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38. U.S. statement to Sixth Committee concerning role of the UN Charter committee (Oct. 16, 2007)

United States Statement
UN General Assembly Sixth Committee --
Report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization, Agenda Item 85

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The United States welcomes the Report of the Charter Committee (A/62/33), and appreciates the opportunity to express our views on some of the issues addressed in the report.

We commend the Secretary-General’s ongoing efforts to reduce the backlog in preparing the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council. Both publications provide a useful resource on the practice of United Nations organs, and we appreciate the Secretariat’s hard work on them.

The Charter Committee’s report notes the Committee’s discussions on various proposals relating to sanctions. As we have said previously, we do not believe that the Charter Committee should aim to devise norms concerning the design and implementation of sanctions. The Committee should not pursue activities in this area that would be duplicative or inconsistent with the roles of the principal organs of the United Nations as set forth in the Charter, in particular Article 24.

As noted at prior sessions of the Sixth Committee and the Charter Committee, some Member States continue to assert that Article 50 of the Charter requires the Security Council to take some sort of action to assist “third States” affected by the imposition of sanctions. We would like to reiterate our long-held view that while Article 50 consultations provide a mechanism to discuss the effects of sanctions on third States, it does not require the Council to take any specific action.

In that regard, we welcome the Secretary-General’s report (A/62/206), which informed Member States of the fact that, in the period under review, none of the sanctions committees had been approached by Member States to express concerns about special economic problems resulting from the imposition of sanctions. We believe this is the result of concerted Council efforts to impose targeted measures that minimize unintended economic problems for States and applaud the Council’s work in that regard. Since targeted sanctions have substantially minimized unintended economic consequences for States, we see no reason for Member States to consider actively the establishment of a fund financed from assessed contributions or other UN-based financial arrangements to address an abstract concern.

We also note that the Secretary-General’s report observes that the Security Council has taken steps to mitigate economic burdens on targeted individuals arising from the implementation of Security Council assets freezes. The Secretary-General’s report observes that in every case in which the Security Council has decided that States shall freeze the assets owned or controlled by designated individuals and entities, the Council has also adopted exceptions by which States can signal to the relevant sanctions committee their intention to authorize access to frozen funds for a variety of basic and extraordinary expenses, which can include payment for legal services.

It also is noteworthy that concerns that have been expressed in the past about the need for fair and clear procedures for the Security Council to de-list persons subject to Security Council sanctions have been addressed and therefore proposals relating to this subject are no longer timely or relevant. It is a priority of the United States to make the lists of individuals and entities that the Security Council targets for sanctions as accurate as possible and to make the process fair and clear. In this regard we welcome in particular the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1730 of 2006, under which a focal point has been established in the Secretariat to receive de-listing requests.

We also note with interest proposals of several Member States regarding new subjects that might warrant consideration by the Special Committee. With respect to the proposal mentioned in the Special Committee’s report concerning “Consideration of the legal aspects of the reform of the United Nations,” we agree that, as appropriate, the Committee could have a technical role to play in the matters relating to the implementation of any decisions to amend the Charter of the United Nations, at the appropriate time. It would be helpful to receive additional detail about this proposal before the Charter Committee meets next spring.

Finally, we do not support the proposal discussed in the Committee that the General Assembly request from the International Court of Justice an advisory opinion on the use of force, which in our view is adequately and clearly set forth in the UN Charter.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

October 16, 2007


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