31st Plenary Meeting of General Assembly: 51st Session - Part 1

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11-Oct-1996 01:30:14
Credentials Committee Defers Decision on Afghanistan at the 31st plenary.

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Credentials Committee defers decision on Afghanistan.

The Credentials Committee this morning deferred a decision on accepting credentials from Afghanistan, following a statement from the United Nations Legal Counsel, Hans Corell, that two communications had been received challenging the formal credentials submitted for the representatives of that country, although neither communication was adequate for that purpose, under the General Assembly rules of procedure.

The Committee approved the credentials of 123 Member States to the fifty-first session of the General Assembly, as listed in a memorandum of the Secretary-General. The Committee's decision on Afghanistan will be reflected in its report to the General Assembly.

Mr. Corell explained to the Committee that formal credentials had been submitted for Afghanistan on 15 September 1996 by Professor Burhan-u-ddin Rabbani, President of the Islamic State of Afghanistan. On 3 October, a note verbale had been received by the Secretariat from the "Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic State of Afghanistan", stating that the credentials issued by President Rabbani were "not authoritative and legally valid". However, the note verbale did not list purported new representatives nor did it provide the name or title of the person who initialled the note. Mr. Corell emphasized that the note verbale did not, therefore, constitute either formal or provisional credentials of representatives within the meaning of rule 27 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly.

Mr. Corell noted that no representative of a Member State challenged the presence or credentials of Abdul Rahim Ghafoorzai, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, who spoke in the General Assembly's general debate on 7 October. However, on 10 October, the Secretariat in New York received copies of two identical letters addressed to the Secretary-General and the General Assembly and signed by "Haji Mula Mohammad Ghaus Akhund, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs". In those letters, the author stated that "at the top of diplomatic mission of Afghanistan there are individuals and personnel who belong to the previous regime, who are not acceptable to the new ruling Government of Taliban". However, again, such letters did not list purported new representatives of Afghanistan and, thus, did not constitute either formal or provisional credentials of representatives.

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