29 June 2006

General Assembly Approves Admission of Montenegro to United Nations, Increasing Number of Member States to 192

Assembly also Re-Elects Anna Tibaijuka as Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Endorses Extension of Rwanda Tribunal Judges

NEW YORK, 28 June (UN Headquarters) -- The Republic of Montenegro was admitted as the 192nd member of the United Nations this morning, by a General Assembly resolution adopted by acclamation, upon recommendation by the Security Council.

In that country's first statement to the Assembly, Filip Vujanović, President of Montenegro, said that, by becoming a United Nations Member State, his country had assumed a challenge and responsibility to actively support international peacebuilding, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and humanitarian efforts.  He added that Montenegro attached special importance to good neighbourly relations, and particularly wanted to further develop close cooperation with Serbia.

Welcoming President Vujanović to the General Assembly, Slavko Kruljević of Serbia said he was pleased to see a country, with which Serbia had friendly and close ties, becoming a member of United Nations.  Serbia would seek friendly bilateral relations with Montenegro, he said, having spent a century with it as a common State.

Introducing the draft resolution on the admission of Montenegro to the United Nations, Gerhard Pfanzelter of Austria commended the peaceful and democratic way in which Montenegro had gained its independence, saying it was a sign of political maturity.  Speaking on behalf of the European Union, he said that Montenegro was an independent State with full legal personality under international law, and one which the European Union would consider its "steadfast partner".

Statements of welcome were also made by representatives of Zimbabwe (on behalf of the African States), Turkey (on behalf of the Asian States), Albania (on behalf of the Eastern European States), Cuba (on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean States), Ireland (on behalf of the Western European and other States) and the United States as host country.

General Assembly President Jan Eliasson said he looked forward to working with Montenegro to meet the "multitude of global challenges that lie ahead".

Also this morning, the Assembly re-elected Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka as Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) for a term of four years, beginning 1 September.  Speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77", Sue Zia of South Africa welcomed the move, adding that the importance of programmes like UN-HABITAT should be bolstered and not diluted during the ongoing reform process.  Also speaking to congratulate Ms. Tibaijuka were representatives from Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria.

Further, the Assembly endorsed a recommendation of the Secretary-General, also endorsed by the Security Council on 13 June, to extend the term of office for the eleven permanent judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, from 24 May 2007 to 31 December 2008.  The decision's approval would enable the completion of trials currently under way that were likely to continue beyond the expiration of the judges' four-year term.

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