13 September 2006

General Committee Recommends Inclusion of more than 150 Items on Agenda of Sixty-First General Assembly Session

Peacebuilding Commission Report to Be Considered in Plenary; Decision on Allocation of Human Rights Council Report Deferred

NEW YORK, 12 September (UN Headquarters) -- The General Committee of the sixty-first General Assembly today recommended 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, 12 December, and close on Monday, 17 September 2007.

For the second year in a row, the Committee curtailed a lengthy debate on the inclusion of two items, "the proactive role for the United Nations in maintaining peace and security in East Asia" and "the representation and participation of the 23 million people of Taiwan in the United Nations".  Ultimately deciding not to recommend inclusion of the items in the Assembly's agenda, the two were considered jointly in the Committee today on the recommendation of Uganda, with Haiti's representative noting that the item on East Asia now went beyond questions of Taiwan.

Speaking in support of Uganda's proposal were the representatives of the Russian Federation, Nigeria, Chile, Guinea, Nepal, Iraq, Kuwait, Indonesia, Cameroon, Bhutan, Colombia and Zimbabwe.  Haiti's representative opposed the proposal to consider the items jointly.

The representatives of Nicaragua and the Gambia called for a recommendation to include the items on the Assembly's agenda on the grounds that limiting debate was not consistent with the Charter.

China's representative voiced firm opposition to recommending inclusion of the items on the agenda.  He said the United Nations had long acknowledged there was only one China and Taiwan was part of it, so there could not be a Taiwan question.  Also, China had consistently advocated and adhered to the principle of "peaceful reunification and one country, two systems".  The actions of the current leadership of Taiwan were disruptive and damaging.  All efforts to take up the Taiwan question were foreign interference in China's sovereign affairs.

Also not recommended for inclusion in the Assembly's agenda for the current session was an item on protracted conflicts in the GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and the Republic of Moldova) area and their implications for international peace, security and development.  Speaking in favour of recommending its inclusion, however, were the representatives of Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova.  The delegate of the Russian Federation opposed its inclusion, saying there had been no support for the item previously.  Nepal, China, Iraq, Nigeria and Armenia also opposed recommending inclusion.  The representatives of the United Kingdom and the United States said they would have recommended inclusion had a vote been called.

Postponed today on the recommendation of Cameroon, and supported by the United Kingdom, was an item on "the question of the Malagasy islands of Glorieuses, Juan de Nova, Europa and Bassas da India".  It was decided that that item would be taken up at the Assembly's sixty-second session.

In another action, on the recommendation of Liechtenstein and supported by Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands, the Committee decided to allocate consideration of requests for observer status in the Assembly directly to the Sixth Committee (Legal).  The Legal Committee, therefore, would directly consider the requests for observer status in the General Assembly for two organizations, the Collaborative Intergovernmental Scientific Research Institute and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund for International Development.

The Committee also decided to recommend that the Assembly take up the report of the Peacebuilding Commission directly in plenary, on the basis of a proposal by the Netherlands as supported by Chile and the United Kingdom.  Also recommended by the delegations of Costa Rica and Iraq was that the plenary consider directly the follow-up to the recommendations on administrative management and internal oversight of the Independent Inquiry Committee into the United Nations "oil-for-food" programme, already taken up by the Security Council.

A decision on allocating the report of the new Human Rights Council was deferred, on the recommendation of Indonesia.  Those speaking in favour of recommending allocation of the report to the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) were the delegations of China, Nigeria, Iraq, Russian Federation, Colombia, Cameroon, Guinea, Zimbabwe and Libya.  Led by Chile, the delegates of the Netherlands, Estonia, Norway, United Kingdom, France and Croatia called for the item to be allocated directly to the plenary, with a role for the Third Committee to consider the Human Rights Council's recommendations.  Speakers from Mexico and Liechtenstein held that the report should be the concern of both the plenary and the Third Committee.

On a proposal of the United Kingdom, the Committee recommended that an item on the Peacebuilding Fund be taken up directly in plenary.

After considering both new and traditional items, the Committee made recommendations on the allocation of items to the Assembly's subsidiary Committees and dates by which they should complete their work.  During the main part of the session, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) would complete its work by Tuesday, 31 October; the Sixth Committee (Legal) and the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) by Thursday, 9 November; the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) by Wednesday, 22 November; the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) by Friday, 1 December; and the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) by Friday, 8 December.

The General Committee's report is expected to be taken up by the Assembly at 4 p.m. Wednesday, 13 September.

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