GENERAL ASSEMBLY CALLS FOR INCREASED INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE FOR AFGHANISTAN ON CONDITION INTERIM AUTHORITY HONOURS BONN AGREEMENT

21 December 2001
GA/10005

GENERAL ASSEMBLY CALLS FOR INCREASED INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE FOR AFGHANISTAN ON CONDITION INTERIM AUTHORITY HONOURS BONN AGREEMENT

21/12/2001
Press ReleaseGA/10005

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Plenary

91st Meeting (PM)

GENERAL ASSEMBLY CALLS FOR INCREASED INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE FOR AFGHANISTAN

ON CONDITION INTERIM AUTHORITY HONOURS BONN AGREEMENT

The General Assembly this afternoon adopted six resolutions, two by recorded vote, as it considered numerous agenda items.

Without a vote, the Assembly adopted a resolution on Afghanistan, by which it called on all Afghan groups to promote peace and a lasting political settlement in the country, and fully implement the Bonn agreement. It stressed that women should fully and equally take part in civil, cultural, economic, political and social life and decision-making processes.

The Assembly also called on the Afghan Interim Government to respect the country’s international obligations regarding narcotic drugs.  It called on the international community to increase assistance for programmes aimed at reducing poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, including capacity-building for drug control, drug-control monitoring systems and crop-substitution programmes.

Further to the resolution, the Assembly called upon the international community to respond generously to the donor alert, future consolidated appeals, and long-term interventions to rehabilitate and reconstruct the country.  It invited Member States to participate actively in the meeting on reconstruction assistance in Japan, scheduled for January 2002.

The representative of Egypt spoke in explanation of position after adoption of the resolution.

The Assembly also adopted a resolution to finance the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) from 1 July 2001 to 30 June 2002.  The recorded vote for the resolution was 123 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 2 abstentions (Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu).  (For details see Annex II.)

By further terms of the text, the Assembly noted that outstanding contributions to the Force as at 15 November 2001 totalled $179.4 million, and that some 15.5 per cent of Member States had paid their assessed contributions in full.  All countries were urged to pay in full.  It also stressed once again that Israel should pay some $1.28 million resulting from an incident at Qana, Lebanon, on 18 April 1996.

A separate vote was requested on the fourth preambular paragraph (reaffirming previous resolutions) and operative paragraphs 3 and 4 (on the non-compliance of Israel with previous resolutions) and 13 (on Israeli payment due to the Qana incident).  By a recorded vote of 68 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 54 abstentions, the Assembly adopted the separate paragraphs (Annex I).

The representatives of Israel and United States spoke in explanation of vote.  The representatives of Lebanon, Israel and Syria exercised their right of reply.

Santiago Wins (Uruguay), Rapporteur of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), introduced that Committee's report.

Adopting without a vote a resolution on Bosnia and Herzegovina, introduced by the representative of that country, the Assembly called for the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina to be fully and quickly implemented.  It demanded that all parties to the Peace Agreement fulfil their obligations to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.  It also encouraged all parties to provide information about missing persons.

The representatives of Belgium (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Turkey, Malaysia, United States, Yugoslavia, Ukraine and Croatia spoke on that topic.

On cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), introduced by Romania, the Assembly adopted an amended resolution by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (Armenia, Belarus, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania) (Annex IV).

By its terms, the Assembly encouraged further OSCE efforts to foster stability in its region through early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation, as well as through promotion of democracy, rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Assembly also called for dialogue about Abkhazia to be resumed, which would include defining its political status as a sovereign entity within the State of Georgia.  It expressed deep concern at the failure to achieve a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Azerbaijan submitted an amendment to the draft resolution about the conflict in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region, to include the words "of the Republic of Azerbaijan".  That amendment was adopted by a recorded vote of 34 in favour to 1 against (Armenia), with 85 abstentions (Annex III).

The representatives of the United States, Armenia and Egypt spoke in explanation of their votes.

The Assembly further adopted without a vote resolutions on:  safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel (introduced by the representative of Belgium on behalf of the European Union);

(page 1b follows)

final review and appraisal of the implementation of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (introduced by the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania); and assistance in mine action (introduced by the representative of Belgium on behalf of the European Union).

The representatives of the United States, China, Libya, Cuba and Egypt spoke in explanation of their votes.

In a closing statement, the President of the Assembly, Han Seung-soo (Republic of Korea), said that among the many important issues addressed during the session, combating terrorism was perhaps of the highest priority. The Assembly had swiftly adopted a strong resolution following the 11 September events. Progress had also been made in strengthening the legal framework against international terrorism through the work of the Sixth Committee (Legal).

He said it had been gratifying to all to learn of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize jointly to the United Nations and its Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.  He reiterated his belief that the award should be viewed as both a recognition of past achievements and a summons to move forward towards the Organization’s goals with renewed energy and dedication.  Every member of the United Nations “family” had a share in that unique honour, as well as a share of the added responsibility that came with it.

In conclusion, he said that if the past 100 days had taught anything, it was that even the most universal of human values must never be taken for granted.  “The global community must be constantly alert to the threat posed to those values from whatever source it may come”, he said.  “If, as has been said, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, the price of a civilized and humane international order is no less.”

In other business this afternoon, the Assembly decided to defer consideration of six agenda items to its fifty-seventh session.  It also decided that the item “Elimination of coercive measures as a means of political and economic compulsion” should be considered at odd-numbered sessions.  The Assembly further decided to postpone its date of recess of the current session to Monday, 24 December.

The Assembly will meet again on Monday, 24 December, at 11 a.m., to consider the reports of the Fifth Committee.

Background

The General Assembly met this afternoon to take up consideration of: financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL); the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina; Declaration of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on the aerial and naval military attack against Libya by the present United States Administration in April 1986; armed Israeli aggression against the Iraqi nuclear installations; consequences of the Iraqi occupation of and aggression against Kuwait; implementation of the resolutions of the United Nations; launching of global negotiations on international economic cooperation for development; question of the Comorian island of Mayotte; Strengthening of the United Nations System; cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance; final review and appraisal of the implementation of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s; assistance in mine action; and emergency international assistance for peace, normalcy and reconstruction of war-stricken Afghanistan.

Financing of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon

The Assembly had before it a report of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) (document A/56/722), recommending adoption of draft resolution A/C.5/56/L.17, by whose terms the Assembly would provide a budget for the functioning of the mission for the period from 1 July 2001 to 30 June 2002.

Also by the terms of the text, the Assembly would take note of the status of contributions to the Force as at 15 November 2001, including contributions outstanding in the amount of $179.4 million (4 per cent of the total assessed contributions from the inception of the Force).  It would note that some 15.5 per cent of Member States had paid their assessed contributions in full.  All countries would be urged to ensure full payment.

Among several requests to ensure efficiency and economy in the administration of the mission, the draft also includes a request to the Secretary-General to continue efforts to recruit local staff against General Service posts, commensurate with the requirements of the Force. 

Expressing its deep concern that Israel had not complied with its resolutions 51/233, 52/237, 53/227, 54/267, 55/180 A and 55/180 B, the Assembly would stress the need for that country to strictly abide by them.  It would also reiterate its request to the Secretary-General to ensure full implementation of relevant resolutions, stressing once again that Israel must pay $1.28 million resulting from an incident at Qana, Lebanon, on 18 April 1996.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The United Nations has been involved with the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 20 December 1995.  At that time, the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) monitored a ceasefire, while peace negotiations took place in Dayton, Ohio.  On 21 November 1995, the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina was initialed in Dayton.  On 14 December 1995, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and other parties signed the Peace Agreement in Paris.

The Agreement and its 11 annexes covered such issues as military aspects of the peace settlement, an Inter-entity Boundary Line between the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, democratic elections, assistance to refugees and an International Police Task Force.  The parties agreed to a ceasefire, the withdrawal of UNPROFOR and deployment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led multinational Implementation Force (IFOR).  They pledged full cooperation with all entities of the plan, including the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, located at The Hague.

In 1996 the Security Council authorized Member States to set up a multinational Stabilization Force (SFOR) to succeed IFOR.  The SFOR has remained in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Council decided to set up the United Nations International Police Task Force and a United Nations civilian office, known jointly as the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), in December 1995.  The Mission exercises law enforcement and coordinates such activities as humanitarian relief and refugees, demining, human rights, elections, infrastructure rehabilitation and economic reconstruction.  The Council has renewed UNMIBH’s mandate several times, most recently on 7 June 2001 for 12 months.  It simultaneously authorized the NATO-led SFOR to continue operating in the country during the same period.

Since 7 June 2001, Jacques Paul Klein has continued as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and General Vincent Coeurderoy as the Commissioner of the Mission's International Police Task Force.  The current strength of the Police Task Force is 1,673.

     UNMIBH has continued to create the administrative and personnel structures of a professional police force.  The original tasks have been refined into 66 specific projects, of which 43 have been completed and 23 are ongoing.  Over the past few months, inter-entity and regional police cooperation has improved and now focuses on anti-terrorism activities.  The State Border Service has reduced suspected illegal migration to Europe by two thirds, and the Police Commissioner project has been launched.

In a recent report, the Secretary-General noted that UNMIBH is expected to complete its core mandate by December 2002, but continued monitoring and assistance there will still be needed.  This could be carried out by a smaller police mission of about one quarter the present strength of UNMIBH, the report states.  Given the many commitments the United Nations is facing, regional actors should assume responsibility for such a mission.

     The Assembly had before it a draft resolution on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (document A/56/L.65), sponsored by that country, by which it would call for the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina to be fully and quickly implemented.  It would also encourage the political leaders of the country to cooperate with the States of south-eastern Europe in promoting and strengthening stability and confidence in the region.

Further to the draft, the Assembly would urge the Entity Parliaments and Canton Assemblies to implement the ruling of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the equality of all three constituent peoples throughout the territory.  It would demand that all parties to the Peace Agreement fulfil their obligations to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and encourage local authorities to develop national courts to investigate and prosecute cases of war crimes.

The Assembly would also call on all sides to implement the property laws of 27 October 1999, particularly by evicting illegal occupants from the homes of returning refugees.  It would encourage all parties to provide information on all persons unaccounted for through the tracing mechanisms of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and cooperate fully with that body.

The Assembly would stress the importance of strengthening and expanding a free and pluralistic media throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.  It would also emphasize the need to implement economic reforms, stressing the fact that a self-sustainable, market-oriented economy, expeditious and transparent privatization, improved banking and capital markets, reformed financial systems, adequate social protection and a law on pension reform were crucial for lasting stability.

Strengthening of United Nations system

The Assembly had a letter to the President from the permanent representative of Libya (document A/56/704), dated 10 December, which stated that the item entitled "Elimination of coercive measures as a means of political and economic compulsion" should be considered every two years.  The item was last considered at the fifty-fifth session and was to have been included in the agenda of the fifty-seventh session.  However, Assembly resolution 55/285 of 7 September 2001 stipulated that the item would be considered biennially at even-numbered sessions.  That would mean the item would not be discussed at the next session as decided last year.

The permanent representative in his letter expressed the wish to adhere to the decision of the Assembly in resolution 55/6 of 26 October to include the item in the agenda of its fifty-seventh session.

Cooperation between United Nations and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

Debate on the issue took place on 6 and 7 December (for background information see Press Release GA/9991).

The Assembly had a draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (document A/56/L.66) by which it would note with appreciation the further improvement of cooperation and coordination between the two organizations and encourage further efforts of the OSCE to foster security and stability in its region through early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation, as well as through promotion of democracy, rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Assembly would underline the importance of regional cooperation and welcome the implementation of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe.  It would welcome the developments in the peace process in Tshkhivali region/South Ossetia, Georgia, and call for the resumption of a constructive dialogue regarding Abkhazia, including defining the political status of Abkhazia as a sovereign entity within the State of Georgia.

Further to the terms, it would express deep concern at the failure to achieve a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and reaffirm that its prompt resolution would contribute to lasting peace, security, stability and cooperation in the South Caucasus region.

The draft is sponsored by Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States.

The Assembly also had an amendment to the draft, submitted by Azerbaijan (document A/56/L.67), to be inserted after operative paragraph 20, which reads as follows:  "Fully supports the activities of the OSCE to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict in and around the Nagorny-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and welcomes cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE in this regard."

Strengthening of Coordination of Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Assistance of United Nations, Including Special Economic Assistance

Also before the Assembly was a resolution on safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel (document A/56/L.64).  By that draft, the Assembly would urge all States to implement the relevant principles and laws to protect such personnel and to secure respect for the inviolability of United Nations property, also urging them to prosecute those who perpetrated threats or violence against such personnel and property on their territory.  It would strongly condemn any act, or failure to act, which obstructed humanitarian activity.  Underlining the need to allocate adequate and predictable resources to the safety and security of such personnel, it would reaffirm the obligation of all such personnel to respect national laws.  It would stress the need to ensure adequate security training of staff, including by improving the mechanisms for assuring psychological preparedness before, during and after peacekeeping missions.  Also, the need to consider the safety of locally recruited staff would be emphasized, since they accounted for the majority of casualties. 

The Assembly would encourage States to contribute to the Trust Fund for Security of Staff.  It would reaffirm the need to strengthen the Office of the United Nations Security Coordinator, reiterating the need for a full-time coordinator at the appropriate level.  The need for a strengthened security management system would be recognized, along with the need to enhance coordination and cooperation, at both the Headquarters and field levels. 

The Assembly would welcome the establishment of an ad hoc committee to consider the Secretary-General’s recommendations, would call upon States to respect obligations under relevant conventions, and would recall the essential role of telecommunications resources in facilitating safety.  Finally, the Secretary-General would be asked to report to the Assembly at its fifty-seventh session on implementation of the resolution.  He would be asked to include an update on the pursuit of accountability and responsibility in all individual security incidents involving United Nations and related personnel, as well as on responses to such incidents.  

The resolution is co-sponsored by Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Togo and United Kingdom.

Final Review and Appraisal of Implementation of United Nations New Agenda for Development of Africa in the 1990s

United Republic of Tanzania was the sponsor of a draft resolution on the final review of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (document A/56/L.61).  By that draft, the Assembly would decide to establish an ad hoc committee of the whole to conduct the final review and appraisal of the implementation of the Agenda and related initiatives during the 1990s.  It would also decide to convene an organizational session of that committee in June 2002 for one working day, and then a substantive session beginning 9 to 13 September and continuing from 7 to 9 October.  A high-level plenary meeting of the Assembly would be held on 16 and 17 September to consider ways of supporting the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, which had been known as the New African Initiative.  Member States and the United Nations system would be urged to participate at the highest appropriate level.  The Secretary-General would be asked to ensure preparations for the ad hoc committee meeting and to report on the committee’s work, including on the plenary meeting, during the Assembly’s fifty-seventh session.  

Assistance in Mine Action

The Assembly had a draft resolution on assistance in mine action (document A/56/L.63.Rev 1), reaffirming its deep concern at the serious social and economic consequences for mine-affected countries and at the number of mines that continued to be laid each year.  It would stress the need to convince mine-affected States to halt new deployments of anti-personnel mines in order to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of mine-clearance operations. 

Also by the text, the Assembly would appeal to governments, regional organizations and other donors to continue and wherever possible to increase their support to mine action through further contributions, including the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action.  It would stress the importance of international support for emergency assistance to victims of mines, and for the care and rehabilitation and social and economic reintegration of the victims. 

The Assembly would further emphasize the role of the mine-action service as the focal point for mine action within the United Nations system, and would urge Member States and regional, governmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations to continue to extend full assistance to the Secretary-General and provide him with information and data and other resources that would be helpful in strengthening the coordinating role of the United Nations in mine action.  The Assembly would encourage the development of an emergency response plan by the United Nations to respond to emergency mine-action requirements and would welcome the development of an electronic mine information network to support the role of the United Nations.  

The resolution is sponsored by Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States.

Emergency International Assistance for Peace, Normalcy and Reconstruction

Of War-Stricken Afghanistan

The Assembly also had before it a two-part draft resolution on Afghanistan (document A/56/L.62).

Under part A of the draft, the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security, the Assembly would call on all Afghan groups to fully cooperate with the United Nations to promote peace, and a lasting political settlement in the country, and fully implement the Bonn agreement.

The Assembly would also strongly urge Afghan groups to refrain from acts of reprisal, respect human rights and adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law.  It would stress the need for full, equal and effective participation of women in civil, cultural, economic, political and social life and decision-making processes, and call upon all Afghan groups to protect and promote the equal rights of men and women, especially in education, work and health care.

The Assembly would further call on the international community to reinforce assistance to ease urgent humanitarian needs in Afghanistan and generously support post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction.  It would call on concerned countries to continue assisting and protecting Afghan refugees and internally displaced persons, and work with the United Nations for their orderly return and reintegration.

The Assembly would also call on the Afghan Interim Government to fully respect the country’s international obligations regarding narcotic drugs.  It would call on the international community to increase assistance for programmes aimed at reducing poppy cultivation in the country, including capacity-building for drug control, drug-control monitoring systems and crop-substitution programmes.

By part B of the draft, emergency international assistance for peace, normalcy and reconstruction of war-stricken Afghanistan, the Assembly would urge all Afghan groups to stop using landmines and cooperate fully with the United Nations mine-action programme.  It would invite relevant United Nations bodies, as well as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Islamic Development Bank, Asian Development Bank and non-governmental organizations to jointly develop a strategy for early recovery and reconstruction in Afghanistan.  As part of that strategy, the international community should ensure adequate measures for demining, disaster reduction, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of combatants.

The Assembly would urge all Afghan groups to ensure the safety, security and free movement of all United Nations and humanitarian personnel, and protect the property of the United Nations and humanitarian organizations against looting and theft.  It would encourage Afghan groups to refrain from interfering in the delivery of humanitarian relief supplies and guarantee the secure and uninterrupted supply of aid to all vulnerable populations.

The Assembly would strongly condemn discrimination against women and girls, as well as ethnic and religious groups, which adversely affected international relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.  It would also urge all Afghan groups to refrain from recruiting children for armed conflict, and take all necessary steps to demobilize and socially reintegrate war-affected children.

The Assembly would also call upon the international community to respond generously to the donor alert, future consolidated appeals and long-term interventions to rehabilitate and reconstruct the country, and would invite Member States to actively take part in the meeting on reconstruction assistance in Japan in January 2002.

The draft is sponsored by Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan and Yugoslavia.

A report of the Fifth Committee on the programme budget implications of the draft resolution (A/56/725) notes that, should the Assembly adopt that text, estimated requirements of $7.36 million would arise in respect of requirements for 2002 under section 3, Political affairs, of the programme budget for 2002-2003.  That amount would be charged against the proposed provision of $93.69 million for special political missions.

Financing UNIFIL

SANTIAGO WINS (Uruguay), Rapporteur of the Fifth Committee, in introducing the report, said the Committee recommended adoption of the draft resolution.  In accordance with established practice, the expenditures would be financed on a pro ratio basis.  The Fifth Committee was still examining additional needs.  Thus far, until the Committee adopted a decision on additional resources, the necessary references to amounts to be allocated had been left blank.

The Assembly then turned to the draft resolution contained in the report entitled “Financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon” (document A/56/722).

Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, RON ADAM (Israel) said Israel’s position on the Qana incident was well known and had been articulated before the Assembly on several occasions.  The draft resolution blatantly violated the principle of collective responsibility, which dictated that the costs of peacekeeping operations be shared among Member States.  It was the only time in history when one Member State was singled out to bear the sole financial burden for damage to a United Nations facility.  Peacekeepers, when deployed to a mission, did so with the full understanding of the dangers inherent in the task. 

Since the first United Nations peacekeeping operation several incidents had occurred in the Middle East and Africa in which damage was incurred on a United Nations peacekeeping operation, he said.  In those cases, no one had sought to place sole financial responsibility on one Member State.  The case of Qana should not be any different. 

During the Fifth Committee’s discussion on the issue, he said, the delegate of Lebanon had referred to a report produced by the Military Adviser at the time, selectively quoting from the text and ignoring other paragraphs.  Reading from that report, he said that the Hezbollah had fired rounds of mortar from a location some 220 meters south west of the United Nations compound.  Although the conclusion of the Secretariat’s report was vague on the question of responsibility, it made clear that the Hezbollah had committed aggression against Israel at close proximity to the United Nations compound.  Israel would not stand by while people were being killed.  Every country would exercise its sovereign rights in accordance with the United Nations Charter. 

He said that the Hezbollah was a terrorist organization, appearing on the United States State Department list of terrorist organizations.  The terrorist organization had deliberately positioned itself in close proximity to the United Nations compound, knowing that civilians had taken refuge there.  Israel regretted that United Nations peacekeeping operations had been caught in the crossfire.  Beyond the issue of financing however, a greater issue was at stake, namely the politicization of the Fifth Committee’s work.  Although Israel would be voting against the draft, he stressed that Israel had cooperated with UNIFIL and supported its budget.

A separate vote had been requested on the fourth preambular paragraph, and operative paragraphs 3, 4 and 13.

By a recorded vote of 68 in favor to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 54 abstentions, the Assembly adopted the separate paragraphs.  (For details see Annex I.)

In a recorded vote of 123 in favor to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 2 abstentions (Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu), the Assembly then adopted the draft resolution as a whole (Annex II).

Speaking after the vote, NANCY MARCUS (United States) said her country strongly supported UNIFIL as it continued efforts to implement a difficult and important mandate.  But, the present resolution was procedurally flawed, politicizing the work of the Fifth Committee, and the United States would vote against it.

His country also opposed General Assembly resolutions, 55/180B, 55/180A, 54/267, 53/227 and 51/333 because they contained section requiring a Member State to pay for costs stemming from the Qana incident several years ago.  Those were not consensus resolutions.  The use of General Assembly funding resolutions to pursue claims against a Member State were not procedurally correct. The procedure that had been applied before in the Middle East and continued for peacekeeping-related damage claims in the Balkans was appropriate.

IBRAHIM ASSAF (Lebanon) said the representative of Israel had referred to the principle of collective responsibility, which stated that the costs of peacekeeping operations should be collectively shared.  Lebanon agreed with that principle.  Was it possible that States that intentionally bombarded a United Nations compound would come to other States, under the pretext of that principle, asking to pay for damage it had caused? he asked.  The principle did not run counter to the principle of internal responsibility, which stipulated that any State causing harm to other States or international organization should compensate for it.  The aim was to deter Israel from launching a similar action in the future, he continued.  The Secretary-General’s report had said that a clear-cut signal had to be sent.  He called on Israel to pay compensation not to Lebanon, but to the United Nations.  It was the first time that Israel was recognizing the report.  For the last 5 years, Israel had refused to recognize similar reports. Israel, when acknowledging the report, could not be selective.  Israel had no right to occupy territory of others and dictate lessons to them as to what they should and should not do.

Regarding the description of terrorism, he called the Assembly’s attention to resolutions that gave all people the right to self-determination.  Had it not been for the occupation of the southern part of Lebanon, there would have been no resistance.  The paragraphs of the draft did not contain any political language. Lebanon had not asked for compensation of the victims, and therefore did not politicize the matter.  Peace could be achieved, but in order to achieve peace, resolutions of international legitimacy should be implemented.

Mr. ADAM (Israel), speaking in right of reply, said he fully respected the message of peace by Lebanon.  The reference to Hezbollah as a resistance organization was not proper.  In the aftermath of Israel’s total withdrawal from Lebanon, in full compliance with Security Council resolution 425, Lebanon had not met its obligations in conformity with the will of the international community.  South Lebanon remained one of the world’s most active bastions of terrorist activity.  Hezbollah’s actions were destabilizing the area along the “blue line”, constituting a threat to international peace and security.  The attack against Israel was an attempt to divert attention form the fact that as the world united to combat terrorism, Lebanon had yielded large portions of its territory to a terrorist organization.

Mr. ASSAF (Lebanon), exercising the right of reply, said he must reply to Israel’s slanders and errors.  Israel had tried to make Lebanon think about withdrawal as a favour -- a service to the world.  But, they would not have withdrawn if there had not been the valiant resistance of Lebanon against Israel.  If Israel was really implementing the resolution, he wondered why it had waited for 22 years to do so. Several resolutions had been presented urging Israel to withdraw from Lebanon.  What had become of all the resolutions that needed to be implemented by Israel?

ABDOU AL-MOULA NAKKARI (Syria), in right of reply, said every year one had to listen to the same misleading statements of Israel, the occupying force.  Lebanon’s statements were an eloquent and frank rebuttal of the allegations and slanders.  One had a right to dislodge occupying forces.  Saying that somebody defending his territory was an aggressor was reversing that right.  Israel was forced to withdraw from Lebanon because of resistance.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Assembly then turned to the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

MIRZA KUSLJUGIC (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said that since 1992 the Assembly and Security Council had regularly discussed the situation in his country.  During this year, there had been significant progress in the implementation of the Dayton/Paris Peace Agreements and the joint efforts of the international community and the new democratic, multi-ethnic Democratic Alliance for Change.  The country was no longer an international problem but was now becoming a model for solving numerous regional and global conflicts.  Still, ensuring the full implementation of the Agreement would be a challenge for the international community.  The progress achieved over the past year was only a first step in a long-term transitional process from war to peace.

He said the first priority in ensuring a functioning democratic and multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as stability in the region, was to fully establish the rule of law.  He highlighted the work of UNMIBH in that regard, as well as the prompt action of State and entity institutions to adopt a comprehensive Plan of Action to prevent terrorist activities, increase security and protect the people and property of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The decision taken by the Constitutional Court on the equality of all three constituent peoples throughout the territory had been the pillar for substantial improvement of human rights.  However, the delayed implementation of the decision indicated that further support from the international community was needed to ensure the adoption of necessary constitutional changes on State and Entity Parliaments.

He also said that without deep economic reform, all positive achievements might be jeopardized.  The country's authorities were determined to create a self-sustainable, market-oriented economy operating in a single economic space, to complete as soon as possible the process of privatization, improve banking and capital markets and to provide adequate social protection.  Only successfully completion of economic reforms would strengthen peace and stability in the country.  He urged the international community to provide the necessary assistance, backed by positive experiences from other countries.  At the same time he realized that corruption and lack of transparency seriously hampered his country's economic development, and he hoped that restructured police and judiciary systems would combat illegal activities more successfully.

He went on to say that the number of returnees had increased considerably in the first 10 months of 2001.  Further progress should be made in the work of the Commission for Real Property Claims of displaced persons and refugees, and he expected all sides to implement the property laws adopted on 27 October 1999.  He also recognized the importance of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and urged Member States to fully support that mechanism, particularly with regard to the surrender of indicted persons and financial support. 

He reiterated that the future of the country lay in integrating into Euro-Atlantic structures and improving regional cooperation.  A crucial event in that regard would be Bosnia and Herzegovina's admission to the Council of Europe next year.  The country had fulfilled its conditions for membership in the Council, including the adoption of its electoral law.  Overall mutual cooperation among successor States of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and within the region as a whole had been boosted by an agreement reached in Vienna, as well as by the strengthening of the Stability Pact commitments.  The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina was committed to working with the international community to fulfil the vision of developing a modern, democratic and multi-ethnic European country.  Indeed, an "entry strategy" to integrate the country with the rest of Europe was already under way, and he welcomed the intentions of the global community to design for itself a specific "exit strategy."  He believed that an entry strategy for Bosnia and Herzegovina would be at the same time an exit strategy for the international community.

JEAN DE RUYT (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, said the European Union was, on the whole, satisfied with the progress made in implementing the Dayton Agreements.  However, he stressed once again that responsible political management, combined with total and immediate determination to implement institutional, legal and economic reforms, were essential prerequisites for full implementation of the Dayton Agreements and rapid integration into European Union structures.

He strongly urged Bosnia and Herzegovina to continue with implementation of the road map laid out at the Zagreb Summit in November 2000.  Progress had been made in helping refugees to return to all parts of the country.  He encouraged the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to continue his campaign to raise awareness of international, national and local institutions in order to step up their cooperation in that regard.  He set great store by collaboration with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and renewed his call to all parties concerned to do their utmost to support the Tribunal’s endeavours and to surrender indictees immediately.

On current performance, the UNMIBH should complete its core tasks by the end of its mandate in December 2002.  The next stage would involve monitoring and assistance activities.  The transition must be planned intelligently and avenues should be open for streamlining the presence of the international community, bearing in mind the goals of efficiency and coordination.

ALTAY CENGIZER (Turkey) said that mutual confidence among the Bosnians, Croats and Serbs remained the key to lasting peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  It was the duty of all leaders representing their people at cantonal, entity and State levels to work hard for the political stability and economic development of the country.  They should resist every attempt by any group aiming to derail the path to normalcy.

Many important developments had occurred over the past year, he said. Efforts by both the international community and the Council of Ministers to conclude the power transfer process in conformity with the ownership principle had registered important progress.  He also welcomed the adoption of the election law, as that was a key condition set by the parliamentary assembly for acceding to the Council of Europe.

The return of refugees and displaced persons was the litmus test of the Dayton accords, he continued.  Improved security, a more cooperative and receptive political mindset and countrywide implementation of property legislation might positively affect returns.  He also welcomed the apprehension of a considerable number of indicted war criminals so far.  On that issue, the cooperation of respective governments was needed.  Inter-ethnic respect and confidence would be consolidated with the handover of Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic to justice.

YAHAYA ABDUL JABAR (Malaysia) said the situation had improved substantially in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the devastation to the country must be urgently addressed to expedite recovery.  Sustainable peace and development would need the right political, economic and social atmosphere.  The Council of Ministers was functioning well despite early setbacks.  There had been a substantial increase in the return of refugees, including a 40 per cent increase in minority returns over last year.  Inter-ethnic reconciliation was one of the preconditions for the stability that would spur the economic activity to build a sustainable Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Also important, he said, was the stated intention of Bosnian authorities to work closely with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to strengthen the capacity of the national court to investigate and prosecute cases of lesser war crimes perpetrated during the Bosnian conflict.  The failure to apprehend perpetrators would have serious implications for the healing process among the country’s ethnic communities.  The reform process of UNMIBH was well under way and its core mandate should be completed by the end of 2002.  Regional actors should assume responsibility for a follow-up mission and they should work with UNMIBH to ensure a seamless transition.

Both the Government and the private sector of his country had taken a keen interest in the economic rehabilitation and infrastructure reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina, he concluded.  They would continue to participate in numerous ways, including by sharing experience in socio-economic development and privatization.  Its training and facilities resources were available under its Technical Cooperation Programme.

NANCY MARCUS (United States) said that the resolution made clear that the responsibility for addressing the challenges ahead lay, first and foremost, with the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and with their leaders.  Her Government remained committed to implementation of the Dayton peace accords and working with those who had the political will to follow through on the enormous progress that had been made since its signing.  In that regard, he was encouraged by the actions taken by the leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina to address the problem of terrorism, in the wake of the murderous attack on the World Trade Center just over three months ago. 

The efforts of Bosnia and Herzegovina's political leadership to step up to its international responsibilities in that struggle were laudable, particularly given the gaps in capabilities that had been revealed in the process, she said.  The resolution took particular note, for example, of the substantial progress that had been made and continued efforts that were still needed in organizing the State Border Service.  The United States remained committed to working with other Member States and organizations, as well as with Bosnia and Herzegovina's leaders, to identify how to best channel assistance in the coming years.

DEJAN SAHOVIC (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) highlighted some of the steps his country had taken to broaden and strengthen cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina.  A few days ago, President Kostunica visited Sarajevo and took part in the first session of the Inter-State Cooperation Council, established to promote cooperation and improve contacts between the two countries.  During the visit, understanding was reached on the need to coordinate activities related to the problem of terrorism, as well as in the field of regional cooperation.  Also, agreements were signed on the protection and promotion of investments and on customs cooperation and mutual assistance.  An agreement on the abolition of visas and travel documents was expected to be signed soon.  The visit and the agreements represented only a part of extensive exchanges between the two countries. 

Notwithstanding the progress made, one serious issue remained unresolved –- the return of refugees and displaced persons, he said.  Although the return record in Bosnia and Herzegovina was better than in some other parts of the region, the results were still unsatisfactory.  The question of returns was just one of the issues that demonstrated with abundant clarity the necessity of a more comprehensive, regional approach to the situation in South-East Europe.  Although efforts had been made to contain problems or ease tensions in different parts of the region, the overall picture had not always been taken into account.

MARKIYAN KULYK (Ukraine) said that six years after Dayton, there was a wide range of positive developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The multi-ethnic Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, established after the general elections of November 2000, had already proven its commitment to cooperate closely with the international community in order to develop a democratic, united and multi-ethnic society.  Significant achievements included the improvement of inter-entity and regional police cooperation, the effective work of the State Border Service, and success in the fight against trafficking in human beings.

He supported the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina in its steps towards European integration.  The decision of the House of Representatives to adopt the Election Law was one of the major steps forward on that road.  He was confident that economic reforms in the country would continue to be a key element of the international community’s strategy.  However, it would continue to face serious economic difficulties until structural reform was implemented.  More should be done in ensuring conditions of security for return of refugees.

Further progress in the political and economic reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina would depend on three factors, he said.  The State, entity and local officials must take the primary responsibility for strengthening a multi-ethnic society in that country.  The international community should continue its involvement there.  Bosnia and Herzegovina should follow actively the guidelines in the European Union road map.  He supported ending the implementation of the mandate of UNMIBH in 2002 and transferring it to regional actors.  That fully corresponded with a policy of Europeanization of the country.

IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said his country had been trying to find the most appropriate policy towards Bosnia and Herzegovina for the past decade, with varying results.  Relations between the two countries had substantially improved since the current Government was elected in January 2000.  Croatia’s assistance to Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina had changed both in method and substance, becoming transparent and oriented towards economic, cultural and social programmes.  The new coalition Government in Sarajevo had given fresh impetus to that process.  The latest high-level meeting between the two countries in Zagreb had proved it was on the right track, and that much could be achieved through open and sincere dialogue.

There had been a lot of debate lately about the Dayton Agreement and whether it had become redundant or still had a purpose, he said.  Croatia considered the Agreement had ultimately brought peace and stability to the country, and laid down the only realistic institutional framework.  It preferred to see Dayton as part of a dynamic process, one that could address new challenges with new means, aiming at a sustainable and prosperous Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He said that cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was one of the obligations of the parties to the Dayton Agreement.  A major breakthrough had occurred with the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic and indictments against him for crimes committed in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo.  The indictment for Bosnia and Herzegovina, with charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, would bring justice for the victims and help unveil the truth about events in the former Yugoslavia.

Action on draft resolution

Without a vote, the Assembly adopted draft resolution A/56/L.65 on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Other matters

The Assembly then turned its attention to other matters, and decided that several agenda items should be deferred to the provisional agenda of its fifty-seventh session.  Those items were:

-- Declaration of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the OAU on the aerial and naval military attack against Libya by the present United States Administration in April 1986;

-- armed Israeli aggression against the Iraqi nuclear installations and its grave consequences for the established international system concerning the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and international peace and security;

-- consequences of the Iraqi occupation of and aggression against Kuwait;

-- implementation of the resolutions of the United Nations;

-- launching of global negotiations on international economic cooperation for development; and

-- question of the Comorian Island of Mayotte.

The Assembly also decided, under the item entitled “Strengthening of the United Nations system”, that the item “Elimination of coercive measures as a means of political and economic compulsion” should be considered at odd-numbered sessions.

Cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

ALEXANDRU NICULESCU (Romania), introducing the draft resolution A/56/L.66, said additional co-sponsors were Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Republic of Moldova, Slovenia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Uzbekistan, Poland and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

He said that during the past year, there had been dramatic changes in the political and security environment, both within the OSCE area and at a global level, among them the attacks of 11 September.  The OSCE had promptly echoed United Nations resolutions in condemning terrorism.  It had adopted a broad-ranging Plan of Action for combating terrorism.

The draft resolution preserved the same structure and methodology as in previous years, he said.  It underlined the need to strengthen cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE by introducing new methods of consultation, joint planning and common action.

YASHAR ALIYEV (Azerbaijan), introducing an amendment (document A/56/L.67) to draft resolution A/56/L.66, said this year’s draft resolution had failed to accommodate his country’s deepest concern.  Its operative paragraph 21, while related to the problem overall, was not directly linked to the agenda item being considered, namely cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE.  Regrettably, its proposal to add United Nations consensus language to draft resolution L.66, which would have made it balanced, had been declined.  His delegation had therefore been compelled to propose the amendment formally in document L.67.

In 1994, the wording of the amendment he was introducing today was adopted without a vote.  Nothing had changed since that time.  Today, some 20 per cent of Azerbaijan’s lands remained under foreign occupation, and it continued to struggle for sovereignty and territorial integrity.  His country was coping with 1 million refugees and internally displaced persons –- victims of ethnic cleansing.

The amendment was not new; it repeated language that had been adopted by the General Assembly at its previous six sessions.  It reflected the position taken and the language used by the international community in previous resolutions adopted by the Security Council, the General Assembly, and by the Secretary-General in relevant reports. 

Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, NANCY MARCUS (United States) said the co-chairs of the Minsk Group of the OSCE -- Russian Federation, France and United States -- taking into consideration their role in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, had decided to abstain on any amendment to the draft.  That abstention in no way changed their commitment to helping the parties achieve a settlement through negotiation based on mutual compromise, with the understanding that the principle of territorial integrity, as well as other important United Nations and OSCE principles, would continue to be respected.

MOVSES ABELIAN (Armenia), in explanation of the vote, said the draft was a result of long negotiations.  Operative paragraph 21 dealing with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, was no exception in that regard.  It was contrary to any logic that one of the parties to the conflict, which had already joined the consensus on operative paragraph 21, broke the consensus, and tried to amend the agreed draft in such a way that it predetermined the outcome of the ongoing peace negotiations, and virtually forced the Member States to take sides in the conflict.

He said the amendment was biased and imposed a compulsory framework, which Armenia could not agree to.  It was an inappropriate move, since the OSCE was the sole mandated and authoritative body dealing with the conflict.  He believed that through the last minute amendment, Azerbaijan was obviously trying to get benefits and to achieve its own aims. Such an approach contradicted to the spirit of the United Nations and the OSCE.

The amendment (document A/56/L.67) was adopted by a recorded vote of 34 in favour to 1 against (Armenia), with 85 abstentions (Annex III).

The draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE, as amended, was adopted by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (Armenia, Belarus, South Africa, the United Republic of Tanzania) (Annex IV).

AHMED EL-SAID RAGAB (Egypt), speaking about the amendment (document A/56/L.67), said that he had found it was more appropriate to support the text as unamended.  First, the text complied with the Istanbul Summit in 1990, and complied with the text adopted by the OSCE in November 2000.  Second, the draft was about cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE, and not about taking decisions on regional conflict.  Third, it did not take a stand in favour of either party to the conflict, but simply praised the efforts of the Organization to create trust.  His delegation abstained from voting, but would like to state that did not affect its position on Nogorno-Karabakh.

Safety of humanitarian personnel

JEAN DE RUYT (Belgium) speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, introduced the draft resolution on safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel (document A/56/L.64).  He said it was a balanced draft that took into account observations during informal consultations.  The text reflected co-sponsors in regions affected by humanitarian concerns.  The courage and dedication of those from the United Nations system who often put their lives at risk were saluted, as well as those recruited locally.  It expressed deep regret for all those who had died while providing humanitarian assistance, especially those from the United Nations.  The safety of those personnel were the responsibility of governments hosting United Nations operations.

The International Criminal Court considered actions against humanitarian personnel to be acts of war.  The European Union was pleased that the General Assembly had called on all States to adhere to the Rome Statute.  Bearing in mind the importance of the security of humanitarian personnel, he hoped the draft would be adopted by consensus.

The representative of the Secretariat said that, should the Assembly adopt the draft, no costs would be entailed over and above those already proposed by the Secretary-General in A/56/469.

Ms. MARCUS (United States) said her country would join consensus in adopting the resolution, but wished to make a statement about the International Criminal Court, as it was mentioned in the sixteenth preambular paragraph and operative paragraph 14.

The United States had not ratified the Rome Statute and had strong objections to the International Criminal Court, she said.  It objected to its purported exercise of jurisdiction over nationals or States not parties to the Court, as well as the inclusion of the still-undefined crime of aggression within the statute of the Court.  It believed the Court’s structure lent itself to the great danger of politically motivated prosecutions.  She urged all nations not to ratify the Rome treaty.

The Assembly was informed that Côte d’Ivoire had joined as cosponsor of the text.

The Assembly then adopted the resolution on safety and security of humanitarian personnel (document A/56/L.64) without a vote.

United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa

DAUDI N. MWAKAWAGO (Tanzania), in his capacity as Chairman of the African Group, presented the draft resolution on the final review and appraisal of the implementation of the United Nations New Agenda for Africa (UN-NADAF)in the 1990s (A/56/L.61).  The UN-NADAF represented a unique agreement between African States and the international community, with both sides committing themselves to specific and far-reaching efforts to accelerate Africa's development process.

He went on to say that the programme emanated from the failures of two previous international cooperation arrangements, namely Africa's Priority Programme for Economic Recovery (APPER) and the United Nations Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery(UNPAAERD).  At its adoption, in the late 1980s, the UN-NADAF elicited much excitement and enthusiasm as African countries were eager to emerge from recession and promote economic growth and development with the aim of reducing poverty.

He said that today, the total income of the African continent was slightly higher than that of Belgium, but was divided among 48 countries.  Africa's poor were the poorest of the poor:  about half of its 600 million people lived on

65 cents a day.  Many countries had made great efforts to carry out their commitments under the New Agenda, including macroeconomic reform, promoting savings and investment.  Still, promoting sustainable development in Africa remained a formidable challenge in the new millennium.

Today, the eradication of poverty remained as crucial as it did in the 1990s.  In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people living on less than $1 a day rose from some 217 million in 1987, to 242 million in 1990, to a record level of over 300 million in 1998.  Chronic problems such as external debt, decreased foreign aid and investment and technology flow remained critical.  Several other critical issues had emerged since the adoption of the New Agenda, the HIV/AIDS pandemic being the most formidable of those.

He said all those issues needed to be effectively considered if Africa was to achieve the international development goals set at the various global conferences and meetings during the last decade -- particularly halving poverty by 2015, establishing equal access to education, reversing the spread of AIDS and reduction of maternal and infant mortality.  He welcomed support for the resolution and looked forward to cooperation on the final review of the programme planned for the fifty-seventh session of the Assembly.  He further commended the international community for supporting the New Partnership for Africa's Development, adopted by African countries as the most viable strategy for accelerated and sustained development of the continent in a globalizing world economy.

Additional co-sponsors of the resolution were Algeria, Angola, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, China, Central African Republic, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Kingdom, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

The Assembly was informed that, should it adopt A/56/L.61, as orally revised, no additional appropriations would be required in the next biennium.  It was also informed that Cuba and Uruguay had joined as co-sponsors.

The Assembly then adopted the text, as orally revised. 

Mine Action

Mr. DE RYUT (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union, introduced the draft resolution on assistance in mine action (document A/56/L.63/Rev.1). 

The following countries had joined as co-sponsors:  Angola, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Jordan, Liberia, Mali, New Zealand, Niger, Nicaragua, Seychelles, South Africa, Suriname, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Mozambique and Eritrea. 

The Assembly adopted the text without a vote.

Speaking after the vote, the representative of China said he highly appreciated the efforts of the Secretary-General and the Mine Action Service in humanitarian mine clearance.  In recent years, his country had actively participated in international mine clearance activities.  It had carefully studied the international mine clearance standards and would participate in future efforts to revise those standards. 

The issue of mine clearance also involved the sovereign right of States to self-defence, he continued.  The strategy formulated by the United Nations advocated a ban on the use of mines, which was not consistent with China’s position on the issue.  The relevant United Nations agencies should focus on how to help countries resolve the problem of mines, but should not turn its activities on mine clearance into activities for banning them altogether.

GUMA AMER (Libya), speaking in explanation of vote, said he had joined in the consensus on the draft.  Nevertheless, he had reservations, because the Secretary-General’s report on the draft referred solely to recently placed mines, and not mines placed during the Second World War, as was the case in his country. Those mines had killed thousands of civilians and continued to pose a threat.  He hoped the United Nations would focus attention on all mines whether they were old or new.

ORLANDO REQUEIJO GUAL (Cuba) said he had joined consensus on draft resolution L.63/Rev.1 because it reflected Cuba’s genuine interest in contributing to the humanitarian consequences of the irresponsible use of anti-personnel mines. But its position was well-known with regard to the safety component of mines.  For Cuba, anti-personnel mines were an important security mechanism, and vital in guaranteeing its borders from aggression.

Mr. KHAIRAT (Egypt) said his delegation had joined in the consensus on the draft.  He accorded particular importance to mine action in light of the presence in Egypt of millions of landmines.  The mines in Egypt represented 23 per cent of the total world problem.  The report of the Secretary-General had not taken into consideration the problem of mines in Egypt, despite the fact that the United Nations mission in Egypt had noted in its report that awareness of the inalienable right of the international community was rather limited concerning the problem. With regard to the comprehensive strategy for 2002-2005, he had not had enough time to study it, in spite of the importance of the problem in his country.

Despite his reservations, he thought the understanding reached in the draft, particularly in operative paragraph 11, constituted a first step in rectifying the situation.  He hoped implementation of General Assembly directives would be adequately followed up next year.

Emergency International Assistance to Afghanistan

IHAB GAMALELDIN (Egypt) said that prior to 11 September, Afghanistan constituted one of the greatest tragedies of the current age.  Its citizens lived on food assistance given by the international community, which had prevented mass exodus to areas outside the country.  For over 25 years, the Afghan people had experienced misery not of their own making.  The scale of the human disaster in Afghanistan had increased in the course of the military action following the terrorist attacks.  Fortunately, States had increased their assistance in light of the request by the United Nations. 

Egypt had joined co-sponsorship of the text, presented by Germany, despite its reservations over some paragraphs, he said.  It did so because it believed in the need to send a message to the country that the international community was looking forward to a better future for Afghanistan and its people.  The international community was prepared to cooperate with the new Government for a better future for Afghanistan.  The United Nations had a vital role to play in meeting the requirements of Afghanistan. 

The Assembly was informed that since the introduction of the text, Bhutan, Egypt, Nigeria, Eritrea, Nepal, Senegal, Tunisia and Turkmenistan had joined as co-sponsors.

The text was then adopted without a vote.

Closing Statement by Assembly President

The President of the Assembly, HAN SEUNG-SOO (Republic of Korea), in a closing statement, said the terrorist attacks of 11 September had disrupted the work of the Assembly.  However, the Assembly had not been deterred by those unexpected constraints in the pursuit of common goals of global peace and progress.

He said that prior to the Assembly’s general debate, five days of plenary meetings had been devoted to a debate on terrorism, as well as a two-day meeting on the theme of Dialogue among Civilizations.  Particularly in the present context, that dialogue had special significance in promoting inter-cultural understanding.

Among the many important issues that were addressed, combating terrorism was perhaps the highest priority, he continued.  The Assembly had swiftly adopted a strong resolution following the 11 September events.  Progress had also been made in strengthening the legal framework against international terrorism through the work of the Sixth Committee.

In this first session after the historic Millennium Assembly of last year, he said, the Assembly had made major advances in carrying out and following up the Millennium Declaration.  It had noted with appreciation the road map report of the Secretary-General and recommended that the map be considered a useful guide in the implementation of that Declaration.

He said that in the area of disarmament and international security, the attacks of 11 September had had an important impact on deliberations.  Delegates had strengthened their efforts in pursuit of real and substantive disarmament measures aimed at making the world a safer place for all humankind.  They had called, among other things, for stricter controls to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, as well as to prevent such weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists.

On the economic and social fronts, the Assembly had faced a challenging task in dealing with various issues, with much of the world’s attention focused on the fight against terrorism and the fact that the world economy was moving perilously close to a global recession.  Sustainable development concerns would be addressed in a comprehensive fashion at the related Summit in Johannesburg next year.  He encouraged all Member States to ensure participation in the Summit at the highest level.

In the field of humanitarian assistance, the Assembly had reaffirmed the crucial importance of continuing to strengthen humanitarian coordination, and of ensuring that such coordination evolved in light of the changing humanitarian environment.  In order to deal with natural disasters, Member States had underscored the need for strengthening international cooperation to enhance the national and regional capacities of developing countries for disaster preparedness and response.

The President said that this year had marked a turning point in the debate on the situation in Afghanistan, an issue that had been on the agenda since 1980. In response to the rapidly changing situation, the General Assembly and the Security Council had taken coordinated measures to restore peace and security and to reconstruct the war-ravaged country.  The establishment of an Interim Authority had been welcomed.  It was especially commendable that the United Nations had responded promptly to the massive needs of the Afghan people for humanitarian assistance.

He was pleased with the Assembly's growing recognition of the critical contribution of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and of civil society in general to the search for solutions to the many challenges in the economic, social and related fields.  The role of the global women's movement had long been highly valued as a driving force behind United Nations efforts to promote equality and empowerment of women.  Multi-stakeholder participation had also become established practice in areas such as health, children, and information and communication

technology for development.  The Assembly had made good progress towards forging global partnerships.

It had been gratifying to all to learn of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize jointly to the United Nations and its Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.  He reiterated his belief that the award should be viewed as both a recognition of past achievements and a summons to move forward towards the Organization's goals with renewed energy and dedication.  Every member of the United Nations "family" had a share in that unique honour, as well as a share of the added responsibility that came with it.

In conclusion, he said that if the past 100 days had taught anything, it was that even the most universal of human values must never be taken for granted.  "The global community must be constantly alert to the threat posed to those values from whatever source it may come", he said. "If, as has been said, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, the price of a civilized and humane international order is no less."

(annexes follow)

ANNEX I

Vote on Selected Paragraphs/Lebanon Mission Financing

The fourth preambular paragraph and operative paragraphs 3, 4 and 13 of the draft resolution on financing the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/56/722) was adopted by a recorded vote of 68 in favour to 2 against, with 54 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia.

Against:  Israel, United States.

Abstaining:  Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Federated States of Micronesia, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nauru, Palau, Republic of Moldova, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Swaziland, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe.

(END OF ANNEX I)

ANNEX II

Vote on Financing Lebanon Mission

The draft resolution on financing the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/56/722) was adopted by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to 2 against, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia.

Against:  Israel, United States.

Abstaining:  Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belarus, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Federated States of Micronesia, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nauru, Palau, Republic of Moldova, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Swaziland, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe.

(END OF ANNEX II)

ANNEX III

Vote on Amendment to Cooperation with OSCE

The amendment to the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which adds a new operative paragraph concerning Nagono-Karabakh, (document A/56/L.67) was adopted by a recorded vote of 34 in favour to 1 against, with 85 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Albania, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, China, Djibouti, Ecuador, Georgia, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Yemen.

Against:  Armenia.

Abstaining:  Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Chile, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Uganda, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia, Zambia.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Botswana, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Fiji, Gambia, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Federated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Nauru, Nigeria, Palau, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Swaziland, Syria, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe.

(END OF ANNEX III)

ANNEX IV

Vote on Cooperation Between UN and OSCE

The draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) (document A/56/L.66) was adopted by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia.

Against:  None.

Abstaining:  Armenia, Belarus, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gambia, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Nauru, Nigeria, Palau, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Swaziland, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.