29/10/2004
Press Release
GA/10290


Fifty-ninth General Assembly

Plenary

46th Meeting (AM)


GENERAL ASSEMBLY APPROVES FUNDS FOR FIVE PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS, ELECTS REMAINING

 

ECOSOC MEMBERS, INCLUDES ADDITIONAL ITEMS ON CURRENT AGENDA


Acting on the recommendations of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), the General Assembly this morning approved financing to cover the budgetary requirements of United Nations peacekeeping missions in Timor-Leste, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire and Haiti, for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005.


After adopting five resolutions to secure the funding of those missions, which had all been newly-launched or revised by the Security Council earlier this year, the Assembly went on to take note of the revised requirements for the United Nations support to the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission for the period from 1 June to 31 December 2004, which amounted to some $5,419,300.


The Assembly also adopted a decision, by which it requested the Secretary-General to submit to it, at the second part of its resumed fifty-ninth session, a report on the review of the management structure of all peacekeeping operations, among others, through administrative comparisons, as appropriate, taking into account the complexities, mandates and specificities of each operation and the necessity of carrying out effectively and efficiently each operation.


In other action, the Assembly held two rounds of voting to complete the 2005 roster of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), with the election of Albania (Eastern European States) and Costa Rica (Latin American and Caribbean States), for three-year terms beginning on 1 January 2005.  The Assembly deferred the ballot yesterday afternoon after two rounds of voting had failed to produce a candidate receiving the necessary two thirds majority.


Those two candidates will join the 16 others elected to the Council yesterday:  Australia, Brazil, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Guinea, Iceland, India, Lithuania, Mexico, Pakistan, Russian Federation, South Africa, Thailand and United Kingdom.


In addition, acting on the recommendations of its General Committee, the Assembly decided to include an additional item on its current agenda entitled “The situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan”.  It took that decision by a recorded vote of 42 in favour to 2 against (Armenia and the Gambia) with 99 abstentions. (See Annex)


It also decided to include two other items on its current agenda:  “Andean Zone of Peace”, to be considered directly in plenary; and “Observer Status for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in the General Assembly”, which would be allocated to the Sixth Committee (Legal).


Further, the Assembly decided to include an additional sub-item on its agenda entitled “Election of a member of the International Court of Justice” (ICJ), and to split its consideration of agenda item 36, on the Situation in the Middle East, and item 37, the Question of Palestine, which was scheduled to be considered jointly.


The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 1 November, to take up the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and discuss matters related to the situation in Central America and the elimination of unilateral coercive measures as a means of political compulsion.


Action on Fifth Committee Reports


The Assembly first took up the report entitled “Programme budget of the biennium 2004-2005” (document A/59/448).  Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution contained in the report on “Estimate in respect of special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the General Assembly and/or the Security Council:  United Nations support to the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission”, by which it took note of the revised requirements for the United Nations support to the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission for the period from 1 June to 31 December 2004, which amounted to some $5,419,300.


The Assembly next turned to the report entitled “Administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations” (document A/59/532), and adopted, without a vote, the draft decision therein.  In doing so, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit to it, at the second part of its resumed fifty-ninth session, a report on the review of the management structure of all peacekeeping operations, among others, through administrative comparisons, as appropriate, taking into account the complexities, mandates and specificities of each operation and the necessity of carrying out effectively and efficiently each operation. 


Following that, the Assembly took up the report entitled “Financing of the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor” (document A/59/531).  Adopting the draft resolution contained therein, without a vote, the Assembly decided to appropriate some $85.15 million for the maintenance and liquidation of the UNMISET following its extension for a final period ending on 30 June 2005.  That amount would include some $77.07 million for the period from 1 July 2004 to 20 May 2005 for the maintenance of the Mission and some $8.08 million for the commencement of liquidation activities of the Mission for the period from 21 May to 30 June 2005.


Next, the Assembly turned to the report entitled “Financing of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone” (document A/59/527) and adopted the recommended draft resolution, without a vote.  By its terms, the Assembly decided to appropriate some $94.62 million for the maintenance of the UNAMSIL from the period 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005, in addition to the amount of some $207.25 million already appropriated for the same period under the terms of resolution 58/308.


Adopting, without a vote, the draft resolution contained in the report entitled “Financing of the United Nations Operation in Burundi” (document A/59/528), the Assembly decided to appropriate some $329.71 million for the maintenance of the ONUB, inclusive of the amount of some $106.33 million previously authorized under the terms of resolution 58/312 for the period from 1 July to 31 October 2004.


Following that, the Assembly took up the report entitled “Financing of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire” (document A/59/529).  Adopting, without a vote, the draft resolution therein, the Assembly decided to appropriate some $177.83 million for the UNOCI for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005, in addition to some $200.65 million already appropriated for the period from 1 July to 31 December 2004 under the terms of resolution 58/310.


Lastly, the Assembly turned to the report entitled “Financing of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti” (document A/59/530) and adopted the recommended draft resolution, by which it decided to appropriate some $379.05 million for the MINUSTAH from the period 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005, including some $172.48 million previously authorized by resolution 58/311 for the period from 1 July to 31 October 2004.  Also, it decided to appropriate some $49.26 million for the period from 1 May to 30 June 2004, which had been authorized by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) at the opening of the Mission.


Action on General Committee Report


The Assembly then took up the fourth report of its General Committee, which contained a number of recommendations. 


The Assembly first decided to include two additional items on its current agenda:  “Andean Zone of Peace” (to be considered directly in plenary meeting); and “Observer Status for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in the General Assembly” (allocated to Sixth Committee (Legal)).


Acting on a request from the Secretary-General, the Assembly also included an additional sub-item on its agenda, entitled “Election of a member of the International Court of Justice” (ICJ).  In document A/59/237, the Secretary-General informed the Committee that a vacancy in the Court would occur effective 11 February 2005, due to the resignation of Judge and former President Gilbert Guillaume.


The Assembly then turned to the inclusion of an additional item on the current agenda entitled “The situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan”. 


Speaking before the vote, ARMEN MARTIROSYAN (Armenia) said the Assembly was facing an attempt to introduce a new agenda item using loopholes and under the guise of urgency, with no factual evidence to prove it.  The General Committee, despite the obvious objection by a number of its members and based on valid concerns for the integrity of the peace process, had earlier been forced to take a vote on Azerbaijan’s demand, thus breaking several decades of consensus tradition.


He said it was crucial for the Assembly to know that there was no “urgent” situation justifying the request to add a new item to its agenda.  Also, with current talks underway between the Presidents of the two countries, Azerbaijan’s request amounted to an attempt to create a parallel process, which would be damaging to the prospects for peace and resolution in the region.  He urged the Assembly to take action against the request.


YASHAR ALIYEV (Azerbaijan) said Armenia’s statement clearly demonstrated that there was an acute problem between the two countries -- which should be treated properly and discussed openly.  The General Committee had recommended, without objection, that the item be included on the Assembly’s current agenda.  That action had proved that Azerbaijan’s request had been in line with the Assembly’s rules of procedure and the Charter.  It was Azerbaijan’s Charter-based right to have the matter debated.  That was the United Nations, he said.  The very meaning of the house was to have open debates and discussions of problems.  That particular issue was key to the security and sovereignty concerns of his country. Azerbaijan was prepared for such discussions and had nothing to hide.


ALTAY CENGIZER (Turkey), speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said that when the issue had been before the General Committee, no member had objected to the right of a Member State to bring matters of international interest, or of peace and security, before the Assembly.  The global community was aware that there had been little progress on the issue in nearly a decade.  The OIC supported the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)-driven negotiations underway and would continue to work to ensure that the situation did not fall into the realm of the so-called “frozen conflicts”.  It was time to address the issue in earnest, and within the ambit of the relevant Security Council resolutions, which affirmed Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.


MASOOD KHALID (Pakistan) said that any MemberState had the right to request the Assembly’s consideration of items pertaining to the maintenance of peace and security, or affecting the friendly relations between nations.  Pakistan supported the inclusion of the item on the Assembly’s agenda.


ARJAN HAMBURGER (Netherlands), speaking on behalf of the European Union (EU) and associated States, said that as members of the OSCE, the countries of the European Union supported the continuous efforts of the Minsk Group for a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.  The recent meetings between the respective foreign ministers had led to productive discussions, which had given a strong impetus to the negotiations.  The Co-Chairs had presented to the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in September their assessment of the situation and a road map for the continuation of the negotiations, and were now waiting for an answer.  Such a promising process should develop without interference.  The EU understood Azerbaijan’s concerns, but believed that the current session was neither the time nor the venue to pursue that, and that the request might jeopardize the ongoing negotiations.  The EU would, therefore, abstain on the vote.


MICHEL DUCLOS (France), speaking on behalf of the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group (which also includes the Russian Federation and the United States), said the OSCE was dealing with the question through the Group.  That Group had recently launched the so-called “Prague Process”, which had led to productive discussions between the parties.  Just last month, the Group had requested an assessment of the situation and was awaiting results.  The Minsk Group believed that that process could affectively address the issue and, despite the unquestioned sincerity of Azerbaijan’s request, would advise the Assembly to avoid creating a situation that might have a negative effect on negotiations or exacerbate tensions.  He urged both parties to consider allowing an OSCE-led fact-finding mission visit the region to make an assessment of ground realities.


By a recorded vote of 42 in favour to 2 against (Armenia, Gambia) with 99 abstentions, the Assembly decided to include the item in its current agenda.  [Following the vote, the representative of Gambia announced that his delegation had, in fact, voted in favour of the item’s inclusion.]


Following that, also as recommended by the General Committee, the Assembly decided to split its consideration of agenda item 36, on the Situation in the Middle East, and item 37, the Question of Palestine, which was scheduled to be considered jointly.


Speaking after that decision was taken, GILAD COHEN (Israel) said that splitting consideration of the agenda items was simply not a decision built on efficiency.  Citing examples where efficient decisions had been made to jointly consider some items, he said that it was unfortunate that one of the only subjects that was immune from streamlining, revitalization and reform was the Arab-Israeli conflict.  That did not do the credibility and reputation of the United Nations any good, nor did it help the Assembly in playing a constructive role in world affairs, including in the Middle East.  As Israel had amply demonstrated over the years, it was quite willing to debate the issues presented by the region’s difficult situation.  At least by streamlining the debate, the Assembly could have addressed the issues in a more determined, more serious, and more effective manner.


ECOSOC Election


The Assembly then turned to the election of the remaining two members of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to replace those members whose term of office expires on 31 December 2004.


The meeting suspended at 11:12 a.m. and resumed at 11:55 a.m.


The results of the balloting were as follows:


Eastern European States


Number of ballot papers:                           172

Number of invalid ballots:                           0

Number of valid ballots:                           172

Abstentions:                                         1

Number of members voting:                          171

Required majority:                                 114


Number of votes obtained:


Albania                                            118

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia           53


Having received the required two thirds majority, Albania was elected to the ECOSOC, for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2005.


Latin American and CaribbeanStates


Number of ballot papers:                           172

Number of invalid ballots:                           0

Number of valid ballots:                           172

Abstentions:                                         1

Number of members voting:                          171

Required majority:                                 114


Number of votes obtained:


Costa Rica                                         112

Venezuela                                           59


With neither candidate receiving the required two-thirds majority, the Assembly then went to a second round of balloting.


The meeting was suspended at 12:09 p.m. and resumed at 12:26 p.m.


The results of the second round of balloting were as follows:


Latin American and CaribbeanStates


Number of ballot papers:                           173

Number of invalid ballots:                           1

Number of valid ballots:                           172

Abstentions:                                         2

Number of members voting:                          170

Required majority:                                 114


Number of votes obtained:


Costa Rica                                         130

Venezuela                                           40


Having obtained the required two thirds majority, Costa Rica was elected to the Council.


ANNEX


Vote on Inclusion of Additional Item in Assembly’s Agenda


The Assembly decided to include the item “The situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan” in its current agenda by a recorded vote of 42 in favour to 2 against, with 99 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Brunei Darussalam, Comoros, Cuba, Djibouti, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Republic of Moldova, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Suriname, Togo, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen.


AgainstArmenia, Gambia.


Abstain:  Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Finland, France, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Tonga, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Vanuatu, Venezuela.


Absent:  Angola, Belarus, Belize, Botswana, Cambodia, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Fiji, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iraq, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uruguay, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


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