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Seventy-seventh Session,
1st Meeting (PM)

First Committee Approves Work Programme, Elects Chair for Seventy-Seventh Session

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met for a brief organizational meeting today, approving a work programme after electing Peter Mohan Maithri Pieris (Sri Lanka) as its Chair for the General Assembly’s seventy-seventh session, following the withdrawal of Magzhan Ilyassov (Kazakhstan) from that position.

Outlining the programme of work (documents A/C.1/77/CRP.1 and A/C.1/77/CRP.2), the Chair said the Committee’s general debate on all agenda items, consisting of eight meetings, will be held from 3 to 12 October, with Tatiana Valovaya, Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, addressing delegates on the last day.

Thematic discussions on specific subjects, from 14 to 27 October, will cover nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, disarmament aspects of outer space, conventional weapons and other disarmament measures, as well as international security, regional disarmament and the disarmament machinery.

On 14 October, the Committee will have its usual exchange with the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, as follow-up to resolutions and decisions approved by the Committee during previous sessions.

Action on draft proposals will be taken from 28 October to 4 November, over the course of six meetings.

The Russian Federation’s representative, speaking on organizational matters, said that his delegation is still having problems getting American visas.  “This is a real hindrance to our work,” he said, recalling that under the Agreement regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations, the United States is obliged to provide free access to Headquarters to all official representatives of Member States, without exception, and to issue visas free of charge and without delay.  He requested that the Secretary-General and the leadership of the Office for Disarmament Affairs address this unacceptable situation.

In response, the Chair said that the issue has been raised in the Committee on Relations with the Host Country, as well as with the Secretariat.  He added that the Bureau will continue to use its good offices regarding this matter.

In addition to the Chair, the Bureau also comprises Nazim Khaldi (Algeria), Daniel Andreas Roethlin (Austria), Juan Marcelo Zambrana Torrelio (Bolivia) and Szilvia Balázs (Hungary).  The election of Mr. Pieris as Chair, without a vote, followed a note dated 6 September from the Philippines, in its capacity as Chair of the Asia-Pacific Group, informing the Secretariat of the Government of Kazakhstan’s decision to withdraw Mr. Ilyassov’s candidature.

The First Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Monday, 3 October, to begin its general debate.

For information media. Not an official record.