G-77 welcomes U.K. decision
to rejoin UNESCO

PARIS, 15 May 1997 (G-77) -- The chairman of the Paris Chapter of the Group of 77, Ambassador Pablo Gabriel Obregon of Colombia, said Britain's decision to rejoin UNESCO was a "very good precedent which hopefully will be followed by others" -- a reference to the United States and Singapore, two other countries that walked out of the organisation years ago.

Gabriel Obregon, who is also Colombia's Permanent Representative to UNESCO, said the move by the new Labour Party government in Britain was a ''show of confidence in the reforms that have been carried out by UNESCO , and will continue to be carried out,'' he said.

He added that Britain's decision to return to UNESCO would involve an ''important amount of money'' for G-77 and ''the hope is, that this will be used for projects in developing countries.''

In a press communique issued by the Office of the Chairman of the Group of 77 in New York and released in all G-77 Chapters, the Group of 77 welcomes with great satisfaction the recent announcement by the Government of the United Kingdom to rejoin the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) after a twelve-year absence. The return of the United Kingdom to UNESCO, says the communique, will strengthen the principle of universality on which the United Nations system is founded and will enhance multilateral cooperation, which is a prerequisite for peace, thus reaffirming the exceptional contribution of UNESCO to international understanding, to the promotion of peace and to the educational, scientific and cultural progress of humankind.

The 132 developing countries of the Group of 77 take heart in this development and therefore are hopeful that the Government of the United Kingdom will also revisit its decision to withdraw from the Vienna-based United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in keeping with the principle of universality of the United Nations and the United Kingdom’s role in international development cooperation, the communique concluded.