Subject: UN: G. Assembly Comm. Authorizes up to $35 million to start
Date: Sat, 29 May 1999 11:39:35 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

24 May 1999 Press Release GA/AB/3297

ASSEMBLY WOULD AUTHORIZE SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ENTER INTO COMMITMENT UP TO $35 MILLION FOR UN ACTIVITIES RELATED TO EAST TIMOR, BY FIFTH COMMITTEE TEXT

19990524

The General Assembly would authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitment of up to $35 million from all sources of funding for the initial requirements of the United Nations activities related to East Timor, pending further action by the Security Council and the submission of a revised budget by the Secretary-General, according to a draft decision approved by its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this afternoon.

By other terms of the text, the Assembly would express concern at the tendency of substantive Committees and other intergovernmental bodies to involve themselves in administrative and budgetary matters and reaffirm that the Fifth Committee was entrusted with responsibility for administrative and budgetary matters.

The $35 million-commitment authority, based on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), was larger than the amount requested by the Secretary-General -- some $25.4 million. The reason for this, ACABQ Chairman C.S.M. Mselle explained as he introduced his report, was that the ACABQ had been informed that larger expenditures were being contemplated using voluntary contributions from the trust fund established for East Timor. The ACABQ was of the view that the full expenditures should be addressed, regardless of the source of funding, he said.

The Secretary-General was to submit to the Council a report no later than 24 May recommending the mandate, size, structure and budget of the mission, he continued. After that, the Security Council would formally establish the mission, and the Assembly would consider the budget of the mission as a whole.

Indonesia's representative said his delegation supported all efforts to establish a United Nations presence in East Timor as soon as possible. The international community should provide for the financial commitments made in the 5 May Agreements between Indonesia and Portugal. He appealed to all Member States to increase their support to expedite the process in a timely manner.

Portugal's representative expressed her Government's satisfaction with delegations' support in launching the United Nations presence in East Timor.

Fifth Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/AB/3297 60th Meeting (PM) 24 May 1999

The Security Council, in resolution 1236 (1999) of 7 May, welcomed the Secretary-General's intention to establish a United Nations presence to assist in implementing the Agreements signed by Portugal, Indonesia and the United Nations regarding consultations on an autonomy proposal for East Timor. Early in May, the Secretary-General established a trust fund for voluntary contributions to finance the quick establishment of the mission without waiting for the assessed budgetary process. Some staff have already been deployed to ensure the execution of the consultation process pending a formal decision by the Council on the mission.

The representatives of Germany (for the European Union and associated States), Philippines (for the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN)), Norway, United States, Australia, Cuba, China and New Zealand spoke. Uganda's representative spoke on other matters.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 25 May, to continue discussing the financing of peacekeeping operations.

Committee Work Programme

The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met this afternoon to consider the question of East Timor. It had before it reports of the Secretary-General and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ).

The Secretary-General's report (document A/C.5/53/61) explains that the Security Council, in its resolution 1236 (1999) of 7 May, welcomed his intention to establish, as soon as practicable, a United Nations presence to assist in implementing agreements signed by Portugal, Indonesia and the United Nations regarding consultations on an autonomy proposal for East Timor.

The Secretary-General estimates that the consultation process -- excluding the civilian police component -- would cost some $45.7 million gross ($44.2 million net), the report states. He requests the Assembly to approve a budget of this amount and to grant him authority to enter into commitments no greater than some $25.4 million.

Early in May, the Secretary-General established a trust fund to which Member States may channel voluntary contributions to finance the quick establishment of the mission without waiting for the assessed budgetary process, the report explains. The trust fund contains some $16.5 million, and in-kind contributions valued at close to $2.4 million have been pledged. Some staff, although not the civilian police component, have already been deployed to ensure the execution of the consultation process pending a formal decision by the Council on the mission.

In its related report (document A/53/7/Add.13), the ACABQ states that it had not considered the abovementioned budget since it had been informed that, following the Security Council's action on the matter, the Secretary-General would submit a revised budget for the full cost of the entire mission, including civilian police.

The ACABQ had been informed that, pending submission of the revised budget by the Secretary-General, an amount of $35 million would need to be committed from all sources of funds, the report states. The ACABQ recommends approving commitment authority of that amount for initial requirements of United Nations activities related to East Timor, pending further action by the Council and the submission of a revised budget.

That recommendation is without prejudice to the ultimate mode of financing to be decided upon by the General Assembly for the expenses of the United Nations in East Timor, the report states. It stresses the importance of showing and authorizing spending for the full cost of the mandated activities of an operation or mission, regardless of whether the operation is financed through peacekeeping or the regular budget.

Fifth Committee - 3 - Press Release GA/AB/3297 60th Meeting (PM) 24 May 1999

Statements

C.S.M. MSELLE, ACABQ Chairman, introduced that body's report. The Committee had not considered the budget estimates for the mission in East Timor, as the Secretary-General was to submit a report no later than 24 May. After that report, the Security Council would formally establish the mission. The Assembly had to consider the budget of the mission as a whole, authorize the related expenditure and determine the mode of financing the budget. Those actions would take place after the Secretary-General submitted a revised budget.

To permit the Secretary-General to proceed expeditiously, the ACABQ recommended that he be granted commitment authority of $35 million, he said. That amount was larger than the amount requested in the Secretary-General's report because larger expenditures had been contemplated using resources from the trust fund. The ACABQ was of the view that the full expenditures should be addressed, regardless of the source of funding.

He drew attention to paragraph 4 of his report, relating to the role of the Assembly under Article 17 of the Charter, as well as resolution 45/248 on the Fifth Committee's role in the United Nations administrative and budgetary matters.

KLAUS-DIETER STEIN (Germany), on behalf of the European Union, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Iceland and Liechtenstein, said the Union supported all efforts to bring peace to East Timor. It had, therefore, welcomed the signing of the Agreements on the future of East Timor on 5 May by the Secretary-General, Portugal and Indonesia. The challenge for the international community was now the full implementation of those Agreements without delay. In fact, security in East Timor remained crucial for the holding of a free and fair ballot on 8 August and for an orderly and peaceful transition. Given the short amount of time left before that date, enabling the Secretary-General to take action immediately was a matter of utmost urgency. Therefore, the European Union concurred with the ACABQ's recommendation to grant the Secretary-General the authority to enter into commitments in the amount of $35 million.

MARY JO ARAGON (Philippines), for the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), thanked the ACABQ Chairman for submitting the report on East Timor to the Fifth Committee. The Security Council, in its resolution 1236 (1999), had welcomed the signing of the 5 May Agreements by Portugal, Indonesia and the Secretary-General. Her delegation attached great importance to the question of East Timor, and the international community should ensure that adequate funds were available to support the Agreements. Her delegation supported the ACABQ recommendation for funding the initial requirements of the United Nations presence.

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ANNE MERCHANT (Norway) said the signing of the Agreements on 5 May represented an important landmark on the path towards a peaceful and orderly resolution of the East Timor issue. Norway strongly supported the establishment of a civilian United Nations presence in East Timor at the earliest opportunity and had contributed $500,000 to the trust fund. The Secretary-General should be given the necessary financial authority without delay, and her Government concurred with the ACABQ's recommendation.

THOMAS REPASCH (United States) said his Government had pledged an initial voluntary contribution of $6.5 million and hoped to contribute further to the mission. It was prepared to support the ACABQ's recommendation to grant the Secretary-General authority to enter into commitments of up to $35 million. His delegation understood that the amount would be committed from all sources of funding, including voluntary contributions. In addition, he expected that all expenses incurred for the mission would be met through voluntary contributions. In endorsing the important mission, the United States expected that it would be carried out with the strongest management controls and in full compliance with applicable regulations and rules.

DJAUHARI ORATMANGUN (Indonesia) said that after 16 years of negotiations, the Governments of Portugal and Indonesia had, on 5 May, signed three Agreements relating to the question of East Timor. Those Agreements had marked the conclusion of a long and difficult process begun in 1983, which spanned the terms of three Secretary-Generals. It was critically important that the Agreements were fully implemented. His delegation supported all effort to establish a United Nations presence in East Timor as soon as possible. The international community should provide for the financial commitments made in the Agreements and ensure that they were implemented in an expeditious manner.

His delegation appealed to all Member States to increase their support to expedite the process in a timely manner, he said. The funds recommended by the ACABQ would allow the Secretary-General to meet United Nations commitments in East Timor without further delay. His delegation hoped the Fifth Committee would approve the ACABQ recommendation without further consultation.

MILES ARMITAGE (Australia) said his delegation attached great importance to a solution in East Timor and supported a timely and effective United Nations presence there. His country's prior cash contribution of $6.5 million for United Nations efforts in East Timor had been increased to total a of $7.5 million. That figure should be reflected in the Secretary-General's report on East Timor. His delegation hoped other delegations would support the United Nations mission in East Timor and give it the commitment it deserved.

DULCE BUERGO RODRIGUEZ (Cuba) drew attention to an error in the Spanish version of the Secretary-General's report and expressed her delegation's

Fifth Committee - 5 - Press Release GA/AB/3297 60th Meeting (PM) 24 May 1999

concern about the practice of self-revision. Regarding paragraph 8 of Council resolution 1236 (1999), she reiterated that Assembly resolution 45/248 had reaffirmed the role of the Fifth Committee as the body concerned with administrative and budgetary questions. That question must be taken into account when the Fifth Committee took its decision. Once information on the mandate, structure and scope of the mission resulted in a revised budget, some of the issues related to financing should be considered. She noted that the modalities of financing remained to be determined by the Assembly. That would be done once the budget was submitted.

MINQIN SUN (China) said the Agreements were in the interest of the parties concerned and of the peace and stability of the entire region. Her delegation supported the Secretary-General dispatching personnel to East Timor as soon as possible to help implement the Agreements, and agreed with the ACABQ's recommendation to grant commitment authority for $35 million.

WEN CHIN POWLES (New Zealand) agreed with the delegation of Indonesia that the Committee should expeditiously approve the ACABQ recommendation to approve commitment authority for $35 million for the mission. New Zealand supported the challenging and urgent preparations being undertaken by the Secretary-General to implement the Agreements. Her Government had contributed $200,000 to the trust fund and was seeking to contribute 10 civilian police.

REGINA EMERSON (Portugal) expressed her Government's satisfaction with delegations' support in launching the United Nations presence in East Timor She hoped that a speedy and pragmatic decision would be taken on the issue.

MOVSES ABELIAN (Armenia), Fifth Committee Chairman, said the Spanish text would be corrected. On the Cuban representative's second point, taking into account statements made here and understanding the urgency of the issue, the Committee would review paragraph 4 of the ACABQ report when the Assembly considered the revised budget. He then proposed the following draft decision:

"The General Assembly decides to authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitment up to $35 million from all sources of funds for the initial requirements of the United Nations activities related to East Timor, pending further action by the Security Council and the submission of a revised budget by the Secretary-General."

Ms. BUERGO RODRIGUEZ (Cuba) said language from paragraph 4 of the ACABQ text regarding resolution 45/248 should be included.

The CHAIRMAN suggested adding the following paragraph:

"The Assembly reaffirms resolution 45/248 of 21 December 1990 which reaffirmed that the Fifth Committee was the appropriate Main Committee of the General Assembly entrusted with responsibilities for administrative and

Fifth Committee - 6 - Press Release GA/AB/3297 60th Meeting (PM) 24 May 1999

budgetary matters and expressed concern at the tendency of its substantive Committees and other intergovernmental bodies to involve themselves in administrative and budgetary matters."

The Committee approved the decision.

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