GENERAL ASSEMBLY APPROVES PEACEKEEPING FUNDS FOR 1998/1999, ACTS ALSO ON YEAR 2000 CONVERSION PROBLEM FOR COMPUTERS

26 June 1998
GA/9425

GENERAL ASSEMBLY APPROVES PEACEKEEPING FUNDS FOR 1998/1999, ACTS ALSO ON YEAR 2000 CONVERSION PROBLEM FOR COMPUTERS

26 June 1998


Press Release
GA/9425


GENERAL ASSEMBLY APPROVES PEACEKEEPING FUNDS FOR 1998/1999, ACTS ALSO ON YEAR 2000 CONVERSION PROBLEM FOR COMPUTERS

19980626

The General Assembly decided to appropriate a total of $636.7 million gross ($611.7 million net) for peacekeeping operations for the period from 30 June 1998 to 1 July 1999, as it took action this morning on draft decisions and resolutions recommended by its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).

The texts approved today contained amounts for missions in the Central African Republic, Haiti, Georgia and Lebanon, among others. (See below.) After the Assembly adopted a resolution on financing for the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), the representatives of Syria and Iran made statements.

The Assembly voted twice on a draft resolution concerning the financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). First, it decided to include preambular paragraph 1 and operative paragraphs 3, 4, 5 and 16 of the draft by a vote of 68 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 41 abstentions. (See Annex I for details on the vote.)

[Those paragraphs refer to Assembly resolution 51/233, in which it was decided that Israel should pay the costs arising from the 1996 incident at UNIFIL headquarters in Qana, Lebanon.]

It then adopted the text as a whole by a vote of 109 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions. (See Annex II.)

After the vote, statements were made by the representatives of the United States, Indonesia (for the "Group of 77" developing countries and China), Lebanon, Syria and Iran.

For 1998-1999, the Assembly appropriated the following amounts, in estimated gross terms:

-- United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF): $35.4 million;

-- United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL): $143 million;

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-- United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM): $52.1 million;

-- United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO): $22.8 million

-- United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP): $45.3 million;

-- United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG): $19.4 million;

-- United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT): $8 million

-- United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH): $189.5 million

-- Civilian Police Support Group: $7.5 million

-- United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP): $21.1 million;

-- United Nations Civilian Police Mission in Haiti (MIPONUH): $17.7 million

-- United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA): $45.9 million;

-- United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA): $29.1 million.

The Secretary-General should complete recruitment processes so that all "type II" gratis personnel loaned free of charge to the United Nations are replaced by the end of February 1999, the General Assembly decided by the terms of another text adopted today.

[Type I gratis personnel serve as associate experts, technical cooperation experts and interns, while type II encompass all other loaned staff.]

In other action, it approved $34.4 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, which covers the cost of "backstopping" activities at Headquarters which assist in the planning, implementation and liquidation of peacekeeping operations in the field, from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999. Also, it approved 400 support account-funded temporary posts for the upcoming 12 months.

After the Assembly acted on that text, statements were made by the representatives of the United Kingdom (for the European Union and associated States), Canada, United States, Portugal, Indonesia (for the Group of 77 and China), Mexico, China, Kuwait, Costa Rica and Cuba. The Committee's Rapporteur, Djamel Moktefi (Algeria) also spoke.

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At the outset of the meeting, the Assembly adopted a resolution on macroeconomic policy questions, addressing the global implications of the year 2000 conversion problem for computers -- also called the "Year 2000 Problem" -- introduced by Pakistan's Permanent Representative. By the text, the Secretary-General was asked to develop a plan to make the United Nations system "year 2000 compliant", and to monitor related funding sources for developing countries and those with economies in transition. "Global implications of the year 2000 date conversion problem of computers" will be included in the agenda for the Assembly's fifty-third session.

The representatives of the United States and Indonesia (for the Group of 77 and China) spoke before action, while statements were made by the representatives of the United Kingdom (for the European Union and associated States) and the Russian Federation after.

Also this morning, the Assembly appointed Mochamad Slamet Hidayat (Indonesia) to the United Nations Staff Pension Committee for a term of office beginning on 26 June 1998 and ending on 31 December 2000.

It adopted drafts on the Development Account, after which the representative of Indonesia, speaking for the Group of 77 and China, made a statement.

Texts were also adopted on third-party liability; financing the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy; death and disability benefits; and the budgetary requirements of peacekeeping operations.

The Assembly decided to defer until the third part of its resumed fifty-second session its consideration of matters falling under its review of the United Nations administrative and financial efficiency; human resources management; Joint Inspection Unit; financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; the proposed United Nations code of conduct; and Office of Internal Oversight Services.

Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this morning to take action on recommendations of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), based on the just- concluded second part of its resumed session. It also was scheduled to take action on a draft resolution on macroeconomic policy questions.

The Fifth Committee's reports contain recommendations on the following items: administrative and budgetary aspects of peacekeeping operations; aspects of the 1998-1999 programme budget; review of the Organization's financial and administrative efficiency; and the financing of individual peacekeeping operations. Other recommendations pertain to the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU); Office of Internal Oversight Services; human resources management; and appointments to fill vacancies in subsidiary organs and other appointments.

Macroeconomic Policy Questions

The Assembly had before it a draft resolution submitted by Pakistan on the global implications of the year 2000 conversion problem of computers (document A/52/L.75/Rev.1). According to its terms, Member States would be requested to attach high priority to raising public awareness and to consider measures, including appointing a nationwide coordinator. The Economic and Social Council would be called upon to prepare at its 1998 substantive session guidelines on which Member States will be able to draw in addressing the diverse aspects of the year 2000 problem.

Also by the draft, the Secretary-General would be requested to take steps to ensure that all parts of the United Nations system act towards making their computers year 2000 compliant by drawing up a plan of action for the United Nations system. Further, he would be requested to ensure that the United Nations system monitors actual and potential sources of funding to support the efforts of the developing countries and those with economies in transition to address the problem. The Assembly would decide to include in the provisional agenda of its fifty-third session an item: "Global implications of the year 2000 date conversion problem of computers".

Fifth Committee Reports

The Assembly had before it a report on appointments to the Joint Staff Pension Committee (document A/52/676/Add.2), in which the Committee recommended the appointment of Mochamad Slamet Hidayat (Indonesia) to the United Nations Staff Pension Committee for a term of office beginning on the date of the Assembly's decision, and ending on 31 December 2000.

Two reports are on review of the United Nations administrative and financial efficiency (documents A/52/746/Add.2 and A/52/746/Add.3). The first

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contains three draft decisions. By the first, the Assembly would defer consideration of the question of the guidelines for internal control standards pending a report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) thereon.

The second draft decision would have the Assembly defer consideration of the question of strengthening external oversight mechanisms to the third part of its resumed fifty-second session.

By the terms of draft decision III, the Assembly would defer consideration of thematic reports of the Office of Internal Oversight Services until the third part of its resumed fifty-second session.

The second report on United Nations efficiency contains a draft resolution on gratis personnel. By its terms, the Assembly would request the Secretary- General to complete, as a matter of priority, the recruitment process to replace type II personnel by the end of February 1999, through means, including staff redeployment, recruitment of civilians, civilian police and military officers of Member States, and through changing working methods and distribution to ensure that handover arrangements provide the continuity of expertise and the efficient functioning of all departments concerned.

[Type I gratis personnel are those who serve as associate experts, technical cooperation experts and interns, while type II refers to all other loaned staff.]

Also before the Assembly is a report on human resources management (document A/52/955), containing a draft decision according to which the Assembly would defer its consideration of the proposed United Nations code of conduct until the third part of its resumed fifty-second session.

Another report contains a draft resolution on the programme budget for the 1998-1999 biennium (document A/52/744/Add.3). By its terms, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to submit, not later than 31 July 1998, a detailed report on the modalities and purposes of the Development Account [to be funded through savings obtained via administrative streamlining in the Secretariat]. It would decide to return to issues related to the Account for further consideration and appropriate action, based on that report, at the third part of its resumed fifty-second session.

By the terms of a draft decision on the JIU (document A/52/842/Add.1), the Assembly would defer its consideration of that agenda item until the third part of its resumed fifty-second session.

According to a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (document A/52/931), the Assembly would decide to appropriate $35.4 million gross (some $34.5 million net) for the Force for the period from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999.

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Through a draft resolution on financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/52/932), the Assembly would decide to appropriate the amount of almost $143 million gross (about $139.1 million net) for the maintenance of the Force for the period from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999.

By other terms, the Assembly would express deep concern that the Government of Israel did not comply with General Assembly resolution 51/233. [In that resolution, the Assembly decided that Israel should pay the costs arising from the 1996 incident at UNIFIL headquarters in Qana, Lebanon.] It would stress that Israel should abide by the terms of resolution 51/233, request the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to ensure the full implementation of its paragraph 8, to the effect that Israel should pay for costs resulting from the Qana incident. The Assembly would decide that an additional $639,356, relating to the incident for the period from 1 July 1996 to 30 June 1997, would be treated in accordance with resolution 51/233.

Another Committee report contains a draft resolution on financing the United Nations Angola Verification Mission and the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) (document A/52/547/Add.2). According to its terms, the Assembly would decide to appropriate and apportion some $45.9 million gross (about $44.3 million net) for MONUA for the period from 1 July 1998 to 30 October 1998.

A report on the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) (document A/52/933) contains a draft resolution according to which the Assembly would decide to appropriate some $52.1 million gross (about $50.3 million net) for the Mission's maintenance for the period from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999. Two thirds of the amount -- coming to about $33.5 million -- would be funded through voluntary contributions from the Government of Kuwait.

Another document, on the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) (document A/52/843/Add.1) contains a draft resolution having the Assembly appropriate some $22.8 million gross (almost $21.5 million net) for operations during the period from 1 July to 31 October 1998.

Regarding the financing and liquidation of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), the Assembly had before it a report with one draft resolution (document A/52/934). According to that text, the Assembly would decide to apportion among Member States about $32.6 million gross (some $25.7 million net), to be offset by an equal amount from miscellaneous income. It would further decide to appropriate some $17.7 million gross (about $21.2 million net), to meet UNTAC's additional requirements.

Another report pertains to the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), the United Nations Confidence Restoration Operation in Croatia (UNCRO), the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP), and the United Nations Peace Forces (UNPF) headquarters (document A/52/935). By the terms of the

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draft decision contained therein, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General's report on the final disposition of the assets of the United Nations Peace Forces and request the Board of Auditors to examine the document in light of the views expressed by Member States thereon. It would also take note of the Advisory Committee's concern about the use of gratis personnel as negotiators for the United Nations for wet-lease arrangements and decide to defer its consideration of an unencumbered balance pending submission of a final performance report on the Forces.

According to a draft text on the United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ) (document A/52/936), the Assembly would decide that shares of an unencumbered balance of almost $37 million gross (some $35.7 million net) for the period ending 31 March 1995 would be credited to those States that had fulfilled their financial obligations and set off against other States' outstanding obligations. It would approve special arrangements by which unliquidated obligations owed to governments for which claims have not been received shall remain valid for an additional period of four years following the end of the 12-month period provided for in financial regulation 4.3.

The Committee's report on the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) (document A/52/937) contains a draft resolution by which the Assembly would decide that, for the period from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999, the Assembly would appropriate an amount of almost $45.3 million gross (some $43.5 million net).

Taking into consideration the funding through the Government of Cyprus' voluntary contribution of one third of the cost of the Force, equivalent to $14.5 million, as well as the annual pledge of $6.5 million from the Government of Greece, some $24.3 million gross ($22.5 million net) would be apportioned and assessed.

A draft resolution in a report on the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) (document A/52/938) would have the Assembly decide to appropriate some $19.4 million gross (about $18.5 million net) for the maintenance of the Mission from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999.

Under the terms of a draft decision in the Committee's report on the United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH) (document A/52/939), the Assembly would defer its consideration of the treatment of an unencumbered balance in respect of the period from 1 to 31 July 1996 pending submission of the final performance report.

The Committee's report on the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) (document A/52/844/Add.1) contains a draft resolution by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate the initial amount of $8 million gross (some $7.6 million net) for the for the period from 1 July to 31 October 1998.

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A report on financing the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (document A/52/726/Add.1) contains a draft decision by which the Assembly would defer consideration of the matter until the third part of its resumed fifty-second session. Another report is on the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) (document A/52/690/Add.1), containing a draft resolution through which the Assembly would decide to appropriate almost $189.5 million gross (some $179.6 million net) for the period from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999.

The draft resolution in the Committee's report on the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) (document A/52/940) would have the Assembly decide to apportion among Member States the amount of $23 million gross (almost $21.7 million net) for the liquidation of UNTAES and the Support Group's maintenance for the period from 16 January to 30 June 1998. It would also appropriate about $7.5 million gross (almost $7 million net), for maintaining and liquidating the Support Group for the period from 1 July to 30 November 1998.

Also before the Assembly is a report on the UNPREDEP (document A/52/941) containing a draft resolution by which the Assembly would decide to appropriate about $21.1 million gross (some $20.6 million net) for maintaining the Force from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999.

A report on financing the United Nations Support Mission in Haiti (UNSMIH) (document A/52/845/Add.1) contains a draft resolution having the Assembly decide to appropriate some $17.7 million gross (about $17 million net) for the maintenance of the United Nations Civilian Police Mission in Haiti (MIPONUH) for the period from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999.

A report on administrative and budgetary aspects of peacekeeping operations (document A/52/453/Add.3) contains two draft decisions and two draft resolutions.

By draft resolution I, on temporal and financial limitations on liability to third parties, the Assembly would decide the Organization will not pay compensation for third-party claims submitted after six months from the time of injury or loss, or one year from the termination of the mandate of the related peacekeeping operation. By other terms, it would decide that compensation for any individual shall not exceed $50,000, except in exceptional circumstances.

According to draft resolution II, on financing of the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy, the Assembly would approve cost estimates for the Base in the amount of $7.1 million for the period from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999. Also, it would authorize the Secretary-General to provide for a civilian establishment of 10 Professional, 10 Field Service and 28 locally recruited staff. Also, it would decide to continue considering the question upon submission of the Advisory Committee's recommendations and observations on the cost-benefit analysis contained in the report of the Secretary-General.

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By decision I in the report, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General's report containing updated information on proposed budgetary requirements for each peacekeeping operation for two periods: 1 July 1997 to 30 June 1998, and 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999.

Through decision II, it would take note of the second and third quarterly reports on progress made in clearing the backlog of claims for death and disability benefits.

Another report on administrative and budgetary aspects of peacekeeping (document A/52/453/Add.4) contains a draft resolution on the support account for peacekeeping operations. By the terms of that draft, the Assembly would approve $34.4 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999. It would also approve 400 support account-funded temporary posts for the upcoming 12 months, and the Secretary-General's proposal for conversion of 106 posts in replacement of gratis personnel, subject to those 400. It would request the Secretary-General to undertake functions currently carried out by type II gratis personnel within the level of approved posts, through recruitment, redeployment and changes in work distribution.

The Assembly also had before it a report on the Office of Internal Oversight Services (document A/52/846/Add.1) containing a draft decision by which the Assembly would defer consideration of agenda item 143, "Report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the Office of Internal Oversight Services", to the third part of its resumed fifty-second session.

According to a draft resolution on the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA) (document A/52/942), the Assembly would decide to appropriate $29.1 million gross (some $28.4 million net) for the period from 1 July to 30 November 1998.

Action on Draft Text on 'Year 2000 Problem'

AHMAD KAMAL (Pakistan) introduced the draft on macroeconomic policy questions, which addressed the global implications of the year 2000 conversion problem for computers, also called the "Year 2000 Problem", or "Y2K". Many Member States were not yet fully aware of the nature and magnitude of the problem. The draft text was action-oriented and forward-looking. It asked the Economic and Social Council to prepare guidelines at its forthcoming substantive session to enable Member States to address the diverse aspects of the problem.

RICHARD SKLAR (United States) expressed his country's support for the text. It was imperative that the Year 2000 Problem be faced now, in light of the inflexible date of the 31 December 1999 deadline. All countries needed a solution for the problem, which highlighted the interconnectedness of the modern world. Unchecked, the problem could cause complications ranging from

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manufacturing equipment to traffic signals. He encouraged every nation to examine its year 2000 readiness, in government but also in the realms of energy, telecommunications, transportation and financial institutions. Contingency plans for businesses were also needed.

PRIANTI GAGARIN DJATMIKO-SINGGIH (Indonesia), speaking for the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said the aspect of the global implications of the problem was a matter of deep concern to developing countries. The Group welcomed the adoption of the resolution.

The Assembly then adopted the resolution, acting without a vote.

Speaking after the action, NICHOLAS THORNE (United Kingdom), spoke for the European Union, as well as Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Iceland and Norway. He welcomed the adoption of the resolution, which pertained to an issue that had potentially far-reaching implications. The United Nations priority focus should be on ensuring that the computer systems within the Organization's control were year-2000 compliant. In the context of the Economic and Social Council working group on informatics, Member States had been assured that computers throughout the system were millennium compliant. He hoped these assurances would be placed on the record.

Another priority area for United Nations work should be raising the level of awareness of the problem worldwide, he said. The primary responsibility for addressing the year 2000-conversion problem lay with national governments and the private sector. However, to be effective, cooperation was also needed from the Bretton Woods financial institutions, as well as the myriad institutions that comprise the private sector.

NIKOLAI TCHOULKOV (Russian Federation) said the resolution was balanced and reflected general concerns about the year 2000. In a recent meeting of the "Group of 8", the question was given serious consideration. A solution was needed to the problem of the year 2000, which could affect the world economy. The United Nations had rapidly responded to the situation. He valued the work performed by the working group on informatics. In the Russian Federation, the question was being given serious attention, and his Government welcomed the adoption of a resolution on resolving the problem.

Action on Fifth Committee Texts

Next, DJAMEL MOKTEFI (Algeria), Fifth Committee Rapporteur, introduced the reports of that body, which contained draft texts recommended for action by the Assembly.

Acting under a recommendation of the Committee, the General Assembly appointed Mochamad Slamet Hidayat (Indonesia) to the United Nations Staff

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Pension Committee, for a term of office beginning on 26 June 1998 and ending on 31 December 2000.

It then adopted the three decisions and one resolution contained in two reports on the review of the United Nations administrative and financial efficiency.

Next, the Assembly adopted a draft decision on the proposed United Nations code of conduct, again acting without a vote.

It then turned to the report on the programme budget for the 1998-1999 biennium, and adopted the draft resolution recommended by the Fifth Committee on the Development Account.

Speaking after the action, PRAYANO ATIYANTO (Indonesia), on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that the Group had agreed to join the consensus on the draft since it clearly spelled out the poor quality of the documents that had been submitted in response to the requirements of resolution 52/12B. He underscored that the Secretary-General had been asked to submit a detailed report on the sustainability, modalities, purposes and performance criteria of the Development Account no later than 31 July 1998.

The General Assembly then adopted, again without a vote, a draft decision on the JIU.

Next, it adopted a draft resolution on the financing of UNDOF, without a vote.

Speaking after the action, TAMMAM SULAIMAN (Syria) expressed strong reservations on the text. Since international law made it imperative that the aggressor country must assume the costs of its aggression, Israel should assume the costs, yet it still refused to comply with such laws, as well as relevant General Assembly resolutions. Israel had, for over 30 years, challenged those resolutions without heeding the rights of the indigenous people or the calls from the international community to withdraw from the occupied territories.

SEYED MORTEZA MIRMOHAMMAD (Iran) said the expenses of the mission should be borne by the aggressor party.

Next, the Assembly took up the draft resolution on the financing of UNIFIL.

A recorded vote was taken on the first preambular paragraph and operative paragraphs 3, 4, 5 and 16 of the resolution.

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[Those paragraphs refer to Assembly resolution 51/233, in which it was decided that Israel should pay the costs relating from the 1996 incident at UNIFIL headquarters in Qana, Lebanon.]

The Assembly decided to include those paragraphs by a vote of 68 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 41 abstentions. (See Annex I for voting details.)

Next, the draft was voted on as a whole. The Assembly adopted the text by a vote of 109 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions. (See Annex II for voting details.)

Speaking after the vote, Mr. SKLAR (United States) said it opposed the resolution on UNIFIL due to its close relation to General Assembly resolution 51/233 of 13 June 1997, which specified the costs to be borne by Israel. The use of an Assembly funding resolution to pursue claims against a Member State was not correct. The resolution also politicized the work of the Fifth Committee. The United States had worked to find a compromise and sought a consensus text. The UNIFIL had a difficult mandate, and it was regrettable that a consensus text without politicization could not be achieved.

Mr. ATIYANTO (Indonesia), on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said there was concern that the Assembly had once again taken a decision on the financing of UNIFIL. The Secretary-General and the relevant parties should implement the provisions of resolution 51/233 adopted.

HASSAN KASSEM NAJEM (Lebanon) said the aggressor should assume full responsibility for its aggression, especially if the aggression was premeditated. An aggressor State should not shelter behind the flag of the United Nations. It should assume responsibility for losses caused by its actions.

Mr. SULAIMAN (Syria) said that in financing UNIFIL, the Assembly had reaffirmed once again Israel's obligation to assume responsibility for its terrorist attack in 1996 on the Force's headquarters in Lebanon. By its aggression to UNIFIL, Israel had added another crime to its record of terrorism against Arabs in the Middle East. Its crimes should not go unpunished, and it should not be allowed to behave with impunity. The Organization's soldiers were now threatened continuously every time Lebanese civilians sought refuge in one of their headquarters.

Mr. MIRMOHAMMAD (Iran) said his delegation voted in favour of the resolution and agreed that the expense of the mission should be borne by the aggressor.

The Assembly then adopted, acting without a vote, the following draft texts: on the financing of the missions in Angola; UNIKOM; MINURSO; UNTAC;

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UNPROFOR, UNCRO, UNPREDEP and UNPF; ONUMOZ; UNFICYP; UNOMIG; UNMIH; UNMOT; the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; UNMIBH; UNTAES; UNPREDEP; and UNSMIH.

The Assembly then took up the Committee's report on administrative and budgetary aspects of financing United Nations peacekeeping operations. It adopted, without a vote, the draft texts on third party liability; financing the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy; budgetary requirements for peacekeeping operations; and on death and disability benefits.

The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution on the support account for peacekeeping operations.

Speaking after the adoption of the texts, Mr. THORNE (United Kingdom), speaking also for the European Union and Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus and Norway, said he welcomed the distribution in the Committee of the paper containing updated information on Member States' shares in the scale of assessments for peacekeeping operations and their per capita incomes. As early as January 1996, the European Union had put forward, in the high-level working group on the United Nations financial situation, a comprehensive package of suggestions, which included revision of the peacekeeping scale, to take into account changes in economic circumstances.

The paper distributed in the Committee was useful; there was need to analyse its contents further, and the Union would revert to it in due course, he said. However, it was clear that the number of discrepancies between the relationship between groups and per capita incomes had increased. A significant number of countries in group C of the scale were receiving unwarranted subsidies. There was need for radical and equitable change to the current system. Further, there must be transparency and free access to information of all Member States. It was unacceptable that States were not given the information they required to make decisions.

SAMUEL HANSON (Canada), speaking for Australia and New Zealand, said that over time many delegations had requested information from the Secretariat, which had been provided. As a matter of principle, he had supported the right of all delegations to request information and have it provided to all. It was a matter of concern that some Committee members -- including members of the Bureau -- had interfered with the right of some States to request and receive information, and had engaged in censorship. There were broader implications of such acts that transcended the boundaries of the Fifth Committee. It was not possible to restrict some delegations without restricting all delegations. The work of the Fifth Committee must be guided by transparency, to enable the Committee to serve the General Assembly and support the Organization's mandated activities.

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Speaking then for his delegation only, THOMAS A. GIBBONS (Canada) expressed regret that the rapidly deployable mission headquarters was not funded through the support account for peacekeeping operations. If the United Nations was to live up to its responsibilities in the area of peacekeeping, it must improve its ability. Funding plans for eight staff for that office had been discarded due to concerns about equitable geographical distribution. A United Nations trust fund had then been implemented until more stable sources of funding could be arranged. That fund was never intended to be a primary source of funding.

Last year, in his reform proposals, the Secretary-General had asked the Assembly to consider plans for enhancing the Organization's rapid deployment capacity. In March of this year, the Security Council had authorized a new operation in the Central African Republic. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations had been placed under great pressure to establish a team in only 19 days, while had the rapidly deployable mission headquarters existed, its core personnel would have been able to respond. Peacekeeping was a responsibility of the United Nations, yet its ability to respond rapidly to new missions was weak. Support account funding would ensure that the eight posts could be staffed on the basis of equitable geographical distribution. Canada was committed to the concept of a rapidly deployable mission headquarters.

Mr. SKLAR (United States) said that in the course of the Fifth Committee debate, transparency was aborted and thwarted, possibly by members in position of power in the Committee's Bureau. His delegation deplored that type of action and requested that it never happen again -- transparency was the watchword of the Organization.

JOSE TADEU SOARES (Portugal) said the attempt in the Fifth Committee to stop the transmission of documents by the Secretary-General was unacceptable behaviour. That was a form of censorship that had never happened before.

Mr. ATIYANTO (Indonesia), on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said the present forum was not the right time to reopen the debate on the scale of assessments for peacekeeping. Also, every misunderstanding and mistrust that was detrimental to the Organization should be put to rest.

ERNESTO HERRERA (Mexico) said it was not the appropriate moment to reopen any debate or analysis on peacekeeping assessments. However, if it was decided that the topic should be considered, his delegation would propose that the countries with more power in the Organization should pay more. That was only logical. If there were mistakes in the current level of the scale of assessments, then they should be explained.

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Mr. MOKTEFI (Algeria), Fifth Committee Rapporteur, said he deplored the unfounded accusations that had been voiced today. Accusations had been addressed to the Bureau of the Committee in circumstances where members could not defend their reasons for taking certain actions. Clarifying the situation, he said requests were made during the formal session of the Committee for certain documents. Some Member States favoured transmission while other States did not want the debate on the subject concerned to take place at that time. In pursuing a policy of serenity, the Bureau decided to take the decision it took. He hoped the Chairmen would be in a position to explain the reasons for that decision.

ZHANG WANHAI (China) said it was not the time to discuss peacekeeping assessments.

ZIAD MONAYAIR (Kuwait) said his delegation supported the statement made by Indonesia, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

NAZARETH INCERA (Costa Rica) said it was regrettable that the actions of the Bureau had been unfairly characterized. Costa Rica supported the Rapporteur of the Committee.

DULCE BUERGO RODRIGUEZ (Cuba) said the Committee was not in a position to reopen the debate on peacekeeping assessments.

The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, the texts on the Office of Internal Oversight Services and on the financing of MINURCA.

(annexes follow)

General Assembly Plenary - 14 - Press Release GA/9425 88th Meeting (AM) 26 June 1998

General Assembly Plenary Press Release GA/9425 88th Meeting (AM) 26 June 1998

ANNEX I

Vote on Preambular and Operative Paragraphs of UNIFIL Text

The first preambular paragraph and operative paragraphs 3, 4, 5 and 16 of the draft text on the financing of UNIFIL (document A/52/932) was adopted by a recorded vote of 68 in favour to 2 against, with 41 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Against: Israel, United States.

Abstain: Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Absent: Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Zambia.

(END OF ANNEX I)

General Assembly Plenary 15 Press Release GA/9425 88th Meeting (AM) 26 June 1998

General Assembly Plenary Press Release GA/9425 88th Meeting (AM) 26 June 1998

ANNEX II

Vote on UNIFIL Text

The draft resolution on the financing of UNIFIL as a whole (document A/52/932) was adopted by a recorded vote 109 in favour to 2 against, with no abstention, as follows:

In favour: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Against: Israel, United States.

Abstain: None.

Absent: Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Guatemala, Haiti, Iran, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Zambia.

* *** *

16

For information media. Not an official record.