Global Policy Forum

Communique by Council

UN Press Release
November 18, 2004


The Council of Presidents of the General Assembly of the United Nations held its annual meeting at UN Headquarters from 16 to 18 November 2004.

The Council of Presidents was established at UN Headquarters in November 1997 with the objective of giving the United Nations the benefit of their experience, diplomatic and international, for the purpose of supporting the United Nations in general, and the General Assembly in particular.

The Council of Presidents meets annually at the Headquarters of the UN. At its current meeting, the Council expressed grave concern at the growing threat of marginalization of the United Nations. It reaffirmed the central role of the United Nations in promoting multilateral cooperation and preserving the stability of the international system. In this context, it called for urgent measures to be taken by the General Assembly to uphold the principle of international legitimacy by requiring Member States to comply with resolutions and decisions of the United Nations.

The Council of Presidents is convinced that the role of the General Assembly has to be significantly strengthened to enable it to fulfil the tasks originally ascribed to it by the UN Charter. During 2005, the UN has to respond to the recommendations of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, as well as to review the implementation of the Millennium Declaration, and especially the Millennium Development Goals. The United Nations is thus presented with the twin challenge to ensure highly needed security and to meet the development needs of the poorer regions of the world. Increased security together with a major reduction of poverty and promotion of education are among the measures necessary to combat international terrorism.

The General Assembly, as the democratic and most representative body of the UN, should seize this opportunity to take a lead and thus to demonstrate that it can express the political will of the peoples. The Council of Presidents is deeply concerned that the rule of law is at risk around the world. Again and again, fundamental laws are being irresponsibly disregarded -- those that ordain respect for innocent life, of civilians and for the vulnerable -- especially children.

The Council of Presidents reiterated the principle that no one, and no State, is above the law, and no one should be denied its protection. Every nation that proclaim the rule of law at home must respect it abroad, and every nation that insists on it abroad must enforce it at home.

At the international level, all States -- strong and weak, big and small -- need a framework of fair rules which each can be confident that others will obey. The Council of Presidents stressed that such a framework exists in the Charter of the United Nations, and called on all States to respect it, in letter and in spirit.

The Council reaffirmed the central role of the United Nations in preserving and promoting the stability of the international system which has been profoundly affected by the events following the 11 September attacks. The Council expressed grave concern at the danger of resorting to unilateralism in international affairs and called for a renewed commitment to multilateral action through the United Nations.

The Council supports the efforts to make the Security Council a more representative and democratic organ within the United Nations system, in order to strengthen the rule of law based on the Charter to better serve the community of nations.

The Council also expressed grave concern at the deteriorating situation in Iraq and the danger that this posed to international peace and security. The Council called for the early restoration of Iraq's sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence. It further stressed the need for the United Nations to play a central role in facilitating a peaceful resolution of the crisis. The Council expressed its firm support for the efforts of the Secretary-General in this regard, and called on all concerned parties to cooperate with him.

The Council of Presidents takes this opportunity to reiterate its full support for the Secretary-General and unequivocally rejects current attempts to question his personal integrity and trustworthiness and in this way to undermine the United Nations.

The Council further expressed grave concern on the deteriorating situation in Palestinian territories and the great human cost being committed, and called for strict commitment to international covenants and norms. The Council called for exerting all efforts to urge the international community to live up to its responsibilities to promote a just and lasting peace in the area.

HE Mr. Imre Hollai
37th Session

HE Mr. Jorge Illueca
38th Session

HE Mr. Dante Caputo
43rd Session

HE Prof. Guido de Marco
45th Session

HE Mr. Samir S. Shihabi
46th Session
Saudi Arabia

HE Mr. Stoyan Ganev
47th Session

HE Mr. Samuel Insanally (Foreign Minister)
48th Session

HE Mr. Amara Essy
49th Session
Cí´te d'Ivoire

HE Prof. Diogo Freitas do Amaral
50th Session
Portugal HE Mr. Ismail Razali
51st Session

HE Mr. Hennadiy Udovenko
52nd Session

HE Mr. Didier Opertti (Foreign Minister)
53rd Session

HE Dr. Theo Ben Gurirab (Prime Minister)
54th Session

HE Mr. Harri Holkeri
55th Session

HE Dr. Han Seung-soo
56th Session
Republic of Korea

HE Mr. Jan Kavan
57th Session

HE Mr. Julian Hunte
58th Session
Saint Lucia

HE Mr. Jean Ping
59th Session


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