30 August 2006

Decolonization Committee Considers Timing, Location of Next Pacific Regional Seminar; Hears Report Concerning Recent ECOSOC Session

NEW YORK, 29 August (UN Headquarters) -- This afternoon, the Special Committee on Decolonization heard Cuba's report on the latest Economic and Social Council session in Geneva and considered the timing and location of its next Pacific Regional Seminar.  Initially scheduled for May in Dili, Timor-Leste, that seminar had been postponed previously "due to circumstances beyond the Committee's control" -- until later this year in another location.

The Committee's Acting Chairman, Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz (Cuba) said that postponing the Regional Seminar in the Pacific to 2008 would mean "a lost opportunity to exchange the ideas and information with representatives of the Pacific Non-Self-Governing Territories at a very important stage of the implementation of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism."

In that connection, Fiji's representative informed the Committee that there had been consultations between countries of the region, and Fiji had agreed, in principle, to host the Regional Seminar in November this year.  However, some more time was needed to confirm the invitation in writing.  The representative of Papua New Guinea said that, should Fiji be unable to host the event, her country would be willing to do so.

Taking note of the information presented by those speakers, the Committee authorized its Chairman to hold necessary consultations in that connection and accept invitation to the Seminar on behalf of the Special Committee.  The Chair was also authorized to finalize the composition of the Committee's official delegation to the Seminar by adding two more members to it -- one from the Asian Group and the other from the African Group of States.  It had been previously decided that the delegation would consist of the representatives of Saint Lucia, Congo, Cuba, Syria and the Russian Federation.

The representative of Cuba reported on his delegation's activities on behalf of the Committee during the Economic and Social Council's substantive session last month.  Cuba had introduced and negotiated the draft resolution on Support for Non-Self-Governing Territories by specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations.  The resolution, which was similar to the 2005 text, had been adopted by the Economic and Social Council in a recorded vote of 29 members voting in favour, none against, with 25 abstentions.

Also this afternoon, the Committee -- formally known as the Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration of the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples -- elected, by acclamation, Anthony Bryan Severin (Santa Lucia) as its Chairman, and Bashar Ja'afari (Syria) as its Rapporteur.  The new Chairman and Rapporteur made statements following the election, and the representative of Congo made a congratulatory statement, as well.

The Committee's next meeting will be announced in the Journal.

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