Press Releases

    30 March 2005

    General Assembly Adopts Text on Peacekeeping, Delegates Sudan Mission Financing to Budget Committee

    NEW YORK, 29 March (UN Headquarters) -- Acting at the request of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the General Assembly this morning added a new item to its 2005 agenda -- “Financing of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS)” -- and allocated it directly to the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) for action.

    Owing to the nature of the item, the Assembly waived the traditional requirement of convening a meeting of its General Committee, which would normally be required when such questions were considered.

    Last Thursday, 24 March, the Security Council established the Mission for an initial period of six months, voting unanimously to send up to 10,000 military personnel and an appropriate civilian component, including 715 civilian police personnel to southern Sudan to support the peace agreement between Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), which ended more than two decades of civil strife.

    The Council also called on the United Nations Joint Assessment Mission, the World Bank and unilateral and multilateral donors to provide an assistance package for the reconstruction and economic development of Sudan, including official development assistance and trade access, and it welcomed a Norwegian initiative to convene an international donors’ conference for the country.

    In other business today, the Assembly adopted without vote a draft resolution contained in the report of its Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization), introduced the Committee’s report on Comprehensive Review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects (document A/59/472/Add.1).

    The draft, introduced along with the report by the Fourth Committee’s Rapporteur Kais Kabtani (Tunisia), affirms that the efforts of the United Nations in the peaceful settlement of disputes, including through its peacekeeping operations, are indispensable, and decides that the Assembly’s Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations shall continue its efforts for a comprehensive review of the whole question of such operations and shall review the implementation of previous proposals and consider any new proposals to enhance the capacity of the world body to fulfil its responsibilities in that field.

    Further by the text, the Assembly reiterates that those Member States that become personnel contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations in years to come or participate in the future in the Special Committee for three consecutive years as observers, shall, upon a written request to the Special Committee Chair, become members at the Committee’s following session.

    Before action was taken on that draft, Fermín Toro Jiménez (Venezuela), said that while his delegation would not block endorsement of the Special Peacekeeping Committee’s report, it would stress that such operations should strictly preserve and promote peace.  Venezuela was concerned at the changing nature of peacekeeping and was, therefore, forced to voice its disapproval at the evolving attempts to use such missions to recast countries emerging from conflict as “failed States”.  That attitude assumed that those States the international community deemed “failed” or “unsuccessful” could not manage their own affairs.

    Any peacekeeping operation mandated to “rebuild” a post-conflict State infringed on the sovereign rights of the very people of the countries such missions had been designed to help, he said.  Moreover, Venezuela did not believe that humanitarian intervention should be used as an excuse to rebuild States.  Peacekeeping operations must be used to promote and preserve the Charter and the wider principles of the Organization.  Peacekeeping mandates must not be ambiguous and must not attempt to skew the focus of what a specific mission was or what it aimed to accomplish.

    Neither must they obfuscate the real root of conflict, he said.  Venezuela favoured conflict resolution and believed that any other approach was contrary to the principles of building democratic institutions, sovereignty, non-intervention and self-determination.  Finally, he stressed that doubts and suspicions would remain as long as a privileged few Security Council members retained veto power.  Until the international community achieved genuine democratization of its institutions, the problems surrounding the focus and intent of peace operations would remain unresolved.

    At the beginning of the meeting, Assembly President Jean Ping (Gabon) extended the Assembly’s deepest sympathy to the Government and people of Indonesia for the tragic loss of life and material damage that had, once again, resulted from the recent earthquake in the traumatized region.  He also expressed the hope that the world community would show its solidarity and respond promptly and generously to any request for help.

    Before the meeting closed, President Ping informed the Assembly that, yesterday, he had transmitted the text of a draft resolution on the procedures for September’s High-Level review of the Millennium Declaration.  He informed the Assembly that an open-ended informal consultation of the plenary on that draft resolution would be held on Friday, 1 April 2005, at 10:00 a.m., in the Trusteeship Council Chamber.

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

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