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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


GA/9799
30 October 2000

Fifty-fifth General Assembly
Plenary
44th Meeting (AM)

ENDING DEBATE ON LAW OF SEA, ASSEMBLY URGES EFFORT TO COMBAT PIRACY;

CALLS FOR ACTION ON UNAUTHORIZED FISHING IN NATIONAL WATERS

Stronger Links Sought between UN and Nuclear-Test-Ban
Treaty Organization, Islamic Conference, League of Arab States


The General Assembly this morning, concluded its consideration of its agenda item on oceans and the law of the sea with the adoption of two resolutions –- one on efforts to prevent and combat piracy and armed robbery at sea; the other on large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing. The Assembly also considered cooperation between the United Nations and three other bodies -– the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the League of Arab States –- on which it also took action

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In a final action this morning, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States. By the resolution's terms, the Assembly requested the Secretariat of the United Nations and the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States to intensify further their cooperation for the realization of the purposes and principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations; the strengthening of international peace and security; economic and social development; disarmament; decolonization; self-determination and the eradication of all forms of racism and racial discrimination.

By the text, the Assembly also recommended that the United Nations and all organizations of the United Nations system should make the greatest possible use of Arab institutions and technical expertise in projects undertaken in the Arab region.

The Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States said the League had been the first regional organization to establish a relationship with the United Nations. Today he welcomed its new role of cooperation with the United Nations in legal, cultural and political areas. The League had favoured consolidation for peace, security and development. It was clear that the situation in the Middle East required a just, lasting peace based on cooperative efforts between the United Nations and the League.

Israel's representative said his delegation had joined the consensus, guided by the desire to make peace with its neighbours. In joining that consensus, Israel wished to demonstrate to all parties its willingness to forgo unnecessary discord in international forums, and to stress the need to exercise restraint in the language of resolutions and all related statements. He rejected the language used at the latest summit of Arab League States in Cairo, and called on Palestinians to halt violence and incitement, and to immediately restore calm and order.

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Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this morning to conclude its consideration of oceans and the law of the sea. It was also scheduled to take up consideration of: cooperation between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization; cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference; cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States; an agenda item entitled "Towards global partnerships"; and peace, security and reunification on the Korean peninsula.

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The report of the Secretary-General on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) (document A/55/368) stated that, during the period under review, the United Nations and the OIC continued their consultations on political matters, especially those concerning ongoing peacemaking efforts, which have become an important dimension in the cooperation between the two organizations. Both Secretaries-General had a number of bilateral meetings during the period. Among other things, they discussed the situations in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Kosovo and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Both organizations continue to hold regular consultations, in particular between the Department of Political Affairs and the Permanent Observer Mission of the OIC to the United Nations, on a number of issues of mutual concern.

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Cooperation between United Nations and OIC

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HASMY IBRA DEGUENE KA (Senegal) ... One priority was clearly to find solutions to crises that were of great concern in certain countries or regions, for example, the Middle East and the question of Palestine, Somalia, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone. The OIC was deeply committed to finding lasting political solutions to those crises. The question of Palestine was a special priority. Senegal could attest to the vitality of the relationship and the pre-eminent role that the United Nations and the OIC must play in finding a solution. Ariel Sharon's provocative visit and the violence that it triggered had prompted both organizations to work in close cooperation in order to find ways to put the peace process back on track.

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ABDUL-AZIZ AL-HAID (Saudi Arabia) said the discussion today had thrown light on cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC. The report of the Secretary-General (document A/55/368) expressed the dimension and importance of that cooperation. In addition, it imposed responsibility on both organizations for continued cooperation in the political and cultural areas. His Government hoped that mechanisms would be created as sound channels for finding solutions to joint problems such as peace, disarmament, the Palestine question, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other international peace and security issues. Saudi Arabia believed that that would require intensifying cooperation in the political field.

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SHAMSAD AHMAD (Pakistan) said that coordination between the United Nations and the OIC had been maintained during the past year on important political issues, including the Middle East and the question of Palestine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the situation in Afghanistan, Somalia and Nagorno-Karabakh. There was now a need for sustained and effective cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC for resolving some of the most protracted conflicts. The Jammu and Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan was one of them.

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HADI NEJAD HOSSEINIAN (Iran) said that ... The question of stability and peace in the Middle East through the full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of self-determination, the return of refugees to their homes and the establishment of a sovereign State of Palestine, was still a matter of priority and concern in the agenda of both organizations. His Government strongly believed that continuing consultations and cooperation between the two organizations could contribute to the full realization of the Palestinian’s rights and the restoration of a just and genuine peace in the region.

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Cooperation between United Nations and League of Arab States

SAEED HASAN (Iraq) introduced the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States (document A/55/L.18). The League of Arab States was established at the same time as the United Nations. He was proud of the links between the two, which were a tangible example of cooperation. That cooperation was extremely varied. Both organizations had studied all of the problems related to international peace and security. There was a real need to enhance that cooperation, so that the United Nations could play an enhanced role in ending the persecution of the Palestinians by the racist Israelis. There was also a need for enhanced cooperation in the economic and social areas. In conclusion, he said that he would like to call upon the General Assembly to support cooperation between the two bodies and hoped that the resolution would be adopted by consensus.


HUSSEIN A. HASSOUNA, Observer for the League of Arab States, said ... On behalf of the League, appreciation was due for the senior posts of two Arabs to the UNFPA and the United Nations. It was clear that the situation in the Middle East required a just and lasting peace, based on cooperative efforts between the United Nations and the League. The Cairo Summit of 21 October said Israel had an obligation to return the region to peace by stopping its aggression against the Palestinian people. Arab leaders confirmed that peace required Israel to make a commitment to the rules of international law, specifically the principles of peace and the overriding one of land for peace. The United Nations must work for the implementation of resolutions regarding the question of Palestine and must maintain the credibility of United Nations by having all States call for the implementation of resolutions. In conclusion, the League of Arab States had enjoyed Observer status and looked forward to the consolidation and deepening of its relationship with the United Nations. He was confident adoption of the draft resolution by the General Assembly would be for the benefit of both organizations.

Explanation of Vote after Vote

Mr. SHACHAM (Israel) said his delegation had joined the consensus on the resolution for the seventh time in a row, guided by the desire to make peace with its neighbours. It was the first resolution on an issue related to the Middle East to be adopted by the Assembly's fifty-fifth session, and he was pleased it was adopted by consensus. In joining that consensus, Israel liked to demonstrate to all parties its willingness to forego unnecessary discord in international forums, and to stress the need to exercise restraint in the language of resolutions and all related statements. It was unfortunate that this debate had been used by some speakers to direct attacks against another Member State.

He said the latest summit of Arab League States in Cairo had been mentioned repeatedly. Israel rejected the language of threats used at that summit. The decisions taken there placed responsibility for the recent events and the damage to the peace process exclusively on Israel, in distortion of reality. At Camp David Israel had made courageous proposals in order to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians and a historic reconciliation with the Arab world. Regrettably, Arafat and the Palestinians had responded by plunging the region into a whirlpool of violence and bloodshed. He called on the Palestinians to halt the violence and incitement, and to immediately restore calm and order. Israel continued to strive for peace while uncompromisingly defending its vital security interests.

He said his country felt that the decisions of the Arab summit which called for a freeze of multilateral talks were disappointing. The existence of channels of communication was important in times of tension, and he regretted the decision against normalization of relations between Arab States and Israel. Israel would not be dissuaded from its determination to move forward in achieving real peace.

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