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Cablegate: Un Budget: Fifth Committee Votes On Draft Decision

VZCZCXRO8974
PP RUEHROV
DE RUCNDT #2263/01 3531547
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 191547Z DEC 06
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0975
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 1343
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0816

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 002263

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AORC UNGA KUNR PREL IS
SUBJECT: UN BUDGET: FIFTH COMMITTEE VOTES ON DRAFT DECISION
ON REGISTER OF DAMAGES

REF: A. USUN 02231

B. SECSTATE 197203


1. SUMMARY: On December 11th and 15th, the Fifth Committee
(Administrative and Budgetary) voted on draft decisions
regarding the program budget implications (PBIs) of
A/ES-10/L.20 and A/ES-10/L.20/Rev.1, a draft resolution
(reftels) to be acted on at the December 15th Emergency
Special Session. The Fifth Committee had to reconsider the
additional PBI after changes were made to the underlying
resolution that changed the budget implications. END
SUMMARY.

December 11th decision
-----------------------

2. The Fifth Committee on December 11 considered the program
budget implications of draft resolution A/ES-10/L.20. The
budget implications were related to operative paragraphs in
the draft resolution regarding the creation of a Register of
Damage caused by the construction of the wall in the Occupied
Palestinian Territory. After various language amendments
(related to whether the Committee should reaffirm Rule 153 of
the rules of procedure) were discussed amongst delegations
during the various suspensions of the meeting during the
morning session, the Committee decided to return to the issue
in the afternoon, so that delegations would have time to
consult internally. The Japanese delegate indicated to
delegations during the morning session that he needed to seek
instructions from Tokyo and would not be ready to act until
the next day given the time difference between New York and
Tokyo.

3. Upon reconvening, Israel requested a vote on the UN
Register, saying the technical nature of the Fifth
Committee's decision was tainted by political considerations.
Evidence of the political nature of the budget implication
statement was demonstrated by the detailed description of the
Registry, as well as the exorbitant figure and large staffing
requested. He was also concerned about duplication, as a
mechanism for compensation already existed in Israel, with
140 cases reviewed and more than $1.5 million paid by Israel
to individuals and organizations. Another mechanism, paid
for by the taxpayers of the Member States, would be a waste
of money, he said. A solution to the conflict would only by
settled through negotiations of the two parties. If the
technical Fifth Committee had not accepted the infiltration
of politics in its debate, the current debate would not have
been necessary.

4. As Japan did not request more time to seek instructions,
the Committee, acting by a vote of 116 in favor to six
against (U.S., Australia, Canada, Israel, Nauru, Palau) with
one abstention (Republic of Moldova), decided to inform the
Assembly that the adoption of the text would require an
appropriation of up to $3.1 million of the 2006-2007 budget
for the establishment and maintenance of the Register. Both
Niger and Armenia asked the Secretariat to record their votes
in favor of the draft resolution, since they were not able to
vote earlier for technical reasons.

5. Japan's representative offered an explanation of vote,
saying the decision to vote "for" the UN Register had been
taken while discussion on the draft resolution L.20 was
ongoing, which should not be used by delegations for
political purposes. He said if the need arose the Fifth
Committee would act in accordance with established procedure.


6. The Finnish representative (on behalf of the European
Union) explained the EU's vote in favor of the draft
resolution, saying the EU supported the draft decision on the
budget implications statement submitted by the
Secretary-General. It also supported the report by the

SIPDIS
Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions
(ACABQ), particularly in paragraphs six and seven (document
A/61/614). The EU noted the discussions on the substance of
L.20 were still ongoing, and the position on the budget
implications was without prejudice to those details. Any
substantive changes to the text would give rise to the
application of rule 153 of the rules of Procedure. She added
it was time to restore the working methods (i.e., "principle
of consensus") of the Fifth Committee.

7. Australia's representative said her country opposed the
draft resolution on the legal consequences of the building of
the wall and continued to oppose the Assembly's treatment off
the matter. Israel already had a mechanism for settling
damages as a result of the construction of the wall, and the

USUN NEW Y 00002263 002 OF 002


proposed registry would not advance the issue of peace. As
Australia did not support the draft resolution, it also did
not support the required resources.

8. The South African representative (on behalf of the Group
of 77 and China) said the G-77 had the long-standing position
that the Committee was a technical, not political body. As a
rule, the G-77 supported the budget implication statement
before it. The G-77 strongly backed rule 153 of the rules of
procedure, and supported the current statement on budget
implications as it would any other budget implication
statement.

9. Ambassador Wallace spoke on behalf of the U.S. delegation
regarding the draft decision on the UN Register. The text of
his statement is as follows:

BEGIN TEXT:

Mr. Chairman,

The United States has consistently opposed the creation of
the UN Register of Damage as contemplated by A/ES-10/L.20.
This clearly political mandate comes at a destructive time
and diverts attention from practical efforts to achieving
peace and security for both the Palestinian and Israeli
peoples. Moreover and unfortunately, the draft decision
before us today supports a resolution that goes well beyond
what was requested in resolution A/ES-10/15.

The resolution called upon the Secretary-General to establish
a register of damage. Now this body seeks to approve funding
for a draft resolution that includes components- verification
and assessment- that both further politicizes this body and
costs substantial sums to all Member States.

As the report of the Secretary-General states: "The act of
registration of damage, as such, would not entail an
evaluation or an assessment of the loss or damage claimed."
In addition to our continuing opposition to the establishment
of any Registry, my delegation strongly opposes the expansion
of the mandate of the registry by the action that we are
taking today. At nearly $4 million per year, with no
provision for the mandate to be either reviewed or concluded
this body is committing scarce financial resources- for a
political statement. This action today continues to raise
questions regarding the efficacy of the UN at a time when we
are failing to institute reform and the world faces so many
challenges that go unaddressed in this building every day.

In conclusion, my delegation voted against this draft
decision because the U.S. opposes the establishment of the
Registry, the expansion of the Registry's mandate in today's
action and we reiterate our real concerns about the large and
open-ended financial commitment to this politically charged
mandate.

END TEXT.

December 15 decision
----------------------

10. On December 15, the Committee considered a revised PBI
and ACABQ report, as the underlying resolution had changed
since Monday's action. The result of the Committee vote was:
128 votes in favor; five against (U.S., Australia, Israel,
Micronesia, Palau); with one abstention (Cote d'Ivoire).
Finland (on behalf of the EU) was the only Committee member
to register an explanation of vote, saying the EU trusted
that any effects of the resolution would be funded through
existing resources of the 2006-2007 programme budget. She
was sorry, however, that the Committee deviated from the
long-standing practice of consensus on this issue.

WOLFF

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