Press Releases

    14 June 2005

    General Assembly Elects Jan Eliasson of Sweden As President of Sixtieth Session, Also Decides on Officers for Main Committees

    NEW YORK, 13 June (UN Headquarters) -- The General Assembly this morning elected, by acclamation, Jan Eliasson of Sweden as the President of its sixtieth session, which is scheduled to open in September.

    In his acceptance speech, Mr. Eliasson said the delegates’ support for his presidency had taken on a special significance for his country since the “legendary” Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld had been born in Jönköping, Sweden, 100 years ago. Paying tribute to Secretary-General Kofi Annan for his “untiring and dedicated” work, he said his report “In Larger Freedom” was the most comprehensive and cohesive proposal to strengthen the United Nations since the birth of the Organization. That proposal had now been transformed into a draft declaration to be considered during the high-level plenary meeting in September. “The wise and decisive leadership” of President Ping had been, and would be, key to that highly important September meeting, he added.

    “Today, we are all of us facing a test of multilateralism”, he said. The main task was now to accept, and to live up to, the triple challenges of development, security and human rights, which were intertwined and affected and reinforced each other. “Let us place the human beings and the real problems in the centre –- and organize ourselves accordingly”, he said. The litmus test for United Nations reforms must be the difference they made for people and crisis areas around the world: for the starving child, the lack of clear water for the majority of the world, the AIDS-stricken mother, the war-torn country, the oppressed and neglected, as well as for the United Nations and regional peacekeepers. “Field tests” should be applied to all reform proposals.

    He said that during his presidency, he would be guided by values and principles which were pillars of Sweden’s foreign policy: belief in multilateral cooperation; the imperative of prevention; respect for the rule of law and human rights; solidarity with the poor and persecuted; and concern for the rights of women, for the children and for the health of planet Earth. Regional organizations and cooperation should be strengthened as a result of the reform efforts. International solutions and methods must be offered that corresponded to the needs of today’s world. The essence of the United Nations reform project was: building a United Nations which effectively and legitimately responded to the urgent needs around the world and added value to its work for security, prosperity and a life in dignity for all.

    “In a spirit of dialogue and transparency, I will, as President of the sixtieth General Assembly, work together with all of you in this common endeavour. Let us bring out the full potential of this central body, the General Assembly, and let us together build a strengthened United Nations”, he said.

    Congratulating Mr. Eliasson on his election, the outgoing President, Jean Ping (Gabon), wished him every success and said that it was an important mark of recognition for Sweden and a deserved culmination of the long political and diplomatic career of Mr. Eliasson. Mr. Eliasson knew the United Nations well, as in 1988-1992 he had been not only Permanent Representative of his country to the Organization, but also Personal Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq and Iran, and the Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council in 1990-1991, before becoming the Organization’s first Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.

    At the time when the United Nations had entered a crucial phase in its history, he said, President Eliasson’s long experience and diplomatic skills would serve him well in leading the work of the sixtieth session and in pursuing the work undertaken during the fifty-ninth session, notably in the implementation of various aspects of the current reform process. That would not be easy and would require unrelenting focus. For that reason, he was ready to take advantage of the period of transition, in a spirit of cooperation and openness, to assist Mr. Eliasson in making an excellent start. That period was so indispensable that he had proposed, in his draft resolution on the revitalization of the Assembly, that the President from now on should be elected at least six months in advance.

    The representatives of Nigeria, Cambodia, Hungary, Suriname and Turkey also took the floor on behalf of their regional groups, to express appreciation to President Ping and congratulate President-elect Eliasson on his election.

    Also elected today were Vice-Presidents of the Assembly: Angola, Armenia, Brazil, Central African Republic, China, France, Guinea-Bissau, India, Iran, Israel, Kenya, Malaysia, Mali, Myanmar, Pakistan, Paraguay, Russian Federation, Tunisia, United Kingdom, United States, and Venezuela.

    Additionally, all of the Assembly’s Main Committees, in separate meetings, elected their officers for the sixtieth session today.

    Elections of Committee Officers

    The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) elected Choi Young-jin of the Republic of Korea as its Chairman, and Lofti Bouchaara of Morocco and Detlev Wolter of Germany as its Vice-Chairmen. The election of the Vice-Chairman from the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States would be held in due course. Elvina Jusefaj of Albania was elected as the Committee’s Rapporteur.

    The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) elected Aminu Bashir Wali (Nigeria) as its Chairperson. It elected Selwin Charles Hart (Barbados), Juraj Koudelka (Czech Republic) and Stefano Toscano (Switzerland) as Vice-Chairpersons and Abdulmalik Alshahibi (Yemen) as Rapporteur.

    Elected to the Bureau of the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) were Francis K. Butagira (Uganda) as the Chairman; and Rania Haj Ali (Syria), Eva Tomic (Slovenia) and Catarina Carvalho (Portugal) as the Committee’s three Chairpersons. The election for the post of Rapporteur will be held following further consultations among the members of the Latin American and Caribbean Group.

     The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) elected Yashar Aliyev (Azerbaijan) as its Chairperson. It elected Subhas Gujadhur (Mauritius), Amparo Anguiano Rodriguez (Mexico) and Alexander Gerts (Netherlands) as its Vice-Chairpersons, and Muhammed Shahrul Nizzam Umar (Brunei Darussalam) as Rapporteur.

    The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) elected John William Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) as its Chairman, and Muhammad Abdul Muhith (Bangladesh) and Dariusz Manczyk (Poland) as its Vice-Chairmen. Katja Pehrman (Finland) was elected as the Committee’s Rapporteur. Consultations among the members of the African States are continuing on a nomination for the post of Vice-Chairperson from that Group.

    Elected to the Bureau of the Sixth Committee (Legal) were: Juan Antonio Yaňez-Barnuevo (Spain) as Chairperson; and Mahmoud Hmoud (Jordan), Mahmoud Samy (Egypt) and Grzegorz Zyman (Poland) as Vice-Chairpersons. A Rapporteur would be elected at a later stage.

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