|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference by General Assembly President
General Assembly President Ali Abdussalam Treki of Libya, in his first press conference since the close of the Assembly’s annual general debate earlier this week, said this year’s gathering, had drawn more than 100 world leaders who had demonstrated their sustained interest in the United Nations and a wide array of crucial issues ‑‑ from climate change to the financial crisis to human rights.
“I was very happy with the debate,” Mr. Treki said today at Headquarters before he fielded questions from the press. “It was very constructive, and the statements showed that the world was very interested in the Assembly and the United Nations and reform of the UN.”
Responding to a question concerning the Iranian Foreign Minister’s view that the Secretary-General’s post should be elected directly by the Assembly, rather than the Security Council, Mr. Treki noted that other delegations had raised the same point. It would be the Assembly’s decision to take up that aspect of reform when it tackles the overall issue of the Organization’s revitalization later.
To a question on the Assembly’s decision on 25 September to block the self-proclaimed President of Madagascar’s High Transitional Authority from addressing the general debate, Mr. Treki said he and a United Nations legal adviser had met beforehand with representatives of the African countries concerned with Andry Nirina Rajoelina’s upcoming speech. [The Transitional Government of Mr. Rajoelina came to power in Madagascar following a military-backed coup in March.]
The legal adviser had said that Mr. Rajoelina had the right to speak under Rule 29 of the General Assembly’s Procedures. It was agreed, Mr. Treki continued, that Mr. Rajoelina would speak following interventions made by Heads of States, and that the African Group could then explain its views through a point of order.
Yet, during the debate on 25 September, the representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Comoros, had raised a point of order objecting to Mr. Rajoelina’s participation and requesting a vote under Article 71.
Subsequently, he said, Mr. Rajoelina’s participation in the debate was denied by a recorded vote of 23 against to 4 in favour (Denmark, Ecuador, Jamaica, Madagascar), with 6 abstentions (Cameroon, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Mali, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu).
When Mr. Treki was asked about a prior statement calling homosexuality unacceptable, Mr. Treki said that was his personal opinion and that he respected the procedures, laws and regulations of the United Nations.
He declined to comment on a question as to whether requests by Libyan Leader Muammar Al-Qadhafi to pitch a tent in various locales in and around New York and New Jersey during his stay last week, or his long speech before the Assembly on 23 September, had distracted from the general debate. Mr. Treki said those questions were outside his competence as Assembly President.
In response to a question concerning the situation in Honduras and ousted President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales, Mr. Treki said the legitimate Honduran Government headed by President Zelaya had received much visibility recently and he hoped an agreement could be reached. Mr. Treki added that he thought all countries respected the United Nations decision regarding Honduras. [In a unanimously adopted 30 June resolution, the Assembly deplored the coup and stressed that it would not recognize any Government other than that of Mr. Zelaya’s.]
And concerning a query on the Palestinian observer’s request that the upcoming report on the investigation led by former South African Judge Richard Goldstone into the events in Gaza at the beginning of the year not be referred to the Assembly or Security Council, Mr. Treki said he would not comment unless he received the report officially or word from the Human Rights Council.
Human rights violations were a matter that concerned all humanity and was a subject the Assembly would discuss during its upcoming session, he continued. Such violations should be handled by the competent authorities, like the Human Rights Council or the International Criminal Court.
[The 575-page report issued by a four-person United Nations fact-finding mission headed by Judge Goldstone cites evidence that, during the Gaza crisis at the beginning of the year, both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants committed serious war crimes and breaches of humanitarian laws, which may amount to crimes against humanity.]
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