The General Assembly this morning called on all States to cooperate in promoting the objectives of the Zone of Peace and Cooperation in the South Atlantic, and to refrain from actions which might create or aggravate tensions or potential conflicts in the region. It requested the relevant organizations, organs and bodies of the United Nations system to render all appropriate assistance which States of the zone might seek in their joint efforts to implement the declaration of the zone.
A resolution with those provisions was adopted by a vote of 124 in favour to none against, with and one abstention (United States). (For details of voting, see Annex.)
The resolution was introduced by Brazil. In the debate on the item, the Assembly heard from representatives of Nigeria, Cameroon, Uruguay, Benin, South Africa, Panama and Gambia.
Also this morning, the Assembly took up the subject of the return or restitution of cultural property to the countries of origin. The representative of Iraq said the sanctions imposed against his country and foreign intervention into its affairs had led to large-scale expropriation of Iraqi artifacts. He called on the international community to stop such acts and to ensure the restitution of cultural property to the countries of origin.
Khmer art objects had been subject to unprecedented pillaging and vandalism, and the danger of their destruction was growing day by day, according to the representative of Cambodia. He called on the international community to declare illegal the importation, exportation or transfer of Khmer cultural goods; stop national museums and related cultural institutions from acquiring Cambodian antiquities; and institute all the necessary measures to help the Cambodian Government recover illegally exported objects from dealers.
The representative of Cyprus said the cultural property in the part of Cyprus occupied by Turkey continued to be under serious threat. As a matter of official policy, it was neglected, looted and deliberately destroyed.
The representative of Turkey said his country had become a key target for looters and traffickers in stolen art and antiques. Most recently, its efforts to recover its stolen property had been vindicated by the successful resolution of its six-year law suit against the Metropolitan Museum of Art to recover the fabled “Lydian Hoard” antiquities.
A draft resolution calling for the restitution of cultural treasures was introduced by Zaire, and at its request, action on the draft was postponed to a later date. Also speaking on this item were representatives of Lebanon, Bolivia and Belarus.
The General Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. today to consider the questions of strengthening the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations and of the participation of volunteers (“White Helmets”) in activities of the United Nations.
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