As part of the effort to promote and consolidate new or restored democracies, the United Nations General Assembly today authorized Secretary-General Kofi Annan to establish an observer mission to monitor general elections and the immediate post-election environment in Fiji.
The Assembly adopted, without a vote, a draft resolution to set up the UN Electoral Observer Mission after the Caretaker Government of Fiji requested help in a letter to the President of the General Assembly. The elections are scheduled to be held from 25 August to 1 September.
In introducing the text of the resolution, Fiji's representative described the events of May 2000, when a group of armed rebels stormed the Parliament and held the elected government hostage for 56 days. He said that following the appointment of an interim civilian government, Fiji took the initiative to allow the UN to witness its return to parliamentary democracy and that he was confident the presence of UN observers would send a very positive signal for the acceptance of the election results and the future stability of the nation.
In other action this morning, the Assembly adopted a resolution on preparations for next year's International Conference on Financing for Development, including the launch of a global public-awareness campaign with support from public and private partnerships.
The Assembly also endorsed the recommendation of its budget committee to grant four countries late in paying their dues - Burundi, Comoros, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova - an exemption under Article 19 of the UN Charter, allowing them to vote in the General Assembly until 30 June 2002.
According to Article 19, should a Member State fall behind in the payment of its dues by an amount equal to its assessments for the two most recent years, it will lose its right to vote in the General Assembly, unless the Assembly decides that non-payment is a consequence of factors beyond a State's control.
By adopting without a vote the draft decision on the matter, the Assembly endorsed the Fifth Committee's finding that those countries' failure to pay the amount necessary under Article 19 was due to conditions beyond their control.