14 September 2005
General Committee Recommends Inclusion of More than 150 Items on Agenda of Sixtieth General Assembly Session
Included for First Time, Holocaust Remembrance to Be Considered in Plenary
NEW YORK, 13 September (UN Headquarters) -- The General Committee of the sixtieth General Assembly recommended this evening the inclusion of more than 150 items on the Assembly's agenda for the session. It also recommended that the current session recess on Tuesday, 13 December and close on Monday, 11 September 2006.
After considering a number of items, both new and traditional, the Committee made recommendations concerning the dates by which the Assembly's substantive Committees should complete their work and allocated various items to those subsidiary bodies. It recommended also that during the final week of Ramadan -- from 31 October 2005 to 4 November 2005 -- the hours of plenary meetings and meetings of the Main Committees be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., at the latest.
For the first time, the Committee did not hold its annual lengthy debate on "the equitable representation of the 23 million people of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the United Nations". This year it heard only two proposals for the inclusion of that item on the Assembly's agenda and two expressions of opposition, before ultimately rejecting the matter once again. The Committee also rejected the inclusion of a new related item: "the proactive role for the United Nations in maintaining peace in the Taiwan Strait".
Introducing the item and requesting its inclusion, the representative of the Gambia described the problem of the Taiwan Strait as very serious and called for urgent attention from the international community. With what he called an "alarming and astronomical" military expansion by China, and a dangerous legislative back-up in the enactment of the "anti-secession law", which provides the legal justification for an invasion of an independent, sovereign State -- Taiwan -- the United Nations should not wait until it was too late before embarking on measures to redress that situation.
The representative of Chad also spoke in favour of including the items on the Assembly's agenda.
Expressing his strong opposition to the item's inclusion, China's representative argued that it would represent interference in his country's internal affairs and constitute a violation of the United Nations Charter. There was only one China, of which Taiwan was an inseparable part. China had consistently adhered to a policy of "peaceful reunification and one country, two systems", while advocating cross-Straits dialogue and cooperation in economic, technological, cultural and other fields. Secessionist activities in the name of Taiwanese independence were the largest obstacle to cross-Straits relations and the biggest threat to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
The representative of Pakistan also strongly opposed the inclusion of the item.
In other action, the Committee rejected, by a show of hands, a proposal by the United States that the report of the International Criminal Court be taken up in the Sixth Committee rather than in plenary. Those in favour of discussing the report in plenary included France, United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Canada, Brazil, Liechtenstein, Paraguay, Netherlands and Bolivia.
The Committee also decided to have the Assembly consider, for the first time, an item on remembrance of the Holocaust, which would be considered in plenary.
Among the other new items proposed for inclusion on the Assembly's agenda, the Committee decided that matters related to observer status in the General Assembly for the Latin American Integration Association and the Common Fund for Commodities would be allocated to the Sixth Committee.
Also this evening, the Committee postponed until a later date consideration of "the question of the Comorian island of Mayotte". It also postponed until its sixty-first session, an item on "the question of the Malagasy islands of Glorieuses, Juan de Nova, Europa and Bassas da India".
The Committee also set the work schedule for the Assembly's substantive Committees. During the main part of the sixtieth session, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) would complete its work by Tuesday, 1 November; the Sixth Committee (Legal) by Wednesday, 9 November; the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) by Thursday, 10 November; the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) by Wednesday, 23 November; the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) by Tuesday, 6 December; and the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) by Friday, 9 December.
The General Committee will meet again at a time and date to be announced.
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