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HQ/606
1 November 2000

HOST COUNTRY COMMITTEE APPROVES ANNUAL REPORT

1 November 2000


Press Release
HQ/606


HOST COUNTRY COMMITTEE APPROVES ANNUAL REPORT

20001101

The Committee on Relations with the Host Country this morning approved its report to the General Assembly, which would have the Assembly convey to the United States the results of the Committee’s deliberations on various matters relating to its role as host country.

If adopted by the Assembly, the report would urge the host country to lift, as soon as possible, the remaining travel restrictions on missions and staff of certain nationalities. It would also request the host country to continue to take steps, in conjunction with the city of New York, to resolve the problem of parking of diplomatic vehicles in a fair, non-discriminatory and efficient manner consistent with international law.

The report would have the Assembly express appreciation for the host country's efforts to ensure the security of missions accredited to the United Nations and the safety of their personnel. It anticipates that the host country will continue to take all measures necessary to prevent any interference with the functioning of missions.

The report, further, reiterates the Committee’s appreciation to the United States Mission and to all local entities that contribute to its efforts to help accommodate the needs, interests and requirements of the diplomatic community and the people of New York. It also expresses appreciation for the efforts of its working group concerning financial indebtedness, noting that the issue has also arisen in other host cities, and therefore requires a system-wide approach.

In addition, the report anticipates that the host country will continue to ensure the timely issuance of entry visas to representatives of Member States, and recommends that the Legal Counsel's opinion of 1 September concerning visas for participants in United Nations-related meetings be taken into account.

Following the report's approval, the representative of Cuba said that her country’s mission was having difficulties in obtaining visas for Cuban delegates accredited to the General Assembly’s fifty-fifth session. In addition, a Cuban intern attending a United Nations disarmament seminar had been denied permission to travel to Washington, D.C., and New Mexico as required by the programme.

Iraq’s representative said that travel regulations imposed on his country's delegation had negative effects on its functioning. The Iraqi mission was also experiencing housing problems aggravated by the fact that its personnel were forced to live in certain areas, thus limiting their choice of housing. The restrictions were discriminatory.

Host Country Committee - 1 - Press Release HQ/606 205th Meeting (AM) 1 November 2000

The representative of the United States said in response that rhetoric was being used to distort the facts. If the host country was in violation of the Headquarters Agreement, the Secretariat’s Legal Counsel would bring that violation to its attention. The Cuban intern had been granted a visa for New York. The question of visiting Washington and New Mexico was a travel issue and not a visa one.

Regarding the remarks by the Iraqi representative, he said the host country had promised to review travel restrictions with a view to amending them if necessary. The host country did not take travel restrictions lightly, it considered them a security issue. The host country did not view restriction to housing in New York City as discrimination. Rhetoric cost the Committee in terms of credibility.

The Committee on Relations with the Host Country was established in 1971 to deal with the security of diplomatic missions accredited to the United Nations, the safety of their personnel and the responsibilities of delegations.

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For information media. Not an official record.