ASSEMBLY URGES CONTINUED UNITED NATIONS COOPERATION WITH ARAB LEAGUE AND ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES, ADOPTING TEXTS BY CONSENSUS
ASSEMBLY URGES CONTINUED UNITED NATIONS COOPERATION WITH ARAB LEAGUE AND ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES, ADOPTING TEXTS BY CONSENSUS
ASSEMBLY URGES CONTINUED UNITED NATIONS COOPERATION WITH ARAB LEAGUE AND ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES, ADOPTING TEXTS BY CONSENSUS19981022 Concludes Review of Annual Security Council Report, Hearing Calls for More Measures To Enhance Council Transparency
The General Assembly this morning called for continued cooperation and increased contacts between the United Nations and the League of Arab States.
Adopting, without a vote, a resolution to that effect, the Assembly also decided that a general meeting between the United Nations and the Arab League should take place every two years, and regular inter-agency meetings should be held on areas of priority for the development of the Arab States.
Addressing the Assembly, the Observer for the Arab League said efforts to resolve disputes over the occupied Arab territories were of priority to the League. Urging Israel to respect relevant Security Council resolutions, he said success in the Arab region could not be achieved without a stable environment of peace and security.
The representative of Israel, speaking in explanation of position after the resolution's adoption, said Israel had joined consensus on the resolution, guided by a desire to make peace with its neighbours, all of whom were members of the League of Arab States. However, the fact that, due to objections of some member States of the League, Israel alone was still denied membership in any regional group fitting its geographic location, directly contradicted the United Nations principle of "sovereign equality of all its members".
The draft on cooperation with the Arab League was introduced by the representative of Egypt.
Also this morning, the Assembly, by adopting without a vote a resolution on cooperation with the Organization of American States (OAS), the Assembly recommended that a general meeting of the United Nations and the OAS should be held in 1999 to continue review of cooperation programmes and other matters to be mutually decided.
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The draft on cooperation with the OAS was introduced by the representative of Honduras. During a discussion, before the draft's adoption, statements were made by the representatives of Dominican Republic (on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean States), Guyana (on behalf of the Caribbean Community) and the representative of the OAS.
In further action, the Assembly took note of the notification provided by the Secretary-General on matters relating to international peace and security being dealt with by the Security Council and those issues with which it had ceased to deal.
The Assembly also made the decisions to postpone until its next session consideration of United Nations cooperation with the Latin American Economic System (SELA), which had been scheduled to be taken up today.
The Assembly, after hearing statements by the representatives of Kenya, Jamaica, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Belarus, Uruguay and Tunisia on the annual report of the Security Council, concluded its consideration of that item.
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Burkina Faso made a statement on behalf of the Organization of African Unity.
The Assembly will meet again on Monday, 26 October, at 10 a.m. to elect seven members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC) and appoint a member of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU). It is also expected to consider the elimination of coercive economic measures as a means of political and economic compulsion.
Assembly Work Programme
The Assembly met this morning to continue its review of the annual report of the Security Council and to consider United Nations cooperation with the League of Arab States, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Latin American Economic System (SELA). The Assembly also had before it notification by the Secretary-General under Article 12, paragraph 2, of the United Nations Charter on matters relating to international peace and security.
The Report of the Security Council covers the period from 16 June 1997 to 15 June 1998. The report (document A/53/2), produced as a guide to the Council's activities during the 12-month period, was submitted to the Assembly in accordance with provisions of the United Nations Charter. (For more details, see Press Release GA/9482 issued 21 October.)
Regarding matters relating to international peace and security being dealt with by the Security Council, the Assembly had before it a note by the Secretary-General (document A/53/357) presented in accordance with provisions under Article 12 of the Charter. The note also lists matters that, as of 1 January, have not been considered during the preceding five-year period (1993-1997).
The report of the Secretary-General on cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States (document A/53/434) notes that Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States meet and consult regularly on matters regarding Libya, Iraq, Algeria, and United Nations reform. During his visit to the Middle East in March 1997, the Secretary-General met in Cairo with Esmat Abdel Maguid, the League's Secretary-General, to address further issues on Somalia, Comoros, Iraq, the Lockerbie case and the Middle East peace process. The question of "cooperation for conflict prevention" was also considered by the two organizations at Headquarters in New York on 28 and 29 July.
The report also reviews contacts between the League and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Other consultations between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) were also conducted with the League.
Among cooperative activities with other United Nations bodies, the UNDP and the League reached agreement about the shifting nature of future collaboration aimed at strengthening the environment for sustainable human development in the Arab region. The two organizations have continued to implement project activities in combating desertification and industrial pollution and regional programmes for environmental protection and sustainable development. Also, the League worked with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), including efforts to strengthen coordination in areas relating to refugees and
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global humanitarian issues of common interest. A draft cooperation agreement is being finalized and will be submitted to both organizations for final approval. Efforts are being made to identify appropriate solutions to critical refugee situations in the Arab region and to explore collaborative activities between the two organizations with a possible regional conference on refugees and asylum-seekers in the region.
By the terms of a related draft resolution (document A/53/L.11) sponsored by Egypt, the Assembly would call upon the specialized agencies and programmes of the United Nations system to continue to cooperate with the League of Arab States and its specialized organizations. It would also call upon them to maintain and increase contacts and improve the mechanism of consultation with counterpart programmes, organizations and agencies regarding projects and programmes, in order to facilitate their implementation.
The Assembly would decide that a general meeting between the United Nations system and the League of Arab States should take place once every two years and inter-agency sectoral meetings should be organized regularly on areas of priority and wide importance in the development of the Arab States, on the basis of agreement between the counterpart programmes of the United Nations system and the League of Arab States and its specialized organizations.
The draft would request the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its fifty-fourth session a report on the implementation of the present resolution. It would also decide to include in the provisional agenda of its fifty-fourth session the item entitled "Cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States".
The Assembly had before it a report of the Secretary-General which highlights the increasing collaboration between the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS) (documents A/53/272 and Add.1) and which outlines various cooperative activities between the two organizations. In the promotion of peace and security, the joint United Nations/OAS/International Civilian Mission in Haiti (MICIVIH) remains the main vehicle of cooperation between the two organizations. The MICIVIH works closely with the civilian police component of the United Nations Civilian Police Mission in Haiti (MIPONUH) on matters pertaining to the detention and treatment of prisoners and human rights issues, including the training of the Haitian National Police. MICIVIH's knowledge of local issues, field experience and linguistic skills has been of considerable utility to MIPONUH and its predecessors.
The report notes various consultations and exchanges of information between the two organizations. Addressing the Permanent Council of the OAS on 18 June 1997, the Secretary-General emphasized the important role played by both organizations in Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala in the tasks of institution-building, strengthening democracy, human rights and rule of law. On 29 and 30 April, the Deputy Secretary-General attended the special
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meeting in Colombia commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the OAS and the adoption of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. In July, the Secretary-General of the OAS attended a third meeting between the United Nations and regional organizations to discuss practical and more effective ways of establishing cooperation for conflict prevention.
The report goes on to highlight information requested by the Department of Political Affairs, which is the focal point between the Organization and regional organizations, from the various agencies, programmes and departments within the United Nations system. The report concludes that the past year saw a strengthening of cooperation between the United Nations system and the OAS, such as with the UNHCR. The OAS and the UNHCR are exploring collaboration through the joint promotion and dissemination of refugee law and undertaking research programmes to further develop regional protection mechanisms for refugees and other uprooted populations within the legal and institutional framework offered by the inter-American human rights system.
The OAS is further cooperating with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in the area of social policies and technical assistance. Cooperative activities also took place between the OAS and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
By the terms of the draft resolution on cooperation with the OAS (document A/53/L.10/Rev.1), sponsored by Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela, the Assembly would recommend that a general meeting of representatives of the United Nations system and the OAS be held in 1999 for the continued review and appraisal of cooperation programmes and of other matters to be mutually decided upon. It would request the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its fifty-fifth session a report on the implementation of the present resolution.
The report of the Secretary-General on cooperation between the United Nations and the Latin American Economic System (SELA) (document A/53/420) states that, since the establishment of SELA in October 1975, cooperation between it and the United Nations has been growing and diversifying. Within the framework of inter-agency interaction, optimal use is being made of existing resources for the benefit of the countries of the region.
The report contains updated information about cooperation with SELA, received from eight United Nations agencies, including ECLAC, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), UNESCO, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), World Bank, World International Property Organization (WIPO) and the UNDP.
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The Secretary-General further states that cooperation activities included exchange of information, coordination of programme activities and preparation of special meetings within the agencies special areas of competence, support for SELA activities and organization of joint courses, seminars, symposia, lectures and workshops.
Some particular examples of mutual cooperation include two high-level meetings on the reform of financial systems in Latin America and the Caribbean with the help of the IMF; and a joint UNESCO/SELA regional project on communication for integration in Latin America and the Caribbean, which was launched with the support of the International Programme for the Development of Communication. In 1996 SELA, the World Bank, the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation, and privatization agencies in Latin America and the Caribbean established the Latin American and Caribbean Network on Privatization. The UNDP provided SELA with financial support for its meetings and symposia and contributed funds for SELA technical assistance activities.
The report also states that SELA, on its part, assisted in the organization of two meetings on peace, tolerance and integration and provided support to the Latin American Forum on Communication and Information for Democracy, organized by UNESCO in Caracas in 1997. In cooperation with SELA, UNIDO organized the second meeting of the Regional Forum on Industrial Policy from 30 July to 1 August 1997.
Notification by Secretary-General
The Assembly took note of the Secretary-General's notification under Article 12, paragraph 2, of the Charter which listed matters relative to the maintenance of international peace and security that are being dealt with by the Security Council and of matters with which the Council has ceased its consideration.
Statements on League of Arab States
NABIL A. ELARABY (Egypt) introduced the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States. As Chairman of the Arab Group for the month of October, he announced that, in addition to Egypt, the list of co-sponsors of the draft included Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Palestine. The League was the oldest regional organization in the world, established in March 1945, seven months before the creation of the United Nations. The relationship between both organizations was becoming more diversified, especially in relation to international peace and security. Stability in the Middle East, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and the ability of Syria and Lebanon to regain their territories were of utmost importance to the League.
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Regarding the draft resolution, certain paragraphs underlined the continuing cooperation between both organizations. Following the agreed-upon meetings of the two organizations last year, he asked the Secretary-General to strengthen coordination between the League and the United Nations. He applauded the meeting on sectoral trade and development in Cairo. On behalf of the League, he invited the Assembly to support the draft resolution.
HUSSEIN A. HASSOUNA, Permanment Observer for the League of Arab States, said that the League was the first organization created out of the new international order following the Second World War. While it had since accomplished major objectives, further efforts at the political, economic, social and cultural levels were needed to strengthen cooperation with the United Nations in all fields. Programmes of cooperation, consultations and exchanges of information covered in the report highlighted the continuing cooperation between the two organization under the period covered. Questions concerning Iraq, Libya, Comoros, Palestine and the Middle East peace process were addressed in attempts to contain those issues. He noted that, at a sectoral meeting on trade and development to further economic cooperation in the Arab region held in Cairo, consideration had been given to establishing a free-trade zone to enhance cooperation between Arab countries and improve their competitiveness. Success in the Arab region could not be achieved without a stable environment of peace and security, he said. He was convinced that the United States Government would pay due attention to efforts to resolve the dispute over the occupied territories since 1967, which was of priority to the League. A just settlement to that problem was of utmost importance, and he called on the international community to support the peace process. The right of the Palestinians to an independent state, with Jerusalem as its capital, and a complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the disputed territories, was necessary. The League's Council said that any attempts by Israel to change the border of Jerusalem should be null and void. The League felt that it was high time for Israel to respect Security Council resolutions to prevent the use of double standards which could affect the credibility of the Organization.
The Assembly then adopted the resolution on cooperation with the Arab League without a vote.
Explanation of Position
Speaking in explanation of position, NAOR GILON (Israel) said that his delegation had joined the consensus on today's issue for the fifth time. It was guided by a desire to make peace with its neighbours, all of whom were members of the League of Arab States. Now, there was hope on the Israeli- Palestinian track, and Israel hoped to achieve progress on other tracks as well. He called on Israel's Arab neighbours to resume participation on the multilateral track, so that progress could be made in the crucial areas covered by that channel.
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As peace and economy went hand in hand, Israel was actively supporting the economy of the Palestinians in the territories through a variety of policies, packages and programmes, he continued. He reiterated Israel's support for increased efforts by Arab States to support the Palestinian economy. Israel supported United Nations cooperation with regional organizations, including the League of Arab States. Such cooperation was based on the provisions of the United Nations Charter. It was regrettable that, because of objections of some Member States, Israel was excluded from participation in the regional group fitting its geographic location. The fact that Israel alone was still denied membership in any regional group directly contradicted the declared commitment of the United Nations to the "sovereign equality of all its members".
All parties to the peace process should support it by exercising restraint in both the language of the drafts to be submitted and in all related statements, he said. Inflammatory rhetoric offered in international forums surely belonged to another era. By resolving to promote the atmosphere of growth and cooperation in the region, the nations involved in the peace process could transform today's hope into tomorrow's reality.
Statements on OAS
According to the addendum to the draft on cooperation with the OAS (document A/53/L.10/Rev.1), Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Paraguay had joined as co-sponsors.
HUGO NOÉ-PINO (Honduras), introducing the draft resolution on cooperation with the OAS, announced that the Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Uruguay, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Suriname had also joined as co-sponsors. Recent efforts of international organizations in the region had been satisfactory, such as the civilian mission in Haiti and election monitoring in Nicaragua. Also, cooperation between the United Nations and the OAS in the area of drug trafficking had made landmark achievements. The conclusion of the eighth Ibero-American Summit had highlighted new pragmatic solutions required to address current problems. Given the economic crisis affecting the world today, new approaches were required. The countries submitting the draft understood that cooperation with the United Nations was essential for development. Support for ongoing efforts was needed. He hoped the draft would be adopted.
JULIA TAVARES DE ALVAREZ (Dominican Republic), speaking on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean States, said, as Chairman of that group, she endorsed the draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the OAS. With the end of the cold war, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and achieving full equality between men and women must become the priorities of the United Nations. The United Nations was the ideal instrument to promote a new world order, where the right to development and peace were a reality. The problems in the coming century due to globalization could only be tackled globally. There was a need to strengthen ties between the United
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Nations and regional and subregional organizations, particularly the OAS. The Secretary-General, in his report on the item, stressed that never before had there been such a need to increase cooperation between the Organization and regional organizations. It was encouraging that various possibilities for cooperation had been considered. She hoped that the mechanisms for cooperation between the United Nations and the OAS would be strengthened, and the draft would be adopted.
Speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), SAMUEL R. INSANALLY (Guyana) said that members of CARICOM supported the draft presented for adoption today. It was known that the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Secretary-General of the OAS had met from time to time to discuss issues of common interest. Such meetings could serve to strengthen the role and effectiveness of the two organizations. The CARICOM fully supported the use of such instruments as preventive diplomacy and peace- building. It was also convinced that greater international and institutional cooperation was necessary to remove the impediments of poor economic and social conditions from its societies.
He welcomed increasing cooperation between the United Nations and the OAS to involve such institutions as the World Bank, UNESCO, the World Food Programme (WFP), FAO, UNEP and ECLAC. Two priority areas in functional cooperation for the Caribbean were drug control and sustainable development. The countries of that area hoped that the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) and the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission would continue to coordinate their activities to reduce the impact of drug abuse and drug trafficking on their small and vulnerable societies.
JORGE KAUFMAN, representative of the OAS, said that coordination between the two organizations had been ongoing for many years. Various resolutions had been adopted that emphasized the necessity of cooperation with regional organizations. Complementarity between organizations was not only productive but necessary. He noted that the strengthening of cooperation and intersectoral contacts in technical areas had increased between the two organizations. Joint activities carried out over the years also reflected increased diversity. He said that the mission in Haiti had borne fruit.
At a the recent summit on sustainable development held in Bolivia, a mandate was adopted for the OAS and other bodies to improve living conditions in the region, he said. He also noted support from the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO) in natural disaster assistance. Human rights initiatives had also strengthened the regional role of women in the decision- making process. He noted further cooperation between both organizations in electoral monitoring, drug control and employment. In the areas of education, science and culture, efforts had been undertaken to create an international network of institutions to train teachers. Nonetheless, more direct activities and coordination in the region were needed.
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The Assembly President, DIDIER OPERTTI (Uruguay), announced that Canada had joined the list of co-sponsors to the OAS draft.
The Secretariat announced that, should the Assembly adopt the draft, there would be no budget implications.
The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, the resolution on cooperation with the OAS.
NJUGUNA M. MAHUGU (Kenya) said monthly assessments by Council Presidents should continue as they added an insider flavour and incorporated a dimension of transparency consistent with the Security Council's stated objectives. Although that innovation was an improvement, the airing and exposure of issues to the general membership of the Organization, continued to be constrained by the tradition of confidentiality that sometimes shrouded the informal consultations. Issues of immense importance were raised and addressed in those informal settings, allowing only a final, ready-cooked product to be shown to the general membership.
He said the ability of the Council to pronounce itself immediately on burning issues which were directly related to its mandate was a feature that continued to be relevant and had to be nourished. Although the formal instruments available to the Council were well known, their immediate use was often constrained by lengthy negotiation. Statements to the press by the President had, therefore, proved to be effective tools available to the Council to immediately share its perspective on issues with the general membership and the public at large.
Nearly 22 months had gone by since Kenya was elected to the Council, he said. His country had hoped that by the end of its term, the number of agenda items on Africa would have been reduced, signalling the beginning of a genuine African renaissance. Unfortunately, the conflicts had not only increased, but they had mutated into even more complex crises. Regional efforts to solve crises were active, serious and needed the maximum support of the Council and the international community. In that regard, he wished to inform the Assembly that, on 18 October, an East African cooperation summit had taken place in Nairobi and had issued a communiqué on regional crises, circulated as an official document of the Council, which called for an immediate cessation of those hostilities. It also called for negotiations to achieve ceasefire agreements; urged that adequate measures be taken to address the security concerns of neighbouring countries; and ensure that the security of marginalized groups be addressed, among other things.
PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) said there were several improvements in this year's Council report from the point of view of enhanced transparency and accountability. She welcomed the monthly assessments of Presidents as an important step in creating a more analytical report. Briefings continued to
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be provided to non-members of the Council following informal meetings. She said that trend should be institutionalized and expanded to serve as a greater source of information on Council activities.
During the period reviewed by the report, there had been mixed results in terms of the Council's capacity to deal effectively with the different sources of instability around the world, she said. While there had been some notable successes, the increase in attacks and the use of force against refugees and other civilians, particularly women and children, posed a direct challenge to the resolve of the international community. It was against that background that her country welcomed the public debates held by the Council on the protection of humanitarian assistance to refugees and others in conflict situations, as well as on the impact of armed conflict on children.
The Council was the principal authority for multilateral decision-making in matters affecting international peace and security, she said. She expressed concern at the tendency of States to take unilateral action which they deemed to be in their national interest. Jamaica affirmed its confidence in the principle of collective security, on which the role of the Council was predicated. Jamaica also placed great importance on the reform of the Council. In that regard, it commended the efforts of the open-ended working group on the question of equitable Council representation and increase in Council membership. Her delegation was disappointed that reform remained a distant hope. In supporting procedures to make the Council more democratic and transparent, she applauded the position paper on Council working methods attached to the monthly assessment by Costa Rica, and hoped the recommendations would be given careful consideration.
CHO CHANG-BEOM (Republic of Korea) said that in an age of information, the efficiency of any organization depended largely on how adequately information was internally shared. The degree of information relied heavily on the extent of transparency within the organization.
Decisions and summaries of proceedings of the Council's subsidiary organs should be promptly made available to non-members, as long as it would not compromise the confidentiality of the organ's work, he said. The use of open meetings was the best guarantor of real-time transparency of the Council, since they allowed interested non-members to have first-hand information on what was transpiring in Council deliberations.
Also, more effective mechanisms to alert non-members on the possibility of weekend or other emergency meetings well in advance were needed, he said. Although efforts had been made, the problem of late notice for emergency meetings remained. That prevented non-members from taking part in such meetings. The Council's President must give instructions to the Secretariat to notify non-members, at the earliest possible time, when unscheduled or emergency meetings were anticipated. In addition, there was a need to devise new transparency measures which were feasible and easily implementable. It
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was essential for the Council to keep abreast of the general membership's views proposed at the open-ended working group on council reform. The working group on the documentation and procedure within the Council should play a more proactive role in filtering the propositions made in the open-ended working group and refine them in a practical way.
JAN VARSO (Slovakia) said that, since a daily briefing based on the Council's informal consultations was merely an informal interaction between the presidency of the Council and non-members, the annual report of the Council remained the only official source of information. Unlike previous years, this year's report contained background information on the decisions taken by the Council. The report also provided, for the first time, the information on the work of the sanctions committees. Slovakia joined voices calling for enhancing the analytical nature of the report. The Presidents' assessments of the Council's work should be transformed into monthly reports focusing on an analytical evaluation of the work of the Council within informal consultation and the process leading to decisions. Such monthly reports should also reflect a divergence of views from the Council members on the matters in question.
The long-standing practice of holding informal meetings had been a matter of concern, he continued. The only way for non-members to get any information was either to attend an informal briefing of the presidency after the meeting, or to wait for a Council member willing to share information at the end of the consultations. Informal consultations should not serve as a systematic substitute for formal meetings. The records not only of the Council's formal meetings, but also of its informal consultations, should be included in its annual report. Similarly, there was a need to bring the work of the sanctions committees closer to the general membership.
Peacekeeping operations had become more complex, often fulfilling multifunctional tasks, he said. Troop-contributing countries should be allowed to participate appropriately in the decision-making process on the mandate of an operation. His delegation proposed that the relevant section of the report -- currently a mere list of dates -- should contain description of the most important points raised at particular meetings of troop-contributing countries.
ALYAKSANDR SYCHOU (Belarus) said for reform of the Council to succeed, there must be a willingness to compromise and consider the interests of Member States. Equitable geographic representation of all regional groups without exception was very important within the framework of the reform of the Council, as well as increased transparency and rationalization of its working methods. Among the main areas of reform was improvement of accountability of the Council, and its annual report was an instrument of such accountability.
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The report should not just provide statistical data, he continued. It should establish a substantive dialogue between the two main organs of the United Nations, provide analysis of different views and contain specific rational proposals regarding the main issues on the agendas of the Assembly and the Council. An introduction of monthly assessments by the Presidents of the Council was of positive importance. The materials of the report should include commentaries and proposals and reflect the position of the President.
In addition, the report could present analytical reviews of the Council's most important decisions and description of their motives, he said. Greater transparency could be achieved by adding a brief written summary of informal consultations. He hoped that such information would be available at the time when consultations were held, and not only at the time of preparing the report. Preliminary draft reports could be discussed in open meetings, and the procedure of submission of reports to the General Assembly by the President or one of permanent members of the Council on rotation basis could be useful.
JORGE PÉREZ-OTERMIN (Uruguay) said that although the Council was the most important body of the United Nation due to the role it played in the maintenance of international peace and security, it was still accountable to the Member States, in whose name it acted. The Council was complying by informing the Assembly as to its activities. He was pleased that the report showed progress in the areas highlighted by the Assembly. The Charter guided any activity of the Council, including any reform measures.
Everyone recognized that the main objective of the Council was the maintenance of international peace and security, he said. Over time, however, that had changed as the nature of conflicts had changed, and advancements had been made in communications technology. There could be no peace without development, and no development without education. The work of the United Nations had to focus on achieving those values. Uruguay had been very involved in peacekeeping operations, including participation in 16 missions, the contribution of some 10,000 men and the loss of life. It placed vital importance on the area of conflict-prevention. Also, greater cooperation was needed between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.
Despite progress made, more had to be done to increase transparency, democracy and the participation of non-members in the Council, he said. The channels of communication between the countries involved and the Council had to be improved. He hoped there would be more frequent open meetings so the views of non-members could be heard.
ALI HACHANI (Tunisia) said that the annual report was a valuable tool that improved the flow of information between the Council and the Assembly. He noted the improvements in the report, such as the inclusion of the work of the subsidiary organs, information on Council working methods and procedures,
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and on troop-providing countries. Brief reports from Council Presidents had merit in providing information on informal Council sessions.
In the spite of those innovations, he said that the general content of the report had remained unchanged in terms of communications and its somewhat factual approach. It was important that the Assembly also be provided with special reports on issues that had mushroomed and would facilitate an objective assessment of the Council. Improvement of the documentation and the procedures of the Council envisioned new measures to increase formal open meetings allowing the Assembly to speak to the Council on a number of important questions.
Right of Reply
MICHEL KAFANDO (Burkina Faso), speaking on behalf of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), responded to the statement made by the representative of Canada yesterday during the debate on the Council's Report. Canada had commented on the decision by the members of the OAU regarding Council sanctions imposed on Africa, and said it had set a troubling precedent. The OAU did not understand Canada's attitude. The OAU had its own charter with its own moral values. Africa had its own wisdom, which gave priority to dialogue. The continent had its own problems to which it wanted to find its own solutions. That should not be perceived as a challenge to the Security Council.
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