May 23, 2024

Statement by the Chair of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country Amb. Hadjichrysanthou

amb-host-countrySixth Committee – Agenda item 161: Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country

78th Session of the UNGA – 6 November 2023

 

Mr. Chairperson,

It is an honor to address the Sixth Committee in my capacity as Chair of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country to introduce this year’s Report of the Committee contained in document A/78/26, that was adopted on the 20th October.

The Report was prepared in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 77/114 of 7 December 2022 and it follows the structure of previous years. It is divided into four chapters:

  • Chapter 1 contains a brief introduction.
  • Chapter 2 elaborates on the membership, composition, terms of reference and organization of the work of the Committee.
  • Chapter 3 summarizes the discussion on the topics dealt with by the Committee during the reporting period.
  • Finally, Chapter 4 contains the recommendations and conclusions of the Committee.

The report has also two annexes: the first one is a list of topics for consideration by the Committee, as adopted in 1982 and modified in 1994. The second annex contains a list of documents issued as documents of the Committee during the reporting period.

 

Mr. Chairperson,

The Committee on Relations with the Host Country is an important forum in which representatives of Member States seek to resolve different problems arising in connection with the implementation of the 1947 Agreement between the United Nations and the United States of America regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations. This objective is pursued through a frank and constructive exchange of views and cooperation of all concerned parties. Since its establishment in 1971, the Committee remains an open, transparent, and flexible body where any interested delegation can participate in it as an observer. Moreover, the Committee is the only body in the UN system that is mandated to consider matters in relation to the host country and then report thereon to the General Assembly and make recommendations.

 

During the reporting period, the Committee held four meetings and discussed issues regarding the implementation of the UN Headquarters Agreement, as well as the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations. Issues concerning entry visas and travel restrictions were of particular concern during these discussions.

The Committee will continue its efforts and will remain seized of the issues that are on its agenda, in order to resolve them in a spirit of compromise and in full regard of the interests of the Organization and the integrity of the Headquarters Agreement.

 

Mr. Chairperson,

The Report provides a comprehensive description of the issues raised in the Committee. It presents the differing views expressed by the concerned Missions and by the host country on these issues, and on how each party considers that they should be resolved. In the Recommendations and Conclusions, which are set out in Chapter IV of the Report, the Committee, inter alia, reiterates its expectation that the host country will ensure the issuance of entry visas to all representatives of Member States and members of the Secretariat, in line with the Headquarters Agreement. Furthermore, it addresses the treatment of diplomats transiting to and from the UN Headquarters district, as well as the tightening of travel restrictions that was applied to a certain Mission. It notes that bringing issues to the attention of the host country may, in some cases, help to have them expeditiously resolved, and notes the discussions that have been formalised since 2019 between the United Nations Legal Counsel and the competent authorities of the host country regarding unresolved issues, and reports on the outcome of these discussions.

As in the previous year, we have witnessed intense discussions on several items of great importance to the affected Member States related to the implementation of the Headquarters Agreement, in particular with respect to entry visas and travel restrictions. The Committee has continued to struggle with the differing views as to whether progress has been made by the host country in the context of the recommendations and conclusions that the Committee adopted last year, and which were endorsed by the General Assembly.  Of particular importance was the question of what was the way forward “if certain issues raised in the report of the Committee remained unresolved following a reasonable and finite period of time”. In that regard, the Committee “once again, reiterates its request to the Secretary-General to now give the most serious consideration and take any appropriate steps under section 21 of the Headquarters Agreement and intensify efforts to expedite resolution of the issues”. I believe that the recommendations and conclusions of this year’s Report on which the members have reached consensus, through extensive but constructive negotiations, accurately reflect this situation.

I would like to thank the Secretary-General and the Legal Counsel for their engagement with the Committee and for their efforts at various levels to address important issues before the Committee, in particular their ongoing bilateral engagement with senior officials of the host country.

 

Mr. Chairperson,

In line with these Recommendations and Conclusions, I wish to reiterate my personal commitment to help address all outstanding issues in a spirit of compromise and in full regard for the interests of the Organization. I intend to continue to engage with the representatives of the host country, affected Member States and with the Secretary General and the Legal Counsel to find solutions to resolve all outstanding issues in line with the Headquarters Agreement and international law.

Before I conclude, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Members of the Committee, the Host Country Section of the United States Mission to the United Nations, the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, and all observer delegations who participated in the meetings of the Committee during this reporting period, for their support and excellent cooperation. Let me also express my appreciation to the representatives of the host country and the concerned Member States for their constructive approach. Finally, I wish to express my deep and sincere appreciation to the Secretary of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country and to the UN Secretariat, in general, for their guidance and support throughout the year.

I thank you for your attention.