General Assembly Adopts 10 Resolutions Encouraging Stronger Ties between Regional Organizations, United Nations to Address Global Challenges
The General Assembly this morning adopted 10 resolutions, nine of them without a vote, encouraging deeper cooperation between the United Nations and various regional organizations to address emerging challenges in sustainable development, fighting terrorism and economic integration.
One resolution, titled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States”, was adopted by a recorded vote of 84 in favour to none against with five abstentions. By that text’s terms, the Assembly called upon specialized agencies to continue interacting with their counterparts from Arab organizations and institutions and to improve mechanisms for consultation. The Assembly also emphasized the importance of holding the 2017 meeting concerning cooperation on water resources’ preservation and management in the Arab region and called on specialized agencies to inform the Secretary-General by January 2018 of their progress in implementing the multilateral proposals adopted at the general cooperation meeting of the League and the United Nations.
The representative of Syria, who called for a recorded vote on the draft resolution and also abstained from it, cited “dangerous and non-democratic” measures undertaken by the League, including some of its members’ illegal policies aimed at controlling mechanisms of election in the region. The League should defend its people, rather than impose sanctions and exert political pressure, he said.
The European Union’s representative, welcomed the adoption of the resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe. But he regretted that language calling for an end to the use of the death penalty once again had not been taken on board, and the new inclusion of a call for the prevention of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment was “but a small improvement”. The Union hoped to build on the momentum created by the call for a global moratorium at the Sixth World Congress on Abolition of the Death Penalty in June, he said, urging all member States to support the draft resolution on the matter when it was put to the vote in the General Assembly next month.
The representative of Ukraine, speaking on the resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Independent States, said he was disappointed over the Commonwealth’s failure to take steps to respond to the Russian Federation’s actions in Ukraine. “The [group] is still pretending that there is no Russian aggression, no illegal occupation of Crimea, no war crimes committed,” he said, adding that provisions of the text did not fully correspond to the realities on the ground as the Russian Federation had taken illegal, discriminatory steps on trade with Ukraine. While the Commonwealth positioned itself as an active fighter against terrorism and extremism, it had failed to respond to the actions of the Russian Federation - one of its most influential members – which controlled, financed and directed illegal armed groups in certain parts of Ukraine.
Jordan’s representative said the text on cooperation between the United Nations and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) confirmed the latter’s neutral and non-politicized role in combating organized and transnational crime, human trafficking and the illicit trade of small arms as well as the critical work of both organizations in combating terrorism and exchanging information. Jordan’s public security directory, in cooperation with INTERPOL, would launch a border security project in the next few days. Member States had a responsibility to enhance the complementarity between the two organizations to combat organized crime and terrorism, which impeded sustainable development.
The Assembly also heard from representatives of other regional intergovernmental organizations that participated in its work as observers, among them Rashid Alimov, Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, who said that synergies of multifaceted cooperation between his organization and the United Nations would help solve the most urgent contemporary problems. “Consolidating and developing effective connections between the United Nations and regional organizations does not only facilitate development of the regional structures, but to a great extent strengthens the United Nations itself,” he added, prior to the Assembly’s adoption of a draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and his organization.
The Assembly also adopted texts on cooperation between the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, Economic Cooperation Organization, Central European Initiative, Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization and the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM.
In other business, the Assembly, acting on the recommendation of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), reappointed Maria Gracia Pulido-Tan (Philippines) as a member of the Independent Audit Advisory Committee for a three-year term of office beginning on 1 January 2017 and Eileen Cronin (United States) as a member of the Joint Inspection Unit for a full five-year term of office beginning on 1 January 2017. The latter post was vacated following the resignation of George Bartsiotas (United States).
Also speaking today were representatives of Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Iran, Estonia, Serbia, Rwanda, Brazil, Thailand, India, Singapore, Spain, Argentina, Switzerland, Armenia, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Cyprus.
Representatives of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries, Council of Europe, INTERPOL, Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, League of Arab States and the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization also spoke.
The General Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 29 November to discuss the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East.
Introduction of Draft Resolutions on Cooperation with Regional Organizations
The representative of Kyrgyzstan introduced a draft resolution titled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Independent States” (document A/71/L.5), a group her country had chaired in 2016. Reviewing recent developments, she said the group had marked its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2016 and had taken up issues including the world drug problem and terrorism. Cooperation had continued between the group and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and other United Nations entities. In addition, it had served as a point of contact for the Security Council’s committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), which dealt with the prevention of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons proliferation.
By the terms of that text, the Assembly would note the activities of the Commonwealth of Independent States to strengthen regional cooperation in such areas as trade and economic development, exchange of statistical data and economic information, culture, education, health care, sports, tourism, science and innovation, environmental protection and combating organized crime and terrorist acts, among others. Noting the importance of strengthening cooperation and coordination between the Commonwealth and the United Nations, it would invite the Secretary-General to hold regular consultations with the Chair of the Executive Committee and Executive Secretary of the Commonwealth and invite the specialized agencies and other United Nations organizations, funds and programmes, as well as international financial institutions, to develop their cooperation with the Commonwealth.
The representative of Belarus, introducing a draft resolution titled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization” (document A/71/L.7) as its chair for 2016, described the organization as a multifaceted structure with broad potential for addressing contemporary global challenges. Among other things, the draft welcomed the organization’s work in addressing such issues as terrorism and transnational organized crime, human trafficking and the consequences of natural disasters, and encouraged further cooperation with the United Nations system. Describing one example of such cooperation, he pointed to the organization’s efforts to work with 25 other United Nations Member States in addressing illicit drug production in Afghanistan.
By the terms of that text, the Assembly would welcome efforts of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the United Nations to enhance coordination and cooperation and to develop concrete modalities for such cooperation. Inviting the United Nations Secretariat to continue regular consultations with the Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and further inviting the latter to continue its interaction in the interest of the consistent and comprehensive implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, it would encourage both organizations to continue to examine possible ways to further strengthen their interaction in peacekeeping.
The representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina, introducing a draft resolution titled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Central European Initiative” (document A/71/L.9) as the group’s chair for 2016, said the text reaffirmed the United Nations strong commitment to regional and sub-regional cooperation in addressing the world’s constantly evolving challenges. For its part, the Central European Initiative had always contributed to cross-border, regional and inter-regional cooperation, including by exploring joint trade and economic development efforts. Describing the group’s work in areas of common interest to its member States - such as agriculture, transport, energy and municipal infrastructure – he said it was also putting in place a new dynamic relationship with the European Union, the European Council, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other organizations.
By its terms, the Assembly would note the continuing efficiency of the Central European Initiative as a promoter of political dialogue, and express its appreciation for the Initiative’s efforts in cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on issues of gender equality, the fight against corruption and reconciliation in the region. Among other things, it would also invite the Secretary-General to intensify the exchange with the Initiative in order to continue the fruitful cooperation and facilitate coordination between the two secretariats, and encourage the United Nations specialized agencies and other organizations and programmes to strengthen their cooperation with the Initiative through common action aimed at achieving shared goals.
The representative of Kazakhstan introduced a draft resolution titled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization” (document A/71/L.11) on behalf of that organization, recalling that it had celebrated its fifteenth anniversary in 2016. Among other things, he said, the organization continued to play an influential role as a global partner in such areas as education, energy, combating terrorism and fighting transnational organized crime. It was also working to address the situation in Afghanistan.
By the terms of that text, the Assembly would acknowledge the important role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in securing peace and sustainable development, and note its activities in such areas as countering terrorism, separatism, extremism and drug trafficking, and promoting regional cooperation on issues including trade, economic development, energy, transportation, agriculture, the regulation of migration, science and technology and education. Along those lines, it would propose that the Secretary-General continue to hold regular consultations with the group, and that the specialized agencies, organizations, programmes and funds of the United Nations cooperate with it with a view towards jointly achieving their goals.
The representative of Azerbaijan introduced a draft resolution titled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development — GUAM” (document A/71/L.12) as the group’s 2016 chair. The organization - comprising Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – had been established in 1997, and today it had a well-institutionalized structure devoted to the promotion of democracy and economic development among its member States. Among other things, he said, the resolution acknowledged the group’s efforts in developing partnerships with the United Nations system and emphasized the importance of strengthening dialogue, cooperation and coordination.
By the terms of that draft resolution, the Assembly would emphasize the importance of strengthening dialogue, cooperation and coordination between the United Nations system and the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM, inviting the former’s specialized agencies, components, organizations, programmes and funds to cooperate and develop contacts with the latter. The Assembly would also ask the United Nations Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its seventy-third session a report on the implementation of the present resolution. It would also decide to include the matter in the provisional agenda of its seventy-third session under the item entitled “cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations”.
The representative of Algeria then introduced a draft resolution titled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States” (document A/71/L.6) on behalf of that organization, noting that such efforts were based on Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter. Welcoming a 2016 amendment to the cooperation agreement between the League and the United Nations – which aimed to enhance collaboration in such areas as conflict prevention and resolution, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, human rights and refugees - he said recent regional challenges required broader cooperation at all levels, and invited the Assembly to adopt the draft without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly would request the Secretariat of the League of Arab States to consider the possibility of forming a high-level working group to follow up on the implementation of the provisions of the protocol on amendment of the text of the cooperation agreement between the two organizations until a liaison office of the League of Arab States is opened in Cairo. It would also request the League and the United Nations Secretariat to continue their periodic consultations and call upon the United Nations specialized agencies, programmes and institutions to continue their interactions with their counterparts from Arab organizations and institutions. Emphasizing the importance of holding the thirteenth sectoral meeting between the two organizations and their specialized agencies in 2017 and the fourteenth general cooperation meeting in 2018, it would call upon the United Nations specialized agencies, organizations and programmes to inform the Secretary-General of progress made in cooperation with the League, no later than January 2018.
The representative of Iran, introducing a draft resolution titled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Economic Cooperation Organization” (document A/71/L.14) on behalf of that group, said regional cooperation was now the prevailing global paradigm and had made strides in prosperity and development of many peoples. As one of the largest groupings in the world, spanning 8 million square kilometres and 10 countries, the Economic Cooperation Organization connected Europe with China and the Russian Federation with the Persian Gulf. Among other things, it served as a platform to translate global agendas into action at the regional level and provided the United Nations with the regional capacities it had developed over the last three decades. Going forward, the organization would soon be implementing its new vision plan, which focused on energy efficiency, human development, social welfare and other critical areas.
By the terms of that text, the Assembly would take note of the Baku Declaration and also the progress made on the trade facilitation programme of the Economic Cooperation Organization. In addition, it would note the basic development needs of landlocked countries, including the need to overcome the limitations arising from their geographical positions, the lack of access to open seas and seaport facilities and other challenges hindering their promotion of transit transport cooperation. It would note with satisfaction the approval of the railway network development plan of the Economic Cooperation Organization. Noting the vulnerability of the organization’s member States to natural disasters, it would urge the relevant United Nations institutions and agencies, including the Inter-Agency Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and others, to consider extending their technical and financial support for the organization’s activities in natural disaster risk management.
The representative of Estonia then introduced a draft resolution titled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe” (document A/71/L.15) on behalf of that group. Noting that the text had been sponsored by 52 countries, he said cooperation between the two organizations was well established and had evolved and deepened over time. This year’s resolution included important updates on work undertaken in areas of common interest such as the protection of human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, the fight against discrimination and intolerance, advancing gender equality, the prevention of torture and the fight against terrorism and corruption. It also recognized the effective implementation of the outcomes of relevant international conferences and legal instruments.
By the terms of that draft resolution, the Assembly would encourage further cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe in the area of democracy and good governance, including through active participation in the Strasbourg World Forum for Democracy and engagement with youth representatives and civil society. It would also note the important role of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Council of Europe in supporting good local democratic governance, as well as the fruitful cooperation between them. The Assembly would reaffirm that, as the information society and the Internet develop freedom of expression as well as the right to privacy, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights must be protected and respected including as it relates to data collection.
The representative of Serbia introduced a draft resolution titled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization” (document A/71/L.16/Rev.1) on behalf of that organization. Among other things, he said, the resolution sought to promote the interests of the Black Sea Cooperation Organization member States in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, bearing in mind the mutually beneficial and supportive role of regional and sub-regional organizations in helping to translate sustainable development policies into concrete action at the national level. Outlining some of the organization’s focus areas going forward, he pointed in particular to efforts in the fields of renewable energy, energy efficiency, green technologies, infrastructure improvement and the improvement of its members’ export potential.
By the terms of that text, the Assembly would reiterate the conviction that multilateral economic cooperation contributed to enhancing peace, stability and security to the benefit of the wider Black Sea area. Among other things, the Assembly would appeal to greater cooperation between the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization and international financial institutions and welcomed the contacts between the organization and the World Bank and other various global institutions. It would further note the cooperation between the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization and the UNODC and within that framework would welcome the positive results of the ongoing joint project to strengthen the criminal justice response to trafficking in persons in the Black Sea region.
The representative of Rwanda, introducing a draft resolution titled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL)” (document A/71/L.17), recalled that her country had recently hosted a meeting of the heads of INTERPOL. The resolution before the Assembly was the “next rational step” in cooperation between the organization and the United Nations, she said, describing their longstanding relationship. Among other things, the text encouraged the strengthening of cooperation on countering terrorism - including preventing foreign fighter travel – as well as combating transnational organized crime, piracy, money laundering and the illicit trafficking in nuclear, chemical or biological materials.
By the terms of that draft resolution, the Assembly would call for the strengthening of cooperation between the United Nations and INTERPOL, within their respective mandates, in a variety of areas. It would emphasize the importance of optimal coordination and cooperation between the United Nations and INTERPOL to create synergies within their respective mandates in the fight against transnational crime, in particular transnational organized crime. Additionally, it would encourage increased cooperation between the United Nations and INTERPOL to assist Member States, upon their request, in effectively using the following resources readily available to them.
MAURO VIEIRA (Brazil), speaking on behalf of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries, said implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development would require concerted cooperation among all relevant stakeholders. Portuguese-speaking countries stood ready to promote political dialogue and exchange experiences to support the Agenda’s full implementation. Emphasizing the important role of regional and sub-regional groups in peacebuilding efforts, he said that Brazil was keen on increasing cooperation between the Community and the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission. Relevant regional and sub-regional actors must remain united behind the diplomatic efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and in supporting Guinea-Bissau in its endeavour towards stabilization. Approximately 280 million people spoke Portuguese in the world today, making it the fifth most spoken language. Hence, it was critical to promote Portuguese, including within the United Nations, as a means to disseminate cultural values openly and universally.
GERARDUS ANTONIUS WILHELMUS VAN DEN AKKER, European Union, welcomed the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe. But he regretted that language calling for an end to the use of the death penalty once again had not been taken on board, and the new inclusion of a call for the prevention of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment was “but a small improvement”. The Council of Europe and the European Union had campaigned against the use of the death penalty for some time and Union hoped to build on the momentum created by the call for a global moratorium by all participating members of the Sixth World Congress on Abolition of the Death Penalty in June. The Council of Europe and the European Union made a joint declaration in October urging all member States to support the draft resolution calling for a global moratorium when put to the vote in the General Assembly next month.
The Union also drew delegates’ attention to the platform to promote the protection and safety of journalists. That new instrument had been set up by the Council of Europe in 2015 and was well accepted as a useful tool by persons working for different media in Europe.
APICHAT SURIBOONYA, Police Major General of Thailand, focusing on cooperation between the United Nations and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), said the world needed intelligence-led policing and law enforcement, as it was no longer enough for intelligence to come only from security agencies. Police and law enforcement agencies alone could not effectively fight crime and terrorism without the participation of the private sector and people in the community. To draw people into the fight against crime, it was necessary to raise awareness, which the United Nations could do through international conferences and resolutions.
The challenge was how to make the Organization’s work ripple down to the people and be relevant for frontline officers in performing their duties, he said. It was time to tell frontline officers that the United Nations was relevant for them and to make discussions and exchanges of information available to them as well as the community. INTERPOL’s communication system or the I-24/7, which had already expanded to frontline officers in some countries, was key to raising awareness among people and connecting the United Nations to those officers. With databases which frontline officers could immediately access, international best practices and guidelines as well as valuable information could be made readily available to them.
KOTESWARA RAO MADIMI (India) said that the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization, comprising 47 member States from Africa and Asia, was the only regional organization combining the interests of two major continents for focused and serious discussions on matters of international law. It had made important contributions in the fields of the law of the sea, the treatment of refugees and the extradition of fugitive offenders. India, as host country, had provided land and the building for the organization’s headquarters. At the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Permanent Observer of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization had organized discussions on topics of international law of common interest. Judges, jurists and scholars visiting New York were usually invited to take part in those activities.
NG BOON YIAN (Singapore) expressed strong support for the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and INTERPOL, noting that the threat of transnational crime had increased and the nexus between organized crime and terrorism was strengthening. Tackling such fast-evolving threats required much stronger cooperation among Member States and with partners such as INTERPOL, whose Global Complex for Innovation, focusing on digital security, was hosted by Singapore. Situated in the heart of Asia, the Global Complex had broadened partnerships between INTERPOL and relevant Asian stakeholders. As a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Singapore also looked forward to the adoption of a draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and that bloc. Both sides should focus on how to enhance complementarities between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and ASEAN’s Vision 2025.
SIMA SAMI BAHOUS (Jordan) highlighted INTERPOL’s role in achieving cooperation among law enforcement agencies in different countries. Today’s resolution confirmed the neutral and non-politicized role of INTERPOL in combating organized and transnational crime, human trafficking and the illicit trade of small arms. It also pointed to the critical role between the United Nations and INTERPOL in combating terrorism and exchanging information. Jordan had asserted the importance of enhanced cooperation between INTERPOL, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and law enforcement agencies worldwide. The public security directory in Jordan in cooperation with INTERPOL would launch a border security project in the next few days. She encouraged countries that had not yet joined INTERPOL to do so as soon as possible and make full use of its resources. Member States meanwhile had a responsibility to enhance the complementarity between INTERPOL and the United Nations in order to combat organized crime and terrorism as they were impeding the achievement of sustainable development.
ANTONIO SÁNCHEZ GIL (Spain) emphasized the importance of INTERPOL’s vital role in combating organized crime and the need for Member States to utilize its many resources.
MATEO ESTREME (Argentina) said the text would call for reinforced cooperation on various issues including organized crime, trafficking of persons, and the illicit trafficking of biological and chemical materials. It was a balanced text that harnessed the positions of Member States, he said, pledging his country’s cooperation to INTERPOL and expressing hope that the draft would be adopted by consensus.
OLIVIER MARC ZEHNDER (Switzerland) said the text would lead to greater cooperation between the United Nations and INTERPOL. New emerging challenges such as the destruction of cultural heritage and cybercrimes affected all States. Strengthened cooperation would allow both the United Nations and INTERPOL to improve security and Member States to more effectively utilize necessary resources. Switzerland had also championed greater cooperation and viewed the text as a step forward toward that.
TIGRAN SAMVELIAN (Armenia), commenting on the draft resolution entitled “the cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe”, said the Council had developed sound and effective legal foundations, norms and standards for promoting objectives. The Council along with other regional organizations in Europe provided sound foundations for effective and advanced regional cooperation in the field of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. He expressed regret that Armenia’s proposals were not reflected in the text. The choice venues for organising forums became a sensitive issue, especially when those venues were located in countries that consistently violated human rights and imprisoned journalists. The Baku Commitment to Youth Policies had been adopted without Armenia’s presence, simply because the presence of an Armenian in Baku represented a serious security risk. That was a result of a consistent “Armenophobia” promoted by the Government of Azerbaijan.
ZOLTÁN TAUBNER, Director of External Relations of the Council of Europe, said the United Nations was a major partner and an ideal platform for global outreach. Their relationship focused on cooperation with the Human Rights Council, in particular the latter’s universal periodic review. There was broad synergy between the development of the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and the quasi-jurisprudence of United Nations treaty bodies, as well as the guidance from special procedures mandate holders and the universal periodic review. Despite differences, they aimed at addressing challenges related to new technologies, terrorism, and the protection of human rights of groups at risk such as persons with disabilities, migrants and the Roma community.
He went on to emphasize that the Council of Europe had been the driving force in eliminating the death penalty in Europe for more than 800 million people. Drawing attention to Protocols 6 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights, he said that in the last 19 years, no death sentence had been carried out in the territories of 47 member States. In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights had defined the death penalty as an inhumane, degrading treatment in all circumstances. Still, there had been a spike in executions, he said, noting that the Council would remain proactive in efforts to end the use of the death penalty. It was essential to invest more in long-term education, especially of youth, and present the case for abolition as an integral part of a just, humane and democratic society. Furthermore, he underscored the need to turn cooperation with the European Union into concerted policy action for a global moratorium.
JURGEN STOCK, Secretary-General of INTERPOL, said given emerging challenges and complexities, tackling transnational crimes and enhancing cross-border cooperation had become critical. Serving as an independent and apolitical entity, INTERPOL connected various stakeholders with the aim of making the world a safer place and had developed policies and enhanced its capabilities based strictly on its neutral mandate. At the INTERPOL General Assembly session held two weeks ago, Member States voted to make the INTERPOL system all the more available to stakeholders. INTERPOL’s global programmes focused on combating transnational crime, including cybercrime. INTERPOL must and would remain completely apolitical. Given the complex landscape, however, it needed more support from governments to help policing efforts worldwide. Cooperation had deepened over the years, he said, emphasizing that today’s draft resolution moved the world even closer to supporting INTERPOL’s vision of a safer world.
MICHAEL B. CHRISTIDES, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, said it had helped enhance cooperation and understanding in a region of significant geostrategic importance. Unfortunately, the region’s challenges had sometimes cast a shadow on its efforts. Nevertheless, the organization had acted as a confidence-building mechanism and a window for dialogue and understanding. One priority was to increase the efficiency of the organization and make it more project and result-oriented. That way, it could benefit even more from increased collaboration with the United Nations system. Toward that end, he invited the specialized agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations to strengthen their cooperation with the organization and create new synergies based on existing agreements and memoranda. Overall, the organization had the knowledge and experience to help the United Nations effectively implement policies and programmes in a crucial part of the world.
RASHID ALIMOV, Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, said cooperation between that group and the United Nations had been gradually developing since 2004 and that the draft resolution before the Assembly opened new vistas of broad-spectrum cooperation. “Unfortunately, we have to acknowledge that the contemporary world is not becoming more predictable and safe,” he said. In that regard, resolution A/71/L.11 called for joint efforts in such areas as sustainable development and would become a sound foundation for broad interaction between the two organizations. “Consolidating and developing effective connections between the United Nations and regional organizations does not only facilitate development of the regional structures, but to a great extent strengthens the United Nations itself,” he said, expressing confidence that synergies of multifaceted cooperation between his organization and the United Nations would help to solve the most urgent contemporary problems.
ABDELAZIZ ENANI, League of Arab States, said the League and the United Nations had enhanced their close cooperation in recent years to respond to various emerging challenges. Cooperation would now focus on conflict resolution, sustainable development, crime prevention as well as issues of refugees and human rights. He highlighted various conferences that had focused on deepening cooperation between the League and the United Nations and said that both organizations had taken initiative to include Arab youth in debates on social issues. Various forums tapped into their ideas on how to combat climate change. There had been fruitful cooperation with specialized United Nations agencies to implement sustainable development, strengthen human rights, and combat climate change. “No stone must be left unturned” to find a solution to the refugee crisis, he said, stressing the need for a common strategy to address the plight of Palestinian children. Frustration reigned in the Middle East, where a great deal of turbulence remained. Terrorism in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya must be addressed and those various crises must be tackled with political solutions. All media used to disseminate hate speech must be outlawed.
ROY S. LEE, Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization, said one of its main purposes was to promote and disseminate public international law. Topics included the law of the sea, counter-terrorism, sustainable development, climate change and cyber-crime. The organization also had some regional arbitration centres. At United Nations Headquarters, the Permanent Observer for the organization hosted open and inclusive discussions, serving as a forum for the free exchange of views. Judges, jurists, scholars and practitioners were usually encouraged to participate. The organization stood ready to help build a sustainable legal regime on the law of the sea to advise national jurisdictions.
Action on Draft Resolutions
The representative of Georgia, speaking in explanation of position on draft resolution A/71/L.5, recalled the ongoing illegal occupation of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and the Tshkinvali region/South Ossetia by the Russian Federation – a member of both the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Collective Security Treaty Organization – as well as its continuous militarization of those regions in breach of international law and the United Nations Charter. Through the annexation, that delegation was also misusing the mandate of the Commonwealth of Independent States’ peacekeeping mission in both Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia. For that reason, Georgia could not endorse the resolution and dissociated itself from the text.
The representative of Republic of Moldova, also speaking in explanation of position on draft resolution A/71/L.5, said regional organizations played an important role in addressing international issues in a “common way”, especially between States that shared borders. As a supporter of regional cooperation, Moldova expected the complete and non-discriminatory implementation of the region’s 2011 free trade agreement, and called for the elimination of trade barriers between all participating States. In line with its reservations on the chairmanship of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Moldova did not recognize the international legal personality of that organization; the Assembly’s adoption of the draft resolution should not be interpreted as a deviation from that position.
The representative of Syria, explaining his country’s position on draft resolution A/71/L.6, pointed to “dangerous and non-democratic” measures undertaken by the League of Arab States, including some of its members’ illegal policies aimed at controlling mechanisms of election in the region. Indeed, the League did not respect its own goals with regard to sovereignty, non-interference and the independence of States. It should defend its people, rather than impose sanctions and exert political pressure, he said, calling for a recorded vote on the draft resolution.
The representative of Ukraine, explaining his delegation’s position on draft resolution A/71/L.5, expressed disappointment at the complete failure of the Commonwealth of Independent States to take measures to respond to aggression by the Russian Federation in Ukraine. “The [group] is still pretending that there is no Russian aggression, no illegal occupation of Crimea, no war crimes committed,” he said. The Commonwealth was a special international, interregional formation lacking definite status and whose military and political alliance – established on the basis of the 1992 Tashkent agreement on collective security – bound only some of its members.
Continuing, he said some provisions of the draft resolution did not fully correspond to the realities on the ground - in particular the description in operative paragraph 1 of “activities of the Commonwealth of Independent States to strengthen regional cooperation in such areas as trade and economic development” – as the Russian Federation had undertaken illegal and discriminatory steps on trade with Ukraine. In addition, he expressed disappointment that while the Commonwealth positioned itself as an active fighter against terrorism and extremism, it had failed to respond to the actions of one of its most influential members – the Russian Federation – which controlled, financed and directed the actions of illegal armed groups in certain parts of Ukraine.
The representative of Cyprus, speaking in explanation of position on draft resolution A/71/L.15 and associating herself with the European Union, noted that her country would be assuming the chairmanship of the Council of Europe on Tuesday. Emphasizing that the world was currently facing such challenges as wars, underdevelopment, migratory flows and the rise of xenophobia and discrimination, she said Cyprus’ chairmanship would focus on ensuring rights and freedoms for all people. Other priority areas would include the protection of cultural goods and heritage, the role of youth, the promotion of equal rights and the improvement of the quality of life of persons with disabilities and the promotion of human rights in the biomedical fields.
Moving to take action on the draft resolutions before it, the Assembly adopted the following without a vote: “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Independent States” (document A/71/L.5); “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization” (document A/71/L.7); “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Central European Initiative” (document A/71/L.9); “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization” (document A/71/L.11); “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM” (document A/71/L.12); “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Economic Cooperation Organization” (document A/71/L.14); “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe” (document A/71/L.15); “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization” (document A/71/L.16/Rev.1); and “Cooperation between the United Nations and the International Criminal Police Organization” (document A/71/L.17).
By a recorded vote of 84 in favour to none against, with 5 abstentions (Central African Republic, Congo, Germany, Indonesia, Syria), it also adopted the draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States (document A/71/L.6).
The representative of Armenia expressed concern that one of the main co-sponsors used the resolution titled “Organization for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM” to present its distorted view of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. That was counterproductive.
The representative of Cyprus said she was disassociating herself from the resolution on the United Nations and the Economic Cooperation Organization, because the text took a position on her country that went against Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. The Security Council called for all States to respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus, she reiterated.
Right of Reply
The representative of Azerbaijan said that the statement by Armenia’s delegate illustrated that speaker’s willingness to deflect the international community’s attention away from his country’s continued aggression towards Azerbaijan. Unlike Armenia’s policy of total ethnic cleansing, Azerbaijan had preserved its multi-ethnic culture. While Armenia had mentioned the possibility of not participating in the Baku conference for security reasons, many Armenians had recently visited Azerbaijan for various events, he noted, adding that, unlike Azerbaijan, Armenia’s spirit was one of intolerance and discrimination. The delegate of Armenia criticized others for actions his own country continued to commit, he said, citing resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly, and expressing hope that Armenia would not make irrelevant and out-of-context statements.
The representative of Armenia said countries that violated human rights tended to be part of the problem rather than the solution. Azerbaijan’s appalling record was concerning, but it would rather blame the other side. Azerbaijan had been led by the same family for almost 50 years, while Armenia had conducted democratic elections, he noted.
The representative of Azerbaijan, describing the remarks by Armenia’s delegate as distorted, said that delegate had gone as far as lecturing other Member States on the principles and values that his own country consistently disregarded and violated. Rather than wasting time, the Government of Armenia must reconsider its stance on Nagorno-Karabakh, which was becoming increasingly difficult for it to defend.
The representative of Armenia said that, in order to settle the conflict, Azerbaijan should implement the agreements reached in Vienna and Saint Petersburg as soon as possible. Failure to do so would continue to impede peace efforts.