• Short Summary

    Madame Joanne Martin Cisse, of Guinea, is the first woman to be President of the United Nations' Security Council.

  • Description

    Madame Joanne Martin Cisse, of Guinea, is the first woman to be President of the United Nations' Security Council. She to??? over her month-long post on Wednesday (15 November).

    Her first day was a busy and important one. It was the day that 37 African nations had called for a debate on the situation in Portuguese-controlled African territories -- which include Portuguese Guinea, her country's closest neighbour.

    Three representatives of organisations aimed at achieving independence for these Portuguese colonies were allowed to address the session.

    Madame Cisse received a letter from Portugal against the speakers being allowed on the grounds that there was no dispute between Portugal and any of the signatories to the motion. But the Security Council agreed to her the freedom organisations' representatives. They were Marcelino Dos Santos, Vice-President of the Frente de Libertacao de Mocambique (FRELIMO); Gil Fernandes of the Partido Africano de Independenca da Guinea et Caboverde; and Manuel Jorge, of the Movimento Popular de Libertacao de Angola.

    SYNOPSIS: History was made at the United Nations on Wednesday.

    The Security Council convened for the first time with a woman President. She is Madame Jeanne Martin Cisse, from Guinea.

    Madame Cisse will be in charge of the Security Council's proceedings for a month. Her original appointment as Guinea's delegate to the United Nations meant splitting her family. Her nine-year-old daughter is in New York, but her five other children have stayed in Guinea with her husband.

    Madame Cisse's first day in her new job was a tough one. Once the formalities of opening the meeting were over, she had to control a debate on the African territories administered by Portugal. Thirty-seven African states had demanded the session, though Portugal objected on the grounds that these nations had no direct dispute with Portugal so it was not a Security Council matter.

    Madame Cisse allowed the debate to be held, and the Security Council agreed to hear speeches from three representatives of organisations dedicated to ending Portugal's colonial administration of her African territories. Madame Cisse is the second woman to reach the higher echelons of the United Nations. In September, Mrs. Helvi Sipila, of Finland, became the first female assistant Secretary-General.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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