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Sixty-fifth session

Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country
(Agenda item 161)

Summary of work

Background (source: A/65/100)

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-fourth session, the General Assembly endorsed the recommendations and conclusions of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country contained in paragraph 51 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 64/120).

Consideration at the sixty-fifth session

The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 28th meeting, on 11 November 2010. The Chair of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country introduced the report of that Committee (A/65/26).

Statements were made by the representatives of Belgium (on behalf of the European Union; the Candidate Countries Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, as well as the Republic of Moldova and Georgia which aligned themselves with the statement), Cuba, India, Guatemala, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) and the United States of America.

Appreciation was expressed by some delegations for the continued efforts of the host country to accommodate the needs of the diplomatic community. 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. 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 were welcomed by some delegations. A view was expressed welcoming steps taken by the host country regarding the exemption from property taxes and urging the host country to resolve this issue. However, a view was also expressed stressing the need to continue to address the outstanding issues concerning the safety and security of a mission to the United Nations, selective treatment of diplomats in the airports, immigration, travel restrictions for its staff, customs procedures and parking.Some delegations called for timely issuance of visas. A point was made that it was the responsibility of the Secretary-General to make sure that the obligations of the host country to grant visas under the Headquarters Agreement are observed. The need to treat all missions on the basis of equality and norms of international law was stressed. The Committee on Relations with the Host Country was requested by some delegations to obtain explanations from the JPMorgan Chase Bank regarding its decision to close the accounts of the United Nations missions.

The United States confirmed its commitment to fulfil its obligations under international law and stressed, in particular, that it continued to regard its efforts aimed at improving immigration procedures for diplomats at its airports, mitigating delays in visa issuance and ensuring the safety and security of the United Nations missions as ongoing and increasingly successful.

Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At the 28th meeting, on 11 November, the representative of Bulgaria, on behalf of Cyprus, Canada, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire and Cyprus, introduced a draft resolution entitled “Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country” (A/C.6/65/L.11). At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/65/L.11 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; would note the concerns expressed by some delegations concerning the denial and delay of entry visas to representatives of Member States, and would 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-sixth session (2011).