COOPERATION WITH COUNCIL OF EUROPE, MINE ACTION, YEAR OF RICE (2004) AMONG ISSUES ADDRESSED IN 19 TEXTS ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY

16 December 2002
GA/10123

COOPERATION WITH COUNCIL OF EUROPE, MINE ACTION, YEAR OF RICE (2004) AMONG ISSUES ADDRESSED IN 19 TEXTS ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY

16/12/2002
Press Release
GA/10123


Fifty-seventh General Assembly

Plenary

75th & 76th Meetings (AM & PM)


COOPERATION WITH COUNCIL OF EUROPE, MINE ACTION, YEAR OF RICE (2004)


AMONG ISSUES ADDRESSED IN 19 TEXTS ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY


Resolutions Also Call for Special Assistance to States,

Coherent Response to Global Challenges, Millennium Declaration Review


The General Assembly today adopted a resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe, which, among other things, noted the Council's efforts in a number of areas, including facilitating the entry into force of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.  The resolution was one of 19 adopted by the Assembly on a wide range of issues.


That provision was one of three voted on separately by the Assembly prior to the adoption of the text as a whole, also by a recorded vote.


By a vote of 109 in favour to none against with 36 abstentions, the Assembly adopted operative paragraph 4 of the resolution, by which it noted the Council’s readiness to provide its member States with the appropriate assistance to their becoming parties to, and implementing, the Rome Statute.  (See Annex I for voting details.)


By operative paragraph 6, which was adopted by a vote of 71 in favour to 54 against with 32 abstentions, the Assembly noted the opening for signature on 3 May in Vilnius of “Protocol No. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances” (see Annex II.)


In addition, by a vote of 71 in favour to 52 against with 33 abstentions, the Assembly adopted operative paragraph 12, which had the Assembly commend the Council for its contribution to the implementation of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) and take note in that context of the Council’s “Guidelines on Human Rights and the Fight Against Terrorism”, adopted by its Committee of Ministers on 11 July and referred to in the addendum to the Secretary-General’s report on measures to eliminate international terrorism (Annex III).


The text as a whole was adopted by a vote of 92 in favour to none against, with 65 abstentions (see Annex IV).


The concerns of many delegations stemmed from the introduction of what they considered were controversial references to the death penalty in operative paragraphs 6 and 12.  Echoing the views of several delegations, Singapore's representative said he was deeply troubled by attempts to "slip in" contentious issues in a resolution that was intended to focus on cooperation with the United

Nations.  Non-consensual elements should not be included in a consensual resolution. 


Similarly the representative of the United States stated that he abstained from the vote on operative paragraph 4 regarding the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court, since it was a controversial matter.  The United States, together with other Member States, had not ratified that Statute and the paragraph was not representing a consensual position.


In adopting a resolution on responding to global threats and challenges, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to study ways and means to promote further a more comprehensive and coherent response to the global threats and challenges of the twenty-first century. 


By another resolution, the Assembly decided to consider, at its next session, convening a high-level plenary meeting during the sixtieth session of the Assembly on the review and implementation of the Millennium Declaration and consideration of the quinquennial comprehensive report of the Secretary-General on the progress achieved towards implementing the Declaration.


The Assembly also adopted a resolution on assistance in mine action, by which it urged Member States and regional, governmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations to continue to extend full assistance and cooperation to the Secretary-General and, in particular, to provide him with information and data, as well as other appropriate resources, that could be useful in strengthening the coordination role of the United Nations in mine action.


Regarding the situation in Central America, the Assembly adopted a text on procedures for the establishment of a firm and lasting peace and progress in fashioning a region of peace, freedom, democracy and development.  By the terms of another text, it decided to authorize the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala from 1 January to 31 December 2003.


The Assembly, by another text, decided to declare the year 2004 the International Year of Rice and invited the Food and Agriculture Organization to facilitate the implementation of the Year.  A separate text had the Assembly invite the Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) address and present to the Assembly at its next session an overview of the activities undertaken during the United Nations Year for Cultural Heritage, 2002.


In other action, the Assembly adopted texts on special assistance for the economic recovery and reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; assistance to the Palestinian people; humanitarian assistance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; emergency humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia; strengthening the effectiveness and coordination of international urban search and rescue assistance; assistance to Liberia; and international cooperation in the field of natural disasters. 


Texts on strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance; assistance to Somalia; safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel; and cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of American States were also adopted.


The texts were introduced by the representatives of the Russian Federation, the Republic of the Congo, Denmark (on behalf of the European Union), Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Ethiopia, Turkey, Liberia, Venezuela, Sweden, Somalia, Grenada, Egypt, Mexico and the Philippines.


Speaking in explanations of vote were the representatives of Israel, Libya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Jamaica, Malaysia, Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Rwanda, Uganda, Yemen, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Syria, Belize, Kuwait, Morocco, Sudan, India, Japan, United Republic of Tanzania, China, Czech Republic, Gambia and Norway.


In addition, statements were made by the representatives of Malta, Suriname, Guatemala and the observer of Palestine.


The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 18 December, to take up the reports of its Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural).


Background


The General Assembly met this morning to take action on a number of draft resolutions.


Follow-up to Millennium Summit


By the terms of the draft resolution on responding to global threats and challenges (document A/57/L.6/Rev.1), the Assembly would acknowledge the importance of further adapting the United Nations to address the threats and challenges of the twenty-first century and the need to enhance the overall effectiveness and complementarity of the United Nations system in combating international terrorism and transnational organized crime; in promoting peace, security, disarmament, conflict prevention, peacekeeping, development and poverty eradication; in protecting the environment; in providing humanitarian response and in other fields; as well as the need to increase interaction between the United Nations and other international and regional organizations.


The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to study ways and means to promote further a more comprehensive and coherent response to the global threats and challenges of the twenty-first century.


A draft resolution submitted by the Assembly President on follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit (document A/57/L.61) would have the Assembly decide to consider, at its next session, convening a high-level plenary meeting during the sixtieth session of the Assembly on the review and implementation of the Millennium Declaration and consideration of the quinquennial comprehensive report of the Secretary-General on the progress achieved towards implementing the Declaration.


The Assembly would also decide that the review process of the implementation of the development goals in the Declaration will be considered within the framework of the integrated and coordinated follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields, while taking into account the need to attach more importance, coherence and visibility to the implementation of the Declaration and its review process.


Strengthening the coordination of assistance


The Assembly had before it a draft resolution on safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel (document A/57/L.66), by which it would urge all States to take the necessary measures to ensure the full and effective implementation of the relevant principles and rules of international law, including international humanitarian law, as well as the relevant provisions of human rights and refugee law related to the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and United Nations personnel.  It would also urge all States to take the necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and United Nations and associated personnel and to respect and ensure respect for the inviolability of United Nations premises.


Additionally, the Assembly would call upon all other parties involved in armed conflicts, in compliance with international humanitarian law, in particular their obligations under the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the obligations applicable to them under the Additional Protocols thereto, to ensure the safety and protection of humanitarian personnel and United Nations and associated personnel, to refrain from abducting or detaining them in violation of their immunity under the relevant conventions and applicable international humanitarian law, and speedily to release, without harm, any abductee or detainee.


Under the draft resolution, the Assembly would strongly condemn any act or failure to act, contrary to international law, which obstructs or prevents humanitarian personnel and United Nations personnel from discharging their humanitarian functions, or which entails being subjected to threats, the use of force or physical attack, frequently resulting in injury or death.  Expressing deep concern that over the past decade, threats against the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and United Nations and associated personnel have escalated at an unprecedented rate and that perpetrators of acts of violence seemingly operate with impunity, it would urge all States to take stronger actions to ensure that any threat or act of violence committed against humanitarian personnel and United Nations and associated personnel on their territory is fully investigated and to ensure that the perpetrators of such acts are brought to justice in accordance with international and national law.


Moreover, it would call upon all States to provide adequate and prompt information in the event of arrest or detention of humanitarian personnel or United Nations and associated personnel, to afford them the necessary medical assistance and to allow independent medical teams to visit and examine the health of those detained, and urge them to take the necessary measures to ensure the speedy release of United Nations and other personnel carrying out activities in fulfilment of the mandate of a United Nations operation who have been arrested or detained in violation of their immunity.


Calling upon all States to consider becoming parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, it would welcome the appointment of a full-time United Nations Security Coordinator at the Assistant Secretary-General level, as well as the establishment of an Inter-Agency Security Management Network.  Finally, it would call upon all States to consider becoming parties to, and to respect fully their obligations under, the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations and the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Specialized Agencies.


The Assembly had before it a draft resolution on strengthening the effectiveness and coordination of international urban search and rescue assistance (document A/57/L.60), by which it would stress the need to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the provision of international urban search and rescue assistance and urge all States, consistent with their applicable measures relating to public safety and national security, to simplify or reduce, as appropriate, the customs and administrative procedures related to the entry, transit, stay and exit of international urban search and rescue teams and their equipment and materials.  It would also urge all States to undertake measures to ensure the safety and security of such teams operating in their territory, and urge those that have the capacity to provide international urban search and rescue assistance to take the necessary measures to ensure that such teams under their responsibility are deployed and operate in accordance with internationally developed standards, as specified in the Guidelines of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group.


The draft resolution on international cooperation on humanitarian assistance in the field of natural disasters, from relief to development (document A/57/L.63) would have the Assembly call on all States to adopt, where required, and to continue to implement effective necessary legislative and other appropriate measures to mitigate the effects of natural disasters, among other things, by disaster prevention, including building regulations and appropriate land use, as well as disaster preparedness and capacity-building in disaster response and mitigation, and request the international community to continue to assist developing countries, as appropriate, in that regard.


The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to examine the overall situation regarding the mobilization of resources for response to natural disasters and to consider concrete recommendations to improve the international response to natural disasters, as necessary, based on his examination, keeping in mind also the need to address any geographical and sectoral imbalances and shortfalls in such responses where they exist, as well as the more effective use of national emergency response agencies, and to report thereon to the Assembly at its next session.


The draft resolution on strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations (document A/57/L.64) would have the Assembly call on the relevant humanitarian and development organizations of the United Nations system, other relevant international organizations, including the Bretton Woods institutions, governments and non-governmental organizations to review and work towards greater alignment of their planning and resource mobilization tools, so as to facilitate the transition from relief to development, and to report to the Secretary-General on actions taken in that respect.  It would also request the Secretary-General to continue to inform governments regularly about the use of the Central Emergency Revolving Fund, and to report to the Assembly at its fifty-ninth session on the utilization of the Fund.


By the draft resolution on special assistance for the economic recovery and reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (document A/57/L.43/Rev.1) the Assembly would stress that the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo cannot be dissociated from the resumption of economic activity in the country.  It would renew its urgent appeal to the executive boards of the United Nations funds and programmes to keep under consideration the special needs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Furthermore, it would express its deep concern over the worsening humanitarian situation throughout the country and urge all parties to respect fully the provisions of international humanitarian law and to ensure the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel to all affected populations.


The Assembly would call upon the international community to increase its support for humanitarian relief activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Finally, it would request the Secretary-General to continue to consult urgently with regional leaders on ways to bring about a peaceful and durable solution to the conflict, and to convene an international conference on peace, security and development in Central Africa and the Great Lakes region to address the problems of the region in a comprehensive manner.


By the terms of the draft resolution on humanitarian assistance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (document A/57/L.54), the Assembly would call upon all States, regional organizations, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and other relevant bodies to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to alleviate the humanitarian needs of the vulnerable refugees and internally displaced persons, while seeking durable solutions for a safe return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their places of origin, or for settling at their place of refuge for those who want to integrate locally, in cooperation with the local authorities.  It would also call upon those States and organizations to offer support to the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in its efforts to ensure the transition from relief to the long-term goals of the rehabilitation, reconstruction and development of the country.


Furthermore, it would call upon all Member States and international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to assist financially and otherwise in the establishment of durable solutions for the refugees and internally displaced persons, and call upon the Secretary-General, as well as the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees and other agencies to continue to mobilize the timely provision of international humanitarian and development assistance to the country.  Finally, recognizing that there will be no United Nations consolidated humanitarian appeal for 2003, it would, nevertheless, emphasize the importance of the coordination of humanitarian assistance to the country.


By the terms of the draft resolution on emergency humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia (document A/57/L.57), the Assembly would call upon the international community to urgently and effectively respond to the unfolding and imminent humanitarian crisis, including on the basis of the requirements of the 2003 appeal for emergency assistance for Ethiopia covering food and non-food needs, as well as to the urgent needs of programme interventions in early 2003, addressing issues of recovery, asset protection and sustainable development of the chronically affected areas.  Moreover, it would call upon all development partners to stress the need to integrate relief efforts with recovery, asset protection and long-term development and to address the underlying structural causes for the recurrent famine in Ethiopia.


By the terms of the draft resolution on assistance for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Liberia (document A/57/L.62), the Assembly would call upon all parties involved in the ongoing conflict to respect fully the provisions of international humanitarian law and, in this regard, to ensure safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel to all affected populations throughout the territory of Liberia and the safety of United Nations and humanitarian personnel.  Furthermore, it would urge the Government of Liberia to provide an enabling environment for the promotion of socio-economic development and a culture of sustained peace in the country.


It would also urge the Government of Liberia, the United Nations system and all States to strengthen their commitment in responding to the humanitarian needs of the Liberian people.  Finally, it would renew its appeal to the Government to cooperate with the United Nations, the specialized agencies and other organizations in addressing the need for rehabilitation and reconstruction and stress the need for the Government to assist and protect the civilian population, including refugees and internally displaced persons, regardless of their origin.


The draft resolution on assistance for humanitarian relief and the economic and social rehabilitation of Somalia (document A/57/L.65) would have the Assembly urge the international community to provide, as a matter of urgency, humanitarian assistance and relief to the Somali people to alleviate, in particular, the consequences of the prevailing drought.  It would urge, further, all States and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations concerned to continue to implement its resolution 47/160 in order to assist the Somali people in embarking

on the rehabilitation of basic social and economic services, as well as institution-building aimed at the restoration of structures of civil governance at all levels in all parts of the country in which peace and security prevail.


By the terms of its resolution on assistance to the Palestinian people (document A/57/L.51), the Assembly would urge Member States, international financial institutions of the United Nations system, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and regional and interregional organizations to extend, as rapidly and as generously as possible, economic and social assistance to the Palestinian people, in close cooperation with the Palestine Liberation Organization and through official Palestinian institutions.  It would also call upon relevant organizations and agencies of the United Nations system to intensify their assistance in response to the urgent needs of the Palestinian people, in accordance with Palestinian priorities set forth by the Palestinian Authority.


Urging Member States to open their markets to exports of Palestinian products on the most favourable terms, consistent with appropriate trading rules, and to implement fully existing trade and cooperation agreements, it would call upon the international donor community to expedite the delivery of pledged assistance to the Palestinian people to meet their urgent needs.  In this context, it would stress the importance of ensuring the free passage of aid to the Palestinian people and the free movement of persons and goods.  Finally, it would suggest the convening, in 2003, of a United Nations-sponsored seminar on assistance to the Palestinian people.


Cooperation between United Nations and Organizations


A draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe (document A/57/L.23/Rev.1) would have the Assembly, among other things, commend strongly the contribution of the Council to international action against terrorism, welcome the work of the Council’s Multidisciplinary Group on International Action against Terrorism aimed at, among other things, strengthening legal cooperation in the fight against terrorism, and in this context welcome the approval of the content of the Draft Protocol amending the European Convention on Suppression of Terrorism (1977) by the Committee of Ministers at its 111th session.


By several other provisions, the Assembly would also commend the Council's work in relation to the protection of minorities; fostering peace and stability in South-Eastern Europe; and the electoral process in Kosovo, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in preparation for the municipal elections on 26 October.


The Assembly, by the terms of a draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS) (document A/57/L.55/Rev.1), would recommend that a general meeting of representatives of the United Nations system and of the OAS be held in 2003 for the continued review and appraisal of cooperation programmes and of other matters to be mutually decided on.  It would also welcome the establishment of the Office of the Regional Adviser to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Santiago, Chile, on   1 November 2001.


Cultural Heritage


By the terms of the draft resolution on United Nations Year for Cultural Heritage, 2002 (document A/57/L.59), the Assembly would declare the Year concluded.  The Assembly would also invite the Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to address and present to the Assembly, at its next session, an overview of the activities undertaken during the Year.


Assistance in Mine Action


The draft resolution on assistance in mine action (document A/57/L.53) would have the Assembly urge Member States and regional, governmental and non-governmental organizations and foundations to continue to extend full assistance and cooperation to the Secretary-General and, in particular, to provide him with information and data, as well as other appropriate resources, that could be useful in strengthening the coordination role of the United Nations in mine action.


Also, the Assembly would call on Member States, especially those that have the capacity to do so, to provide the necessary information and technical, financial and material assistance, as appropriate, and to locate, remove, destroy or otherwise render ineffective minefields, mines, booby traps and other devices, in accordance with international law, as soon as possible.


Further, the Assembly would appeal to governments, regional organizations and other donors for their financial and in-kind contributions to mine action, including contributions for emergency operations and for national and local capacity-building programmes.


Situation in Central America


The draft resolution on the situation in Central America:  procedures for the establishment of a firm and lasting peace and progress in fashioning a region of peace, freedom, democracy and development (document A/57/L.20/Rev.1) would have the Assembly urge the Central American nations to continue to work together to resolve border issues for the greater good of the region and its inhabitants.  It would also request the Secretary-General, the relevant bodies and programmes of the United Nations system and the international community to continue to support and verify the implementation of the Guatemala peace agreements, and to consider the implementation of the peace agreements as the framework for their technical and financial assistance programmes and projects in the context of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework for Guatemala.


The draft resolution on the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) (document A/57/L.27) would have the Assembly decide to authorize the renewal of the mandate of the Mission from 1 January to 31 December 2003.


The programme budget implications for A/57/L.20/Rev.1 are contained in document A/57/645 and state that should the Assembly adopt that draft resolution, additional appropriations would be required for the programme budget for      2002-2003, in an amount of $182,900, under section 3, Political affairs, and an amount of $41,400 under section 32, Staff assessment, offset by an amount of $41,400 under income section I, Income from staff assessment.


The programme budget implications for A/57/L.27/Rev.1 are contained in document A/57/646 and state that should the Assembly adopt the draft resolution, additional appropriations would be required for the programme budget for      2002-2003, in an amount of $11,631,400, under section 3, Political affairs, and an amount of $1,359,000, under section 32, Staff assessment, offset by an amount of $1,359,000, under income section I, Income from staff assessment.

International Year Of Rice, 2004


The draft resolution on the International Year of Rice (document A/57/L.58/Rev.1) would have the Assembly decide to declare the year 2004 the International Year of Rice and invite the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to facilitate the implementation of the Year, in collaboration with governments, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research Centres and other relevant organizations of the United Nations system, and non-governmental organizations.


Action on Texts


The President of the General Assembly, JAN KAVAN, (Czech Republic) introduced the draft resolution on “Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit” (A/57/L.61) reflecting the views of Member States expressed during the general debate on the agenda item and also in the course of the negotiation process on the draft.


SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) introduced the draft resolution entitled “Responding to global threats and challenges” (A/57/L.6/Rev.1).  He said that every minute, the international community was confronted with threats of every kind, such as an international terrorism, environmental degradation, poverty, disease and international crime.  A successful response was only possible through concerted efforts and cooperation between States.  The main areas and methods for responding were already agreed upon in the Millennium Declaration and should take into account the constant changing situation.  To find the response to threats, it was always important to keep in focus all the goals of the Millennium Declaration and include the international community, civil society and the private sector.


Before taking action, the General Assembly decided without a vote to postpone the recess of the session until Friday, 20 December.


The General Assembly then adopted without a vote draft resolutions on the follow-up to the Millennium Summit and responding to global threats and challenges.


Speaking in explanation of vote on the Millennium Summit text, ANA MARÍA MENÉNDEZ (Spain) said the Secretary-General’s report did not fully reflect commitments undertaken during the Second World Assembly on Ageing, held in April in Madrid.  Member States had adopted a Political Declaration and a Plan of Action aimed at ensuring a positive role for older persons in society.  Unfortunately, certain aspects had not been reflected in the report.  She also emphasized the importance of gender considerations in United Nations documents.  Spain did not consider women as a vulnerable group in society.  It was important to mainstream the gender perspective in all reports.  She hoped that in the future both questions, gender-perspective and ageing, would be taken into account.


Speaking on the global threats text, ASIF ALI KHAN DURRANI (Pakistan) said his country not been able to participate in the discussion of the draft, which it supported.  Had he been in a position to do so, he would have emphasized that, in the present global environment, it would have been important to include language about the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with Chapter VI of the Charter.  His country was committed to combating terrorism and had been a victim

of terrorism.  Global threats also arose when the rights of people to freedom and self-determination were violated.  He would have called for inclusion of a reference to the legitimate fight of people for self-determination.


BASIL IKOUEBE (Republic of the Congo) introduced the draft entitled “Special assistance for the economic recovery and reconstruction for the Democratic Republic of the Congo”, (A/57/L.43/Rev.1).  He orally amended operative paragraph 5 by deleting the words “contrary to international law” after the word “soldiers”.  He said the text largely followed the resolution adopted last year.  The grave crisis in his country was continuing to have catastrophic effects.  Human development was, therefore, one of the priorities of the leaders of the country.  He stressed that the Democratic Republic of the Congo was one of the least developed countries.  The crisis stemmed from an unbalanced economy and war.  The people deserved the support of the international community, so they could benefit from the prospects of peace.  The draft aimed at strengthening the already widespread solidarity.


ELLEN MARGRETHE LØJ (Denmark), speaking on behalf of the European Union and the co-sponsors, introduced the draft resolution on safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel (A/57/L.66) and the draft resolution on assistance to the Palestinian People (A/57/L.51).


She said the safety and security of United Nations and all humanitarian personnel continued to be of utmost concern, and all must work to improve the situation.  The current draft contained some new developments, based on the Secretary-General’s report on the safety and security of United Nations and humanitarian personnel.  The draft on Assistance to the Palestinian People reflected the outcome of constructive consultations with interested delegations.


KATARINA LALIĆ-SMAJEVIĆ (Yugoslavia) introduced the draft resolution on humanitarian assistance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (document A/57/L.54).  She said her delegation deeply appreciated the humanitarian assistance and rehabilitation support that had been rendered to her country, which recognized the need to profoundly restructure the economy.  In so doing, it had already mobilized its internal resources to overcome the dire starting position and to rapidly reform.  The scale of inherited problems, however, was such that the process of reform and recovery was very difficult and would take time.


Meanwhile, she said, humanitarian assistance was still needed to address widespread poverty and fragile basic services, and to provide support for the largest population of refugees and displaced persons in Europe.  There had been a decrease in humanitarian assistance in 2002, however, owing to a shift in donor funding to humanitarian emergencies in other parts of the globe.  Given the enormous burden of the past, her country still required significant short-term backing in order to complete the relief to the development transition process.  An important element of the draft was an appeal to the international community to further support her Government in its efforts to ensure the smooth transition from emergency humanitarian assistance to long-term rehabilitation, reconstruction and development.


ABDUL MEJID HUSSEIN (Ethiopia), introducing the draft resolution on humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia (document A/57/L.57), said his country had undertaken a series of political and economic reforms, with a view to improving the humanitarian situation leading to sustainable development.  The country had also focused on the agricultural sector in order to address food insecurity.  Nevertheless, Ethiopia now faced unprecedented drought.  The immediate response of Member States to co-sponsor the present text was encouraging, as it was his fervent hope that its adoption would pave the way for strengthened and committed partnerships between his country and the international community to both meet the immediate humanitarian assistance needs, and integrate relief efforts with recovery and development over the long-term.


Introducing the draft resolution on strengthening the effectiveness and coordination of International Urban Search and Rescue Assistance (document A/57/L.60), ÜMIT PAMIR (Turkey) said that all 16 texts presented under agenda item 21 were of great importance.  While they each had their own focus, their common denominator was the noble effort to abate human suffering in humanitarian emergencies.  The hope present in humanitarian contingencies should not go unnoticed in the “fog of calamity”.  It was during such contingencies that the international community coalesced almost automatically, in order to reach out to those in need.  The draft was geared in that direction.  It also sought to strengthen urban search and rescue operations.


He noted that the Secretary-General’s report on international cooperation in natural disasters had highlighted the disturbing upward trend in the occurrence and impact of such disasters.  It had also underlined the fact that communities in many countries were increasingly exposed to such risk by virtue of growing urbanization.  Speed, efficiency and coordination, therefore, were essential.  The text aimed to address those issues by streamlining and ensuring efficiency in urban search and rescue operations.  As a country that had suffered the tragic consequences of natural disasters, Turkey was a keen supporter of increased international cooperation in countering them.  It was also acutely aware of the importance of making the best use of urban search and rescue teams, which, when deployed efficiently, could make the difference between life and death.


EDWIN F. SELE (Liberia) introducing the draft resolution on assistance to Liberia (document A/57/L.62), said that the enormity of the task of rebuilding the country and the inability of the Government to generate the requisite financial resources at home and abroad could not be over-emphasized.  Clearly, the imposition of selective sanctions by the Security Council in May 2001 had been less than helpful in the peace-building enterprise in Liberia. 


In spite of programmes and policies initiated by the Government, he continued, inadequate funding was mostly responsible for the slow pace of recovery, including the lack of basic necessities, such as electricity, safe drinking water and adequate health care for the majority of the population.  Moreover, the problems of new Liberian refugees and internally displaced persons were additional pressing humanitarian concerns, which required urgent attention. 


JULIA LÓPEZ CAMACARO (Venezuela), introducing the draft resolution on international cooperation in the field of natural disasters, from relief to development (document A/57/L.63), said that one of the new elements in the resolution was to encourage donors to consider the importance of ensuring that assistance for higher profile natural disasters did not come at the expense of those with a relatively lower profile, as well as the importance of making efforts to increase the overall level of assistance. 


PIERRE SCHORI (Sweden), introducing the draft resolution on the strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance (document A/57/L.64), said that the text addressed, among other things, two issues of recent concern.  First, the aggravating effects that major diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS, caused in the context of natural disasters and complex emergencies.  There was a request to the Secretary-General to address ways and means for strengthening the humanitarian response and for the mobilization of greater resources in that regard. 


Second, he continued, were the efforts to develop the Plan of Action on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Humanitarian Crises.  The text stressed the importance of the timely implementation of that Plan. 


AHMED ABDI HASHI (Somalia), introducing the draft resolution on assistance to Somalia (document A/57/L.65), said that the text was a continuation of last year’s resolution and involved no departure in content or scope.  He hoped the adoption of the text would add positively to the momentum of peace and reconciliation, and that there would be movement from reconciliation to rehabilitation and reconstruction. 


GERALD SCOTT (United States) said that his Government had joined the consensus on the text on Ethiopia.  He noted that the recurrent drought affecting that country had affected the entire Horn of Africa.  If that matter were to come up again next year, it would be more appropriate to consider a text on the entire region.  He was seriously concerned by the drought and serious crop failures.  He was also concerned that the dire humanitarian situation could have long-term effects.  He recommended that the international community take into account the entire region in its humanitarian assistance planning. 


He said he was pleased to sponsor the text on strengthening the effectiveness and coordination of international urban search and rescue assistance, and by doing so supported the efforts of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group.  He thanked Turkey for its outstanding leadership and the Geneva staff of the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.  He urged nations affected by disasters to cooperate with the Group, the United Nations and with each other.


DAVID GOVRIN (Israel) spoke regarding the text on assistance to the Palestinian people.  He shared the concern of the international community over the deteriorating situation in the region.  Violence and terrorism had entailed hardship for civilians.  Israelis and Palestinians had both endured enormous suffering due to the terrorism begun in September 2000.  Bringing that suffering to an end and providing for the security of the peoples in the region were crucial components of any peace process.


In that respect, he welcomed the efforts of Member States and international agencies to relieve the suffering of innocent civilians.  Israel had done its utmost to cooperate with those involved to improve the living conditions of the Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.  Despite the daily terrorism it was subjected to, Israel had continued to facilitate the flow of food and medicines, to the greatest extent possible.  If the international community was serious about alleviating the human plight of the Palestinian people, the single most important thing it could do was to insist that the Palestinian leadership end its campaign of violence, terror and incitement, as called for in Security Council resolutions.


Acting without a vote, the Assembly then proceeded to adopt the draft resolutions on:  special assistance for the economic recovery and reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (document A/57/L.43/Rev.1), as orally revised; assistance to the Palestinian people (document A/57/L.51); humanitarian assistance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (document A/57/L.54); emergency humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia (document A/57/L.57); strengthening the effectiveness and coordination of international urban search and rescue assistance (document A/57/L.60); assistance to Liberia (document A/57/L.62); international cooperation in the field of natural disasters, from relief to development (document A/57/L.63); strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance (document A/57/L.64); assistance to Somalia (document A/57/L.65); and the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel (document A/57/L.66).


Speaking after the action, JUMA AMER (Libya) said that he had joined the consensus on the text on safety and security of humanitarian personnel.  However, its position should not be interpreted as agreement to what was contained in operative paragraph 14.  [operative paragraph 14 calls on all States to consider becoming parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.]


Mr. HUSSEIN (Ethiopia) said that the adoption of the text on Ethiopia had sent a significant message to his Government and its people.  He thanked the delegation of Denmark for its utmost contribution during the consultations, as well as several other delegations.  He also thanked the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for its valuable assistance. 


FEDA ABDELHADY-NASSER, observer for Palestine, expressed her appreciation for the adoption of the text on assistance to the Palestinian people.  It was of the utmost urgency that the dire situation in the Palestinian territories be addressed.  The root causes of that situation were the policies and practices of Israel on a people under occupation.  Since the escalation of Israeli attacks since September, development had not only been halted, but destroyed.  The policy of collective punishment and restrictions on the movement of goods and people had severely affected all aspects of Palestinian life.  Thus, it was Israeli practices and policies in imposing occupation that was the root cause of the humanitarian suffering in the Palestinian territories.  While she was always grateful to the international community for its support, she reaffirmed the need to address the root cause of the humanitarian crisis in all its aspects. 


LAMUEL STANISLAUS (Grenada), introducing the draft resolution entitled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of American States” (document A/57/L.55/Rev.1), said the growing interconnectedness and interdependence of economies and societies, brought about by the rapid rise in information and communications technology made cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS) even more necessary and desirable.  Ongoing areas of cooperation covered a wide range, including:  sustainable development; trade, investment, technology and entrepreneurial development; drug control; promotion and protection of human rights and democratic rights; and education and health.


Highlighting specific areas mentioned in the draft, he said the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region and the entire world was of great concern.  The draft also stressed the need for increased financial resources and affordable drugs.  The

situation in Haiti required more positive and sustained assistance from the international community encompassing a wide spectrum of activities dedicated to improving the economic, social, juridical and administrative structures in Haiti.


AHMED EL-SAID RAGAB (Egypt), speaking in explanation of the vote on the draft resolution entitled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe” (document A/57/L.23/Rev.1), said the authors of this year’s resolution had chosen to introduce controversial references to the death penalty explicitly in operative paragraph 6 and implicitly in operative paragraph 12.  His delegation had always been supportive of all resolutions related to cooperation between the United Nations and other regional organizations.  Yet, his delegation was not in a position to join consensus on the current draft, and had called for a separate vote on both those operative paragraphs.


He noted that other paragraphs constituted additional difficulties, such as the fourth preambular paragraph, which “stresses the importance of adherence to the standards and principles of the Council of Europe”, while not clarifying the countries concerned with the jurisdiction of such a paragraph.  His call for a separate vote on certain paragraphs should not be perceived as undermining the principle objective of the resolution.  The Council of Europe was an organization regarded with the highest esteem and appreciation.


KISHORE MAHBUBANI (Singapore) said his country fully supported the draft and deeply regretted the fact it had to call for a vote.  He was deeply troubled by attempts to slip in contentious issues in a resolution that was intended to focus on cooperation with the United Nations.  The fundamental principle that the Assembly should work on was that non-consensual elements should not be included in a consensual resolution. 


He said there was clearly no international consensus on the issue of the death penalty.  He was even more troubled by operative paragraph 12, as it referred to “Guidelines on human rights in the fight against terrorism”, which states that “under no circumstances may a person convicted of terrorist activities be sentenced to the death penalty”.  That was unacceptable.  The term “taking note” was unacceptable, precisely because it was neutral.  He also regretted the fact that the resolution was growing longer and longer.  Should operative paragraphs 6 and 12 remain in the text, he would abstain on the vote on the whole resolution.  His country could not and would not join in consensus on any resolution that referred to the issue of the death penalty.


JANICE MILLER (Jamaica) said her delegation would be unable to join in any consensus, because of the inclusion of elements that failed to command the support of some Member States, in particular operative paragraphs 6 and 12 regarding the abolition of the death penalty.  A number of Member States still provided for the death penalty.  It must, therefore, not be expected that those States should collectively endorse a resolution that contained divisive and non-consensual elements.  The principles of sovereignty and equality of States would dictate that each State be respected in the legitimate exercise of its domestic jurisdiction in matters of criminal law.  Her delegation would vote in favour of operative paragraph 12, since it could not be presumed to be prescriptive.  It was forced to vote against operative paragraph 6, and would abstain on the resolution as a whole.


WILLIAM MARSH (United States) said he was unable to join in the consensus.  He would abstain from voting on operative paragraph 4, regarding the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court, since it was a controversial matter.  The United States, together with other Member States, had not ratified that Statute and the paragraph did not represent a consensual position.  Regarding operative paragraph 6, he said the United States had always supported the Council and it was disappointing that the simple intent of the draft had become distorted with narrowly focused matters, such as the abolition of capital punishment.  Each State should consider that matter for itself.  The United States would vote against the paragraph and urged other members to do so, and would vote against operative paragraph 12 for the same reasons.


CHEAH SAM KIP (Malaysia) said his delegation had difficulties in supporting the draft resolution as a whole, and was particularly concerned about the implications of operative paragraphs 6 and 12.  States had the sovereign right to determine their own criminal justice system and to enact their own laws concerning punishment.  Malaysia had laws on capital punishment, and the operative paragraphs would be inconsistent with his country’s criminal justice system.  His delegation would, therefore, abstain from voting on the draft resolution as a whole.


ALLIEU IBRAHIM KANU (Sierra Leone) said his country attached great importance to cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations.  Cooperation between the United Nations and the Council was very important and, in the past, consensus on the resolution had been reached.  This year, he found it difficult to join consensus, as his country still had capital punishment and could not support operative paragraphs 6 and 12.  The term “noting” was problematic in controversial situations, not neutral, as it was tantamount to endorsement.


JOHNNY SINAGA (Indonesia) said that this year, the resolution could not be adopted by consensus, owing to the inclusion of provisions concerning the death penalty.  In many States, the death penalty was still applied.  His delegation would vote against operative paragraphs 6 and 12, and abstain from voting on the resolution as a whole.


ABDULLAH EID SALMAN AL-SULAITI (Qatar) said his country supported cooperation with the Council and cooperation with other regional organizations, as such cooperation enriched the United Nations, based on multilateralism.  However, the draft’s authors had not taken his country’s concerns regarding operative paragraphs 4, 6 and 12 into account.  He would abstain from voting on the draft as a whole.


SAEED H.S. AL-JOMAE (Saudi Arabia) said his country had supported cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations.  However, the draft contained references to the death penalty, explicitly in operative paragraph  6 and implicitly in operative paragraph 12.  His country, therefore, could not join in the consensus, and would vote against both operative paragraphs and abstain on the text as a whole.


FUAD MUBARAK AL-HINAI (Oman) stated his support for cooperation with the Council of Europe.  He said the element of the death penalty had, regrettably, been introduced in the text.  His delegation could not support that inclusion, as it ran counter to his country’s law.  He, therefore, did not support operative paragraphs 6 and 12.  He wholeheartedly supported cooperation with the Council and would have gladly supported the draft without those paragraphs.  If the paragraphs were retained, he would abstain from voting on the text as a whole.


AUGUSTIN MUVUNYI (Rwanda) said he opposed operative paragraphs 6 and 12 on the grounds that genocide and terrorism were the worst crimes against humanity and development.  It was unconstitutional and unacceptable in Rwanda to fail to carry out the death penalty.  True, the constitutions of other countries were a matter of sovereignty and the death penalty could not be a common denominator, but his Government would shame the survivors of genocide if it failed to carry out the death penalty.  The Rwanda genocide of 1994 killed more than 1 million people in less than 100 days.  That genocide had been the result of the culture of impunity, and that was why Rwanda carried out the death penalty against “genocidaires”.


He said that eradicating impunity was not in concert with operative paragraphs 6 and 12.  The Council of Europe was not well informed about the situation on the ground in other countries and seemed to be granting amnesty and blessing genocide and terrorism, without concern for the victims.  Rwanda accepted cooperation, but it could not endorse impunity and would continue to implement the death penalty.  The representatives of the Council had failed to prevent the genocide in Rwanda.  They had also forgotten the victims of recent terrorist attacks.  Crimes of terror and genocide, and the rape of young children, must be punishable by death.  Abolishing the death penalty, in some countries, was tantamount to committing suicide.


FRED BEYENDEZA (Uganda) said he fully supported cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe, but he had a problem with operative paragraphs 6 and 12, for reasons already expressed by other speakers.  He would vote against both paragraphs and would abstain in the vote on the draft as a whole, if those paragraphs were retained.


ABDUL-DAYEM M.S. MUBAREZ (Yemen) said he would vote against the two paragraphs and abstain in the vote on the draft as a whole.


The Assembly then took a separate recorded vote on operative paragraph     4, which noted that the Council had facilitated the entry into force of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.  It voted to retain that paragraph by a vote of 109 in favour to none against, with 36 abstentions (Annex I). 


By a separate recorded vote of 71 in favour to 54 against, with      32 abstentions, the Assembly decided to retain operative paragraph 6, concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances (Annex II).


It retained operative paragraph 12, concerning terrorism, by a separate vote of 71 in favour to 52 against, with 33 abstentions (Annex III).


Then, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution as a whole on cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe by a recorded vote of 92 in favour to none against, with 65 abstentions (Annex IV). 


Next, acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the OAS.


Speaking after the vote on the draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe, ENRIQUE MANALO (Philippines) said he regretted that consensus had not been achieved.  He had strongly hoped for a consensus text, because of the importance of cooperation between those organizations.  He had abstained in the vote, however, because of difficulties with some of the language in operative paragraph 12 and the fourth preambular paragraph.  On the latter, he wished to make clear that he fully respected the principles of the Council, but had difficulty adhering to them as stated in the resolution.  He reiterated his full support for cooperation between the United Nations and the Council.


CHEON WOOK (Republic of Korea) said he had abstained in the votes on operative paragraphs 6 and 12.  Inclusion of references to a regional convention and guidelines that ruled in a certain way on a decisive issue at the global level was inappropriate in a resolution calling for cooperation between the United Nations and a regional organization.  He voted in favour of the text as a whole because he fully supported such cooperation and could go along with the modified language of the two paragraphs in question.  Hopefully, the thrust of the resolution would not be compromised by the manner in which it was adopted. 


Mr. AMER (Libya) said he had joined consensus on the recent series of resolutions relating to cooperation between the United Nations and key regional and other organizations.  He had been unable to support the text on cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe, owing to the inclusion of elements that had nothing to do with the objectives of cooperation.  He highlighted, in particular, the language in operative paragraphs 6 and 12. 


He said that abolition of the death penalty was controversial because of religious and cultural reasons.  The sponsors of the text should have taken that into account.  Failing to do so had obliged him to oppose those two paragraphs.  He had abstained in the vote on the text as a whole, as an expression of his rejection of any attempt aimed at imposing practices on his country which ran contrary to its beliefs.


LOUAY FALLOUH (Syria) said that he voted in favour of the text on cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe, because he believed the means of cooperation should be strengthened between the two organizations.  However, the text should stress coordination among organizations with the United Nations without going into details about the organizations and taking into account the mandates of those organizations.  The contents of operative paragraphs 6 and 12 had nothing to do with the objectives and goals of the draft resolution.  It was difficult to impose the experience of certain States on other States.  Therefore, he abstained in the votes on the two operative paragraphs 6 and 12.


DINA S. SHOMAN (Belize) said she attached great importance to cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations, and had supported resolutions that promoted such cooperation.  With respect to operative paragraphs 6 and 12, she could not, in principle, support references to significantly contentious and divisive issues for the general membership of the United Nations in a resolution on cooperation.  For that reason, she voted for the deletion of paragraphs 6 and 12 and had abstained on the text as a whole. 


BADER MOHAMMAD E. AL-AWADI (Kuwait) said he had joined others in rejecting what was stated in the draft resolution on the Council of Europe.  He fully supported the efforts of Council to strengthen international cooperation.  It was regrettable that he could not associate himself with the consensus.  Operative paragraphs 6 and 12 ran counter to the laws and legislation of his country relating to the death penalty.  That was why he abstained on the text as a whole and voted against operative paragraphs 6 and 12.


MOHAMMED ARROUCHI (Morocco) said he voted in favour of the draft resolution on the Council of Europe, subject to Moroccan legislation. 


ANAS ELTAYEB ELGAILANI MUSTAFA (Sudan) said that, in principle, he supported cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe.  He deplored the fact that the Assembly was unable to adopt the text by consensus.  He had voted against paragraphs 6 and 12 and had abstained on the text as a whole.  He did so because the text included some controversial elements.  The abolition of the death penalty remained a delicate question for a number of countries.  Also, including such questions, as well as the guidelines relating to human rights and terrorism, in a text relating to an agreed subject had complicated the Assembly’s task of adopting the text by consensus.  In addition, it would have been possible to keep the international community informed of the opening for signature of Protocol No. 13, but in a different way than the one done today.


BHAGWANT SINGH BISHNOI (India) said his country had friendly relations with the Council, which continued to be further strengthened.  He regretted that the text had to be put to a vote.  He had abstained on the vote on the text as a whole, given the inclusion of elements that did not enjoy consensus.


MASAHIRO TOMOSHIGE (Japan) said he greatly appreciated the important activities engaged in by the Council of Europe and wished to further cooperate in its various activities.  For that reason, he voted for the resolution as a whole.  Regarding operative paragraphs 6 and 12, however, there were differing views on the issue of the death penalty.  While Japan retained capital punishment, it believed that whether to retain or abolish capital punishment should be carefully studied by each State, taking fully into account the opinion of its people and the state of the most serious crimes committed in its jurisdiction.  Therefore, he strongly believed that the decision of each State in that regard should be respected.


BIRHANEMESKEL ABEBE (Ethiopia) said he was looking forward to the strengthening of cooperaton to achieve the common goals of the two organizations  –- the United Nations and the Council.  He regretted that consensus was not achieved on the text.  He had voted against operative paragraphs 6 and 12, dealing with the issue of the abolition of the death penalty. 


DAUDI NGELAUTWA MWAKAWAGO (United Republic of Tanzania) said he had voted against operative paragraphs 6 and 12, which had made reference to the death penalty.  He was pained by the inclusion of the controversial issue, which had no consensus in the Assembly.  He had abstained on the text as a whole.  The death penalty was incorporated in his country’s laws.  He hoped that, in future, resolutions normally adopted by consensus would not be held hostage by controversial elements.


WANG DONGHUA (China) said he had always supported strengthening cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations.  He had voted in favour of the resolution.  However, that did not mean he supported operative paragraphs     6 and 12.  Those two paragraphs contained elements that called for the abolition of the death penalty.  Such elements had nothing to do with cooperation between United Nations and the Council of Europe. 


JAN KÁRA (Czech Republic) said he had signed, a few days ago, the list of co-sponsors of the text and, therefore, asked that his country be considered as a co-sponsor.

ASSAN DRAMMEH (Gambia) said he was always keen to support the strengthening of cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations.  However, given the inclusion of external elements, he voted as shown in the records and regretted not being able to join consensus. 


WALTER BALZAN (Malta) regretted that, notwithstanding genuine attempts to amend the language of the draft, adoption of resolution by consensus had not been possible.  While respecting all views expressed, he reassured the Assembly it was not the intention of the Council and the sponsors to revert the resolution into a debate on controversial issues.  The resolution was meant to enforce cooperation.  The Council had always attached great importance to cooperation with the United Nations.


IRMA E. LOEMBAN TOBING-KLEIN (Suriname) said that, by tradition, her country had always been a strong supporter of cooperation between the United Nations and the Council, and had wholeheartedly supported the resolution as a whole.  Nevertheless, she expressed solidarity with and understanding for those who had difficulties with operative paragraphs 6 and 12.  She hoped the Assembly would achieve full consensus on the resolution in the near future.


AMR ABOUL ATTA (Egypt) introducing the draft resolution on the United Nations Year for Cultural Heritage (A/57/L.59), said that the text had referred to the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.  He thanked all delegations that participated in the fruitful discussions on the draft resolution.  The text contained a number of amendments, as compared to the original.  They did not affect the thrust of the text, but only provided further clarifications.  Nor did they affect the balance achieved during the negotiations.  


The Assembly adopted the text, as orally revised, without a vote.


On a point of order, AMR MOHAMED ROSHDY (Egypt) stated that the interpretation of the introduction of the draft resolution was horrible.  Also, the Arabic version of the text simply took last year’s resolution and reprinted it.  Among the changes was the insertion of “possible” after the word “explore” in the third line of operative paragraph 4.


Introducing the text on assistance in mine action (A/57/L.53) on behalf of the European Union, Ms. LØJ (Denmark) made a correction to operative paragraph 19.  The word “or” should be added in the third line after “United Nations Development Programme”.  In view of the importance of assistance in mine action and the problem of mines and unexploded ordnance in general, she hoped that the text would be adopted by consensus.


The Assembly then adopted the draft on assistance in mine action, as orally corrected, without a vote.


Speaking after the adoption, Ms. RODSMOEN (Norway) said that while she had joined consensus on the resolution, there were various aspects of the text she would have liked to see improved.  It was of great importance that available financial and human resources were utilized in an optimal manner.  It was crucial that the primary responsibility for mine action, including coordination, was with the mine-affected countries themselves.  That was imperative in making mine action sustainable and effective. 


For Norway, the Ottawa Convention was the primary framework for mine action, she said.  It held provisions for not only a total ban on anti-personnel mines, but also on international cooperation and assistance in mine action.  The United Nations organizations, regional organizations, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were all indispensable actors in humanitarian mine action. 


The United Nations Mine Action Service, she added, had an important role in securing the integration of mine action issues in the work of the United Nations system, wherever it might be relevant.  It was important, however, to make a distinction between the Secretariat’s coordinating and mainstreaming task within the United Nations system, and the operative, field-based mine action carried out by the United Nations and NGOs.


JUMA AMER (Libya) said that he joined the consensus on the text.  However, he wanted to make the following points.  He noted that the Secretary-General’s report on the issue had, like previous ones, focused on recently planted mines, ignoring the old ones, such as those from which many States were suffering, including his own.  Such old mines still constituted a threat to the lives of those living in their areas.  He hoped that the United Nations would accord necessary attention to all mines. 


In addition, he noted that, despite the fact that the Ottawa Convention constituted a pillar of international action, his Government had not joined that Convention.  The Convention had no provision as to the legal responsibility of colonial States, that bound them to clear the mines they planted in other States. He hoped that the States parties to the Convention would try to overcome those shortcomings, so as to achieve universality of the Convention.


WANG LEI (China) said he joined consensus because he fully understood the humanitarian concerns of the international community regarding the indiscriminate injuries to innocent civilians caused by the anti-personnel landmine.  China supported global efforts to address that problem, and for that reason, had ratified the amended landmine Protocol to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and strictly abided by it.  Indeed, the indiscriminate use of landmines and the ineffectiveness of post-war demining efforts were the main causes of humanitarian concerns. 


He said that those concerns could be addressed from two aspects:  to prevent the indiscriminate use of landmines and ensure the universal and effective implementation of the amended landmine Protocol; and to actively demine deployed landmines not in conformity with the provisions of that Protocol.  China had been actively engaged in global demining assistance to seven mine-affected countries in the past two years, namely Angola, Cambodia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia and Rwanda.  It also had plans to donate demining equipment to Lebanon and had sent a demining expert team to Eritrea for on-site demining training.  In November, China sent another such team to Afghanistan. 


LUIS ALFONSO DE ALBA (Mexico) introduced the draft resolution on the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) (A/57/L.27/Rev.1).  He said the peace agreement in Guatemala was the result of a six-year negotiating process, and included a broad national agenda for peace.  The United Nations had played a fundamental role in that process, verifying commitments in the agreement and bestowing certainty as well as trust to its implementation.  Guatemala had been a

successful experience for the Organization, and considerable progress had been achieved.


Without a vote, the Assembly adopted that draft resolution, as orally revised, and another on the situation in Central America:  procedures for the establishment of a firm and lasting peace and progress in fashioning a region of peace, freedom, democracy and development (A/57/L.20/Rev.1).


GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala) expressed his appreciation for the adoption of resolution L.27/Rev.1 to several involved parties, including the friends of the Guatemalan peace process.  He reiterated his Government's political commitment to move ahead with actions in the peace accords, and cooperate with the United Nations during the next phase, when MINUGUA’s functions would be gradually passed on to national entities.  His country would also cooperate with the Secretary-General in responding to consultations referred to in paragraph 25, with a view to determining the exact date of MINUGUA's withdrawal from Guatemala.


Mr. MANALO (Philippines) then introduced a draft text on the International Year of Rice, 2004 (A/57/L.58/Rev.1), with an oral correction to the text, which added “2004” to the draft’s title.  He noted that the “straightforward” text, among other things, invited the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to facilitate the implementation of the Year, in collaboration with other relevant organizations of the United Nations systems, governments and NGOs


According to FAO, he said, more than 800 million people throughout the world suffered from hunger and malnutrition -– most of them in areas heavily dependent on rice production for food, income and employment.  He, therefore, hoped the resolution would provide impetus towards various activities related to the production and consumption of rice, as well as recognition of the interrelationship between rice and hunger, malnutrition and overall efforts to alleviate poverty.


The draft was adopted without vote, as orally corrected.


(Annexes follow)


ANNEX I


Vote on Operative Paragraph 4 of Council of Europe


Operative paragraph 4 of the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe (document A/57/L.23/Rev.1) was adopted by a recorded vote of 109 in favour to none against, with 36 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  None.


Abstaining:  Bangladesh, Belize, Burundi, Cameroon, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, United States, Vanuatu, Yemen.


Absent:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Mozambique, Palau, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam.


(END OF ANNEX I)


ANNEX II


Vote on Operative Paragraph 6 of Council of Europe


Operative paragraph 6 of the draft resolution on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe (document A/57/L.23/Rev.1) was adopted by a recorded vote of 71 in favour to 54 against, with 32 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia.


Against:  Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Brunei Darussalam, Burundi, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nauru, Nigeria, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sudan, Swaziland, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Abstaining:  Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Pakistan, Peru, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Viet Nam.


Absent:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Mozambique, Palau, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan.


(END OF ANNEX II)


ANNEX III


Vote on Operative Paragraph 12 of Council of Europe


Operative paragraph 12 of the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe (document A/57/L.23/Rev.1) was adopted by a recorded vote of 71 in favour to 52 against, with 33 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia.


Against:  Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Brunei Darussalam, Burundi, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Grenada, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Kenya, Kuwait, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nigeria, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sudan, Swaziland, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Abstaining:  Bahamas, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia.


Absent:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Mozambique, Palau, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam.


(END OF ANNEX III)


ANNEX IV


Vote on Cooperation Between United Nations and the Council of Europe


The draft resolution on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe (document A/57/L.23/Rev.1) was adopted by a recorded vote of   92 in favour to none against, with 65 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia, Zambia.


Against:  None.


Abstaining:  Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Dominica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zimbabwe.


Absent:  Albania, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Marshall Islands, Mozambique, Palau, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam.


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For information media. Not an official record.