GENERAL ASSEMBLY STRONGLY CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON HUMANITARIAN WORKERS, URGES HELP OF GOVERNMENTS TO ENSURE PROTECTION

16 December 1997
GA/9383

GENERAL ASSEMBLY STRONGLY CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON HUMANITARIAN WORKERS, URGES HELP OF GOVERNMENTS TO ENSURE PROTECTION

16 December 1997

Press ReleaseGA/9383

GENERAL ASSEMBLY STRONGLY CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON HUMANITARIAN WORKERS, URGES HELP OF GOVERNMENTS TO ENSURE PROTECTION

19971216 Eighteen Texts Adopted, Assistance Sought for Many Countries; Cooperation Between United Nations and Civil Society to be Encouraged

The General Assembly this morning strongly condemned any actions which obstructed or prevented humanitarian personnel from carrying out their work, as well as threats, use of force or physical attacks against them. It also called on Governments and parties to ensure that the lives and well-being of humanitarian personnel were respected and protected.

The Assembly took that action in one of eighteen resolutions adopted on United Nations humanitarian and disaster relief assistance (all without a vote except for a text on emergency assistance to the Sudan).

By the text on safety and security of humanitarian personnel, the Assembly urged all States to fully investigate any threat or violence against humanitarian personnel on their territory and to take appropriate measures to ensure prosecution of perpetrators.

The Assembly called on Governments and parties in complex humanitarian emergencies, particularly armed conflicts and post-conflict situations, to cooperate fully with the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies and organisations and to ensure their safe and unhindered access to assist civilians, including refugees and internally displaced persons.

By a recorded vote of 95 in favour to 38 against with 13 abstentions, the Assembly called on the international community to continue contributing generously to Sudan's emergency needs and to its recovery and development. It also called on the donor community and the United Nations system to provide financial, technical and medical assistance to the country. (See Annex.)

Further, it urged parties to the conflict in the Sudan to desist from using anti-personnel mines, and called on the international community to refrain from supplying mines and to provide the Government with financial and technical assistance in mine clearance.

In other action, the Assembly adopted a resolution calling on the United Nations to intensify assistance to the urgent needs of the Palestinian people in accordance with the priorities set forth by the Palestinian Authority. It also called on the international donor community to expedite the delivery of pledged assistance.

It urged Member States, international financial institutions of the United Nations system, intergovernmental, non-governmental, regional and inter-regional organizations to extend economic and social assistance to help develop the West Bank and Gaza. And Member States were urged to open their markets to exports from the West Bank and Gaza on the most favourable terms, consistent with appropriate trading rules.

Also this morning, the Assembly adopted a series of resolutions on special economic assistance to the following countries or regions: the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Central African countries receiving refugees; El Salvador; Lebanon; Liberia; Central America; the States affected by sanctions on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; Tajikistan; Montserrat; Djibouti; Somalia and the Semipalatinsk region of Kazakhstan.

Action on drafts relating to assistance to Burundi and to Angola was deferred pending budgetary considerations.

By the terms of another resolution, the Assembly called on States to promote cooperation between the United Nations and civil society through national volunteer corps to strengthen United Nations capacities for early and effective response to humanitarian emergencies. It took that action by adopting a resolution on the participation of volunteers, the "White Helmets", in United Nations activities.

Further, States were encouraged to identify and support their national focal points for White Helmets to continue providing the United Nations with a global network of rapid response facilities in case of humanitarian emergencies.

In other action this morning, the Assembly urged the United Nations Coordinator of International Cooperation on Chernobyl to continue his efforts on strengthening international cooperation to overcome the health, social, economic and ecological consequences of the Chernobyl disaster in the most affected areas of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, based on the inter-agency programme of international assistance to areas affected by the Chernobyl disaster.

By the terms of another text, the Assembly requested the Secretary- General to report, through the Economic and Social Council, to the next

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Assembly session on progress by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee in strengthening the capacity of the United Nations in humanitarian assistance.

Drafts were introduced by the representatives of Luxembourg (on behalf of the European Union), Sweden, Liberia, Mexico, Lebanon, Honduras, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Jamaica, Morocco and Kazakhstan.

A statement was made by the representative of El Salvador.

Ukraine, Lebanon, the United States, the Sudan, Canada, Israel, Syria, Norway, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Korea, Burundi and Costa Rica spoke in explanation of vote.

The Assembly meets again at 3 p.m. to consider the situation in Afghanistan, and its implications for international peace and security.

Assembly Work Programme

The Assembly met this morning to take action on draft resolutions on strengthening the coordination of United Nations humanitarian and disaster relief assistance, including special economic assistance. In addition to a text on strengthening the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance, it will consider texts on special economic assistance to specific countries or regions.

These specific drafts address assistance to the Palestinian people; participation of volunteers -- "White Helmets" -- in United Nations humanitarian activities; and the strengthening of international cooperation to study, mitigate and minimize the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. The Assembly was also expected to take action on a draft resolution on emergency international assistance for peace, normalcy and reconstruction of war- stricken Afghanistan.

For background on related reports before the Assembly, see Press Release GA/9360 of 24 November 1997.

By a draft resolution on the safety and security of humanitarian personnel (document A/52/L.45/Rev.1), the Assembly would urge all States to ensure that any threat or act of violence committed against humanitarian personnel on their territory is fully investigated, and to take all appropriate measures to ensure that their perpetrators are prosecuted.

The Assembly would strongly condemn any act or failure to act which obstructs or prevents humanitarian personnel from discharging their humanitarian functions, or which entails their being subjected to threats, the use of force or physical attack frequently resulting in injury or death. It would strongly stress the urgent need to ensure respect for and promotion of the principles and norms of international humanitarian law, including those relating to the safety and security of local and international humanitarian personnel.

In addition, the Assembly would call upon all Governments and parties in complex humanitarian emergencies, particularly armed conflicts and post- conflict situations, in countries where humanitarian personnel are operating, to cooperate fully with the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies and organizations, and to ensure the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel, in order to allow them to perform efficiently their task of assisting the affected civilian population, including refugees and internally displaced persons. It would call on all Governments and parties in countries where humanitarian personnel are operating to take all possible measures to ensure that their lives and well-being are respected and protected.

The draft is sponsored by Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark,

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Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and Uruguay.

By a draft resolution on strengthening emergency assistance (document A/52/L.48/Rev.1), the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to report, through the Economic and Social Council, to the Assembly at its fifty-third session in 1998 on the further progress by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee in the strengthening of the capacity of the United Nations in humanitarian assistance. The text is sponsored by Sweden.

By a draft resolution on special assistance for the economic recovery and reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (A/52/L.14/Rev.2), the Assembly would urgently appeal to all Member States, the specialized agencies and other United Nations organizations, as well as international development and financial institutions, to contribute generously, through bilateral or multilateral channels, to the country's rehabilitation and reconstruction. Those bodies, as well as international development and financial institutions, would be asked to urgently consider the establishment of a programme of assistance for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The text is sponsored by Liberia.

A draft resolution on special assistance to Central African countries receiving refugees (document A/52/L.16/Rev.2), sponsored by Liberia, would have the Assembly express deep concern at the serious social, economic, health and ecological impact that the massive and unexpected presence of refugees can have. It would call upon all African Governments, in particular those of Central Africa, to do their utmost to assist refugees, notwithstanding their limited resources. It would urge the Governments of the region and all concerned parties to provide safe and unhindered access for United Nations and other humanitarian personnel to the populations in need in all areas of the region. It would also call upon all States and intergovernmental and non- governmental organizations, as well as the international financial and development institutions, to facilitate the restoration of the basic services destroyed in the countries receiving refugees.

By a draft resolution on international assistance to and cooperation with the Alliance for the Sustainable Development of Central America (document A/52/L.43/Rev.1), the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General, the United Nations system, and regional and subregional organizations to continue providing the support needed to attain the objectives of the new programme for the sustainable development of Central America. It would support the decision of the Central American Governments to concentrate on the implementation of updated programmes with strategies for sustainable human development in previously determined priority areas, which help to consolidate peace and remedy social inequalities, extreme poverty and the social explosion.

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The Assembly would stress the importance of international economic, financial and technical cooperation and assistance, both bilateral and multilateral, in supporting the efforts of the Central American Governments to implement the new programme for the sustainable development of Central America. It would also stress the need for the international community to maintain cooperation with the Central American countries and provide them with the necessary financial resources, in a sustained manner and on soft terms, with a view to promoting the region's economic growth and development.

The draft is sponsored by Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Gabon, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Honduras, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.

By a draft resolution on assistance for the reconstruction and development of El Salvador (document A/52/L.34/Rev.1), the Assembly would urge the Government of El Salvador and all political forces to make every effort to support the development of medium-term and long-term national programmes and strategies, particularly social welfare projects, designed to improve the lives of the most vulnerable segments of the population. It would also recognize the need to continue to respond to the situation in El Salvador, as well as the need for international support and cooperation as a complement to national efforts to promote the consolidation of a fully democratic State.

The draft resolution is sponsored by Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, the United States and Uruguay.

Under a draft resolution sponsored by Lesotho on international assistance for the economic rehabilitation of Angola (document A/52/L.41) the Assembly would ask all Governments and international and private institutions that pledged financial contributions at the Round-Table Conference of Donors to support the consolidation of peace and the democratization process in Angola by honouring their commitments, within the framework of an effective partnership with the Angolan Government. It would ask the Secretary-General, in collaboration with the international community, to continue to mobilize the United Nations system to ensure an appropriate level of economic assistance for Angola. It would urge Member States and other donors to support his consolidated inter-agency appeal for $228,400,000, in order to meet the needs of the most vulnerable population groups.

By the terms of a draft resolution sponsored by Lesotho on the assistance for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Liberia, (document A/52/L.40/Rev.1) the Assembly would call on all States and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to focus on providing continued support to Liberia following the successful completion of the peace process, so as to promote a culture of sustained peace. It would also call on them to provide

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assistance to the country in keeping with the "Agenda for Rebuilding Liberia", as submitted by the Government of Liberia during the Fourth Special Ministerial Meeting of the ad hoc Special Conference on Liberia, held at United Nations Headquarters on 3 October.

The Assembly would urge the Liberian Government to establish conditions essential to the country's democratic socio-economic development, including the return and reintegration of refugees, displaced persons and demobilized soldiers, by honouring its pronouncement to uphold the rule of law, national reconciliation and the promotion of human rights as a national policy. The Secretary-General would be asked to continue his efforts to mobilize United Nations system assistance to help the Government's reconstruction and development efforts, including the return and reintegration of refugees, displaced persons and demobilized soldiers. He would also be asked to conduct an overall needs assessment, with the objective of holding a round-table conference of donors for the country's reconstruction and development.

By the terms of a draft resolution on assistance for the reconstruction and development of Lebanon (document A/52/L.36/Rev.1), the Assembly would appeal to all Member States and the United Nations system to intensify their efforts to consider an increase of all forms of support, including financial grants and soft loans given for the reconstruction and development of Lebanon. In particular, donor countries would be asked to consider playing a full part in the consultative group to be established on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Lebanon.

The Assembly would call on all organizations and programmes of the United Nations system to support governmental requirements for national capacity-building and institutional renewal in the area of social reconstruction and development, environmental management, public services provision and support for private-sector development, and for implementing priority field-based programmes in the rehabilitation and reintegration of displaced persons and in the reconstruction and development of Baalbeck-Hermel and the south Lebanon region.

The draft resolution is sponsored by Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, India, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Mali, the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Uruguay, Vanuatu and Yemen.

By a draft resolution on assistance for the reconstruction and development of Djibouti (document A/52/L.58/Rev.1), the Assembly would consider that implementation of the country's demobilization programme and of the national rehabilitation plan and reinforcement of democratic institutions require appropriate assistance in the form of financial and material support. It would ask the Secretary-General, in close cooperation with the Government of Djibouti, to continue his efforts to mobilize the resources necessary for

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an effective programme of financial, technical and material assistance to the country. It would also ask him to prepare a study on the progress made with regard to economic assistance to Djibouti, in time for the question to be considered by the Assembly at its next session.

The draft is sponsored by Andorra, Burundi, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, France, Gabon, Greece, Guinea, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Viet Nam and Yemen.

Another draft resolution concerns assistance for humanitarian relief and the economic and social rehabilitation of Somalia (document A/52/L.60). By its terms, the Assembly would urge all States and intergovernmental and non- governmental organizations concerned to continue the further implementation of its resolution 47/160 on assistance to Somalia, so as to assist the Somali people to embark on the rehabilitation of basic social and economic services, as well as institution-building aimed at the restoration of civil administration at the local level in all those parts of the country where peace and security prevail.

The Assembly would appeal to all States and relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to provide emergency disaster relief assistance, as well as logistical support facilities to reach the segment of the population affected by the recent severe floods, to rescue those stranded by water and to curb the impact of potential health and economic consequences. It would also appeal to all Somali parties concerned to seek peaceful means for resolving differences and to redouble their efforts to achieve national reconciliation that allows for a transition from relief to reconstruction and development.

In addition, the Assembly would call upon all parties, movements and factions in Somalia to respect fully the security and safety of personnel of the United Nations and its specialized agencies and of non-governmental organizations, and to guarantee their complete freedom of movement throughout the country. It would call upon the Secretary-General to continue to mobilize international humanitarian rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance for Somalia. It would also call upon the international community to provide continuing and increased assistance in response to the United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance for Somalia covering the period from October to December 1998.

The draft is sponsored by China, Kuwait, Lesotho, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Also before the Assembly is a draft resolution sponsored by Lesotho, on emergency assistance to the Sudan (document A/52/L.42/Rev.1). By its terms, the Assembly would stress the need for Operation Lifeline Sudan to operate

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with efficiency, transparency and effectiveness, with the full participation of the Sudanese Government in its management and operation. That would include the conducting of assessment, allocation, distribution and evaluation processes, as well as consultations in the preparation of the consolidated annual inter-agency appeal for the Operation. The Assembly would also stress that Operation Lifeline Sudan should operate within the principle of national sovereignty and the framework of international cooperation, in accordance with relevant national and international law.

The Assembly would call upon the international community to continue to contribute generously to the emergency needs, recovery and development of the country. It would call upon the donor community and the United Nations system to provide financial, technical and medical assistance, guided by the actions called for in Assembly resolutions to combat malaria and other epidemics in the Sudan. It would urge the international community to give priority assistance for the rehabilitation of roads, railways and airports and to the provision of road transport to facilitate the delivery of relief supplies. It would also urge the international community to support rehabilitation, settlement and integration programmes for returnees, refugees and the internally displaced.

In addition, the Assembly would stress the importance of assuring safe access for relief personnel, as well as the importance of strict observance of the principles and guidelines of Operation Lifeline Sudan. It would urge all parties involved to continue offering all feasible assistance, including facilitating the movement of relief supplies and personnel, so as to guarantee the maximum success of Operation Lifeline Sudan in all affected parts of the country, with special emphasis on national capacity-building in the humanitarian field for governmental and non-governmental organizations.

The Assembly would also urge all the parties to the conflict to desist from using anti-personnel mines, and call upon the international community to refrain from supplying mines to them and to provide the Sudanese Government with financial and technical assistance in mine clearance. It would ask the Secretary-General to continue to mobilize and coordinate resources and support for Operation Lifeline Sudan.

By a text on emergency international assistance for peace, normalcy and rehabilitation in Tajikistan (document A/52/L.46/Rev.1), the Assembly would strongly condemn the recent kidnapping of United Nations and other humanitarian personnel and urge the parties to ensure the safety, security and freedom of movement of such personnel and the security of their premises. It would encourage the parties to cooperate in order to reduce the threat from the indiscriminate use of landmines to the civil population and to the provision of humanitarian assistance.

The Assembly would encourage the parties to implement fully the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan. It

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would also encourage the Commission on National Reconciliation to continue its efforts aimed at instituting a broad dialogue among the various political forces in the country.

The draft resolution is sponsored by Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

By a draft resolution on emergency assistance for the economic recovery and reconstruction of Burundi (document A/52/L.37), sponsored by Lesotho, the Assembly would urgently appeal to all States, the United Nations system, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and humanitarian agencies to resume humanitarian assistance and development programmes with the Republic of Burundi. It would ask the Secretary-General, in consultation with all interested parties, to ensure the speedy and unfettered distribution of all humanitarian assistance to the vulnerable sectors of Burundi, victims of the war.

The Assembly would invite the Government of Burundi to introduce a programme of reconstruction and rehabilitation of the economic and social infrastructures necessary for improvement of the living conditions of all the people of Burundi. In addition, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) would be asked to take appropriate steps to organize a round-table on external assistance for Burundi.

Under a draft resolution on emergency assistance to Montserrat (document A/52/L.56), the Assembly would call upon all States to contribute generously to the relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in response to the grave situation caused by the eruptions of the Montsoufriere volcano. It would call upon the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to finalize its proposals for a package of emergency assistance to Montserrat as soon as possible. It would also call upon the Secretary-General to monitor the situation there to assess the ecological and developmental impacts of the continuing volcanic eruptions, with a view to assisting in the long-term needs of Montserratians, including the needs of evacuees and their rehabilitation.

The draft is sponsored by Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, El Salvador, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Lesotho, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago and the United Kingdom.

Another draft resolution before the Assembly concerns international cooperation and coordination for the human and ecological rehabilitation and economic development of the Semipalatinsk region of Kazakhstan (document A/52/L.61/Rev.1). By its terms, the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to compile a report on the humanitarian situation in the region in order to assist the Government in formulating an overall action plan to address the

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region's humanitarian, ecological and economic problems and needs. It would urge the international community to provide assistance in formulating and implementing special programmes and projects for the affected population.

The Assembly would invite all States, relevant multilateral financial organizations and other entities of the international community, including non-governmental organizations, to share their knowledge and experience to contribute the human and ecological rehabilitation and the economic development of the region. It would also invite all Member States and relevant bodies of the United Nations system, including the funds and programmes, to participate in rehabilitation of the health of the affected population and of the region's ecosystem.

The draft is sponsored by Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Morocco, the Netherlands, Oman, Panama, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, the Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and Uzbekistan.

By the terms of a draft resolution sponsored by Ukraine on economic assistance to States affected by the Security Council sanctions on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (document A/52/L.44/Rev.1), the Assembly would express concern at the persisting special economic problems confronting neighbouring and other States affected by the severance of their economic relations with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia when those sanctions were in force and after they were lifted. It would renew its invitation to all States and the relevant international organizations particularly the international financial institutions, to continue taking special account of the needs of those States in providing assistance to them during the transition period following the lifting of the sanctions.

The Assembly would urge the relevant international organizations to take appropriate steps to broaden access for suppliers from the affected countries and to ensure their active participation in the post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation of the former Yugoslavia. It would also encourage the affected States of the region to continue the process of multilateral regional cooperation in such fields as cross-border infrastructure projects and the promotion of trade and investment, thus alleviating the adverse impact of sanctions.

By a draft resolution on assistance to the Palestinian people (document A/52/L.57/Rev.1), the Assembly would call on relevant bodies of the United Nations system to intensify their assistance in response to the urgent needs of the Palestinian people in accordance with the priorities set forth by the Palestinian Authority. It would call on the international donor community to expedite the delivery of pledged assistance to meet those needs.

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It would ask the Secretary-General to submit a report to the Assembly's next session on the implementation of the present text, including an assessment of the assistance actually received by the Palestinian people, as well as on still unmet needs and specific proposals for responding effectively to them.

The Assembly would urge Member States and international financial institutions of the United Nations system, as well as intergovernmental, non- governmental, regional and interregional organizations, to extend economic and social assistance to the Palestinian people as rapidly and generously as possible, to help develop the West Bank and Gaza. That should be done in close cooperation with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and through official Palestinian institutions. Member States would also be urged to open their markets to exports from the West Bank and Gaza on the most favourable terms, consistent with appropriate trading rules.

The draft is sponsored by Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

By a draft resolution on the participation of volunteers -- "White Helmets" -- in United Nations humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and technical cooperation activities (document A/52/L.32/Rev.1), the Assembly would call on States to promote cooperative actions between the United Nations system and civil society, through national volunteer corps, to strengthen the United Nations capacities for early and effective response to humanitarian emergencies. It would invite States and the United Nations system to consider ways of ensuring the integration of the "White Helmets initiative" into their programme activities, particularly those relating to humanitarian and disaster relief assistance.

The Assembly would invite the Secretary-General to consider the potential use of White Helmets as a resource for preventing and mitigating the effects of emergencies and post-conflict humanitarian emergencies, and to maintain an adequate structure for the White Helmets liaison functions, taking into account the ongoing reform process. It would encourage States to identify and support their respective national focal points for White Helmets, in order to continue providing the United Nations system with an accessible global network of rapid response facilities for humanitarian emergencies.

The draft resolution is sponsored by Afghanistan, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Monaco, Morocco, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain,

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Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay.

By a draft resolution on strengthening international efforts to study, mitigate and minimize the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster (document A/52/L.33/Rev.1), the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to continue his efforts in the implementation of relevant Assembly resolutions relating to the disasters. He would be asked to maintain close cooperation with United Nations agencies, regional and other relevant organizations with a view to encouraging the regular exchange of information, cooperation and coordination of multilateral and bilateral efforts on the matter.

The Assembly would urge the United Nations Coordinator of International Cooperation on Chernobyl to continue his efforts aimed at strengthening international cooperation to overcome the health, social, economic and ecological consequences of the Chernobyl disaster in the most affected areas of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. It would call on the Secretary-General to continue the regular exchange of information with the countries concerned, relevant organizations and bodies of the United Nations system, with a view to enhancing world public awareness of the consequences of such disasters.

In addition, the Assembly would invite States, particularly donor States, as well as multilateral financial institutions and other concerned parties of the international community, including non-governmental organizations, to continue providing support to the ongoing efforts by Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine to mitigate the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster.

The draft is sponsored by Argentina, Belarus, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, Tajikistan and Ukraine.

Action on Drafts

JEAN-LOUIS WOLZFELD (Luxembourg), speaking on behalf of the European Union, introduced two draft resolutions. First, was the draft on the safety and security of humanitarian personnel (A/52/L.45/Rev.1). He said that India and the United States had joined as co-sponsors.

He then introduced the draft resolution on assistance to the Palestinian people (A/52/L.57/Rev.1). India, Norway and Indonesia had joined as co- sponsors of the draft.

HANS DAHLGREN (Sweden) introduced draft resolution A/52/L.48/Rev.1 on the strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations. He said he hoped the draft would be adopted by the Assembly by consensus. Due to the text's procedural nature, no co-sponsorship had been sought.

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WILLIAM BULL (Liberia), as Chairman of the African Group for this month, introduced the following draft resolutions: A/52/L.14/Rev.2 on special assistance for the economic recovery and reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; A/52/L.16 Rev.2 on special assistance to Central African countries receiving refugees; A/52/L.40 Rev.1 on assistance for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Liberia; A/52/L.42 on emergency assistance to the Sudan; A/52/L.69 on assistance for the humanitarian relief and economic and social rehabilitation of Somalia (which was also co-sponsored by China, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, India and Pakistan).

He requested that draft resolution A/52/L.41 on international assistance for the economic rehabilitation of Angola be deferred, owing to the current lack of consensus, until the resumed session of the Assembly. He expressed the appreciation of the African Group to all Member States for their support of draft resolution A/52/L.37 Rev.1 on emergency assistance for the economic recovery and reconstruction of Burundi. He said that text had been deferred for consideration during the resumed session of this Assembly, in order to await the outcome of the Summit of Member States of the Arusha Initiative scheduled to be held next month.

GUSTAVO ALBIN (Mexico) introduced the draft on assistance for the reconstruction and development of El Salvador (document A/52/L.34/Rev.1). Bolivia and Italy had joined as co-sponsors of the text. After more than a decade of armed conflict, the Salvadorean people had opted for peace, he said. They had embarked on a path of reconstruction and social and economic development, which involved opportunities and changes. The sponsors of the draft were convinced that as the people of El Salvador sought to build peace, they would aspire to a more free and just society with improved living conditions. They had received financial and technical assistance but it was necessary that that support be continued and increased. He hoped the Assembly would lend renewed political support to El Salvador and contribute financially to its social and economic development.

HICHAM HAMDAN (Lebanon), on behalf of the co-sponsors, introduced the draft resolution on assistance for the reconstruction and development of Lebanon . He said Kuwait, Djibouti and Indonesia had joined the list of co- sponsors. He said the preambular paragraphs recalled previous resolutions of the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council and reaffirmed the pressing need to continue to assist Lebanon's reconstruction and the recovery of its human and economic potential. The first operative paragraph appealed to all Member States and the United Nations system to support governmental requirements for national capacity-building and institutional renewal in social reconstruction and development.

He said the Secretariat had informed him the report of the Secretary- General on the agenda item was available.

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GERARDO MARTINEZ BLANCO (Honduras), introduced the draft resolution on international assistance to and cooperation with the Alliance for the Sustainable Development of Central America. He said the following countries had joined the list of co-sponsors: Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, Monaco, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

He said that in recent years the Central American countries had been able to systematically advance towards the consolidation of peace, veneration for the rule of law and respect for human rights. For the first time there was peace and democratic governance in all the countries. The creation of the Alliance and the implementation of the Programme of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor had been significant events in the region, along with the Social Integration Treaty and the Tegucigalpa Declaration on Peace and Development in Central America. By the Declaration of Nicaragua, with which the process of construction of the Central American Union was begun, subregional integration was deepened. He noted that Panama, Belize and the Dominican Republic had signed in 1997.

He said the Alliance was an integral development programme which placed the human beings at the centre of development and prioritizes the economic and social growth of the countries, as well as the protection and conservation of the eco-system, as shown in regional efforts on biodiversity, climate change and forests.

YURIY BOHAIEVS'KY (Ukraine), speaking for Belarus, Bulgaria, Greece, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, the Russian Federation, and the Slovak Republic, introduced the draft resolution on economic assistance to States affected by the sanctions on the Federal Republic of Yugoslav (document A/52/L.44/Rev.1).

He said the document focused on the need for further economic assistance to the affected third States in the transition period, following the termination of the sanctions regime against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Implementation of sanctions showed that the United Nations was not sufficiently prepared to respond in an adequate manner to possible problems and unforseen negative consequences for the third States neighbouring the target country. Those States, including Ukraine, had not received any practical assistance as compensation for their losses.

RASHID ALIMOV (Tajikistan) introduced the draft resolution on emergency international assistance for peace, normalcy and rehabilitation in Tajikistan (document A/52/L.46/Rev.1). He said the following additional countries had become co-sponsors: Austria, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Pakistan and Portugal. He said since the signing in Moscow on 27 June of the general agreement for peace and national accord in Tajikistan, a foundation for peace and lasting reconciliation had been established. Peace would not be viable, however, without the support of the United Nations, the international community and regional neighbours. Without strong international support, the

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effects of the Tajikistan conflict could not be removed. The economic situation in his country remained bleak; a large percentage of the population was severely disadvantaged. Restoration of basic services and infrastructure was urgently needed to revitalize the economy. Among other humanitarian concerns, dangers were still posed by landmines. He urged the Assembly to adopt the text by consensus.

PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) introduced the draft resolution on the emergency situation in Montserrat (document A/52/L.56). She said the following countries had joint the list of co-sponsors: Croatia, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, India, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname. She said Monteserrat remained a viable entity, and the people of the island had expressed a wish to maintain their existence there. The northern part of the country had been unaffected by the volcanic activity, and was considered a safe zone for redevelopment and resettlement. The Government of Montserrat had therefore decided that redevelopment efforts should be concentrated in that area. The costs of reconstruction and rehabilitation were, however, immense and would require a humanitarian gesture of solidarity from the international community.

AHMED SNOUSSI (Morocco), introduced the draft resolution on assistance for the reconstruction and development of Djibouti (document A/52/L.58/Rev.1) and said Comoros and Pakistan had joined the list of co-sponsors. He said Djibouti qualified as a least developed country. Recurrent drought and floods had damaged the country and significant resources were needed to deal with it. The situation in the Horn of Africa, particularly in Somalia, had resulted in flows of refugees that, in turn, had created tensions and security problems. The Government was coping with its problems and had demonstrated its commitment to addressing the situation through programmes for national recovery and economic reconstruction. The humanitarian concern was a real one and deserved international attention.

AKMARAL ARYSTANBEKOVA (Kazakhstan) introduced the draft resolution on international cooperation and coordination for the human and ecological rehabilitation and development of the Semipalatinsk region in Kazakhstan (document A/52/L.61/Rev.1). She said that Armenia, Chile, Egypt, Hungary, India, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, and Tunisia had joined as co-sponsors of the draft. The draft was being introduced at the Assembly for the first time. As mentioned in the text, the nuclear-testing ground in the Semipalatinsk, inherited by Kazakhstan, had become a matter of serious concern for the people and Government of her country. The adoption of the draft was of vital importance to her country and would be a remarkable sign of the support of the international community.

ANA GERALDINA BENEKE (El Salvador) said that Venezuela had become a co- sponsor to the draft resolution on assistance to El Salvador (document A/52/L.34/Rev.1). Not even six years had passed since the signing of the peace agreements that ended armed conflict in her country and since then a

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tremendous transformation had taken place. Peace had been consolidated and reconciliation had been the main force behind the process.

In the post-war period, the primary objective of the Government was sustainable development, she continued. In particular, the Government was focusing on economic development, social development and protection of the environment. Through its economic and social development plans, the Government had stabilized its economy after the difficult situation of the 1980s. It had tried to ensure that growth would lead to the strengthening of new democratic institutions, such as those related to human rights and the national police. El Salvador continued to face the challenges of the new global agenda, including problems faced by other developing countries.

Speaking in explanation of vote, HICHAM HAMDAN (Lebanon), addressing the draft resolution on the safety and security of humanitarian personnel (document A/52/L.45/Rev.1), welcomed all efforts to ensure greater security and joined in condemning actions that endangered them. He confirmed the importance of taking into account the humanitarian services of such agencies as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, which had not been covered in the resolution adopted in 1991.

He said that Lebanon respected the impartiality of those societies that had, on many occasions, stated their serious reservations about the use of force during delivery of humanitarian assistance. The operative paragraph 9 referred to factors that covered the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and he waited for the Secretary-General's report on the matter. The international community must work together to ensure the safety of humanitarian personnel. The Sixth Committee (Legal) might consider drafting guidelines or even an international convention on the matter.

SHIRLEY ROBINSON HALL (United States) said that despite several intensive rounds of negotiations between interested Member States and Sudan, a consensus had not been reached on the language of the draft resolution concerning humanitarian assistance to the Sudan. She said her Government strongly supported the United Nations Operation Lifeline Sudan and had contributed both money and food towards its successful operation.

She said that for the second successive year, the Sudanese position had prevented agreement on important humanitarian assistance issues. The Sudanese Government was at war with its own citizens and had again chosen not to cooperate with the international community, which had devoted so much energy and treasure to help Sudan's war-affected citizens. She questioned whether Sudan had ever sought a consensus resolution in good faith and urged the Assembly to vote against the resolution.

MUBARAK HUSSEN RAHMTALLA (Sudan) expressed disappointment that, once again, the humanitarian work coordinated by the United Nations was being

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subjected to politics by some donor countries. The draft resolution had been unanimously endorsed by the African Group of States and its preambular and operative paragraphs were identical to last year's text. In recent weeks, Sudan had engaged in serious and faithful negotiations with interested donor countries under the chairmanship of the Permanent Representative of Austria.

His Government had gone a long way to accommodate the concerns reflected in the proposals presented by the European Union. However, it was not prepared to reverse the consensus and the agreed language in Assembly resolution 46/182, which set out the principles and guidelines for coordinating all United Nations humanitarian assistance. Sudan had shown unprecedented flexibility by accepting almost all proposals.

He regretted the insistence by some delegations that reference to the Government's contribution to Operation Lifeline Sudan be deleted. The United States alone had rejected any reference to the Government's cooperation with the United Nations. Further, the insistence by some delegations that reference to national sovereignty be removed was a serious compromise of a fundamental principle enshrined in the Charter. The new operative paragraph 7, as read out by the representative of Liberia, was consensus language agreed to by all during informal consultations, including the European Union, Canada and Japan, except for the United States.

In explanation of vote, SYLVIE LUCAS (Luxembourg) said the European Union regretted it had not been possible to arrive at a consensus on draft resolution A/52/L.42/Rev.1. She reconfirmed the Union's commitment to respond to the needs of the Sudanese population and said work must be carried out through Operation Lifeline to effectively help the people of Sudan. However, operative paragraphs 2 and 7 of the draft were sensitive, and while the Union was flexible in meeting the concerns of the co-sponsors of the text, it would vote against it. [Those paragraphs deal with the management of Operation Lifeline and the role of the Government of the Sudan.]

The Assembly adopted the following resolutions without a vote:

-- A/52/L.45/Rev.1, security of humanitarian personnel;

-- A/52/L.48/Rev.1, strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations;

-- A/52/L.14/Rev.2, assistance for the economic recovery and reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

-- A/52/L.16/Rev.2, assistance to Central African countries receiving refugees;

-- A/52/L.34/Rev.1, assistance for the reconstruction and development of El Salvador;

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-- A/52/L.36/Rev.1, assistance for the reconstruction and development of Lebanon; and

-- A/52/L.40/Rev.1, assistance for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Liberia.

The Assembly adopted resolution A/52/L.42/Rev.2, emergency assistance to the Sudan, by a recorded vote of 95 in favour, 38 against, with 13 abstentions. (See Annex.)

The Assembly then adopted these resolutions without a vote:

-- A/52/L.43/Rev.1, alliance for the sustainable development of Central America;

-- A/52/L.44/Rev.1, assistance to States affected by sanctions on Federal Republic of Yugoslavia;

-- A/52/L.46/Rev.1, assistance to Tajikistan;

-- A/52/L.56, emergency assistance to Montserrat;

-- A/52/L.58/Rev.1, assistance for construction and development of Djibouti;

-- A/52/L.60, assistance to Somalia;

-- A/52/L.61/Rev.1, human and ecological rehabilitation and economic development of the Semipalatinsk region of Kazakhstan;

-- A/52/L.57/Rev.1, assistance to the Palestinian people;

-- A/52/L.32/Rev.1, White Helmets; and

-- A/52/L.33/Rev.1, Chernobyl disaster.

YURIY V. BOHAIES'KY (Ukraine), on a point of clarification, said that before taking the vote on draft A/52/L.44/Rev.1, he had wanted to bring to the attention of the Assembly that at the last moment, after he had introduced the draft, he was approached by a delegation to make a minor change. In operative paragraph five of the draft, the end of the sentence should be dropped. The words "of the former Yugoslavia" should be dropped. He wanted that point to be taken into consideration in the final version of the text.

MANUEL TELLO (Mexico), Vice-President of the General Assembly, said that the clarification would be reflected in the records of the committee.

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DREW MCVEY (Canada) in explanation of vote, said her delegation deeply regretted lack of consensus on emergency assistance to the Sudan. Canada's vote against the draft resolution should not be misconstrued as a vote against humanitarian assistance to that country. It was a vote against the language contained in the text. It was paramount that there be cooperation by all parties concerned with the 1994 Tripartite Agreement to ensure effectiveness and transparency of operations.

DAVID PELEG (Israel) said that for many years Israel had been cooperating fully with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), as well as with other international organizations, in implementing programmes aimed at improving the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israel believed that economic and social progress could be advanced only through cooperation. Economic development and improved living conditions in the territories would encourage peace and stability in the region. Assistance to the Palestinian people should be as tangible as possible, and "on the ground"; the holding of conferences and seminars could not and should not replace direct economic assistance.

He said Israel's participation in the consensus on draft resolution L.57 did not imply any position on the present status of the territories referred to as "occupied territories". Nor did it carry any implication regarding Israel's position on the permanent status of those territories in accordance with the Declaration of the Principles signed on 13 September 1993, that was a matter negotiated between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

HUSSAM-EDIN A'ALA (Syria) said his country had joined the consensus on assistance to the Palestinian people, to demonstrate its continuous support for their aspirations. The operative paragraphs of the text highlighted the immense challenges the Palestinian people had to overcome. However, he wished to reserve his Government's position on some of the preambular paragraphs which did not reflect the crisis threatening the Middle East peace process.

He said the right approach to the social and economic development of the Palestinian people required reflection on the real reasons for their current situation, such as Israel's continuous occupation of Palestinian territories and its failure to implement United Nations resolutions regarding the territories occupied since 1967. Israel must steer away from its politics of closure and economic embargo, its seizure of land in the occupied territories, and its settlement activities. Accusations by the representative of Israel did not recognize that the territories were occupied. Such statements took lightly the international community's will, as expressed in numerous United Nations resolutions. Israel's attitude also aimed to avoid the basis of the peace process launched in Madrid.

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UNNI KLOVSTAD (Norway) regretted the absence of a consensus on the draft resolution on assistance to the Sudan, because of lack of agreement on several of the paragraphs in the text. Norway had therefore voted against. She said Operation Lifeline Sudan was the major framework for assistance and it was important that all parties to the Operation performed in accordance with the Tripartite Agreement from 1994 and with the principles and guidelines of the Operation to ensure its efficiency.

She said Norway had a longstanding commitment to development efforts in the Sudan and to creating peace and reconciliation in the country. It would continue those efforts and wished to make clear that its vote should not be seen as directed against the principles of humanitarian assistance or against extending such assistance to Sudan.

AGAR DZUNDEV (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) said his delegation had joined in the consensus on the resolution on economic assistance to States affected by Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It was regrettable, however, that the text did not call on all countries for adequate assistance to the affected States. He said a phrase in the fifth operative paragraph referring to the former Yugoslavia in the context of the resolution had no meaning.

CHANG BEOM CHO (Republic of Korea), speaking on the draft on strengthening coordination of United Nations emergency humanitarian assistance, said his Government strongly supported assistance to deal with disasters. It attached importance to strengthening United Nations assistance through a more strategic approach, which should be more coordinated, transparent and effective. He supported the new office of Emergency Relief Coordinator and the Secretary-General's proposals to strengthen humanitarian assistance.

He said United Nations humanitarian assistance efforts must be linked to the self-help efforts of affected States to take care of their own victims. It was also vital to ensure full access of humanitarian assistance personnel to affected areas. United Nations humanitarian assistance must be guided by principles of humanity, keeping in mind the need to encourage States to pursue national policies which respected human rights and international law.

GAMALIEL NDARUZANIYE (Burundi) said there had been a mistake in registering his delegation's vote on the resolution on the Sudan. Burundi had voted in favour of the text.

EMILIA CASTRO DE BARISH (Costa Rica) said she had been a co-sponsor on the resolution on the safety and security of humanitarian personnel as well as the texts on Montserrat and Kazakhstan, all of which her delegation fully supported. (ANNEX FOLLOWS)

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Annex I

Vote on Emergency Assistance to the Sudan

The Assembly adopted the draft resolution on emergency assistance to the Sudan (document A/52/L.42/Rev.1) approved by a recorded vote of 95 in favour to 38 against, with 13 abstentions as follows: In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia. Against: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States. Abstain: Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Burundi, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Malta, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Slovenia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Absent: Barbados, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chad, Comoros, Croatia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Fiji, Gabon, Georgia, Haiti, Jordan, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritania, Mongolia, Palau, Panama, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Zimbabwe.

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For information media. Not an official record.