United Nations

A/51/702


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

2 December 1996

ORIGINAL:
RUSSIAN


                                                        A/51/702

General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda item 161


                COOPERATION BETWEEN THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE
                   INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION

                 Letter dated 2 December 1996 from the Permanent
                 Representative of the Russian Federation to the
                 United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General


     In connection with the inclusion in the agenda of the General
Assembly of a new item entitled "Cooperation between the United
Nations and the International Organization for Migration" and the
circulation by the Secretariat of document A/51/232, I have the honour
to bring to your attention the opinion of Mr. James N. Purcell,
Director General of the International Organization for Migration, set
forth in a letter dated 29 November 1996 (see annex) which was sent to
me concerning the meaning of certain parts of document A/51/232.

     I should be grateful if you would have the text of this letter and
its annex circulated as an official document of the fifty-first
session of the General Assembly under agenda item 161.


                                                           (Signed)  S. LAVROV


                                     ANNEX

                                                          [Original:  English]

          Letter dated 29 November 1996 from the Director General of
          the International Organization for Migration addressed to 
          the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to 
                              the United Nations


     I have the honour to refer to the draft resolution on cooperation
between the United Nations and the International Organization for
Migration (IOM) being submitted to the General Assembly for adoption
and to the explanatory memorandum on IOM (A/51/232, annex).  One
sentence of the latter document indicates that IOM's independent
status has occasionally permitted it to operate in areas such as "in
Chechnya, at a time when the United Nations was unable to gain access"
(ibid., p. 4, para. (a) (v)).

     This sentence might convey the impression to some readers that the
Russian Federation prevented the United Nations from acting in the
Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation.  I wish to assure you,
however, that IOM never intended to convey such a message.  In the
Chechnya operation, IOM was able to count on the long-standing and
efficient support of the Russian authorities, so that it could start
its activities in Chechnya at a time when the United Nations, at the
invitation of the Government of the Russian Federation, was still
considering possible operations inside Chechnya.  In retrospect, I do
recognize that the drafting of the explanatory memorandum could have
been more precise, so as to avoid any potential misunderstandings or
misinterpretations.

     I trust that the above clarifies the situation and I do indeed
regret any confusion which might have been created by the formulation
of the explanatory memorandum.


                                                    (Signed)  James N. PURCELL


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Date last posted: 28 December 1999 17:35:10
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