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General Assembly to ratify the judgment of the Council and enable you to rightfully regain your place within the community of nations." The United States wholeheartedly joined the Council President in his sentiments.
On September 17 the General Assembly unanimously adopted resolutions 46/1, 46/2, 46/3, 46/4, 46/5 and 46/6, cosponsored by the United States, which admitted all seven states to UN membership.
Following creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Russian President Yeltsin informed the UN Secretariat on December 24 that Russia would continue the membership of the U.S.S.R. “in the United Nations, including the Security Council, and in all other organs and organizations of the UN system.” On December 25 President Bush announced the United States would support Russia's assumption of the former U.S.S.R.'s seat.
Israel's credentials were not challenged at the 46th UN General Assembly
Question of Peacekeeping
The General Assembly established the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (Peacekeeping Committee) in 1965 to address financial difficulties resulting from unpaid peacekeeping assessments and to examine all aspects of future peacekeeping operations. Since then, the Peacekeeping Committee has been responsible for carrying out an annual comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations. Its membership numbers 34, including the United States.
The Peacekeeping Committee met on five occasions between April 19 and May 30. Its report, dated June 18, observed that members of the Committee noted with satisfaction the growing number of UN peacekeeping operations and cited their proliferation as evidence of the UN's increased ability to contribute to international peace and security. There was agreement on the importance of adequate funding for UN peacekeeping activities, particularly during critical early stages. Key recommendations of the group included increased use of civilian personnel in peacekeeping operations, renewed emphasis on national and regional training programs, and continued need to identify resources member states would be willing to contribute, in principle, to UN peacekeeping operations. The Committee also urged the Secretary General to investigate the feasibility of restructuring the Secretariat to better support the planning, mobilization and implementation of new peacekeeping operations.
In October the General Assembly's Special Political Committee considered the question of peacekeeping. In his remarks, the U.S. Representative underscored the importance of member states offering the greatest possible level of support for peacekeeping. He said that ways of encouraging, channeling and maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of that support was the primary purpose of the Peacekeeping Committee. The recommendations of the Special Peacekeeping Committee were subsequently adopted without significant change and referred to the General Assembly which incorporated them into resolution 46/48, adopted without a vote on December 9. Strengthening the Role of the United Nations
The Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization (Charter Committee) held its 16th session February 4-22. The 47-member Committee, established by the UN General Assembly in 1975, has convened annually since 1976. It considers a wide variety of proposals under three general headings: maintenance of peace and security (MPS), peaceful settlement of disputes (PSD) and rationalization of UN procedures.
Under MPS, the Committee concluded its work on a proposed "Declaration on Fact-Finding by the United Nations in the Field of the Maintenance of International Peace and Security." The declaration was submitted to the General Assembly where it was adopted on December 9, without a vote. (Resolution 46/59.) The U.S. Representative to the Sixth Committee stated that "the United States regards the declaration as a contribution to the institution-building that the times call for. It is, consequently, a worthwhile contribution to the Decade on International Law."
Under PSD, the Committee applauded the completion of the "Handbook on Peaceful Settlement of Disputes." Special recognition was given to the French Delegation for initiating the project and to the Codification Division of the UN Legal Office for its work on the project. The Committee requested the handbook be published and widely disseminated.
Resolution 46/58, “Report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization," was adopted without a vote on December 9. The resolution took note of the report of the Charter Committee and established priorities for the Charter Committee's work in 1992, namely, to consider a proposal on the enhancement of cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations under MPS and to consider a proposal on UN rules for conciliation of disputes under PSD.
Questions Relating to Information
The UN Committee on Information (COI) is a standing committee of the General Assembly mandated to oversee UN public information activities, including those of the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), and to coordinate information activities of UN specialized agencies. Each year it adopts a set of recommendations on information issues to submit to the Special Political Committee (SPC), which adopts the recommendation in its original or amended form as a resolution.
Using the 1990 consensus resolution as a working paper, the COI reached consensus on a resolution that was nonpolemical and primarily concerned with the management of the DPI. It asked the DPI to report further on UN Information Center (UNIC) operations, update publication of the Yearbook, assure flexibility to respond to crisis situations, and continue ad hoc consultations with the COI Bureau. The document also called for upgrading UNICs in Tehran, Dar es Salaam, Dhaka and Bujumbura, and establishing a new center in Sanaa. The 1991 session was businesslike and a welcome step away from the ideological battles of the past.
The consensus achieved at the COI meeting was maintained at the SPC session on October 23–29. At this session, there were several feeble references to the New World Information and Communications Order (NWICO), but the only controversy developed between the COI Bureau and the DPI over how to fund the upgrading of centers and the new center in Sanaa. In an extremely rare move, the Program Budget Implication (PBI) document submitted by the DPI, which outlined how the new and upgraded centers would be financed, was rejected by the SPC. The DPI was instructed to fund the upgrades and new center with savings from other areas of the budget. When the DPI announced they could find no such savings, the COI bureau provided a list of suggestions.
In the General Assembly, resolution 46/73 was adopted by consensus and called for no additional resources or use of contingency funds.
A seminal event in 1991 regarding information was the "Windhoek Seminar on Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press." This seminar for African journalists, sponsored by the DPI and UNESCO, was held in Windhoek, Namibia, from April 29 to May 3. In a complete about face from NWICO, “The Windhoek Declaration" of May 3 states: “Consistent with article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the establishment, maintenance and fostering of an independent, pluralistic and free press is essential to the development and maintenance of democracy in a nation, and for economic development."
The Windhoek Declaration, and its call for a free, independent and pluralistic press, rather than NWICO, defined the terms of debate at the UNESCO General Conference in November. In its resolution on “Promotion of press freedom in the world," (26 C/Resolution 4.3), the General Conference noted the Windhoek Declaration, invited the Director General to commemorate the anniversary of the Declaration and called upon the UN General Assembly to declare May 3 “International Press Freedom Day."
Appointment of the Secretary General
Secretary General Perez de Cuellar's term was scheduled to expire on December 31, necessitating the appointment of a successor. Earlier in the year, he had announced publicly that he would not seek a third term. Under Article 97 of the UN Charter, the Secretary General is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council. Security Council members agreed in an informal session on August 27 that discussion of procedures for electing a new Secretary General would begin on September 16.
Long before the balloting, some African states asserted that since Africa was the only major region that had not provided a Secretary General, it was now Africa's turn. The United States took the position that the candidates should be chosen on the basis of qualifications, not on regional rotation of the post.
After informal consultation, a formal Council vote was taken on November 21. Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt won Council approval and was recommended unanimously to the General Assembly, which appointed him on December 3 in resolution 46/21, adopted without a vote, to a 5-year term beginning Janu
ary 1, 1992.
Disarmament and Arms Control
The UN Charter provides that the "General Assembly may consider the general principles of cooperation in the maintenance of international peace and security, including the principles governing disarmament and the regulation of armaments.” From its early years, great-power disagreement hampered UN efforts to promote arms control and disarmament. The end of the Cold War and elimination of the East-West ideological divide influenced UN consideration of these issues in 1991, leading to heightened consensus. However, disagreements continued to exist among UN member states as to the proper role of the United Nations in arms control and disarmament, which issues it should address and the extent to which it should address issues of arms control activities.
The Disarmament Commission (UNDC) provides a subsidiary forum for deliberation on disarmament issues as mandated by the General Assembly, when the Assembly is not in session. It considers and makes recommendations on various problems in the field of disarmament and follows up the relevant decisions and recommendations of the 10th special session (1978) devoted to disarmament. In 1990 UNDC adopted a reform package (the annex to UN General Assembly resolution 44/19 C) aimed at improving its functioning. The subsequent 1991 session, held April 22 to May 13, was the first fully guided by these reforms. As in past years, UNDC adhered to the practice of consensus throughout the session.
In accordance with the reform package, UNDC considered only four agenda items in 1991: objective information on military matters; nuclear disarmament in the framework of international peace and security, with the objective of the elimination of nuclear weapons; regional approach to disarmament within the context of global security; and the role of science and technology in international security, disarmament and other related fields. However, only the working group reporting on science and technology was able to agree on a consensus report. Chairmen of