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And next week, Thursday and Friday, she is convening an informal thematic debate on the topic “Civilizations and the Challenge for Peace:  Obstacles and Opportunities.”

As I mentioned before, this will consist of four panel discussions on four themes and there will be a concert on Thursday and a side event on Friday at lunchtime on the arts as a means to bridge gaps between different cultures.

**Questions and Answers

Question:  On this report on the Security Council reforms, is the President of the General Assembly concerned that rivalry is the main problem, that the Security Council reforms are somehow…

Spokesperson:  You mean rivalry?

Question:  Yes, rivalry.

Spokesperson:  Well, it’s something that the Member States will have to work out among themselves.  Of course, it’s a very contentious, very difficult question, so they all have to come to some agreement.  There are differences on all kinds of aspects of the reform of the Security Council.

Question:  Did she stress any of her personal concerns about the report that’s been digested so far?

Spokesperson:  Well, this afternoon is the first opportunity that the Member States will have to express their opinions about the report and then we’ll see where things are from there.

Question:  Is the ACABQ [Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions] willing to pay for the audit much beyond 90 days?

Spokesperson:  I’ll have to find out.  I don’t know.  I’ll have to find out, Benny.

Question:  There’s some controversy about two GA-related appointments.  One would be Zimbabwe now slated to head the CSD [Commission on Sustainable Development] and Belarus’ application or running to be on the Human Rights Council in Geneva.  So, I’m wondering if the President of the General Assembly has a comment, if not on these particular countries’ bids, then on the fact that in the elections there’s no competition; there’s just regional groups who put forward a name and they get on it.  This was the idea behind the Human Rights Council and the CSD.  Does she have any comment on whether these are working out, particularly the Human Rights Council, in the way in which they were hoped as a GA reform?

Spokesperson:  On the Human Rights Council elections, the results are not automatic.  Not every country that just puts its name for candidacy will be elected.  They have to get an absolute majority.  It’s an absolute majority, not just a simple majority of those present and voting.  That was what was agreed upon during a protracted negotiation process last year.  So having your candidacy on the slate doesn’t automatically mean that you’re going to be elected.

Question:  But I think it was reported that in this round of elections, that in all of the seats there was only one person running for it.

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