ASSEMBLY URGES REPEAL OF UNILATERAL EXTRATERRITORIAL LAWS IMPOSING SANCTIONS, VOTING 80 IN FAVOUR, 2 AGAINST, 67 ABSTENTIONS ON TEXT INTRODUCED BY LIBYA
ASSEMBLY URGES REPEAL OF UNILATERAL EXTRATERRITORIAL LAWS IMPOSING SANCTIONS, VOTING 80 IN FAVOUR, 2 AGAINST, 67 ABSTENTIONS ON TEXT INTRODUCED BY LIBYA
ASSEMBLY URGES REPEAL OF UNILATERAL EXTRATERRITORIAL LAWS IMPOSING SANCTIONS, VOTING 80 IN FAVOUR, 2 AGAINST, 67 ABSTENTIONS ON TEXT INTRODUCED BY LIBYA19981026 In Adopting Fifth Committee Texts, Reaffirms February 1999 Deadline for Phase Out of Gratis Personnel
The General Assembly this morning reiterated its call for the immediate repeal of unilateral extraterritorial laws that impose sanctions on corporations and nationals of other States.
By a recorded vote of 80 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 67 abstentions, the Assembly expressed deep concern at the negative impact of such measures on trade and on financial and economic cooperation; and urged all States not to recognize or apply those measures or legislative enactments unilaterally imposed by any country (see voting annex).
The representative of Libya, introducing the draft text, said the victor in the "so-called" cold war thought that the international situation had become ripe for "him to dictate his conditions and issue orders so that he may reshape the world in a manner that would guarantee his own interests". That "victor", the Libyan representative continued, did so in "anticipation of the possibility of the rise of any sort of international balance, and to pre-empt the rise of such a balance at all costs". If the right of a certain country to implement extraterritorial laws was accepted, it could become a precedent for other countries, enabling them to enact similar laws.
The representative of the United States, speaking in explanation of its position before the vote, said the draft was an attempt by Libya to divert attention from its own non-compliance with terrorism-related sanctions and to shift focus to those in the international community who sought to make States like it accountable. Libya, he said, had chosen not to respond positively to obligations imposed by international law, the Charter and the Security Council. Also, the United States regarded economic sanctions as a legitimate instrument of foreign policy and was by no means the only nation that resorted to such measures when necessary.
General Assembly Plenary - 1a - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
In other action this morning, acting on the recommendation of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a resolution by which it reaffirmed its decision to approve 400 support account-funded temporary posts for the period from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999. Within the level of those 400 posts, it decided to establish two civilian posts at the P-4 level for a rapidly deployable mission headquarters, and one P-4 post for the Office of Internal Oversight Services.
The representative of Austria, speaking after the draft's adoption on behalf of the European Union and associated countries, said the resolution -- which had an immediate impact on the safety of peacekeeping troops in the field -- was of great importance to the European Union, as the largest group of troop-contributing countries. He said replacement of gratis military officers with properly qualified people was vital so expertise built up through the loan of those experienced officers was not lost, as was an appropriate handover arrangement.
Also this morning, the Assembly adopted, without votes, three additional texts approved by the Fifth Committee, as follows:
-- a resolution on gratis personnel, by which it reaffirmed that 28 February 1999 was the deadline for phasing out staff loaned to the United Nations by Governments and other entities, and requesting the Secretary- General ensure that recruitment for new posts arising from the phase-out of gratis personnel was on as wide a geographical basis as possible with due regard to gender;
-- a decision by which it took note of the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) on its activities during the Assembly's fifty-second session; and
-- a decision requesting the Trade and Development Board of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Joint Advisory Group on the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/World Trade Organization (WTO) consider the proposals on new administrative arrangements for the latter contained in the ACABQ report.
Also this morning the Assembly elected Benin, China, Egypt, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Uruguay as members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC) for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 1999.
The President of the Assembly Didier Opertii (Uruguay) informed the Assembly, that following consultations, the Chairman of the Group of Asian States had endorsed Japan to fill the current vacancy in the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and that Japan had been requested to submit the name of a qualified candidate.
General Assembly Plenary - 1b - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
During discussion of eliminating coercive economic measures, statements were also made by the representatives of Indonesia (on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China), Ghana, Cuba, Iraq, Sudan, Iran, Burkina Faso, Qatar (for the Islamic Group), Democratic People's Republic of Korea, South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria (for the African States) and Malaysia.
In explanation of the vote relating to that text, statements were made by the representatives of Turkey, Austria (for the European Union and associated States), Canada, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Bolivia and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Statements on the Fifth Committee texts were also made by the United States, Norway and Cuba.
The Assembly will meet again tomorrow at 10 a.m. to take up the report of the International Court of Justice and the implementation of the United Nations new agenda for the development of Africa in the 1990s.
Assembly Work Programme
The Assembly met this morning to elect seven members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC) and appoint a member of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU). It was also expected to take action on a draft resolution on the elimination of coercive economic measures as a means of political and economic compulsion. Furthermore, it would consider three reports of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).
The Assembly will meet to elect seven members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination for three year terms, beginning on 1 January 1999, to the 34-member CPC as follows: three from African States; three from Asian States; and one from Latin American and Caribbean States.
Members of the CPC, the main subsidiary organ of the Economic and Social Council and the Assembly for planning, programming and coordination, are elected by the Assembly upon nomination by the Economic and Social Council. The Assembly had before it a note by the Secretary-General (document A/53/440) which recalls that by its decision 1998/202 B, the Council nominated Benin, Egypt, China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Uruguay to fill the seats being vacated by China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Japan, Republic of Korea, Togo and Uruguay on 31 December.
Regarding the appointment of a member of the Joint Inspection Unit, the Assembly also had before it a note by the Secretary-General (document A/53/109), which states that since the term of office of Mr. Sumihiro Kuyama will expire on 31 December 1999, the Assembly will have to appoint a person to serve for a period of five years, beginning on 1 January 2000.
Following consultations with Member States, the President of the Assembly will determine a country, which will then be requested to propose candidates who meet the required qualifications. After the appropriate consultations, including with the President of the Economic and Social Council and the Secretary-General, in his capacity as Chairman of the Administrative Committee on Coordination, the Assembly President will submit the names of the candidates to the Assembly for appointment.
Elimination of Coercive Economic Measures
The Assembly also had before it a draft resolution (document A/53/L.7 Rev.1) on the elimination of coercive economic measures as a means of political and economic compulsion.
By the terms of the text, the Assembly would urge all States not to recognize or apply extraterritorial coercive economic measures or legislative enactments unilaterally imposed by any country. It would express its deep
General Assembly Plenary - 3 - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
concern at the negative impact of unilaterally imposed extraterritorial coercive economic measures on trade and financial and economic cooperation, including such cooperation at the regional level, as well as the creation of serious obstacles to the free flow of trade and capital at the regional and international levels.
The Assembly would also reiterate its call for the immediate repeal of unilateral extraterritorial laws that impose sanctions on corporations and nationals of other States. The Assembly would also ask the Secretary-General to submit a report on the implementation of the present resolution at its next session.
Reports of the Fifth Committee
The Assembly had before it three reports of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary). The first report (document A/53/521) was on the review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations. By the terms of the first draft decision contained in the report, the Assembly would take note with appreciation the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) on its activities during the Assembly's fifty-second session, and request the Secretary-General to bring the report to the attention of the executive heads of the specialized agencies of the United Nations and of the funds and programmes concerned.
By the terms of the second draft decision, the Assembly would request the Trade and Development Board of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the Joint Advisory Group on the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO to consider the proposals on new administrative arrangements for the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO contained in the report of the ACABQ. Further, it would request those bodies to submit their comments, as a matter of priority for its consideration.
The second report (document A/53/533) contains a draft resolution approved by the Committee concerning gratis personnel provided by Governments and other entities. By the terms of the text, the Assembly, taking note of the Secretary-General's commitment to complete the recruitment process for the replacement of type II gratis personnel -- all loaned staff except associate experts, technical cooperation experts and interns -- by 28 February 1999, would request that he improve the planning and implementation mechanism in human resources management in a transparent manner to ensure the independent and efficient work of the Secretariat pursuant to relevant Assembly resolutions and Articles 100 and 101 of the United Nations Charter.
The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to ensure that recruitment for new posts arising from the phase-out of gratis personnel was on as wide a geographical basis as possible with due regard to gender. It would note with concern that the extension of the deadline for the submission
General Assembly Plenary - 4 - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
of applications for the replacement of type II gratis personnel had resulted in cases of differential treatment among Member States.
By other terms, the Assembly would reaffirm that the Secretary-General's acceptance of gratis personnel should be in strict compliance with the terms of resolution 51/243 and would note with concern that information provided by the Secretary-General fails to demonstrate the extent to which all gratis personnel accepted in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations provide specialized expertise not available within the Organization, as required by that resolution. It would also note with concern the observation of the ACABQ that the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and for the former Yugoslavia had accepted gratis personnel in contravention of the provisions of resolution 51/243, by which gratis personnel cannot be accepted because of the Secretariat's failure to recruit staff in an expeditious manner.
The third report (document A/53/522) contained a draft on the support account for peacekeeping operations. By the terms of the draft, the Assembly would reaffirm its decision to approve 400 support account-funded temporary posts for the period from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999. The Secretary-General would be requested, when determining the allocation of the support-account funded posts to take into account the observations and recommendations of the ACABQ. Further, he would be requested to include in his support-account submission for the period from 1 July 1999 to 30 June 2000 a comprehensive review of a rapidly deployable mission headquarters and further develop the concept for its employment during the initial phase of a new peacekeeping operation.
Further, within the level of the above-mentioned 400 posts, the Assembly would decide to establish two civilian posts at the P-4 level for a rapidly deployable mission headquarters, and to revert to the issue of the proposed positions in the context of its consideration of the Secretary-General's review of the rapidly deployable mission headquarters. The Assembly would also decide to establish one P-4 post for the Office of Internal Oversight Services.
By other terms, the Assembly would note with deep concern the ACABQ's observations that little had been done to meet its concerns about the quality of information provided by the Secretary-General, and that lack of replies to requests for information or clarification had affected a specific recommendation of the ACABQ.
Regretting that a comprehensive review of the issues raised in resolutions 50/221, 51/239 and 52/248 had not been carried out, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to give a detailed account of the implementation of those and current resolutions, including the revised structures of departments involved in backstopping peacekeeping, in his 1 July 1999 to 30 June 2000 support account submission.
General Assembly Plenary - 5 - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
Elections to CPC
DIDIER OPERTTI (Uruguay), President of the General Assembly, said the number of States nominated from among the African States, Asian States and the Latin American and Caribbean States was equal to or did not exceed the number of seats to be filled in each of those regions. Therefore, the Assembly elected Benin, China, Egypt, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Uruguay as members of the CPC for a three-year term beginning on 1 January 1999.
Regarding the one vacancy remaining from among the African States, and the one vacancy remaining from among the Western Europe and other States held over from a previous session, the Assembly would act on them on the nomination by the Economic and Social Council of one Member State from each of those two regions. The Assembly decided to keep the sub-item on the agenda of the fifty-third session.
Appointment to JIU
The PRESIDENT said that after holding the necessary consultations, the Chairman of the group of Asian States had endorsed Japan to fill the vacancy. Japan would be requested to submit the name of a candidate and the curriculum vitae highlighting the candidate's relevant qualifications for the task. After holding the appropriate consultations, including with the President of the Economic and Social Council and with the Secretary-General, the Assembly President would propose a qualified candidate to the Assembly for appointment to the JIU.
Statements on Elimination of Measures as Political and Economic Compulsion
ABUZED OMAR DORDA (Libya) said the victor in the so-called cold war had decided to put its political, economic, cultural and social mark on the world -- a world that only had to listen and obey. That victor thought that the international situation had become fully ripe for "him to dictate his conditions and issue orders so that he may reshape the world in a manner that would guarantee his own interests in anticipation of the possibility of the rise of any sort of international balance, and pre-empt the rise of such a balance at all costs". Countries that disobeyed those orders and tried to build their own societies based on their own specifics, intellectual convictions or political and economic options were qualified as "rogue States". Laws were enacted which punished the rest of the countries of the world if they dealt with such States.
Commenting that it was "indeed a new world order", he raised a number of questions. Why was Libya not punished before 1 September 1969, the date of its revolution? Was that due to the fact that before that date, it had accepted the establishment of military bases on its soil and after that date it evacuated those bases, liberating its lands and skies? Was it because,
General Assembly Plenary - 6 - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
before that date, Libya had signed concessions with American oil companies that focused on their own interests instead of those of the Libyan people? Or was it because Libya, prior to 1 September 1969, had accepted dependence and occupation when the treaty concluded with the United States deprived it of the simplest manifestations of sovereignty over its territory. He also raised questions with regard to similar experiences of Iran, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Sudan and Cuba.
If the right of a certain country to enact and implement extraterritorial laws was accepted, he said it could set a precedent for all other countries, enabling them to enact similar extraterritorial laws. The international community was called upon to eliminate that precedent, with all its possible consequences and repercussions. The draft resolution that was being submitted today did not concern Libya alone. Voting for the subject matter before the Assembly was not for Libya. The subject of the draft related to what was enacted by States and not by the United Nations.
SUTJIPTOHARDJO DONOKUSUMO (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said that in the era of globalization, the practice of imposing coercive measures had increased implications and devastating results for affected countries. The imposition of such measures by one country on another ran contrary to the spirit of friendship, which prevailed in the international arena and violated the respect of sovereignty. Such actions prevented countries from pursuing development and expanding their trade programmes.
Also, as the Secretary-General had stated, it constituted a violation of human rights, he said. The international community had to work together to ensure that countries refrained from such measures. The world trading system had to be free from political influences. The international community had to promote the right to development of all countries, in conformity with the principles of the United Nations Charter.
JACOB BOTWE WILMOT (Ghana) said that legislative measures, such as the Helms-Burton Act passed by the United States Congress, were taken without any regard whatsoever for the Charter principle requiring all Member States to settle disputes among themselves by peaceful means such as negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and judicial settlement. He expressed concern at the recent attempt to introduce new concepts at internationalizing such extraterritorial laws through multilateral agreements. His country rejected outright all such attempts, along with the present trend to strengthen and expand those measures through the Bretton Woods institutions.
He then noted various organizations, in addition to the General Assembly, that had called for an immediate end to unilateral coercive measures as a means of political and economic compulsion, including the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the European Union. Indonesia urged States which applied unilateral coercive measures to put an
General Assembly Plenary - 7 - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
immediate end to such practices and further called on all States not to recognize any legislative enactments which backed such measures.
He concluded by reiterating that it was the inalienable right of every State, however small, weak or poor, to choose the political, economic and social system that it deemed appropriate for the well-being of its people, in accordance with its own national plans, policies and priorities. No other State had the prerogative to interfere in the exercise of such choice.
MARIA DE LOS ANGELES FLOREZ PRIDA (Cuba) said her country's position was very well known. Cuba had consistently voted in favour of the Assembly resolutions which called for the immediate repeal of unilateral extraterritorial laws that imposed sanctions on companies and nationals of third States. The United States was once again seeking, by means of domestic law, known at the D'Amato-Kennedy Act, to extend its domestic legislation to third States by applying sanctions to companies that traded with Libyan or Iranian oil sectors. It was trying unilaterally to impose domestic legislation in a universal way on other countries including its own allies. The application of such measures was a blatant violation of international law and the principles of sovereign equality of States and non-intervention and non-interference in the internal and external affairs of States as articulated in the United Nations Charter.
She said extraterritorial measures also violated the human rights of the populations of targeted countries and affected the most vulnerable sections of those States. Cuba demanded an end to the use of such practices. Accepting them implied favouring the international hegemonization of those measures. She trusted that the Organization would play its rightful role in ensuring that the will of the international community would be upheld. Cuba would vote in favour of the draft.
KHALED S. H. AL-HITTI (Iraq) said that the international community had been overwhelmingly preoccupied with the use of coercive measures, which were imposed both unilaterally and collectively. The latter represented abuse of authority by some powerful States in the Security Council. Coercive measures negatively affected all aspects of life in targeted countries, and their negative effect would continue for many generations to come, even after the sanctions were lifted. Third countries were also affected.
The United Nations Charter had made very clear the cases when the international community could resort to economic sanctions, he said. Those cases included the threat to international peace and security, provided all other means had been exhausted. However, many influential States had overridden those standards. Experience showed that those States cared for nothing else but their own narrow aims. It was abnormal for some States to adopt policies running counter to international law in order to bring other countries to follow their policies. His delegation called on all Member States to oppose the policies of imposing economic and other coercive
General Assembly Plenary - 8 - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
measures. The right to independent political decisions was ensured by international law.
LAYLA OMER BASHIR (Sudan) said the Assembly provided an important rostrum for weak States to be heard, particularly those targeted by stronger, major powers who wanted to put economic and political pressure on them. The Assembly, during its previous session, had expressed deep concern that the unilateral use of such measures had negative effects on the economies and development efforts of developing countries, and on worldwide efforts to establish an open, multilateral, and indiscriminate trading system. Also, such actions ran counter to the United Nations Charter. Last year's debate showed that the use of such measures were an illegal means of projecting power. The Sudan believed such measures threatened the norms of trust and rule of law, which formed the basis of international relations.
The United States had ignored a number of Assembly resolutions and expanded its use of coercive economic measures, she said. There were now more than 70 States against which the United States had issued presidential decrees. The political reasons behind those coercive American actions had sent a wrong message to the rebel movements in the Sudan, which had in turn hampered the peace talks being held in Nairobi. Aggression against the Sudan escalated with the United States missile attack on one of its pharmaceutical plants. That ugly crime was rationalized by empty and baseless arguments. The United States continued to reject Sudan's call to send a fact-finding mission to the region. Such coercive measures violated the principle of non-intervention. Sudan would vote in favour of the draft resolution.
SEYED MOHAMMAD HADI NEJAD HOSSEINIAN (Iran) said the twin processes of globalization and liberalization had deepened the mutual interdependence of societies and strengthened the potential for international interaction and cooperation. Recourse to unilateral and extraterritorial measures was therefore a serious threat to the basic principles and fundamentals of the international economic, trade and financial system. The adoption of such measures only fell within the mandate of the United Nations, in particular situations where there was a threat to or breach of the peace. Moreover, several principles set forth in the Charter provided a solid basis for the United Nations to offset the exercise of unilateral sanctions by individual States. Such unilateral measures violated the principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the external and internal affairs of other States, as well as in the exercise of their sovereign rights.
The various General Assembly resolutions adopted since its forty-fourth session were prominent examples of a series of responses by the Organization to such unlawful actions, he continued. The imposition of coercive economic measures also contradicted internal trade laws, including those under the World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations. Various forms of economic coercive measures and actions had been imposed against 79 countries between 1979 and 1992. From 1993 to 1996, unilateral sanctions had been imposed no
General Assembly Plenary - 9 - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
fewer than 61 times against 35 countries. Those statistics indicated that recourse to such measures and actions had been on the rise in terms of number, and had intensified in severity in recent years.
He said the legislation known as "ILSA", was a domestic instrument without any foundation in international law which had targeted the economic, commercial, and financial relations of Iran with other countries. Moreover the said legislation, whose promulgation was a product of known domestic politicking, contradicted the provisions of international law concerning friendly relations and cooperation among States. Iran called upon all Member States to refrain from recourse to such measures, and to nullify them if they were already in place. The draft before the Assembly was an appropriate response to such unlawful and illegal measures.
MICHEL KAFANDO (Burkina Faso) said that today's discussion once again raised the issue of sanctions. Formerly, sanctions had tended to be an exception, and were intended to be used with great caution and discretion after all peaceful means had been exhausted. The United Nations Charter dictated that all countries settle their disputes by peaceful means.
Sanctions inflicted devastating damage on the target countries, and the efforts to punish a State resulted in the suffering of its people, he said. For example, attempts to rectify an injustice of the tragedy of Pan Am Flight 103 which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, brought about another injustice. The people of Libya was paying a heavy price as a result of sanctions, which only extended the list of suffering. On the basis of humanitarian ideas, the heads of African States had decided to suppress unjust and unilateral economic measures against Libya, for they had negative effect on the whole region. During the recent Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, leaders had also drawn attention to the unjust character of economic sanctions. For those reasons, there was a need to support today's draft.
NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER (Qatar), as Chairman of the Islamic Group, said that the elimination of coercive measures as a means of political and economic compulsion had become an urgent need in order to stop their negative effects on the economic development of developing countries. Such practices were products of cold war confrontational thinking and ran counter to international principles on friendly relations among States. They also ran counter to the Charter, which stated that "no State or group of States had the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State".
In expressing grave concern over the recent enactment of coercive extraterritorial economic measures, he said, they were in contravention of the norms of international law, the aims and purposes of the United Nations and the relevant provisions of the WTO. The Islamic Group believed that the international community should promptly take steps to put an end to the use of unilateral measures against developing countries. He recalled that
General Assembly Plenary - 10 - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
participants at the eighth Islamic Summit Conference, held in Teheran in December, had called on States to consider the so-called d'Amato-Kennedy Act, which was in contravention to international law and norms, as null and void. Further, the final communiqué of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in Qatar in March, had reaffirmed the group's solidarity with Iran and Libya for their positions concerning the d'Amato Act, and rejected any arbitrary or unilateral measure, whether political or legal, by one country against another one.
LI HYONG CHOL (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) said that elimination of unilateral coercive economic measures constituted a fundamental condition for the establishment of democratic and equitable international economic relations. The use of forcible means in pursuit of political aims was a clear violation of the United Nations Charter, principles of international laws, resolutions of the General Assembly, and declarations and programmes of action of major international conferences. However, in disregard of the requirements of the current era, certain countries still continued to resort to frequent imposition of economic sanctions upon developing countries as means of coercive political and economic pressure.
The most prolonged and severe coercive economic measures during this century had been unilateral sanctions and a blockade imposed upon his country by the United States, he continued. Those sanctions had been in force for almost half a century. Even though four years had elapsed since the conclusion of the Agreed Framework between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the United States, the United States failing to fulfil its commitment had not taken measures to lift the sanctions. It continued to pursue a hostile policy towards the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. If anachronistic pressure and blackmail continued unchecked, they would present a dangerous element that could bring about another type of cold war by inciting confrontation and hostility among countries.
In conclusion, he reiterated his delegation's position that Member States of the United Nations should pay due attention to an early implementation of resolutions concerning the elimination of sanctions as means of political and economic pressure, including unilateral coercive economic measures against developing countries. His delegation was also strongly opposed to any attempt to initiate and indefinitely maintain sanctions as forcible means to change legitimate political and economic systems of individual countries.
PIETER ANDRIES VERMEULEN (South Africa) said that his country was committed to the principle of the sovereign equality of States and the freedom of international trade. The heads of State and government of the Non-Aligned Movement had addressed the issue of consideration of the elimination of coercive economic measures as a means of political and economic compulsion at the Summit in Durban, in September. Participants had condemned the unilateral application of such measures, including the enactment of extraterritorial laws
General Assembly Plenary - 11 - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
aimed at preventing developing countries from exercising their right to freely decide their own political, economic and social systems.
South Africa reiterated and endorsed the call of the Non-Aligned Movement on all countries not to recognize the unilateral or extraterritorial imposition of sanctions against other States, foreign companies or individuals and to refrain from adopting such coercive measures, he said. The leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement had also noted that those measures violated international law and the United Nations Charter, and they had called on the international community to take effective action to arrest that trend -- including attempts to introduce or internationalize such extraterritorial measures through multilateral institutions or agreements. They specifically rejected the trend geared at strengthening coercive unilateral measures through the Bretton Woods institutions.
MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) said this was the second year the Assembly had taken action on the elimination of coercive economic measures. It was regrettable that, since the adoption of the relevant text last session, the Member State concerned continued to apply extraterritorial coercive measures in defiance of demands by the international community. Despite the end of the cold war, external interventions with dubious means still persisted. Those interventions were being felt in most of the developing countries, such as Libya and Cuba, to mention just a few. The spirit and letter of those dubious laws contravened the resolutions of the General Assembly, in particular 2131 (XX) of 21 December 1965 on the inadmissibility of intervention in the domestic affairs of States and on the protection of their independence and sovereignty.
He said those extraterritorial laws also contravened Assembly resolution 3281 (XXIX) of 12 December 1974 which prevented the use of economic, political or any other means to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights. In that regard, his delegation once again called upon the United States to refrain from adopting or implementing extraterritorial measures which were coercive in nature and which constituted a blatant violation of the principles of international law and the United Nations Charter. Namibia fully supported the draft before the Assembly and would vote in favour of it.
IBRAHIM A. GAMBARI (Nigeria), on behalf of the Group of African States, said that the OAU, at its Summit in June, had addressed the necessity for elimination of unjust economic measures as an instrument of economic and political coercion. The Summit recommended that any extraterritorial measures used as a means of political and economic coercion be reviewed to alleviate the negative impact on the lives of innocent citizens, both in the target State and in neighbouring countries. The implementation of humanitarian provisions related to international sanctions were often cumbersome, leading to delays in the procurement, delivery and distribution of essential
General Assembly Plenary - 12 - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
commodities, such as food and medicine. As a result, women and children were often the hardest hit by sanctions.
Several questions were relevant to today's discussion, issues which had been raised during the Security Council debate on the supplement to An Agenda for Peace -- a position paper by former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali on the occasion of the United Nations fiftieth Anniversary, he said. First, the issue had been raised about how the United Nations could ensure that sanctions were properly targeted at the decision makers, rather than at the general population of the country concerned. Secondly, it was raised how adequate provisions could be made to protect innocent civilians who invariably suffer disproportionately from the effect of sanctions. Thirdly, how neighbouring States, who often bore the brunt of enforcement of sanctions at an expense to their own economies and domestic peace and stability, could be compensated. Also, the unilateral imposition of measures by some countries to influence the domestic politics of the targeted country gave sanctions a very negative connotation and could undermine their moral force.
The African Group believed that the relationship between Member States and the international community should become more cooperative than confrontational, he said. In that regard, extraterritorial coercive economic measures as a means of political and economic compulsion would be eradicated. The African Group supported the draft resolution, which it hoped would give relief both in economic and social terms, to ordinary citizens of affected countries. He noted that while it was the primary responsibility of the Security Council to maintain international peace and security, that mandate had to be exercised without jeopardizing the well-being of innocent citizens of any nation. The Assembly had the responsibility to bring that fact to the attention of the Council and the international community, and to adopt appropriate resolutions to correct injustices resulting from extraterritorial economic measures.
HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) said that there was considerable concern within the international community over the use of coercive economic measures as a means of political and economic compulsion. Those measures violated the established norms of relations among nations and the universal principles of equal sovereignty of States and non-intervention in their internal affairs. They also violated the letter and spirit of the agreement establishing the WTO. Unilateral measures were discriminatory in nature and were intended to serve specific political agendas against the target countries. They also had an extraterritorial dimension, as they extended the application of domestic laws to other countries.
Like many other delegations, Malaysia opposed application of such coercive measures in inter-state relations and fully subscribed to the final document of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Durban last September, which called on all States to refrain from adopting or implementing extraterritorial or unilateral measures of coercion as a means of exerting pressures on Non- Aligned and other developing countries. Those measures were out of step with the current trend towards increasing interdependence and interaction among States. Malaysia supported the draft under discussion and joined the call for the immediate repeal of such unilateral extraterritorial laws as the
General Assembly Plenary - 13 - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
D'Amato-Kennedy Act and the Helms-Burton Act. Malaysia also urged an earnest effort on the part of the international community to forge a new dynamic in relations among States. In that respect, the United Nations had a unique role to play.
Action on Draft
A. PETER BURLEIGH (United States), speaking before the vote, said the United States opposed the draft resolution proposed by Libya. The text was not about unilateralism, coercion, compulsion or extraterritoriality. It was an attempt by Libya to divert attention from its own non-compliance with sanctions relating to terrorism and shift the focus to those in the international community who sought to call States, like Libya, to account. The fact was that key sanctions on Libya were imposed by the United Nations. The Council reviewed those sanctions every 120 days and after every review, it determined that conditions had not been met to lift sanctions. The primary sponsor of the draft now being considered had chosen not to respond positively to obligations imposed under international law, the Charter and the Security Council in several resolutions adopted under Chapter VII. It would be unfortunate to reward its intransigence with support of the draft resolution.
Every sovereign State had the right to decide with whom it would or would not trade, he said. The United States regarded economic sanctions as a legitimate instrument of foreign policy and was by no means the only nation that resorted to such measures when necessary. When faced with unacceptable international behaviour, the United States resorted to unilateral economic action reluctantly. Whenever possible, it worked with other members of the global community to devise a collective response to egregious behaviour that violated international norms or threatened international security, as it did in the face of Iraq's armed aggression against Kuwait. They also sought to target the subject government, while avoiding harm to vulnerable civilian populations. Finally, imposing economic sanctions entailed real economic sacrifice on the part of the United States. That the United States was willing to make such sacrifices indicated the importance it placed on the issues involved. In responding to rogue State behaviour, it was defending not only its own interests, but the security of the international community as a whole.
TULUY TANC (Turkey) said he would vote in favour of the draft to demonstrate Turkey's opposition to the application of extra-territorial measures. However, his vote should not be construed as support for any position or policy of the country submitting the draft.
General Assembly Plenary - 14 - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
BERNARD WRABETZ (Austria), on behalf of the European Union (EU), and associated States, emphasized the European Union's unequivocal rejection of attempts to apply national legislation on an extraterritorial basis contrary to international law. It had always rejected attempts by any country to coerce others into complying with unilateral commercial measures. Binding sanctions could only be imposed on States by and under the authority of the Security Council in accordance with Article 41 of the United Nations Charter. He particularly mentioned the legislation which provided for the application of legal sanctions to companies and individuals outside its national jurisdiction, including provisions designed to discourage third country companies from trading with or investing in specific countries. Measures of that type violated the general principles of international law and the sovereignty of independent States.
The European Union's strong opposition, both in law and principle, to the imposition of secondary boycotts and legislation with extraterritorial effect and retroactivity remained unchanged, he said. The Union had exercised its right to react as it deemed appropriate to any extraterritorial measures which appeared to contravene international law and would continue to do so. It must make a firm and unmistakable distinction between measures imposed unilaterally by individual States and those which were undertaken with the authority of the Council, or otherwise justified under international law. Unfortunately, today's draft failed to make that distinction. The European Union was unable to support the draft and would abstain in the vote.
The Assembly then adopted, by a vote of 80 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States) with 67 abstentions, the resolution on elimination of coercive measures as a means of political and economic compulsion. (See Annex for details of vote.)
MICHEL DUVAL (Canada), speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, said that his country had abstained in the vote. It was firmly opposed to the unilateral coercive measures, but the resolution which had just been adopted did not distinguish between the sanctions imposed collectively in pursuit of the relevant Security Council resolutions and those imposed unilaterally.
ANA MARIA MOGLIA (Argentina) said that her country had abstained in the vote because it believed that application of economic sanctions should be approved by relevant international organs.
MILES ARMITAGE (Australia) said that his country distinguished between international sanctions and those imposed unilaterally. However, the resolution had not differentiated substantially between those two kinds of sanctions. It also contained some language that Australia considered problematic. In particular, its reference to the inalienable right of every State to choose the political, economic and social system that it deemed most appropriate for the welfare of its people appeared to undermine the
General Assembly Plenary - 15 - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
universality of fundamental human rights. For those reasons, Australia had abstained in the vote on the resolution.
TREVOR HUGHES (New Zealand) said his delegation wished to reiterate its opposition to national legislation that had extraterritorial effects on third States. The reason New Zealand abstained from voting on the resolution was because the text had not distinguished clearly between unilateral sanctions and Security Council sanctions.
ROBERTO JORDAN PANDO (Bolivia) said his delegation abstained based on its 1996 position -- the draft had implications other than those being considered. That position however, did not mean that Bolivia did not condemn violations of international law -- in this case however, there were other factors to be taken into account.
RI KWANG NAM (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) said his delegation supported the resolution from the principle point of view that all unilateral coercive means should be eliminated all together. In response to the United States statement made before the adoption of the resolution, he said that the representative of that country should have made an apology for the measures imposed against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea for the last 50 years. Power politics were senseless and only jeopardized peace and stability in the Korean peninsula. The United States should immediately repeal all economic sanctions.
Action on Reports of Fifth Committee
Taking up the reports of the Fifth Committee, adopted the texts there in, all without votes, as follow:
-- a decision on activities of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) during the fifty-second session of the General Assembly;
-- a decision on administrative arrangements for the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO;
-- a resolution, on gratis personnel provided by governments and other entities.
HOWARD SQUARDON (United States), speaking in explanation of position prior to action on a Fifth Committee text on the support account for peacekeeping operations, said that the entire peacekeeping backstopping function needed a comprehensive review. That included posts in the Department of Political Affairs and the Department of Peace-keeping Operations and other sections of the Secretariat. When the United States joined consensus in June on a compromise that established 400 posts from the support account and authorized $34.4 million for the year ending 30 June 1999, it did so with the
General Assembly Plenary - 16 - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
belief that the Secretariat would conduct its own review of the support account-funded posts. That belief was explicitly spelled out in the resolution.
He also noted that in the past few years, the support account submission by the Secretary-General had continued to increase, while the number, size and cost of peacekeeping operations had declined dramatically. The Secretariat had also underspent about $2 million annually from what it had been authorized to spend by the General Assembly on the support account. It was illogical and unrealistic to expect that a substantial decrease in the field would not have any impact on the needs at Headquarters. The United States called on the Secretary-General to engage in a comprehensive post-by-post review of the peacekeeping support account in the context of his submission for the 1999-2000 support account year.
Turning to the present draft, he said that his country believed that redeployment was a critical management tool. It was essential that the Secretariat looked closely at the distribution of posts and redeployed them to match current needs. The Secretariat had been given a mandate by the General Assembly, and it must take a critical look at its current and expected needs and readjust the staffing pattern accordingly. He also called on the Secretary-General, when filling the 400 support account posts that had again been authorized, to take into consideration those posts that he had been identified as critical to the backstopping functions and the required current military or civilian police expertise. The United States remained concerned that the transition between the gratis military personnel and their replacements must take place seamlessly and with no gap in capability.
The Assembly then adopted, without a vote a draft, resolution on the support account for peacekeeping operations.
HANS PETER MANZ (Austria), speaking in explanation of the position of the European Union European Union, the Central and Eastern European countries associated with the European Union, Cyprus and Iceland, said that the resolution was of great importance to the European Union, since it had an immediate impact on the safety of peacekeeping troops in the field. As the largest group of troop contributing countries, the European Union acknowledged the need to staff the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and other departments involved in backstopping peacekeeping adequately, not least to ensure adequate planning capacity and the ability to react swiftly to meet new challenges.
He said that replacing gratis military officers with properly qualified people was vital so that the Organization would not lose the expertise built up through the loan of those experienced officers. Appropriate hand over arrangements were necessary to ensure that military expertise was preserved. It was unfortunate that the Assembly once again had to spend so much time on that issue. While he regretted inadequate information had been provided by
General Assembly Plenary - 17 - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
the Secretariat throughout the long exercise, he recognized the last minute efforts of the secretariat of the Fifth Committee. The European Union was particularly concerned about the need for current seconded expertise, which requested the Secretary-General to ensure the required expertise of serving military officers and civilian police. If military expertise was substantially reduced, the entire peacekeeping area of the Organization was bound to suffer irreparable loss. That loss would have consequences for the safety and security of all military and civilian personnel in the field. He hoped that seconded military expertise could eventually be extended to the rapid deployment mission headquarters, as requested by the Secretary-General and recognized by the ACABQ.
The European Union, he said, would look very closely at the next submission of the support account which must reflect a significant restructuring of all departments dealing with peacekeeping backstopping, not just the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. With something like 70 fewer posts available, the Secretary-General must reassess real backstopping needs and promote restructuring. The European Union expected the Secretary-General to ensure that the necessary redeployment would take place as soon as possible and to report on that process in the next support account. Out of principle, the European Union would refrain from entering into micromanagement, saying that the resolution gave the Secretariat an unusual degree of flexibility to carry out the required changes.
OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said Norway had joined the consensus in the resolution just adopted, and welcomed the fact that resources had been found to finance two of the eight posts requested by the Secretary-General for the rapidly deployable mission headquarters. Norway had supported the establishment of that headquarters since the idea was born. Norway would also welcome seeing the six military posts financed, as requested by the Secretary- General and recognized by the ACABQ. His country shared the views of the European Union regarding the replacement of the gratis military and civilian police officers with qualified people, smooth and careful handover arrangements to secure continuity, while ensuring the required expertise of serving military officers and civilian police.
DULCE MARIA BUERGO RODRIGUEZ (Cuba) thanked the representative of Austria for acting as coordinator and for his hard work in achieving consensus on the item. That effort had required a difficult year of work. It was deplorable that the information provided lacked clarity causing difficulty while the item was considered. She hoped that situation would not be repeated. The present resolution reaffirmed the Assembly's decision in June to establish 400 support account posts. Cuba took note of the explanation given by the Secretariat in the Fifth Committee as to why only two civilian posts could be established.
General Assembly Plenary - 18 - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
Cuba looked forward to the Secretary-General's next report on support accounts and underscored the importance of all support to peacekeeping operations and functions being coordinated at Headquarters, she said.
General Assembly Plenary - 19 - Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
General Assembly Plenary Press Release GA/9486 43rd Meeting (AM) 26 October 1998
Vote on Eliminating Coercive Measures as Political and Economic Compulsion
The draft resolution on the elimination of coercive measures as a means of political and economic compulsion (document A/53/L.7/Rev.1) was adopted by a recorded vote of 80 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States) with 67 abstentions, as follows:
In favour: Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Dar-Salam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel, United States.
Abstain: Andorra, Antigua-Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan.
Absent: Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Comoros, Congo, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Lesotho, Liberia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, Turkmenistan, Vanuatu, Yugoslavia.
* *** *