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Chairman: Mr. Rosenthal ................................................................... (Guatemala)
Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions: Mr. Mselle
Agenda item 138: Financing of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Middle East (continued)
(b) United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (continued)
The meeting was called to order at 10.25 a.m.
(b) United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (continued) (A/C.5/55/L.77)
Draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.77
65. The Chairman recalled that, in introducing the draft resolution at the Committee’s 65th meeting, the representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, had orally revised paragraphs 22 and 24 by replacing the words “the scheme set out in” with the words “paragraph 20 of”.
66. Mr. Wittmann (United States of America) asked whether the oral revision proposed by the representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran was limited to paragraphs 22 and 24 of the draft resolution.
67. The Chairman confirmed that it was so limited.
68. Ms. Barghouti (Observer for Palestine), speaking on behalf of the Group of Arab States, recalled that, in paragraph 14 of its resolution 55/180, the General Assembly had stressed that Israel should pay a specific amount in compensation for the damage that had resulted from the incident at Qana on 18 April 1996 and had requested the Secretary-General to report on the matter to the Assembly at its resumed fifty-fifth session. Israel, however, had failed to abide by the various resolutions of the Assembly on the matter and the Group of Arab States had therefore requested that the paragraphs concerning the incident at Qana should be reintroduced in the draft resolution on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The international community, represented by the Fifth Committee, should now adopt the draft resolution with all its amendments and reaffirm Israel’s liability for the damage that had resulted from the incident at Qana.
69. The Group of Arab States wished to express its gratitude to UNIFIL for the positive role that it played and for the enormous sacrifices that its mission entailed.
70. At the request of the representative of the United States of America, a recorded vote in one block was taken on the fourth preambular paragraph and on operative paragraphs 2, 3 and 15 of the draft resolution, as orally revised .
Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen.
Israel, United States of America.
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay.
71. The fourth preambular paragraph and operative paragraphs 2, 3 and 15 of draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.77, as orally revised, were adopted by 69 votes to 2, with 40 abstentions.
72. Mr. Wittmann (United States of America) said that the United States strongly supported UNIFIL and its mission in Lebanon. Regrettably, however, the focus of the draft resolution, which should properly be concerned only with funding arrangements, had been shifted by the insertion of text of a political nature. It was for that reason that his delegation had requested a separate vote in one block on the fourth preambular paragraph and on operative paragraphs 2, 3 and 15 of the draft text.
73. At the request of the representative of the United States of America, a recorded vote was taken on the draft resolution as a whole, as orally revised .
Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia.
74. Draft resolution A/C.5/55/L.77 as a whole, as orally revised, was adopted by 113 votes to 2.
75. Mr. Nesser (Sweden), speaking on behalf of the European Union, the associated countries Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey, said that the position of the European Union on the financial aspects related to the Qana incident was based on a number of elements: the costs resulting from the incident were of a specific kind; an appeal to have the costs financed through voluntary contributions would be welcome; the costs should be kept in the budget; and the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations should continue to be a collective responsibility.
76. The delegations on whose behalf he spoke had abstained in the vote on the fourth preambular paragraph and on operative paragraphs 2, 3 and 15 of the draft resolution because they considered that the text, as drafted, was inappropriate in the context of a resolution dealing with the financing of UNIFIL. The broader political aspects of the events, including the incident at Qana, had been debated in the General Assembly in April 1996 and had resulted in the adoption of Assembly resolution 50/22 C. The European Union had made its position on those aspects clear at that time and wished to underline that the consultations in the Fifth Committee should have been confined to the budgetary aspects of the item.
77. Mr. Yamanaka (Japan) said that his delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolution as a whole in order to discharge its responsibility as a Member of the Organization for the funding of United Nations peacekeeping operations. He regretted the Committee’s failure to reach a consensus on the draft text, thereby necessitating a vote.
78. Mr. Fox (Australia), speaking also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand, said that the delegations on whose behalf he spoke had voted in favour of the draft resolution in order to ensure that arrangements were in place for the financing of UNIFIL. He regretted the Committee’s failure to achieve a consensus. The draft paragraphs on which a separate vote had been taken undermined the Organization’s longstanding budgetary principles, which were based on collective responsibility. In that connection, he urged all Member States that had not yet done so to pay their assessed contributions in full and without further delay.
79. Mr. Assaf (Lebanon) said that, far from politicizing the issue, the draft resolution and amendments thereto were concerned only with financial issues and with the amount that had been specified by the Secretary-General as compensation to the Organization for the damage caused to its headquarters by Israel. It was not a question of compensation for Lebanon and the Lebanese civilians who had been killed.
80. His delegation agreed that the cost of United Nations peacekeeping operations should be the collective responsibility of the Organization’s Members. That did not mean, however, that any Member State could deliberately bomb a United Nations headquarters and then expect other Member States to pay for the damage. Such conduct violated the basic principles of collective responsibility and international law. History was replete with examples of States having to pay compensation for aggression committed against other States. Following the bombing by one State of the embassy of another during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) war against Yugoslavia, the aggressor State had accepted its responsibility and had paid compensation of $28 million to the victim State.
81. Mr. Nakkari (Syrian Arab Republic) said that his delegation fully supported the statements made by the representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Lebanon and by the Observer for Palestine. The necessity for a vote on the draft resolution was the result of the failure of the aggressor State to accept its responsibility. While some viewed the draft resolution as politicization of the Committee’s work, implementation of the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly would preclude the need for future voting to take place.
82. Mr. Adam (Israel) said that his delegation was fully in agreement with the statements made by the representatives of Australia, also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand, Japan, the United States of America and Sweden on behalf of the European Union and associated countries. His delegation would make a statement on the matter in the General Assembly.
The meeting rose at 1.05 p.m.
This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of publication to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.