Press Releases

    Fifty-sixth General Assembly
    100th Meeting (AM)

    7 June 2002


    Pays Tribute to Joseph N. Garba of Nigeria, President of Forty-Fourth General Assembly,
    Who Died 1 June

    NEW YORK, 6 June (UN Headquarters) -- The General Assembly this morning appointed Michel Tilemans (Belgium) as a member of the Committee on Contributions from 6 June to 31 December 2002.

    Mr. Tilemans was appointed to fill the vacancy that had occurred as a result of the death of Angel Marron Gomez (Spain). He was endorsed by the Group of Western European and Other States. In order to take action expeditiously, the Assembly decided to consider the item, which was allocated to the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), directly in plenary meeting. (Document A/56/102/Add.3 features Mr. Tilemans’ curriculum vitae.)

    In paying tribute to Joseph Nanven Garba (Nigeria), President of the forty-fourth session of the Assembly who passed away 1 June, the Vice-President of the Assembly, Eduardo J. Sevilla Somoza (Nicaragua), said Mr. Garba had been an accomplished diplomat and a former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nigeria before serving as Assembly President. He had also served as Chairman of the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid from 1984 to 1989, providing vigorous leadership in the worldwide campaign against apartheid in South Africa. On behalf of the Assembly, Mr. Sevilla Somoza conveyed to the family of Mr. Garba and to the Government and people of Nigeria deepest condolences. The Assembly then observed a minute of silence.

    The representative of Nigeria expressed, on behalf of the people and Government of Nigeria, profound appreciation for the tribute, as well as for condolences, of numerous delegations and personalities, including the Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, and the President of the Security Council on behalf of that body.

    He said the late ambassador was a rare personality who had devoted his life to serving his country, Africa and the international community. Although Mr. Garba’s discipline was soldiering, his passion was diplomacy. The account of his life and work was properly chronicled in his book Diplomatic Soldiering. In his capacity as Chairman of the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid, Mr. Garba had exhibited his doggedness and principled philosophy of purposeful support for the fight for freedom, liberty and self-determination in southern Africa. He was at home everywhere his national and international assignments took him, which enabled him to serve his mother country and the world community with passion and commitment.

    In other business, the Assembly took note of the information that Dominica had made the necessary payment to reduce its arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the United Nations Charter. [That Article stipulates that a Member of the United Nations which is in arrears of its financial contribution to the Organization exceeding the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years shall not have a vote in the Assembly.]

    The Assembly will meet again at a date to be announced.

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