14 March 2003

General Assembly Sets Dates for Annual Regular Session, General Debate

NEW YORK, 13 March (UN Headquarters) -- In a brief meeting this morning, the General Assembly, without a vote, amended its rules of procedure concerning the opening date of its annual regular session and decided on the day and duration of the session's general debate.

The resolution on the matter (document A/57/L.75) changed the wording of rule 1 of the Assembly's rules of procedure, to read "The General Assembly shall meet every year in regular session commencing on the Tuesday of the third week in September, counting from the first week that contains at least one working day." Previously, the Assembly had begun its regular session on the Tuesday following the second Monday in September.

The Assembly also decided that the general debate will begin on the Tuesday following the opening of the Assembly's regular session and will be held without interruption over a period of nine working days. Thus, the fifty-eighth session will open on Tuesday, 16 September 2003. The general debate will begin on Tuesday, 23 September, and end on Friday, 3 October.

Also, the Assembly was informed this morning that Belarus and Mauritania had made the necessary payments to reduce their arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the Charter.

Before taking action, the Assembly paid tribute to the memory of Zoran Djindjic, the late Prime Minister of Serbia, who was assassinated 12 March.

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

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