United Nations Current Affairs - 2019
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Palestine has taken over the chairmanship of G77 from Egypt. Palestine will be formally elected chair at the annual G77 ministerial meeting, scheduled to take place in mid-September.
The chairmanship of the G77 is based on the system of geographical rotation. 2019 was Asia’s turn and the Asian group had unanimously endorsed Palestine. Egypt was representing the African Group of countries.
Palestine’s chairmanship of G77 which is the biggest UN block assumes great significance at a time it is being increasingly blacklisted by the Trump administration of US. Even though Palestine is not the member-state of UN, Palestine has been recognised by 136 UN members and has the status of non-member observer state similar to Holy city of Vatican.
G77 is a coalition of 134 developing nations (including China) at the United Nations. Traditionally G77 speaks with a single voice before the 193-member General Assembly and also at all UN committee meetings and at international conferences.
G77 was formed on 15 June 1964 by the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries” issued at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The group was credited with a common stance against apartheid and for supporting global disarmament.
G77 and China
The G77 grouping considers China as the member state. China is providing consistent political support to the G77 and even makes financial contributions. But it doesn’t consider itself as the member of the group. Hence official statements of the G77 are delivered in the name of the Group of 77 and China.
The Parliament of Macedonia has passed the resolution to amend the constitution of the country to rename it as the Republic of Northern Macedonia. The opposition parties had boycotted the vote and the proposal narrowly got the two-thirds majority vote required for the constitutional amendment.
The renaming is in line with a landmark agreement with Greece to end a decades-long dispute.
Dispute between Macedonia and Greece
The use of the name “Macedonia” was disputed between the European countries of Greece and the Republic of Macedonia, formerly a state within Yugoslavia. After the declaration of independence of Macedonia from erstwhile Yugoslavia, the country named it as the Republic of Macedonia.
The dispute was mainly due to the ambiguity in nomenclature between the Republic of Macedonia, the adjacent Greek region of Macedonia and the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia. Greece opposed the use of the name “Macedonia” by the Republic of Macedonia without a geographical qualifier such as “Northern Macedonia.
Greece accused the Republic of Macedonia of appropriating symbols and figures that are historically considered part of Greek culture such as the Vergina Sun and Alexander the Great, and of promoting the irredentist concept of a United Macedonia, which involves territorial claims on Greece, Bulgaria, Albania and Serbia.
Due to the conflict over the name, Greece vetoed Macedonia’s attempt to join Nato in 2008 and even blocked its EU membership ambitions. The opposition of Greece was so fierce that the United Nations was forced to refer Macedonia as “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.
Agreement with Greece
After a lot of negotiations, an agreement was reached between Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev. The agreement is famously referred to as the Prespa Agreement.
As per the agreement the Republic of Macedonia would be renamed as the Republic of North Macedonia. The language of the country would be referred to as Macedonian and its people known as Macedonians (citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia).
Tags: Alexander the Great • EU • Greece • Macedonia • NATO • Parliament of Macedonia • Prespa Agreement • Republic of Macedonia • Republic of Northern Macedonia • the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia • United Nations • Yugoslavia