Press Releases

    GA/AB/3669
                14 April 2005

    Budget Committee Takes Up Financing for Sudan Mission

    NEW YORK, 13 April (UN Headquarters) -- The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) this morning took up the financing of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), for which the Secretary-General is seeking a commitment authority, with assessment, of $595.5 million gross.

    According to Warren Sach, Acting Controller, the commitment authority, assessed on Member States, was intended to cover the financing from 1 July 2004 until 31 October 2005, pending submission of a full budget at the sixtieth session. The request included some $100 million already authorized by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and would provide, among other things, for 570 military observers, 4,625 military contingent personnel, 437 civilian police, as well as for 620 international and 1,266 national staff. There were also provisions for 17 fixed-wing and 33 rotary aircraft, as, given the size of THE Sudan and its limited road infrastructure, the movement of personnel and cargo would depend on airlift capacity.

    He said that an advance team in the Sudan had been established as a special political mission, granted against the background that a peacekeeping operation would be mandated by the Council.  Council resolution 1590 had established UNMIS for six months, from 24 March, and had requested the Secretary-General to transfer all activities of the political mission to UNMIS.

    Rajat Saha, Vice Chairman of the ACABQ, introducing the Advisory Committee’s report on the matter, said the Secretary-General’s request was separate from the political mission, which was financed in the regular budget. The ACABQ recommended approval of the requested commitment authority with assessment, he said. It welcomed the coordination and harmonizing mechanism developed by the Mission with agencies and programmes in the Sudan.

    He said the Advisory Committee noted the intention to use local materials and contractors for the construction of accommodations, but requested time lines to be set of the completion of the numerous projects mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report. Regarding programmes for disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration, the Advisory Committee had cautioned against making automatic provisions for use of assessed contributions for activities that were traditionally funded by voluntary contributions.

    Speakers in the ensuing debate supported the Secretary-General’s request for commitment authority as the Mission’s success would depend, to a large extent, on availability of resources for effective implementation of its mandate. They welcomed ACABQ’s call for increased recruitment for local staff, as that would contribute to capacity-building and give the population more of a sense of ownership. Some speakers raised concerns at the number of D-1 and D-2 posts, which would make the mission top heavy and unnecessarily expensive.

    The issue of creating a contingency fund for possible shortfalls in voluntary contributions to the Mission was addressed, among others, by the representative of the United States, who noted that this week’s pledging conference in Oslo, Norway, had resulted in pledges of $4.5 billion -- nearly twice the requested amount. 

    She was also troubled by the lack of clear guidance and policy concerning disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and other humanitarian-focused activities. The delineation of operational and financial responsibilities between peacekeeping missions and the wider United Nations community represented in war-torn countries was, in many cases, unclear, she said. Accordingly, it raised a number of questions about duplication of efforts and even potential lack of progress in missions due to poor communication and unclear direction.

    Sudan’s representative said the adoption of resolution 1590 this year that established UNMIS was an important and historic resolution for his country. His Government had made the utmost efforts and highest sacrifices to reach peace in southern Sudan and to end one of longest-lasting conflicts in Africa. The advance mission in the Sudan had achieved concrete successes and the cooperation between his Government and the Mission, and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had had a clear effect towards reaching the desired results. He promised continued cooperation and coordination with UNMIS in order to enable it to implement its clear Council mandate.

    He said, however, that a reference in the Secretary-General’s report to “border demarcation and public administration” was inappropriate, because the spirit and text of the peace agreement between North and South aimed at unity and not separation. The use of terms such as border demarcation was also outside the mandate of the Mission given by the Council. 

    Addressing Sudan’s concern, Mr. Sach said the wording was misleading. Work was foreseen on land demarcation in connection with land disputes that might arise out of the return of displaced persons to their homes. Council resolution 1590 called, among other things, for facilitation and coordination of the voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons by helping to establish the necessary security conditions. The phrase “border demarcation” should be the subject of a corrigendum.

    As for funding of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration activities, Mr. Sach said some $3.5 million had been earmarked in the absence of voluntary funding. He anticipated, however, that voluntary funding would be available for demobilization and disarmament. He also anticipated that funding would be difficult to obtain for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration activities in the south of the Sudan for militia forces that were not signatories to the peace agreements.

    The representatives of Nigeria (on behalf of the African Group), Belgium (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Australia (also speaking on behalf of Canada and New Zealand), Norway, Syria, Republic of Korea, Japan, Egypt, Uganda, China, Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico and Costa Rica also spoke.

    The Fifth Committee will meet again at a date and time to be announced.

    Introduction of Reports

    WARREN SACH, Acting Controller, introducing the Secretary-General’s report (documents A/59/756 and Corr.1) on financing of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), said that an advance team in the Sudan had been established as a special political mission, granted against the background that a peacekeeping operations would be mandated by the Security Council. Council resolution 1590 had established UNMIS for six months from 24 March and requested the Secretary-General to transfer all activities of the political mission to UNMIS.

    He said the report contained a request for commitment authority of $595.5 million gross, assessed on Member States to meet cash requirements until 31 October, pending submission of a full budget at the sixtieth session. That commitment request included some $100 million already authorized by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ). It would provide, among other things, for 570 military observers, 4,625 military contingent personnel, and 437 civilian police by 31 October, as well as for 620 international and 1,266 national staff, as well as for establishment of two headquarters locations (Khartoum and Juba) and 11 sub-office locations. There were also provisions for 17 fixed wing and 33 rotary aircraft. Given the size of the Sudan, and its limited road infrastructure, the movement of personnel and cargo would depend on airlift capacity.

    The Assembly was requested to approve establishment of a special account for UNMIS and to authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitments of $497.87 million gross from 1 July 2004 to 23 September 2005, subject to mandate extension by the Council, he said. The Assembly was also requested to approve assessments of $497 million to 23 September, as well as assessment of $97.63 million from 24 September to 31 October, subject to mandate extension. He intended to provide a full budget proposal in May for Committee consideration at its sixtieth session.

    RAJAT SAHA, Vice-Chairman of the ACABQ, introducing the Committee’s report (document A/59/768) said the Secretary-General’s report was a request for commitment authority that included commitment authority granted by the ACABQ in July 2004 and March 2005. However, the request was separate from the political mission, which was financed in the regular budget. A detailed budget for the period 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005 and 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006 would be submitted in May.  The additional funds now being requested were, therefore, to cover immediate requirements and temporary posts for the period from 1 April to 31 October.

    The ACABQ recommended approval of the requested commitment authority with assessment, he said. It welcomed the coordination and harmonizing mechanism developed by the Mission with agencies and programmes in the Sudan, providing a list of priorities. It also noted the intention to use local materials and contractors for the construction of hardwall accommodations, but requested time lines to be set of the completion of the numerous projects mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report. He highlighted the necessity for maximizing the potential for utilizing air transport resources in the region. Regarding programmes for disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration, the Committee had cautioned against making automatic provisions for use of assessed contributions for activities that were traditionally funded by voluntary contributions.

    Speaking on behalf of the African Group, NONYE UDO (Nigeria) welcomed the fact that the Committee was considering the budget of the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET), as the Mission’s success would depend, to a large extent, on availability of resources for effective implementation of its mandate. In the consideration of this item, it was important to take due note of the strategic position of the Sudan -- the largest country in Africa, which borders with nine other countries -- and possible ramifications of escalated tensions there for the continent. The search for peace in the Sudan was a major priority for the African Union.

    Taking note of the fact that the Secretary-General would submit a more comprehensive budget proposal in the course of the Assembly’s sixtieth session, in the interim, she welcomed the requests presented to the Committee in the Secretary-General’s report. The African Group had also studied the report of the Advisory Committee and concurred with its recommendation that the Assembly should approve the Secretary-General’s proposals. She expected the Committee to conclude its deliberations on the matter expeditiously.

    Like the ACABQ, she also welcomed the setting of medium- and long-term targets for increasing recruitment of national staff and the proposal to organize specialized training for them. That would contribute to the development of the local population, capacity-building and enhance the image of the United Nations, also engendering greater ownership of the programme by those who mattered the most -- the local population. Similarly, she welcomed the decision to use local materials and contractors to construct hardwall accommodations. All those initiatives would, over time, translate into actual savings for the Mission and MemberStates.

    Expressing understanding of logistical problems posed by the sheer size of the Sudan and the difficulties the lack of adequate infrastructure could portend for the success of the Mission, she said the Group also understood the need to address some of those real shortcomings through the establishment of two headquarters in Khartoum and Juba, as well as the creation of regional offices. Every effort should be made to properly coordinate the work of those offices. She also emphasized the need to ensure timely recruitment for temporary posts to ensure smooth functioning of the Mission.

    KARL VAN DEN BOSSCHE (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that the efforts of the African Union to find a solution in the Sudan were commendable, and he looked forward to the report of the Secretary-General on the options for UNMIS to provide assistance to the Union in Darfur. He supported the request for $595.5 million. Aware of the tight time frame for examining the issue, the Union was willing to explore further aspects when the full budget of the Mission was prepared. Given the provisional nature of the current budget proposal, he noted that all posts would be temporary, without prejudging the decision of the Assembly next October. He applauded the efforts to allow maximum possible national ownership through recruitment of national staff.

    Continuing, he encouraged the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to continue developing such good practices as regionalization of the use of aircraft with the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), and expressed hope that the speed of deployment envisioned by the Secretariat would be maintained. Highlighting some of the issues that merited further debate in the coming months, he supported the efforts of the Secretariat to ensure a more integrated approach, but wondered why the structure of UNMIS was so different from other peacekeeping operations. He also agreed with the ACABQ that the level of the head of each subregional and regional office should depend on the type of work performed by that office. The staffing of regional offices was rather heavy. Also, provisions were made in the budget for the elaboration of contingency plans to disarm and demobilize 15,000 members of allied militia forces and 5,000 members of a special group. He would like to learn more in that regard and the plans of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations regarding reintegration and relocation of those people.  Supporting such activities, the Union believed that their financing arrangements needed to be further elaborated.

    KYM TAYLOR (Australia), who also spoke on behalf of New Zealand and Canada, said that it was critical to establish the Mission as soon as possible. Indeed, the commitment, which all delegations placed on UNMIS, was reflected in the Committee’s agreement to meet in extraordinary session to consider its financing. In the time available, it had not been possible to present a full budget submission. In that context, approval had been sought for a commitment authority with appropriation.  Having read the ACABQ report, she agreed that there would be aspects of the Mission that should be looked at in greater detail when the full budget for the Mission would be considered.  In preparing a full budget submission, every effort should be made to identify efficiencies, for example, through utilization of local materials and construction contractors and examining possible regional utilization of air transportation. The immediate focus, however, was to ensure that the Mission had the necessary resources in support of its mandate as soon as possible.  Therefore, the delegations she represented supported the recommendations of the Secretary-General that commitment authority be provided with appropriation now, and welcomed the endorsement of that approach by the Advisory Committee.

    ANAS ELTAYEB ELGAILANI MUSTAFA (Sudan) said the adoption of resolution 1590 this year that established UNMIS was an important and historic resolution for his country. His Government had made the utmost efforts and highest sacrifices to reach peace in southern Sudan and to end one of longest-lasting conflicts in Africa. The advance mission in the Sudan had achieved concrete successes and the cooperation between his Government and the Mission and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had had a clear effect towards reaching the desired results.  He promised continued cooperation and coordination with UNMIS in order to enable it to implement its clear Council mandate.

    He welcomed the statement by the ACABQ that national staff in the Mission should be increased in order to bolster building of national capacities, as well as involve local contractors for building of structures. Such an approach would lead to a wider role of the society at large in the Mission and confidence-building between Mission and population.

    He said that a reference in the Secretary-General’s report to “border demarcation and public administration” was strange and inappropriate. It was of serious concern to his country, because the spirit and text of the peace agreement between north and south aimed at unity and not separation.  The agreement called for an interim period of six years, following which a referendum would be held.  The use of terms such as border demarcation was also outside the mandate of the Mission given by the Council. He sought clarification of the Secretariat on the meaning of those terms. If the response ran counter to his country’s position, he would call for deletion of those terms from the report.  He supported the Secretary-General’s recommendations and conclusions.

    MARI SKAARE (Norway) expressed support for the commitment request, but warned that the Mission could not succeed in a vacuum and that massive resources were needed to create an environment conducive to peace. She welcomed the generous pledges of more than $4.5 billion, of which about 45 per cent was earmarked for long-term development, made at the Oslo Donors’ Conference on the Sudan earlier in the week.

    She also welcomed plans for increased recruitment of national staff in the Mission. She favoured the inclusion of costs for rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-combatants and was ready to support having contingency funds as reserves to cover possible shortfalls. She agreed, however, with the European Union that that question went beyond the specific operation and should, therefore, be discussed in a broader context. She stressed the importance of close coordination between UNMIS and the African Union mission in Darfur, as well as with the joint integrated units to be set up.

    HAYDAR ALI AHMAD (Syria) aligned himself with the statements made on behalf of the African Group and that of the Sudan.  He welcomed the signature of the peace agreement in the Sudan and supported establishment of UNMIS, as well as allocation of commitment resources.  He welcomed the medium- and long-term targets assigned to the Mission for increasing local staff and the intention to use local resources and contractors.  Regarding resources requested for consultants regarding border demarcations, he said the Council resolution did not give any reference to such activities.

    MELANIE ATTWOOLL (United States) supported the request of the Secretary-General for an initial assessment for UNMIS to meet the operational and support requirements through 31 October and looked forward to receiving a detailed budget proposal at the sixtieth session. At this time, she wanted to comment of the ACABQ report, in which the Advisory Committee drew the Committee’s attention to the proposed creation of a contingency fund for possible shortfalls in voluntary contributions to the Mission. Had that concept been used in other missions, or was it a new proposal for the Committee’s consideration? The United States was concerned with the creation of such a reserve.

    Active efforts were being undertaken to secure donor commitment for activities in the Sudan, she continued, and this week at a pledging conference in Norway, $4.5 billion -- nearly twice the requested amount -- had already been pledged.  By proposing a contingency fund for those very same activities, the United Nations was sending the message that donor support was not actually required. It remained unclear to her why such a “backup plan” had been proposed absent firm indications that pledges from the donor community would not be forthcoming. The United States was also troubled, in the broad context of all multidimensional missions, by the lack of clear guidance and policy concerning disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and other humanitarian-focused activities. The delineation of operational and financial responsibilities between peacekeeping missions and the wider United Nations community represented in war-torn countries was, in many cases, unclear.  Accordingly, it raised a number of questions about duplication of efforts and even potential lack of progress in missions due to poor communication and unclear direction.

    YOO DAE-JONG (Republic of Korea) recalled that the budget before the Committee requested commitment authority totalling nearly $600 million. Since its establishment as UNAMIS in June 2004, the Mission in the Sudan had undergone considerable changes. He looked forward to the submission of more detailed budgets, which would allow for more thorough consideration. Increased recruitment and specialized training of national staff was a positive development, since the transfer of skills and knowledge to the local population not only created a sense of ownership of the Mission’s activities by those it was meant to serve, but also helped to build the capacities necessary for the completion of the Mission. The use of local contractors and materials to construct accommodations and the intention to turn over the completed facilities to local authorities once the Mission had been completed were also welcome.

    Turning to the organizational structures, he said there was some risk of overlapping functions between the two Deputy Special Representatives of the Secretary-General. He would appreciate an explanation of the benefits to be derived from using that unusual organizational structure, rather than the one used for most other missions. While acknowledging the difficulty of coordinating operations from several remote locations, he was concerned that, with as many as 22 D-1 and D-2 posts, the organization would be unnecessarily top-heavy. The personnel costs would be unnecessarily high. The Secretariat should explore ways to streamline the organizational structure with a view to reducing personnel costs. He shared the ACABQ’s view that regionalization of aircraft use should be explored and utilized wherever possible. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations should produce an in-depth study on what regional air transportation resources were available and how they could best be shared with neighbouring missions.

    HITOSHI KOZAKI (Japan) supported the observations and recommendations of the Advisory Committee in paragraphs 5 to 14 of its report, in particular, those related to the need to rectify the top-heavy post structure of regional/ subregional offices and the importance of promoting logistic cooperation among missions in the region. It also looked forward to receiving a report on the implementation of the coordination and harmonization mechanism, as described in paragraph 10.  As rightly pointed out by the ACABQ in paragraph 15 of its report, the Assembly had never pronounced itself on the use of assessed peacekeeping contributions for the purpose of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes. His delegation found it inappropriate to use United Nations assessed contributions to cover a possible shortfall in the resources of funds and programmes for activities that were traditionally financed through voluntary contributions. Once again, he would like to request the Secretary-General to take all necessary measures to ensure full compliance in UNMIS with the Organization’s policy of zero tolerance on sexual exploitation and abuse.

    YASSER ELNAGGAR (Egypt), aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the African Group, asked what the financial consequences were, and what the mandate was for border demarcation activities as mentioned in paragraph 19 of the Secretary-General’s report.  As for the remarks of the ACABQ, in paragraph 15 of its report, regarding disarmament, demobilization and reintegration activities, he sought clarification and specific comments of the Secretariat regarding the budget estimates and the effect on donor countries and how that concept was related to United Nations funds and programmes. 

    FRANCIS MUMBEY-WAFULA (Uganda), aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the African Group, said as chair of Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), he welcomed the establishment of UNMIS as timely and supported the Secretary-General’s proposal for commitment authority and assessment. His country was committed to facilitating the regional office in Entebe.  Saying that he was grateful to Norway for organizing the Donor Conference, he hoped that delegations would mirror the goodwill of Oslo through a quick resolution of the issue.

    WANG XINXIA (China) supported establishment of UNMIS.  Council resolution 1590 should be immediately implemented, she said.  She also supported the ACABQ suggestion regarding increased recruitment of local staff. Local staff participation was crucial to the feeling of ownership of the population. The Secretary-General’s report was not a detailed budget she said, and such a report should be forthcoming as soon as possible. The current resource requirement in the Secretary-General’s report could not compromise the final decision to be made by the Assembly.  Sudan’s concern regarding the phrase “border demarcation” in the Secretary-General’s report should be addressed.

    ASDRUBAL PULIDO LEON (Venezuela) reiterated his country’s commitment to peacekeeping based on the objectives of the Charter to preserve international peace and security.  However, he was concerned at the new trend of the Council to create a new generation of peacekeeping operations, which were conceived to deal with post-conflict situations and rebuild the States involved in conflict, although that was their own responsibility. It would be prudent for the Assembly to revisit the issue of how complex peacekeeping operations were functioning.

    He went on to pose several questions to the Secretariat and the Advisory Committee.  For instance, he did not understand why, in paragraph 23 of his report, the Secretary-General requested various forms of arms and munitions, if in December the Assembly had approved the creation of the Security Department and provided resources for those purposes. In paragraph 25 of his report, the Secretary-General also indicated that resources were needed for security contracts. In view of the fact that the Assembly had approved the Secretary-General’s proposal to create a centralized safety and security system, he wanted to know why security services were being recruited.

    By resolution 1590, UNMIS was mandated to lend assistance in disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and rehabilitation provided for in the peace agreement, paying particular attention to special needs of women and child combatants and application of that programme for collection and destruction of arms. Among other things, it was also supposed to provide humanitarian assistance and help with the return of refugees.  The United Nations Mission, in association with the World Bank and other multilateral bodies and bilateral and multilateral donors, was also supposed to create conditions for economic development and reconstruction of the Sudan.

    From paragraph 15 of the ACABQ report, he had learned that the Advisory Committee had been informed that provision had been made in the estimates for contingency funds to be used as a reserve to cover a possible shortfall in some programme areas traditionally funded through voluntary contributions. For example, the Advisory Committee was informed that, under other services, provision was made for preparing contingency plans to disarm and demobilize 15,000 allied militia forces and provide assistance to 5,000 members of a special group (women, disabled persons and veterans).  Where had that information come from?  He also asked the Secretariat why such information had not been provided to Member States and inquired about the legislative basis was for such a request, particularly as the Assembly had never pronounced itself on the utilization of assessed peacekeeping contributions for that purpose. He also associated himself with the request by the Sudan regarding paragraph 19 of the Secretary-General’s report.

    Mr. SENA (Brazil), also speaking on behalf of Argentina, supported Nigeria’s statement on behalf of the African Group, particularly regarding the concern for the population of the Sudan.  As for the funding out of the regular peacekeeping budget of the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and rehabilitation activities, which was usually done from voluntary funds, the delegations he represented agreed to funding some of the more foreseeable and standard expenditures in that regard.

    Responding to comments and questions raised by delegates, Mr. SACH, Acting Controller, said the question of Mission structures would be addressed in the detailed budget proposal. The main structure of the Mission -- with two deputies -– was needed, however, to reflect the importance of the political and humanitarian aspects of the Mission.  Regarding comments about the D-1 level of heads of regional offices, he said most of those offices were substantial entities with sometimes more than 100 staff.  It would be necessary to have an adequate level of responsibility vested in each regional office.  However, the ACABQ recommendations were well taken, and he would look at the issue on an office-by-office approach. 

    As for funding of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration activities, he said like arrangements had been made in the Haiti and Liberia missions. The amount of $3.5 million had been earmarked in the absence of voluntary funding. He anticipated, however, that voluntary funding would be available for demobilization and disarmament. He also anticipated that funding would be difficult to obtain for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration activities in the south of the Sudan for militia forces that were not signatories to the peace agreements. It was, therefore, appropriate that funding would be available for that particular aspect.

    He said the wording in paragraph 19 of the Secretary-General’s report regarding border disputes had led to a misunderstanding, as the phrase “border demarcation” was misleading. Work was foreseen on land demarcation in connection with land disputes. A provision for $12,000 had been made for technical advice and research into historical ownership to settle local disputes that might arise out of return of displaced persons to their homes. The mandate for that was found in Council resolution 1590 under paragraph 3, “... and to provide good offices and political support for efforts to resolve all ongoing conflict in Sudan”, and in paragraph 4(b), “To facilitate and coordinate ... the voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons, and humanitarian assistance, inter alia, by helping to establish the necessary security conditions”. 

    As for security service contracts mentioned in paragraph 25 of the report, he said that a new Department for Safety and Security was to be set up to coordinate all security operations worldwide.  Within the current structure, however, a small private company was used for assistance in guard services of some buildings.

    Mr. SAHA, Vice-Chairperson of the ACABQ, said some points raised today had also been raised by the ACABQ, including the issue of border demarcation. The Committee had been told that the request related to the immediate need to provide expert advice for the purpose of assisting in resolving local disputes about ownership arising from return of displaced persons.  He suggested that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations could provide more information in writing.

    As for a question relating to the acquisition of security and safety equipment, he said the Committee had been given a list of items, including metal detectors, baggage scanners, personal weapons for security officers, evidence lockers, and the like. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations might be able to give the same information in writing to the delegates.

    Regarding a possible shortfall in voluntary contributions for some programmes, he said the Advisory Committee had stated earlier that the Assembly had never pronounced itself on the use of peacekeeping contributions for that purpose. The Committee had asked for the financial outlay of agencies and programmes in that regard.

    Mr. ELNAGGAR (Egypt) said that following the explanations provided by Mr. Sach, he still found the clarification regarding paragraph 19 of the Secretary-General’s report insufficient and, to some extent, confusing. The Secretariat was now talking about border disputes and demarcation, as well as internal land disputes. That seemed to reflect a broad interpretation of paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Security Council resolution. It was still not clear what kind of expertise was needed to provide consultancy regarding land disputes. Peculiarities of the region should be taken into account.  It was necessary to settle that issue clearly. His delegation could not endorse something like that without very clear language addressing the mandate of the funds being allocated and the outcome of the job envisioned. Among other options of addressing the issue, he suggested a corrigendum to the Secretary-General’s report, or language in the resolution clarifying that matter.

    DIEGO SIMANCAS (Mexico) said that the issue of resources requested for disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and rehabilitation had to do with militias that were not covered in ceasefire agreements. Thus, it was not a problem of funding, but a political issue.

    Mr. MUSTAFA (Sudan) supported the representative of Egypt, saying that he still did not clearly understand what the Acting Controller had stated.  What he did understand was that there was a clear error in the language of the report concerning border demarcation. The explanation from the Acting Controller had no relation to the concept as he read it in paragraph 19. His delegation viewed that matter quite seriously and could not accept retaining that phrase in the Secretary-General’s report -- a document with wide political repercussions. That sentence had to be deleted.

    ANTONIO ALARCON (Costa Rica) said that having heard the explanations by Mr. Sach and Mr. Saha, he would like the Secretariat to provide explanations on disarmament and demobilization in writing, specifically with regard to the handling of voluntary contributions.  A clear explanation was also needed of how those provisions should be inserted in the budget.

    Ms. UDO (Nigeria) thanked Norway for organizing a successful donors’ conference earlier this week.  She also echoed the sentiments expressed by Uganda, saying that she would pray that those pledges would be translated into substantial resources to assist the Mission. She reiterated her earlier statement that the African Union attached priority importance to the Mission in view of its strategic position in Africa. Taking note of today’s comments, questions and answers, she said that all Member States’ concerns needed to be carefully considered. Maybe the language to be considered by the Committee could be aligned as closely as possible with the Security Council resolution.

    Regarding the handling of the issue by the Committee, she said that her preference would be for the Committee to conclude work on the Mission’s financing today, so that the Assembly could adopt a related resolution on Friday. At this point, commitment authority was being sought, and her delegation would prefer for substantive issues to be addressed in May, when a detailed across-the-board report on peacekeeping operations would be submitted to the Committee. Regarding funds for disarmament and demobilization, she asked if there was an actual need for assistance for the Mission in that regard.

    Answering questions raised, Mr. SACH confirmed that the wording in paragraph 19 of the Secretary-General’s report, including the phrase “border demarcation”, should be the subject of a corrigendum. The phrase should be deleted from the text and be substituted by new wording that should be worked out during informal consultations.

    There might have been a misunderstanding regarding disarmament, demobilization and reintegration activities, he said. It was not the case that such activities had not been foreseen under the peace agreement. The point was that some militias in the south were not party to that peace agreement. Funds were, therefore, sought for that element.

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