PLACE DU PETIT-SACONNEX
1211 GENEVA 19, SWITZERLAND
Moscow (Russian Federation), 7-11 September 1998
The 100th Inter-Parliamentary Conference began its work in the Moscow Kremlin on the afternoon of 7 September by electing by acclamation Mr. G.N. Seleznev, Chairman of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, as its President.
On the afternoon of 10 September, in the first public appearance of Mr. Evgueni Primakov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, after the President of the Russian Federation had nominated him for the office of Prime Minister, the Conference heard the former's statement on his country's foreign policy with regard to the major issues on the international agenda, underlining the important role played by the Russian Federation in international co-operation and underscoring the growing importance of regional conflicts in the world.
The 100th Inter-Parliamentary Conference was inaugurated on 7 September at a ceremony held at the State Palace in the Moscow Kremlin, in the presence of H.E. Mr. Boris Yeltsin, President of the Russian Federation. During the ceremony, the delegates heard statements from Mr. G.N. Seleznev; Mr. V. Petrovsky, Under-Secretary-General and Director of the United Nations Office at Geneva, who delivered a message from the UN Secretary-General, Mr. K. Annan; and Mr. M.A. Martínez, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Council. The ceremony concluded with a major speech by H.E. Mr. Boris Yeltsin, who declared open the 100th Inter-Parliamentary Conference.
Extracts from the speeches delivered on that occasion will be published in the Inter-Parliamentary Bulletin (N° 2, 1998).
The Parliaments of the following 123 countries took part in the work of the Conference: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Senegal, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
The following Associate Members also took part in the Conference: the Andean Parliament, the Latin American Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
The observers included representatives of: (i) Palestine; (ii) United Nations system - United Nations, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) - as well as the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Health Organization (WHO); (iii) the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Organization of African Unity (OAU); (iv) the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Baltic Assembly, the Central American Parliament, which became an Associate Member on 12 September, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of French-Speaking Communities, the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Nordic Council, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation (PABSEC), the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, the Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Co-operation (PAEAC) and the Union of African Parliaments (UAP); and (v) Amnesty International, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN).
There was a total of 1,243 delegates, including 693 parliamentarians and 67 delegates attending as observers.
When this question was taken up on the afternoon of 7 September, the Conference had before it seven requests for the inclusion of a supplementary item. The Conference first heard statements from the sponsors of the items. Prior to and during these presentations, four Groups withdrew their requests as follows: the Group of Iraq withdrew its request for an item entitled "United Nations responsibility in lifting sanctions imposed on Iraq, Libya and Sudan", the Group of Lebanon withdrew its request concerning "Support for Lebanon in its continuous efforts to implement UN Security Council resolution 425 adopted in March 1978", announcing that it was in favour of the item proposed by the Group of Egypt, the Group of Israel withdrew its request for an item on "Creation of an information clearing centre to facilitate the establishment of hi-tech industrial zones in developing countries, with the co-operation of the private sector, within an appropriate international organisational framework", announcing that it would submit it again at a future conference, and the Group of Venezuela withdrew its request concerning a "New international order" in favour of the subject put forward by the Group of Latin American countries, asking that the item be placed on the agenda of the next statutory Conference.
As a result, the Conference had before it three requests and proceeded to vote on them in a single roll call with the following outcome:
The request of the Group of Latin American countries, having received not only the necessary two-thirds majority but also the highest number of affirmative votes, was added to the agenda as item 7 (see paragraph 4(d) below).
(a) General Debate on the political, economic and social situation in the world (Item 3)
The General Debate on the political, economic and social situation in the world was held at the end of the afternoon of Monday, 7 September, throughout Tuesday 8 September, from 4 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 9 September and throughout Thursday, 10 September. A total of 129 speakers from 109 delegations took part in the debate, which was conducted by the President of the Conference, who also invited the Vice-Presidents of the Conference from the following delegations to share the task of chairing: Belgium, Guatemala, Ireland, Kenya, Morocco, Switzerland, Thailand and Viet Nam.
This item was considered on 8 and 10 September by the IInd Committee (Parliamentary, Juridical and Human Rights Questions). The sittings of 8 September were chaired by Mr. Y. N'Dia (Côte d'Ivoire), in the unavoidable absence of the officers of the Committee, while the sitting of 10 September was chaired by the Vice-President of the Committee, Mr. F. Borel (Switzerland). The Committee had before it 17 memoranda presented by the National Groups of Argentina, Australia, Chile, China, Congo, Egypt, Estonia, Hungary, India, Iraq, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Russian Federation, Switzerland, Venezuela, Mr. A. Alasino (Argentina), Mr. C.A. Becerra (Argentina) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. It also had before it information documents presented by the Secretariat of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Amnesty International, UNESCO, the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, the United Nations Fund for Women and a statement by Mrs. M. Robinson, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Lastly, it had before it 26 draft resolutions submitted by the National Groups of Armenia, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Egypt, Estonia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Philippines, Russian Federation, Senegal, Switzerland, Sudan, Sweden, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Mr. A. Alasino (Argentina), the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Some 75 speakers took the floor during the debate on this item on 8 September. After the debate, the Committee appointed a drafting committee comprising the representatives of the Groups of Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, Estonia, Germany, India, Iran, Kenya, the Russian Federation, Senegal, South Africa, Sweden and Uruguay. Representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross participated in the work of the committee as advisers. The drafting committee met all day on 9 September and on the morning of 10 September with Ms. C. Beaumier (Canada) in the Chair and Mr. S. Swamy (India) as Rapporteur. It selected the texts submitted by the Groups of Egypt and Germany as the basis for drafting the preamble and operative sections respectively of the overall draft resolution. It then drew from the other texts and took on board suggestions from the various members of the committee to produce a consolidated text. The resulting draft resolution was adopted by consensus by the committee.
At its sitting on the morning of 10 September, the IInd Committee heard a report by the Rapporteur of the drafting committee, Mr. Swamy, and went on to consider the various sections of the draft resolution. A number of amendments, mainly of an editorial nature, were introduced to the text. Two such amendments were adopted after a vote. Finally, the draft resolution was adopted by consensus by the entire Committee. The Committee then held the statutory election of its officers.
Mr. Swamy presented the conclusions of the IInd Committee to the plenary Conference in the afternoon of 11 September. The Conference then proceeded to a debate on the draft resolution. The delegation of Egypt proposed an amendment to operative paragraph 2(ii) which was neither discussed nor put to the vote as it had not been raised during the proceedings of the IInd Committee. Before the adoption of the resolution as a whole, the delegations of China and Sudan expressed reservations regarding the fourteenth preambular paragraph and operative paragraph 5(i). In addition, the delegation of China expressed reservations on the eighteenth preambular paragraph and operative paragraph 12, and the delegation of the Republic of Korea on operative paragraph 5(iv). Furthermore, the delegation of Armenia expressed reservations on operative paragraph 6. The Conference then adopted the resolution without a vote. After the adoption of the text, the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic made known its reservations on operative paragraphs 4(ii), 5(ii), 5(iv) and 12.
This item was considered on 9 and 11 September by the IIIrd Committee (on Economic and Social Questions) which met with its President, Mr. H. Gjellerod (Denmark), in the Chair. The Committee had before it 19 memoranda, presented by the National Groups of the following countries, one individual MP, and one associate member as follows: Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Chile, Congo, Egypt, Finland, France, Hungary, India, Iraq, Japan, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Russian Federation, Switzerland, Venezuela, Mr. Gómez Febres (Venezuela), and by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The Committee also had before it 22 draft resolutions presented by the following National Groups and associate members: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Egypt, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kuwait, Philippines, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, United Kingdom, Venezuela and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
A total of 78 speakers from 71 countries and two international organisations took part in the debate which was held throughout 9 September. Thereafter, the Committee appointed a drafting committee composed of representatives of the Groups of the following countries: Algeria, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Mongolia, Russian Federation, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey and Venezuela. The drafting committee, after electing Mr. G. Chapman (Australia) as its President and Mr. P. Günter (Switzerland) as its Rapporteur, met throughout 10 September. It used the draft resolution prepared by the Group of Germany as the basis for its deliberations but also drew extensively on many of the other texts which were before it and took proposals from the floor. The resulting consolidated draft was adopted without a vote.
At its sitting on the morning of 11 September, the IIIrd Committee considered the text presented by the drafting committee. During the meeting, the Committee dealt with one proposed amendment which was defeated by vote. The text was then unanimously adopted.
On the afternoon of 11 September, Mr. P. Günter submitted the IIIrd Committee's draft resolution to the Conference, which adopted it unanimously.
In his address to the Conference, the Rapporteur referred to a proposal which the IIIrd Committee wished to convey to the Conference at the request of the Group of the Russian Federation: regarding the catastrophic situation in one of the world's largest freshwater resources, Lake Baikal in Siberia, the Committee suggested that the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Council should address a special letter to the Government of the Russian Federation, drawing its attention to the text of the resolution on water adopted by the 100th Conference and in particular to the need for Russia to fully implement its commitments concerning the protection of Lake Baikal.
Having decided to add this item to its agenda, the Conference referred it to the Ist Committee (on Political Questions, International Security and Disarmament), which examined it on 9 and 11 September with its President, Mr. A.R. Zamharir (Indonesia), in the Chair. The Committee had before it four draft resolutions submitted by the Groups of Latin American countries, Canada, Costa Rica and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and amendments to the text of the Canadian Group submitted by the Italian Group.
On the morning of 9 September, the Committee held a debate on this item, in which 36 speakers took part. At the end of the debate, the Committee appointed a drafting committee composed of representatives of the Groups of the following countries: Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guinea, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Peru, South Africa and the United Kingdom. The drafting committee met on the morning of 10 September and began its work by electing as President Mr. M. Hancock (United Kingdom) and as Rapporteur Mr. E. Toro (Bolivia). Taking the draft resolution of the Groups of Latin American countries as the basis for its work, the Committee, after several hours of deliberation, drew up a consolidated text, incorporating elements from other draft resolutions and aspects reflecting the real situation in different countries affected by the world-wide drug problem. This text was adopted by consensus.
On the morning of 11 September, after statements by the President of the drafting committee and its Rapporteur, the Committee adopted the draft resolution unanimously. The delegations of Italy and Azerbaijan then took the floor to stress that the drug problem deserved in-depth discussion and that there were different approaches to the problem which were not all covered in the text that had been adopted.
On the afternoon of 11 September, Mr. Toro presented the draft resolution to the final plenary sitting of the Conference, which also adopted it unanimously.
At its first sitting, the Conference had before it a proposal to amend Article 20.2 of the Statutes and another proposal to insert a new Article 23 in the Statutes. Having received the favourable opinion of the Council on both proposals, the Conference adopted them unanimously.
In accordance with the decision taken by the Inter-Parliamentary Council in Windhoek, the Conference briefly interrupted its general debate on the morning of 8 September to pay tribute to the Union's former Secretary General, Mr. Pierre Cornillon. The President of the Inter-Parliamentary Council, Mr. M.A. Martínez, who spoke on behalf of all the members of the Organisation and Mr. P. Cornillon delivered addresses on this occasion. The President of the Conference, Mr. G. Seleznev, invited the Conference to adopt a draft resolution prepared by the Executive Committee.
By this resolution adopted by acclamation, the 100th Inter-Parliamentary Conference addressed to Mr. Pierre Cornillon " its appreciation for the exceptional contribution he has made to the development of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the strengthening of international co-operation, the prestige and growth of parliamentary institutions in the world and to the cause of democracy and human rights in the nearly 35 years for which he has served the Organisation, during 12 of which he exercised the functions of Secretary General with great distinction". " As a mark of gratitude and esteem ", it conferred on Mr. Cornillon the title of Honorary Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.