GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON COOPERATION BETWEEN UNITED NATIONS AND INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION
GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON COOPERATION BETWEEN UNITED NATIONS AND INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION
GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON COOPERATION BETWEEN UNITED NATIONS AND INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION19991027
Assembly President Expresses Condolences to Government And People of Armenia For Assassinations in Parliamentary Chamber
The General Assembly welcomed the support provided to the United Nations by national parliaments through the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), and expressed the wish that the cooperation between the two organizations would be further strengthened, as it met this afternoon to consider the cooperation between the Organization and the Union.
Acting without a vote, it adopted a resolution on that cooperation, by the terms of which it requested the Secretary-General to examine the possibilities of inviting the Union to report to the Assembly at its fifty-fifth session on the outcome of the Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments, scheduled to be held prior to the Millennium Assembly, and to report thereon before the end of the fifty-fourth session.
Introducing the resolution, the representative of India said that this year the Deputy Chairman of the Upper House of the Indian Parliament had been elected as the first woman President of the 110 year old Union. Underscoring the priority tasks of the United Nations and IPU, he said there was a need to promote the development of developing countries in a globalizing world.
We must work to make globalization equitable so that it responds to the aspirations of all and leads to the marginalization of none, he stressed, noting that the spread of markets far outpaced the ability of societies to adjust to them, much less direct their course. History showed that an imbalance of that type between the economic, social and political spheres could not be tolerated for very long. The Union had taken up the cause of a large segment of humanity who were not the beneficiaries of globalization.
The representative of Indonesia said globalization was widening the gap between the developed and developing world. Compounding that situation was a world economy on the edge of recession. Moreover, the adverse effects of the financial crisis on the developing nationsGeneral Assembly Plenary - 1a - Press Release GA/9644 41st Meeting (PM) 27 October 1999
appeared beyond redemption. It would take a massive effort by all parties to remedy that situation. Cooperation between the Organization and the Union should be further reinforced to unify the international community, the nation State and its people.
The representative of Germany said that the 102nd Inter- Parliamentary Conference held two weeks ago in Berlin had shown the need and will for cooperation to promote important issues, including international humanitarian law, and the peaceful coexistence of ethnic and religious minorities. That could be considered an asset in the relationship between the IPU and the United Nations. Parliaments could also give a valuable contribution in supporting programmes to help create a good basis for law makers.
The representative of Hungary said that people were the life of the Parliament since the Government and the opposition worked together in finding common solutions. Parliaments had a historical mission to educate youth on human rights, respect for other peoples rights and the spirit of fraternity. Cooperation was the root of globalization, and the IPU was the political partner of the United Nations, he stressed.
Also this afternoon, the President of the Assembly, Theo-Ben Gurirab (Namibia), informed the Assembly that today at around 5 p.m. local time in Armenia, five gunmen had stormed the Parliamentary Sessions Chamber of the country and opened fire. According to information received, the Prime Minister of Armenia, Vazgen Sargissian, as well as the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Parliament and a Minister were killed. It was understood that the gunmen were still holding about 50 members of the Armenian Parliament and the Government hostage. He strongly appealed for the release of those hostages.
On behalf of the Assembly, he requested the representative of Armenia to convey deep condolences to the Government and people of his country and the bereaved family of Mr. Sargissian, as well as of the other dignitaries. The Assembly then stood and observed a minute of silence in tribute.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Croatia, Norway, Tunisia, San Marino, Andorra, Poland, Namibia, Nigeria, Italy, Russian Federation, Malta, France, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Republic of Korea, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Uruguay, Egypt and Cyprus.
The Assembly will meet again on Friday at 10 a.m. to elect 18 members to the Economic and Social Council.Assembly Work Programme
The General Assembly met this afternoon to begin consideration of cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). It had before it a report of the Secretary-General and a draft resolution.
The report of the Secretary-General (document A/54/379) highlights the increasing collaboration between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union and outlines various cooperative activities by the two organizations. The Secretary-General welcomes progress made in preparation of the Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments, which is to be held at United Nations headquarters from 30 August to 1 September 2000, in conjunction with the Millennium Assembly. That conference could be a major milestone in efforts made to enhance the peoples understanding of and support to the United Nations through their elected representatives, he states.
In the promotion of peace and security, according to the report, the IPU has supported such issues as the call for nuclear non-proliferation measures; the worldwide ban on anti-personnel mines; ensuring respect of the norms of international humanitarian law; the call for signing and ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; illicit trafficking of drugs and organized crime; the promotion of security and cooperation in the Mediterranean; Bethlehem 2000; and securing a settlement for Cyprus.
The Union worked closely with the United Nations system to promote representative democracy, the report continues. The IPU has supported the Organization on such issues as: projects involving advisory services and technical assistance to parliaments; and partnership between men and women in society in general, and in political life in particular. In that regard, the IPU had contributed to the preparation of the United Nations survey The Worlds Women 2000: Trends and Statistics, which would be presented to the General Assembly in June 2000. Another area of cooperation was the field of human rights through the ratification of the main human rights instruments, the adoption of national plans of action and technical cooperation.
The report highlights the follow-up to major United Nations conferences as another area which receives support from the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The Union had been involved in various follow-up activities, such as sustainable and social development, food security, child labour, desertification, urban development and the human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS).
By the terms of a draft resolution (document A/54/L.9) the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to examine the possibilities of inviting the Inter- Parliamentary Union to report to the General Assembly at its fifty-fifth session on the outcome of the Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments, and to report thereon before the end of the fifty-fourth session of the General Assembly.
The co-sponsors of the text are: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia and Libya.
Also: Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen and Zambia
Introduction of Draft
KAMALESH SHARMA (India) introducing the draft resolution on the cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), said last year he had spoken of the important work being done in the IPU and at the national level in India, for the empowerment of women. For that reason, he was pleased to say that this year, the Deputy Chairman of the Upper House of the Indian Parliament had been elected as the first woman President of the Union in its 110 year history. He announced that Australia, El Salvador, Eritrea, Mauritania and Swaziland had joined the list of co-sponsors of the draft, bringing the total to 138. Among the priority tasks before the United Nations and IPU today was the need to promote the development of developing countries in a globalizing world. "We must work to make globalization equitable and broad-based, so that it responds to the aspirations of all and leads to the marginalization of none", he said. The spread of markets far outpaced the ability of societies and their political systems to adjust to them, much less direct their course. History taught that an imbalance of that type between the economic, social and political spheres could not be tolerated for very long.
He said the Union had taken up the cause of the large segment of humanity who were not beneficiaries of globalization. It had also supplemented United Nations conferences and summits in the past and would continue to do so by organizing specialized meetings of parliamentarians on the Organization's themes. Highlighting a few, he said the IPU planned to hold a joint meeting later this year with UNESCO on women and democracy; and tripartite interactions in the context of the five year reviews of the implementation of the World Summit on Social Development (Copenhagen, 1995) and the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995). There was an essential similarity in the approach, convergence of actions and, most importantly a perfect congruence of the objectives of the Union and the United Nations, he noted.
He also expressed his deep condolences to the people of Armenia whose Prime Minister, Speaker of Parliament and some members of Parliament were assassinated today by gunmen in the Parliament building.
ZDRAVKA BUSIC (Croatia) said that the IPU had been diversifying its scope of actions and activities, according to the most pressing issues and demands of humanity on the eve of a new millennium. Even though the IPUs resolutions, declarations and recommendations adopted were not binding for its 138 members, they represented the best yield of contemporary political thinking and practice. Therefore, the role of the IPU as an organization practicing, reinforcing and encouraging parliamentary diplomacy in areas of potential crises was of paramount importance.
She also reviewed some relevant examples of the IPUs activities. The IPU had been quick to foresee and monitor the events following the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia and it had been monitoring elections in new democracies all over the world. In addition to that, its Middle East Committee had been very active on an off-and-on basis, and its Group of Facilitators for Cyprus had recently seen some positive developments in the main area of its concern. Moreover, another recent development was the IPU Womens Conference in gaining increasing recognition and prominence.
Regarding the cooperation between the IPU and the United Nations, she said that the latter had acquired a parliamentary dimension that could contribute significantly to its standing and credibility, as well as assist in conditioning public opinion through the representatives elected by and for the people. The President of Croatia looked forward to taking part in the Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments. Croatia also supported the establishment of the International Criminal Court and the elimination of all nuclear weapons, as well as landmines, which represented one of Croatias fundamental problems. She also stressed that since all those issues were dealt with both by the IPU and the United Nations, resolution of those issues would be more effective and expeditious.
ARNE HONNINGSTAD (Norway) said the United Nations had done a good job in harmonizing the interests of nations and promoting their cooperation. But, the Organization was faced with many problems, as had been indicated by its ongoing reform. The key concept for politics in the twenty-first century would be legitimacy. That derived from democracy, which was dependent on the representatives of the people, the parliamentarians of the world.
That was why his Government had supported the Secretary-Generals proposals for more active participation in the Organizations work, he continued. The full realization of its potential depended on a proper relationship with parliaments. The IPUs support in areas of conflict prevention, human rights and promotion of representative democracy had increased the effect and relevance of the United Nations activities in those areas.
He stated that one of the strategic challenges the IPU faced in its efforts to influence global politics over the next few decades was to establish the proper relationship with the United Nations. The Norwegian Government felt, however, that the operationalization of the 1996 agreement to that effect had lagged behind. If the IPU was to take a clear stand on current major issues, it would need to ensure that the multiplicity of views expressed at its conferences was translated into a focused working programme.
ALI HACHANI (Tunisia) said the annual consideration of the cooperation between the United Nations and the IPU was evidence of the international community's interest in the Union's efforts to attain the objectives of the Charter. Through the IPU, parliamentarians had been examining questions that were also important to the United Nations. He cited such issues as disarmament, social development, and economic cooperation in that respect. The Union had also become involved in such issues as the situation in the Middle East and had participated in discussions on the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination.
He said the IPU also attached importance to reinforcing and consolidating the groundwork for security in the Mediterranean. His Parliament was playing an active part in the preparations for the Paris Conference in March 2000 on that issue and was particularly involved in the thematic sections. As a co-sponsor of the resolution, he hoped it would be adopted without a vote.
GIAN NICOLA FILIPPI BALESTRA (San Marino) supported the strengthening cooperation between the IPU and the United Nations. The report of the Secretary- General on that cooperation gave an update and detailed picture on how it would be implemented in the future. That cooperation had been expanded during the past year to many sectors of the United Nations activities, including child labour, development and the environment.
Regarding the Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments, which was to be held in New York from 30 August to 1 September 2000, he said that it would represent a milestone in the history of the cooperation between the United Nations and the IPU. Turning to disarmament, he said that encouragement had been given to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty against all nuclear testing and nuclear weapons. Moreover, since San Marino had been the first European country to ratify the Statute of the International Criminal Court, he urged all States to sign and ratify the Rome Statute, so that the Court would soon be effective.
He welcomed the cooperation between the IPU and the International Labour Organization (ILO) and he supported their campaign in support of signature, ratification, and implementation of the Convention concerning the child labour.
LASZLO VARGA, (Hungary) said the main function of the IPU and United Nations cooperation was to maintain global peace and prevent wars and brutality. That must be done fearlessly and with respect for human rights, national minority rights and the principles of social justice. Those would be the dominant areas to be addressed in the next millennium.
People were the life of the parliament, since the government and the opposition worked together in finding common solutions, he noted. Parliaments had a historical mission to educate youth on human rights, respect for other peoples rights and the spirit of fraternity. Disregard for those rights were at the basis of the worlds problems. No State could isolate itself from the other. The rich could not separate themselves from the poor and the secure could not separate themselves from the insecure. Cooperation was the root of globalization. The IPU was the political partner of the United Nations and Hungary would like to not only support, but play an active role in the cooperation between the two bodies.
JULI MINOVES-TRIQUELL (Andorra) expressed condolences to the people of Armenia. He said the purpose and work of the United Nations was better known and had been analyzed in greater detail, which had made it possible to bring the Organization and civil society closer to each other. Andorra looked upon the growing volume of information between the IPU and the United Nations very favourably. Parliamentary debate was the cornerstone of the constitution of the Principality, which had one of the oldest parliaments in the world.
He said his country was aware that many of the substantive United Nations initiatives required the substantive participation of parliaments. Various commitments by the Union had fostered the goals of peace and security. Andorra acknowledged the need for national executives to obtain signatories for disarmament treaties. The building of a stable situation in the next century would be the major challenge ahead, he said.
BARBARA IMIOLCZYK (Poland) said that to make the new millenium a symbol of peace it was necessary to draw attention to the existing system of security for nations, since that system was no longer adapted to the real world. It was important to reread again the concepts of sovereignty, non-interference, and of international law in a new spirit. To that end, a prerequisite was respect for fundamental human rights and liberties. In that regard, the interventions in Kosovo and East Timor had demonstrated the recognition of the international community of the need to act when human rights were violated. However, humanitarian operations should not be a pretext to impose domination on other states.
She stressed the importance of the principle of international solidarity and said that it was part of the so-called culture of prevention. In that regard, economic and social cooperation was essential to fight disparities among nations, combat marginalization, and achieve equal opportunities for all.
She welcomed the progress made by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in many fields, particularly in the prevention of conflicts and the dissemination of information on equal rights. Closer cooperation between the United Nations and the IPU were a must for the common good. The Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments would demonstrate that parliamentarians were not indifferent to the future of the world.
MAKARIM WIBISONO (Indonesia) said globalization was widening the gap between the developed and developing world. Further compounding that situation was a world economy which was on the edge of recession. Moreover, the adverse effects of financial crises on the developing nations appeared to be beyond redemption at present. It would take a massive effort by all parties concerned to remedy that situation. Even though early signs of economic recovery had emerged, there was a long way to go for the reform and the restructuring of the global economic system and the strengthening of the capacity of the United Nations system to enhance international development. In light of those realities, cooperation between the United Nations and the Union should be further reinforced in order to unify the international community, the nation state and its people. The struggle to bring about a stable and secure environment was closely linked to economic growth and development. Conflict prevention and post-conflict peace-building were meaningless unless they enabled a society to develop, particularly to reduce poverty and underdevelopment.
He said social and ethnic tensions persisted in many parts of the world due to lack of progress in those areas. In that connection, sustained deliberations within the IPU and between it and the United Nations could make a significant contribution to international cooperation in development efforts. Adherence to the commitments of the IPU and to the United Nations statute and Charter would greatly contribute to the achievement of a new world order free from war, poverty and injustice. To that end, dialogue and negotiations were crucial to realize common interests. His country was currently making preparations to welcome participants to the 104th Inter-Parliamentary Conference, scheduled to be held from 15-21 October 2000 in Jakarta.
MOSE TJITENDERO (Namibia) said the fact that globalization was taking place in a very uneven world - the rich and the poor -- needed to be accepted. Therefore, well-organized and well-established organs needed to be created to cope with the rapid movement of events and to ensure that those were compatible with universally accepted norms of social justice and equality for all. The IPU could be of service in extending to civil society and making operation in the future the Organizations programmes and objectives. The IPU could continue, through debates in national parliaments, to promote the culture of dialogue and tolerance, both nationally and internationally.
He noted that parliaments were appropriate for educating and informing citizens, and further for supporting the creation of an international criminal court to promote and protect human rights in all Member States. In response to the call the Secretary-General made during his recent statement to the IPU, he felt that parliamentarians must respond positively, not by drawing up long working plans, but by action. Through the IPU Conference to be held in conjunction with the Millennium Assembly, the IPU hoped to fulfill that goal by enhancing and consolidating meaningful collaboration through the two organizations.
ROLAND OWIE (Nigeria) said a closer relationship between the United Nations and the IPU would benefit ordinary people, since such a partnership would lead to a cross-fertilization of ideas between the two organizations about how to find better solutions to some of the fundamental problems confronting humanity. There was no doubt that the IPU had much to offer the United Nations in advancing the quest for a more democratized global village, because of its expertise in the area of representative democracy and global parliamentary dialogue. He was, therefore, pleased at the growing rapprochement between the two organizations.
Nigeria was proud of having completed the democratization process and had been readmitted as a full member of the IPU. The country was now actively pursuing the reconstruction and sustenance of its new democracy by addressing economic development and poverty alleviation. The new administration had also made a deliberate effort to include all political parties and interests in governance, but was convinced that in order to achieve meaningful socio-economic development, it needed a considerable reduction of its debt burden. He, therefore, urged the international financial institutions and creditor countries to provide debt relief.
He said the global principle of democracy was also relevant to the United Nations. He said democratization of the Security Council, which had only reformed once in 1965, had become imperative, because the international community that it served was undergoing a transformation that required adjustment in the structure of the United Nations. He ended by appealing to General Assembly Member States -- namely, the United States, Britain and Switzerland -- to help Nigeria retrieve its money that was in foreign banks.
MARIA GRAZIA DANIELE GALDI (Italy) said the current debate extended beyond the fundamental role that an enduring institution like the IPU could play in the Organizations activities. Currently, there must be reflection on the progress made during the century that allowed for both parliaments and international peace organizations to play a greater role in cooperation among peoples. The General Assembly was the body that provided the link between the Organization and its Member States, just as parliaments were the true expression of popular sovereignty within governments. For that reason, parliaments and their uniting organization, the IPU, should increase their involvement in the activities of the United Nations.
She said that parliaments were the expression of the peoples of the United Nations and civil society, which should acquire a more important role. Just as progress could not be achieved in international relations without forging a consensus among governments, it was impossible to concretize the results achieved through diplomatic negotiations without the consent of parliaments. For example, the birth of the International Criminal Court had been due to the initial push of parliaments as an expression of civil society. She added that if parliaments were to be able to be conscientious judges of United Nations activities, then all of its work needed to be comprehensible, accessible and genuinely transparent both in the General Assembly and in the Security Council, where transparency should be resumed as the norm.
DIETER SCHLOTEN (Germany) stressed that the aims pointed out in the Report of the Secretary-General were shared by parliamentarians in the IPU and were thus a solid basis was set for intensifying cooperation. They also underlined what kind of difficulties existed. Parliamentarians must initiate new efforts and new incentives to make democracy based upon the rule of law the only possible constitution of a member state. Moreover, parliaments ought to take initiatives to include parliamentarians of all Member States of the United Nations in the IPU.
Continuing, he said that since the missions of the United Nations could only be implemented if they were well funded, it was important to combine national and international efforts on a worldwide scale to achieve an enhanced cooperation. To that end, inputs of other international parliamentary assemblies were essential to make the views of the IPU members better functioning and understood. It was also necessary to implement the IPU resolutions adopted during its conferences.
The 102nd Interparliamentary Conference held two weeks ago in Berlin had shown the need and will for cooperation to promote important issues, including international humanitarian law, and peaceful coexistence of ethnic cultural and religious minorities, including migrant populations.
ALEXANDRE V. ZMEEVSKI (Russian Federation) said he was pleased to note the growing and burgeoning partnership between the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the United Nations. He hoped that today's debate would further promote and improve that cooperation. The impressive sponsorship of the draft resolution, over 120, spoke for itself and needed no further comment. He hoped the cooperation between the Union and the United Nations would reach a new level, based on the recent signing of agreements between the IPU and International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
He said the development of cooperation with the Union coupled with broader involvement should be viewed as an important resource for the United Nations, since it could actively tap into the resources of civil society and enhance the democratization of civil relations. The Russian Federation's proposed culture of peace envisaged a world free of conflict and the creation of conditions to maintain peace. He expressed conviction that the strengthened cooperation between the United Nations and the Union would help to resolve the global tasks confronting humanity at the eve of a new millennium.
ANTON TABONE (Malta) said his country envisaged the creation of an Association of Mediterranean States - a permanent forum which would help develop and reinforce political cooperation between peoples of the Mediterranean. It would also provide a platform for politicians to regularly discuss problems emanating from the region, evaluate difficulties encountered, further explore the potential of existing cooperation and map out common political objectives.
He said Malta had voiced its support for an organization specific to the needs of the Mediterranean region each time it had participated at IPU conferences. That had resulted in the Inter-Parliamentary Process for Security and Cooperation in the Mediterranean. Member states of the process had endorsed the creation of the Association and Malta had offered its facilities to host such a parliamentary partnership.
On the Secretary-Generals report, he said that his country gave importance to the world drug problem and was encouraged to note that the 1998 IPU Moscow conference had addressed the issue of consumption and illicit trafficking of drugs. He supported the recommendations whereby the General Assembly, regional and sub- regional organizations would establish multilateral procedures to evaluate the progress of national strategies.
He said Malta looked forward to participating at the Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments on 30 August and 1 September in New York next year. The conference would serve as a channel to convey to each respective national parliament a better understanding of the work of the United Nations.
Mr. DEL PICCHIA (France) said his country would participate in the IPU conference at the highest levels of both houses of parliament. The close linkages that had been growing and deepening between the IPU and the United Nations exemplified a particular approach to international relations. He wished to note that it was a Frenchman, along with a colleague from Britain, who, in 1889, conceived of the idea for that level of cooperation to promote peace among nations. The need for peace must be recognized and implemented by the freely elected representatives of the peoples.
He said that in a world that had become more interdependent and globalized, national parliaments must have the ear of the United Nations. Therefore, the IPU had a role to play as a relay station. Among other areas, it could enable the ratification of national and international treaties through parliaments. France was gratified at the cooperation between the United Nations and the IPU. The French group within that organization was particularly occupied with humanitarian law and other related areas, and his country fully supported the objectives of the cooperation between the two organizations.
ALEXANDER KOZYR (Belarus) said there was a need to coordinate the efforts of national parliaments, the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the United Nations. That was made clear at the meeting of IPU parliamentarians and the United Nations on 25 October. Numerous problems had been highlighted at the meeting, such as sovereignty, human rights, the activities of the International Criminal Court and the question of sanctions.
He said that the most recent developments in the international arena had shown that the question of state sovereignty and human rights were becoming more important for humanity, and that there was a need for comprehensive discussions and analysis of the concept of humanitarian intervention. A special open-ended working group should be created to deal with that issue. He noted with interest the process of elaborating the legal framework of the International Criminal Court and felt that the possibility of enlarging the Courts competencies in the area of consulting assistance, expert consideration, national legislation and expert training in the field of national legislation could make it more attractive to the international community. Belarus had shared the view that the Court could become a new coercive organ with unlimited power.
He considered the issue of sanctions an important area in which the United Nations and national parliaments could cooperate and shared the view that for a review of the mechanism of imposing sanctions was called for in order to make it more adaptable to present realities.
He concluded by pledging that Belarus would make a maximum effort to strengthen the cooperation between the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the United Nations. The IPU, he said was the best forum for strengthening contact between parliamentarians from different countries, and for achieving better mutual understanding.
THEO-BEN GURIRAB (Namibia), President of the Assembly, informed the Assembly that he had received information from the Permanent Mission of Armenia that today at around 5 p.m. local time, five gunmen stormed the Parliamentary Sessions Chamber of the country and opened fire. According to that information, The Prime Minister of Armenia, Vazgen Sargissian, as well as the Chairman, Deputy Chairman of Parliament and a Minister were killed.
He said it was his sad duty to pay tribute to the memory of the late Prime Minister of Armenia and other dignitaries who met with tragic death today. On behalf of the Assembly he requested the representative of Armenia to convey deep condolences to the Government and people of his country and the bereaved family of Mr. Sargissian, as well as of the other dignitaries.
The Assembly then stood and observed a minute of silence in tribute.
The President said that at this time it was understood that the gunmen were still holding about 50 members of the Armenian Parliament and the Government hostage. He strongly appealed for the release of those hostages.
MICHEL KAFANDO (Burkina Faso) said that report of the Secretary-General was exhaustive and detailed. Regarding the cooperation between the United Nations and the IPU, the issues of democracy, women, and public health were important priorities of the United Nations and the IPU made contributions to them through actions and raising awareness.
According to the report, globalization involved cooperation among States, he said. It was therefore, important to encourage every strucure capable of helping the United Nations to carry out its activities in every sphere. It was up to parliamentarians to show how their actions were specific and original. The IPU had demonstrated its capacity to help the United Nations help people.
SUH DAE-WON (Republic of Korea) said cooperation between the United Nations and the IPU could contribute to enhancing the accountability and transparency of governments, since the Organization was a collective body of governments, while the Union represented the collective will of the people. As parliaments bridged the gap between government and civil society in most countries, the Union could play a similar role by linking global issues to local concerns. Cooperation between the United Nations and the Union was indispensable, as it could enhance people's understanding of and support for the Organization by relaying its decisions and recommendations more efficiently to the national and political levels. He was pleased to note that the now well-established IPU Liaison Office with the United Nations had successfully carried out its role of imparting a parliamentary dimension to the work of the world body.
He said it was noteworthy that the Union and the Organization had been making a concerted effort to address global challenges, such as environmental degradation and the illegal drug trade. He hoped that the IPU would have the chance to report directly to the fifty-fifth session of the Assembly on the outcome of the Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments, scheduled to take place just before the Millennium Assembly next year. Doing so would help the Assembly to draw an enlightened blueprint for the United Nations in the next century.
ROSS HYNES (Canada) said the IPU had continued as well as strengthened its tradition of marshalling the support of parliamentarians worldwide for the work of the United Nations. He welcomed the contribution it had also made to several major initiatives aimed at enhancing international peace and security, as well as the human security of the people of the world.
The IPUs advocacy in favour of the early ratification by governments of the Ottawa Convention on the prohibition of anti-personnel landmines and its encouragement of countries to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty were just two examples of its contribution to bringing into force international regimes to make the world a safer place. It had also contributed to the growing international momentum for the early establishment of the International Criminal Court, by encouraging States to sign the Rome Statute.
He said his country believed the Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments would be an important event, which would offer valuable opportunity to explore ways of strengthening cooperation between the IPU and the United Nations.
GELSON FONSECA (Brazil) stated that parliaments were about society, democracy, negotiation and understanding. In performing its mandate, the IPU had demonstrated that it shared similar goals with the United Nations. It had become a relevant contributor in intensifying dialogue on the Organizations objectives in the areas of peace and security, human rights, environmental concerns, and economic and social development.
He said participation of parliamentary observers in the General Assembly had been a long-standing tradition with his country, which had allowed for Brazilian congressmen to interact with colleagues from all over the world. That was a natural consequence of a world made smaller, as well as of the close relation between domestic and international issues.
He cited Brazils involvement in the international trade profile and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) initiative, as well as its commitments to disarmament and non-proliferation and their participation in negotiations for the creation of the International Criminal Court as examples of matters that interested Brazilian congressmen. That demonstrated their active involvement in helping to shape the countrys role in the international system of the future. As a co- sponsor of the draft, Brazil felt that both the United Nations and the IPU would be more efficient if their cooperation was further strengthened and enhanced.
FERNANDO ENRIQUE PETRELLA (Argentina) welcomed at the institutional level the cooperation between the IPU, ILO and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Such cooperation was evidence of the importance given by the parliamentarians to the value of the United Nations Charter and the issue of development.
He highlighted the activities of the IPU in the fields of disarmament, humanitarian law, illicit trafficking of drugs, and organized crime. In order to achieve objectives in those sectors, international cooperation was required. The IPU s efforts in promoting peace in Cyprus and in the Middle East were also welcomed. The IPU was sharing the United Nations initiatives regarding children, women and social development. In that regard, the Union could play an important role in the new millennium. However, all those activities must be multiplied.
Regarding the Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments, he said that it would serve, among other things, to take stock of what had been achieved. He then reviewed the important function played by parliaments and said that their task was to defend the interest of each member of society. In that context, parliament was synonomous with dialogue. They were the best instruments for dealing with the needs of the community.
ROBERT RAY (Australia) said it was refreshing to see cooperation between the United Nations and the IPU at a time when the trend was rivalry rather than cooperation between international organizations. That was a credit to the office holders of both organizations.
The IPU provided the United Nations with a window into the deliberations of the lawmakers of Members States, while the United Nations provided those same lawmakers with a window into its activities. The link between the IPU and the United Nations helped to ensure that parliamentarians continued to reflect the ideals of the United Nations within national arenas.
He said that closer links between the two organizations could do much to close the gap between international agreements and domestic law, which were not always compatible. Although the IPU and the United Nations had clearly different responsibilities, many issues they dealt with were the same and international problems knew no boundaries. He called for the links between the IPU and the United Nations to not only be retained, but strengthened.
JULIO BENITEZ SAENZ (Uruguay) said the report of the Secretary-General gave a detailed account of initiatives aimed at bringing about cooperation in a number of critical areas of interest to both the IPU and the United Nations. At a time when certain sectors of public opinion were skeptical about the Organization's ability to honour the principles of the Charter, it was important for the representatives of various parliaments to join forces to ensure that the United Nations was not some distant theoretical model, but something that could be respected and supported.
He said he would be happy if it were also possible to monitor and regulate the transport of radioactive waste, because of the impact on countries. Cooperation between the Union and the United Nations should support the promotion of democracy. In that sphere, the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) would make it possible to share and highlight the individual experiences of various countries.
Mr. EL REMEISY (Egypt) expressed his countrys support for the efforts of the IPU to strengthen cooperation with the United Nations. The most serious challenge that the Organization presently faced was to maintain international security, in the face of tension between States, increasing risks of tribal and ethnic warfare and the stockpiling of weapons. He felt that fostering the development role of the United Nations was particularly crucial in dealing with ethnic and religious conflicts.
He noted there was also a need for the Assembly to adopt clear proposals on the Organizations transparency, effectiveness and efficiency. Consequently, the Security Council must be changed, in accordance with the requirements of the Charter. The Council should make greater efforts toward disarmament, as well as embark on a reconsideration of its agenda and the expansion of its membership. Cooperation with the IPU, as well as with regional organizations, was the medium through which the United Nations would receive assistance in grappling with the many disputes and enable it to deal with pressing issues.
CONSTANTINE MOUSHOUTAS (Cyprus) said his country was a member of the Union and had played and continued to play an active role in its work. The Cypriot people had been repeatedly moved by the fair and principled resolutions of the IPU. The Union was considered as a citadel of enlightenment and progress and a greenhouse for the development of a more equitable world. The resolution provided for a closer and more multifaceted cooperation between the Union and the Organization and that deserved the unanimous support of the Assembly
Action on Draft
The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution on cooperation with the IPU (document A/54/L.9) without a vote.
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