Press Releases

    20 February 2004

    Council of General Assembly Presidents Meet in Valletta, Malta, Discusses Contributions to UN Reform, Assembly Revitalization

    NEW YORK, 19 February (UN Headquarters) -- The Council of Presidents of the General Assembly of the United Nations held a special meeting in Valletta, Malta on 4-5 February 2004. The President of Malta, Guido de Marco, President of the forty-fifth session of the General Assembly, on whose initiative the meeting was held, chaired the meeting.

    The Council discussed the present and future role of the United Nations, the revitalization of the General Assembly, furthering the objectives of the Millennium Declaration and particularly, how the Council might contribute to the reform of the United Nations, including the revitalization of the General Assembly, and support and promote the ideals of the Charter.

    Members of the Council, drawing on their experience as Presidents of the General Assembly, had a comprehensive and fruitful discussion on a wide range of issues on the global agenda that impact the work of the General Assembly and the United Nations as a whole.

    The President of the fifty-eighth session of the General Assembly, Mr. Julian R. Hunte, outlined to the Council the work of the session to date, including the successful outcome of the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development and other important aspects of the work of the session.

    President Hunte also outlined the key provisions of resolution 58/126 entitled, “Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly”, which was adopted by the General Assembly on 19 December 2003. The Council gave its full support to the early and comprehensive implementation of this resolution, which followed on earlier revitalization initiatives and which would enhance the role and authority of the General Assembly and bring about significant improvements in its work methods.

    At the meeting’s conclusion, the Council issued the following:

    “The Council,

    “Reaffirmed its conviction that multilateralism is the essential means for addressing issues of a global nature, and expressed its strong support for the United Nations as the foremost and universal multilateral organization.

    “Expressed its concern regarding continuing challenges and uncertainties in the international situation, and their impact on efforts for sustainable development and the maintenance of international peace and security.

    “Recognized that the United Nations should play a critical and vital role in restoring the full sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq, and in ensuring the smooth transition to a democratically elected government in accordance with the will of the people of Iraq.

    “Reiterated its concern regarding the situation in the Middle East, expressed its support for efforts to resolve the conflict, and noted that United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 contain elements for the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    “Condemned all acts of terrorism, wherever they occur and whoever carries them out.

    “Reaffirmed that the revitalization of the General Assembly is an ongoing process that should underpin the efforts of Member States to improve the standing and relevance of the Organization.

    “Expressed their conviction that reform of the Security Council is an important aspect of efforts to enhance the standing and relevance of the United Nations and of support for multilateralism.

    “Reiterated its interest in the recent appointment by the United Nations Secretary-General of a High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change and looked forward to making an input to the panel’s report. The Council expressed the opinion that the panel’s work should neither replace nor delay the work mandated by the United Nations General Assembly on revitalization and reform.

    “Reaffirmed its support for the United Nations development agenda, including the Millennium Development Goals, and for efforts currently underway to hold a summit in 2005 to further implement the Millennium Development Goals and the goals and objectives of major United Nations summits and conferences in the economic and social fields.

    “Reaffirmed its conviction that given their varied experience, former Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly could play an important role in assisting the President of the General Assembly on matters before the session, including the relationship with other United Nations organs, particularly the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.

    “Expressed its appreciation and thanks to the President, Professor Guido de Marco, and the Government of Malta for hosting the special meeting of the Council of Presidents and for the hospitality extended to it.”

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