First Committee Adopts Programme of Work as Chair Proposes Revisiting Visa Concerns following General Debate

Members Reject Iran’s Proposal to Adjourn Meeting by Recorded Vote of 16 in Favour, 78 Against, 31 Abstentions

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) adopted the general debate portion of its programme of work today, opening the way for the start of its substantive work amid ongoing concerns over the host country’s non issuance of visas for several delegates.

Committee Chair Sacha Sergio Llorentty Soliz (Bolivia), who proposed the arrangement following consultations with the concerned delegations, said the general debate will run over five days, from 10 to 16 October, after which the Committee could revisit the visa issue. (See Press Release GA/DIS/3622.)

Vladimir Yermakov (Russian Federation) said at the outset of the meeting that, by not issuing visas to members of his delegation, the United States is failing to honour its obligations under the Headquarters Agreement concluded with the United Nations in 1947. Leaving the visa matter unresolved will prevent the Committee from doing its work and undermine the fundamental principles of the United Nations, he added.

Heidar Ali Balouji (Iran) said the Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly and the Chair of the First Committee should press the United States to stop abusing its host country privileges. He also proposed adjourning the meeting under article 118 of the General Assembly’s rules of procedure.

Robert Wood (United States) objected to the request for adjournment, saying the Committee should adopt its programme of work, preferably by consensus.

The Committee then rejected Iran’s proposal to adjourn the meeting by a recorded vote of 16 in favour to 78 against, with 31 abstentions.

Also speaking today were representatives of Mexico, Uruguay, China, Guatemala, Zambia (on behalf of the African Group), Syria, India, Malaysia, Belarus, Finland (on behalf of the European Union), Kazakhstan, Venezuela, Cuba, Switzerland, Chile, Liechtenstein, Pakistan, Egypt, Colombia and Bolivia.

Source: United Nations