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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
Distr.
GENERAL
A/C.5/55/SR.36
7 December 2000

Original: English

Fifth Committee

Summary record of the 36th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Thursday, 7 December 2000, at 3 p.m.


Chairman:
    Mr. Rosenthal
    Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative
    and Budgetary Questions: Mr. Mselle
(Guatemala)


Contents

Agenda item 127: Financing of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991 (continued)
Agenda item 128: Financing of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Genocide and Other Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of Rwanda and Rwandan Citizens Responsible for Genocide and Other Such Violations Committed in the Territory of Neighbouring States between 1 January and 31 December 1994 (continued)
Agenda item 138: Financing of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Middle East (continued)
(b) United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (continued)
Other matters

The meeting was called to order at 3.10 p.m.

/...

Agenda item 138: Financing of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Middle East (continued)


(b) United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (continued) (A/C.5/55/L.11)

Draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.11

5. Mr. Ahounou (Côte d’Ivoire), speaking in his capacity as the coordinator of informal consultations on agenda item 138 (b), said he regretted to report that no consensus had been reached on draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.11, entitled “Financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon”.

6. Mr. Wittmann (United States of America) said that he, too, regretted that, because the proposed text presented problems, no consensus had been reached on the draft resolution.

7. At the request of the representative of the United States of America, a recorded vote was taken on the fourth preambular paragraph and paragraphs 2, 3 and 14 of draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.11.

In favour:
Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chile, China, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia

Against:
Israel, Marshall Islands, United States of America

Abstaining:
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Tonga, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay

8. The fourth preambular paragraph and paragraphs 2, 3 and 14 of draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.11 were adopted by 68 votes to 3, with 35 abstentions.

9. The Chairman invited the Committee to take action on draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.11 as a whole.

10. Mr. Wittmann (United States of America) said that, because certain paragraphs of the text were objectionable to his delegation, he would like to request a recorded vote on the draft resolution as a whole.

11. A recorded vote was taken.

In favour:
Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia

Against:
Israel, Marshall Islands, United States of America

Abstaining:
None

12. Draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.11, as a whole, was adopted by 109 votes to 3.

13. Mr. Yamanaka (Japan) said that his delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolution as a whole because it had a responsibility, as a Member State, to ensure the financing of all United Nations peacekeeping operations, including the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). He regretted, however, that the draft resolution had not been adopted by consensus.

14. Mr. Lamek (France), speaking on behalf of the European Union, reiterated its position that the costs arising from the incident at Qana were of a special nature. A call for the financing of those costs through voluntary contributions would be welcome. Those costs should continue to be reflected in the budget, and the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations should continue to be a collective responsibility.

15. The European Union countries had abstained in the vote on the fourth preambular paragraph and paragraphs 2, 3 and 14 of draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.11 because those paragraphs were not appropriate in a draft resolution on financing. The political issues surrounding UNIFIL, including the incident at Qana, had already been discussed by the General Assembly, and the latter’s position had already been expressed in its resolution 50/22 C. He regretted that the Fifth Committee had not confined its discussions to budgetary matters.

16. Mr. Fox (Australia), speaking also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand, said he was pleased that the draft resolution provided for the financing of an expanded UNIFIL. He regretted that no consensus had been reached on the text. Australia, Canada and New Zealand had abstained in the vote on the fourth preambular paragraph and paragraphs 2, 3 and 14, which represented a continuation of the regrettable practice of introducing political elements that were inappropriate in a draft resolution on financing. Those paragraphs undermined long-standing budgetary principles concerning the collective responsibility of Member States for financing peacekeeping operations. In that connection, he recalled that, as at 31 October 2000, only 21 per cent of the Member States had paid their assessed contributions to UNIFIL in full; he urged the remaining Members to pay their assessed contributions without further delay.

17. Mr. Diab (Lebanon) said that his delegation would make a statement on the draft resolution in the General Assembly, on behalf of the Group of Arab States. The draft resolution just adopted confirmed that the occupying State must fulfil its obligations under international law, on the basis of the principle that aggressor States must take full responsibility for their acts of aggression, particularly when such acts were deliberately directed against an active United Nations peacekeeping base.

18. Mr. Adam (Israel) said that the Committee was once again being used as a forum for biased political attacks on his country. He reiterated his country’s position that the action at Qana had been necessary because Hizbollah had deliberately chosen to fire rockets on Israel from the United Nations base in disregard of the civilian population of the area. There was no precedent for the position that a particular Member State should bear the sole financial responsibility for damage sustained by a United Nations peacekeeping operation; the participants in such operations understood the dangers inherent in their duties, and the costs arising from any damage should be absorbed by the peacekeeping budget, in line with the principle of collective responsibility.

19. With respect to the incident at Qana, no country would have failed to act while rockets were being fired upon its citizens. Since Israel had withdrawn from southern Lebanon in full compliance with Security Council resolution 425 (1978), Hizbollah had taken its place, using that area as a base for its attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians. It had crossed the withdrawal line and infiltrated Israeli territory, and had kidnapped three soldiers from the Israeli side of the border. No information had been received on those soldiers, and members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement had not been allowed to visit them. The Government of Lebanon should reassert its effective authority in southern Lebanon, as mandated by the Security Council in resolution 425 (1978).

20. Those Member States which cynically manipulated the Fifth Committee for political purposes should stop diverting the Committee’s attention from the important issues it had to consider. He regretted that the Committee had had to depart from its practice of taking decisions by consensus. His delegation would have joined a consensus on the draft resolution if the latter had not contained the newly introduced political elements.

21. Mr. Nguyen Xuan Ang (Viet Nam) and Mr. Almuslimani (Bahrain) said that, if their delegations had been present during the voting, they would have voted in favour of draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.11.

22. Ms. Mernik (Slovenia) said that, if her delegation had been present during the voting, it would have voted in favour of the fourth preambular paragraph and abstained in the vote on paragraphs 2, 3 and 14, and would have voted in favour of the draft resolution as a whole.

23. Mr. Nakkari (Syrian Arab Republic) and Mr. Bhattarai (Nepal) said that, if their delegations had been present during the voting on the fourth preambular paragraph and paragraphs 2, 3 and 14, they would have voted in favour of those paragraphs.

24. Mr. Diab (Lebanon) said that the representative of Israel had once again made false allegations. His delegation’s position on the draft resolution was based on the principle that the aggressor must bear full responsibility for its act of aggression against a United Nations base. Most of the victims of that act had been elderly persons, women and children. The issue was not political, but humanitarian. The Member States must take responsibility for peacekeeping operations, ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers and preserve their accomplishments.

25. His delegation had frequently informed the Security Council and the Secretary-General of the violations perpetrated on a daily basis by the Israeli forces, which crossed the withdrawal line established by the Security Council and occupied Lebanese territory. Nineteen Lebanese citizens had been taken from their homes in Lebanon by those forces and were still detained in Israeli prisons. Israel’s Supreme Court had recognized the legality of that action. He was surprised that Israel should invoke international legality when its own Supreme Court had attempted to legitimize hostage-taking. He asked whether Israel would allow members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to visit the hostages in its prisons and what Israel was doing in the Lebanese territory it continued to occupy.

/...


The meeting rose at 3.55 p.m.


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