CHAIRMAN: Now we will go back to our discussion, and I would again like to appeal to members to respect the dignity of this House and conduct the debate in a cordial and calm manner so that we can get through the work without bitterness and as speedily as possible. It is quite clear to me that from now on for the remainder of this particular item we have to go strictly by our Rules and Regulations.Therefore to start with I would like to give the floor to our Legal Counsel to review what is happening so far as our Rules and Regulations are concerned, and to outline the steps that lie ahead of us.
LEGAL COUNSEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I shall attempt to do what you have requested, namely: first to explain the present state of the debate on the item under discussion as far as this is relevant for the application of the Rules governing the procedure of the Council.
Under Item 10.1 of the Council Agenda (may I open a bracket here and invite your attention to the fact that on document CL 75/11 there is a misprint. It says item 19, but it should be Item 10.1), the Council is at present discussing the paper I have just referred to entitled "Arrangements for the Twentieth Session of the Conference". I might add that as you may see on the first page of the text, this document is presented as a draft document for the Twentieth Session of the Conference, and will therefore be presented to the Conference under a different cover sheet, subject to any amendments that the Council may decide to adopt with regard to this draft document.
At the debate this morning, if my understanding is correct, the first speaker, the distinguished delegate of Saudi Arabia, proposed an amendment to a particular section of the document under consideration, namely to the provisional Conference agenda. He suggested that an additional item be inserted which, if my notes are correct, reads: "Transfer of the FAO Regional Office for the Near East from its present location." After that proposal had been made, the distinguished delegate of Egypt made two proposals, one a substantive proposal which I believe I do not need to read out because the delegate of Egypt has circulated it, and a procedural motion by which he moved for the closure of the debate.
In accordance with the provisions which are applicable to this particular situation, motions of procedure have precedence over substantive proposals. That does not mean that the substantive proposals are discarded. It does mean, however, that if the procedural motion is carried, no further debate may take place on the substantive proposal.
Rule XII, paragraph 23 of the General Rules of the Organization, which are applicable also to the Council -because the Rules of Procedure of the Council declare Rule XII of the General Rules applicable - reads as follows: "A delegate or representative may at any time move the closure of the debate on the item under discussion whether or not any other delegate or representative has signified his wish to speak. Permission to speak on the closure of the debate shall be accorded only to two speakers opposing the closure, after which the motion shall be immediately put to the vote. If the Conference or Council is in favour of the closure, the Chairman shall declare the closure of the debate. The Chairman may limit the time allowed to speakers under this paragraph."
As I see it, there is a possibility for two speakers to oppose the motion for closure, and you are entitled, Mr. Chairman, to set a time limit, if you consider it appropriate, for the length of the interventions of any speakers opposing the motion for closure. After that, the motion has to be put to a vote.
As I said at the beginning, the item under discussion - and this is the word used in General Rule XII, paragraph 23 which I have read out - is "Arrangements for the Twentieth Session of the Conference." The closure of the debate, if it were decided by the Council, would mean that no further debate could take place on other parts of the document before you. You may perhaps wish, then, to put the question to the Council, whether the Council agrees that the draft document goes forward to the Conference once the substantive question which was raised has been decided.
Finally, I should like to point out that two substantive proposals have been made. The first proposal was made by the distinguished delegate of Saudi Arabia. If a vote were required, in the event that the Council should decide on the closure of the debate, the first vote to be taken would be on the first proposal that has been made for amending the provisional agenda of the Conference. The second proposal, which was made by the distinguished delegate of Egypt, would have to be voted on in the event that the proposal of the delegate of Saudi Arabia were not carried. If it were carried, then no vote would be required on the proposal made by the delegate of Egypt, because paragraph 26 of Rule XII provides that "Where the adoption of one amendment necessarily implies the rejection of another, the latter shall not be put to-the vote".
I shall be glad when the time comes, and if necessary, to explain this further, but it may not be necessary. I hope that what I have just said has clarified the procedural situation. Thank you for your patience, Mr. Chairman.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Legal Counsel, this is very clear.
We do not want to waste any more time on debates. We have a proposal by Egypt that debate on this item should be stopped, and you just now heard what the Legal Adviser said. I would therefore like to call on two speakers who are against closing the debate on this matter to speak very briefly so that we do not waste a lot of time, since Council members are also eager that this matter be resolved in the light of our own Rules and Regulations and not in hot debates, since we are governed by rules and regulations.
If this procedure is agreed, I give the floor to the delegate of Iraq. Yes, delegate of Egypt?
POINT OF ORDER
PUNTO DE ORDEN
M. SAMIR AHMED (Egypt): I had asked for a point of order even before this session began and I gave the request to the Secretary-General of the Council.
The point of order I wanted to make was two-fold. My delegation is aware only that one form of proposal has been made to this Council. It was made formally and was announced formally as a formal proposal, whereas no other delegation had formally made any motion, neither formally for distributed any paper for it or formulation. No formula is known for any other motion except that provided by the Egyptian delegation. So far as I know, it is the only official motion made to this Council. It therefore has priority over any other motion that is thought to have existed. I am aware that the Saudi Arabian delegate took the floor before me but he expressed a wish and not a formal proposal and did not submit any formulation for such a proposal. I think this should be clear to our distinguished Legal Counsel.
The second part of my point of order.
CHAIRMAN: Delegate of Egypt, we are discussing your own point of order which says you want to suspend the debate. Please let us take one thing at a time, let us put the matter to the House in accordance with our Rules and Regulations.
M. SAMIR AHMED (Egypt): Only one moment, to explain to our distinguished Legal Counsel, Sir: when I made the motion for the closure of the debate, I did not mean the closure of the debate on item 1(a), namely the whole Provisional Agenda. Far from it, of course: I said, very specifically, the closure of the debate on the request of the distinguished delegate of Saudi Arabia and not the closure of the debate on the whole Provisional Agenda of the Conference. This should be made clear, it is very important.
LEGAL COUNSEL: The distinguished delegate of Egypt made two points. I shall take the last one first. He said that his motion for the closure applied to the proposal made by the delegate of Saudi Arabia; it did not apply to the whole item before the Council. As I said before - and I quoted paragraph 23 of Rule XII - it is stated that a representative may at any time move the closure of the debate on the item under discussion. There is no provision regarding a partial closure but you may, in due course, if necessary, wish to put to the Council whether the Council is ready to agree and the mover is also ready to agree - which I take it he is - to discuss questions arising out of this document, other than the Provisional Agenda of the Conference.
The second point is whether or not a proposal or formal proposal was made by the distinguished delegate of Saudi Arabia. I am afraid, Mr. Chairman, I do not speak Arabic and I could not hear the original of his statement but, according to the notes which I took, he formulated the precise wording of the item that he proposed for inclusion in the Conference Agenda. No distinction is made between formal or informal proposals in the Rules of Procedure of the Council or in the General Rules of the Organization, and an oral formulation is generally accepted. If the Council feels that it should be circulated, the Council may request it; but there is no mandatory provision in our Rules whereby a proposal to the Council - and I am speaking of the Council, not of the Conference - has to be circulated in advance.
CHAIRMAN: The position is now clear. The first thing we have to decide on is that the Council may wish to limit the suspension of debate, the closure of debate, only to the point raised by the delegate of Saudi Arabia, and as the delegate of Egypt seems to agree to this, if the Council agrees, then we shall limit the vote to suspend the debate only to that point, so that the other arrangements in document CL 75/11 can go ahead. After that, depending on the vote on the suspension of debate, we will take the next step.
I will now give the floor to a speaker against the suspension. Delegate of Iraq, if you are against, I give you the floor; if you are for it, there is no need.
M. HAMDOON (Iraq) (interpretation from Arabic): On behalf of our delegation I would like to declare my opposition to the closure of the debate on this subject. As you know, Mr. Chairman, this is a subject which has not been debated or discussed, so how can we vote on something which is submitted for discussion arid which has not been discussed?
On the other hand, the delegate of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia did not go into detail on the reasons which led him to ask for the transfer of the Regional Office in Cairo. In a manner which is contrary
to reality, and with a good deal of detail, the delegate of Egypt gave arguments which are not in keeping with reality and truth. This question which is submitted to the Council for its decision is, in my opinion a regional question which only concerns the countries of the Region, who have unanimously felt that leaving the Regional Office in Cairo would not be of service to the Region, and they need the services of the Regional Office. Eighteen Arab countries have cut off diplomatic and economic relations with the present host country for reasons you are all quite well aware of, and we informed the Director-General of this break in diplomatic relations some two months ago, by letter.
I will not be long; allow me, if I may - because you let the delegate of Egypt speak for more than half an hour - -
CHAIRMAN: All I am saying is: be brief. Delegate of Egypt, will you please allow other people to speak? Delegate of Iraq, be brief, that is all I ask.
M. HAMDOON (Iraq) (interpretation from Arabic): The work of the Regional Office has been frozen and has come to a standstill; I am sure the Secretariat can confirm this. We have come here, and even before the meeting of the next Conference, so that this item could be included on the Agenda. This Regional Office can be transferred to whichever other country is decided upon, but we ask that the Director-General carry out a study which we are presenting to the Conference, so that a decision can be taken. We firmly feel that it is our right to include this item on the Agenda of the Conference and that any country has the right to express its opinion when the question is presented and particularly when this request is presented to the next General Conference . No-one has a right to keep eighteen Member Countries of this Organization from saying what they feel on this question. This would be simply a way of obstructing the work.
I think we must consider the work of the Organization and what would be most beneficial to it.
Finally, I want to draw the attention of this august assembly to the fact that our boycotting of the Regional Office at its present headquarters in Cairo will be a permanent boycotting on behalf of the Arab countries, no matter what are the conditions and the situation. You can ask those responsible for the Regional Office in Cairo, you can ask Mr. Jum'a and the countries of the Region, about his recent trip. He came as an independent visitor and not in his quality of Director of the Regional Office. We shall never let him present recommendations on behalf of this Regional Office.
In conclusion, we have tried to speak objectively - contrary to the delegate of Egypt - so all those who are opposed to the will of these countries will have to assume the responsibility of their decisions, and this would simply put a stop to all activities of this Regional Office, with all the consequences that this would have for all the countries of the Region.
CHAIRMAN: We have one more speaker against, as briefly as possible, and then we will put the point.
A.Y. BUKHARI (Saudi Arabia) (interpretation from Arabic): I, too, am against the motion whether we should come to a closure of the debate, as the delegate of Iraq has said. We have not started discussion of this item, so how can we bring it to a close? The delegate of Egypt has made a proposal, and then he has asked that we close the debate. In our view, that means that it is a closure of the debate on the proposal that I myself made as well: the closure of the debate on the views which should be exchanged here in this meeting.
I do not wish to revert to what has already been stated by the delegate of Egypt, because he spoke at length, but I would like to recall that he said that the countries which presented the proposal - and we know very well that our group has come forward with a proposal on this particular item of the Agenda - he said that the countries which made the proposal on the transfer of the Regional Office and this item on the Agenda, wish to impose their will, to dictate their will, to this august Council. We are asking who is trying to impose this will on the Council? Everyone knows that we never try to impose our will on the Council or elsewhere. On the contrary, we have always been willing to listen to the constructive opinion of others in these discussions on specific items. What we are asking is who is trying to impose their will on this item on the agenda? Who is imposing their will so that we cannot discuss this item at the proper moment, and I stress the word proper moment, and all this is done before we start a discussion, before we can convince the Council of the need to listen to the different opinions and the views of the Legal Counsel on the rules and procedures. This really runs against the purpose which the delegate from Egypt states. The delegate from Egypt is against a very fundamental principle, free and democratic discussion.
All we ask is that there be an item included and placed on the agenda so that we can prepare a study for the general Conference so that the general Conference can in due time accept this item for its agenda or reject it. We are simply asking that a study be prepared but it will be the Conference who make the final decision. The Conference will start whether it is going to accept or reject our point of view. We only ask the Council to make a decision on this point, to rule on this point. To submit this to the Conference does not mean that the Council supports the placing of this item on the agenda, that it be in agreement on the topic which will be placed on the agenda, as the delegate from Egypt has tried to imply.
I shall not be lengthy on this particular item. We are against the closure of this item. We appeal to the delegates of the Council regardless of their opinions on this specific item. We would like to see that there be a possibility for all to speak in a free and democratic way, as it has always been in this Organization, as it has always been at FAO.
In our view, and I think it is the opinion of all the members of the group of the Near East, we feel that all the delegations have a right to express their points of view and this is what we ask of you.
CHAIRMAN; We are going to vote but before we do this I would still like to ask the Legal Counsel to explain to us what kind of voting methods there are so that we do not make any mistakes on our rules and regulations.
LEGAL COUNSEL: The normal way of voting in the Conference or in the Council is by show of hands.
CHAIRMAN: I would like to put the question that the debate on the proposal by the delegate of Saudi Arabia to include an extra item on the agenda be stopped. Those for stopping the debate please show your hands. Those who wish to continue the debate please raise your flag. Those who are abstaining?
Vote by show of hands
Vote à main levée
Votación a mano alzada
CHAIRMAN: By one vote Council has decided to continue the debate.
We have an open agenda item and I think in order to streamline our work we should take the proposals put in the document before us, discuss those and then after that we will take the proposal by the delegate of Saudi Arabia and discuss it and those for and against can then express their views. If this is agreed we will discuss what is contained in the main document for arrangements for the next Conference document CL 75/11. The discussion is open on that document.
W. A. F. GRABISCH (Germany, Federal Republic of): As regards the agenda and the time schedule for the Twentieth FAO Conference we have two technical remarks. First, concerning the agenda, although we continue to fully support the Conference decision that the agenda should be as short and concise as possible we miss the highlighting of one important item singled out as such, that is the prevention of food losses. This programme, which has already been successful in its initial phase is of special importance and merits therefore even greater attention. It is, in our view, as important as the suggested items 6.2, 6.3 or 17. By doing so one can expect that the countries themselves as well as the multilateral and bilateral donors, will put more emphasis on this task of utmost importance.
My second point concerns the time schedule. In the document it is suggested that Commission II first deals with the Programme of Work and Budget 1980-81, that is agenda item 11. Only then the review ot the current programme of work, agenda item 12, and of the field programmes, agenda item 13, are scheduled. We feel that we should revise that order and start with a discussion of the current Programme of Work and of the field programmes as we expect relevant conclusions from these deliberations for the next Programme of Work and Budget 1980-81.
CHAIRMAN: Are there any more members wanting the floor? If not, I will ask the Director-General to respond to the points made by the delegate of the Federal Republic of Germany.
DIRECTOR-GENERAL: We are going to discuss, as part of the Programme of Work and Budget, our future activities on prevention of post-harvest losses. We can accommodate easily the delegate of Germany by taking this opportunity to provide information on the progress achieved during the first biennium. I think such procedure would be preferable since we could thus discuss what has been going on during this biennium together with what we propose to do for 1980-81. I suggest therefore to leave the two things together, instead of discussing this under a separate item, item 7, which will be dealt with under another Commission, Commission I. This would only be a different way to consider the very same subject which the delegate of Germany would like us to discuss. We would prepare a document describing the experience we have acquired during this biennium and it would be discussed there. This is my reaction to the first comment or proposal which has just been made.
As far as discussing the review of field activities before the Programme of Work, this is a matter in which we have only followed the decision of the previous Conference, which expressed the wish to start immediately with the most important item, which is the Programme of Work and Budget for the next biennium, and to discuss later the Review of our activities in 1978-79. We would have no problem as Secretariat, but some delegations might not be able to stay for the whole period of the Conference and would want to address themselves to the most important issue. Our next Conference may therefore also wish to discuss first the Programme of Work and Budget for 1980-81.
CHAIRMAN: I hope the delegate of Germany is satisfied with the explanation.
W. A. F. GRABISCH (Germany, Federal Republic of): Yes, with regard to my first suggestion, having heard the explanation given by the Director-General concerning my second point, if he feels that it would not be convenient to discuss first the current Programme with its shortcomings and so on, and then in drawing conclusions from that discussion bring quite a lot of experience to the discussion which then follows on the forthcoming Programme, then, we have no difficulties in going along with the present proposal but to us it would have been more logical to discuss first the present programme and the field programme and from the conclusions drawn from that discussion then have had the discussion for the forthcoming programme, but if we are alone with our view on that we have no problems in accepting, as others around the table, the proposed arrangement.
CHAIRMAN: I will now ask for discussion of the point raised by the delegate of Saudi Arabia that an addition should be made to the Draft Agenda for the Conference.
M. SAMIR AHMED (Egypt) : Before we come to the vote on the motion presented by our distinguished friend the delegate of Saudi Arabia, I would like to make a formal amendment according to Rule XII.26 of our Rules.
I would like to move the following amendment to his motion. The motion reads "transfer the Regional Office for the Near East to another site". My amendment is this: delete the word "transfer" and replace it by the words "study the activities of", so that it should read "study the activities of the Regional Office for the Near East", and the last words "to another site" should be deleted.
Under Rule XII.26 this amendment should be voted on before the motion itself. With your permission under Rule XII.6 and XII.6.9 (b) I move formally that this should be decided by a secret ballot.
CHAIRMAN: I thank the delegate of Egypt, who is much more familiar with the Rules than I am. I will therefore ask the Legal Counsel to guide us again on the points raised by the delegate of Egypt.
LEGAL COUNSEL: The distinguished delegate of Egypt has moved an amendment to the original proposal of the delegate of Saudi Arabia. This, under the Rule which he has cited, he is entitled to do. However, both the amendment and the original proposal are now open for discussion. The question of voting and the method of voting I believe is not yet ripe. But it remains on the table if and when a vote should be taken.
CHAIRMAN: I do not think Egypt is any more objecting to a debate, because earlier on Council voted to have a debate.
M. SAMIR AHMED (Egypt): I am not of course. I cannot object to a debate now that the Council has overruled my end of the debate motion. But I have moved formally that my amendment be voted upon when the time comes for voting on the motion. I have formally moved that a vote by secret ballot take place on my amendment and this should be registered for future reference when the time of voting come s.
CHAIRMAN: We will ask you how Council wants to vote when we get there. First, let us take it step by step and let us discuss the issues before us which are now quite clearly set.
J. G. KHARAS (Pakistan): Pakistan as a member of the Near East Group fully subscribes to and supports the proposal placed before the Council by the Chairman of the Near East Group, the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia. We agree with the arguments put forward that this proposal merits close and serious examination. It is precisely for this reason that we would like the Council to agree to the proposal of including the item proposed by Saudi Arabia on the Agenda of the Conference. This would enable the Director-General to undertake a detailed study of the proposal. This in turn would enable the Conference to consider the matter carefully and take a decision on it. On the other hand, if we were to follow the procedure as outlined in Rule II.5, which appears on pages 22 and 23 of the English version of the Basic Texts, 1978 edition, the Conference would surely be deprived of an analytical assessment of the proposal. One way or the other the Conference would be faced with this issue. We therefore feel that it would be much better if you were to agree to the inclusion of this item on the agenda now so that the various ramifications of the proposal are placed fully before the Conference. In view of this we also do not agree with the amendment suggested by the delegate of Egypt.
S.I. ALMANNAI (Kuwait) (interpretation from Arabic): We would like to repeat and reiterate what has been said by the delegate of Saudi Arabia, the addition of a new item to the Agenda of the Conference dealing with the transfer of the Regional Office for the Near East, and we oppose the amendment formulated by Egypt on this proposal.
We listened with great attention to the discussions which took place. There is a parallel here which can be established between two United Nations Organizations who have dealt with the same subject at approximately the same time and geographically near one another. Despite these two facts the attitudes are very different indeed. The first attitude was one of wisdom and democracy, whereas in the second case it is the feelings which have decided and democracy was not as effective as it might have been.
I would like to name the World Health Organization and the decision taken there at the Conference of the World Health Organization, where the decision was taken on the transfer of its regional office to another headquarters so that this office could be free in carrying out its activities. I say that this decision was taken in May in Geneva this year and it is quite natural that the second attitude I mentioned is that which we are seeing here during this Council Session. The same countries take part in the meetings, it is the same discussion which is taking place, and even though the regional office of the World Health Organization is much larger than the regional office for FAO, despite this fact the General Assembly of the World Health Organization felt that it was the duty of its Members to include the activities which were of interest to them on their Agenda. They also realized that the transfer of the regional office of the World Health Organization depends on the decision of those countries who make up the region and we expected the Council of FAO to deal with this question in the same way and according to the same procedure and with the same understanding, particularly since we are now meeting under better circumstances than was the case with the General Assembly of the World Health Organization.
We propose that this item be included on the Agenda of the Conference well in advance of the meeting and we make this proposal within the Council Session, which is the Body which prepares the coming General Conference. Therefore we feel that we could take a careful look at our attitude and our position on this question so that this meeting will not set a precedent in obstructing the work of the Organization and obstructing the democratic activities of our Organization.
I think the Council took a very honourable stand in regard to the transfer of the Regional Office for Latin America. The Secretariat can correct me if I am wrong, but I think at that time the Council was not opposed to the transfer of the Regional Office for Latin America when this proposal
was made. Therefore I wonder what is the usefulness of a Regional Office if the Member Countries cannot work and cooperate with it. How can this Regional Office work effectively without the participation of the 18 Member Countries? What in fact is the future of this Regional Office? Will its activities remain at a standstill? Will we continue this type of useless expenditure? These are the questions I would put to you, Mr. Chairman.
H. MOKHTARI (Algérie): En tant que membre du Conseil, ma délégation voudrait faire part de sa position concernant cette question.
Je -voudrais rappeler que cette question a déjà été abordée suivant la procédure normale prévue par le -règlement de notre Organisation. En effet, cette question a déjà été soumise au Comité du programme qui a émis son avis dans les par. 2.175 à 2.177 du document CL 75/4. Le document CL 75/4 est bien un document soumis à l'examen de notre Conseil et notre Conseil est donc habilité à débattre de cette question.
En ce qui concerne le transfert du bureau régional de la FAO pour le Proche-Orient, nul n'est mieux placé que les pays concernés et utilisateurs pour apprécier son opportunité. Il s'avère que la grande majorité des pays du Proche-Orient sollicitent ce transfert afin de permettre à ce bureau de fonctionner normalement d'autant plus que ce transfert, de l'avis même du Comité du programme, n'affectera pas le programme régional de la FAO.
Notre Conseil ne peut que constater cette situation. Aussi, ma délégation appuie fermement la proposition du délégué de l'Arabie Saoudite et ma délégation s'oppose à l'amendement proposé par le délégué de l'Egypte.
E. HRAOUI (Liban) (interprétation de l'arabe): Avant de traiter de la question quant au fond, je voudrais ici faire allusion à la conférence assez longue qui nous a été faite par l'Ambassadeur d'Egypte, qui a essayé de donner des leçons aux membres du Conseil sur la procédure et le règlement général de l'Organisation. Nous l'en remercions sincèrement, mais je vous avoue que les raisons soulevées par l'honorable délégué de l'Egypte ne sont pas trés claires, peut-être parce qu'il n'a pas parlé sa langue maternelle ou parce qu'il a essayé de tourner autour du pot. Il a cherché à s'appuyer sur certains articles et certains paragraphes de manière assez vague, et je voudrais demander a la présidence de prier le Conseiller juridique de nous donner des explications en ce qui concerne le droit, pour chaque délégation au Conseil, d'inscrire un point à l'ordre du jour de la Conférence générale. Je crois qu'il est du droit de toute délégation d'inscrire un point à l'ordre du jour de la Conférence. Mais quand l8 pays membres demandent cette inclusion, n'en ont-ils pas le droit? Monsieur le Président, quand vous donnerez la parole au Conseiller juridique, il lui faudra nous expliquer certains de ces articles. Il a d'ailleurs répondu pleinement à nos aspirations et il a éclairé notre lanterne.
Nous sommes en train de discuter du transfert du bureau régional de la FAO pour le Proche-Orient dans lequel participent 24 pays de la Région. Permettez-moi de vous rappeler que ce sont les pays membres qui ont la possibilité d'évaluer l'activité du bureau et de juger de l'utilité de son siège et de l'efficacité de ses activités. La grande majorité des pays membres du Proche-Orient pense que dnns l'intérêt général de la FAO, dans l'intérêt du développement agricole dans les pays de la région, il est nécessaire, pour éviter que les activités du bureau soient gelées comme elles l'ont été dernièrement - et la situation ne fait que s'aggraver étant donné le cadre politique - donc la grande majorité demande à la FAO le transfert du bureau régional. Elle ne le demande pas au Conseil, elle le demande à la Conférence. Donc, cette grande majorité demande au Conseil d'inscrire ce point à l'ordre du jour de la Conférence générale qui l'appuiera ou le repoussera. Tout ce que nous demandons c'est l'inclusion de ce point à l'ordre du jour et c'est notre droit le plus absolu.
Je ne peux que rappeler ici á la Présidence et aux honorables délégués qu'il y a un précédent dans l'histoire même de notre Organisation. Je rappelle que certains de nos amis d'Amérique latine, dans une période déterminée, pour des raisons que je ne veux pas citer ici, ont voulu le transfert du bureau régional de l'Amérique latine. Le Conseil leur a laissé le choix. Les pays de la région ont discuté de la question. Si, après mûre réflexion, ils ont décidé de ne pas transférer le bureau, ceci les concerne, et ne concerne pas le reste des pays membres.
Je suis persuadé que les honorables délégués, membres du Conseil, qui appartiennent aux autres régions, comprennent notre attitude, et qu'ils sont d'accord avec nous pour l'inclusion de ce point de'l'ordre du jour de la Conférence. De toute façon, c'est aux pays de la région, donc aux pays du Proche-Orient, de décider de cette question.
Aussi, je prie les honorables délégués du Conseil d'accepter la proposition du délégué de l'Arabie Saoudite, á savoir l'inclusion de ce point à l'ordre du jour de la Conférence générale, qui est la seule instance en mesure de décider de cette question. Tout ce que le Conseil peut faire en ce moment c'est de recommander à la Conférence générale d'étudier la question pour décision.
J.A. BAKER (United States of America): Mr. Chairman, thank you for giving me the floor, and I will be very brief because it is, I think, a painful and awkward issue for members of the Council who are not from the region concerned. It is really an issue, I think, which most of us would be more comfortable discussing if there was a unanimity of view in the region concerned. There may be a strong majority in that region with a certain viewpoint, but without unanimity of view in that region, it seems to us that this Council lacking full details would have difficulty assenting to an agenda item for the Conference which suggests transfer of a regional office from a member country which has given that office good support in accordance with a formal agreement with the FAO approved by the Conference.
Following this discussion this morning and this afternoon, it seems we have made a little progress; we have got from what appeared to be a confrontation to some possibility of compromise. Right now, instead of a proposal to close debate or to take no action, we have before us a proposal which would have the Council putting an item related to the Regional Office for the Near East on the Agenda of the Conference but would do so in what appears to my delegation to be a neutral manner.
The amendment offered us, as I understand it, would permit us to support having an item on the Agenda on the general subject of the Regional office. If this amendment carried, then the Agenda item is added and at the Conference all sides have ample opportunity to present their views, and what is I think perhaps more important for many of us is that we will have the benefit of a better background of information and viewpoints about the different possibilities for that office on which to form a judgement. At the present time, I do not think my delegation has that information and I do not think many of us do. Thus, through this amended proposal the Conference, which is a body actually more comparable to the World Health Assembly mentioned here earlier than is this body and which is a body more authoritative with respect to agreements with Member Governments, would become the place where decisions, discussion regarding this item would take place.
In my view, that course of action, yielding to the wish of the majority of the States of the Region to have this item on the agenda but doing so in a manner which is completely neutral as to the outcome of that future discussion seems to offer, the best exit from the present situation, which I think has possibly negative consequences for the Council.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for letting me address this item, and I appreciate your very capable and calm and procedurally accurate pursuit of this matter.
CHIN FENG-CHU (China) (interpretation from Chinese): The Chinese delegation has listened very carefully to the interventions of all delegates who have taken the floor so far. As is known to all, China enjoys good relations with all Arab countries. The Chinese Government and the Chinese people have always supported fully the just struggle of the'Palestine and Arab peoples. It is our sincere hope that the Arab countries and peoples unite and exert efforts necessary to achieve a proper solution of the Middle East problem and seek a solution that is in the interest of the Arab people.
The Chinese delegation therefore is not going to take any position on the question under discussion.
CHAIRMAN: If there are no more speakers before we come to vote, because this has been called for, I would like to ask the Legal Counsel to respond to two points, one made by Lebanon first, then the one made by Egypt, on the procedure for voting, because if we have the Lebanese explanation for the Lebanon point, it will follow we are going to vote and that is related to what Egypt has put forward, and we wish for the explanations from you before we vote.
LEGAL COUNSEL: In my already long introductory statement, I did not want to go into the details of the statement made this morning by the distinguished delegate of Egypt who, as you knou, quoted a number of provisions of the General Rules of the Organization and of the Constitution. The provisions which he quoted were correctly quoted. In particular, he pointed to the three possibilities that exist for including an additional item in the Agenda of the Conference, the one which is under discussion now, namely, a proposal by the Council for inclusion in the Agenda, secondly, the one dealt with in paragraph 5 of Rule II concerning inclusion in the Provisional Agenda at the request of one Member State, notified to the Director-General at least thirty days before the opening of the Conference session, and thirdly, inclusion at the request made by one or more States at the opening of the Session of the Conference during the debate which requires qualified majority vote by the Conference.
These three possibilities exist. As regards the second one, perhaps I might say that the Conference is sovereign in adopting its agenda; therefore the proposal made under the second alternative, namely that of a notification by one member sent at least thirty days before the opening of the Conference, does not mean that the Conference is obliged to include the item in the agenda. The Conference is sovereign, as I said.
I do not think I would like to take a position on the other points because they do not seem to be strictly relevant, and I do not want to take the Counoil's valuable time. However, as regards the seoond point you raised, as I stated earlier, Mr. Chairman -and this remains valid - when a proposal is made at the Conference or at the Council by a delegation, another delegation may move an amendment. The amendment, as the distinguished delegate of Egypt rightly pointed out, has to be voted first.
I have had a close look in the meantime at the amendment put forward by the distinguished delegate of Egypt, and my impression is that it transforms the original proposal in a rather radical way. Instead of a transfer to another location, what is suggested in the amendment is a study on the activities. All that remains of the original proposal are the words "of the Near East Regional Office". I believe that it could be argued with some good reason that this is not really in the nature of an amendment but rather in the nature of a new proposal. This is my view, and it is up to you, Mr. Chairman, and to the Council, to take a final decision on the nature of the proposal or the proposed amendment made by the distinguished delegate of Egypt.
Perhaps I Might add one sentence, without wishing to be understood as in anyway interfering in the substantive aspect. of the debate. Several delegates who spoke have requested that a study be prepared for the next Conference in order to enable the Conference to take a position» as the distinguished delegate of Egypt said, "en connaissance de oause " on the matter which is to be discussed by the Conference. It might be argued that some sort of study, as requested by the delegate of Egypt, would have to be made in any event, even if the proposal made by the delegate of Saudi Arabia were to be accepted.
N. SAMIR AHMED (Egypt): I do not intend to take up much of your tine, Mr. Chairman, or the time of the Council, you have already been too kind.
I humbly beg to differ with my colleague, the Legal Counsel, when he alludes to the possibility that my amendment may be counted as of an opposition nature to the motion. I argue along different lines: I say my amendment does not run counter to the first motion, it just amends it, as is provided for by Rule XII, paragraph 26, which says an amendment can be done by an addition or a deletion of the motion.
What I have done is delete somewhere and add somewhere else. I have not gone against the first motion at all. My amendment, as a matter of fact, can still provide for the first motion to take effect and does not run counter to it at all. If my amendment is carried, it will still be possible for the movers of the first motion to argue their case in the Conference once it is on the Conference agenda. It does not run counter to it, it does not preclude it, it even allows for it. It just satisfies the original movers and satisfies me in equity and justice.
When I moved it, I was aware of the fact of it being in the nature of a compromise amendment and not one to counter or preclude the first motion, it adds to it to make it more acceptable, both to their delegation and to mine. They can still argue it in the Conference. That is why I need it in a spirit of conciliation and compromise, and I hope this will be accepted by delegates.
I have also moved that when it comes it will be done by a secret ballot. The nature of this discussion has been of a very volatile, heartwarming and political nature and I wanted to avoid offending the Council's sensibilities and giving reasons for embarrassment, and I have moved also for the sake of conciliation of all people concerned that this should be done amicably and as secretly as possible.
CHAIRMAN: Actually the temperature has come down a lot. Can you read out to Council the whole of the amended version, please?
M. SAMIR AHMED (Egypt): I will be honoured and happy to oblige. The original motion should have read something along these lines, because no one of us has it in writing.
CHAIRMAN: I asked you just to read the amended version.
M. SAMIR AHMED (Egypt): "Study the activities of the Regional Office for the Hear East''. That is all.
CHAIRMAN: Is that the whole proposal you are putting as amended? Or can you read everything?
M. SAMIR AHMED (Egypt): I will be very happy to present two amendments, as a matter of fact, if it makes it easier for the other party. One will be "Study the activities of the Regional Office for the Near East'', and the other will be by adding a few more words: "Study the activities of the Regional Office for the Near East with a view to enhancing its efficiency".
CHAIHMAH: Thank you, delegate of Egypt, but you have to decide whioh one you want.
M. SAMIR AHMED (Egypt): I think it la possible for me to move two amentments, it is possible in practice, there is nothing againat one delegation moving two amendmente. I am doing this in a spirit of conciliation, and I leave it to the Council. I wanted to avoid this kind of practice and I do not enjoy myself . Many among the delegates here know this kind of anendment was being discussed yesterday among the delegatea concerned. It was proposed as a compromise solution to avoid this kind of clash, and I hope the decision can be approved and amended by the Council. Either one will suit me fine. I move them both, one after the other, so that they both can be voted upon as amendments to the original motion, so the Council can pick and choose.
CHAIRMAN: It is always good to have two strings to your bow, but in case one breaks do you not think it would help me very much if I could put to the Council one clear-out proposal of Saudi Arabia and one amendment by Egypt, rather than two amendments by the same person?
M. SANIR AHMED (Egypt): It would be more politio to stick to the longer version: "Study the activities of the Regional Office for the Hear East with a view to enhancing its activities". In this way it should be possible for someone to propose to drop the ending and leave it as it was at first. If someone does not like the end, then they can move to block it altogether.
CHAIRMAN: We will leave that for the other people, but we have now got the order. Thank you delegate for Egypt.
A.Y. BUKHARI (Saudi Arabia) (interpretation from Arabic): Indeed, we wonder where we stand now. We have a majority which requested the opening of the debate, and we thank them with all sincerity and wholeheartedly. This indeed reflects their dedication to the spirit of democracy that prevails in all international organizations.
As I have said, we opened the debate in order to discuss the proposal submitted in our name in our capacity as the Middle East group, and which I tabled in my capacity as chairman of that group. We ask that this item be added to the agenda. The majority of those who have spoken after we reopened the debate supported our point of view and I wonder what the final decision will be.
With respect to the proposal tabled by His Excellency the Ambassador of Egypt, I would say that you can fully realize, Mr. Chairman, that this excludes all that had been tabled in the name of the Near East Group, regardless of whether we add or delete one word here or there. If we were to consider this with a spirit of wisdom and reflection, we would find that the tabled proposal recommends a consideration of activities of the Regional Office. What will the Head of the Organization do here? And we all know that he is working until very late hours. This is a clear prejudice to all the efforts being exerted by the Director-General in trying, day by day, to be closely aware of the activities of every regional office. But if I speak in terms of submitting a survey or a study on the activities of the Regional Office for the Near East, then I can say that the Director-General can here and now present such a report. He is totally efficient; we are proud of him and we shall never prejudice his power and possibilities.
As for the other final addition, to enhance the efficiency of the Regional Office, it is the Council that can enhance this efficiency. There are now eighteen countries dealing with this and now they have decided not to cooperate any more with the Regional Office. Hence, how can we request the Conference to enhance the efficiency of that Regional Office? How could its efficiency be enhanced? Therefore I beg that the situation be looked upon in a manner that will reflect the opinion of the majority, the point of view of our Near East Group and the point of view of friendly nations on the subject.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, perhaps you would agree that we suspend our meeting for about ten minutes so that we may at least consider the proposals which are said to have been submitted to us.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Saudi Arabia, for the proposal that we suspend the meeting for some time for consultations. This is welcome; I think it is a very good trend. But if you agree, what I would prefer to do is to suspend this until tomorrow morning. Then we will take the two remaining items.
A.Y. BUKHARI (Saudi Arabia) (interpretation from Arabic): I am not going to oppose your decision, Mr. Chairman, but I must say that if we are going to suspend it until tomorrow morning, then I would ask, on behalf of democracy and justice, that the Members present here who have abstained during the vote - it may be that their abstention was due to certain factors, that they have not, for example, had specific instructions from their governments, etc. - I hope in the meantime they may be able to contact their governments so that they can have their governments1 instructions on the subject, so that if we are once again to vote - if a vote is inevitable - then they will be able to vote yes or no.
CHAIRMAN: Of course, the point of delaying until tomorrow morning is to give an opportunity not only for personal contacts but also for those who may wish to contact their home countries to do so; and I think that is a very good thing.
Now then, we shall suspend debate upon this until tomorrow morning but we will go on first, to take item 16.2 which is Appointment of Member Nations to the FAO Staff Pension Committee. The relevant document is CL 75/19 and there is a very small summary on the front of the document which I need not read to you.
W.A.F. GRABISCH (República Federal de Alemania): El documento como tal ya explica todos los detalles por los cuales nosotros tenemos este punto en nuestra Agenda.
La delegación de la República Federal de Alemania se complace en proponer como Nuevos Miembros del Comité de Pensiones del Personal de la FAO a la distinguida señora Doña Mayra Ivankowich de Arosemena, Representante Permamente Alterno ante la FAO y el señor R.W. Harrold, Representante Alterno de Canadá ante nuestra Organización.
Los dos son bien conocidos entre nuestros Foros, por su trabajo eficiente y por su dedicación. Abrigamos la esperanza de que una vez nombrados cumplirán el mandato que el Consejo les otorgue.
C. SENNING (Sweden): I know that the two candidates who have been nominated are well qualified and will fulfill their functions in an excellent manner. It is therefore a pleasure for my delegation to second their nomination.
CHAIRMAN: Proposals have been made by the Federal Republic of Germany and seconded by Sweden for the appointment of two Members to the Committee. If there are no comments, then I take it that the proposal has been accepted and the two candidates have been appointed by Council.
CHAIRMAN: As most members of the Council may remember, this item is always dealt with in a private meeting of Heads of Delegations. I would, therefore, like to invite all other members of delegations as well as the Observers to leave the room. At the same time, this means that this afternoon's session of the Council is adjourned.
The meeting rose at 16.40 hours
La seance est levée à 16 h. 40
Se levanta la sesión a las 16.40 horas