PLACE DU PETIT-SACONNEX
1211 GENEVA 19, SWITZERLAND
Amman (Jordan), 30 April - 5 May 2000
The proceedings of the 103rd Inter-Parliamentary Conference began at the Zara Expo Conference Centre in Amman on the morning of Monday, 1 May 2000 with the election by acclamation of Mr. Abdulhadi Majali, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Jordan, as President of the Conference.
On the afternoon of 2 May, during the General Debate on the political, economic and social situation in the world, the Conference was addressed by His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal, who called for a greater role for human values in international politics and policies in order to contribute to the foundation of a new international humanitarian order. On the afternoon of 4 May, the Conference was addressed by the Prime Minister of Jordan, Mr. Abdul Ra'uof Al-Rawabdeh, who explained his country's position on the major issues facing the world. Earlier in the afternoon of 1 May, participants also heard a keynote address by Mr. Giandomenico Picco, Personal Representative of the UN Secretary-General for the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations.
At the close of proceedings, on the afternoon of 5 May, the President of the Conference read a message of thanks which he would be sending to His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan on behalf of the participants.
The 103rd Inter-Parliamentary Conference was inaugurated on 30 April at a ceremony in the Palace of Culture in the presence of His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan. Inaugural addresses were delivered by Mr. Abdulhadi Majali, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Jordan; Mr. Vladimir Petrovsky, UN Under-Secretary-General and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, who read out a message from the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan; Mr. Zaid Al-Rifai, President of the Senate of Jordan, and Dr. Najma A. Heptulla, President of the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The ceremony concluded with an address by His Majesty King Abdullah II, who declared the 103rd Inter-Parliamentary Conference officially open.
Extracts from the inaugural speeches will be published in the Inter-Parliamentary Bulletin (N° 1, 2000).
Delegations of the Parliaments of the following 124 countries took part in the work of the Conference*: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Guatermala, 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, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, San Marino, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
* A delegation from Guinea-Bissau attended the session of the Inter-Parliamentary Council on Saturday, 6 May 2000The following Associate Members also took part in the Conference: the Andean Parliament, the Central American Parliament, the European Parliament, the Latin American Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
The observers included representatives of: (i) Palestine; (ii) the United Nations system: the United Nations, the World Bank, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women; (iii) the International Organization for Migration (IOM); (iv) the Assembly of the Western European Union, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC), Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), the Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation (PAEAC), the Maghreb Consultative Council, the Nordic Council, the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization (AIPO), the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, the African Parliamentary Union (APU), the Parliamentary Union of the OIC States (PUOICM); (v) the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Of the total of 1,385 delegates who attended the Conference, 648 were parliamentarians and 21 were observers. The parliamentarians included 42 presiding officers of parliaments, 35 deputy presiding officers and 139 women parliamentarians (21.5%).
When this agenda item was addressed on the morning of 1 May, the Conference had before it 13 requests for the inclusion of a supplementary item. The delegations of Namibia, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, South Africa and Italy announced the withdrawal of the proposals from their parliaments relating, respectively, to the "Contribution of parliaments to the prevention of military coups over democratically elected governments in the world", "Prevention of cross-border terrorism", "Role of parliaments in achieving international peace and security in general and in the Gulf in particular, and in resolving disputes by means of international law", "Responding to natural disasters in developing countries", and "Action by parliaments to halt the use of minors in military operations". The Italian and South African delegations agreed to withdraw their requests with a view to the items they had proposed being taken up by the 104th Conference in Jakarta. The delegations of the Parliaments of Australia and Algeria (speaking on behalf of the Arab Group) decided to combine the proposals of their two parliaments. As a result, seven requests remained. The President decided, on a proposal by the delegation of the United Kingdom, to adjourn the sitting to allow for further consultations.
When the debate resumed at the afternoon sitting, the delegations of India, Djibouti and Nicaragua announced the withdrawal of the requests from their respective parliaments, concerning "Parliamentary action against the growing trend of cross-border terrorism, which is a threat to international peace and stability and undermines the established norms of civilised international behaviour", "Support for the Peace Plan for Somalia proposed by the President of the Republic of Djibouti" and "Protection of the rights of migrant workers and migrant populations". As a result, the Conference had four requests before it. Following statements by the authors of these requests and the expression of two dissenting opinions, a vote was held by roll call with the following outcome:
The joint proposal of the Parliaments of Algeria and Australia, having received not only the necessary two-thirds majority but also the highest number of affirmative votes, was added to the agenda as item 6.
(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 took place on the afternoon of Monday, 1 May, all day on Tuesday, 2 May, on the afternoon of Wednesday, 3 May and all day on Thursday, 4 May. A total of 125 speakers from 110 delegations took part in the debate, which was chaired by the President of the Conference. The President invited the Vice-Presidents belonging to the delegations of the following countries to replace him in the chair : Algeria, Australia, Burkina Faso, Egypt, France, Nicaragua, Nigeria , Philippines and Tunisia.
The debate focused on various conflict situations throughout the world, including that in the Middle East, and the globalisation process.
(b) Achieving peace, stability and comprehensive development in the world and forging closer political, economic and cultural ties among peoples (Item 4)
This item was considered on 2 and 4 May by the First Committee (Political Questions, International Security and Disarmament) that met in two sittings with its Vice-President, Mr. J. Lefevre (Belgium) in the chair. The Committee had before it 9 memoranda submitted by the delegations of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Congo, Egypt, Hungary, Iraq and Yugoslavia. The Committee also had before it 17 draft resolutions submitted by the delegations of Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Congo, Cuba, Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, Iraq, Kuwait, Philippines, Senegal, United Kingdom and Yugoslavia. The Meeting of Women Parliamentarians also submitted a draft resolution.
Mr. Vladimir Petrovsky, UN Under-Secretary-General and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, addressed the Committee on the subject of the Millennium Report of the United Nations Secretary-General.
A total of 58 speakers from 52 countries took the floor in the two sessions. The meeting also heard statements from 1 observer and 3 international delegations. Thereafter, the Committee appointed a drafting committee composed of representatives from Australia, Benin, Cuba, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Philippines, Portugal, Yugoslavia and Zambia. In its work, the drafting committee benefited from the advice of Mr. Incisa di Camerana, Advisor to the Director General of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). The drafting committee, after electing Mr. A. Somlyay (Australia) as its Chairman and Mr. S. Chilombo (Zambia) as its Rapporteur, met throughout the day on 3 May. It used the draft resolution prepared by the delegation of France as the basis for its deliberations but also drew extensively on many of the other texts before it and on the proposals and ideas put forward during the debate in Committee. The consolidated draft was adopted without a vote.
During the sitting of 4 May the First Committee received the report by Mr. S. Chilombo on the work of the drafting committee and examined the text paragraph by paragraph. Representatives from Malta, Norway and the Netherlands suggested amendments to various paragraphs that were accepted without a vote. A vote, however, was taken on the paragraph dealing with sanctions affecting civilians (operative paragraph 13), with 24 in favour, 2 against and 2 abstentions.
On the afternoon of 5 May, Mr. S. Chilombo submitted the First Committee's draft resolution to the Conference. The resolution was adopted without a vote . After its adoption the delegation of India expressed its reservation to paragraph 16 which calls for signature and ratification by all States of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
This item was considered on 3 and 5 May by the Fourth Committee (on Education, Science, Culture and Environment) which met with one of its Vice-Presidents, Mrs. B. Gadient (Switzerland), in the chair. The Committee had before it 17 memoranda, submitted by delegations from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Congo, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Gabon, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Israel, Japan, Switzerland, Yugoslavia and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and by Mr. H. Sager (Argentina), two information documents submitted by the Personal Representative of the UN Secretary-General for the United Nations Year for Dialogue among Civilizations and by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO), and 17 draft resolutions submitted by Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada (co-sponsored by Andorra, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Israel, Lao Democratic People's Republic, Luxembourg and Norway), Cuba, Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of) (co-sponsored by Egypt and Italy), Japan, Kuwait, Philippines, United Kingdom, the co-sponsors Germany and United Kingdom, and the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians.
A total of 66 speakers representing 61 countries and observers took the floor in the debate that took place throughout the day on 3 May. During the debate, the Committee appointed a drafting committee comprising representatives from the Parliaments of the following countries: Belgium, Germany, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Sweden, Tunisia, United Kingdom and Zambia. Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and UNESCO participated in the work of the Committee as advisers. The drafting committee, after electing Mrs. V. Furubjelke (Sweden) as its President and Mrs. G. Mahlangu (South Africa) as its Rapporteur, met throughout the day on 4 May. It took the joint draft resolution submitted by Germany and the United Kingdom as a basis for its work but also drew extensively on many of the other texts before it and on the proposals and ideas put forward during the debate in Committee. The resulting consolidated draft was adopted without a vote.
On the morning of 5 May, the Fourth Committee examined the text submitted to it by the drafting committee and adopted it without a vote. The Indian delegation took the floor to explain its position regarding the Optional Protocol of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) referred to in paragraph 9 of the draft resolution.
On the afternoon of 5 May, Mrs. Mahlangu (South Africa) submitted the Fourth Committee's draft resolution to the 103rd Conference, which adopted it without a vote after adopting an amendment submitted by the Canadian delegation.
Having decided to add this item to its agenda (see 3 above), the Conference referred it to the First Committee (Political Questions, International Security and Disarmament), which examined it on 3 and 5 May with its Vice-Presidents, Mr. J. Lefevre (Belgium) and Mrs. M. Clarke-Kwesie (Ghana), taking the chair successively. The Committee had before it five draft resolutions submitted by the delegations of Algeria, Australia, Canada, Romania and Yugoslavia.
On the morning of 3 May, the Committee held a debate on this item, in which 40 speakers took part. At the end of the debate, the Committee appointed a drafting committee composed of delegates from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Egypt, Netherlands, Romania, South Africa, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The drafting committee met on the morning of 4 May and began its work by electing Rev. K.M. Zondi (South Africa) as President and Rapporteur. Working on the basis of Algerian, Canadian and Australian drafts and drawing extensively on the Romanian draft, the committee arrived at a consolidated text which was approved without dissent.
On the morning of 5 May, the First Committee heard the report of Rev. K.M. Zondi and adopted two amendments to the draft text. The first change consisted of replacing operative paragraph 7 of section A by an alternative text. This amendment was approved by 18 votes in favour, 10 against and 5 abstentions. The second amendment consisted of adding a few words to preambular paragraph 4 of section B of the draft and was adopted unanimously. The modified draft resolution was approved without a vote, following which the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran expressed its reservations concerning operative paragraph 7 of section A of the draft as well as concerning any other document of the 103rd IPU conference that could be construed as a recognition of the State of Israel.
On the afternoon of 5 May, the Rapporteur submitted the draft text to the final plenary sitting of the Conference. The delegation of Israel proposed to replace operative paragraph 7 of section A of the resolution with the original text that had been proposed by the drafting committee but had been changed by the First Study Committee. This amendment was rejected by the Conference by 765 votes to 64, with 461 abstentions (see Section H-5 for the details of the vote). The delegation of Germany proposed a negotiated alternative text for the paragraph in question and was seconded by the delegation of Palestine. This proposal was accepted without a vote. Thereafter, the resolution as a whole was adopted without a vote. The delegation of Israel expressed its rejection of operative paragraph 7 of section A of the resolution as amended by the vote.
After the adoption of the text of the resolution, the delegations of Australia and of the Islamic Republic of Iran stated their reservations on operative paragraph 7 of section A. Furthermore, the latter delegation expressed its reservations on all the documents of the Conference that could be construed as a recognition of the State of Israel. The delegation of Bosnia and Herzegovina regretted that the resolution contained no reference to the situation of refugees and displaced persons in South-East Europe. The delegation of Iraq expressed its reservations regarding all provisions relating to a political settlement.