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Sixty-third session

Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country (agenda item 150)

Summary of work

Background (source: A/63/100)

The Committee on Relations with the Host Country was established by the General
Assembly at its twenty-sixth session, in 1971 (resolution 2819 (XXVI)). The
Committee is currently composed of the following 19 Member States: Bulgaria,
Canada, China, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, France, Honduras, Hungary, Iraq, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Mali, Russian Federation, Senegal, Spain, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America.

At its sixty-second session, the General Assembly endorsed the recommendations and conclusions of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country contained in
paragraph 62 of its report; requested the host country to consider removing the
remaining travel restrictions imposed by it on staff of certain missions and staff members of the Secretariat of certain nationalities; and requested the Secretary-General to remain actively engaged in all aspects of the relations of the United Nations with the host country (resolution 62/72).

Consideration at the sixty-third session

The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 26th meeting, on 14 November 2008. The Chairman of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country introduced the report of the Committee (A/63/26).

Statements were made by the representatives of France (on behalf of the European Union; the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; the Countries of the Stabilization and Association Process and potential candidates Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area; as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia which aligned themselves with the declaration), Mauritius (on behalf of the African Group), India, Cuba, the Russian Federation, Iran (Islamic Republic of) and the United States of America.

Appreciation was expressed by some speakers for the continued efforts of the host country to accommodate the needs of the diplomatic community and the importance of fulfilling its obligations under the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations and the Headquarters Agreement was also stressed. Some delegations welcomed the decision of the host country to partly exempt the diplomats from secondary screening procedures and the efforts to ensure the timely issuance of visas. However, the host country was urged by some delegations to remove travel restrictions for staff of certain nationalities. A point was made that the outstanding issues concerning the selective treatment of diplomats in the airports, transportation, immigration, customs procedures and tax exemptions should be addressed. Concerns regarding the imposition of property taxes were also raised. The host country was urged by some speakers to issue visas in a timely fashion and to treat all missions on the basis of equality.

The United States confirmed its commitment to fulfil its obligations under international law and highlighted, in particular, the improvements of immigration procedures for diplomats at its airports. It also pointed out that restrictions on private non-official travel did not violate international law.

Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At the 26th meeting, on 14 November 2008, the representative of Cyprus, also on behalf of Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica and Côte d’Ivoire, introduced a draft resolution entitled “Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country” (A/C.6/63/L.18). At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/63/L.18 without a vote. Under this draft resolution, the General Assembly would inter alia request the host country to continue to solve, through negotiations, problems that might arise and to take all measures necessary to prevent any interference with the functioning of missions, to consider removing the remaining travel restrictions imposed by it on staff of certain missions and staff members of the Secretariat of certain nationalities, andwould request the Committee on Relations with the Host Country to continue its work in conformity with General Assembly resolution 2819 (XXVI).

This agenda item was subsequently considered at the sixty-fourth session (2009)