HABITAT II
Joaquin Navarro-Valls
Holy See Press Office Director

Vatican City, Jun 13, 1996 (VIS)—The director of the Holy See Press Office and member of the Holy See delegation to the UN Conference on Human Settlements, Habitat II in Istanbul, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, gave the following statement to journalists yesterday afternoon:

"At the start of this conference, there were two references in the texts to 'reproductive and sexual health'. In the last four days, the United States delegation has introduced into a number of places of the document four new references to this concept.

"All the delegations recognize that at the Cairo conference (ICPD), the concepts of 'reproductive health' and 'sexual health' were introduced with a very precise language into a very precise context which, notwithstanding, had reservations from many countries.

"It is evident that the 200% increase of these concepts in this conference on the part of the United States, without the due (expected) text, and in a non-nuanced manner, is destined to create difficulties for many countries present in Istanbul.

"In the two-year long process of preparation for this conference, a certain agreement was reached which now, with the sudden change by the American delegation, creates difficulties for many delegations. Concretely, the group of G-77 has found difficulties in accepting the language proposed by the US. And this new US language was not requested by the European Union.

"The Holy See is confident that the conference will come to an agreement. Certainly we would not allow something which is not central to, and certainly is peripheral to this conference, to block the process of negotiations. Certainly, this is going to take some time."


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