Remarks in the Sixth Committee on Agenda Item 167: Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country

Elizabeth Grosso
New York, New York
November 4, 2021


Thank you, Chair.

On behalf of the United States government, we at the US Mission, and in particular my colleagues in the Host Country Section, strive to do everything we can to fulfill the obligations of the United States under the Headquarters Agreement and to be welcoming and supportive hosts to all missions in New York.

We thank the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, the Governor’s Office, and all the public servants in New York who have worked to keep the UN community safe and healthy this year, as the Covid-19 pandemic has continued to pose unexpected challenges. The US Mission’s Host Country Section has worked overtime to provide assistance to many permanent mission members, and to keep the UN community informed about rapidly changing policies and guidance.  We are pleased that meetings of important bodies of the UN have resumed in person and that we were able to hold High Level Week in person, even with a more limited presence.

Our leadership has also been deeply engaged throughout this year with the members of the Host Country Committee, representatives of interested states, and with the UN’s Office of Legal Affairs to continue to address concerns that some of you have raised. We are proud of the significant progress that has been made in this regard. We took note of the concerns raised by a number of delegations about the more restrictive travel controls applied to one mission, and reversed this policy, easing the applicable restrictions. We have also further streamlined our procedures and redoubled our efforts to issue visas to UN delegates and their families, and the impact of this investment is evident: For this fall’s General Assembly, the vast majority of visas were timely issued and there is no serious concern that any delegation has lacked sufficient representation.

I will not go through the U.S. views on all the specific complaints raised during this debate or in the Host Country Committee. However, the report of the Host Country Committee contains our position on the issues raised during its meetings. Senior officials in our government also continue to be in active dialogue with the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, including through several in-person meetings this year, both in Washington and New York. This engagement remains constructive and has led to tangible results. Given this, and the recent progress made on the most central issues, we find calls for more formal dispute resolution to be inappropriate and unjustified.

The United States is pleased that the Host Country Committee has once again adopted by consensus the recommendations and conclusions that appear at the end of its report. This was accomplished through intensive negotiations among the Members of the Committee.  We hope that the Sixth Committee will continue to follow its prior practice, which is to fold the recommendations of the Host Country Committee into its own resolution, and to adopt that resolution by consensus.

Chair, we would like to particularly thank the Legal Counsel, Under Secretary General for Legal Affairs, Miguel de Serpa Soares, the Deputy Legal Counsel, Assistant Secretary General for Legal Affairs Stephen Mathias, and the Secretary of the Committee, Surya Sinha, for their valuable support of the Host Country Committee.  We would also like to thank the Chair of the Committee, Ambassador Andreas Hadjichrysanthou of Cyprus, Deputy Permanent Representative Polly Ioannou, and the coordinator of this Sixth Committee agenda item, Haris Chrysostomou, for their continued work leading the Committee throughout the year and facilitating the completion of the Committee report.

The United States is honored to have the privilege of hosting the United Nations in this great city of New York.  We do not take our responsibilities lightly.  We know that in this capacity, as Host Country to this essential international organization, we have a special responsibility to each and every person in this room, to each and every delegate in the Halls of the United Nations, and to all of the international civil servants at the United Nations.

Thank you, Chair.