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23 October 2008 - Consideration of effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives (item 77)

63th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sixth Committee

Speech delivered by the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, and the EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia, align themselves with this declaration.

Mr. Chairman,

The norms of international law, as codified in the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations of 1961 and 1963, lay down the legal basis for diplomatic and consular relations between States. The Conventions regulate the privileges and immunities of diplomatic and consular representatives, as well as the obligations of receiving states. The European Union notes with satisfaction the increasing number of ratifications to the conventions and their protocols and urges Members States to implement them fully and to honour their obligations.

We need to keep in mind that privileges and immunities under those conventions are not to benefit individuals but to protect the sending state and to ensure the efficient performance and functions of diplomatic and consular missions as representatives of states. Diplomatic and consular personnel, for its part, are of course under obligation to respect the laws of receiving state.

The responsibility of a receiving state to provide protection to the diplomatic and consular missions functioning in its territory is at the heart of the international law relating to diplomatic relations. The physical safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives which is a prerequisite for their smooth functioning, is in our common interest and must be secured.

Mr. Chairman,

The European Union is deeply concerned about the continued attacks against diplomatic and consular missions and their personnel, as well as other incidents of violation of the Vienna Conventions around the world, as stated in the Secretary-General’s report (A/63/121). The EU condemns in particular in the strongest terms attacks that are deliberately directed against diplomatic and consular missions as they are unacceptable and totally without justification.

The EU strongly urges Member States to honour their obligations under international law to provide protection to foreign missions, and do their utmost to prevent such attacks from taking place on their territory. Where attacks have occurred, they have to be fully investigated and prosecuted. The Member States are also encouraged to engage in a dialogue with the diplomatic missions in their territory with a view to finding the most effective ways in ensuring the full protection of diplomatic premises and representatives.

Breaches by a State of its obligations under the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations clearly engage its international responsibility, which entails an obligation on its part to make reparation and, in accordance with the principles of diplomatic law and the facts of particular cases, may also entail an obligation to take other remedial action.

Finally, the European Union encourages the Member States to comply with the reporting procedures established in the resolution under the agenda item. This is particularly important with a view to preventing future attacks against diplomatic and consular missions and representatives.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU