BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY DECISION, AFRICAN UNION ASSUMES OBSERVER RIGHTS OF PREVIOUS CONTINENTAL BODY

15 August 2002
GA/10038

BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY DECISION, AFRICAN UNION ASSUMES OBSERVER RIGHTS OF PREVIOUS CONTINENTAL BODY

15/08/2002
Press ReleaseGA/10038

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Plenary

110th Meeting (AM)

BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY DECISION, AFRICAN UNION ASSUMES

OBSERVER RIGHTS OF PREVIOUS CONTINENTAL BODY

Resolution Adopted on Meeting to Support New Partnership for Africa’s Development

The General Assembly decided this morning that the African Union would assume the rights and responsibilities of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) as an observer invited in accordance with Assembly resolution 2011 of the twentieth session and the cooperation agreement between the United Nations and the OAU.  The African Union replaced the OAU as of 9 July. 

In view of that decision, the Assembly changed the title of the sub-item "Cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity" to "Cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union". 

Following the decision, the observer of the African Union, expressing his gratitude for the Assembly’s support, said that the birth of the Union had ushered in a new era full of hope.  With the ambitious programme adopted by the Union, it would be able to achieve the hopes of Africans within the context of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

In other action, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a resolution on organization of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly to consider how to support NEPAD, to be held on 16 September.  Among the decisions taken in the text was that the meeting would consist of two plenary meetings, as well as an informal panel to be held in parallel with the afternoon plenary meeting. 

The theme for the informal panel would be "The international community's partnership with the NEPAD" and the panellists would be the heads of State of the five initiating countries of NEPAD:  Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria, Senegal and Egypt.

Introducing the draft resolution, the representative of South Africa said that because the meeting would be a one-day event, it had been a challenge to accommodate all Member States wishing to participate.  In the end, a resolution that enjoyed the consensus of a majority of States had been agreed upon.  The speaker’s list would only be open on 10 September, he added.

The following countries co-sponsored the draft text:  Azerbaijan, Belgium, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, Austria, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, India, Kenya, Kuwait, Lesotho, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Finland,

Germany, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, Republic of Moldova, United States, Ethiopia, Portugal, Iceland, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Barbados, Sierra Leone, Mongolia, Madagascar, Syria, Togo, Bahamas, China and the Dominican Republic.

In other business, the Assembly decided to defer consideration of the item entitled, "Armed aggression against the Democratic Republic of the Congo" and to include it in the draft agenda of its fifty-seventh session. 

The next meeting of the Assembly will be announced.

Background

Before the Assembly was a note by the Secretary-General on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (A/56/1024), which contains a letter from Amara Essy, the Interim Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, informing him of the changes relating to the entry into force of the African Union, which replaced the OAU as of 9 July.

Those changes imply that the African Union would assume the rights and responsibilities of the OAU as an observer invited in accordance with Assembly resolution 2011 (XX) and the respective provisions of the cooperation agreement to participate in meetings and conferences of the United Nations. 

Also before the Assembly was a draft resolution on organization of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly to consider how to support the New Partnership for Africa's Development (A/56/L.84), which would have the Assembly take the following decisions regarding that meeting:

-- the plenary, to be held on 16 September, will consist of two plenary meetings, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and one separate informal panel;

-- the list of speakers for the plenary debate shall be organized on a first-come, first-served basis.  The order of precedence shall be as follows:  heads of State/heads of government; Vice-Presidents/Crown Princes or Princesses; Deputy Prime Ministers; the highest-ranking official of the Holy See and Switzerland, in their capacity as observer States, and of Palestine, in its capacity as observer; Ministers; Vice-Ministers; and Chairmen of delegations. 

-- the informal panel will be held in parallel with the afternoon plenary meeting, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and that it will have as its theme "The international community's partnership with NEPAD";

-- the informal panel will have five panellists who will be the heads of State of the five initiating countries of the NEPAD, namely, Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria, Senegal and Egypt;

-- and the Head of State of Nigeria will present orally a summary of the discussions in the informal panel to the Assembly at the end of the debate in plenary. 

In addition, the Assembly had before it a letter dated 31 July from the Permanent Representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the United

Nations addressed to the President of the General Assembly (A/56/1020), in which he requests the Assembly to keep on the agenda of its fifty-seventh regular session the item entitled, "Armed aggression against the Democratic Republic of the Congo".  His Government would like the item to be considered in plenary, without reference to a Main Committee, and that it remain on the agenda of all future regular sessions of the Assembly until it is definitively settled.

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For information media. Not an official record.