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


Fifty-ninth General Assembly
Fifth Committee
57th Meeting (AM)
GA/AB/3681
9 June 2005



BUDGET COMMITTEE APPROVES $3.2 BILLION FOR 2005-2006 PEACEKEEPING,
AS IT CONCLUDES RESUMED SESSION

Also Recommends to General Assembly Comprehensive Text
Aimed at Strengthening Peacekeeping Management, Administration


The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) approved this morning a record-breaking $3.2 billion 2005-2006 peacekeeping budget for 14 ongoing missions and emphasized the need for budgetary discipline, improved management and adequate controls over budget implementation, as it concluded its second resumed session.

The Committee customarily devotes its late spring session to assessing the budgetary and administrative needs of peacekeeping for the coming financial year, which runs from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006.  Most of the 26 texts approved today address various aspects of peacekeeping, including budgets of individual missions, the financing of the Logistics Base in Brindisi, and the peacekeeping Support Account. 

The main highlight of the session, however, was the elaboration of a 22-part consensus draft on cross-cutting issues relating to peacekeeping administration and management.  Lauded by some delegations as a milestone text, it is intended to help the Organization deal with the current unprecedented surge in peacekeeping operations and provide policy guidance at Headquarters and in the field.  The text addresses all aspects of peacekeeping, ranging from budget presentation and training to the conditions of service, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes, procurement and recruitment in the field.

...

Acting on the individual mission budgets for 2005-2006, the Committee approved the following amounts:

MINURSO (Western Sahara)
$   47,948,400
MINUSTAH (Haiti)
494,887,000
MONUC (Dem.Republic of the Congo)
403,408,500
ONUB (Burundi)
307,693,100
UNAMSIL (Sierra Leone)
113,216,400
UNOCI (Côte d’Ivoire)
386,892,500
UNDOF (Israel-Syria Disengagement)
43,706,100
UNFICYP (Cyprus)
46,512,600
UNIFIL (Lebanon)
99,228,300
UNOMIG (Georgia)
36,380,000
UNMEE (Ethiopia and Eritrea)
185,993,300
UNMIK (Kosovo)
252,551,800
UNMIL (Liberia)
760,567,400
UNMISET (Timor-Leste)
1,757,800
Total
$3,180,743,200


...

All but one of the drafts -– that on the financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) -– were adopted without a vote.  That text was approved by a vote of 128 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 3 abstentions (Australia, Honduras, Panama) (Annex II).

A separate vote was held on several paragraphs of the text relating to the call for Israel to pay some $1.28 million for damage resulting from an Israeli assault on the UNIFIL base at Qana in southern Lebanon on 18 April 1996.  The Committee adopted those paragraphs by a recorded vote of 79 in favour to 3 against (Australia, Israel, United States) and 50 abstentions (Annex I).

...

Administrative and Budgetary Aspects of Peacekeeping Financing

...

The Committee then took up a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (document A/C.5/59/L.65).  By its terms, the Assembly would take note of the status of contributions to the Force as of 15 April 2005, including the contributions outstanding in the amount of $16.2 million, representing some 1 per cent of the total assessed contributions, and note with concern that only 49 Member States have paid their assessed contributions in full.  It would also endorsethe conclusions and recommendations contained of the ACABQ in its related report and requests the Secretary-General to ensure their full implementation.

By further terms, the Assembly would take noteof the report of the Secretary-General on the financial performance of the Force for the period from 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2004.  It would also decide to appropriate to the Special Account for the Force the amount of $43.71 million for the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006, including $41.52 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $1.78 million for the Support Account, and $398,300 for the United Nations Logistics Base.

The Committee approved that text without a vote.

The Committee then took up a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/C.5/59/L.52), which was introduced on 20 May 2005 by the representative of Jamaica on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China.

By the terms of the text, the Assembly would take note of the status of contributions to the Force as of 15 April 2005, including outstanding contributions in the amount of some $60.9 million, noting with concern that only 73 Member States have paid their assessed contributions in full.  Expressing deep concern that Israel did not comply with General Assembly resolutions, the Assembly would stress once again that Israel should strictly abide by those resolutions.  Endorsing relevant conclusions and recommendations of the ACABQ on the matter, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to take all necessary action to ensure that the Force is administered with maximum efficiency and economy.

Also by the text, requesting the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to ensure full implementation of prior resolutions –- the latest being resolution 58/307 –- the Assembly would stress once again that Israel shall pay the amount of some $1.12 million resulting from the incident at Qana on 18 April 1996.

Taking note of the financial performance of the Force for 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2004, the Assembly would decide to appropriate to the Special Account for UNIFIL some $99.23 million for the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006, including $94.25 million for the Force’s maintenance, $4.1 million for the Support Account, and $907,000 for the United Nations Logistics Base.

The representative of the United States requested that a single recorded vote be taken on preambular paragraph 4, and operative paragraphs 3, 4 and 13.  She further requested that a recorded vote be taken on the draft as a whole.

The representative of Panama said his delegation was in favour of the resolution as it met the need to continue funding the operation.  His delegation would have to abstain on the text, however, as the Committee’s mandate was exclusively budgetary and administrative questions, and not political issues.  It was inappropriate to include in a funding resolution any claims about a specific country.  Such a demand could be expressed more appropriately in another setting.  At a time when Member States were seeking to revitalize the Assembly, it was important to ensure that any effort in that regard should be directed in a concrete manner consistent with United Nations practice.  It was not the first time such a text had been introduced.  The funding of peacekeeping operations should be handled in a non-discriminatory manner.  Such political elements in the draft would not make the Force more efficient.

The Committee adopted preambular paragraph 4, and operative paragraphs 3, 4 and 13 by a recorded vote of 79 in favour to 3 against (Australia, Israel, United States), and 50 abstentions (Annex I).

The Committee then adopted the resolution as a whole by a recorded vote of 128 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), and 3 abstentions (Australia, Panama, Honduras) (Annex II).

The representative of Australia said that, while her delegation supported the continuation of UNIFIL, it had abstained on the basis of unwarranted political content in the resolution.  Introducing inappropriate political issues only distracted the Committee from funding issues.  Singling out of Israel also did nothing to contribute to the situation in the Middle East.

The representative of the United States said her delegation strongly supported UNIFIL, which was implementing an important mandate.  The use of General Assembly funding resolutions to pursue claims against a MemberState procedurally was not correct.  That was why the United States had opposed the resolutions on the item in previous years as they contained sections which required Israel to pay for costs stemming from the 1996 Qana incident.  Since shortly after the United Nations inception, the procedure followed was that the Secretary-General presented and pursued the settlement of the Organization’s claims against a State or States.  Using a funding resolution to legislate a settlement was inappropriate.  It also politicized the Committee’s work and should be avoided both now and in the future.

The representative of Belgium, on behalf of the European Union, said the Union’s position was well known, and he would not repeat it.

The representative of Israel said he was honoured to express his country’s strong support for the personnel of the UNIFIL and for the important peacekeeping mission they were undertaking.  To that end, he noted that Israel, as in the past, had paid its full regular UNIFIL assessments on time and without condition -- in contrast to some of the sponsors of the divisive resolution that had been consistently delinquent in paying their full UNIFIL assessment -- and would continue to do so.

He said his delegation must once again express its dismay, however, at the deliberate and inappropriate politicization of the agenda item.  The issue before the Committee was a financing resolution and the inclusion of one-sided politically motivated paragraphs compromised its intended nature.  The language had no place in a financing resolution, and the paragraphs were in direct contradiction to the principles of collective responsibility for the expenses of the United Nations as set out in the Charter.  The resolution also aimed to take unprecedented action against a single country.  At no other time had a single State been held solely financially responsible for the expenses incurred by United Nations peacekeeping forces endangered by the tactics of armed groups.  The attempt to treat UNIFIL differently was politically motivated, unwarranted and singled out Israel in an unfair manner. The principle of collective responsibility should continue to prevail.

He noted that, while Israel had no reservations regarding the technical aspects of the financing of the mission, because of the contentious language included in it, his delegation had voted against preambular paragraph 4, paragraphs 3, 4 and 13, and the draft as a whole.  The practice of incorporating divisive paragraphs was antithetical to the practices of the Committee.  He hoped that one-sided political agendas would no longer mar issues brought before the Committee and that it would be able to return to productive working methods.

Canada’s representative, also speaking on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, expressed regret that the Committee had been unable to reach consensus on the draft and that a separate vote had been requested on several paragraphs.  That was a continuation of a regrettable precedent of including political elements inappropriate to a financial text.  For that reason, the delegations she represented had had abstained.

The representative of Costa Rica said that his delegation’s intention had been to vote in favour of the resolution as a whole, and he wanted it to be properly reflected.

The representative of Panama said that he had intended to vote in favour of the text as a whole and abstain in the separate vote on several paragraphs.

The representative of Lebanon said that the principle of collective responsibility for peacekeeping financing did not contradict with the principle of international law of State responsibility for wrongful acts and resulting material damage.  That principle was recognized in the Charter and in relevant Assembly resolutions.  It was on the basis of the principle of State responsibility that nine previous resolutions had asked for compensation to be paid to the United Nations for the damages resulting from an attack in Qana.  That was once again reiterated in today’s resolution.  Those damages should be paid to the United Nations –- not to Lebanon.

...



ANNEX I


Vote on Separate Paragraphs/Financing UNIFIL

The fourth preambular paragraph and operative paragraphs 3, 4 and 13 of the draft resolution on financing the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/C.5/59/L.52) were retained by a recorded vote of 79 in favour to 3 against, with 50 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Australia, Israel, United States.

Abstain:  Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay.

Absent:  Albania, Angola, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Kiribati, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Nigeria, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

(END OF ANNEX I)

ANNEX II

Vote on Financing UNIFIL

The draft resolution on financing the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/C.5/59/L.52) was approved by a recorded vote of 128 in favour to 2 against, with 3 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Israel, United States.

Abstain:  Australia, Honduras, Panama.

Absent:  Albania, Angola, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gambia, Georgia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Iraq, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Nigeria, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

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