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United Nations Daily Highlights 96-10-21

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <> - email:


Monday, October 21, 1996

This document is prepared by the Central News Section of the Department of Public Information and is updated every week-day at approximately 6:00 PM.


  • General Assembly elects Costa Rica, Japan, Kenya, Portugal and Sweden to two-year terms on the Security Council.
  • UN Secretary-General says UN Preventive Deployment Force is effective demonstration of conflict prevention based on international political will and consensus.
  • Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty will preserve the nuclear hegemony of a few, Disarmament and International Security Committee is told; International Committee of Red Cross says unrestrained transfer of weapons is matter of concern.
  • Senior UN official says Governments are not giving high priority to addressing drug issues through concrete national policies.
  • Technology holds key for real economic independence for developing countries, Economic and Financial Committee hears; funding for United Nations operational activities for development should be on predictable and assured basis, Economic and Financial Committee is told.
  • UN Secretary-General cannot terminate services of personnel involuntarily without explaining negative effect of such action on UN programmes, Administrative and Budgetary Committee is told.

The General Assembly on Monday elected Costa Rica, Japan, Kenya, Portugal and Sweden to two-year terms on the Security Council, filling non-permanent seats to be vacated on 31 December by Botswana, Germany, Honduras, Indonesia and Italy.

The newly elected non-permanent members will assume their Council seats on 1 January 1997. The five non-permanent Security Council members which will serve for another year, until 31 December 1997 are Chile, Egypt, Guinea- Bissau, Poland and the Republic of Korea.

UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has told an international workshop on preventive diplomacy that the UN Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) was an effective demonstration of what can be accomplished in the realm of conflict prevention when the international community demonstrated political will, and acted decisively and promptly. "It was not enough for the international community to pay lip service to preventive diplomacy... Rhetoric must be matched with deeds, theory must be closely linked with practice", Dr. Boutros-Ghali said.

The workshop, entitled "An Agenda for Preventive Diplomacy - Theory and Practice", held in Skopje, former Yugoslavia, last week, focussed on the history of preventive diplomacy and its contemporary application, highlighting examples from Burundi, the Caucasus, Haiti and the Baltics.

Much attention was given to improving the concept of preventive diplomacy in order to provide a coherent agenda for preventive action, applicable to future operations. The specific recommendations would be published in book- form as part of the follow-up of the workshop.

If the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) did not totally halt the production and manufacture of nuclear weapons in a non- discriminatory fashion, it would preserve the nuclear hegemony of a few, the representative of India, Arundhati Ghose, told the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security).

She said the continued retention of those weapons by a few, while that right was denied to others, had led to a situation that was not only discriminatory, but dangerously unstable. Ms. Ghose said the current situation revealed an unremitting pressure towards establishment of a permanently and unequally divided international security regime.

Noting that the CTBT was only a partial ban, which allowed nuclear- weapon States to continue developing and upgrading their arsenals by non- explosive means, Ms. Ghose said her country would not be satisfied only with half-measures which masquerade as major achievements towards nuclear disarmament.

The representative of China, Sha Zukang said the two nuclear super- powers, which possessed more than 90 per cent of the world's nuclear weapons, were duty-bound to substantially reduce their arsenals. He said they must undertake not to use or threaten the use of such weapons against non- nuclear-weapon States.

With respect to land-mines, the representative of China said such weapons remained an effective means of self-defence, especially for countries having a long land border. He said a proper balance should be struck between humanitarian concerns and those of self-defence, adding that the proposal to ban all such mines was unjustified.

In a separate, but related development, the virtually unrestrained transfer of weapons, particularly small arms, was a matter of immense concern, the observer for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Kung told the Disarmament and International Security Committee.

He said enormous quantities of light weapons were available to virtually any individual or group that sought them, and they were all too often used in flagrant violation of the norms of humanitarian law. In the coming year, Mr. Kung said, the ICRC would undertake a study on the relationship between arms availability and such violations.

The Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, Fernando Naranjo Villalobos said States must break the bonds of the past and forge a new attitude in support of absolute, conditional nuclear disarmament. He said in his country, resources once used for military expansion were now used for development, and political democracy had been consolidated, fostering a broad pluralistic system.

Developing countries would have to depend upon available human resources, training and technology transfer and not only on additional financial resources to achieve true development, the representative of Israel told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial).

Speaking in the general debate on the world economic situation, he said technology held the key for real economic independence and special efforts should be directed at technological cooperation between developed and developing countries. Moreover, both recipient and donor countries must turn to the local private sector and the international business community to generate their involvement.

The representative of Singapore, Eng Wah Wooh said developing countries did not need sermons about the relationship between democracy, human rights and development or theological debates about sustainable development. He said there was no doubt that economic growth required political stability and good government, adding that the United Nations should, however, find a way to help the least developed countries without intruding too brashly onto their domestic affairs or imposing any particular political ideology on them.

Several speakers told the Economic and Financial Committee that funding for United Nations operational activities for development should be on a predictable, continued and assured basis.

The representative of the Philippines said the inability to increase the funding of operational activities on such a predictable basis would impair their effectiveness. Other speakers emphasised that increasing voluntary contributions to the core resources should remain the central effort of all donors, adding that the mobilisation of resources at the headquarters level must be complemented by efforts in the field.

Despite expressing a clear determination at the highest levels, all governments were not according high priority to addressing the drug issue through concrete national policies and programmes, according to Under- Secretary-General Giorgi Giacomelli, Executive Director of the UN International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP).

Addressing the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural), Mr. Giacomelli noted that the UNDPCP had helped draft and amend drug- control laws and trained law enforcement personnel. However, several governments had seriously curtailed funding to tackle the drug problem, he said , adding that others were not allocating the necessary resources to implement policies which pursued a balanced approach to drug abuse and illicit trafficking.

He said an ambiguous message by any government with regard to its treaty obligations might send the wrong message, particularly to youth. It would also undermine the credibility of the drug-control system, he added.

Several speakers stressed the importance of a coordinated international approach to deal with the global dimensions of transnational crime and its intrinsic link to drug trafficking. They described the UNDCP's activities as both effective and practical and said it must be given adequate resources to continue its work.

The representative of Guatemala, speaking on behalf of the Central American countries, said government ministers from the region had adopted sanctions against money laundering in an effort to prevent Central America from becoming a refuge for traffickers servicing the large North American drug market. Greater bilateral cooperation was needed to protect young people, he added, particularly, with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The UN Secretary-General cannot terminate services of personnel involuntarily without explaining the negative effect of such actions on UN programmes, the representative of Costa Rica, Nazareth Incera told the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).

Speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, Ms. Incera said the General Assembly could not take action on the revised appropriations that would put into effect the Secretary-General's budget cutting proposals.

She asked the Secretariat to justify efforts to absorb an additional $92 million for additional mandates within a budget that was already being reduced.

Commenting on the reductions, she said it was worth asking whether the corollary to the negotiation of the current budget ought not to be the renegotiation of the Charter of the United Nations and the reformulation of some of the principles and objectives enshrined in it.

Ms. Incera asked what the real value was of reiterating the purpose of promoting international cooperation for development provided for in the Charter, when the activities related to economic and social development, which had been recognised as a priority of the Organisation, were curtailed as a result of management and budgetary practices.

On the scale of assessments, the representative of the Bahamas, Marilyn T. Zonicle said that social, economic and environmental data should be used in determining member States' assessments. She called for a vulnerability index to help objectively determine the capacity of some countries to pay, particularly small island developing States.

For information purposes only - - not an official record

From the United Nations home page at <> - email:

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