PLACE DU PETIT-SACONNEX
1211 GENEVA 19, SWITZERLAND
Windhoek (Namibia), 6-10 April 1998
The 99th Inter-Parliamentary Conference began its work in the Safari Court Conference Centre on the afternoon of 6 April by electing by acclamation Mr. M.P. Tjitendero, Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia, as its President.
On the morning of 7 April, the Conference heard a statement by Mr. F. Mayor, Director General of UNESCO, who addressed the subject of " the culture for peace ", and on the afternoon of 9 April, the Conference heard a statement by Mr. T.B. Gurirab, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Namibia, who informed delegates of his country's foreign policy on the major issues on the international agenda, with special reference to Africa.
The 99th Inter-Parliamentary Conference was inaugurated at a ceremony held in the Parliament Gardens, in the presence of H.E. Mr. Sam Nujoma, President of the Republic of Namibia. During the ceremony, which was opened at 11.30 a.m., the delegates heard statements from Mr. M.P. Tjitendero, in his capacity as Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia; Sir Kieran Prendergast, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs of the United Nations, who delivered the message of the UN Secretary-General, Mr. K. Annan; Mr. M.A. Martínez, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Council; and Mr. K. Nehova, Chairman of the National Council of Namibia. The ceremony concluded with an important speech by H.E. Mr. Sam Nujoma.
Extracts from the speeches delivered on that occasion will be published in the Inter-Parliamentary Bulletin (N° 1, 1998).
The Parliaments of the following 122 countries took part in the work of the Conference: Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, 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, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, 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, Rwanda, 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, Venezuela, Viet Nam, 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) The United Nations Organization - United Nations, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - 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), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); (iii) the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization (AIPO), the Baltic Assembly, the Central American 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; (iv) the Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Co-operation (PAEAC) and the Union of African Parliaments (UAP); and (v) the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
There was a total of 994 delegates, including 567 parliamentarians and 44 delegates attending as observers.
(a) Supplementary Item
When this question was taken up on the afternoon of 6 April, the Conference had before it nine requests for the inclusion of a supplementary item. The Conference first heard statements from the sponsors of the items. During these presentations, three Groups withdrew their requests as follows: the Group of Australia withdrew its request for an item entitled " Conclusion of a treaty on the prohibition of the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons ", the Group of Kuwait withdrew its request concerning " Water: its significance, methods of resource development and maintenance, and the role of parliamentarians in resolving the possible future dispute over water in the 21st century ", asking that the item be placed on the agenda of a future Conference, and the Group of Iraq likewise withdrew its request for an item entitled "The Memorandum of Understanding signed between Iraq and the United Nations upholds regional security and international peace" in favour of the item proposed by the Group of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
The Conference therefore had before it six requests and proceeded to vote on them by means of a single roll-call with the following results:
The request from the Venezuelan 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.
(b) Emergency supplementary item
The Conference had before it a proposal by the Group of Germany to add the following emergency supplementary item to its agenda: " The situation in Kosovo - Measures to ensure a durable and peaceful resolution of the crisis ". As a result of a roll-call vote, the Conference decided, by 697 votes to 113, with 346 abstentions to add this item to the agenda.
(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 throughout Tuesday 7 April, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday 8 April and on the morning and afternoon of Thursday 9 April. A total of 140 speakers from 106 delegations took part in the debate.
This item was considered on 7 and 9 April by the Ist Committee (Political Questions, International Security and Disarmament) which met under the chairmanship of its senior Vice-President, Mr. J. Lefevre (Belgium). The Committee had before it 15 memoranda presented by the National Groups of Australia, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Egypt, Estonia, Iraq, Russian Federation, Sudan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Venezuela, as well as by Mr. A. Alasino and Mr. L. Leon, both from Argentina, and the Council of Europe; three information documents presented by the UN, UNESCO and UNHCR; and 16 draft resolutions submitted by the Groups of Australia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Chile, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, United Kingdom and Venezuela, as well as by Mr. A. Alasino (Argentina).
A total of 71 speakers took part in the debate which was held on 7 April. The discussion culminated in the appointment of a drafting committee composed of representatives of the Groups of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Egypt, Estonia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kenya, Poland and Sudan. This group, joined by a representative of UNHCR in an advisory capacity, met throughout the day of 8 April and began its deliberations by electing Mr. B. Cooney (Australia) as both its Chairman and Rapporteur. It focused on the Hungarian and Australian texts as a working basis but, in putting the draft together, also took elements from six other papers, as well as additional proposals from the floor. The resulting consolidated text was adopted without dissent.
On the morning of 9 April, the Ist Committee, after having heard the report by Mr. Cooney on the work of its drafting committee, proceeded to examine the proposed text paragraph by paragraph. A number of amendments were tabled, which led to a total of 16 votes. Major changes related to the operative section, where five additional paragraphs were added to sub-headings A, B and C. Finally, the draft resolution as a whole was adopted by 40 votes to 0, with 1 abstention.
In the afternoon of 10 April, Mr. Cooney submitted this same text to the concluding plenary session of the Conference. The British delegation requested a separate vote on operative paragraph A4. The Conference adopted the paragraph by 986 votes to 147, with 70 abstentions. The Armenian delegation then tabled an amendment which aimed to introduce a new operative sub-heading B, entitled " Restoration of Peace and Trust ", comprising four paragraphs. This proposal was adopted without a vote. Thereafter, the draft resolution as a whole was likewise adopted without a vote. Finally, the Chinese, Finnish and Libyan Arab Jamahiriya delegations took the floor to explain their votes, with the first two of these expressing reservations on operative paragraph A5.
This item was considered on 8 and 10 April by the IVth Committee (on Education, Science, Culture and Environment) which met with its President, Mr. J. Trobo (Uruguay), in the chair. The Committee had before it 17 memoranda, presented by the Groups of Australia, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Japan, Sudan, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Venezuela and one individual MP, Mr. C.A. Becerra (Argentina), one information document presented by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, as well as 18 draft resolutions presented by the Groups of Australia, Canada, Chile, Egypt, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Namibia, Romania, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Venezuela.
A total of 67 speakers from 62 countries took part in the debate which was held throughout 8 April. Thereafter, the Committee appointed a drafting committee composed of representatives of the Groups of the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Germany, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Japan, Namibia, Netherlands and Switzerland; the representative of UNAIDS also attended in an advisory capacity. The drafting committee, after electing Mr. P. Günter (Switzerland) as its Presidentand Ms. Z. Rios Montt (Guatemala) as its Rapporteur, met throughout 9 April. It used the draft resolution prepared by Guatemala 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 10 April, the IVth Committee considered the text presented by the drafting committee. During the meeting, the Committee dealt with a number of amendments which were put to a vote. Three of them were adopted. The text as amended was then unanimously adopted.
On the afternoon of 10 April, Ms. Z. Rios Montt submitted the IVth Committee's draft resolution to the Conference, which adopted it unanimously.
Having decided to add this item to its agenda, the Conference referred it to the IIIrd Committee (on Economic and Social Questions). The Committee examined the item on 8 and 10 April under the chairmanship of its President, Mr. H. Gjellerod (Denmark). The Committee had before it two draft resolutions submitted, respectively, by the Group of Venezuela and by four individual Venezuelan parliamentarians, Mr. Medina, Mr. Celli, Mr. Perozo and Mr. Vargas.
On the morning of 8 April, the Committee held a debate on the subject, in which altogether 34 speakers from 32 countries participated. At the close of the discussion, it designated a drafting committee composed of representatives of the Groups of the following ten countries: Australia, Mexico, Mongolia, Pakistan, Switzerland, Uganda, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela and Zambia. This committee, joined by a representative of UNCTAD in an advisory capacity, met on the morning of 9 April and started its sitting by electing Mr. B. Reid (Australia) as President and Mr. M. Tumubweinee (Uganda) as its Rapporteur. The drafting committee took the Venezuelan draft as a basis for its work and prepared a consolidated text of the draft resolution, on which it was able to agree without a vote.
On the morning of 10 April, the IIIrd Committee, after having heard the report by the Rapporteur on the work of the drafting committee, proceeded to examine the consolidated text paragraph by paragraph. The Committee adopted a number of amendments to the proposed draft, five of which necessitated votes. One amendment was defeated through vote. Thereafter, the draft resolution as a whole was adopted unanimously.
Mr. M. Tumubweinee presented the draft text to the Conference for approval at its last plenary sitting on the afternoon of 10 April. The text was then adopted without a vote, following which the delegation of Japan took the floor to explain its vote and express its opposition to paragraph 1 of the operative part of the resolution.
The Conference having decided on 6 April to add this item to its agenda, referred it to the Ist Committee (on Political Questions, International Security and Disarmament), recommending that the Committee assign the task of negotiating a text to a drafting committee of not more than five members. At its sitting on 7 April, the Ist Committee appointed a drafting committee composed of representatives of the following National Groups: Australia, Cyprus, Germany, Indonesia and the Russian Federation. A representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross also attended the proceedings as an adviser.
The committee met in the morning of 8 April and at the beginning of its work, elected Mrs. L. Fischer (Germany) as its President and Mr. A. Philippou (Cyprus) as its Rapporteur.
After reviewing the prevailing situation in Kosovo, the committee went on to consider two draft resolutions presented by the National Groups of Germany and the Russian Federation. These two drafts served as a working basis for a consolidated text which was enriched with suggestions from members of the committee. At its sitting on 9 April, the Ist Committee unanimously adopted the draft resolution submitted by the drafting committee.
In the afternoon of 10 April, Mr. C. Philippou (Cyprus) presented this text to the final plenary sitting of the Conference. The Swiss delegation asked for a separate vote on the eighth preambular paragraph. The Conference adopted the paragraph by 838 votes to 128, with 202 abstentions. The draft resolution as a whole was then adopted without a vote.