1 November 2000


Press Release
GA/9805



GENERAL ASSEMBLY, ON RECOMMENDATION OF SECURITY COUNCIL, ADMITS FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA TO UNITED NATIONS MEMBERSHIP

20001101

Decision Taken by Acclamation; Delegates Say Action Gives Hope for Solution to Remaining Problems in Balkans Region

The General Assembly, acting on a recommendation of the Security Council, this afternoon adopted by acclamation a resolution admitting the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to membership of the United Nations.

The admission of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia into the family of nations was of great significance, as it strengthened the universality of the United Nations, enhancing its legitimacy and effectiveness, said the Assembly’s President, Harri Holkeri (Finland).

He noted that less than a month ago, the world had congratulated newly elected President Kostunica. The change, he said, gave the realistic hope for solution of the remaining problems in the region of South-East Europe. He stressed that cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was of paramount importance for all the countries concerned, including the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

The representative of France, introducing the draft resolution, said that in seeking the admission to the United Nations, President Kostunica had confirmed his resolve to break with the dead-end policy in which the Milosevic regime had enmeshed itself. With legitimate pride, the Yugoslav people were going to take their rightful place in the family of nations.

The representative of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia said his country was willing and ready to work with its neighbours and with the entire international community. To that end, it would be a “trustful neighbour” and a conscientious member of the international community, and would invest its best efforts to promote peace and stability in the region, as well as worldwide.

Against tremendous odds, he said the people of Yugoslavia had exercised their right to vote and overwhelmingly rejected authoritarianism and a repressive regime. The people had demonstrated courage and perseverance in defending their vote and had stood up to threats of violence and terror. Yugoslavia would always proceed from the principles of equality of, and respect for, all nations, big and small, as well as peace and prosperity. It would respect the noble goals and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.


General Assembly Plenary - 1a - Press Release GA/9805 48th Meeting (PM) 1 November 2000

Statements of welcome to the new Member State were made by representatives of the United States as host country, Mauritania (on behalf of the African States), Kyrgysztan (on behalf of the Asian States), Slovenia (on behalf of the Eastern European States), Brazil (on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean States), Germany (on behalf of the Western European and Other States), and South Africa (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement). Similar sentiments were also expressed by representatives of the Russian Federation, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia.

Also this afternoon, the General Assembly concluded its debate on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa.

The representative of Swaziland said the unabated illegal flow of arms was a major challenge to the United Nations system. He called on the Security Council and the international community to continue urging countries involved in such trade to stop. He paid tribute to the European Ministers who had resolutely decided not to trade in diamonds, which helped finance warring parties in areas of conflict.

The representative of Namibia said some delegations had made reference to the problem of corruption in Africa. The corrupters were generally those who had the financial and other means to corrupt Africans. Even more important, the wealth of Africa lost to corruption ended up in the financial institutions of the very nations that blamed the Africans for corruption

The representatives of South Africa, Mozambique, Libya, Ghana, Japan, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Sudan, Tunisia, Eritrea, Nigeria (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Russian Federation, and Kenya also spoke on the subject, as did the representative of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The General Assembly will meet again tomorrow, Thursday, 2 November, at 10 a.m.



General Assembly Plenary - 3 - Press Release GA/9805 48th Meeting (PM) 1 November 2000

Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this afternoon to conclude consideration of causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa, and to take up the admission of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for membership in the United Nations.

Before the Assembly was a note by the Secretary-General concerning the application of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for admission to membership in the United Nations (document A/55/528-S/2000/1042) circulating that country's application, contained in a letter dated 27 October, from the President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the Secretary-General.

(For more background information, see Press Release GA/9803 issued this morning.)

Statements

PIETER ANDRIES VERMEULEN (South Africa) said the working group had stressed the need to address the untenable burden that external debt placed on a number of African countries. While the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative had seen some progress, the fact that there were still numerous African countries having to pay more in servicing their external debt than they could afford for education, health services and housing indicated that more needed to be done. There needed to be a two-pronged approach. First, it was vital to secure the necessary resources for the full implementation of the enhanced Initiative. He appealed to the donor community to address this issue as a matter of urgency.

Second, there had to be some consideration of the ways in which to improve the debt relief, he said. In that connection, he supported the proposal of the working group and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to have an independent body make an assessment of the sustainability of African debt. The working group had emphasized the need to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the scourge of malaria. Those diseases had a very serious effect on the continent’s ability to address the challenges of sustainable development.

There was a need to strengthen the Organization of African Unity's (OAU) conflict prevention mechanism, and he supported the proposal that the General Assembly ask the Economic and Social Council to establish ad hoc advisory groups on countries emerging from conflict. That could greatly enhance the efforts towards post-conflict reconstruction and peace-building, and the prevention of a recurring conflict. Africa’s effort to develop its capacity in conflict prevention, management and resolution must also be complemented by an effective United Nations in the field of peace and security.

HIPOLITO ZOZIMO PATRICIO (Mozambique) said Africa was the region most affected by conflicts in the world, a situation that brought untold suffering to the African people and impeded the continent’s efforts to achieve durable political, economic and social stability. To reverse this situation and tackle the complex sources of conflict, political will was required, primarily by Africans and also from their various external partners. For their part, African countries were actively promoting democratic systems of government, strengthening the rule of law, protecting human rights and individual freedoms. Furthermore, he went on, they were pursuing steady economic reforms, which enabled them to create a better framework for business through structural adjustment programmes that encompassed privatization, adoption of sound investment, tight fiscal and monetary policies and appropriate macroeconomic policies. Those efforts would only bear substantive and durable results if the international community also demonstrated its commitment by providing adequate resources, equipment and technical assistance.

To maintain the momentum of Africa’s quest for durable peace and prosperity, he said the root causes of conflict, including poverty, external debt, improved access to world markets and increased official development assistance (ODA), must be adequately addressed by the international community. The scourge of poverty and underdevelopment had left Africa with two thirds of the world’s least developed countries. In addition, pandemic diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, were taking their toll on Africans.

He pointed out that Africans had welcomed good offices for durable peace from various countries and international organizations, primarily from the United Nations. In Mozambique, following many years of a war of aggression, there was a daily commitment to safeguarding lasting peace. His Government hoped to use the dividend of peace to strengthen its democracy and, at the same time, to accelerate and sustain economic growth that would allow the eradication of absolute poverty in the medium term.

What was happening in Mozambique was the general trend in the entire African continent, which demanded the application of the values and principles reaffirmed during the Millennium Summit, he said. Today’s rich debate was a reaffirmation of the international community’s political will to move together to achieve the objectives of peace, democracy and development in Africa.

ABUZED OMAR DORDA (Libya) said that from the practical point of view, the United Nations had not paid any tangible attention to the disputes and conflicts in Africa, nor to peace and development therein. The reason was that some countries were strong and powerful and they prevented others from taking any serious action to end conflicts or disputes. They hampered, impeded, or precluded the establishment of any development. The correct analysis of the causes of conflict in Africa had not been dealt with frankly or clearly in the General Assembly or the Security Council. The problems of Africa and the conflicts it was experiencing were due to both external and internal factors. The African nations were not full fledged yet. There were people in Africa still living in a tribal, primitive manner.

African development had been adversely affected by colonialism, he said. Colonialism had distorted all aspects of Africans’ lives, and the colonial Powers had designed Africa’s geography. Colonialism had also imposed political terms and conditions on Africa, for example, through applying parliamentary democracy. External forces wanted Africa to follow in their footsteps. That could be done one day, but social conditions in Africa at present did not correspond to that formula. Another reason for underdevelopment was the economic conditions imposed upon Africans. Africa was told that it needed to adapt to the “market economy”. Some Africans did not even understand this expression.

How could Africa get rid of its conflict, settle down, and achieve sustainable development? he asked. The Security Council was prevented from sending any soldier to any African locale unless the United States agreed. The Council was at the mercy of that country. If the international community wished to help Africa, debt must be cancelled. This was not a favour. The colonial Powers had built their nations from goods usurped during the colonial era. Africa must have partnership not dependence. There must be a balance between the price of manufactured goods and the price of raw materials. A programme must be elaborated in order to achieve industrialization in Africa, he added.

NANA EFFAH-APENTENG (Ghana) said his Government was pleased with the working group’s outcome, since its sessions had been open, transparent and quite extensive. In addition, it offered a good opportunity for evaluating the implementation of the recommendations of the Secretary-General, as well as the agreed conclusions of the Economic and Social Council on the subject. It was clear that there was significant work to be done regarding the recommendations, as well as the need to measure performance and assess the impact of actions taken to fulfil those recommendations. He supported the extension of the working group’s mandate because it would enable the General Assembly to ensure thematic coherence, the requisite political will, the incorporation of emerging issues and a timely resolution of the international dimensions of the African problem.

He took note of the period of focus on Africa, which had included initiatives, meetings and conferences on Africa, as well as multilateral initiatives, such as the HIPC Debt Initiative. Those efforts notwithstanding, Africa’s condition remained precarious with a falling per capita gross domestic product (GDP), an increase in the number of people below the poverty line and undernourished, as well as mixed indicators for education, literacy and health.

He said conflicts were becoming a fixture on the continent just when Africa appeared to be on the brink of a renaissance. Moreover, there had not been want of commitment or action by African countries themselves, because many had successfully pursued macroeconomic stabilization policies and liberalized economic activities in both the domestic and external sectors. What had been missing was a supportive external economic environment to ensure accelerated development in developing countries, as highlighted by the Secretary-General, the President of the World Bank and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In light of lessons learned, African countries recognized the futility of addressing debt relief separately from the question of market access, diversification and primary commodity price declines, he stated. Official development assistance was necessary for African countries to develop their management capacity and ensure responsive governance; it represented a critical input in the reform process.

CLIFFORD S. MAMBA (Swaziland) said Africa remained the continent with people living in extreme poverty and struck by severe food shortages. Poverty led to the disintegration of a society and to desperation of people, and eventually to excessive protection of one group’s interest over the other. Antagonistic competition manifested itself through violent ethnic and religious conflict. Economic and social constraints could lead to weak governance, grave human rights violations and war. It was, therefore, of paramount importance that all the international partners, the Bretton Woods institutions, the private sector and non-governmental organizations should work together with national governments in their efforts at eradicating poverty, including the cancellation of the external debt in accordance with the recommendations of the open-ended ad hoc working group.

He said the unabated illegal flow of arms was a major challenge to the United Nations system. That flow helped transform any tension areas into areas of armed confrontation. He called on the Security Council to continue urging countries involved in such trade to stop and thus enhance the effectiveness of the Council’s arms embargo. He also called upon the international community to find, in a coordinated and concerted fashion, a credible and effective solution to the flow of arms on the African continent.

He paid tribute to the European Ministers of Trade and Mining Industry who had resolutely decided not to trade in diamonds which helped finance warring parties in areas of conflict, and invited other international partners to make a meaningful and comprehensive contribution in the fight against insecurity in Africa.

HIDEAKI KOBAYASHI (Japan) said that over the years a number of wars and conflicts had been fought in Africa, undermining its efforts to pursue stability and sustainable development. Recently, however, Africa had made substantial progress in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts. In that connection, the establishment of the OAU mechanism for conflict-prevention and resolution was a significant step forward. Efforts by the OAU and subregional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), therefore, needed to be supported and consolidated in order to prevent a recurrence of conflicts and to initiate and strengthen post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction of affected countries.

The working group had revealed the obstacles to the effective implementation of the recommendations of the Secretary-General, he said. Those obstacles were the lack of political will, poor governance, too many armed conflicts, insufficient financial and human resources, the state of public health, the private sector and structure of economies, lack of access to technology and inadequate aid coordination. There were many suggested solutions in the report on ways to promote sustainable development and durable peace in Africa. Japan attached special importance to the ownership by African countries of development in Africa.

Japan was strongly committed to assisting African countries in achieving sustainable development and durable peace in Africa and the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) provided a framework for doing so. A ministerial meeting would be held on development in year 2001, which would bear in mind the possibilities of hosting TICAD III, building upon tangible results of TICAD II. Since TICAD II, Japan had announced several new assistance programmes for African countries, such as the 90 billion yen grant for projects relating to education, health, and safe water supplies. This aid would lead to the construction of school facilities for the education of an additional 2 million children throughout Africa, and help at least 15 million citizens improve their living conditions.

IBRAHIM M. KAMARA (Sierra Leone) said his country had been saddled with an unprovoked conflict for the past nine years, which had brought untold suffering and destruction to human life, property and infrastructure, and whose victims were innocent and unarmed civilians, the majority being women and children. That conflict was fuelled by external forces and borne out of greed and the desire to control the strategic mineral and natural resources of Sierra Leone by a handful of unpatriotic elements. Today, he continued, 98 per cent of the 4 million Sierra Leoneans were yearning for peace and development, which was why his Government considered this agenda item of vital importance.

The prescription of solutions should not only require understanding of an individual conflict but also the total cooperation of the international community, particularly the industrialized nations, he said. As indicated in the working group’s report, the lack of political will was also evidenced in the failure of donor countries to provide timely and sufficient resources, both financial and technical. Today, he went on, developing countries in Africa were in dire need of a variety of economic considerations, such as debt relief, the opening of markets without the imposition of strict and harsh tariffs, preferential economic treatment, and the transfer of adequate and appropriate technology, from their developed partners.

Sierra Leone requested that the General Assembly mandate the Economic and Social Council to consider creating an ad hoc advisory group on countries emerging from conflict to assess their economic needs and develop a long-term programme of support. Associated with conflict and post-conflict reconstruction was the question of refugees and internally displaced persons. He hoped the international community would step up efforts aimed at poverty alleviation, focusing on targeted groups, as well as the vulnerable categories, which included the aged and the disabled.

Peace could not remain durable in a situation of dire economic need or deprivation, nor could economic development endure in an atmosphere of war, conflict and instability, he said. In conclusion, his Government sought the cooperation of its development partners in nurturing trust, since Sierra Leone subscribed to the integral development of democracy, good governance, transparency and accountability, respect for human rights, and an unconditional peaceful coexistence with its neighbours.

MARTIN BELINGA EBOUTOUT (Cameroon) said his country had constantly associated itself with the ad hoc working group, and he congratulated all participants on the spirit of consensus and dialogue. It was only right that the Millennium Declaration had called for particular attention to be paid to the specific problems of Africa. After all, it was a matter of international peace and security. The Secretary-General, in his report, had made a number of recommendations, and it was encouraging that the Millennium Summit had endorsed the main recommendations.

He said there was a need to promote market access for developing countries’ products, for international private investment, and for tackling the grave problem of HIV/AIDS. The Secretary-General’s recommendations remained topical and were an indispensable foundation for any action within the framework of the concerns expressed in the Millennium Declaration. The working group had brought together all the actors in Africa. The different funds, programmes, agencies and Bretton Woods institutions had stated what measures had been taken to comply with the recommendations and the obstacles encountered. Political will was needed for the next steps, such as an increase in public development aid, measures for debt relief, and a ruthless battle against AIDS. Unfortunately, promises for aid were a long-time coming. The objective of O.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP) had been achieved by only four countries. The objective, however, had been reaffirmed in the Millennium Summit, and he hoped that everything possible would be done to achieve that goal.

The debt problem had not found, so far, a lasting solution either, he said. His country had been elected for the HIPC Initiative. He hoped that eligibility for the Initiative would become more flexible and called for contributions to the Initiative’s Trust Fund. The Secretary-General had proposed debt cancellation for the least advanced countries of Africa and had stressed the need to find acceptable solutions for managing the debts of other African countries. He proposed prolonging the mandate of the working group and establishing terms of reference for measuring progress achieved.

ELFATIH MOHAMED AHMED ERWA (Sudan) said that the General Assembly had taken a good decision when it had requested a working group on the implementation of the recommendations on sustainable development in Africa. It was an important achievement and necessary to monitor the progress achieved by the many initiatives taken by the United Nations. It was clear that the working group had felt frustrated in their three sessions as a result of the meagre result achieved in Africa since 1998. Their conclusion showed the obstacles standing in the way of implementation. The obstacles consisted of the lack of political will by the international community and the decrease not only in ODA but also in the core resources of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

He said the working group must continue to play its role and he, therefore, endorsed the proposal of renewing its mandate for another term. On the agenda for the substantive session next year was the question of the role of the United Nations in supporting African efforts to achieve sustainable development. The discussion on durable peace and sustainable development over the past two years had highlighted the indivisibility of those two factors. Durable peace and sustainable development were two sides of the same coin, he said.

Due to the indivisibility of development and peace, he suggested that a consultative group be set up in cooperation with the Economic and Social Council to develop and assess the economic and development needs of post-conflict countries and countries in conflict. He welcomed the invitation by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) together with nine other intergovernmental organizations to rescue the African Horn, a region of more than 70 million people, by implementing a food security strategy. The international community must play its part by providing the necessary support and solutions to the root causes of conflicts, so that the people of the Horn could enjoy peace and sustainable development.

SAID BEN MUSTAPHA (Tunisia) said that the report on the causes of conflict in Africa was of great importance. The international community should stand by the African continent and not leave it on the margins. If the international community examined the situation of the African continent, it would see that many sacrifices had been made by African countries to overcome their difficulties. No matter how great the sacrifices, it was difficult for Africans to achieve the requirements of development and peace on their own.

The international community should give multilateral support, particularly the donor nations and international financial institutions, he said. Peace and security on the African continent was one of the most important issues and was linked to economic improvement. It was certain that the prospects of Africa to become a partner in the global economy was the responsibility of the Africans themselves, but the international community needed to help Africa. The responsibility was collective and everyone should play a role.

He noted with satisfaction the progress in implementing the recommendations of the Secretary-General in several areas. However, many difficulties remained. For example, the inadequacy of resources and the lack of capability to utilize new technologies for development. Conflict-prevention remained a basic pillar of international action. The international community strategy adopted so far had not borne enough fruit and lacked the required impetus for strengthening stability after conflicts had ended. The Security Council remained the main body for maintaining peace and security. The African continent was anxiously awaiting the stability that would allow it to regain its position within the world.

HAILE MENKERIOS (Eritrea) said Africa’s problems had both external and internal causes. The continent had inherited a myriad of ills from the colonial past. Reversing those ills, which had taken generations to effect, was not going to be done in a short time. He emphasized, however, that Africa’s present problems were caused by the shortcoming of Africans themselves, and that solutions had to come from African’s themselves.

Although Africa’s problems of underdevelopment might be attributed mainly to a host of inherited ills, Africa’s incapacity to deal with those problems had been basically caused by internal shortcomings. It was the greed, dictatorial rule and/or ineptitude of some of Africa’s ruling elites that had locked the continent against itself and still continued to do so. That fact was recognized by an increasing number of Africans, and appropriate changes were being made throughout the continent.

Although conflicts within and among several African countries continued unabated, he said, regimes had committed to building democratic institutions, adopting sound development strategies based on needs and capacities, and strengthening regional cooperation for eventual integration. African countries were also increasing their concerted effort, through the OAU and subregional organizations, to resolve conflicts, enhance economic cooperation and address humanitarian issues.

He said the continent was endowed with resources, both human and material. What it lacked was the development of those resources, especially human resources, and of appropriate institutions that would allow wider participation of Africa’s peoples in the political and economic life of their countries. Those were areas where Africa needed partnership from the international community. He emphasized that such a partnership was required for the general, mutual well-being of all nations, and should not be viewed and pursued as a welfare donation for the benefit of Africa alone.

R.O. AKEJU (Nigeria) said that peace was a necessary condition for development. As the African experience had demonstrated, the absence of peace could be a major impediment to development. In 1998, there had been 11 major conflicts that had affected 26 of the 48 sub-Saharan countries. Those conflicts had taken a great toll on the economies of the countries involved, which were already among the poorest in the world. The crisis of development in most African countries had become endemic, arising from multi-dimensional sources, including the low level of education, social and economic deprivation, and diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria. New ways were needed to address those issues that had grave consequences for the peace and socio-economic development of the African continent and its people.

He said that whatever efforts were being made to ameliorate the problems of conflicts and ensure durable peace in Africa could only achieve the desired result if a genuine solution to the continent’s external debt burden was found. This must go beyond the HIPC Initiative to include total debt cancellation for African countries. Unfortunately, there was a lack of political will within Africa, as well, as could be seen in the refusal of feuding parties to implement peace accords. That was the main cause of the impasse to a number of conflicts in Africa, particularly in the Central African region. However, equally serious to the continent as a whole was the lack of financial resources for the implementation of recommendations both at the level of ODA, as well as for United Nations funded programmes.

In the search for solutions to the African problems, he said, it had always been recognized that Africa’s destiny lay in its own hands. African countries’ own efforts, under the aegis of the OAU, to strengthen the continent’s capacity for prevention, management and resolution of conflicts were commendable. The African Ministerial Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa was a case in point. The Conference was a bold initiative by African countries to meet the challenges of political stability and economic development. Under it, the interrelated issues of security, stability, development and cooperation were conceived of, not as a one-off event, but as a process which would address the problems of security and stability in many African countries.

SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said that he took great pleasure in pointing to the growing role of Africa in international affairs. Some of the world’s gravest problems remained the conflicts in Africa. The settlement of those conflicts would help to secure the future of the continent. Priority must be given to close coordination in the international sphere. It was also true that Africa needed to develop its own peacekeeping potential. Ultimately, it should be possible to talk about the creation of an effective pan-African system, and a key role should be and was being played by the OAU.

Without the long-term settlement of conflict, it would be impossible to achieve the integration of Africa into the world economy. His country was in favour of affirming a comprehensive approach to solving Africa’s problems. A culture of crisis prevention must be created. He welcomed the consistent progress of States in the region towards political and economic reform. He also emphasized the dangers of globalization. It was important to take measures to use globalization for the benefit of all people.

GA1nov.p14 HAROLDT URIB (Namibia) said much had been said about the economic, social, political, security and environmental plight of the African continent. Both its old and new ills were now well-documented. Yet, the situation appeared to be worsening with each passing day. While the United Nations and the international community were in possession of all the necessary information on the development needs of Africa, the continent appeared to be irremediably drifting deeper into an economic abyss. Today, many ordinary Africans asked the question: does the world really care about the fate of Africa? That sentiment was strengthened by the lukewarm suggestions offered to Africa instead of workable and people-centred solutions.

Namibia did not deny the significant achievements that had been made over the years in the fight against poverty and underdevelopment in Africa, but was concerned at the obvious contradictions and mismatches evident in recent international development policy and practice. At a time when most African countries had made major economic and political reforms creating open economies and democratic systems of governance, development assistance and foreign direct investment flows into Africa were at an all time low. When Africa had liberalized the economy and opened up the markets to global competition, their most competitive products and services were deliberately barred from entering the markets of industrialized countries.

Some delegations had made reference to the problem of corruption in Africa, he said. Corruption in and of itself was anathema to social and economic development. Namibia had passed anti-corruption legislation to both prevent and fight corruption when it occurred. Namibia remained, by and large, corruption- free; however, corruption occurred in Africa. The corruptors were generally those who had the financial and other means to corrupt Africans. Even more importantly, the wealth of Africa lost to corruption had ended up in the financial institutions of the very nations that blamed the Africans for corruption.

He corrected the characterization of Namibia as having had an internal conflict in the last 25 years. The truth of the matter was that the Namibian people, with the support of the international community, had waged a protracted struggle against colonialism and illegal apartheid occupation. In 1990, they had attained their hard-won independence and declared a policy of national reconciliation and nation-building. He was pleased to state that, with the continued support of the international community and the General Assembly, Namibia had been successful in that regard.

FARES M. KUINDWA (Kenya) said that, since peace was a prerequisite for development, it was imperative for the international community to make every possible effort to ensure lasting peace in Africa. In addition to the ongoing peacekeeping operations, every effort must be made to include all concerned parties in peace negotiations. Since the end of the cold war, it had become evident that conflicts in Africa had intensified and shifted from inter-country- to intra-country-oriented conflicts.

He firmly believed that the root causes of conflicts in Africa had been systematically identified in the Secretary-General’s 1998 report and should be addressed as recommended by the ad hoc working group. Kenya stressed that the forthcoming preparations for the Final Review and Appraisal of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s should streamline and enhance the promotion patterns of durable and sustainable development of Africa.

He called on the international community to provide additional financial resources to address the following socio-economic problems confronting the development process of African countries: the eradication of poverty, illiteracy, HIV/AIDS, and malaria; the cancellation of external debt; the fulfilment of the agreed ODA target of 0.7 per cent of the GNP of donor countries to developing African countries and an additional 0.15 per cent of GNP to least developed countries; the removal of all trade barriers to accommodate export products from African countries; the provision of adequate financial assistance in investment for building the capacity and capability of African countries in scientific and technical knowledge; and the provision of resources to contain environmental degradation and natural disasters.

He said his Government strongly recommended that the United Nations, as a matter of priority, extend the mandate of the present working group to the fifty- seventh session of the General Assembly to enable it to continue the monitoring of the implementation of all recommendations made by the Secretary-General in his report. Moreover, the Security Council should pursue its consideration of the follow-up of these recommendations, in the areas of peace and security.

KIRSTI POHJANKUKKA, Special Adviser to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said that the 176 Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies around the world knew what it meant to fight for the freedom from want because its members and volunteers in the affected areas were part of the poor. As the Secretary-General had noted in his report entitled “We the Peoples”, the lack of access to basic health care was one of the main reasons poor people stayed poor. The Federation strongly believed that public health was one of the key challenges facing Africa now and in the future. Most people who died in Africa died through preventable diseases. The Red Cross/Red Crescent National Societies called for greater cooperation between States and international organizations to respond to priority public health problems.

The African Red Cross and Red Crescent Health Initiative 2010 had been launched in 1998 to increase health care in African countries. Since then, 53 African Red Cross/Red Crescent National Societies had reviewed and analysed basic health problems, identifying the following priorities for action: HIV/AIDS, malaria, vaccine preventable diseases and malnutrition. The African Red Cross and Red Crescent Health Initiative 2010 was developed to effectively increase the impact of the Federation in promoting public education through its experience in dissemination; prevention through its experience in first aid and primary health care; home care through its experience in relief; and on advocacy through its framework of the national and international connections.

The Special Adviser welcomed the overwhelming willingness of the international community to reach out for sustainable development in Africa. African countries should rely on the established presence of Red Cross/Red Crescent National Societies, which was already a part of the national fabric of every country creating the only continent-wide indigenous grass-roots level organization. A prime example of the community action was the Federation’s fight against HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe and South Africa, as well as education campaigns in Mozambique and Namibia and peer group campaigns among the youth in Central and West Africa. The Red Cross/Red Crescent National Societies had 2 million volunteers in Africa who could be called on to make a difference. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies was committed to continuing to mobilize the power of humanity for building a healthy future.

Admission of New Member to United Nations

Assembly President HARRI HOLKERI (Finland) said that the Security Council had recommended the admission of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to membership in the United Nations as stated in document A/55/535, and that a draft resolution had been submitted (document A/55/L.23) for the Assembly’s consideration.

Since document A/55/L.23 had only been circulated this morning, the Assembly decided to waive the relevant provision of rule 78 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly, which states that no proposal shall be discussed or put to the vote unless copies have been circulated to all delegations no later than the day preceding the meeting.

JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France), speaking on behalf of the European Union and Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway, and on behalf of the 70 co-sponsors of the draft resolution, introduced the text proposing the admission of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the United Nations.

He said on 24 September the Yugoslav people had made a choice for democracy. They had done so under especially difficult circumstances, and their choice had earned them the international community’s unanimous admiration. In seeking the admission to the United Nations of his country, Yugoslav President Kostunica had confirmed his resolve to break with the dead-end policy in which the Milosevic regime had enmeshed itself. A hiatus of eight years was about to end. With legitimate pride, the Yugoslav people were going to take their rightful place in the concert of nations.

The countries of the Union had been resolutely involved in today’s historic event, he said. They had made that commitment because President Kostunica and the Yugoslav people had taken every risk so that democracy and respect for law might triumph. By adopting the draft resolution by consensus, the Assembly would send a unanimous message of friendship and hope to the Yugoslav people and their new leaders. “Welcome to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia within the United Nations”, he said.

Action on Draft Resolution

Mr. HOLKERI announced that Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guinea, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Mauritius, Monaco, Myanmar, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Republic of Moldova, San Marino, Seychelles, Sudan, Togo, Turkey, Uruguay and Yemen had become additional co-sponsors of the resolution.

The Assembly decided to accept the recommendation of the Security Council and adopted the text by acclamation.

Mr. HOLKERI (Finland), Assembly President, declared the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia admitted to membership in the United Nations. He said the admission of that country into the family of nations was of great significance, as it strengthened the universality of the United Nations and, thus, enhanced its legitimacy and effectiveness. He was confident that it would strengthen the efforts by the international community to bring stability to South-East Europe, in which the United Nations played a leading role.

He said that less than a month ago, the whole world had congratulated newly elected President Kostunica and the people of his country for their success in assuring a peaceful victory for democracy. The change gave the realistic hope for solution of the remaining problems in the region of South-East Europe based on the principles of peace, democracy, rule of law and human rights. It would also give new vigour to a number of regional initiatives. The admission of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the United Nations signified a new era in cooperation between the new Member State and the other Members of the Organization, including its neighbours and other successor States of the Former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

He also welcomed the recent admission of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia into the Stability Pact for South-East Europe. It would contribute to the strengthening of regional stability and international peace and security. He said, “Today we must look to the future, while at the same time remember that freedom carries with it responsibilities, including those relating to the pursuit of justice.” Cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was of paramount importance for all the countries concerned, including the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE (United States), speaking as a representative of the host country, said that that was a historic day for the United Nations and for the Balkans and the entire world. He welcomed the Federal Republic into the United Nations as a full democracy committed to the rule of law. The Federal Republic had entered the United Nations on an equal basis. An eight-year quarrel was over and had gone without a residue or a trace. He congratulated President Kostunica on bringing democratic change to Yugoslavia, and was pleased by his commitment to Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).

Today, he said, the flag of a nation that had long ago ceased to exist would no longer fly at Headquarters or elsewhere in the world, he continued. President Kostunica’s leadership presented an opportunity to look to the future. There were still vestiges of the past, for example, political prisoners were still being held. All of those prisoners should be released and all of the missing should be accounted for. Talks between Serbia and Montenegro were vitally important and were at a delicate stage. He welcomed the fact that talks had come about and said that the international community would accept any decision reached mutually and in accordance with democratic procedures.

MAHFOUDH OULD DEDDACH (Mauritania), speaking on behalf of the African Group of States, welcomed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the United Nations. The congratulations must go out particularly to the people of the Federal Republic for finding a way to democracy, hope and peace. He hoped they would find in his words all the expression of friendship and consideration from the African people. He assured the Yugoslav delegation of the availability of the African delegations to establish with them a cooperation for the realization of the noble objectives of the United Nations.

Now that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had been restored as Member State of the United Nations, the member States of the African Group hoped that the Yugoslav democratic authorities would face carefully the obligations resulting from the Charter of the United Nations, by cooperating effectively with the international community to establish a peaceful, cooperative and prosperous relation especially in the region of the Balkans.

ELMIRA IBRAIMOVA (Kyrgyzstan), speaking on behalf of the Asian Group, said it was a great honour and privilege to congratulate the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on its admission to the United Nations. The members of the Asian Group extended their warmest welcome and support to the efforts of the new Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to rebuild the country and normalize relations with the world. They welcomed the commitment of the President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to uphold the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and to fulfil all the obligations contained therein. She wished the Government and the people of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia peace, prosperity, happiness and every success for the future.

The Asian Group looked forward to working closely with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in strengthening international peace and security, and in pursuing the goals and objectives enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

ERNEST PETRIC (Slovenia), speaking on behalf of the Group of Eastern European States, congratulated the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on its admission to membership in the United Nations. The international community should do its utmost to help the new leadership of that country to cope with the catastrophic state of affairs they had inherited, and to strengthen democratic institutions. The humanitarian needs of the country should be urgently addressed.

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s solemn commitment to uphold the purposes and principles of the Charter promised the beginning of a new relationship between the Organization and the Federal Republic. It also represented an important step towards the normalization of relations in the region of South-Eastern Europe, he said.

GELSON FONSECA (Brazil), speaking on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean States, said it was a great honour to congratulate the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on its admissions as a Member of the United Nations. The resolution crowned a process of remarkable democratic changes in that country and represented a landmark occasion for its people and the Organization. His Group looked forward to cooperating with the delegation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The membership would benefit not only the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, but also the whole membership of the United Nations.

HANNS HEINRICH SCHUMACHER (Germany), speaking on behalf of the Western European and Other States Group, congratulated the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on its admission to the United Nations. He was delighted to see the Federal Republic finally take its place within the family of nations and warmly welcomed her. He commended President Kostunica for having acted so swiftly to end the isolation imposed on the country by his predecessor, and noted with great satisfaction the assurances made that the Federal Republic would act in accordance with the United Nations Charter and comply with all its international obligations.

The United Nations was meant to be universal, he said. Today, universality had been brought an important step closer towards being fully accomplished. He wished the new Member every success and was looking forward to fruitfully cooperating with the Federal Republic for the benefit of peace and stability in both Europe and the whole world.

DUMISANI S. KUMALO (South Africa), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, welcomed the admittance of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and extended the Movement’s support to the efforts of the people of the Federal Republic and their new Government as they rebuilt their country and normalized relations with their neighbours and the rest of the world.

He was grateful that the principle of equality among the successor States to the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had been accepted by all the parties. He trusted that that fact, along with the democratic changes taking place in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and similar developments in the rest of the region, were a signal that at long last the people of the Balkans were ready to turn their collective attention to the challenges of reconstruction, reconciliation and sustainable peace and development.

Mr. LAVROV (Russian Federation) warmly congratulated the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on its admission to the United Nations. He was pleased to see the solemn commitment reflected in the letter of President Kostunica, that Yugoslavia would uphold the principles of the United Nations Charter and its international obligations. He welcomed the democratic Yugoslavia as a member of the world community. It was symbolic that this event was taking place during the Millennium Assembly, where the role of the United Nations in maintaining international peace and security had been confirmed.

The membership of the Federal Republic would not only be beneficial for itself, but also for the credibility of the universality of the United Nations. Stabilization in the Balkans was an important factor in international peace and security, and it required the immediate implementation of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999). The Russian Federation would cooperate with the Federal Republic in the United Nations and through other organizations in order to consolidate peace and security.

NASTE CALOVSKI (The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the Process of the South-Eastern European Cooperation, congratulated the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on its admission to the United Nations and welcomed its delegation. He said the event signified a new democratic period for the region and the future relations between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It also represented an important development of the integration of the entire region into developed Europe.

The membership of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the United Nations would positively influence the speedy resolution of the succession of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on the basis of equality of all successor States and also the solution of the demarcation of the borderline between the two countries. On this historical occasion, he wished the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia all the best and successful participation in the work of the Organization.

AGIM NESHO (Albania) welcomed the admission of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the United Nations. That admission was the result of the understanding and acceptance of new historic realities in the Balkans by the democratic forces in Serbia, recognizing the right of the peoples for freedom and self-determination. His Government thanked the international community, the regional international organizations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for their contribution to maintaining peace and stability in the region, and for the integration of the Balkans into Europe.

Albania pointed to this membership as the result of the outstanding support of the international community towards the Serbian people in offering its unconditional assistance for a prosperous life among the European countries. He believed that the new spirit of cooperation, clearly expressed in the Millennium Summit, would find support from all Balkan countries and the newly admitted Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

His country hoped that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and its new leadership would be able to move away from the legacy of the Milosevic regime and work for peace and stability in South-Eastern Europe and respect the universal right of people to self-governing and self-determination. In closing, he called on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to fully cooperate with Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).

IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said that in the history of countries and regions, there were turning points after which nothing remained the same. That was such a turning point. By applying to the United Nations, the new authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had confirmed that they accepted the principle of the equality of all States. That was a good start and gave cause for optimism. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia would make a valuable contribution to good neighbourly relations, and peace and lasting security in South-Eastern Europe.

Nothing could bring back the victims of the hostility in South Eastern Europe, yet it was the international community’s responsibility to prosecute war crimes. The responsibility for the events of the past must also be accepted. There was the promise of a brighter future in South-Eastern Europe. Croatia looked forward to its future cooperation with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

MUHAMED SACIRBEY (Bosnia and Herzegovina) joined all the previous speakers in welcoming the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the family of the United Nations. Much had already been said in terms of reconfirmation of responsibilities and feelings of good will, and he was certain that the future in the region was full of unrealized opportunities. He welcomed the vision and words of the Permanent Representative of France and emphasized the importance of remembering their common destiny.

GORAN SVILANOVIC (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) conveyed the greetings of Vojislav Kostunica, the President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, as well as the greetings of his Government and people. That was a special moment, as the General Assembly had decided unanimously to admit his country as a full-fledged Member of the United Nations, making it possible for it to take its rightful place in the family of nations. He expressed deep gratitude to the Secretary-General and to the Members for their support.

After 10 long years of conflict, his country was faced with many difficulties and many problems, internal and external, he said. He took the opportunity to make some assurances, particularly to his neighbours and their governments. Yugoslavia was aware of the many problems and was willing and ready to work with its neighbours and with the entire international community to overcome them. To that end, Yugoslavia, would be a trustful neighbour and a conscientious member of the international community, and would invest its best efforts to promote peace and stability in the region, as well as worldwide.

That policy reflected the vital interests of the Yugoslav people and was a result of the profound democratic changes that had taken place in his country. Against tremendous odds, the people of his country had exercised their right to vote and had rejected overwhelmingly authoritarianism and a repressive regime. The people had demonstrated courage and perseverance in defending their vote and had stood up to threats of violence and terror. They were brave and proud, and the new Government would make sure not to betray them.

He thanked all those numerous friends and allies who had always believed and helped in the hard, arduous and often uphill battle, every step of the way. In order to break out of the past, a political change alone would not suffice; economic change, growth and development would be needed, as well. To achieve that, the goal of the new Government would be to join regional economic projects and to be integrated in the world economy. Just a few days ago, his country had been admitted into the Stability Pact for South-East Europe, he said, and that was just the beginning.

In addition to promoting relations with countries in its region, Yugoslavia’s priorities would include cooperation with Europe, as well, he said. It would remain open and willing, however, to maintain close cooperation and relations with all other countries of the world and with the international organizations. In doing so, it would always proceed from the principles of equality of, and respect for, all nations, big and small, as well as peace and prosperity. His country would also respect the noble goals and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. In closing his statement, he assured the Assembly that democratic Yugoslavia, its Government and its people would never waver in its resolve to keep that promise.

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