GENERAL ASSEMBLY URGES `OLYMPIC TRUCE' DURING WINTER GAMES IN NAGANO, JAPAN
GENERAL ASSEMBLY URGES `OLYMPIC TRUCE' DURING WINTER GAMES IN NAGANO, JAPAN
GENERAL ASSEMBLY URGES `OLYMPIC TRUCE' DURING WINTER GAMES IN NAGANO, JAPAN19971125
Also Welcomes Decision To Fly UN Flag at Olympic Sites; Cooperation with Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe Discussed
The General Assembly this morning called on all Member States to cooperate with the International Olympic Committee in promoting the Olympic Truce and urged them to observe it during the XVIII Olympic Winter Games held in Nagano, Japan, in February 1998. According to the idea of the Olympic Truce, an ancient Greek tradition revived by the Assembly in 1993, countries agree to stop all hostilities during the course of the Games.
In adopting a resolution on the building of a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal, the Assembly also welcomed the decision of the International Olympic Committee to fly the United Nations flag at all Olympic Games sites. Further, the Assembly asked the Secretary-General to promote the observance of the Olympic Truce and draw world opinion to its contribution to international understanding, peace and goodwill. It also asked the Secretary-General to cooperate with the International Olympic Committee in realizing that objective.
Speaking before adoption of the resolution, the representative of Australia said that flying the United Nations flag at Olympic Games had more than symbolic value. At the XVIII Olympiad in Sydney, the flag would be seen by an estimated 10,000 athletes and 5,000 officials from 200 countries, 15,000 media representatives and a worldwide audience of 3.5 billion people. It would be a visible, daily reminder of the importance of the United Nations, shared ideals and the commitment of all participants to sport and the promotion of international cooperation.
Introducing the resolution, Japan's representative, Mikako Kotani, an Olympic gold medalist, said fair competition in the spirit of sportsmanship fostered mutual respect that excluded discrimination based on race, religion, gender, or nationality, and served to deepen mutual goodwill. That, in turn, could lead to the gradual realization of peace and understanding -- goals shared by all humankind. In ancient Greece all hostilities ceased during the Games. That ideal would prevail during the Winter Games in Nagano.
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Statements were also made by Greece, Cyprus, Monaco, Maldives, San Marino, United States, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Guyana, Andorra and Viet Nam.
Also this morning, the Assembly began consideration of cooperation between the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Presenting the Secretary-General's report on the matter, the Secretary-General of the OSCE, Giancarlo Aragona, said that pragmatic cooperation based on respect for each organization's skills and expertise was the rule, rather than the exception, but it could still be further strengthened. The OSCE philosophy was that democracy and human rights were necessary to prevent conflicts, be they internal or between States.
The representative of Denmark introduced a draft resolutions on cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE. The representative of Azerbaijan introduced an amendment to the text.
Statements were made by the representatives of Luxembourg, on behalf of the European Union and associated Central and Eastern European States, Russian Federation, Ukraine, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Norway, Malta, Albania, Slovenia and Armenia.
The Assembly will meet again this afternoon following the adjournment of the Open-ended High-level Working Group on the Financial Situation of the United Nations. It is expected to resume consideration of cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE and also consider its agenda items on multilingualism and the return or restitution of cultural property.
Assembly Work Programme
The General Assembly met this morning to consider the following agenda items: building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal; cooperation between the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); multilingualism; and the return or restitution of cultural property to the countries of origin.
The Assembly had before it a draft resolution on sport and the Olympic ideal (document (A/52/L.23/Rev.1).
By the terms of the 151-Power draft resolution, the Assembly would call on Member States to cooperate with the International Olympic Committee to promote the Olympic Truce, by which all hostilities will cease during the Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, from 7 to 28 February 1998. It would request the Secretary-General to promote the Olympic Truce among Member States, drawing the world's attention to the contribution such a truce would make to international understanding, peace and goodwill, and to cooperate with the International Olympic Committee in achieving that objective.
The Assembly would also decide to include the item on the agenda of its fifty-fourth session and to consider it before the Games of the XXVII Olympiad in Sydney, Australia, in 2000.
The sponsors of the draft are Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia and Lithuania.
Also, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of the Congo, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab
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Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The report by the Secretary-General on cooperation with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) (document A/52/450) notes that in the past year, the organizations have improved their working relationship on a wide range of activities.
According to the report, the United Nations took the lead in peacemaking in Tajikistan and Abkhazia, Georgia, while the OSCE did the same in: the Republic of Moldova; South Ossetia, Georgia; and Nagorny Karabakh, Azerbaijan. Both the United Nations and the OSCE have improved coordination in the field, at the negotiating table and between their respective headquarters.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the OSCE cooperate on human and minority rights, conflict prevention and resolution and the return and reintegration of refugees and displaced persons in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), states the report. In January, the United Nations, the OSCE and the Council of Europe held informal high-level tripartite consultations on the former Yugoslavia, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Participants agreed on mutually supportive action in democracy- building, the rule of law, constitutional matters and minority rights. They also agreed to develop contacts with international economic and financial institutions and to enhance the sharing of information.
The report goes on to say that the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) provides the OSCE with support concerning the economic aspects of security in Europe. The United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) cooperated with the OSCE on elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The OSCE also supervised parliamentary elections in Albania, while the Security Council authorized the multinational protection force there from March to August 1997. Also, the OSCE, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) cooperated to ensure prompt delivery of humanitarian aid.
The report states that the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) Electoral Unit cooperated with the OSCE in Eastern Slavonia and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. They also cooperated on the inter-Tajik negotiating process that resulted in a peace accord in June 1997.
By the terms of a related draft resolution (document A/52/L.38), the General Assembly would request the Secretary-General to continue exploring the possibilities of enhancing cooperation, information exchange and coordination between the United Nations and the OSCE.
The Assembly would welcome continued close cooperation between the two organizations in Tajikistan, Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium, as
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well as the decision by the OSCE to supervise elections in Republika Srpska and its readiness to continue contributing to a peaceful settlement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It would fully support the activities of the OSCE to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict dealt with by the Minsk Conference and welcome cooperation between the organization and the United Nations in that regard.
The sponsors of the draft are Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the United Kingdom.
An amendment to the draft resolution sponsored by Azerbaijan (document A/52/L.39) would replace operative paragraph 16, which describes cooperation in the conflict dealt with by the Minsk Conference, with the following:
"Fully supports the activities of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict in and around the Nagorny Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and welcomes cooperation between the organization and the United Nations in that regard."
The report by the Secretary-General on multilingualism (document A/52/577) states that he is committed to promoting the learning of all official languages and working languages by Secretariat staff and to ensuring there are human and financial resources for teaching them. The report highlights language incentives, recruitment and promotion, use of working languages, recruitment and training of translators, simultaneous distribution of documents, informal meetings and library services and data banks. The Secretariat promotes the learning and use of the official and working languages of the Organization in all its activities.
By the terms of the related draft resolution (document A/52/L.35), the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to submit to it at its fifty- fourth session a comprehensive report on the implementation of resolution 50/11 on multilingualism, adopted on 15 November 1995 and decide to include the item entitled "Multilingualism"in the agenda of its fifty-fourth session.
The sponsors of the draft resolution are Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Gabon, Guatemala, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Nicaragua, Niger, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Republic of the Congo, Romania, Russian Federation, Senegal, Spain, Syria, Republic of Moldova, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Venezuela and Viet Nam.
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The Secretary-General's report on the return or restitution of cultural property to countries of origin (document A/52/211) has a report by the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) annexed to it. A list of States parties to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property is included in the report.
The report summarizes the main topics discussed at the ninth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation held in Paris in September 1996. Those included: negotiations for the return or restitution of cultural property; international cooperation to curb illicit traffic in cultural property; and public information. The recommendations adopted by the meeting are also included in the report.
Among those recommendations, the Committee invited the Director-General to continue using his good offices to resolve the dispute between the United Kingdom and Greece concerning return of the Parthenon Marbles held in the British Museum.
The Committee also recommended that the Director-General seek the views of UNESCO members and partners to the 1997 Convention regarding a proposed international code of ethics for dealers in cultural property. The Committee also congratulated the International Council on Museums for its 1996 publication Handbook of standards: documenting African collections for training museum personnel. Further, the Committee also invited the Director- General to ensure broad distribution of the handbook.
With regard to a proposed international fund for the restitution of cultural property, discussions in the Committee focused on its advisability, uses and sources of financing. Possible uses include transportation, insurance and reinstallation costs and -- said to be controversial issues -- the payment of compensation and legal fees. Some Committee members favoured using the fund for preventive and training measures, while others believed it should be used for overall expenses related to the return and restitution of cultural objects. The Committee invited the Director-General to obtain comments on the issue, conscious of the need to decide upon the establishment of such a fund at its next session.
By the terms of the related draft resolution (document A/52/L.12), the Assembly would reaffirm that the restitution to a country of its objets d'art, monuments, museum pieces, archives, manuscripts, documents and any other cultural or artistic treasures contributes to the strength of international cooperation and the flowering of universal cultural values through fruitful international cooperation.
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The draft is sponsored by Azerbaijan, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Cyprus, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Guatemala, Guinea, Mali, Mongolia, Niger, Peru and Rwanda.
MIKAKO KOTANI (Japan) introduced the draft resolution on building a peaceful and better world through sport and the olympic ideal (document A/52/L.23/Rev.1). She announced the following additional sponsors: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Cuba, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Iraq, Jordan, Kyrgystan, Liechtenstein, Palau, Syria, Thailand, United Kingdom and Vietnam.
Continuing, she said the balanced development of both mind and body was also an objective of sports. Fair competition in the spirit of sportsmanship fostered mutual respect that excluded discrimination of all kinds, including that based on race, religion, gender, or nationality, and served to deepen mutual goodwill. That, in turn, could lead to the gradual realization of peace and understanding -- goals shared by all humankind.
She said that in ancient Greece, peace was highly valued, since all hostilities ceased during the games that took place at Olympia. That was the ideal that the modern Olympic movement sought to revive. Today, the ideal was carried on and would prevail during the forthcoming Olympic Winter Games in Nagano. On the occasion of the last Olympic Winter Games of the century, she called for a renewal of the determination to ensure that in the twenty-first century the people of the world would practise tolerance and live in peace, as stated in the United Nations Charter.
CHRISTOS ZACHARAKIS (Greece) said the Olympic Truce or "Ekecheria" had been living in the hearts of the Greek people for more than 30 centuries. The implementation of the principle of the Truce by the world community could herald the beginning of a new era, which would hopefully lead to the gradual disappearance of the immense tragedies caused by war.
The Olympic ideal had been in the past and remained an everlasting source of inspiration and hope for humanity, he continued. It expressed the very essence of the will to compete with peaceful means, to achieve peaceful goals and attain victory through individual effort and the harmonious exercise of both the body and mind. In the spirit of Olympic ethics, any form of discrimination -- racial, religious, political, linguistic or otherwise -- was totally excluded and the fundamental principle of equality prevailed.
During the last three millenniums the Greeks remained deeply committed to the Olympic ideal, which had been founded on the principles of understanding, tolerance, solidarity and dignity, he said. Through the Olympic Truce and the ideal, fresh steps could be made towards the promotion of human rights, constructive dialogues and the search for durable and just solutions to contemporary problems. Those solutions must aim primarily at the
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elimination of all kinds of human suffering, the advancement of friendship between peoples, cooperation and equality among nations, and the strengthening and maintenance of universal peace.
He said that Greece, ready to host the Olympic Games in 2004, transmitted a strong message to the youth of the world that they, without any discrimination, take part in the Games "which at the very beginning of the third millennium, we are confident, will give a new thrust to the fundamental principles and concepts of friendship, solidarity, understanding and fairplay".
SOTIRIOS ZACKHEOS (Cyprus) said the Olympic Truce was an expression of mankind's yearning for peace, understanding, reconciliation, and the noble notion of distinction based on honest competition. In the search for excellence, every athlete was equal and victory was the result of ability, training, hard work and perseverance. Discrimination against a country or persons on the grounds of race, religion, politics, sex, or otherwise, was incompatible with the Olympic spirit. It was important to strengthen adherence to the Olympic ethic, especially the need to conduct the Games in a fair way. Efforts against the use of prohibited anabolic and other drugs were commendable.
He said proposals by President Glafkos Clerides for the demilitarization of Cyprus was a manifestation of the country's determination to become a bridge of peace in the sensitive eastern Mediterranean, and a homeland of harmony and understanding for all communities living on the island. He appealed for acceptance of the proposal, so that Cyprus would be able to participate in the next Olympics as a united and peaceful State. He interpreted the decision by the International Olympic Committee to hold the Games in Greece in the year 2004 as an appeal for a new beginning and an expression of the collective will of mankind to make the twenty-first century a period of serious efforts for peace, social progress and prosperity.
JACQUES L. BOISSON (Monaco) said the Olympic ideal was an uplifting philosophy. The Olympic movement inspired a way of life based on respect for the basic, universal ethical principles of solidarity and non-violence. It encouraged the establishment of a peaceful society in which human dignity was fully respected. His Government unreservedly supported cooperation between the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations, particularly in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance, environmental protection and the promotion of health and education -- areas of common interest for both organizations.
The Committee's decision to fly the United Nations flag at the Olympic Games was "a very symbolic initiative", he said. Education was the best way to combat violence and the Committee instilled children with such values as respect and tolerance and promoted sports as instruments of understanding, solidarity, friendship and ethics -- values shared by the United Nations. By
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adopting the present draft, the Assembly would enhance long-term cooperation between the United Nations and the international Olympic movement. The large number of co-sponsors was a sign of hope. The draft's message was not merely symbolic, but expressed the international community's desire for a peaceful, strong world united against violence.
ZEENAD ABDUL WAHID (Maldives) said sport was a good vehicle for promoting peace. Sport also characterized two basic human traits -- competitiveness and cooperation. The International Olympic Committee was the highest sporting body whose ideals closely resembled those of the United Nations as both promoted peace and understanding among nations and peoples. He urged closer cooperation between the two institutions. The Olympic Truce, whose origins dated back to the ninth century, was an important symbol of peace.
He said his country was not known or heard of in most international sporting events, an unavoidable fact, given its small population and financial constraints. However, his country attached great importance to sports and the role it could play in the lives of children, youth and the elderly. Given that young people made up 32 per cent of the population, a substantial proportion of available resources, no matter how meager, was devoted to sports activities for youth. That had enabled young men and women to participate in regional sports activities, as well as some international sporting events, including the Olympic Games.
GIAN NICOLA FILIPPI BALESTRA (San Marino) said his country had always attempted to reiterate and defend the importance of the Olympic ideal and principles. Perhaps that was the reason that his country -- the oldest republic in the world -- had been capable of preserving its sovereignty and independence for 16 centuries. The draft resolution would seem to be only of symbolic value, but it acquired substantial significance given the importance sports held for young people. The Olympic Games had always been a moment of unity among people, a synonym for overcoming diversity and making space for tolerance and fair play.
The Olympic Games, he said, represented a unique opportunity for young athletes coming from different cultures to exchange different experiences. If different cultures could coexist in a sporting opportunity, they could certainly coexist in real life. If people could stop fighting to play fairly, then perhaps countries could really live in peace and harmony. Conflicts could exist, but violence was not necessary. The Olympic Games could not eliminate major armed conflicts affecting the world, but they could represent an important moment of reflection. Every four years, all conflicts should be suspended during the Games.
BILL RICHARDSON (United States) said the Olympic ideal went beyond victories and records to fair play, friendship and ultimately peace. It promoted international understanding among the youth of the world through
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sport and culture. The Olympic Games encouraged nations to set aside their differences in the spirit of fair play and provided a venue for cultural exchange.
The co-sponsors of today's resolution urged all to reaffirm the observance of the Olympic Truce, the ancient tradition calling for all hostilities to cease during Olympic Games, he said. Since 1993, that biennial resolution had more co-sponsors than any other resolution in General Assembly history. The goal was to continue sending its strong message for peace and international goodwill to the youth of the world. The International Olympic Committee's decision to fly the United Nations flag at future games would serve as a reminder of the Assembly's resolution to maintain international peace and stability for billions of athletes and spectators around the world. Finally, the reaffirmation of the Olympic Truce by the Assembly recommitted nations to the global aspiration that the modern Olympics eventually become both a symbol and the centre-piece of a new global era of unity among nations.
ANWAR OTHMAN BAROUT (United Arab Emirates) said the ideal of the Olympic Games represented peaceful participation in society through sport and culture. Outside of education, young people needed to develop physical awareness, exercise human values and participate in democracy, human rights and culture. His country had great faith in the principles of sport based on tolerance and humanity. He urged participation in sport by the world's young people as an avenue away from terrorism, violence and drugs. His Government also supported the Olympic Truce during the Nagano Games and urged all States to respect it, since it was a principle that represented a bridge to the twenty-first century.
He said his country attached great importance to sport and had taken great care to promote youth and tolerance among its young people. It had also taken great measures to provide training and arbitration in sport. Since youth represented the future, his country had generously allocated funds to subsidize clubs and arenas and had encouraged international and global participation. His country welcomed the international efforts to advance cooperation between the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee, and he reiterated the importance of further advancing those efforts.
PAOLO FULCI (Italy) said the draft resolution called on Member States to once again observe the Olympic Truce during the upcoming Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. The Truce, rooted in the ancient Greek tradition of "Ekecheria", expressed mankind's perennial aspiration to peace, and the belief that sports brought out the best in human beings, even at the worst of times.
He congratulated Athens on being the host to the summer games in the year 2000; bringing the Olympic torch back to the country where it was first ignited was an important tribute to the noble tradition and the spiritual and cultural values it enshrined. The United Nations made a solemn pledge in
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1993, and renewed it in 1995, to devote time and attention to the Olympic ideal. The Truce epitomized a symbolic link with the most compelling purpose of the Organization, the maintenance of peace and security. The International Olympic Committee had forged cooperation agreements with many United Nations organizations, programmes and specialized agencies, including the United Nations Drugs Control Programme.
He said that sports had come to play a vital, productive role in enriching the lives of young people by helping them to focus on bettering themselves, engaging in healthy competition, and learning to appreciate the social dimension of life. Athletics could also have a critical role in preventing many social ills, foremost among them crime and drug abuse. In that regard, the Italian sports authorities had developed over the years, a number of programmes to underline how sports activities could help achieve a drug-free society. He hoped that the modern games would have a long and illustrious tradition, so that the children of the future could continue to live by the Olympic ideal.
PAULETTE CORNETTE (Guyana) said the young athletes at the Olympics helped reaffirm the dignity and worth of the human person. They represented resources that could be utilized for the betterment of society and held the link to future generations, and with their involvement, future generations could learn to live and work in harmony. The initiatives of the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee to cooperate for a common purpose should be beneficial to society as a whole. The Olympic movement could contribute towards a peaceful and better world by adhering to principles, such as the development of mankind, and maintaining human dignity.
She said that although the modern Olympic movement preceded the United Nations by many decades, both had achieved significant advances and should continue to be dynamic in the future, if the international community were to aim for a better world. She cited the anti-discrimination provision in the Olympic charter which ensured equal participation by barring discrimination of country or person based on race, religion, sex or for any other reason.
Guyana was pleased that the International Olympic Committee had moved beyond a strictly athletic focus and into other areas, working with the United Nations to promote the Olympic ideal and the observance of the Olympic Truce, and participating in humanitarian activities. Those most in need, the children, were among those who could benefit from such initiatives. Action by UNICEF in Afghanistan, to work with the warring parties to observe a truce during the 1996 Olympics so that children could be vaccinated, should have been only the beginning of many such initiatives by the United Nations and the Olympic movement.
JULI MINOVES-TRIQUELL (Andorra) said the United Nations must enhance the Olympic ideal because it promoted sports as well as peaceful competition between nations, in which everyone was a winner. Many social problems and the
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apathy of many young people could find a remedy in the practice of sports and in the inspiring Olympic ideal. It would be utopian and illogical to believe that conflicts between nations could be solved at the Olympic Games, but they were an "escape valve" for nations.
Andorra co-sponsored the draft resolution and called on all countries to observe the Olympic Truce during the Nagano Winter Games in February 1998, he said. Small United Nations Member States had always been especially attached to the Olympic ideal, perhaps because, due to their history, they understood that war was a "zero-sum game" and sports competition a "positive-sum game".
PENNY WENSLEY (Australia) said, as host for the twenty-seventh Olympiad and as a country known for its egalitarianism and commitment to the concept of a "fair go" for all, her country would do its utmost to ensure that the Games represented the values and ideals not only of the International Olympic Committee, but also of the United Nations. The last preambular paragraph of the draft resolution referred to the increasing number of joint efforts by the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee, for example in the fields of development, humanitarian assistance, protection of the environment, health promotion and education. Her country was working energetically to incorporate those elements to its planning for the Games.
She said the Games in Sydney would be the "greenest games ever". The Paralympics, which would be held in conjunction with the Sydney Olympics, would involve 4,000 athletes from 125 countries competing in 18 sporting events -- and her country wanted to set new standards of excellence and participation in dignity and safety for those events. Special efforts were being made to assist developing countries, particularly small States, in sports training to facilitate their participation in the Games. Special efforts were also being made to feature the people of Oceania in the opening ceremony and the overall celebrations. Her country would promote the attributes and culture of its indigenous people and encourage their active participation in the staging of the Games.
She said the importance of flying the United Nations flag at all Olympic events should not be underestimated, at a time when the international community was working to reform the Organization, raise its profile and persuade sceptics and critics of its relevance. An estimated 10,000 athletes, 5,000 officials and 15,000 media representatives would attend the Games, which would be seen by a worldwide audience of some 3.5 billion people. The United Nations flag would be a visible daily reminder of its shared ideals with the International Olympic Committee.
PHAM QUANG VINH (Viet Nam) said the Olympic Games promoted international understanding, solidarity and friendship, particularly among the youth of the world through sports and cultures. It also served the cause of peace and helped promote the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. Viet Nam noted with satisfaction the initiative on the promotion of the
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ancient Greek tradition of "Ekecheria" of the "Olympic Truce", which was dedicated in ancient Greece to the noble spirit of fraternity and understanding between peoples. The Truce, having been recently revived as a serious call for all hostilities to cease during the course of the Olympic Games, was the mobilization of the world's youth in the cause of peace.
He said Viet Nam favoured observance of the Truce during all Olympic Games. His Government had always attached great importance to the development of sport and the promotion of peace, solidarity and friendship among the peoples of the world.
Action on Draft
The draft resolution A/52/L.23/Rev.1) was adopted without a vote. India, Pakistan and South Africa also added their names to the list of co-sponsors.
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe
JORGEN BOJER (Denmark) introduced the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) (document A/52/L.38). He announced that Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Iceland, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Republic of Moldova, San Marino, Ukraine, United States and Uzbekistan had joined the list of co-sponsors.
He said since the Budapest Summit in 1994, cooperation and coordination between the two organizations had continually been developed and strengthened in the political and organizational fields. The United Nations and the OSCE had cooperated closely in a number of areas. By increasingly taking responsibility within its own geographical area, the OSCE not only promoted the objectives of the United Nations in that area, but also contributed to the United Nations ability to deal with crises elsewhere. The close working relationship between the two organizations was seen in joint projects concerning elections, media, humanitarian and refugee law, ombudsman institutions and democratic transition.
The most recent and outstanding example of cooperation was the crisis in Albania earlier in the year, he said. Based on a recommendation from the OSCE, the Security Council mandated the Multinational Protection Force that provided the necessary security for international assistance. New elections had been held and the situation had improved considerably.
Close cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations could be an important tool in conflict management and resolution, he said. Regional organizations must assist the United Nations, but should not seek to replace it. Their involvement in conflict management must be based on a mandate given by the United Nations and an obligation to report regularly to the United Nations. He hoped that the draft would be adopted by consensus.
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ELDAR KOULIEV (Azerbaijan) introduced the amendment to the draft resolution (document A/52/L.39). He said operative paragraph 16 did not deal with the real essence of the problem and departed from the language of previous resolutions. The issue was of the utmost concern to Azerbaijan, as it dealt with its sovereignty and territorial integrity, which had been upheld in previous relevant United Nations resolutions. He called on the Assembly to respect those principles and support the amendment.
JEAN-LOUIS WOLZFELD (Luxembourg), speaking for the European Union and the associated countries of Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, as well as Cyprus, said the Union had played a leading role in the development of the OSCE and supported the enhancement of its role as a primary instrument of preventive diplomacy, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. A strengthened role would enable it to better assume its responsibilities as a regional organization within the United Nations Charter. Consequently, it was examining the means of putting into operation the "OSCE first" principle, including the possibility of OSCE States jointly deciding to refer a dispute to the Security Council, notwithstanding the position of the States parties to the dispute.
He said the Union welcomed the close cooperation between the OSCE and the United Nations Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Georgia, the UNHCR cooperated with the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, and with the OSCE mission, on the preparations for the return of the Ossetians to their homes in Georgia. The inter-Tajik talks, which the OSCE had attended as observers, had resulted in the signing of the General Agreement on the establishment of peace and national understanding in Tajikistan. The United Nations and the OSCE were continuing to combine efforts to help implement the Agreement.
The conflict in Nagorny Karabakh was another example of practical cooperation between the Organization and the OSCE, he said. As a result of the Albanian political crisis at the beginning of the year, cooperation there between the United Nations and the OSCE had become imperative. From the beginning of the crisis, the OSCE had taken the lead in political operations, and the Security Council had approved the mandate of the Multinational Protection Force deployed between March and August. Thanks to the cooperation between the OSCE, the WFP and UNICEF, it was possible to bring humanitarian aid quickly to Albanians in distress.
He said the Union welcomed the conclusions of the OSCE Summit in Lisbon in December 1996. The Lisbon declaration on a common and comprehensive security model for Europe and the twenty-first century would strengthen security and stability in the OSCE region. It would aim to provide a framework within which all States, security related organizations and regional and subregional arrangements could work together in a constructive and mutually reinforcing way. The ministerial meeting in Copenhagen, to be held
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in December, would continue to work towards that end, in particular, by drawing up a European security charter.
The human dimension remained a priority focus for the OSCE, he said. Respect for and the promotion of human rights, the elimination of all forms of discrimination, and a free and independent media were basic requisites for a viable democracy, democratic institutions and confidence between governments and people. The implementation meeting on human dimension issues held in Warsaw during November was ample evidence of that. He pointed out that the draft resolution was co-sponsored by all the members of the European Union.
SERGEY V. LAVROV (Russian Federation) said cooperation between the OSCE and the United Nations on conflict settlement, peacekeeping and the humanitarian aspects of security and development was "becoming a major factor in strengthening global and regional stability in a multi-polar world". Implementing the decisions made at the OSCE Summit in Lisbon would consolidate its coordinating and system-building role in relation to other European and Euro-Atlantic organizations. The OSCE Charter on European Security, which formed the basis of a regional security system envisaged in the United Nations Charter, was very important. Special attention in the Charter should be paid to the security interests of States that were not members of military and political alliances, nor had expressed any desire to join one.
He said he welcomed strengthened cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE in attempts to settle conflicts in the territory of the CIS, particularly Georgia, Tajikistan and Nogorny Karabakh. The OSCE should not seek to replace the United Nations, but it should intensify the Organization's monitoring of human rights, promotion of democratic institutions and supervision of elections. Cooperation between them had been successful in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the OSCE had supervised municipal elections. The two organizations had also cooperated in Albania and on humanitarian issues. He supported OSCE activities on the situation of human rights in Latvia and Estonia.
VOLODYMYR YEL'CHENKO (Ukraine) said that especially important in the increased cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE was their approach in the fields of early warning, conflict prevention and crisis management. He hoped the high level of cooperation reached between the two organizations in the peace process in the former Yugoslavia would be maintained during the period of post-conflict peace-building, aimed at creating a genuine civil society in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They should have a strong peacekeeping role in the settlement of the Nagorny Karabakh conflict.
He said peacekeeping operations in the OSCE area should be carried out only through respecting the appropriate United Nations or OSCE mandate, with obligatory fulfilment of the requirements for such operations contained in the United Nations and OSCE documents. He referred to forced migration and movement of refugees and displaced persons, which he said posed a real challenge to
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security and stability in Europe. There must be proper interaction between the UNHCR and the appropriate OSCE authorities. Ukraine also favoured intensification of cooperation between the OSCE and the ECE, which should be more oriented to assist economies in transition.
OSKARAS JUSYS (Lithuania) said increased contacts between the United Nations and the OSCE were in keeping with the Secretary-General's report on reform, which stated that "Cooperation with regional organizations will be intensified and regional organizations will increasingly become partners of the United Nations in all activities related to maintenance of international peace and security, including conflict prevention". However, there could be more political dialogue between the two organizations.
He said the Security Council was primarily responsible for maintaining international peace and security, but the United Nations could not solve all the world's problems alone. The OSCE should relieve the United Nations of some of its regional burdens. When the United Nations and the OSCE were active in the same country, the main responsibility should lie with the OSCE. A good example of that was the OSCE mission in Croatia, which would take over from UNTAES.
Neither unilateral security guarantees nor regional security pacts could ensure European security, he continued. All nations on the continent were bound together, meant to become partners with common aims and a single fate. Good neighbourly relations and integration into European and trans-Atlantic institutions were the two pillars of the future, of which the signing of the border treaty between Lithuania and Russia this year was an example. Respect for a State's right to join treaties or alliances was a fundamental OSCE principle.
CLAUDIA FRITSCHE (Liechtenstein) said cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE covered a wide range of issues, among which country- specific activities were perhaps the most prominent ones. The OSCE continued to play an important role in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially through its supervision of municipal elections, with the assistance of the United Nations Police Task Force. In Albania, it responded quickly to a crisis situation, while getting the necessary support from a multinational protection force mandated by the Security Council.
The report (document A/52/450) testified to the increased cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE. While that was welcome, there was potential for further deepening of the interaction between the two organizations. It was essential that the cooperation of international organizations, especially with regard to emergency situations and field operations, was based on a clear understanding which set out a framework of cooperation and allowed for the maximum possible coordination of those activities. Liechtenstein had taken note of the initiative to create a "Platform for Security Cooperation", which would serve as a model for
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cooperation in the area of peace and security in the twenty-first century, based on the equality of all partners.
HANS JACOB BIORN LIAN (Norway) said since the 1990 Summit in Paris, the OSCE had demonstrated an increased capacity to cooperate and coordinate with the United Nations and other security-related organizations in handling regional crises. It had and enhanced its abilities on early warning, conflict prevention, crises management and post-conflict rehabilitation and, through use of those tools, helped maintain peace and security in its region.
The shared commitments of the OSCE member States and its consensus principles were the cornerstone on which its work was based, he said. The OSCE's key assets were its adaptability and creativity. His Government would like to see the OSCE's operational capacity further developed, including improved financing of its operations, without creating new or complicated structures and without tampering with its flexibility.
He said the OSCE had been able to relieve the United Nations of some of its workload, a role which should be strengthened and further developed. Cooperation between the two organizations could be improved even more. The interchange between them and the OSCE's position as a regional arrangement should be further refined and actively applied. The OSCE, however, was not a small scale blueprint of the United Nations. The OSCE did not have a universal character and worked mainly with diplomatic instruments. It was cost-effective and achieved concrete results with a lean organization and relatively modest financing.
GEORGE SALIBA (Malta) said cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE had assumed increasing importance since the end of the cold war. Malta welcomed the tripartite consultations among the United Nations, the OSCE and the Council of Europe. Those consultations would aim at furthering the principle of a pragmatic rationalization of activities in the field, and lead to an enhancement and strengthening of such consultations.
He said Malta had assiduously promoted the concept that security and stability in the Mediterranean was closely linked to European, and consequently to international, peace and security. Malta had promoted the Mediterranean dimension of the OSCE and focused efforts on initiatives meant to enhance the access of the Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation to all activities of the OSCE. In addition, Malta was of the view that in the continuation of the "informal understanding", mentioned in the Secretary- General's report, there should be a division of labour between the United Nations and the OSCE. That would charge the OSCE with responsibilities worthy of its status as a regional arrangement, according to Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, and effectively enhance the existing framework of cooperation between the two organizations.
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SOKOL KONDI (Albania) said his Government highly appreciated the role and contribution of the OSCE in overcoming the crisis which engulfed Albania earlier this year. The electoral assistance and monitoring of the 29 June elections were crucial in ensuring their success, thus opening the road for efforts to rehabilitate the country. The OSCE had given strong political support to Albania's request for an international humanitarian and stabilizing presence. The expeditious authorization and rapid deployment of the Multinational Protection Force had helped prevent the escalation of the situation into total conflict. The cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE was an example of coordinated international action undertaken at the right time and in the proper manner.
He said the OSCE had a rich record of involvement in dealing with the conflict situation in the former Yugoslavia. Its role in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in assisting the country to establish democratic institutions and implement the Peace Agreement, was great. However, Albania noted with regret that, despite continued calls from the OSCE, the Assembly and the Security Council, the long-term OSCE mission had not been able to return to Kosova because of the lack of cooperation by the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). He was hopeful of the Secretary- General's efforts towards the establishment of an adequate monitoring presence in Kosova. Albania's call for increased international efforts for a peaceful solution of the Kosova problem derived from its wish to contribute positively to remaining problems in the region, to develop good neighbourly relations, and to enhance and strengthen peace and stability in the still-troubled Balkans.
SAMUEL ZBOGAR (Slovenia) said the OSCE was a good example of a regional organization that had seized the opportunity to foster cooperation, development, democratization of human rights and peace. It cooperated with and complemented the United Nations as a regional arrangement, in the sense provided for in the Organization's Charter. As such, it provided an important link between European and global security. The future of world peace and security depended, to a large extent, on the comprehensive cooperation of the United Nations with regional organizations. Thus, he welcomed the enhanced cooperation of the Security Council with the relevant regional arrangements.
He said the OSCE increasingly contributed to the establishment and the maintenance of peace and security in Europe through such activities as early warning, preventive diplomacy, crisis management, arms control and disarmament, post-crisis stabilization, rehabilitation measures, support for economic development and promotion of human rights. For each and every listed aspect, the OSCE and the United Nations had developed mutually beneficial cooperation that had proved effective in easing and solving regional crises.
The OSCE possessed specific comparative advantages in the area of preventive diplomacy, conflict prevention, and post-conflict rehabilitation, he said. It was well positioned to tackle the root causes of tensions and had a clear mandate to assist in the settlement of domestic conflicts. The
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lessons learned from Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina proved that the existing international and regional organizations possessed efficient tools for preventive and post-conflict engagement, if they were applied in ways that were concerted, timely and proper. His country had participated with the OSCE and the United Nations in both situations. The activities of international organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina deserved full recognition.
MOVSES ABELIAN (Armenia) said he supported the advancement of the role of the OSCE as a major forum for addressing the challenges in the region through preventive diplomacy, conflict prevention, crisis management, and post-conflict rehabilitation. In that regard, he viewed the Lisbon Declaration on a common and comprehensive security model for Europe for the twenty-first century as an important instrument to create a peaceful, stable and prosperous Europe. The strength and attraction of the OSCE was the fact that it was formed as "a community of shared values".
He said that the OSCE faced several challenges, among them, resolving ethnic conflicts that erupted after the end of the cold war and preventing future conflicts. One of the OSCE mandates was to reach a peaceful resolution to the Nagorny Karabakh conflict, which was also Armenia's main foreign policy preoccupation. Despite the maintenance of the ceasefire for almost four years, it continued to threaten peace and stability in the region. As part of any compromise solution, the commonly recognized freedoms for the Nagorny Karabakh population, their physical security and control over their territory and destiny must be guaranteed. Those obligations must be secured by measures that would make the peace process irreversible and prevent the resumption of military actions.
A resolution to the conflict acceptable to all parties involved was the key to establishing durable peace and stability in the region, and stimulating economic growth and prosperity in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorny Karabakh. His Government remained committed to a negotiated settlement of the conflict and urged Azerbaijan to negotiate directly with elected officials of Nagorny Karabakh, for no final solution could be achieved without their direct participation in the deliberations on its own political status. Finally, her fully supported the draft resolution.
GIANCARLO ARAGONA, Secretary-General of the OSCE, said that two days ago the organization had carried out one of the most delicate operations it ever conducted, the supervision of legislative elections in the Republika Srpska. Last year, Bosnia and Herzogovina was the biggest challenge for the OSCE. It supervised elections, strengthened respect for human rights and reinforced regional stability in application of the Dayton-Paris accords. The OSCE would continue working in Bosnia and Herzegovina in coordination with the High Representative and the international organizations there.
In Albania, he continued, the OSCE welcomed the contribution of the multinational force authorized by the Security Council. The international
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community responded in an innovative way to the Albanian crisis, particularly in regard to cooperation between intergovernmental institutions. The OSCE quickly set up a coordination framework open to all those organizations. Elections were organized and, after the emergency intervention phase was over, a long-term economic, political and social assistance programme was set up. The OSCE then reduced its presence and adapted to its new mission, while continuing to offer other organizations a coordination framework.
In Croatia, he said, the OSCE decided to adapt its deployment timetable to that of the United Nations withdrawal. The OSCE mission in Zagreb would encourage and observe implementation of commitments made by the Croatian Government concerning the two-way return of refugees and the protection of their rights, as well as those of minorities. He said the United Nations had an interest in the successful transition between the two missions, because it proved that the world Organization was correct in handing the baton over to a regional one.
Pragmatic cooperation based on respect for each organization's skills and expertise had become the rule rather than the exception, he added, but it could be further strengthened. For example, the Human Rights Office opened by the United Nations in Sukhumi, Georgia, included staff from both organizations. Contacts between the United Nations and the OSCE were continuing in Tajikistan, where the OSCE had taken over from the UNHCR and was willing to cooperate with the United Nations on observation of the elections scheduled next year.
In Abkhazia, Georgia, the OSCE has supported United Nations efforts to re-establish peace. In the Republic of Moldova, southern Ossetia and the conflict dealt with by the Minsk Conference, the OSCE was the main player in the search for a peaceful settlement. In Chechnya, it was the only one.
He said the philosophy of the OSCE was that democracy and human rights were necessary to prevent conflicts, be they internal or between States. The human dimension was an essential component of security. The support of members of parliaments for OSCE activities made the organization more than just the business of diplomats, but of civil society as well. In 1998, the OSCE would increase its capacity to prevent crises and human rights violations. To that end, two new instruments had been created: the representative for freedom of the media, and the coordinator for OSCE economic and environmental activities.
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