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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
A/54/PV.1
14 September 1999

Official Records
General Assembly
Fifty-fourth Session
1st plenary meeting
Tuesday, 14 September 1999, 3 p.m.
New York

Temporary President: Mr. Opertti ........................................... (Uruguay)

The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.

Item 1 of the provisional agenda

Opening of the session by the Chairman of the delegation of Uruguay

The Temporary President (spoke in Spanish): I declare open the fifty-fourth regular session of the General Assembly.

Item 2 of the provisional agenda

Minute of silent prayer or meditation

The Temporary President (spoke in Spanish): Before calling on representatives to observe a minute of silent prayer or meditation in accordance with rule 62 of the rules of procedure, I propose that as we do so we also observe the International Day of Peace on this, the opening day of the fifty-fourth regular session of the General Assembly, as proclaimed by the General Assembly in its resolutions 36/67 of 30 November 1981 and 52/232 of 4 June 1998, to be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.

In this connection, I wish especially to welcome the children who are with us today, at the back of the General Assembly Hall. They symbolize their own future as human beings, as well as the future of their respective peoples.

I now invite representatives to stand and observe one minute of silent prayer or meditation.

The members of the General Assembly observed a minute of silent prayer or meditation.

Item 126 of the provisional agenda

Scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations (A/54/333)

The Temporary President (spoke in Spanish): Before turning to the next item on the agenda, I should like, in keeping with the established practice, to invite the attention of the General Assembly to document A/54/333, which has been circulated in the General Assembly Hall this afternoon. It contains a letter addressed to the President of the General Assembly by the Secretary-General in which he informs the Assembly that 25 Member States are in arrears in the payment of their financial contributions to the United Nations within the terms of Article 19 of the Charter.

I should like to remind delegations that, under Article 19 of the Charter,

“A Member of the United Nations which is in arrears in the payment of its financial contributions to the Organization shall have no vote in the General Assembly if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years.”

May I take it that the General Assembly duly takes note of the information contained in document A/54/333?

It was so decided.

Item 3 of the provisional agenda

Credentials of representatives to the fifty-fourth session of the General Assembly

(a) Appointment of the members of the Credentials Committee

The Temporary President (spoke in Spanish): Rule 28 of the rules of procedure provides that the General Assembly at the beginning of each session shall appoint, on the proposal of the President, a Credentials Committee consisting of nine members.

Accordingly, it is proposed that, for the fifty-fourth session, the Credentials Committee should consist of the following Member States: Austria, Bolivia, China, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States of America.

May I take it that the States I have mentioned are hereby appointed members of the Credentials Committee?

It was so decided.

Item 4 of the provisional agenda

Election of the President of the General Assembly

The Temporary President (spoke in Spanish): I now invite members of the General Assembly to proceed to the election of the President of the General Assembly at its fifty-fourth session.

May I recall that, in accordance with paragraph 1 of the annex to General Assembly resolution 33/138, the President of the General Assembly at the fifty-fourth session should be elected from among the African States.

In this connection, I have been informed by the Chairman of the Group of African States that the Group has endorsed the candidacy of His Excellency Mr. Theo-Ben Gurirab of Namibia for the Presidency of the General Assembly.

Taking into account the provisions of paragraph 16 of annex VI to the rules of procedure, I therefore declare His Excellency Mr. Theo-Ben Gurirab of Namibia elected President of the General Assembly at its fifty-fourth session by acclamation.

On behalf of the Government of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay, and on my own behalf, I extend most sincere congratulations to His Excellency Mr. Theo-Ben Gurirab, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Namibia, and I invite him to assume the Presidency.

I request the Chief of Protocol to escort the President to the podium.

Mr. Theo-Ben Gurirab took the Chair.

Address by Mr. Theo-Ben Gurirab, President of the General Assembly at its fifty-fourth session

/...

While the latest developments concerning the question of Palestine are encouraging, the United Nations should not be sidelined, but should play its legitimate role towards the creation of an independent Palestinian State.

/...

I have recalled the completion of the decolonization process in Africa, except in Western Sahara. I have urged the United Nations to play an active role in the creation of an independent Palestinian State. I have appealed for an apology from the descendants of slave traders and forgiveness by the descendants of victims of slavery in the context of mutual affirmation. I have raised the question of globalization as an imperative for empowerment of the people. I have also called for debt write-off for developing countries and for active cooperation between the United Nations and the private sector in the interests of poverty eradication and development. I have addressed the plague of HIV/AIDS, which continues to rend the social fabric of our societies. I have reiterated the obligation of United Nations Member States to continue promoting their adherence to democracy, good governance, respect for human rights and protection of the environment.

/...


The meeting rose at 5.20 p.m.


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