizontal nuclear proliferation.

The International Monitoring System was a network of 170 seismological, 60 infrasound, 11 hydroacoustic and 80 radionuclide stations, supported by 16 radionuclide laboratories, he continued. It would be capable of registering vibrations underground, in the sea and in the air, as well as detecting traces of radionuclides released into the atmosphere by a nuclear explosion. He elaborated on the progress in the work of the Provisional Technical Secretariat. The Provisional Technical Secretariat was building up the International Monitoring System according to a schedule of work determined by the Commission. To date, some $58 million had been budgeted for capital investment in the Monitoring System. The amount represented approximately 40 per cent of the total capital investment required to complete the System. The core of the Global Communications Infrastructure had been put in place in the elaboration of a draft On-site Inspection Operational Manual, which was being treated as a priority task. Confidence-building measures, another element of the global verification regime, were of a voluntary nature.

He said that since its opening for signature and ratification on 24 September 1996, the Treaty had been signed by 160 countries. To date, 66 countries had also ratified the Treaty, including 30 of the 44 States listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty whose ratification was needed for it to enter into force. The commitment of the international community to bringing the Treaty into force was clearly reflected at the 2000 NPT Review Conference, where the importance and urgency of signature and ratification had been highlighted. Thus far, the brief history of the CTBT could be considered a success. The international community supported the Treaty, its organization was well established, and even before its entry into force the verification regime had proved itself a reliable and effective system. The early entry into force of the Treaty remained an important political challenge. He encouraged all States to take the necessary steps to ensure that the CTBT entered into force soon, so that all the components of its verification could be brought into effect to make the world a safer and more secure place for generations to come.

GUSTAVO ALBIN (Mexico) said he was honoured to introduce draft decision A/55/L.5 entitled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission of the Organization for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty" (CTBTO). The conclusion of the Treaty prohibiting nuclear testing constituted for many years a priority objective of Mexican foreign policy. The Government of Mexico signed the Treaty convinced that the cessation of testing would inhibit the qualitative improvement of nuclear arms and would put an end to the development of new types of nuclear weapons. It was an important step in the process of nuclear disarmament. Consistent with the importance Mexico attached to the work of the CTBTO, his country had assumed the Presidency of the Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO in its work in the second half of the current year. He believed in an improved work relationship between the Preparatory Commission and the United Nations, which opened possibilities for more cooperation, efficiency and transparency.

The agreement between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission was adopted on 10 June 2000, in conformity with the Charter, he said. It recognized the United Nations as the principal Organization concerned with issues of peace and international security. By means of the agreement, both Organizations recognized the necessity of collaborating on common objectives. To that end, the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission had agreed to cooperate in conformity with the readiness of its instruments. Member States of the United Nations must reinforce the CTBT as an indispensable element supporting the multilateral agenda in the camp of nuclear disarmament. In closing, he hoped that the decision would receive the full support of all Member States and would be approved by consensus.

MARY JO B. ARAGON (Philippines) said that the road to the CTBT had been an interesting one. There had been some bumps and turns, but everyone had remained true to the cause. The CTBT had not become a mere fixture in the archives of the Conference on Disarmament. In the past years the establishment of the CTBT Organization had been sought, while at the same time achieving the Treaty’s universality. While the numbers had been encouraging, efforts towards universality contained an extra challenge or another bump in the road -- the ratification of the rest of the 45 States listed in Annex 2. The end of the road was still far away. For the Philippines, that end was the total elimination of nuclear weapons. More immediately, it was vital to stay on the road towards the entry into force of the CTBT.

The resolution was proof that the international community was going in the right direction; another proof was the gentleman who had been quietly organizing the CTBT Organization and who would share his thoughts later, Wolfgang Hoffmann of Germany. Even though the entry into force of the CTBT had not been achieved, today's decision was important and was one that she believed would contribute to the entry into force of the Treaty. The final nuclear tests of the last millennium were all conducted in her part of the world. It was the hope of her country that those tests were the last for all time. The CTBT was an important part of the collective effort towards nuclear disarmament. Taken together with the other steps that had been taken, the CTBT was crucial in preventing proliferation and would put in place a verification system that would one day be needed when an agreement had been reached to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

PHILIPPE BOSSIERE (France), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said he was pleased with the successful conclusion of the bilateral agreement between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, which would give the Assembly an opportunity to discuss progress made on the way to speedy entry into force of the Treaty.

He said no less than 166 States had signed the fundamental instrument. He called upon all States that had not done so, particularly those appearing on the list of 44 States whose ratification was necessary for entering into force of the Treaty, to sign and ratify as soon as possible. All member States of the European Union had spared no effort to see to it that the Treaty would enter into force without delay. The draft agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) should also be concluded as soon as possible. The European Union acknowledged progress made in the installation of the monitoring system. He hoped that every effort would be made to establish such stations. He welcomed the information regarding the budget from the Executive Secretary to the effect that 91 per cent of the contributions had been paid. He hoped that the Assembly would support the efforts made by the organization in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation. He hoped that Member States would support the bilateral agreement.

LES LUCK (Australia) said that the completion of the CTBT negotiations in September 1996 fulfilled a key objective. While it was disappointing that the CTBT was not formally yet in force, it was in provisional operation and that was welcomed. With 160 signatories and 66 ratifications, and a growing verification infrastructure, the Treaty was firmly established as a powerful international norm against further nuclear testing. Australia had recently made a further round of diplomatic representation to Asia-Pacific countries and countries in the group of 44 whose ratification was required for entry into force. His country had also been pleased to take the lead in introducing the CTBT resolution under consideration in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security).

There was no doubt that the establishment of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO was a landmark achievement for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, he said. The setting up of the Preparatory Commission sent a powerful message to those still outside the CTBT that the global non-testing norm was here to stay. The Treaty's International Monitoring System was a major effort for the international community. Countries would be establishing their own national data centres to enable them to reach conclusions about international compliance with the test-ban. Obviously, the system required a significant investment. But, it was an investment fully justified by the security benefit.

Australia would host 21 International Monitory System stations, the third largest number of stations in any country. He was pleased to report that work on those stations was at an advanced stage, with several stations already close to certification as meeting CTBT standards. Along with the Monitory System, the possibility of an On-Site Inspection to investigate serious concerns about non- compliance was a fundamental element of CTBT verification. Agreement on effective and practical procedures for On-Site Inspection had proved more elusive that he had hoped, and he looked forward to the active contribution of all States signatories in the forthcoming elaboration process for the On-Site Inspection Manual, so that the document would be ready as soon as possible. His Government had long recognized that a universal and verifiable ban on nuclear tests was an essential component of regional and international peace and security and would be a decisive step towards the goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons.

GRANT SMITH (United States) said he wished to express his support for the important work of the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization in implementing the requirements of the CTBT. The United States had demonstrated its support through its active participation in the work of the Preparatory Commission. The creation of an international verification regime, which was the prime task of the Preparatory Commission, would be a major step forward. That regime would include an International Monitoring System, consisting of a global network of seismological, radionuclide, hydroacoustic, and infrasound sensors, and an International Data Centre, which would play a key role in monitoring the Treaty. He urged all countries that had signed or ratified the CTBT to meet their obligations to support this effort.

PETRA SCHNEEBAUER (Austria) said that she firmly believed that the Treaty was a very important instrument. Austria was pleased to note that since the Treaty was adopted and opened for signature, 160 had signed and 66 States had ratified it. Thirty of those were key States whose ratification was a prerequisite for its entry into force. The international community must take stock of what had already been achieved. Austria was confident that in the next month the number of signatories would be increased. She called on the key 14 States to do so.

CHENG JING YE (China) said the CTBT was concluded by the international community after hard negotiations. It was an important step towards elimination of nuclear weapons and a significant result in the field of arms control and disarmament. Since its entry into force it had been signed by over 160 countries. In the last four years, preparations for the Treaty Organization had been in full swing. He paid tribute to Mr. Hoffmann, who had made a positivie contribution towards the negotiations for the Treaty.

The Preparatory Commission had been given a noble mission, he said, and played an important role in international peace and security. Progress had been achieved in the preparatory work, but there were some problems. Some big States had not ratified the Treaty. China had always approached the CTBT positively and had been one of the first signatories. His Government had submitted the Treaty for ratification. He hoped that countries that had not done so would ratify the Treaty at an early date, so that universality could be achieved.

LUIS ENRIQUE CAPPAGLI (Argentina) thanked Mr. Hoffmann for his presentation. His Government expressed its satisfaction with the agreement between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission. It supported the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons and was in favour of international verification centres. In December 1999 Argentina signed an agreement for carrying out activities with international monitoring sites. At the national level, Argentina had contributed to the installation of monitoring stations.

In conclusion, he emphasized his country’s political support for nuclear test bans, but expressed concern regarding the increase in the budget. There was a need to stress the upcoming international workshop beginning 29 November in Lima, Peru, because it would provide impetus for the entering into force of the CTBT.

ROBERT McDOUGALL (Canada) said that this was a landmark occasion. The Canadian national statement to the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) had noted that it had been signed by 160 countries and ratified by 66. There had been no testing for more than two years now. There was also a de facto moratorium on testing by the five nuclear-weapon States. Canada wanted the bar against nuclear testing to be decisive -- no more tests ever again. That was why Canada was appealing directly to the 14 governments who were needed as signatories for the Treaty to enter into force. The Treaty was a vital part of the essential infrastructure for a world free from nuclear arms. Canada was pleased to have the occasion to hail this progress.

Action on Draft Decision

The Assembly decided to adopt, without a vote, the draft decision on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (document A/55/L.5).

Cooperation between United Nations and OIC

HASMY AGAM (Malaysia), introducing the draft resolution, said that the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) aimed at strengthening unity and solidarity among the Islamic community and forging greater cooperation among its members encompassing all areas. The OIC was made up of 56 States members and four observer States, and covered a vast geographical area and a large population dispersed over four continents. In July this year, the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers had been held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Foreign Ministers considered international developments and their impact on the Islamic States, with a view to defining common positions on global and economic issues. They had also reviewed the socio-economic situation in the Islamic world, as well as economic relations with non-States members. Several resolutions were adopted at the meeting, representing the positions of the Islamic community on matters pertaining to global peace and security, social justice, and trade and development. The Foreign Ministers also took a hard look at the structural distortions and discriminatory treatment that were currently undermining the international system and made a number of constructive recommendations.

He introduced draft resolution A/55/L.17 for the Assembly's consideration and unanimous adoption.

IBRA DEGUENE KA (Senegal) said that consideration of the item just introduced was of special importance to his delegation, since it represented a high point in his efforts to find the right collective responses to the many challenges facing both organizations. The OIC included some 50 States members, a fifth of the world’s population, which gave the OIC global duties and obligations. It was, therefore, normal that it should share the concerns of the United Nations. Cooperation between the two organizations had diversified over the years, and was now a living reality in broad areas such as the environment and development.

One priority was clearly to find solutions to crises that were of great concern in certain countries or regions, for example, the Middle East and the question of Palestine, Somalia, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone. The OIC was deeply committed to finding lasting political solutions to those crises. The question of Palestine was a special priority. Senegal could attest to the vitality of the relationship and the pre-eminent role that the United Nations and the OIC must play in finding a solution. Ariel Sharon's provocative visit and the violence that it triggered had prompted both organizations to work in close cooperation in order to find ways to put the peace process back on track.

Cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC extended to the promotion of international peace and security. In crisis areas, member countries of the OIC had associated their initiatives with the initiatives of the United Nations. It was within that context of cooperation that 10 priority areas had been identified at the meeting between the United Nations and the OIC, held in Vienna in July. Those areas included trade and development, assistance to refugees, food, security, education and health. That could provide a model for the expansion of the relationship of the United Nations and other organizations.

ABDUL-AZIZ AL-HAID (Saudi Arabia) said the discussion today had thrown light on cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC. The report of the Secretary-General (document A/55/368) expressed the dimension and importance of that cooperation. In addition, it imposed responsibility on both organizations for continued cooperation in the political and cultural areas. His Government hoped that mechanisms would be created as sound channels for finding solutions to joint problems such as peace, disarmament, the Palestine question, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other international peace and security issues. Saudi Arabia believed that that would require intensifying cooperation in the political field.

The Secretary-General’s report reviewed the OIC, and called for increased cooperation in technical know-how in both agriculture and the scientific field, so that States members of the OIC could progress and prosper in line with the principles of Islam. He added that there was a need to push forward the wheel of development. In conclusion, Saudi Arabia asked the host country to accord the OIC the same status as other similar organizations, which it had yet to do despite years of negotiation.

SHAMSAD AHMAD (Pakistan) said that coordination between the United Nations and the OIC had been maintained during the past year on important political issues, including the Middle East and the question of Palestine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the situation in Afghanistan, Somalia and Nagorno-Karabakh. There was now a need for sustained and effective cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC for resolving some of the most protracted conflicts. The Jammu and Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan was one of them.

It was a matter of satisfaction that cooperation between the United Nations system and the OIC was expanding on a wide range of socio-economic issues. Efforts should be made to diversify cooperation in those and other related fields for the collective benefit of Member States, he said. He was concerned that the Permanent Observer Mission of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which had functioned in New York for more than two decades, had not been accorded formal recognition by the Host Government. He urged the Host Government that the OIC Observer Mission may be accorded necessary privileges and immunities, as envisaged in Article 105 of the United Nations Charter. That had been recognized and achieved in Geneva, Switzerland, where the OIC had been accorded the necessary privileges and immunities.

OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said his delegation encouraged the United Nations and the OIC to continue strengthening cooperation in the field of peace-making and preventive diplomacy. He also urged the United Nations and the Conference to renew their efforts to seek a negotiated solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. Cooperation between the specialized agencies of the United Nations and the OIC, its subsidiary bodies, and specialized and affiliated institutions served to extend dialogue to new areas. The Memorandum of Understanding signed between the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Conference, on 2 October 1998, constituted an important follow-up to the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development.

He welcomed the steps taken towards further implementation of the Cairo Programme of Action, especially with regard to Islam and reproductive health, the status of women, and population and development. He stressed the importance of freedom of religion and belief, and highlighted the role that religious communities could play at all levels in seeking solutions to conflict. He was also pleased to note that the education of girls and women was now included in the cooperation programmes between the United Nations and the OIC.

HADI NEJAD HOSSEINIAN (Iran) said that war and fratricide had persisted in Afghanistan for more than two decades. Iran had suffered more than any other country from the adverse consequences of chaos and instability in Afghanistan. The OIC Committee on Afghanistan, in a meeting with the Secretary-General of the United Nations in March, had emphasized the central role of the United Nations in dealing with the Afghan crisis and the need for the OIC to play a complementary role in an effort to use the potential of the Islamic world to end the sufferings of the Afghan people. Iran hoped that the continuation of close cooperation and coordination between the two organizations would bring about peace in Afghanistan.

The question of stability and peace in the Middle East through the full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of self- determination, the return of refugees to their homes and the establishment of a sovereign State of Palestine, was still a matter of priority and concern in the agenda of both organizations. His Government strongly believed that continuing consultations and cooperation between the two organizations could contribute to the full realization of the Palestinian’s rights and the restoration of a just and genuine peace in the region.

Fortunately, he continued, during the past two years, new avenues for a better and strengthened cooperation between the OIC and the United Nations system had been explored. Significant progress in that field was made in widespread cooperation between the OIC and its subsidiary bodies and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The two organizations had jointly planned, financed and implemented activities in eradication of poverty, basic education and capacity-building in the field of information, communication technology and cultural heritage. His delegation looked forward to the same achievements from cooperation between the OIC and the other pertinent specialized agencies, organizations and programmes of the United Nations.

ADEL AL-KHAL (Qatar) said it was a proven fact that cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations was of great importance. The OIC was an irreplaceable forum and he was convinced that the organization would gain in importance in international affairs in the future.

The OIC could play an important role in social, econoomic, cultural and technical issues. International problems, among them human rights, were issues on which both organizations could help to make progress. The OIC had an enormous geographic area and had great political expertise because of its diversity. It could be an important instrument in the area of peace and security.

To make the cooperation effective, Qatar welcomed periodic high-level contacts between the two organizations. He was confident that the Assembly would give total support to the item. He informed the Committee that Qatar would be hosting the ninth Islamic Conference. Several problems, such as Afghanistan, could benefit from the OIC’s activities. Indeed he prayed that the Conference could solve a whole array of problems, including that of Al-Quds, which was a threat to the region’s security.

ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) welcomed the report of the Secretary- General on “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference”. It was comprehensive, and structured to reflect the essence of the cooperation between the two organizations. His Government fully supported that cooperation . Moreover, Bangladesh was encouraged to see that it had grown in strength and expanded into the vital areas of peacemaking and conflict resolution as well as socio-economic development. Noting that peace and development should go hand in hand, he said that conflict resolution was increasingly approached through cooperation with organizations that were relevant and important, both at the international and regional levels. The ongoing consultations between both organizations on peacemaking efforts relating to the situations in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Kosovo and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had yielded a visible proof of their cooperation, much to the satisfaction of Bangladesh.

His country was happy to endorse the agreement on the 10 priority areas of cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC and its specialized institutions. International trade remained an important engine of growth in the age of globalization, and increased market access for export of goods from developing countries was an area for consideration in sectoral meetings on cooperation. Bangladesh felt that capacity building in science and technology in developing countries should continue to be a priority issue. He also took note of the growing scope of technical cooperation among developing countries. Further, relevant organizations of the United Nations system and of the OIC should contribute to the transfer of technology and capacity building.

Bangladesh commended the OIC’s ongoing cooperation with the UNFPA, as epitomized by the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation. He attached great importance to the activities relating to development of a model curriculum for population education, training and workshops in the OIC countries. In closing, he said the issue of poverty eradication called for a broader and comprehensive strategy at the local, national and international levels. Bangladesh, he added, believed that the sensible approach would be to coordinate action among the actors, both government and non-government, at all levels.

MOKHTAR LAMANI, of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said that without wanting to belittle the relevance or importance of the report by the Secretary-General, he had noted that some United Nations agencies had described their activities with the OIC undertaken in years prior to the period under review and that some had reported on their regular activities in OIC member countries outside the scope of United Nations/OIC cooperation. In the interest of clarity and accuracy, he said the agencies would find it desirable to report on actual activities undertaken with the OIC and implemented during the time of the review.

He said that contacts and interactions between the United Nations and the OIC had been maintained and would be strengthened through the Islamic Group and a number of OIC contact groups and committees at the United Nations. With regard to Afghanistan, he said that there had been two rounds of indirect talks with the United Front and the Taliban at OIC headquarters in Jeddah, with the participation of Francese Vendrell, the Secretary-General's Personal Representative for Afghanistan. The efforts of the OIC regarding Afghanistan would continue to be complementary to, and in support of, the central role of the United Nations until a credible resolution of the conflict was reached.

Cooperation and coordination of the two organizations in the political, economic, social and cultural fields was important, he said. The two organizations could play complementary roles in promoting a dialogue among civilizations. He hoped that greater efforts would lead to a better understanding among peoples of different cultures, ethnicities and religions in all countries of the world.

Action on Draft Resolution

The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (document A/55/L.17).

Speaking in explanation after adoption, ARMAN AKOPIAN (Armenia) said he had joined the consensus on the resolution, as he regarded the OIC as one of the most important regional organization. The OIC had proved to be dedicated to the principles of the Charter and was highly respected by the international community. Since the report of the Secretary-General had mentioned, in paragraph 3, the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, he wanted to address the issue.

For nearly a decade the OIC had been considering the issue, he continued. The OIC was free to consider any issue affecting a member State. But, the OIC was adopting unbalanced resolutions on the subject, implying that it concerned a conflict between Islam and Christianity. The true nature of the conflict was, however, the deprivation of a people’s inalienable right to self-determination. The Armenian side had always refrained from using religion as a political issue, because it would only aggravate the situation and give it a more dangerous dimension. The overwhelming majority of the OIC’s member States did not have complete information on the conflict and relied, therefore, on the information of interested members. Armenia had invited the Secretary-General of the OIC to visit the area to get an idea about Armenia’s views. That had not happened, unfortunately. Had it happened, the OIC would have helped to create a more positive atmosphere. He sincerely wished to see the region of the Caucasus to be an example of the “dialogue between civilizations”.

Cooperation between United Nations and League of Arab States

SAEED HASAN (Iraq) introduced the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States (document A/55/L.18). The League of Arab States was established at the same time as the United Nations. He was proud of the links between the two, which were a tangible example of cooperation. That cooperation was extremely varied. Both organizations had studied all of the problems related to international peace and security. There was a real need to enhance that cooperation, so that the United Nations could play an enhanced role in ending the persecution of the Palestinians by the racist Israelis. There was also a need for enhanced cooperation in the economic and social areas. In conclusion, he said that he would like to call upon the General Assembly to support cooperation between the two bodies and hoped that the resolution would be adopted by consensus.

HUSSEIN A. HASSOUNA, Observer for the League of Arab States, said a few days ago the world recognized the fifty-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, revealing the huge gap between the circumstances then and now. Historically, the Arab League was the first regional organization to establish a relationship with the world body. Today he welcomed its new role of cooperation with the United Nations in the legal, cultural and political areas. That relationship was important because the United Nations was a “melting pot”. The League had favoured consolidation for peace, security and development. A new frame of reference has been embodied in the recently adopted United Nations Millennium Declaration, proposing cooperation with regional organizations.

According to the Secretary-General’s report, consultations between the Secretaries-General of the two organizations were important follow-up developments. He also took note of cooperation between the UNDP and the Arab League in September 1999, as well as a sectoral agreement in May 2000, which had both social and economic results. The League had organized workshops on the role of Arab women within the United Nations system, and would hold the first summit of Arab women in 2001.

On behalf of the League, appreciation was due for the senior posts of two Arabs to the UNFPA and the United Nations. It was clear that the situation in the Middle East required a just and lasting peace, based on cooperative efforts between the United Nations and the League. The Cairo Summit of 21 October said Israel had an obligation to return the region to peace by stopping its aggression against the Palestinian people. Arab leaders confirmed that peace required Israel to make a commitment to the rules of international law, specifically the principles of peace and the overriding one of land for peace. The United Nations must work for the implementation of resolutions regarding the question of Palestine and must maintain the credibility of United Nations by having all States call for the implementation of resolutions. In conclusion, the League of Arab States had enjoyed Observer status and looked forward to the consolidation and deepening of its relationship with the United Nations. He was confident adoption of the draft resolution by the General Assembly would be for the benefit of both organizations.

Action on Draft Resolution

The Assembly adopted, without a vote, the draft resolution on Cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States, as contained in document A/55/L.17.

Explanation of Vote after Vote

Mr. SHACHAM (Israel) said his delegation had joined the consensus on the resolution for the seventh time in a row, guided by the desire to make peace with its neighbours. It was the first resolution on an issue related to the Middle East to be adopted by the Assembly's fifty-fifth session, and he was pleased it was adopted by consensus. In joining that consensus, Israel liked to demonstrate to all parties its willingness to forego unnecessary discord in international forums, and to stress the need to exercise restraint in the language of resolutions and all related statements. It was unfortunate that this debate had been used by some speakers to direct attacks against another Member State.

He said the latest summit of Arab League States in Cairo had been mentioned repeatedly. Israel rejected the language of threats used at that summit. The decisions taken there placed responsibility for the recent events and the damage to the peace process exclusively on Israel, in distortion of reality. At Camp David Israel had made courageous proposals in order to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians and a historic reconciliation with the Arab world. Regrettably, Arafat and the Palestinians had responded by plunging the region into a whirlpool of violence and bloodshed. He called on the Palestinians to halt the violence and incitement, and to immediately restore calm and order. Israel continued to strive for peace while uncompromisingly defending its vital security interests.

He said his country felt that the decisions of the Arab summit which called for a freeze of multilateral talks were disappointing. The existence of channels of communication was important in times of tension, and he regretted the decision against normalization of relations between Arab States and Israel. Israel would not be dissuaded from its determination to move forward in achieving real peace.

(annexes follow)

General Assembly Plenary Press Release GA/9799 44th Meeting (AM) 30 October 2000

ANNEX I

Vote on Oceans and Law of Sea

The draft resolution on oceans and the law of the sea (documents A/55/L.10 and Corr.1) was adopted by a recorded vote of 143 in favour to 2 against, with 4 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: Saint Kitts and Nevis, Turkey.

Abstain: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela.

Absent: Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Gabon, Honduras, Italy, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Palau, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Swaziland, Syria, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

(END OF ANNEX I)

ANNEX II

Vote on Large-Scale Pelagic Drift-Net Fishing

The draft resolution on large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing, unauthorized fishing in zones of national jurisdiction and in the high seas, fisheries by-catch and discards and other developments (document A/55/L.11) was adopted by a recorded vote of 103 in favour to none against, with 44 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: None.

Abstain: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Nepal, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, United Kingdom.

Absent: Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Guatemala, Honduras, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Mali, Nicaragua, Palau, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland, Syria, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

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