Press Releases

    2 December 2005

    Fifth Committee Recommends 2005-2006 Budget of $1.13 Billion for UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo

    NEW YORK, 1 December (UN Headquarters) -- The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this morning recommended that the General Assembly appropriate some $1.13 billion for the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) for the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006, inclusive of the amount of $383.19 million previously authorized under the terms of resolution 59/285 B last June, in addition to $20.22 million for the peacekeeping support account and the United Nations Logistics Base.

    The Security Council extended the Mission until 30 September 2006 through resolution 1635 of 28 October.  Also by that text, it authorized an increase of 300 personnel in the military strength of MONUC to allow for the deployment of an infantry battalion in Katanga.

    Prior to that, the Mission's mandate had been extended by resolutions 1592 of 30 March 2005 and 1628 of 30 September.  Also in September, through resolution 1621, the Council authorized an increase in the strength of MONUC by 841 personnel, including up to five formed police units of 125 officers each.  It also authorized the Mission to provide additional support to the Independent Electoral Commission for the transport of electoral materials.

    Approving, without a vote, the draft resolution on MONUC (document A/C.5/60/L.8), the Committee also addressed the status of contributions to the Mission as of 31 October, when outstanding assessments stood at $220.9 million and only 40 Member States had paid their assessments in full.  By the terms of the draft, the Assembly would urge all other Member States to ensure payment of their dues in full.

    Following action on the draft, the representative of Japan noted that the paragraph on the Entebbe logistical base was directly preceded by the paragraph on the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy.  That had not been the case in the draft on the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS).  He suggested that future budget resolutions follow the format used in the MONUC draft.

    In that connection, South Africa's representative said that the issue needed to be further considered.  She did not quite understand the link between the two and might have to make a more elaborate statement in the future.  She also expressed hope that the resolution approved today would support the Mission's crucial work on the ground.

    On other matters, the representative of Jamaica, speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, expressed concern regarding the progress of work of the Committee and requested a formal meeting to review the programme of work for the remainder of the session.  A number of items had been introduced, but no further action had been taken.  In other cases, items had not been introduced and documentation not even been issued, or had been issued very late.  Relevant officials needed to attend the meeting to explain the situation.

    That request was supported by the representatives of Egypt and South Africa, who said that the Committee had reached a point where it needed to discuss, as soon as possible, how it was going to proceed.

    At the closing of the meeting, members of the Committee gave a standing ovation to Deputy Secretary Nora Benari, who is assuming her new responsibilities in the Office of the President of the General Assembly.  They also welcomed the new Deputy Secretary, Helen Thorup-Hayes.  Numerous speakers -- in what one delegate called "an epitome of consensus" rarely seen in the Committee -- expressed their appreciation to Ms. Benari for her efficiency, warmth, competence and impartiality.  Responding to those comments, Ms. Benari said she was overwhelmed by the expressions of love and appreciation.

    The date of the Committee's next formal meeting will be announced.

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