28 March 2006

Budget Committee Hears Call for Conclusion of Current Session by 31 March

But Extension May Be Needed for Decisions on Special Political Missions, Peacebuilding Support, Capital Master Plan, Scale of Assessment, Security Issues

NEW YORK, 27 March (UN Headquarters) -- In a short meeting this morning, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) considered the programme of work for the remainder of its first resumed session, taking up the schedule of informal consultations presented by the Chairman following an early morning meeting with coordinators of informal consultations on various agenda items.

Presenting the tentative programme of work for the week, the Committee's Chairman, John William Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) reminded the delegates that the Committee needed to conclude its work by Friday, and the cooperation of all members was needed to achieve that goal.  It was imperative for all delegations to submit specific language proposals by noon tomorrow because, in some cases, work in informals was hampered by the fact that coordinators were still awaiting text proposals from them.

Speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, South Africa's representative said it was important to have a full understanding of the issues before the Committee and stressed that the Group had presented its position on the items before the Committee and was prepared to work with others to conclude its work.  The Group was also prepared to work on weekends.  Advocating efficient use of time, she also said that a number of issues still remained to be addressed, and it would not be useful to keep deferring them any further.  Serious reflection should be given to what needed to be done to conclude the Committee's work.  If unable to reach agreement on the issues by Wednesday or Thursday, contingency arrangements for extending the session should be made.

Austria's representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed readiness to work with other Member States to conclude work by 31 March.  The decisions on special political missions, the Peacebuilding Support Office, the Capital Master Plan, the scale of assessments and safety and security management needed to be taken during the current session.

In conclusion, Mr. Ashe said that the Bureau would take into account the views expressed by delegations and make the necessary adjustments, as required.  The Committee's Secretary, Movses Abelian, also presented an overview of informal informals scheduled for the coming days.

The Committee will continue its work at a date to be announced.

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