13 September 2005

Member States, Gearing up for 60th Anniversary Session, Adopt Measures to Strengthen, Revitalize General Assembly

Decides to Defer over 50 Agenda Items to Forthcoming Session

NEW YORK, 12 September (UN Headquarters) -- Just ahead of the opening of its sixtieth anniversary session tomorrow, the General Assembly this evening unanimously approved a series of measures aimed at reaffirming the 191-member body's role and authority to take up global issues of concern to the international community, including discussing matters related to international peace and security, in accordance with the United Nations Charter. 

Adopting a new resolution (document A/59/L.69/Rev.1), the Assembly stressed the need to demonstrate the political will to ensure effective implementation of its resolutions, and decided to convene and organize major thematic debates in order to establish broad international understanding on current substantive issues of importance to Member States.

The Assembly also decided to discuss issues pertaining to international peace and security, in accordance with relevant Articles of the Charter, as well as, where appropriate, relevant Assembly Rules of Procedure, which enable it to take swift and urgent action, bearing in mind that the Security Council bears the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Also by the text, the Assembly decided to strengthen the role and leadership of its President, authorizing that official to propose interactive debates on current issues on the Assembly's current agenda.  It also decided to augment the resources of the President's Office, from within existing resources, subject to consideration by the Assembly of the Secretary-General's proposed 2006-2007 budget, to provide for two further additional posts at management and senior levels to be filled on an annual basis following consultations with the incoming President at the beginning of the sixtieth session.

The Assembly also decided to establish a working group, open to all Member States, to identify ways to further enhance the role, authority, effectiveness, and efficiency of the Assembly.

In other action, the Assembly adopted a draft decision included in the report of the Open-ended Working Group on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters (document A/59/47), by which it would urge the Group to continue considering the issue during the sixtieth session, and decide that the Group itself should continue to exert efforts at achieving progress on Security Council renewal.

At the request of the representative of Slovenia, the Assembly deferred action on matters related to cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and to include it in the agenda of the sixtieth session.

Taking up the report of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) (document A/59/652/Add.3), the Assembly followed the Committee's recommendation and deferred until its sixtieth session items and documents related to the programme budget for 2004-2005, including eight items on the Capital Master Plan.

Also included on the draft agenda of the sixtieth session were matters related to the prevention of armed conflict; the situation in Central America: progress in fashioning a region of peace freedom, democracy and development; the question of Cyprus; armed aggression against the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).

In addition, matters on the draft agenda related to armed Israeli aggression against the Iraqi nuclear installations and its grave consequences for the established international system concerning the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and international peace and security, as well as to the consequences of the Iraqi occupation of and aggression against Kuwait, and the Declaration of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity on the aerial and naval military attack against the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya by the present United States Administration in April 1986, and items related to the situation of democracy and human rights in Haiti.

The Assembly also postponed until next session:  follow-up to the outcome of the special session on children; follow-up to the outcome of the twenty-sixth special session:  implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS; strengthening of the United Nations system; and improving the financial situation of the United Nations.

Also, matters related to the elimination of unilateral extraterritorial coercive economic measures as a means of political and economic compulsion were deferred until the sixty-second session.

The Assembly then went on to defer until its next session items related to notification by the Secretary-General under Article 12, paragraph 2, of the Charter, report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization, report of the Economic and Social Council and election of a member of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Also deferred were matters related to the admission of new Members to the United Nations; implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples; the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security; the situation in the Middle East; and the question of Palestine.

Other items deferred until its sixtieth session included strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance; the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA); follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development.

The Assembly also postponed action on financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors; programme budget for the biennium 2004-2005; programme planning; scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations; human resources management; the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU); the United Nations common system; the report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the Office of Internal Oversight Services; financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

On matters related to administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations, the Assembly deferred consideration on requirements for missions in Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Timor-Leste, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Georgia, Kosovo, Liberia, peacekeeping forces in the Middle East, Sierra Leone, Western Sahara, Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire, Haiti and the Sudan.

It also deferred until its sixtieth session matters related to the financing of the activities arising from Security Council resolution 687 (1991) and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Speaking in explanation of vote before the Assembly's decision to defer to its sixtieth session consideration of the situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, the representative of Armenia disassociated himself from the decision, saying the results of a recent fact-finding mission of the OSCE should have put Azerbaijani concerns to rest.  He registered with sadness a "futile effort" by Armenia's negotiating partner to keep the agenda item alive. 

At the top of the meeting, Assembly President Jean Ping (Gabon) expressed the Assembly's deepest sympathy to the Government and people of the United States for the tragic loss of life and material damage in the southern Gulf Coast states resulting from hurricane Katrina.

Mr. Ping also informed the Assembly that Chad had made the necessary payment to reduce its arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the Charter.

[Article 19 of the United Nations Charter states that a Member State in arrears in its contributions to the Organization shall have no vote in the General Assembly if the amount of the arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contribution due from it for the preceding two years.]

The Assembly will reconvene tomorrow, 13 September, at 9 a.m. to close its fifty-ninth session.

* *** *