10 June 2003





Also Elects Main Committee Chairmen,

Vice-Presidents; Extends Appointment of UNCTAD Secretary-General



NEW YORK, 6 June (UN Headquarters) -- In two meetings held this morning, the General Assembly elected Julian R. Hunte, Minister of External Affairs, International Trade, and Civil Aviation of Saint Lucia, as the President of its fifty-eighth session.  The new President will assume his role upon the opening of the new session in September.


Following his election, Mr. Hunte said it was notable that the presidency of “this singularly important world body” would pass to a representative of the smallest country ever to hold that office.  Thus would the United Nations reaffirm its faith in the equal right of nations large and small, as enunciated in the Charter.


Events over the last two years had proven, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that no nation was an island unto itself, he said.  No nation could protect its people completely from cross-border problems.  The unprecedented challenges that faced the Organization, ranging from HIV/AIDS to terrorism, knew no borders and respected no boundaries.  Only international cooperation offered any hope that, collectively, the international community could overcome the problems that threatened humanity as a whole.


It was necessary, he stated, to look to the future in determining the role the Organization would play in the service of humanity –- a role that respected the rule of law; that upheld the principles of democracy; that reinforced machinery for curbing violations of human rights; that promoted gender equality; that acted against tyranny; and that offered opportunities for the poor to rise out of poverty, even as it ensured economic and social advancement for all peoples.


He said it was his intention, as President, to focus the Assembly’s efforts on the full implementation of the outcomes of more than a decade of United Nations summits and conferences and the United Nations development agenda, including the Millennium Development Goals.  “For unless we address critical and pressing issues such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, the environment and the vulnerability of small States with deeds, and not just words, global stability will be a desired, but ever elusive ideal, and safety and security will remain imperilled.”


Representatives of regional groups of States expressed their support for the newly elected President.


The following States were elected to vice-presidencies of the General Assembly:  Cape Verde, China, Equatorial Guinea, France, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Morocco, Myanmar, Netherlands, Russian Federation, Senegal, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, United States, and Yemen.


In other business today, the Assembly appointed Christopher Thomas of Trinidad and Tobago as a member of the Joint Inspection Unit for a five-year term beginning on 1 January 2004 and ending on 31 December 2008.  It also decided to extend the appointment of Rubens Ricupero as Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for a period of one year, from 15 September 2003 to 14 September 2004.


Additionally, in separate meetings of each of the Main Committees today, the Assembly elected the following Chairmen:  Jarmo Sareva (Finland), First Committee (Disarmament and International Security); Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury (Bangladesh), Second Committee (Economic and Financial); Martin Belinga-Eboutou (Cameroon), Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural); Enrique Loedel (Uruguay), Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization); Hynek Kmonicek (Czech Republic), Fifth Committee (Financial and Budgetary); and Lauro Baja (Philippines), Sixth Committee (Legal).








* *** *