ASSEMBLY SEEKS ENHANCEMENT OF DISPUTE SETTLEMENT BY CLOSER LINKS BETWEEN UNITED NATIONS AND EUROPEAN SECURITY GROUP
ASSEMBLY SEEKS ENHANCEMENT OF DISPUTE SETTLEMENT BY CLOSER LINKS BETWEEN UNITED NATIONS AND EUROPEAN SECURITY GROUP
ASSEMBLY SEEKS ENHANCEMENT OF DISPUTE SETTLEMENT BY CLOSER LINKS BETWEEN UNITED NATIONS AND EUROPEAN SECURITY GROUP19971125 In Other Action, Restitution of Works of Arts to Countries Of Origin Is Favoured; Speakers Urge Encouragement of Multilingualism
The General Assembly this afternoon asked the Secretary-General to explore with the Secretary-General of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) the possibility of enhancing cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE, in accordance with Chapter VII of the Charter and on the basis of the framework agreement signed on 26 May 1993. The Assembly also requested that, as much as possible, duplication and overlapping in those areas where both organizations had a role be avoided.
By a recorded vote of 126 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (Armenia), the Assembly welcomed continued close cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE in Tajikistan, Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium, as well as the OSCE decision to supervise elections in Republika Srpska and its readiness to continue contributing to a peaceful settlement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. (See Annex III.)
Before that action, the Assembly adopted an amendment to the draft introduced by Azerbaijan, by which it fully supported OSCE activities to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict in and around the Nagorny Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and welcomed cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE on the matter. The amendment was adopted by a vote of 104 in favour to 1 against (Armenia), with 17 abstentions. (Annex II)
In a procedural action, prior to the vote on the amendment, the representative of Armenia put forward a motion of no action on Azerbaijan's proposal. He said the OSCE membership had reached consensus on the means of settling the Nagorny Karabakh conflict. The proposed amendment was an obvious attempt to predetermine the outcome of negotiations.
Armenia's motion for no action was rejected by a vote of 1 in favour (Armenia) to 29 against, with 81 abstentions. (Annex I)
The representatives of Belarus, Luxembourg (on behalf of the European Union), Armenia, and Swaziland spoke in explanation of vote.
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By another recorded vote -- 87 in favour, to none against, with 23 abstentions -- the Assembly reaffirmed that the restitution of objets d'art, monuments, museum pieces, archives, manuscripts, documents and any other cultural or artistic treasures to their country of origin, contributed to the strengthening of international cooperation, and the flowering of universal cultural values through fruitful international cooperation. (Annex IV)
The representative of Swaziland spoke in explanation of vote.
In other action this afternoon, the Assembly asked the Secretary-General to submit at the fifty-fourth session a comprehensive report on the implementation of General Assembly resolution 50/11 on the use of the United Nations official languages and the working languages of the Secretariat. It also decided to include the item entitled "Multilingualism" in the agenda of its fifty-fourth session.
Japan, Thailand and Swaziland spoke in explanation of position.
Statements were made this afternoon by France, Spain, Andorra, Tunisia, Mexico, Benin, Ukraine, Myanmar, Kuwait, Libya, Greece, Marshall Islands, Iraq, Republic of Korea, Cyprus and Peru.
Estonia and Kuwait spoke in exercise of right of reply.
The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, 26 November, to elect members to the Governing Board of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It is also expected to consider the Law of the Sea and implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development.
Assembly Work Programme
The Assembly met this afternoon to continue its consideration of Cooperation with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and take action on draft resolutions. It was also expected to begin consideration of its agenda items on multilingualism and on the return of cultural property. (For further details see Press Release GA/9362 of today's date.)
Cooperation with OSCE: Action on Draft
MOVSES ABELIAN (Armenia) said his delegation wanted to make a motion of no-action under Rule 74 of the General Assembly Rules of Procedure on the proposed amendment of the Azerbaijani delegation (document A/52/L.39), to the draft resolution entitled "Cooperation between the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe" (document A/52/L.38). He said the common interpretations and definitions used by the OSCE were based on consensus decisions by the organization's member States. They expressed the common position of those States and were based on the awareness of the necessity to guarantee balance and objectiveness in the OSCE Minsk Group mediation efforts. The proposed amendment by Azerbaijan was one-sided, biased and imposed a compulsory framework to which Armenia could not agree.
He described the proposed amendment as an attempt to predetermine the outcome of the Copenhagen OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting. It was an inappropriate move, since the OSCE was the sole mandated and authoritative body dealing with the Nagarno Karabagh conflict. For that obvious reason, the co-sponsors of the draft had not found it appropriate to include the proposed amendment in the draft. His delegation fully supported the draft presented by the Chairman-in-Chief of the OSCE. Azerbaijan, he said, had failed to take into account the arguments he just mentioned. He called upon Member States to vote in favour of the no-action motion.
The Assembly President quoted from Rule 74 of the Rules of Procedure that no action be taken on the amendment read as follows: "During the discussion of any matter, a representative may move the adjournment of the debate on the item under discussion. In addition to the proposer of the motion, two representatives may speak in favour of, and two against the motion, after which the motion shall be immediately put to the vote."
ELDAR KOULIEV (Azerbaijan) said Armenia had again -- as it had last year -- put forward a motion of no action on the proposed amendment, thus seeking to deprive Azerbaijan of its rights. Azerbaijan did not lay claim to anyone's territory, but it would not allow anyone to encroach on its territory of which Nagorny Karabakh was part. Azerbaijan should not be deprived of the opportunity to put forward its amendment. Last year, the Assembly had voted against the motion of no action and should do so again this year.
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The Assembly then voted against the motion by a recorded vote of one in favour (Armenia), to 29 against, with 81 abstentions. (For details of vote see Annex I).
The Assembly then adopted the amendment proposed by Azerbaijan in document A/52/L.39, by a recorded vote of 104 in favour to one against (Armenia), with 17 abstentions. (See Annex II.)
The Assembly then adopted the resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE by a recorded vote of 126 in favour, to none against, with one abstention (Armenia). (See Annex III.)
Explanation of Vote
ALYAKSANDR SYCHOU (Belarus) said that, acting in a spirit of compromise and understanding, it had supported the adoption of the resolution and had decided not to present amendments to the draft. However, there was a clear imbalance in the resolution regarding the basic dimensions of the European process. Belarus noted the tendency to include only decisions of the OSCE; it believed that there was no case for the Assembly to consider micro management of areas related to the competence of regional organizations. Belarus confirmed its readiness to realize the decisions of the permanent council of the OSCE concerning the establishment of an advisory and monitoring group in Belarus. It was premature of the Assembly to take note of OSCE decisions because of ongoing negotiations and consultations between the OSCE and Belarus on the memorandum of understanding.
SYLVIE LUCAS (Luxembourg), speaking for the European Union, regretted that it had not been possible to adopt the resolution by consensus. It was part of a series dealing with cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations. As for the amendment by Azerbaijan, the principles governing a settlement of the conflict in Nagorny Karabakh, which respected the rights and dignity of all parties, were well known and clearly defined in the framework agreement of the OSCE. The European Union called on all parties to continue negotiations within the framework of the Minsk process; it would have preferred a consensus on the adoption of paragraph 16 relating to that process. However, the amendment used the language of the text adopted last year.
Mr. ABELIAN (Armenia) said his delegation voted against the amendment (document A/52/L.39) and abstained on the resolution (document A/52/L.38). He was surprised that the United Nations had allowed this formal and routine cooperation to be transformed by Azerbaijan into a serious political debate, while all other resolutions concerning regional cooperation were adopted by consensus. The initial proposal by the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE was highly balanced and was dictated by the need to create a more favourable environment in the peace process on the eve of the Copenhagen Ministerial Meeting. The United Nations should not have "second guessed" the language
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proposed by the Chairman-in-Office, since the OSCE was the sole mandated and authoritative body dealing with the Nagarno Karabagh conflict.
His delegation was surprised to see that OSCE member States, including European Union members, had voted in favour of the Azerbaijani amendment, while they had earlier co-sponsored the proposed draft. He was particularly disappointed by the decision of the co-chairmen of the Minsk Group to support the amendment. Their position undermined and dismissed the initial proposal of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office. His delegation was convinced that any attempt to predetermine the final status of Nagarno Karabagh would have negative effects on the peace process, as did the Lisbon Statement, not only making the commencement of negotiations on the process difficult, but also rendering the signing of any interim agreement between the parties to the conflict highly unlikely. Armenia remained committed to the peace process and would continue to be constructively engaged in negotiations to reach a peaceful resolution to the conflict based on goodwill and mutual compromise.
MOSES M. DLAMINI (Swaziland) said his support for the draft resolution sprang from the belief that a regional organization should be given the support of the United Nations. According to the organization's charter, both regional and subregional organizations should resolve conflict. It was his delegation's wish to humbly implore the groups affected by the resolution to sit around the conference table and resolve their problems especially before they came to the Assembly. This resolution should, in the future, be a consensus resolution.
Right of Reply
TRIVIMI VELLISTE (Estonia), responding to a statement by the representative of the Russian Federation this morning, said the Estonian Government had cooperated with the High Commissioner for National Minorities in integrating the alien population in Estonia. That effort had been recognized by the international community. He welcomed the fruitful cooperation of the Government of Estonia with the OSCE.
Multilingualism: Action on Draft
PHILIPPE THIEBAUD (France), introducing the draft resolution on multilingualism (document A/52/L.35), said efforts must be intensified to respect the principle of multilingualism. Any circular or instruction aiming at full application of that principle would be useful. The idea in paragraph 9 of the Secretary-General's report, that "staff members are encouraged to make equal use of the working languages in their official communications", should be turned into reality.
INOCENCIO F. ARIAS (Spain) said the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations was an occasion to reaffirm universality as its base, and as a corollary to confirm the principle of multilingualism as the basic expression
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and instrument of dialogue between Member States. For Spain, which had established language pluralism as one of its guiding principles, the defence and strengthening of the use of different languages was very important.
The debate on multilingualism at the Assembly could not be more timely in light of the proposed reform of the Organization in its preparations for the next millennium. As the Organization prepared to handle its responsibilities with more efficiency, Member States needed to continue their interest in the application of linguistic rules for the Organization. The linguistic rules reinvigorated the Organization's Charter, not only because they enhanced deliberations, but also because they facilitated the major expression and identification of respective public opinions.
JULI MINOVES-TRIQUELL (Andorra) said the policy for advancement in United Nations posts should take linguistic ability more into account. Staff members who acquired fluency in various languages should be rewarded, and languages should be taught in United Nations headquarters. The United Nations must become the flag-bearer of efforts to promote appreciation of the wealth hidden in different languages.
The unity of action of the United Nations must come from diversity, not uniformity. The official languages must be used more. Andorra wanted to encourage other States to express themselves in their own languages during the general debate, to raise awareness of the wealth of nations, languages.
HABIB KAABACHI (Tunisia) said the reaffirmation of multilingualism at the United Nations respected the Charter in letter and spirit and countered totalitarianism. Respect of differences between individuals, which was at the basis of all democratic societies, should also be the foundation of relations between States. Difference must be perceived as mutually enriching. The Secretary-General's proposed reforms offered an opportunity to more deeply examine the question of multilingualism at the United Nations. Multilingualism should be part of any project intended to increase the Organization's effectiveness and influence.
The principle of multilingualism should be respected at all meetings held at the United Nations, he said. The paragraphs in the Secretary- General's report on the everyday use of official languages at the Secretariat should be submitted to the appropriate bodies, including the Fifth Committee. The Secretariat should respect the rules about simultaneous distribution of documents in the official languages, which were rarely available in time. The use of a single language most of the time during the present session reduced working possibilities and rapid reaction possibilities in the framework of informal and formal consultations.
GUSTAVO ALBIN (Mexico) said the report by the Secretary-General did not analyse the problem of multilingualism in implementing the resolution's current provisions deeply enough, nor were specific recommendations made to
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better serve delegations. It would seem the Secretariat was content with the current state of affairs. Use of all the official languages was essential for understanding and respect of cultures. Acceptance of diversity was important in achieving United Nations goals.
The strength of the United Nations came from its diversity, he said. The priority given to multilingualism was rooted in the conviction that United Nations methods must reflect the cultures of all. Because of its importance the agenda item merited deeper consideration, so it was hoped the Secretary- General would prepare a more analytical report next year.
SAMUEL AMEHOU (Benin) said that for all players to contribute to the development of principles forming the basis of international relations, pluralism and respect for cultural diversity must be maintained. The possibilities of self-expression and participation in the democratization process must take all points of view into account, including those of people who could not fully participate in debates or use the documentation available. Benin called for greater efforts by the Secretariat to give multilingualism the privileged place it deserved.
The Vice-President of the General Assembly, HERBERT YOUNG (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) announced that Afghanistan, Argentina, Belarus, Cameroon, China, Djibouti, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Laos, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Peru, Turkmenistan and Venezuela had joined as co-sponsors of draft resolution A/52/L.35.
The Assembly then adopted draft resolution A/52/L.35 on multilingualism without a vote.
NOBUHIRO WATANABE (Japan) said it had joined in the consensus on the draft although it had voted against resolution 50/11 of 1995 (referred to in the text) because it considered that an operative paragraph of that resolution penalized staff members whose mother tongue was not one of the official United Nations languages. Japan reserved the right to make any intervention regarding multilingualism. It requested that when it came to recruitment, nationals whose mother tongue was not an official United Nations language would be treated equally.
ANUSON CHINVANNO (Thailand) said his country had joined in the consensus but continued to have strong reservations regarding the operative paragraph of resolution 50/11, which it had voted against in 1995, which had grave implications for personnel matters. In practical terms, requiring a command of two of the six official languages would place personnel and potential recruits whose mother tongue was not one of the six official languages at a serious disadvantage. Thailand reaffirmed its commitment to multilingualism at the United Nations and supported the idea that the Organization should promote cultural diversity. It believed, however, that the promotion of cultural diversity had at its central ideal, the concepts of tolerance and
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understanding, which, in the context of this agenda item, should be extended to those cultures which through history were not associated with the six official languages.
Mr. DLAMINI (Swaziland) recalled an observation two years ago about the attempt to deprive Member States of their quota of representatives in the Secretariat. The resolution was a way to marginalize those countries which had never been exposed to the official languages of the United Nations. Those whose had piloted the resolution should know that they had acted unfairly, especially as in the past the resolution had been taken to a vote.
Restitution of Cultural Property
Assembly Vice-President, HERBERT V.P. YOUNG (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), speaking on behalf of the Assembly President, said the issue on the restitution of cultural property had a long history. In the past, the laws of war entailed the right to "booty", and the conquered countries were sacked for treasure. During recent years the international community had shown great interest in cultural property and its restitution. There had been a great deal of effort by the UNESCO in this sphere. Constructive dialogue on the issue would be an important step forward.
MWAMBA KAPANGA (Democratic Republic of the Congo) introduced draft resolution A/52/L.12 entitled the Return or Restitution of Cultural Property to the Countries of Origin.
YURIY BOHAIEVS'KY (Ukraine) said that politically, legally, socially and ethically, the return of cultural valuables to the countries of origin was an extraordinarily delicate problem. Every specific case should be dealt with in an appropriate manner, with due regard of the conditions in which a masterpiece was relocated. The issue should be solved on the basis of generally recognized principles of international law and by application of civilized moral standards. Ukraine had ratified a number of relevant international instruments, including the 1970 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention, in trying to make its political and practical contribution to solving the issue.
Strengthening the role of UNESCO would enhance international efforts, he said. Member States who had not done so should adopt relevant legal acts and join the 1970 UNESCO Convention, and the Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects. The conclusion of bilateral and multilateral agreements should be encouraged with the aim to prevent illegal circulation of cultural valuables and promote their restitution. The United Nations should consider the possibility of proclaiming the year 1999 as an international year of preservation, protection and restitution of cultural heritage.
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WIN MRA (Myanmar) said it was gratifying that 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 was able to take up important questions such as creation of standardized national inventories and international database of movable cultural property, an international code of ethics for art dealers and creation of an international fund to facilitate the restitution of stolen cultural objects. Further discussion of those questions, it was hoped, would eventually lead to certain concrete actions which would have bearing on the efforts of UNESCO to curb illicit trade in cultural property.
He said Myanmar subscribed to the view that the cultural heritage of a people conditioned its overall development. Likewise, loss of a people's cultural heritage led to its cultural impoverishment and loss of identity. Having a civilization dating back over many centuries, Myanmar attached great importance to its cultural heritage and its preservation was regarded as a national undertaking.
MOHAMMED ABULHASAN (Kuwait) said his delegation was satisfied with the Secretary-General's report on efforts regarding the restoration of cultural property, particularly the enhancement of bilateral negotiations to try to return some properties or restrict their removal. His Government appreciated the fact that some States suffered as a result of losing their cultural treasures. Kuwait had a bitter experience when Iraqi soldiers robbed and looted its cultural properties. Iraq had destroyed and looted manuscripts and historical documents.
The Department of Arab Culture had been looted, including gifts from foreign libraries and dictionaries and books, he said. Archeological treasures in the National Museum had been destroyed. Nothing had improved since then. Many treasures which had been returned had been damaged. He appealed for the international community to urge the return of Kuwait's cultural property. Hopefully, the next report of the Secretary-General would include more information about international efforts if there had been no progress on the issue by then.
ALI MOHAMED SALEH NAJEM (Libya) said cultural properties were important for all countries and peoples, because they were part of their history. The debate in the Assembly represented a new campaign for the restoration of looted cultural and archeological properties. In the past, Libya had seen much looting of its cultural property. The important museums in European and American museums contained treasures and manuscripts looted from Libya. He listed artefacts and treasures taken from Libya to the United Kingdom and museums in Europe. He said that despite repeated attempts by UNESCO, many countries had not agreed to become parties to the Convention. Those guilty of stealing cultural properties should be punished and deterred from repeating such crimes in the future. Libya insisted on restoring its cultural heritage, the looting of which had done much harm to the country. Libya would bring the
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matter before international courts because it could not stand by while its treasures were kept elsewhere.
CHRISTOS ZACHARAKIS (Greece) said that as a country with an important cultural history, and as the victim of systematic plundering of its natural treasures, Greece attached great importance to the restoration of cultural property. Not one of the major Greek monuments had escaped pillage. Invaluable parts had been removed and transferred abroad, away from their original architectural structures. Such actions, which reflected past attitudes, should not be perpetuated by inaction and silence. As the repository of a cultural heritage which belonged to the whole world, Greece strongly believed that it had a duty to entrust it to future generations, healed from the traumas inflicted by both time and human actions. That duty emanated from Greece's respect for its monuments and its responsibility towards the international community. The issue of the restoration of the Parthenon Marbles had always remained open for Greece, as well as for the international cultural community, including many important historical British figures, such as Lord Byron, Shelley and Hardy.
He said issues of cultural policy should be handled with respect for the world's cultural heritage and not with feeble legal arguments. Greece was requesting the restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, not just their return. The British traditionally used the alleged existence of legal title granted to Lord Elgin by the then Ottoman rulers of Greece and the contention that Marbles were the property of the British Museum which was independent of the British Government. If the British side insisted on invoking the existence of relevant Ottoman "firmans", Greece would be ready to furnish fully documented proof that there was no legal title legitimizing Lord Elgin's "destructive and hideous act" in removing the Marbles. Greece sincerely hoped, he continued, that the Government of the United Kingdom and its people would realize their grave error.
ESPEN RONNEBERG (Marshall Islands) said many countries had knowledge of which of their cultural icons and treasures had been taken away over the years; that was not the case with the Marshall Islands. It had known of a Pacific collection at a well-known American university, but did not know it contained a large number of artifacts from the Marshall Islands. It was aware of major collections being held by various institutions in Germany, a former colonial administrator. Further, at a recent symposium on the Marshall Islands, it was informed of the large amount of documentation and artifacts brought back to Spain by the early explorers.
He stressed that the Marshall Islands was not calling for those artifacts to be returned as if they had been acquired by illegal means. What it intended to do was seek ways the collection could be photographed in detail, and catalogued more fully, so that Marshallese students and others could do research on them. It was also important to explore the possibility of a visiting exhibition to the Islands.
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He appealed to the international community, and to the relevant United Nations agencies and specialized bodies, to assist in compiling the necessary data and cataloguing the extensive materials that were housed by those institutions. He was fearful that the artifacts might decay or be lost in the future before they could be properly documented. The assistance of the donor community and the United Nations was absolutely essential for success in that regard.
KHALED AL-HITTI (Iraq) said his country welcomed the attention paid by UNESCO to training professionals dealing with illicit traffic in cultural property, and agreed with the use of Interpol to combat that traffic. The education of art dealers and museum curators concerning the issue was also helpful. He said interest in the issue had risen in recent years, because the situation had been worsened by the economic difficulties of some countries and the devaluation of their currencies. The wealthy could exploit those situations to acquire cultural property. In the west, they could purchase archaeological property from third countries as a form of investment, and sometimes governments turned a blind eye. Some countries had regained their cultural property, but many people refused to go along with conventions calling for its restitution to the countries of origin.
As the cradle of civilization and the depository of priceless treasures, he went on, Iraq was a choice target for the theft of cultural property. Many items had ben included in the museums of third countries. Aerial bombardments had destroyed part of Iraq's cultural heritage, and sanctions gave rise to illicit trafficking in priceless books, manuscripts and artifacts. The theft of Iraq's identity worsened as the embargo continued. Iraq asked States to cooperate with UNESCO in the return of cultural property. It welcomed the recommendation of the Secretary-General's report which invited the Director- General of UNESCO to do his utmost to help in the tracing and return of the cultural and archaeological properties stolen and smuggled from Iraq. He said the statement by the representative of Kuwait was "quite exaggerated" because all the cultural property taken out of that country by Iraq had either been returned or would be in the future.
CHANG BEOM CHO (Republic of Korea) said that over the course of history, many priceless cultural artifacts had been illegally taken from their original resting places to locations abroad. The problem was of particular significance to his country; many of its cultural objects had been pillaged and illegally transferred abroad during periods of political turmoil, especially in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His Government had launched an effort to locate them and had achieved some concrete results. Bilateral agreements with the Japanese Government had resulted in the return of 1,659 objects, and an additional 1,642 items had been returned through public and private donations, mostly from Japan.
Cultural artifacts unlawfully taken away could not be regarded as the property of the countries currently possessing them, he said. They must be
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returned so that they could be truly preserved and valued in their historical surroundings by the people for whom they were an important part of the cultural heritage. To ensure progress, it was important that some countries summon the political will to look beyond narrow nationalistic interests of the past for the benefit of the common interests and cooperation in the future. His delegation commended UNESCO for its role in promoting bilateral negotiations between requesting and holding countries, and in arousing public opinion on the issue.
SOTIRIOS ZACKHEOS (Cyprus) said the Secretary-General's report delivered a hopeful message on what was being done and the important efforts to protect cultural properties. The UNESCO and its Director-General were to be complimented on efforts to promote bilateral negotiations for the return or restitution of cultural property as a matter of cultural continuity and justice, and for the preparation of inventories of movable cultural properties, dissemination of public information and efforts to establish a code of ethics for art dealers, auction houses and galleries.
He said Cyprus sought solidarity and assistance from the international community for the preservation of cultural identity in the occupied areas of Cyprus. The policy of the occupying Power to change the demographic and cultural history and character of Cyprus by the importation of settlers and the destruction, desecration and pillaging of places of worship caused by the 1974 invasion had constituted a continuous haemorrhage of the island's cultural heritage. A month ago, stolen Cypriot church objects, such as frescos, icons, ancient pottery and statues, were discovered by the German police in Munich in the residence of a Turkish "archaeologist" art smuggler. The Government and Church of Cyprus would spare no effort or money in recovering its cultural treasures. The first major victory was the return to Cyprus of four mosaics dating from 525 A.D. from the United States. They were now exhibited in the Byzantine Museum in Nicosia. However, a vast number of objects and artifacts remained in the wrong hands.
MARITZA RODRIGUEZ (Peru) said her country was heir to one of the oldest and richest civilizations in the world, and thus had a rich cultural heritage and an interest in the draft resolution. It appreciated the work done in this field by UNESCO and gave full support to the intergovernmental committee to provide assistance to those countries wanting restitution of several of their cultural properties. This month, Canada would return a set of valuable pre- Columbian art objects to Peru. The signing between the United States and Peru to prevent the importation of pre-Columbian artifacts into the United States was another area of cooperation on the protection of cultural artifacts.
She hoped UNESCO would continue to cooperate in training law enforcement officers in charge of the illicit traffic of cultural artifacts. Peru felt there was a need for some standardized information on stolen cultural property, and appealed to countries to ratify international conventions on stolen cultural property, and the protection of that property. It also
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supported the adoption of a code of ethics for art dealers and other professionals in the sphere of cultural property. The Internet was a valuable tool to curb the illicit traffic in such materials.
The Assembly Vice-President, Mr. YOUNG (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), said that Egypt had become an additional co-sponsor of the draft resolution.
Action on Draft
Mr. DLAMINI (Swaziland), in explanation of vote, said much havoc had been wrought in Africa by the theft of cultural heritage. Who was stealing cultural property today? The culprits were known. He was thinking of the Rosetta stone, papyrus from Egypt and the embalmed bodies taken by some Member States of the United Nations to attract tourists. Swaziland requested them to restore cultural property with a minimum of compensation. He said the paragraphs of the Secretary-General's report referring to successful cases of the return of cultural property to their countries of origin were a cause for hope.
The representative of the Secretariat said that if the Assembly adopted the resolution, there would be no budget implications.
The Assembly then adopted the resolution on the return of cultural property by a recorded vote of 87 in favour to none against, with 23 abstentions. (See Annex IV.)
Right of Reply
Mr. AL-AWADI (Kuwait), speaking in right of rely, said he had noted the statement by the representative of Iraq on its readiness to return Kuwaiti property, and hoped it would happen soon. However, Iraq's statement that Kuwait had exaggerated the extent of the looting was not correct. The destruction and pillaging of Kuwaiti cultural property and important monuments had been documented by international organizations.
He said that, as a private citizen during the Iraqi occupation of his country, he had witnessed Iraq's theft of Kuwaiti cultural properties. He could not forget what he had seen when Iraqi occupiers forced the director of Kuwait's national museum to open the museum and remove objects. Consideration of the item was the one time when the Assembly could urge Iraq to restore cultural property. Much of what was returned had been damaged.
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General Assembly Plenary Press Release GA/9363 55th Meeting (PM) 25 November 1997
Vote on Motion To Take No Action on Amendment to OSCE Draft
The motion that no action be taken on the amendment (document A/52/L.39) to the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was defeated in a recorded vote of 1 in favour to 29 against, with 81 abstentions, as follows:
In favour: Armenia.
Against: Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Guyana, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Senegal, Singapore, Sudan, Swaziland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Yemen.
Abstain: Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Mongolia, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Absent: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, China, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gabon, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Jordan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Palau, Paraguay, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Viet Nam.
(END OF ANNEX I)
General Assembly Plenary Press Release GA/9363 55th Meeting (PM) 25 November 1997
Vote on Amendment to Draft on Cooperation with OSCE
The amendment to the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) (document A/52/L.39) was adopted by a recorded vote of 104 in favour to 1 against, with 17 abstentions, as follows:
In favour: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen.
Abstain: Antigua and Barbuda, El Salvador, Estonia, Jamaica, Latvia, Marshall Islands, Myanmar, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Singapore, South Africa, Togo.
Absent: Afghanistan, Angola, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Korea, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gabon, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jordan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Palau, Paraguay, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
(END OF ANNEX II)
General Assembly Plenary Press Release GA/9363 55th Meeting (PM) 25 November 1997
Vote on Cooperation between United Nations and OSCE
The draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) (document A/52/L.38) was adopted by a recorded vote of 126 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention, as follows:
In favour: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Absent: Afghanistan, Angola, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gabon, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jordan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Palau, Paraguay, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda,
Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Viet Nam.
(END OF ANNEX III)
General Assembly Plenary Press Release GA/9363 55th Meeting (PM) 25 November 1997
Vote on Restitution of Cultural Property
The draft resolution on the return or restitution of cultural property (document A/52/L.12) was adopted by a recorded vote of 87 in favour to none against, with 23 abstentions, as follows:
In favour: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, Ghana, Greece, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia.
Abstain: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States.
Absent: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Costa Rica, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gabon, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Monaco, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal,
Nicaragua, Palau, Paraguay, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Suriname, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
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