53rd Session: Didier Opertti
Didier Opertti was elected President of the United Nations General Assembly’s 53rd session on 9 September 1998. At the time of his election, he was serving as Foreign Minister of Uruguay.
Didier Opertti presided the General Assembly’s 53rd session from 9 September 1998 to 13 September 1999.
Also on 9 September 1998, the General Assembly elected 21 Vice-Presidents for the 53rd session:
- from the African States: Cameroon, Lesotho, Liberia, Morocco, Senegal and Uganda;
- from the Asian-Pacific States: Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, Syria, Turkmenistan and Yemen;
- from the Eastern European States: Georgia;
- from the Latin American and Caribbean States: Nicaragua and Suriname;
- from the Western European and Other States: Germany and San Marino;
- the five permanent members of the Security Council: China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States.
Noting that the United Nations faced such special challenges as serious disruptions in the financial markets, a dramatic resurgence of terrorism, and conflicts that took the form of attacks on the security of individuals and the stability of institutions, the newly elected President of the General Assembly, Didier Opertti (Uruguay), said this afternoon that creating a favourable climate for consideration of those issues would be a main goal of his presidency.
Speaking as the Assembly opened its fifty-third session, Mr. Opertti said very little could be done on such issues if Member States did not fulfil their commitments to the Organization. Certain challenges could only be met if the tools to respond were upgraded at both the political and the Secretariat level.
Concerning reform, Mr. Opertti said the United Nations should continue "without haste but steadily" along the path of modernization and fine tuning of the Organization. "This should not be just a diplomatic or legal exercise; this should be a natural political response on the part of States and is, therefore, an unpostponable exercise," he said.
Statements and Messages
- Statement on the death of the Vice-President of Paraguay (23 March 1999)
- Statement on the death of His Majesty, King Hussein of Jordan (23 March 1999)