PLACE DU PETIT-SACONNEX
1211 GENEVA 19
Cairo (Egypt), 11-15 September 1997
The 98th Inter-Parliamentary Conference began its work in the
Cairo International Conference Centre on the afternoon of 11 September
by electing by acclamation
On the afternoon of 14 September, the Conference heard a statement
The 98th Inter-Parliamentary Conference was inaugurated at a ceremony held in the Cairo International Conference Centre, in the presence of H.E. Mr. Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt. During the ceremony, which was opened at 11.30 a.m., the delegates heard statements from Mr. A.F. Sorour, in his capacity as Speaker of the People's Assembly of Egypt and separately as President of the Inter-Parliamentary Council; Mr. V. Petrovsky, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Director General of the United Nations Office in Geneva, who delivered the message of the UN Secretary-General, Mr. K. Annan. The ceremony concluded with an important speech by H.E. Mr. Mohamed Hosni Mubarak.
Extracts from the speeches delivered on that occasion will be
published in the Inter-Parliamentary Bulletin (N° 2, 1997).
The Parliaments of the following 128 countries took part in the work of the Conference: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan , Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, San Marino, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, 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 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 Parliament.
The observers included representatives of: (i) Palestine, (ii) The United Nations Organization - United Nations, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) - 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, the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), (iii) the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the League of Arab States, (iv) the Amazonian Parliament, the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Association of European Parliamentarians for (Southern) Africa (AWEPA), the Central American Parliament, the European Parliament, the International Assembly of French-Speaking Parliamentarians, the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Inter-Parliamentary Council against Antisemitism, the Nordic Council, the Parliamentary Assembly for Black Sea Economic Co-operation (PABSEC), 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), and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Representatives of the Parliament of Haiti attended the Conference as observers. Secretaries General of the Parliaments of Lesotho and the United Arab Emirates also attended the session.
There was a total of 1,224 delegates, including 683 parliamentarians
and 69 delegates attending as observers.
When this question was taken up on the afternoon of 11 September, the Conference had before it ten requests for the inclusion of a supplementary. The Conference first heard statements from the sponsors of the items. During these presentations, six Groups withdrew their requests as follows: the Group of Kuwait withdrew its request concerning "The role of parliamentarians in keeping the world in general and the Middle East in particular free from nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction on the eve of the 21st century " in favour of the item proposed by the Group of Lebanon; the Groups of Hungary and Belgium withdrew their proposal for an item on " Contribution of Parliaments : 1. To the prevention of conflicts in pluri-ethnic countries; 2. To the restoration of peace and confidence between the different ethnic groups in countries emerging from civil war (for example, former Yugoslavia and the Great Lakes region in Africa), to the return of refugees to their countries of origin, to the strengthening of democratic processes and the hastening of reconstruction " in favour of the Australian Group's proposal; the Group of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya withdrew its request concerning " The need to lift the air embargo and other measures imposed on the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya " in favour of the item proposed by the Group of Lebanon; the Group of Iraq withdrew its proposal concerning " The responsibility of the United Nations for safeguarding Iraq's unity and sovereignty " in favour of the item proposed by the Group of Lebanon; the Group of Germany withdrew its request for an item on " Surplus weapons disposal and international ecological security " in favour of the subject proposed by the Australian Group; and the Group of the Islamic Republic of Iran withdrew its request concerning " The need for worldwide pressure to halt all Jewish settlement activities in the Holy City of Al-Qods and other occupied Palestinian territories " in favour of the item proposed by the Group of Lebanon.
The Conference therefore had before it four requests and proceeded to vote on them by means of a single roll-call with the following results:
The request from the Australian Group having received not only
the necessary two-thirds majority but also the highest number
of positive votes was added to the agenda as item 7.
(a) General Debate on the political, economic and social situation
in the world
The General Debate on the political, economic and social situation
in the world was held throughout Friday 12 September, from 4 p.m.
to 6 p.m. on Saturday 13 September and on the morning and afternoon
of Sunday 14 September. A total of 134 speakers from 109
delegations took part in the debate.
This item was considered on 12 and 14 September by the IInd Committee (on Parliamentary, Juridical and Human Rights Questions) which met under the chairmanship of Mr. J. T. Nonô (Brazil). The Committee had before it 11 memoranda presented by the Groups of Burkina Faso, Canada, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Iraq, Morocco, Russian Federation, Switzerland, Tunisia and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; and 12 draft resolutions submitted by the Groups of Canada, Cuba, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kuwait, Russian Federation, Senegal and Switzerland as well as a proposal presented by the Group of Sweden for inclusion in the final draft resolution.
A total of 52 speakers took part in the debate which was held throughout 12 September. The sitting ended with the appointment of a drafting committee composed of delegates from the Groups of Australia, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Finland, Indonesia, New Zealand, Russian Federation, South Africa, Switzerland, Uruguay and Venezuela. This drafting committee began its proceedings on 13 September with the election of Mr. I. Sinclair (Australia) as its President and Mrs. D. Awatare Huata (New Zealand) as Rapporteur. It took the draft resolution submitted by the German Group as a working basis. It then drew extensively from the other texts notably from those of Canada and France. Several contributions from members of the committee were also taken on board. At the end of its deliberations, the committee adopted the final text unanimously.
On the morning of 14 September, the IInd Committee heard the report of the drafting committee and then examined each of the paragraphs of the proposed text. Several amendments were adopted while two new paragraphs were included in the preambular and operative parts of the final draft which was then adopted without a vote by the entire Committee. The Committee then held the statutory election of its officers.
On the afternoon of 15 September, Mrs. D. Awatare Huata submitted
the IInd Committee's draft to the Conference, which adopted
the resolution without a vote.
(c) Employment in a globalising world (Item 5)
This item was considered on 13 and 15 September by the IIIrd Committee (on Economic and Social Questions) which met under the presidency of Mr. H. Kemppainen (Finland). The Committee had before it 16 memoranda, presented by the Groups of the following countries, two individual MPs and one associate member: Argentina, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Egypt, France, Hungary, Iraq, Japan, Morocco, Tunisia and Venezuela, by Mr. C. Becerra (Argentina), Mr. L.A. Leon (Argentina) and by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; two information documents presented by the International Labour Office and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations; as well as 15 draft resolutions presented by the Groups of Argentina, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, Iraq, Kuwait, Netherlands, Russian Federation, Senegal, United Kingdom and Venezuela.
A total of 67 speakers took part in the debate which was held on the morning and afternoon of 13 September and was introduced by Mr. J. Langmore, Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development of the United Nations. Before the lunch break, the Committee appointed a drafting committee composed of representatives of the Groups of the following 11 countries: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Finland, Indonesia, Kazakhstan , Netherlands and Uganda. The drafting committee met throughout 14 September and elected Ms. De Poole (Netherlands) as its President and Mr. C. Hubbard (Canada) as its Rapporteur. The drafting committee took the draft of the Group of Egypt as the basis for its deliberations but also drew extensively on many of the other texts which were before it. The resulting consolidated draft was adopted without a vote.
At its sitting on the morning of 15 September, the IIIrd Committee considered the text presented by the drafting committee. During the meeting, the Committee dealt with a number of amendments, the fate of eight of which was decided through votes (two were carried and six defeated). The text as a whole was then adopted by 57 votes with 2 abstentions. Thereafter, the Committee held the statutory election of its officers.
On the afternoon of 15 September, Mr. C. Hubbard presented
the IIIrd Committee's draft resolution to the Conference, which
adopted it without a vote. The delegation of Belgium thereafter
took the floor to explain its vote and outline reservations on
operative paragraphs 9 and 12 of the resolution.
(d) The need to eliminate all commercial and other forms of sexual exploitation of children and for the establishment of uniform laws to prohibit this indefensible violation of human rights of children (Item 7)
Having decided to add this item to its agenda, the Conference referred it to the IInd Committee (on Parliamentary, Juridical and Human Rights Questions). The Committee examined the item on 13 and 15 September under the chairmanship of its President, Mr. J.T. Nonô (Brazil). It had before it one draft resolution submitted by the Group of Australia.
On the morning of 13 September, the Committee held a debate on the subject, in which 22 speakers participated. At the close of the discussion, it designated a drafting committee composed of representatives of the Groups of the following seven countries: Australia, Belgium, Guatemala, India, Sweden, Tunisia and United Kingdom. This committee, joined by a representative of UNICEF in an observer capacity, met on the morning of 14 September and started its sitting by electing Mr. B. Halverson (Australia) as President and Mr. G. Versnick (Belgium) as Rapporteur. It examined the Australian draft paragraph by paragraph and adopted a number of amendments tabled by the participants, including two new operative paragraphs authored by the Belgian and Guatemalan delegations.
On the morning of 15 September, the IInd Committee, after having heard the report by the Rapporteur on the work of the drafting committee, proceeded to examine the consolidated text in detailed fashion. One amendment put forward by the Finnish delegation was approved without dissent. This entailed the insertion of the sixth preambular paragraph referring to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Thereafter, the draft resolution as a whole was unanimously adopted.
Mr. Versnick presented the draft text to the Conference for approval
at its last plenary sitting, on the afternoon of 15 September.
It was then adopted without a vote.
(e) Amendment of Article 20.2 of the Union's Statutes (Item 6)
At the last sitting on 15 September, the President noted that this question would be referred to the 99th Conference for decision since the Statutes required that the Inter-Parliamentary Council express an opinion on amendments before they were considered by the Conference, and the Council would not take up the matter until the following day.