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In the absence of the President, Mr. Lamba (Malawi), Vice-President, took the Chair.
The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.
Agenda items 55 and 57 to 59 ( continued)
Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly
United Nations reform: measures and proposals
Restructuring and revitalization of the United Nations in the economic, social and related fields
Strengthening of the United Nations system
Reports of the Secretary-General (A/57/786, A/58/175, A/58/351, A/58/382, A/58/395 and A/58/395/Corr.1)
Mr. Kumalo (South Africa): ...
We can all recall the few occasions when the General Assembly plenary has dedicated significant time to an important issue and when all missions, big and small, have participated and even the world at large has followed our deliberations with interest. A recent example was the resumed tenth emergency special session held this past week, in which, for one afternoon and late into the evening, the General Assembly discussed in plenary the issue of the separation wall that Israel is building in Palestine. The impact and decision of that debate was felt throughout the world.
Mr. Cunningham (United States of America): ...
If we are to reform and revitalize the General Assembly and its subordinate institutions, we also need to consider the number of resolutions we adopt and the way we adopt them in this and other bodies of the General Assembly. For example, there are 22 resolutions on the agenda that deal with the Middle East and Israel and additional resolutions from emergency special sessions that are becoming increasingly routine. We vote on each and every one because we cannot achieve a consensus in this chamber on any of them. We have often stated here and elsewhere in the United Nations that neither the Security Council nor the General Assembly should take positions that predetermine the outcome of peace efforts, or even worse, harm their prospects with one-sided and uneven measures.
We strongly believe that the lack of reform, not the pursuit of reform, will harm the United Nations. If we do not act quickly, with determination and ingenuity, we will squander the opportunity to make this Organization better. We must do it for the sake of those in need today, but even more importantly, we must do it for the sake of those who will need this Organization’s help tomorrow. It will not be easy or simple. But it will be our enduring legacy, if we succeed in making the United Nations a more effective and dynamic institution that one day may come close to fulfilling the goals for which it was created.
The meeting rose at 6.05 p.m.
This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-154A. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.