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United Nations Day

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23 October 1978


Tomorrow, 24 October, m^rks the thirty-third ... .

anniversary of the entry into force in San Francisco ,, "

of the Charter of the UnitedjNations» Tomorrow also : . marks the beginning of Disarmament Week, as declared in the final document of theiUN General Assembly Spedial Session on Disarmament, which took place in ' New York earlier this year, "

* * * >■·â– â– »â– 

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Andrew Peacock, today re-affirmed the Government's commitment to the United Nations and its belief in the value of the world body,

Mr Peacock said that the past year had been remarkably " active for the United Nations, with three Special Sessions of ' the General Assembly - on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), on Namibia and on Disarmament. In addition there had been a full calendar of conferences and the on-going activities of the specialised agencies.

As well as serving as a forum for multilateral '

negotiation and discussion, the activities of the United ' Nations - particularly in the humanitarian and technical fields - had an impact on the daily lives of people throughout the world. ' It was important to strengthen the United Nations,-1 ability to provide the framework and the procedures, so necessary in an

increasingly interdependent world to enable the nations of the world more readily to harmonise their interests.

"At a time when the structure and substance of inters ' national relations is changing rapidly, the UN remains an indispensable forum," Mr Peacock said. ! " ** '

The Minister noted that the disarmament agenda of .

the united Nations this year had been a heavy one. The high ■

point had been the Special Session of the United Nations v !

General Assembly on Disarmament, held in New York from 23 May ' to 1 July. It was the largest, most representative international meeting on arms control and disarmament to be held and had reached important conclusions for the future course of international

efforts in this field.

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Mr Peacock said Australia had played a positive and constructive role at the Special Session and had emphasised in particular the need for substantial progress in the area of nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear arms control. " '

He would be presenting to Parliament shortly the report of the Australian delegation to the Special. Session on Disarmament and would make a statement at that time»

Mr Peacock said that, from 4 to 10 October, he had ... led the Australian delegation to the current session of the ‘ UN General Assembly. He had held bilateral, talks with other Foreign Ministers and had addressed the Assembly on 6 October„

In his statement, he had covered a wide range of issues which * are currently under UN consideration, including disarmament, '' peacekeeping, refugees, southern Africa, the Middle East, Cyprus, human rights, and the North/South dialogue. He had

also been able in his statement to welcome the admission of the Solomons as the 150th member of the UN.

Mr Peacock said that his visit had again illustrated to him the practical relevance of the United Nations. He pointed out that as well as the great range of matters considered on the formal agenda of the General Assembly, the Assembly provided an unequalled meeting place for Foreign Ministers of many governments. He had, for instance, had important discussions

on a range of matters designed to further Australia's relations " with the ASEAN countries. '

His discussions in New York had also enabled him to * * launch a successful initiative for important new international ' consultations on the problem of Indo-Chinese refugees. This initiative had been endorsed by the UNHCR Executive Committee at its meeting in Geneva, which had recommended that the consultations take place before the end of the year. ‘