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


Fifty-seventh General Assembly
Plenary
90th Meeting* (PM)
GA/10139
18 June 2003


GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS PEACEKEEPING BUDGET OF $2.17 BILLION,
FINANCING 11 ACTIVE MISSIONS FOR 2003/2004


The General Assembly this afternoon, acting on the recommendations of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), adopted a budget of some $2.17 billion to finance 11 active peacekeeping missions for 2003/2004, including 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 in Brindisi, Italy.

The new peacekeeping budget represents a significant reduction, compared with the appropriation of some $2.6 billion for the current period (2002/2003), 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, their budgetary and administrative needs are customarily assessed by the Fifth Committee during its late spring session, which concluded on 4 June.  Thus, most of the 34 draft resolutions and decisions that the Assembly adopted today address various aspects of peacekeeping, including budgets of individual missions, disposition of the assets of missions in liquidation, and strategic deployment stocks.

The Assembly had two votes on the draft resolution on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).  Prior to considering the text as a whole, the Assembly retained the fourth preambular paragraph and operative paragraphs 3, 4 and 14 by a vote of 85 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 45 abstentions (see Annex I).  Those paragraphs refer to several previous resolutions, which call for Israel to pay some $1.12 million for the damage resulting from a 1996 incident at Qana, Lebanon.

The resolution as a whole was then adopted by a vote of 135 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions (see Annex II).

All other drafts were adopted without a vote.  For the 2003/2004 budget cycle, the Assembly 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 was 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 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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Action on Drafts

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On the financing of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), the Assembly had before it a draft resolution contained in document A/57/837, by the terms of which it 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.  Taking note of the status of contributions to the Force as at 31 March, including the outstanding amount of $25.7 million, it would also 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 the request, with full justification, with the budget proposal for 2004/2005.  Full justification would also be requested for the proposed upgrade of the Chief Administration Officer for the mission.  The Assembly would 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.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution.

The Assembly then took up the draft resolution on financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/57/829) 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 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.  The 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.

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 for damages resulting from an incident at Qana, Lebanon, on 18 April 1996.

Acting on a request from the United States, the Assembly held a separate vote on whether to retain in the text the fourth preambular paragraph and operative paragraphs 3, 4 and 14, which refer to several previous resolutions calling for Israel to pay for the damage resulting from the Qana incident.

By a vote of 85 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 45 abstentions, the paragraphs were retained (see Annex I).

The Assembly adopted the text as a whole by a vote of 135 to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions (Annex II).

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ANNEX I

Vote on Preambular, Operative Paragraphs of Lebanon Force Financing

The fourth preambular paragraph and operative paragraphs 3, 4, and 14 of the draft resolution on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which make reference to Israel’s financial responsibility for damages from an incident at Qana, Lebanon (document A/57/829), were retained by a recorded vote of 85 in favour to 2 against, with 45 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, 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:  Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Angola, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Cameroon, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Gabon, Georgia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Honduras, Kiribati, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Namibia, Nauru, Norway, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu.


ANNEX II

Vote on Financing for Lebanon Force

The draft resolution on financing for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/57/829) was adopted by a recorded vote of 135 in favour to 2 against, with no abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, 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, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, 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, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Kiribati, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Namibia, Nauru, Norway, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu.


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*     Press Release GA/10138 dated 6 June 2003 should be the 88th and 89th Meetings.

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For information media - not an official record