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


Fifty-seventh General Assembly
Fifth Committee (Resumed)
56th  Meeting (PM)
GA/AB/3570
4 June 2003


BUDGET COMMITTEE APPROVES $2.17 BILLION FOR 2003/2004 PEACEKEEPING,
AS IT CONCLUDES RESUMED SESSION


The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this afternoon approved some $2.17 billion gross to finance 11 active peacekeeping missions for 2003/2004, as it concluded its second resumed session.  That amount includes some $70.29 million for the maintenance of peacekeeping support account (plus $33.2 million to be applied from the Reserve Fund), and some $21.51 million for the United Nations Logistics Base (UNLB) in Brindisi, Italy.

Compared with the appropriation of some $2.6 billion for the current (2002/2003) period, the new peacekeeping budget represents a reduction of some $430 million, mostly due to the closing of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) and downsizing of the Organization’s operations in Kosovo, East Timor, Sierra Leone and Lebanon.

As the financial year of peacekeeping operations runs from 1 July to 30 June, the Committee customarily devotes its late spring session to assessing their budgetary and administrative needs.  Thus, most of the 33 draft resolutions and decisions approved today address various aspects of peacekeeping, including budgets of individual missions, disposition of the assets of missions in liquidation, and strategic deployment stocks.

The Committee had two votes on the draft resolution on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which was introduced by the “Group of 77” developing countries and China last week.  The text itself was adopted by a vote of 129 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions (see Annex II).

Prior to the vote on the draft as a whole, the Committee decided to retain in the text the fourth preambular paragraph and operative paragraphs 3, 4 and 14 by 80 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 47 abstentions (see Annex I).  Those paragraphs refer to several previous General Assembly resolutions, which call for Israel to pay some $1.12 million for the damage resulting from a 1996 incident at Qana, Lebanon.

All other drafts were approved without a vote.  For the 2003/2004 budget cycle, the Committee approved the following amounts for 10 individual missions:

MISSION
AMOUNT
SUPPORT ACCOUNT
UNLB
TOTAL
(in million dollars)
UNOMIG
30.71
1.06
0.32
32.1
UNMIK
315.52
10.89
3.33
329.74
UNFICYP
43.80
1.51
0.46
45.77
UNDOF
40.01
1.38
0.42
41.81
UNIFIL
90.00
3.11
0.95
94.06
UNMISET
185.00
6.38
1.95
193.34
MINURSO
41.53
1.43
0.44
43.40
UNAMSIL
520.05
17.95
5.49
543.49
MONUC
582.00
20.08
6.14
608.23
UNMEE
188.40
6.50
1.99
196.89
TOTAL
2,037.02
70.29
21.51
2,128,82


In addition, the Secretary-General would be authorized to enter into commitments of up to $12 million for the financing of the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) until the end of October.

The 11 active missions are:  United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG); United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK); United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP); United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF); United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL); United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET); United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO); United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL); United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC); United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE); and UNIKOM.

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Financing of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

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On the financing of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), the Committee had before it a draft resolution contained in document A/C.5/57/L.70, by the terms of which the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General’s report on the financial performance of the Force in 2001/2002 and decide to appropriate some $41.81 million for the 2003/2004 financial period, inclusive of some $40.01 million for the maintenance of the Force, $1.38 million for the support account and $422,400 for the Logistics Base.

By the text, the Assembly would also take note of the status of contributions to the Force as at 31 March, including the outstanding amount of $25.7 million (some 2 per cent of the total assessed contributions).  It would note with concern that only 33 Member States have paid their assessed contributions in full and urge all others to ensure their payment.

The Assembly would further endorse the recommendations of the Advisory Committee and request the Secretary-General to ensure full compliance with them, without prejudice to a future discussion and decision on the proposal to create the post of Deputy Force Commander.  In connection with the request for three General Service staff posts, the Assembly would authorize the Secretary-General to fill them for a period not to exceed one year and invite him to resubmit it, with full justification, in connection with the budget proposal for 2004/2005.  Full justification would also be requested in connection with the proposed upgrade of the Chief Administration Officer for the mission.  The Assembly would decide to eliminate the vacant Field Service driver position in the Office of the Force Commander.

The draft also addresses the difficulties resulting from the relocation of the Force’s headquarters from Damascus to Camp Faouar, welcoming the fact that all outstanding issues have been satisfactorily resolved.  In this regard, the Assembly would emphasize the need for continuing the dialogue between staff and management, consistent with the existent mechanisms in all peacekeeping missions.

Introducing the text, Mr. KENDALL (Argentina) said that in operative paragraph 19, the correct number was $40.09 million, and in paragraph 21, $982,100.

The Director of the Peacekeeping Financing Division, CATHERINE POLLARD, explained that the use of the term “take note” in paragraph 9 of the draft, in the Secretariat’s interpretation, meant neither approval nor disapproval of the contents.  In its resolution 55/488, the General Assembly had reiterated that the terms “take note” and “notes” were neutral terms that constituted neither approval, nor disapproval.

The representative of Syria thanked the Secretariat for that clarification and asked that UNDOF be informed of the meaning of that term.

The text was then approved without a vote.

The Committee then took up the draft resolution on financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/C.5/57/L.78), which had been introduced by Morocco on behalf of the Group of 77 and China (see Press Release GA/AB/3569 of 29 May).  By the terms of the draft, the Assembly would take note of the financial performance report for the Force for the 2001-2003 period and would decide to appropriate to the special account for UNIFIL the amount of $94.06 million for the period from 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2004, inclusive of $90 million for the maintenance of the Force, $3.11 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, and $950,200 for the Logistics Base.

As for the unencumbered balance and other income of some $20.86 million for the period ended on 30 June 2002, the respective shares of Member States that had fulfilled their financial obligations to the Force would be set off against their apportionment for 2003/2004.  The shares of those States that had not fulfilled their financial obligations to the Force would be set off against their outstanding obligations. T he increase of $398,800 in estimated staff assessment income in respect of the financial period ended 30 June 2002 shall be added to the credit from the unencumbered balance and other income.

Emphasizing that no peacekeeping mission shall be financed by borrowing funds from other active missions, the Assembly would also encourage the Secretary-General to continue to take additional measures to ensure the safety and security of all personnel participating in the Force under the auspices of the United Nations.

Further, the Assembly, expressing deep concern that Israel did not comply with several previous resolutions on the matter, the latest of which was resolution 56/214 of 21 December 2001, would stress that that country should strictly abide by them and would stress once again that Israel shall pay $1.12 million from the incident at Qana on 18 April 1996.

The representative of the United States said that the fourth preambular paragraph and operative paragraphs 3, 4 and 14 of the text were not procedurally appropriate.  They violated the spirit of Article 17 of the Charter, which held that “expenses shall be a collective responsibility” of the Organization.

On the request of the United States, the Committee decided to hold a separate vote on those paragraphs.

The representative of Lebanon, on the point of order, asked the Secretariat to confirm that the amount in operative paragraph 14 was the total actual expenses resulting from the incident at Qana.

Ms. POLLARD confirmed that the amount, indeed, was the amount receivable from the Government of Israel.

The Committee then decided to retain the paragraphs in question by a vote of 80 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 47 abstentions (see Annex I).

Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of Israel said that his delegation had voted against the paragraphs.  Its position was well known and had been articulated in previous sessions.  He would refrain from repeating it.  However, he wanted to make clear that his delegation objected to introduction of political language in technical resolutions and singling out one country in a discriminatory manner.  Such resolutions harmed the credibility and reputation of the Committee.

The representative of Lebanon said that his country complied with the principle of collective responsibility, in particular, in accordance with the General Assembly resolution, which set the principles for the scale of assessments on peacekeeping.  But that did not contradict the responsibility of a State for its acts and their consequences, including compensation for damage.  According to Assembly resolution 55/235, where circumstances warranted, special consideration should be given to the situation of the States that were victims of events or actions that led to peacekeeping operations.  For that reason, compensation should be paid to the United Nations for the damage as a result of the attack in Qana.

The representative of Peru, also in explanation of the vote, said she had voted in favour of the paragraphs, but there were political elements in them that should be dealt with in a different context.

The representative of the United States requested a recorded vote on the draft resolution as a whole.

Voting on the draft as a whole, the Committee then approved the text by a vote of 129 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States) with no abstentions (Annex II).

Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of Australia (also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand) said that she was pleased with the fact that the adoption of the resolution had provided for the necessary mission financing.  She regretted, however, that once again the consensus had not been possible.  The text contained political elements inappropriate in a technical resolution.  For that reason, her delegation had abstained in the vote on the inclusion of the paragraphs.  She also noted that as of 31 March, only 23 Member States had fulfilled their financial obligations to UNIFIL and urged all States to pay their dues without delay.

The representative of Greece (speaking on behalf of the European Union) said that his delegation had abstained in the first vote, but voted positively on the draft on the whole.  The position of the European Union was well known and had been expressed on previous occasions.

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ANNEX I

Vote on Preambular Paragraph 4, Operative Paragraphs 3, 4 and 14
of Lebanon Resolution

The preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraphs 3, 4, and 14 concerning Israeli financial obligations for incident at Qana (document A/C.5/57/L.78) were retained by a recorded vote of 80 in favour to 2 against, with 47 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Israel, United States.

Abstain:  Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Iraq, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Namibia, Nauru, Niger, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.
(END OF ANNEX I)
ANNEX II

Vote on Resolution on Financing Lebanon Mission

The resolution on financing the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/C.5/57/L.78) was approved by a recorded vote of 129 in favour to 2 against, with no abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, 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:  None.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Iraq, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Namibia, Nauru, Niger, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

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For information media - not an official record