GENERAL ASSEMBLY, ACTING ON BUDGET COMMITTEE REPORTS, APPROVES SOME $1.67 BILLION IN RESOURCES FOR UN PEACEKEEPING

15 June 2000
GA/9726

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, ACTING ON BUDGET COMMITTEE REPORTS, APPROVES SOME $1.67 BILLION IN RESOURCES FOR UN PEACEKEEPING

15 June 2000


Press Release
GA/9726


GENERAL ASSEMBLY, ACTING ON BUDGET COMMITTEE REPORTS, APPROVES SOME $1.67 BILLION IN RESOURCES FOR UN PEACEKEEPING

20000615

Assembly Observes Minute of Silence for President Al-Assad Of Syria; Text on UNIFIL Adopted by Recorded Vote of 110-2-0

Some $1.67 billion in resources for United Nations peacekeeping and peace- building activities around the world were approved this afternoon by the General Assembly, acting on recommendations of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).

In all, the Assembly adopted 27 resolutions and nine decisions contained in Fifth Committee reports. Those covered United Nations missions including those operating in the Central African Republic, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Georgia, Middle East, Sierra Leone, Western Sahara and in successor States to the former Yugoslavia.

A text on the financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was adopted by a vote of 110 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States) with no abstentions. [For details of the voting, see Annex II.]

Prior to that action, a vote was taken on whether or not to retain preambular paragraph 1 and operative paragraphs 2, 3, and 14 of the text. The Assembly decided to do so by a vote of 64 in favor to two against (Israel, United States) with 43 abstentions. [See Annex I.]

Statements on that text were made by the representatives of Israel and the United States, with Lebanon, Syria and Libya exercising their right of reply.

The Assembly also adopted recommendations on the level of resources to finance support activities at United Nations Headquarters, on audits of peacekeeping operations and other aspects of their administration, as well as on other matters like financing for the Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries.

The representatives of Mexico, Morocco and Algeria spoke on the adoption of the resolution on financing the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), with Algeria and Morocco exercising rights of reply.

All but the text on UNIFIL were adopted without a vote.

General Assembly Plenary - 1a - Press Release GA/9726 98th Meeting (PM) 15 June 2000

The Fifth Committee texts were introduced by its rapporteur, Jan Piotr Jaremczuk (Poland).

In other action, the Assembly adopted a resolution submitted by the Preparatory Committee for the High-level International Inter-governmental Event on Financing for Development, on modalities for its substantive preparatory process and a resolution on an agreement between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.

At the outset of the meeting, a minute of silence was observed in tribute to the memory of President Hafez Al-Assad, who passed away on Saturday, 10 June. General Assembly President Theo-Ben Gurirab said President Assad was a key player in the Middle East process. He hoped that even with his passing, the negotiating process would move forward on all the recognized tracks towards a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the whole of the Middle East.

Following statements of condolence made by representatives of the various regional groups, the representative of Syria thanked the General Assembly for the tribute.

In other business this afternoon, it was announced that 35 Member States were in arrears in the payment of their financial contributions to the United Nations within the terms of Article 19 of the Charter. (According to that article, a Member State in arrears "shall have no vote in the General Assembly if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years".

General Assembly Plenary - 3 - Press Release GA/9726 98th Meeting (PM) 15 June 2000

Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this afternoon to consider a series of reports from its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) containing recommended draft decisions and resolutions. It was also expected to take action on two additional draft resolutions.

Fifth Committee Reports

In one report before it is a draft resolution on the financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors on peacekeeping operations (document A/54/506/Add.2). By its terms, the Assembly would accept the audited financial statements and the report of the Board of Auditors on United Nations peacekeeping operations, approve all recommendations and conclusions in the Board of Auditors report and endorse the observations and recommendations in the related Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) report. It would also take note of the Secretary-General's report on implementation of Board of Auditors recommendations for the period ending 30 June 1999.

A second Fifth Committee report before the Assembly, this one under its agenda item on the review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations, contains two draft decisions (document A/54/511/Add.3). The first is a draft decision recommending deferral of action on listed issues and documents. By its terms, the Assembly would decide to defer consideration to its fifty-fifth session on issues of management irregularities causing financial losses to the Organization, improving the working methods of the Fifth Committee, United Nations security coordination, information technologies, reports of the Office of the Internal Oversight Services and measures taken to improve procurement activities in the field.

The second draft decision would have the Assembly take note of the Secretary-General's report on guidelines for internal control standards.

Also before the Assembly was a report under the same agenda item containing a draft resolution on gratis personnel provided by governments (document A/54/827/Add.1). By the terms of that text, the Assembly would decide to continue its consideration of gratis personnel at the main part of its fifty-fifth session.

By the terms of a recommended draft decision on the relationship between perennial activities in the programme budget and the use of the contingency fund, contained in a report under the agenda item on the programme budget for the biennium 1998-1999 (document A/54/508/Add.3), the Assembly would defer consideration of that matter until its fifty-fifth session.

Also before the Assembly was a report from the Fifth Committee under the agenda item on the programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001, containing two draft resolutions and two draft decisions (document A/54/691/Add.2).

The first draft resolution is on the analysis of the organizational structure and the personnel and technical resources of the Non-Governmental Organizations Section of the United Nations Secretariat. By its terms, the Assembly would endorse the observations and recommendations contained in the report of the ACABQ on that Section of the Secretariat, and take note of the related Secretary-General's report.

The second draft resolution in that report is on the review of resource requirements for the high-level international intergovernmental event on financing for development and the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries. By its terms, the Assembly would decide that, as a precautionary measure should sufficient extrabudgetary resources not be immediately available for financing the first Least Developed Countries Conference preparatory committee, use would be made on a provisional basis of the Contingency Fund, on the understanding that the Fund would be replenished by extrabudgetary resources as soon as they were available.

By other terms, the Assembly would decide to revert to the issue of the financing of the preparatory committee meetings and the Conference itself at its fifty-fifth session.

The Assembly would also decide that travel expenses and subsistence allowances of members of the bureau of the Preparatory Committee for the High- Level International Intergovernmental Event on Financing for Development would be met through the transfer of the unspent balance in the Trust Fund for Participation of Least Developed Countries in Intergovernmental Meetings to the Trust Fund for the Preparatory Committee for the High-Level International Intergovernmental Event on Financing for Development.

A draft decision in that report would have the General Assembly decide to approve some $4.56 million for the extension of the mandate of the United Nations activities in Angola. Those funds would come from the allocation for special political missions in the United Nations budget.

A second draft decision in that report, on additional expenditures, would ask the Secretary-General to keep the Assembly informed on issues pertaining to inflation and currency fluctuation in his budget performance reports.

Another report, under the agenda item on pattern of conferences, contains a draft resolution about the annual session of the Committee on Conferences that was submitted by Kenya, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. By its terms, the Assembly would decide to authorize the Committee on Conferences to hold its 2000 substantive session at the United Nations Office at Nairobi. It would also decide to pay the travel and subsistence costs for one representative of each Member State on the Committee from New York to Nairobi to attend the session. The Fifth Committee did not reach consensus on that draft.

A report on the financing of United Nations peacekeeping missions in the Middle East contains a draft resolution on financing the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (document A/54/896). By its terms, the Assembly would decide to appropriate $36.97 million gross ($35.92 million net) for the Force for 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001.

A second report on Middle East peacekeeping missions contains a draft resolution on financing the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/54/897). By its terms, the Assembly would again call for Israel to pay some $1.28 million for damage resulting from an Israeli assault on the UNIFIL base at Qana in southern Lebanon on 18 April 1996.

In addition to approving a budget for UNIFIL for 2000-2001 of $146.83 million, the draft resolution would credit Member States with their share of the $8.33 million that remains unspent from the mission’s 1998-1999 budget.

Also before the Assembly was a report containing a draft resolution on financing the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM) and the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) (document A/54/504/Add.1).

By its terms, the General Assembly would decide to appropriate $7.61 million gross (about $7.22 million net) for liquidation activities for MONUA for 1 July 1999 to 30 June 2000, in addition to the $7.44 million already appropriated. It would also decide to appropriate $143,500 gross ($130,500 net) for liquidation activities of that mission for 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001, but that no action shall at present be taken on apportionment of that amount.

It would take note of the unencumbered balance of $149,500 gross and of the additional requirements of $787,600 net for 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999, and decide to defer action on that until its review of final performance information on UNAVEM and MONUA.

It would ask the Secretary-General to present a more detailed explanation of amounts for reimbursement of contingent-owned equipment, including of the impact of retroactive application of new procedures for payment for such equipment for those missions, to be provided no later than its resumed fifty-fifth session.

The Assembly would endorse the conclusions and recommendations contained in the ACABQ report and ask the Secretary-General to fully implement them. It would also take note of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) report on the $6.9 million procurement of quartering area goods in UNAVEM.

Also before the Assembly was a report on financing activities arising from Security Council resolution 687 (1991), containing a draft resolution and a draft decision on financing the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) (document A/54/510/Add.1). By the resolution's terms, the Assembly would decide to appropriate $52.71 million gross ($50.29 million net) for UNIKOM for 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001. That would be apportioned in the usual fashion, taking the voluntary contribution of Kuwait, of two thirds of the costs, into account. Also bearing in mind Kuwait's voluntary payment, the unencumbered balance for 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999 would be set off against Member States' obligations.

The draft decision on financing UNIKOM would have the Assembly decide to revert to questions about the payment of mission subsistence allowance during the main part of its fifty-fifth session.

By the terms of a draft resolution contained in a Fifth Committee report on financing the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) (document A/54/899), the Assembly would decide to reduce the appropriation authorized for MINURSO for 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999 from $60 million gross ($55.92 million net) to $46.03 million gross ($43 million net).

It would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the Mission some $49.32 million gross ($45.08 million net) for the Mission's maintenance for 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001. It would also endorse conclusions and recommendations in the ACABQ report and ask the Secretary-General to ensure their full implementation.

Also before the Assembly is a report on the financing and liquidation of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC)and of the Military Observer Group of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA)(document A/54/910). That report contains a draft decision on the losses of United Nations property in peacekeeping operations. By its terms, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General's report on losses of United Nations property in peacekeeping missions from 1 January 1996 to 31 December 1997, including accountability procedures to defer losses of United Nations property in peacekeeping operations, and concur with the observations and recommendations of the ACABQ.

A Fifth Committee report containing a draft resolution on financing the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), the United Nations Confidence Restoration Operation in Croatia (UNCRO), the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) and the United Nations Peace Forces headquarters (UNPF) was before the Assembly (document A/54/900)). By its terms, the Assembly would decide to authorize the Secretary-General to retain some $1.19 million gross ($963,300 net) to complete the liquidation of UNPROFOR. It would also decide to authorize him to retain $179.9 million to meet the cost of outstanding Government claims.

The Assembly would ask him to present a more detailed explanation of the amounts required to reimburse contingent-owned equipment and the impact of retroactive application of new contingent-owned equipment procedures in a final report on the combined forces. It would decide to suspend relevant provisions of the financial regulations in respect of the remaining surplus of $124.2 million to allow for reimbursements of troop contributors and in light of the combined forces' cash shortage. The Secretary-General would be asked for an update on this within one year. It would also endorse the conclusions and recommendations contained in the ACABQ report and ask the Secretary-General to fully implement them.

By the terms of another draft resolution in a report on financing of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) (document A/54/901). The General Assembly would decide to appropriate for UNFICYP $43.42 million gross ($41.40 million net) for the mission's maintenance for 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001.

It would apportion that amount after accounting for voluntary contributions of one third of the cost of UNFICYP by the Government of Cyprus and the annual pledge of $6.5 million from Greece. The Assembly would endorse the ACABQ's conclusions and recommendations and ask the Secretary-General to fully implement them. It would also decide that respective shares of the unencumbered balance for the missions for 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999 of $374,000 gross ($421,700 net) would be set off against Member States’ obligations.

Another draft report includes a draft resolution on financing of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) (document A/ 54/902). By its terms, the Assembly would decide to apportion the additional $290,200 gross ($485,200 net) already appropriated by the Assembly for the period ending 30 June 1998. It would also decide to appropriate an additional $1.08 million gross ($1.07 million net) for that Mission's maintenance for the period ending 30 June 1999, inclusive of funds already approved for that period by the ACABQ.

The Assembly would decide to provide a budget of $30.05 million gross ($28.29 million net) for the Mission's maintenance for 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001, and to endorse the recent conclusions and recommendations of the ACABQ on the Mission and call for their implementation.

According to another draft resolution contained in a Fifth Committee report before the Assembly, on financing the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) (document A/ 54/903), the Assembly would decide that the unencumbered balance of $3.64 million gross ($3.21 million net) for 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999 be set off against Member States' obligations.

The Assembly would also endorse the conclusions and recommendations on that matter by the ACABQ and ask the Secretary-General to implement them.

Before the Assembly was a report containing a draft resolution on financing the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (document A/54/678/Add.1). By the terms of the text, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to report in the 2001 budget of the Tribunal on actions taken or to be taken to improve the functioning of the Tribunal, including the recommendations of the Expert Group. It would also request the Secretary-General to submit a comprehensive report on the results of the implementation of the recommendations of the Expert Group at its fifty-sixth session.

A further report includes a draft resolution on financing the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (document A/54/679/Add.1). By its terms, the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to transmit the report of the Expert Group to the Security Council for its consideration, together with his comments on it. It would also ask him to report, in his next Tribunal budget, on actions taken or planned to improve the functioning of the Tribunal, including those recommendations of the Expert Group that remain under review to the extent that they can be implemented.

The Secretary-General would also be asked to submit a comprehensive report on the results of the implementation of the Expert Group’s recommendations to the fifty-sixth Assembly session. It would also confirm its previously approved appropriation for the Rwanda Tribunal.

Another report includes a draft resolution before the Committee on financing of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) (document A/54/904). That text would have the Assembly decide to appropriate $158.71 million gross ($149.37 million net) for UNMIBH for 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001.

It would also decide to set off the unencumbered balance of $19.64 million gross ($17.81 million net) for the period ending 30 June 1999 against Member States' obligations.

The Assembly had before it a report with a draft resolution on financing of the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) and the Civilian Police Support Group (document A/54/905). By the terms of the text, the Assembly would decide that the unspent balance of $601,200 gross ($541,500 net) for 30 June 1998 and $263,160 gross ($359,960 net) for the period ending 30 June 1999 would be offset against Member States’ obligations.

Also before the Assembly is a Fifth Committee report containing a draft resolution on financing the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP)(document A/54/906). By its terms, the Assembly would authorize the Secretary-General to retain $904,000, from an unspent balance of $1.16 million gross ($1.10 million net) for 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999, to cover costs of outstanding claims from a government for rotation of its troops during the previous period. The unspent balance of $257,700 gross ($200,300 net) to 30 June 1999 would be offset against Member States’ obligations.

A report on financing the United Nations Civilian Police Mission in Haiti (MICIVIH) (document A/54/907) contains a draft resolution on that subject. By its terms, the Assembly would decide to offset the unspent balance of $3.71 million gross (some $3.44 million net) for the period ending 30 June 1999 against Member States’ obligations.

A report with a draft resolution on financing the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA) was also before the Assembly (document A/54/908). By its terms, the Assembly would decide to appropriate $7.73 million gross ($7.5 million net) for the maintenance and liquidation of the Mission to 30 June 2000, in addition to $33.5 million gross ($32.6 million net) already appropriated.

By other terms, the Assembly would decide to appropriate the amount of $119,726 gross ($106,147 net) for 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001, for liquidation activities for the Mission.

The Assembly also had before it report containing a draft resolution on financing the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (UNOMSIL) and the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL)(document A/54/686/Add.1). By its terms, the Assembly would reduce the amount authorized for UNOMSIL for the period commencing 13 July 1998 from $22 million gross ($21.28 million net) to $16.17 million gross ($15.71 million net), and would extend the period covered by that apportionment to 30 June 1999.

The Assembly would decide to appropriate $65.79 million gross ($66.61 million net) for UNAMSIL for 1 July 1999 to 30 June 2000, in addition to $200 million gross ($197.77 million net) already appropriated.

By other terms, the Assembly would appropriate $504.4 million gross ($496.54 million net) for UNAMSIL for 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001. It would also decide to offset $3.28 million gross ($3.31 million net) in unspent balance for 13 July 1998 to 30 June 1999 against Member States’ obligations.

A draft report on the administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations, contains three draft resolutions and two draft decisions (document A/54/684/Add.2).

By the terms of the first draft resolution, on financing the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy, the Assembly would welcome recent positive developments in the use of the Base, especially in logistical support for launching large new missions. It would reiterate the need to implement, as a priority, an effective inventory management standard, especially for peacekeeping operations with high inventory value.

The Assembly would approve cost estimates for the Base of $9.32 million gross ($8.49 million net) for 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001. It would apply the unspent balance for 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999 of $451,800, the interest income of $114,000 and miscellaneous income of $1.17 million ($1.73 million in total) to the resources required for 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001.

It would also decide to prorate the balance of $7.59 million gross ($6.48 million net) among the active peacekeeping operation budgets to meet financing requirements of the Base for 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001, and authorize the Secretary-General to provide for a civilian establishment consisting of 10 Professional, 13 Field Service and 83 locally recruited staff.

The second draft resolution in this report is on the support account for peacekeeping operations. By its terms, the Assembly would decide to maintain for 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001 the funding mechanism for the support account used in the current period, from 1 July 1999 to 30 June 2000. It would approve the support account post and non-post requirements in the amount of $50.69 million gross ($43.23 million net) for 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001. The Assembly would also decide to apply the unspent balance of $2.17 million from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999, inclusive of the $601,000 in miscellaneous and interest income, and to prorate the balance of $48.52 million gross ($41.05 million net) among the individual active peacekeeping operation budgets, to meet the resources required for the support account for 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001.

The third draft resolution is on the reformed procedures for determining reimbursement to Member States for contingent-owned equipment. By its terms, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to collect data from Member States regarding the recommendations of the Phase V Working Group on the cost of painting and repainting major equipment. It would also decide to convene, for at least 10 working days, a post-Phase V Working Group in January/February 2001, to review rates for major equipment, self-sustainment, medical support services and to include the appropriate expertise to conduct the vaccination cost review as recommended by that Working Group.

The first draft decision in this report, on rates of reimbursement to troop- contributing States, would have the Assembly take note of the Secretary-General's report on that matter, and postpone consideration of it until an early date in the Assembly's fifty-fifth session.

The second draft decision, on the relocation of South Africa for the purposes of determining peacekeeping assessments to a group that receives a more- highly discounted assessment (Group C), would have the Assembly defer consideration of that matter until its fifty-fifth session.

Another report contains a draft resolution on financing the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)(document A/54/674/Add.1). By its terms, the Secretary-General would be authorized to enter into commitments not exceeding $220 million gross ($207.4 million net) for the Mission’s operation for 1 July to 31 December 2000.

Also before the Assembly was a report on financing the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor (UNTAET) (document A/54/687/Add.2) containing a draft resolution. By its terms, the Assembly would authorize the Secretary- General to enter into commitments not exceeding $292.1 million gross ($283.69 million net) for that Mission’s operation for 1 July to 31 December 2000.

By the terms of a draft resolution in a report on financing the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) (document A/54/830/Add.1), the Assembly would decide to reduce its commitment authority of $200 million gross ($199.76 million net) for MONUC for 6 August 1999 to 30 June 2000 to $58.7 million gross ($58.44 million net). The Assembly would decide to authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments for MONUC for 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001 not exceeding $141.32 million gross ($140.82 million net).

Other Texts before Assembly

The Assembly also had before it a draft resolution submitted by the Preparatory Committee for the High-level International Inter-governmental Event on Financing for Development, on preparations for the substantive preparatory process and the high-level international event (document A/54/L.82). By its terms, the Assembly would approve recommended modalities for participation by the World Bank, those regarding the participation of the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization (WTO), and those regarding the participation of intergovernmental organizations (including those of the United Nations system) and other relevant official or quasi-official bodies.

It would further approve recommendations on holding of regional consultative meetings in 2000 on substantive issues, and those regarding the participation of non-governmental organizations and the business sector, and ask that applications from any non-governmental organizations seeking to participate but not previously accredited to the Economic and Social Council be forwarded for accreditation.

Among other terms, it would ask the Bureau of the Preparatory Committee to ask the World Bank to actively participate in the Preparatory Committee, and to continue consultations with listed stakeholders on modalities of participation and report recommendations on those and on the participation of the business sector. It would ask the Secretary-General to assist in implementation of approved recommendations, including with the travel of the Bureau to consultations with institutional stakeholders. The Assembly would decide that the two-week second substantive session of the Preparatory Committee should be held early in 2001, and the third session in the second quarter of 2001, and the Preparatory Committee's resumed organizational session should be suspended and reconvened at the earliest possible date to complete its work.

Also before the Assembly is a draft resolution on an agreement on the relationship between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (document A/54/L.86). That draft is sponsored by Australia, Austria, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Togo, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.

By its terms, the Assembly would approve the agreement annexed to the resolution. The agreement contains 17 articles, on subjects such as cooperation and coordination, reciprocal representation, reporting, exchange of information and documentation, the International Court of Justice, budgetary and financial matters, costs and expenses and protection of confidentiality.

Minute of Silence for President Hafez Al-Assad of Syria

Before turning to the reports before it, the Assembly paid tribute to the late President Hafez Al-Assad of Syria, who died on Saturday, 10 June, by observing a minute's silence in his honour.

Statements in memory of Mr. Al-Assad were made by Assembly President, Theo-Ben Gurirab (Namibia), Denis Dangue Rewaka (Gabon) on behalf of the African States, Makarim Wibisono (Indonesia) on behalf of the Asian States, Ion Botnaru (Moldova) on behalf of the Eastern European States, Patrick Albert Lewis (Antigua and Barbuda), Antonio Monteiro (Portugal) on behalf of the Western European and Other States, Abdallah Baali (Algeria) on behalf of the Arab States, and James Cunningham (United States), as host country representative. Mikhail Wehbe (Syria) responded to Member States statements of condolence.

Action

The Assembly then decided to take note of a letter from the Secretary- General listing the 35 Member States that owed arrears to the United Nations of such a level as to invoke the forfeiture of their right to vote in the Assembly under sanctions set out in Article 19 of the United Nations Charter.

The Rapporteur of the Assembly's Fifth Committee, JAN PIOTR JAREMCZUK (Poland) then introduced the Fifth Committee's reports.

The Assembly then turned its attention to the Fifth Committee report on United Nations financial reports and audited financial statements of peacekeeping operations. The draft resolution under this item was then adopted without a vote.

It the turned to the report on the review of efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations.

It adopted the first draft decision from that report, on internal control standards, without a vote.

The Assembly then adopted the second draft decision from that report, on action on certain documents, without a vote.

It then turned its attention to the second report on the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations, on Human Resources Management.

The draft resolution on gratis personnel in that report was then adopted without a vote.

DONALD HAYS (United States), speaking after action on the draft, said his delegation welcomed the text, but believed that it should have been more balanced, particularly in light of the urgent need of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations for adequate expertise to respond to peacekeeping operations now under way. The General Assembly should go on record with a clear encouragement to the Secretary-General to use those provisions of General Assembly resolution 51/243 which allowed him to use gratis personnel under exceptional circumstances, when warranted.

There would continue to be unique circumstances where temporary personnel in highly specialized areas must be obtained quickly, if the United Nations was to do the jobs that it was mandated to do, he said. Those circumstances might be limited in number, but the mechanisms to address those needs must not be further restricted. Delegations should ensure that the Secretary-General had flexible arrangements available to him, which ultimately served to meet the needs of Member States.

The Assembly then took up the report on the programme budget for the biennium 1998-1999. The draft decision in that report on the treatment of perennial expenses was then adopted.

It then commenced consideration of the Fifth Committee report on the programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001.

It adopted the first draft resolution from that report, on the Secretariat's Non-Governmental Organizations Section, without a vote.

It then approved the report's second draft resolution, on resources for the Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries and the high-level intergovernmental event on financing for development, without a vote.

The report's first draft decision, on estimates for matters with which the Security Council is seized, was adopted without a vote.

Similarly, the second draft decision, on additional expenses, was adopted without a vote.

The Assembly's attention then turned to the report on the pattern of United Nations conferences. The Assembly decided to take note of the Fifth Committee's report on that matter.

The draft resolution on the Fifth Committee report on the financing of UNDOF was then adopted without a vote.

It then turned its attention to the draft resolution in the report on financing UNIFIL.

AARON JACOB (Israel) said Israel would vote against the resolution. He said he wished to advise Member States of recent events so that the Assembly’s understanding might be brought up to date. On 5 March, the Israeli Government had decided to withdraw its forces from Lebanon. Those forces then withdrew quickly and with maximum restraint, despite provocation.

Israel had expressed a preference for carrying out this withdrawal in the context of a peace agreement but this preference was not reciprocated, he said. Thus it had done it unilaterally, and was acting in accordance with Security Council resolutions 425 and 426. Resolution 425 also called for the authority of Lebanon's Government to be restored in the territory, and for peace and security to be re-established. Israel now looked forward to these remaining aspects of the resolution being fulfilled. He hoped UNIFIL would have the ability, resources and the assistance of Member States it needed to fulfil the enormous responsibilities it had under Council resolution 425. Israel expected Lebanon to ensure peace and security in south Lebanon, and noted that international law forbade the use of a State’s territory for terrorism.

This resolution singled out and faulted Israel entirely for an incident that was caused by a terrorist group using human shields, he said. This was the first time a Member State had been asked to pay for damage that resulted from a clash.

It was a pity that a paragraph had been attached to this draft resolution which obliged Israel to vote against financing for a mission it supported, he said. Israel had recently volunteered to pay more for peacekeeping –- an indication of its support for United Nations peacekeeping operations. It was time for the new reality to be reflected.

The Assembly first voted on the first preambular paragraph of this draft, and operative paragraphs 2,3 and 14.

These paragraphs were retained by a vote of 64 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 43 abstentions.

The Assembly then adopted the text as a whole by a vote of 110 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions.

Speaking in explanation of position, Mr. HAYS (United States) said the his country strongly supported UNIFIL, which was implementing a difficult and important mandate. It also supported the expansion of UNIFIL’s mission that the Secretary-General had recently proposed. However, he said the use of General Assembly funding resolutions to pursue claims against a Member State was procedurally incorrect and inappropriate. It also politicized the work of the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee, and should be avoided in the future.

The report on UNIKOM was then taken up. The draft resolution contained in that report was adopted without a vote.

Similarly the draft decision in that report was adopted without a vote.

The attention of the Assembly then turned to consideration of the report on the financing of MINURSO. The draft resolution in this report was adopted without a vote.

Speaking in explanation of position, ERNESTO HERRERA (Mexico) said that he had two concerns. First, he was concerned about the money the Assembly had already authorized for the completion of the referendum. Second, he did not now know what option was being offered to the Sahari people. Mexico continued to support a referendum for the people of Western Sahara.

ELHASSANE ZAHID (Morocco) said Morocco had initiated the referendum in this part of its territory. It had given unreserved support to MINURSO, and this was expressed in all the Secretary-General’s reports on the Mission. The Mission had made an enormous effort and it should continue to receive the support of Member States, especially at this difficult stage, while the Special Representative of the Secretary-General was trying to overcome a deadlock.

The identification process had led to a great deal of dissatisfaction, he said. That concerned the 140,000 rejected by identification centres, who had appealed to United Nations offices. The second problem was a repatriation of Saharis who resided outside the territory. The third problem was that accepted candidates were eventually dropped from the list of candidates. He called for their restoration to the list.

Morocco remained convinced that MINURSO would succeed in fulfilling its mandate.

MOHAMED BELAOURA (Algeria) said he fully supported the statement made by the representative of Mexico. Algeria continued to think that the solution to the situation in the Western Sahara was the referendum. However, it had recently noted attempts to change the approach by Security Council members, which had impacted on the Council’s last three resolutions on that matter. The Settlement Plan had the support of the international community, the endorsement of the Security Council and the endorsement of the two parties. Its purpose was the self-determination referendum of the Sahari people.

The Secretary-General’s last two reports had given rise to certain interpretations, while attempting to address problems associated with the Settlement Plan. Those might encourage a search for alternative options. The last three Council resolutions were subject to abstentions and even negative votes for the first time. The problems with the Settlement Plan related to appeals and to the absence of a proper mechanism for the referendum. Such problems might arise in any important and complex process. However, they could be resolved with cooperation and consultation between Morocco and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (POLISARIO).

Despite problems with the Settlement Plan, progress had been seen, he said, and it would be unfair to overlook it. In that regard, he cited the ceasefire and progress in the identification process. It would be wrong to abandon the Settlement Plan. It was a decolonization issue.

The Assembly then turned to consideration of the report on the financing of UNAVEM and MONUA. The draft resolution in that report was adopted without a vote.

The report on the financing and liquidation of UNTAC and MINUGUA was next on the Assembly’s agenda.

The draft decision on the Secretary-General’s report on losses of property was then adopted without a vote.

The report on UNPROFOR, UNCRO, UNPREDEP and the UNPF headquarters was then taken up. The draft resolution it contained was then adopted without a vote.

The Fifth Committee’s report on the financing of UNFICYP was next taken up. The draft resolution on that subject was then adopted without a vote.

Next came the report on the financing of UNOMIG. The resolution it contained was then adopted without a vote.

It next turned to the report on UNMOT’s financing, and adopted the draft resolution it contained without a vote.

The report on financing the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia was the next item to be considered by the Assembly.

The draft resolution it contained was adopted without a vote.

Next came the report on the financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The draft resolution it contained was then adopted without a vote.

Financing UNMIBH was next considered by the Assembly. The draft resolution contained in the Fifth Committee’s report on that subject was adopted without a vote.

The Fifth Committee report on financing UNTAES and the Civilian Police Support Group was next taken up. The draft resolution on financing the Civilian Police Support Group was adopted without a vote.

When the Assembly turned to consider the report on financing UNPREDEP, the draft resolution in that report was adopted without a vote.

Next was the report on the financing of the United Nations Haiti missions. The draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Civilian Police Mission in Haiti was adopted without a vote.

The Assembly then took up the report of the Fifth Committee on financing MINURCA. The draft resolution it contained was adopted without a vote.

The Fifth Committee report on financing UNAMSIL and UNOMSIL were next taken up. The draft resolution contained in that report was adopted without a vote.

The report on the administrative and financial aspects of United Nations peacekeeping operations was next taken up.

The first draft resolution in that report, on the United Nations Logistics Base, was then adopted without a vote.

Similarly, the second draft resolution, on the support account for peacekeeping, was adopted without a vote.

The third draft resolution, on reform procedures for reimbursement for contingent-owned equipment, was also approved without a vote.

The draft decision on reimbursement of troop-contributing countries was then adopted without a vote, as was the second draft decision on relocation of South Africa for determination of peacekeeping dues.

Speaking in explanation of position, Mr. HAYS (United States) said the Logistics Base in Brindisi had proven to be an extremely useful and cost-effective means of rapid deployment and procurement for missions in the field. The United States delegation hoped that the Secretary-General would, in the context of his review, present a comprehensive proposal for resources to expand the Base for the Fifth Committee’s consideration during the main part of the fifty-fifth session of the General Assembly.

The United States delegation regretted that the Fifth Committee was unable to approve the two posts requested for the Rapid Deployment Management Unit during its deliberations. However, it remained convinced that an effective and enhanced roster system was an important first step towards enabling the United Nations to get needed expertise on the ground on a timely basis. The United States hoped that the Committee would reconsider resource needs necessary to strengthen rapid deployment capacity as soon as possible. He also asked the Secretary-General to conduct a thorough review of the current personnel needs to determine precisely what additional staff were needed in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and urged the Fifth Committee, following this review and that requested by the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, to consider enhancing the Department’s staff during the fifty-fifth Assembly session.

The United States also urged the Fifth Committee to reconsider the need for enhancing the staff of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations during the fifty- fifth session of the General Assembly. The United Nations membership could not afford to put the demands of peacekeeping on hold. After 27 years, a growing number of Member States had come to recognize the need to create a permanent, stable system for the apportionment of expenses for United Nations peacekeeping operations.

The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, the draft resolution contained in the Fifth Committee report on UNAMIK.

The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, the draft resolution contained in the Fifth Committee report on UNTAET.

The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, the draft resolution contained in the Fifth Committee report on MONUC.

The Assembly then turned to consider the draft resolution submitted by the Preparatory Committee of the High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on Financing for Development.

This resolution was adopted without a vote.

The Assembly then commenced consideration of a draft resolution submitted by a group of Member States on cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.

PETRA SCHNEEBAUER (Austria) introduced the draft. She announced a number of countries that had joined in co-sponsoring the draft following the presentation of the draft: Belgium, China, Ecuador, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Uganda.

The draft resolution was adopted without a vote.

Statements in Right of Reply

The representative of Syria said the resolution adopted on UNIFIL today reaffirmed the responsibility of Israel for the attack against Qana. After 22 years of fighting against the Lebanese people, Israel had started to withdraw, but this withdrawal had yet to be completed. Despite 22 years of killing and bombing against Lebanon, the representative of Israel had described the people of Lebanon as terrorists. That was an inaccurate description; it was Israel that acted as a terrorist in the international community. Israel should assume responsibility for its aggression against Lebanon. It must admit and confess its terrorism.

Israel’s withdrawal, yet to be completed, was a result of the courage of the Lebanese people, who had forced Israel to withdraw from the south, he said. The withdrawal did not mean that Israel did not commit the heinous crime against the

United Nations in Qana. That it withdrew did not mean it should not have to pay for its crime.

The representative of Libya said Israel had started its strategy of withdrawal by punishing the Lebanese people. The accusation that Lebanese killed in the UNIFIL compound had been used as a human shield was false. United Nations compounds were places for civilians to seek refuge. The Israeli State was founded on terrorism. The assassination of Lebanese were acts of terrorism by Israel. The claim that attacks by Lebanese civilians were a violation of United Nations resolutions was totally unfounded. They were acts of people defending their country. Israel had to withdraw completely from Lebanon. Its claim that it had done so had to be verified by the United Nations.

The representative of Morocco, speaking on the text on Western Sahara, said the territory was part of his country. Morocco had obtained the territory under an agreement signed in Madrid. The International Court of Justice had confirmed the links between the territory and Morocco. His country was not a colonial Power. Moroccan and Algerian peoples had struggled side by side against a colonial Power. Implementation of the Saharan plan had certainly made progress, but also faced problems. The position of the other party had made it impossible for the dispute to be resolved. He noted that the Security Council had, in its last resolution, called for concrete proposals from the parties. He hoped Algeria would contribute towards a resolution of the problem.

The representative of Algeria again recalled his country’s attachment to the Settlement Plan. It had urged the Secretary-General and his Special Representative to continue in their efforts to enable the Sahari people to exercise their right of self-determination. Algeria was still determined to assist the two parties to achieve a settlement, he said.

(annexes follow)

ANNEX I

Vote on Financing of UNIFIL, paragraph 1, operative paragraphs 2, 3 and 14

Preambular paragraph 1 and operative paragraphs 2, 3 and 14 of the draft resolution on the financing of UNIFIL (contained in document A/54/897) were retained by a recorded vote of 64 in favour to two against, with 43 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Gabon, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Tonga, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: Israel, United States.

Abstain: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay.

Absent: Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, Bahamas, Belarus, Belize, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Cameroon, Comoros, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Senegal, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan.

(END OF ANNEX I)

ANNEX II

Vote on Financing of UNIFIL, as a whole

The draft resolution on the financing of UNIFIL, as a whole (contained in document A/54/897) was adopted by a recorded vote of 110 in favour to two against, with no abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: Israel, United States.

Abstain: None.

Absent: Afghanistan, Albania, Bahamas, Belarus, Belize, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Senegal, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.