Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Foreign Minister Rassoul Meets UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

Foreign Minister Rassoul Meets UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

Foreign Minister Dr. Zalmai Rassoul today met with the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon.  The meeting took place at the United Nations Headquarters, along the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

The two sides discussed Afghanistan and regional cooperation at length, focusing on recent parliamentary elections, the outcome of the Kabul Conference, Afghanistan’s reconciliation initiative and regional cooperation.

At the outset, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon welcomed the holding of recent parliamentary elections, and praised the courage and determination of Afghans in going to polls, despite a difficult security situation.

On elections, Foreign Minister Rassoul noted that the recent elections “reaffirmed the enthusiasm and determination of the Afghan people to the democratic process.” He said that the final results of the polls would be announced in due time, following a review by the relevant legal channels, including the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC).

Referring to the issue of reconciliation, Foreign Minister Rassoul informed the Secretary General of the establishment of the “High Peace Council,” which is mandated to monitor the implementation of the recommendations, adopted at the conclusion of the national consultative peace-jirgah. He also stressed that reconciliation was an option only for armed opposition who meet the stated pre-conditions: surrendering of arms, renunciation of violence and return to normal life.

Moreover, he also alluded to the establishment of the “Transition Committee,” which is working towards ensuring Afghanistan’s leadership and self-sufficiency in all affairs of state, including security, development and governance.

On regional cooperation, Foreign Minister Rassoul underscored an effective regional approach for solving the security problem in Afghanistan and the region.

Foreign Minister Rassoul also expressed Afghanistan’s appreciation for the continued support and assistance of the United Nations for lasting peace, security and stability in Afghanistan.

Functions and Powers of the General Assembly

Forum for multilateral negotiation

Established in 1945 under the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly occupies a central position as the chief deliberative, policy-making and representative organ of the United Nations. Comprising all 192 Members of the United Nations, it provides a forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter. It also plays a significant role in the process of standard-setting and the codification of international law. The Assembly meets in regular session intensively from September to December each year, and thereafter as required. Functions and powers of the General Assembly

According to the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly may:

Consider and make recommendations on the general principles of cooperation for maintaining international peace and security, including disarmament;

Discuss any question relating to international peace and security and, except where a dispute or situation is currently being discussed by the Security Council, make recommendations on it;

Discuss, with the same exception, and make recommendations on any questions within the scope of the Charter or affecting the powers and functions of any organ of the United Nations;

Initiate studies and make recommendations to promote international political cooperation, the development and codification of international law, the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms and international collaboration in the economic, social, humanitarian, cultural, educational and health fields;

Make recommendations for the peaceful settlement of any situation that might impair friendly relations among nations;

Receive and consider reports from the Security Council and other United Nations organs;

Consider and approve the United Nations budget and establish the financial assessments of Member States;

Elect the non-permanent members of the Security Council and the members of other United Nations councils and organs and, on the recommendation of the Security Council, appoint the Secretary-General.

Pursuant to its “Uniting for Peace” resolution of November 1950 (resolution 377 (V)), the Assembly may also take action if the Security Council fails to act, owing to the negative vote of a permanent member, in a case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression. The Assembly can consider the matter immediately with a view to making recommendations to Members for collective measures to maintain or restore international peace and security (see “Special sessions and emergency special sessions” below).

While the Assembly is empowered to make only non-binding recommendations to States on international issues within its competence, it has, nonetheless, initiated actions — political, economic, humanitarian, social and legal—which have affected the lives of millions of people throughout the world. The landmark Millennium Declaration, adopted in 2000, and the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, reflect the commitment of Member States to reach specific goals to attain peace, security and disarmament along with development and poverty eradication; safeguard human rights and promote the rule of law; protect our common environment; meet the special needs of Africa; and strengthen the United Nations.

The search for consensus

Each Member State in the Assembly has one vote. Votes taken on designated important issues, such as recommendations on peace and security and the election of Security Council members, require a two-thirds majority of Member States, but other questions are decided by simple majority.

In recent years, a special effort has been made to achieve consensus on issues, rather than deciding by a formal vote, thus strengthening support for the Assembly’s decisions. The President, after having consulted and reached agreement with delegations, can propose that a resolution be adopted without a vote.

Main Committees

With the close of the general debate, the Assembly begins consideration of the substantive items on its agenda. Because of the great number of questions it is called upon to consider, the Assembly allocates items relevant to its work among its six Main Committees, which discuss them, seeking where possible to harmonize the various approaches of States, and then present to a plenary meeting of the Assembly draft resolutions and decisions for consideration.

  • First Committee (Disarmament and International Security Committee) is concerned with disarmament and related international security questions.
  • Second Committee (Economic and Financial Committee) is concerned with economic questions.
  • Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee) deals with social and humanitarian issues.
  • Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization Committee) deals with a variety of political subjects not dealt with by the First Committee, as well as with decolonization.
  • Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary Committee) deals with the administration and budget of the United Nations.
  • Sixth Committee (Legal Committee) deals with international legal matters.

On a number of agenda items, however, such as the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East, the Assembly acts directly in its plenary meetings.
The Credentials Committee is mandated to examine the credentials of representatives of Member States and to report to the General Assembly.
The General Committee meets periodically throughout each session to review the progress of the General Assembly and its committees and to make recommendations for furthering such progress.