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UN Panel On Decolonization Opens Annual Session

UN Panel On Decolonization Opens Annual Session

The United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization opened its annual session in New York today with a call from Secretary-General Kofi Annan for action on the world's remaining 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories.

In his address to the Committee, the Secretary-General urged economic and social development in the affected areas as well as measures to determine whether they would become independent, integrate with another State, or enjoy a different form of association.

Mr. Annan noted the recent progress made in Tokelau, a group of Pacific Ocean atolls administered by New Zealand. He said Tokelau's people and New Zealand are working closely "to reach agreements that will guide their future relationship" and determine Tokelau's final status.

"Decolonization is a United Nations success story, but it is a story that is not yet finished," he observed, pledging his personal support to advance the process.

The Committee was set up by the General Assembly in 1961 to examine the application of the landmark Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. It meets annually to discuss developments in the world's Non-Self-Governing Territories, dispatch missions to the Territories, hear reports and statements, and make recommendations.

Known as the "Committee of 24," the panel comprises representatives from Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Chile, China, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Ethiopia, Fiji, Grenada, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Mali, Papua New Guinea, the Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sierra Leone, Syria, Tunisia, Tanzania and Venezuela.

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