13 September 2004 The United Nations General Assembly concluded the work of its fifty-eighth session today, with the outgoing President praising the body's genuine drive to overcome the crisis of confidence that had gripped the United Nations in the wake of the war in Iraq.
Julian R. Hunte of St. Lucia noted that during the 2003-2004 session, the Assembly had proceeded to make real headway on such issues as sustainable development, revitalizing the body's work and reform of the Security Council, which had languished on its agenda without comprehensive resolution for ten years. Reviewing the strides the UN's main deliberative organ had made during the past year, he said that multilateralism had been the guiding principle of his presidency and the basis on which decisions were made on the issues on the Assembly's wide-ranging agenda. The "negotiating table" had been given a central role.
"This is how it ought to be" when addressing global challenges such as terrorism, HIV/AIDS, poverty and nuclear proliferation, he said, recapping the Assembly's actions in those areas and highlighting related events that had taken place during the session, such as the High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development and commemoration of the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda.
"My presidency was one that ensured that the General Assembly broke free of convention in challenging times that demand new ideas, vision and innovation," he said. "I am heartened to leave the Assembly with a more positive outlook - our accomplishments over the session prove what we can achieve when we work together, cooperatively, with a clear sense of purpose underpinned by political will."
Before Mr. Hunte's closing statement, the Assembly concluded consideration of 35 items on its agenda, including follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit, environment and sustainable development, information and communication technologies for development, and the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security, and deferred 29 of them to the fifty-ninth session. The Assembly decided that it would consider the report of the Economic and Social Council at its sixtieth session.
Also this afternoon, the Assembly adopted a resolution by which it approved the draft Relationship Agreement between the International Criminal Court - the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal - and the United Nations, and decided to apply the Agreement provisionally pending its formal entry into force.
In addition, the Assembly decided that the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters should be considered during the Assembly's fifty-ninth session.
At the meeting's start, Mr. Hunte expressed the Organization's sympathy and strong solidarity with the governments and peoples of the Caribbean suffering the after-effects of a series of recent devastating hurricanes and tropical storms that have struck that region.
The opening of the Assembly's fifty-ninth session - under the Presidency of Jean Ping, Foreign Minister of Gabon - will take place tomorrow afternoon.