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Sixty-sixth session

Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country
(Agenda item 166)

Summary of work

Background (source: A/66/100)

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-fifth session, the General Assembly endorsed the recommendations and conclusions of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country contained in paragraph 21 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; noted that the Committee anticipated that the host country would enhance its efforts to ensure the issuance, in a timely manner, of entry visas to representatives of Member States; noted that a number of delegations had requested a shortening of the time frame applied by the host country for the issuance of entry visas to representatives of Member States; urged the host country to continue to take appropriate action with a view to maintaining respect for diplomatic privileges and immunities and if violations occur to ensure that such cases are properly investigated and remedied, in accordance with applicable law; and requested the Secretary-General to remain actively engaged in all aspects of the relations of the United Nations with the host country (resolution 65/35).

Consideration at the sixty-sixth session

The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 30th meeting, on 11 November 2011 (see A/C.6/66/SR.30). The Chair of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country introduced the report of that Committee (A/66/26).

Statements were made by the representatives of Cuba and the United States of America.

While note was taken of the efforts of the host country to accommodate the needs of the diplomatic community in certain areas, the host country was urged to redouble its efforts in addressing the outstanding issues in various fields and the importance of fulfilling its obligations under the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations and the Headquarters Agreement was stressed. Thus a reference was made to recent incidents and situations jeopardizing the security and normal functioning of one of the Missions to the United Nations; the need to continue to address, in accordance with international low, the outstanding issues concerning the selective treatment of the diplomats in relation to immigration, travel restrictions for its staff, customs procedures, issuance of visas and parking was also stressed. With reference to the closure of the bank accounts of the missions by JP Morgan Chase, the need to ensure that the normal functioning of the missions would not be negatively affected by such actions was highlighted.

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, helping missions whose bank accounts were closed by JP Morgan Chase find new accounts and ensuring the safety and security of the United Nations missions as ongoing and increasingly successful.

Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At the 30th meeting, on 11 November 2011, the representative of Cyprus, on behalf of Bulgaria, 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.6/66/L.23). At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/66/L.23 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; would note the concerns over the decision by JPMorgan Chase Bank to close all bank accounts held by Permanent Missions to the United Nations by 31 March 2011, and welcome the efforts of the host country to facilitate the opening of bank accounts for permanent missions with other financial institutions; 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-seventh session (2012).