11/11/01
Press Release
GA/9959



Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Plenary

46th Meeting (AM)


UNIVERSAL CONDEMNATION OF TERRORISM CONTINUES IN ASSEMBLY’S GENERAL


DEBATE, COUNTER-ACTION SUPPORTED; FIVE PRESIDENTS HEARD


Global Community Said to Be Unified after 11 September, Efforts

Against Roots of Discontent also Urged; Yasser Arafat Seeks International Monitors


With the issue of counter-terrorism once again the dominating subject, the General Assembly this morning began the second day of its high-level general debate on what was noted as the anniversary of the armistice which ended the First World War.  The Assembly heard from representatives of 14 countries, among them five Presidents and two Prime Ministers.


There were further expressions of condolences to the people of the United States for the events which took place on 11 September.


Stjepan Mesić, President of Croatia, said it was not enough to defeat today's terrorists.  "We have to do everything to make sure that we shall not be dealing with new terrorists tomorrow", he said.  It would always be possible to incite fanatical behaviour as long as famine, poverty and “non-development” remained, and while people suffered from inequality and lack of freedom.


Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority, said his people had expressed their readiness to confront all forms of international terrorism.  He called upon the international community to exert every possible effort to stop the “war of aggression” by Israel and to send international observers to protect Palestinians.  He said increased settlement activity by Israel reflected Israel’s lack of commitment to agreements signed.


Jack Straw, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, noted that today marked the anniversary of the ending of the First World War.  On the current action against terrorism, he said, "We have to do our utmost to spare innocent Afghans further suffering".  At last the international community was united in efforts to feed and shelter the millions of refugees through the harsh winter and to help build a new Afghanistan.  There was consensus in the Security Council and among that country's neighbours that there should be a broad-based government in Kabul, reflecting the country's ethnic diversity.


The President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, said he supported the actions of the United States against terrorism.  He stressed, however, that the


just cause of the Palestinian, southern Sudanese and other oppressed peoples must also be supported.  Economically, he said, aid was meaningless without market access.  Out of the $1.2 trillion global trade in agricultural products, Africa's share was only about $20 billion -- about 2 per cent of the total. 


Joseph Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who joined in condemning the terrorist acts in the United States, called on the United Nations to institute exemplary sanctions against all States pillaging the wealth of his country: the support of the international community was essential if the nation was to be reconstructed.


President Glafcos Clerides of Cyprus and President Luis Ángel González Macchi of Paraguay also spoke this morning, as did Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth of Mauritius, and President Zlatko Lagumdzija of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The Foreign Ministers of China, Finland, Italy, Djibouti, and Gabon also made statements.


The Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. today to continue its general debate.


Background


The General Assembly met this morning to continue its general debate.  (For more background information, see Press Release GA/9957 of 10 November.)


Among others, the Assembly was expected to hear from the Presidents of Cyprus, Croatia, Paraguay, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Prime Ministers of Mauritius and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as from the President of the Palestinian Authority.


Statements


GLAFCOS CLERIDES, President of Cyprus:  At the beginning of this new millennium, we have a special obligation to place new emphasis on the promotion and protection of human rights and the defeat of terrorism.  The adoption of declarations and legal instruments in the area of human rights is not enough.  We need to make accountable those violators of human rights and decisively strike at the culture of impunity, whether in international or domestic affairs.  Cyprus strongly supports the early entry into force of the International Criminal Court. We are also deeply concerned with the increasing number and scope of humanitarian emergencies leading to an ever-rising number of refugees and internally displaced persons.


The tragic events of 11 September have highlighted the need to continue and accelerate the efforts to prevent and solve regional conflicts.  The inability of the international community to put an end to the unacceptable situation in the Middle East undermines the credibility of the system of collective security.  We look forward to a region living in peace, stability and security for all States, including Israel.  We reiterate our support for the fulfilment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the creation of their own state.


The solution of the Cyprus problem is long overdue. I cannot conceal my deep disappointment over the refusal of the Turkish side to continue with the proximity talks to help the efforts of the Secretary-General to find a comprehensive settlement.  The refusal of the Turkish Cypriot Leader, Mr. Denktash, is particularly disturbing.  The reason for failure to make progress is the lack of political will by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leader.  The purely humanitarian problem of missing persons is one of the most pressing issues for the Government of Cyprus and all Cypriots.  We appeal again to the Government of Turkey to show the necessary political will to bring a final solution to this tragic humanitarian issue.


The leadership of Turkey should abandon its threats for the annexation of the occupied part of Cyprus, and consider the obvious advantages of the solution of the Cyprus problem for the stability in our region.  Mr. Denktash should join me in sharing the vision of a Cyprus too small to be divided, but huge for the common prosperity of all its inhabitants.  The Turkish Cypriots will benefit considerably from the accession of our country to the European Union. 

Mr. Denktash should realize that he and I are not getting any younger and that we owe it to the younger generations of Cypriots to do away with the walls of division.


STJEPAN MESIć, President of Croatia:  The terrorists did not manage to paralyse the United States, they did not manage to stop the work of the United Nations, and neither will world statesmen cancel their visit to New York and their participation in the work of the Assembly.  While much has changed as a result of the attacks, nothing has changed in the area, which made it possible for the attacks to be committed.  This is not a clash of civilizations, cultures or religions, but a confrontation of civilization and non-civilization.  There is also no such thing as "our" or "their", justified or unjustified terrorism.


The current anti-terrorist coalition is practically an alliance of the civilized world –- a defence response to the challenge and threat of anarchy.  It represents the beginning of deep and far-reaching changes on the world political scene. 


I speak about changes in relations between countries or groups of States, and the changes in the nature and functioning of international alliances such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), as well as international organizations, both existing and emerging.  While we are still combating global terrorism, we must also start looking for answers to the question:  what is global terrorism and what makes it possible?  It is not enough to defeat the terrorists we are faced with today.  We have to do everything we can to make sure that we shall not be dealing with new terrorists tomorrow.


It will always be possible to incite fanatical behaviour as long as famine, poverty and non-development remain, and as long as people suffer from inequality and the absence of freedom due to unresolved regional crises in the world.  Besides the fight against terrorism, there is another equally difficult task  ahead of us which requires just as much responsibility –- that of creating and implementing a global strategy for solving today's accumulated world problems, which were not there yesterday.   This session of the Assembly should reaffirm the United Nations as an irreplaceable instrument in the struggle for a different and better world.  It should show the political will of all Member States to start, in a sincere, united and coordinated way, looking for and finding solutions to problems which, in the context of global terrorism, are proving to be unavoidable.  Let us not forget that in September, planes full of passengers were used to kill thousands.  The next time, chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons might be used to kill hundreds of thousands.  This Organization has been founded to protect future generations from the horror of war.  There is no time to wait. 


LUIS ANGEL GONZALEZ MACCHI, President of Paraguay:  Two months have elapsed since the tragic and despicable acts of 11 September.  The Government and people of Paraguay state once again their unswerving solidarity with the Government and people of the United States and support for the war against terrorism in all its manifestations.  Paraguay is not neutral in the struggle against terrorism.  We must not confine ourselves to expressions of solidarity, but commit ourselves to the international consensus to fight this serious threat to humanity.


We should remember that the topic of international terrorism has been on the agenda since the twenty-seventh General Assembly, and to date we have not been diligent enough to take the legal and other measures necessary to prevent it, such as those we are belatedly considering.  Terrorism is the top priority on the international agenda and no country is immune from the threat it poses.  Rarely in history have we faced such grave challenges to international peace and security as we face now.


Not only is international security at stake today, but the very democratic system itself.  In the last few weeks we have once again experienced a new terrorist threat:  the use of biological agents, whose effects can spread worldwide and threaten the very existence of humanity.  The emergence of this new threat must be tackled as soon as possible, and measures must be taken to track down and punish those responsible.


We must take steps to tackle poverty, bolster economic development and ensure access to markets for the goods of developing economies.  We fully concur with the Secretary-General when he says, in his report on the work of the Organization, that the most difficult battle is the eradication of poverty, for which purpose we must speed up the economic growth of the developing countries.  The landlocked countries face even greater difficulties in external trade, which puts a brake on their economic development.  The current economic and social state of affairs, and its consequences, oblige us to act with the greatest responsibility.  Today more than ever, we are aware of the need to build a more supportive and non-discriminatory world economic order that will benefit all the world’s peoples.


YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI, President of Uganda:  Aid is meaningless without access to markets.  All protectionism, especially in the countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, must end.  The Europeans are still giving subsidies to “artificial farmers” in Europe, distorting trade in agricultural products.  As a consequence, out of the

$1.2 trillion global trade in agricultural products, Africa gets only about

$20 billion -- about 2 per cent of the total.  At the same time the OECD countries are spending $361 billion subsidizing artificial farmers, yet these are the countries that evangelize in the name of free trade.  These double standards must end.


Africa has now removed some of the old impediments to private investment.  The sanctity of private property is now almost a universal concept; some African countries have a consistently stable macroeconomic framework (inflation in Uganda is now 0.3 per cent); African currencies are now convertible; a large part of Africa is very peaceful; and democracy is widely practised.  We are even addressing the excessive political “balkanization” of the continent (with

53 States compared to 3 in North America), including through economic blocs like the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Community of East and Southern African States (Comesa) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).  The world needs to encourage these positive trends by opening their markets on a quota-free, tariff-free basis.  Everyone can benefit, including the OECD citizens, who are forced to eat inferior foods and are taxed to protect those foods against better foods from Africa. 


In the ongoing debate about terrorism, I have not heard anybody bothering to define the difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist.  The difference lies in the fact that while a freedom fighter may sometimes be forced to use violence, he cannot use indiscriminate violence.  The one who uses indiscriminate violence is a terrorist.  He does not differentiate between combatants and non-combatants.  He fights a war without declaring one.  In Africa, we fought wars of liberation since 1961.  We, however, never used terrorism.  The actions by terrorists are misguided, criminal and must be opposed by all as a matter of principle.  The terrorists try to polarize the world on a wrong basis:  Muslims versus Christians, etc. 


Elements claiming to act in the name of Islam have been taking a wrong position by seeking hegemonism among the people of God.  We support the position of the United States as we did in the Gulf War, in fighting and defeating these reactionaries who are profaning the name of freedom fighters.  The coalition against terrorism should be regarded in the same way as the coalition against fascism in the 1930s and 1940s.  Nevertheless, the just cause of the Palestinian people and of other oppressed peoples, like those of southern Sudan, must be supported. 


We now have the chance to build a just world.  Apart from ensuring the free will of all peoples, the most important instrument of emancipation is free trade, giving Africans goods quota-free, tariff-free access to the markets of the OECD countries and vice versa.


JOSEPH KABILA, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo:  The people and Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and myself condemn without reservation the terrorist attacks of 11 September.  My Government will cooperate fully in the implementation of Security Council resolution 1373, adopted in the aftermath of the attacks.  The Congolese people who have themselves been innocent victims of an aggressive war by Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, can understand the pain of the odious events.


This is the time to re-examine the origins and the consequences of the war in our region, which was a flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter.  I must salute those who took numerous initiatives to promote peace in the region.  I am thinking particularly of President Chiluba of Zambia and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), in particular, Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe.  My thanks also go to the United Nations, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the European Union.


The situation on the ground is undergoing a positive evolution in spite of the bad faith displayed on the part of certain parties to the Lusaka Agreement. The disengagement of forces is in its final stages.  However, the return of armed tension is in evidence in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the part of the country under Rwandan occupation.  These hostilities are the logical consequence of the failure of a new aggressive Rwandan plan which aims to eradicate all forms of Congolese resistance in order to more effectively occupy the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and continue to pillage its riches.


As far as the disarmament of armed groups is concerned, we should note that a plan drafted by the United Nations mission in our country was adopted by the political committee set up under the Lusaka Agreement, which provided for the voluntary disarmament of all armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  We have seen departure of all Namibian forces and this process is continuing now with those of Zimbabwe, Angola and Uganda also beginning to withdraw. Paradoxically, Rwanda is actually reinforcing its military presence in the Congo.


The process of reconciliation has made significant advances thanks to the Republican pact established by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  My Government is fully committed to taking part in the sessions to be held in South Africa.  It is important that representatives of all sectors of the population be able to participate in this dialogue, and I invite the international community to assist the Democratic Republic of the Congo to organize free and democratic elections.


The United Nations should institute exemplary sanctions against all States pillaging the wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  I have condemned the infamous acts perpetrated against the United States.  I have also spoken of the catastrophic situation in my country.  The support of the international community is essential if we are to reconstruct the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the Congolese people ask only that justice be done for the weak as for the strong, and for rich and poor alike.


ANEROOD JUGNAUTH, Prime Minister of Mauritius:  We condemn the attempts of the 11 September terrorists to justify their acts as being in conformity with the tenets of Islam, because neither Islam nor any other religion condones the killing of innocent civilians.  While Mauritius is fully committed to the global coalition, we believe that the war on terrorism must be fought on the basis of principles and standards accepted by every single State.  Cross-border terrorism causes immeasurable damage in many parts of the Indian sub-continent and in Africa.  There must be no double standards in the war against terrorism.  In this context, we believe the International Criminal Court must be operational at the earliest, and countries which rejected it must review their stand.


We also need to wage many other wars:  against poverty, ignorance, hunger, underdevelopment and HIV/AIDS.  Peace and security will be in danger as long as nuclear arsenals and weapons of mass destruction continue to exist and proliferate.  We need to move towards an early implementation of the action programme from the recent Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all its Aspects.  The new Partnership for African Development is a road map for Africa to eradicate poverty and to achieve sustainable growth.


We are mindful of the setback the 11 September events have caused to the major economies, but we are hopeful that the G8 will remain committed to providing Africa all assistance for effective implementation of the partnership for development.  The terms of trade are tilted too much in favour of the developed countries.  The removal in developed countries of tariff and non-tariff barriers would significantly increase Africa’s share in global trade; such an increase will mean lesser dependence on aid.


We continue to claim sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago, which was excised by the United Kingdom from the then Colony of Mauritius in violation of international law.  The United Kingdom should engage in talks for the early retrocession of the archipelago to the sovereignty of Mauritius.  With regard to Tromelin, I once again call on the French Government to enter into constructive negotiations for settlement of this issue.


We deplore the loss of civilian lives in Afghanistan, but we are confident that the international community will rise to the occasion in providing humanitarian assistance, and that efforts to install a broad-based government there will be successful.


ZLATKO LAGUMDZIJA, Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina:  We express deep condolences to the people of the United States for the events of

11 September, and support the approach outlined yesterday by United States President, George W. Bush.  The fight against terrorism must be determined and precise.  Terrorists must be targeted, apprehended and brought to justice. 


The war against terrorists is justified but all of us will be losers if we fail to do everything to help the innocent who are suffering.  Only a comprehensive approach –- military, humanitarian, political and socio-economic -– will prevent terrorists from interpreting the intervention in Afghanistan as a war against Islam or a clash of civilizations.


The United Nations was one of the key players in the development of my country as a multi-ethnic, tolerant and democratic State.  The mandate of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) will expire at the end of 2002.  We expect its activities to continue in a different shape and size; we would like to see a smooth transition without any gaps in important activities. Bosnia and Herzegovina supports further democratization and modernization of the United Nations.  New challenges call for increased efficiency, cost rationalization, and the equal participation of States and peoples in the United Nations system.  We have also decided to present the candidature of Bosnia and Herzegovina for a non-permanent seat in the Security Council for the year 2010.  By doing so, we confirm our commitment to contribute fully to the work of the Organization.


We are working daily to live up to the vision of a safer, peaceful, stable and self-sustaining country.  Our efforts are influenced by three main priorities: the rule of law; further building and strengthening of State institutions; and economic reforms.  We are aware that healing the consequences of war, post—war stagnation, and the removal of impediments to faster stabilization and progress rests primarily with our political leadership.  We are conscious of the urgent need to fully participate in collective security arrangements as well; our recent decision to apply for membership in the Partnership for Peace is a significant step forward.  We have met all the conditions for Bosnia and Herzegovina's membership in the Council of Europe, and we expect a speedy completion of the remaining administrative procedure.


The future of my country is in its integration into European and North Atlantic organizations.  Further improvement of good relations with neighbouring countries and increased regional cooperation remains the key element for the stability and development of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the area.


TANG JIAXUAN, Foreign Minister of China:  The international developments over the past year demonstrate that more and more countries have opted for increasing dialogue and cooperation, preserving world peace and seeking common development as they see these in their own interests.  To be sure, however, the cause of human progress is still faced with daunting challenges and the international community remains far from fulfilling all of the objectives set out by the Millennium Summit.  Neither of the two main objectives –- peace and development in the world –- has been achieved.  Factors of uncertainty in the international situation are on the rise.


We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks on the United States on

11 September.  China has always been opposed to all forms of terrorism.  It should be met with condemnation and counterstrikes of the international community taking a unified position.  China is also threatened by terrorism.  The “Eastern Turkestan” terrorist forces are trained, equipped and financed by international terrorist organizations.  The fight against them is an important aspect of the fight against international terrorism.


We are following with deep concern current developments in the Middle East. China supports the relevant United Nations resolutions and the principle of land for peace.  It also supports the Palestinian people in their just cause to regain legitimate rights and interests.  We have been following the Afghan situation closely; the sovereignty of Afghanistan should be ensured, the Afghan people should be allowed to decide on a solution independently, and the future government of Afghanistan should be broad-based and embody the interests of all ethnic groups in the country.


Developed countries should act more vigorously to promote development.  Our correct response to globalization should be to maximize its advantages and avert its disadvantages, so that all countries will come out as winners.  China’s development goal for the period leading to the middle of the century is to realize modernization and to reach the level of modernity of developed countries. Furthermore, the complete reunification of the motherland is the unswerving conviction of all Chinese.  Our basic principle for the settlement of the Taiwan question is "peaceful reunification and one country, two systems".  There is but one China in the world, and the Chinese on both sides of the straits have the same blood in their veins. 


JACK STRAW, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom:  On this anniversary of the Armistice which ended the First World War, we remember the thousands who died just two months ago -- on September 11.  We have to take every effective measure against the international terrorist networks whose influence is felt in every part of the world, not least by adopting the Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism and the draft Nuclear Terrorism Convention.  We also have to confront an unpalatable truth -- that we still face a real and immediate danger.  The murderous groups who plotted the events of September 11 could strike again at any time.


When the nations of the world agreed on the United Nations Charter, they recognized the right of self-defence in Article 51.  Taking military action is always a tough decision, but in the present circumstances it was truly unavoidable.  We all owe a debt of gratitude to the United States President, George Bush, for the steadfast and careful manner in which his country proceeded. 


In defending the world from terror, we have to do our utmost to spare innocent Afghans further suffering.  At last, the international community is united in its efforts to feed and shelter the millions of refugees through this harsh winter, and to help build a new Afghanistan.  For the first time there is also consensus in the Security Council as a whole, and among Afghanistan's neighbours, that there should be a broad-based government in Kabul, reflecting the country's rich ethnic diversity, and that its future must be put in the hands of its people.  There must be no more “great games”, with the Afghans as pawns, and no more cultural rivalries with these people as the victims.


The one institution, which can deliver this better future for Afghanistan, is the United Nations.  Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan, should have every support in planning a future that leads to Afghanistan resuming its place as a fully-fledged member of the international community, able to protect and promote the interests of all its people.


It is not just the Afghan people who have been excluded and marginalized from the values on which the United Nations was founded.  If September 11 teaches us anything, it is that if we ignore our moral responsibilities to each other, we will be forced later to face painful consequences.  Nowhere is the need more obvious than in Africa. 


While there has been some progress, we should not delude ourselves about the scale of the remaining task.  The new partnership for African development requires the support of the whole community of nations.  The continent deserves the same opportunities which the West takes for granted.  We in the West must acknowledge that while removing barriers to global trade and finance, we have not always dismantled obstructions to dignity and equality.  Protectionist barriers still survive -- especially against trade in agriculture -- damaging Africa's interests today and all of ours tomorrow.  Launching a new Trade Round would be the clearest possible signal of the world's determination to spread the benefits of wealth and prosperity more evenly.


We must take not only military but also diplomatic action to reduce those tensions which terrorists exploit.  Nowhere are those greater than in the Middle East.  The path to settlement has to be based on a political process, which implements United Nations resolutions.  It must deliver security for Israel within recognized borders, while at the same time creating a viable Palestinian State.  Efforts, however, will be wasted unless the parties themselves show the political will to halt violence and the political courage to make a deal.


ERKKI TUOMIOJA, Foreign Minister of Finland:  The aftermath of the events of 11 September have shown that there are more issues that unite us than issues that separate us.  They have affected our sense of security both as Member States and as individuals.  Our response requires new thinking.  The United Nations is the only organization with global competencies in the area of security policies. Ongoing crises are, however, so complex that they require united efforts and

combined resources.  This is particularly true of the Middle East, where a return to the peace process is an urgent necessity.


Finland supports an increased focus by the United Nations on crisis prevention and on root causes of conflicts.  The complexity of present crises -– be they in Afghanistan, the Middle East, the Balkans, or in Africa -– and limited resources available have made different organizations seek cooperation and complementarity in their actions.  The European Union is in the process of developing its own crisis management capacities, both civilian and military.  The European Union has adopted conclusions on its cooperation in conflict prevention and crisis management with the United Nations.  The process will continue as the European security and defence policy develops, focusing on substantive issues and concrete need in a pragmatic manner.  This cooperation extends to conflict prevention, civilian and military aspects of crisis management and on regional crises like the western Balkans, Middle East and Africa.


Harnessing globalization to benefit all remains one of the major challenges to the international community.  We must learn to deal with the paradox of democracy spreading across the world and disillusion about its workings.  The Government of Finland recently prepared a study on Finnish policies on globalization.  A main conclusion was that in solving multinational crises created by globalization, the role and cooperation between national governments will be growing, not diminishing.  The United Nations is the most universal forum for inter-governmental cooperation.


RENATO RUGGIERO, Foreign Minister of Italy:  We express once more our deep solidarity to the Government and people of the United States following the appalling terrorist attacks.  We need strict application of the measures called for by the General Assembly and the Security Council in the days immediately afterwards.  On November 7, by a more than 90 per cent majority, the Italian Parliament approved the Government’s decision to contribute ground troops, naval units and air units to operations against international terrorism.


The fight must be conducted in a targeted manner, without neglecting humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.  The problem of the political future of Afghanistan, to be solved only by the Afghan people, must remain the high priority in the agenda of the United Nations.


On the crisis in the Middle East, we are working both in a national capacity and within the European Union to create the conditions for an end to the violence and a true return to negotiations for a comprehensive, lasting peace in the region.  It should be based for the Palestinians on the establishment of a viable and democratic State and an end to the occupation of their territories, and for the Israelis on the right to live in peace and security within internationally recognized borders.  Our goal in the Balkans is to prevent destabilizing tendencies, and to foster regional cooperation and economic development.


Many global problems can be alleviated through a fair functioning of the international market economy and international free trade, both of which should continue to foster inclusiveness and integration.  The organization with the moral authority to meet the challenge of problems related to globalization is the United Nations.  Italy’s commitment to the maintenance of international peace and security is long-standing.  We are one of the top three contributors of men and resources to United Nations-led peace operations.  No peacekeeping action can achieve lasting results unless it is coupled with measures to strengthen government institutions, safeguard the human rights of all communities and rebuild the economic and social fibre of affected areas.  All countries of the world must be able to benefit from the opportunities created by interdependency and progress, in particular, in the areas of information and communication technology.


We must continue to strengthen development assistance, to reach the goal of having the most developed countries dedicate 0.7 per cent of their gross national product (GNP) to this pursuit.  Debt relief is another essential tool that will free up in developing countries the necessary resources to stimulate their economies.  Italy is a leader in this field by virtue of recent laws that allow it to gradually cancel the debt of the poorest countries. 


ALI ABDI FARAH, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Djibouti:  The catastrophic events of 11 September –- a brazen act of terrorism without parallel in history -- has put us all on notice.  It was truly the day the world changed.  The international community must work together in response, ideally through the United Nations so that countermeasures assume legitimacy and acceptability.  However, we must not lose sight of the plight of the Afghan people, nor squander the extraordinary opportunity we now have to examine all possible root causes of terrorism, including attitudes, frustrations and prevailing economic and political conditions.


Preventing conflict is a central priority.  Our focus needs to shift from a culture of reaction to one of prevention and long-term development.  Beyond conflict, we witness an unsettling amount of human suffering caused by natural disasters and complex emergencies, escalating the need for humanitarian assistance.  If we are to halve the number of people in poverty by the year 2015, there will have to be substantial increase in official development assistance (ODA), debt relief to the poorest countries and removal of protectionist measures in developed countries.  The least developed countries face formidable obstacles, such as declining capital flows, inadequate social services, lack of infrastructure and environmental constraints.


Silently, but very rapidly, the world is drifting toward another dangerous crisis:  the scarcity of water.  Some 2.7 billion people live in regions facing severe shortages.  Once again Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and some of the most densely populated and lowest income areas, will be hardest hit.  Unlike oil and most strategic resources, there is no substitute for water.  A combination of global warming, wasteful practices, aridity, and lack of rainfall means that sources traditionally relied upon by millions are drying up.  Beyond international treaties and institutional mechanisms, the international community must act to alleviate the crisis.  The time to act is now.


The exponential growth and spread of information technology, coupled with the cold war, have been key factors in the past decade in shaping our views about development and global economy.  For the poor who live on one dollar a day, talking about technology, growth, opportunity and prosperity are only empty words. Millions of people in Africa and elsewhere are simply too poor to participate in globalization.


We are gratified that the new Government of Somalia is fully committed to bring about a lasting peace.  We caution on the source and motivation, as well as on the accuracy of information relating to the crucial and sensitive issue of the existence of terrorist cells in one country or another.  Hasty and uncorroborated conclusions will only harm the unity of the coalition against terrorism, which we all vigorously support.


JEAN PING, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Francophonie of Gabon:  The tragedy of 11 September has more than ever strengthened our determination to combat international terrorism.  We must put an end to it by all military, diplomatic and political means possible.  It is for that reason that Gabon unreservedly supports Security Council resolutions

1368 (2001) and 1373 (2001) as well as the adoption of an international convention against terrorism.  There is no doubt that the coalition will be victorious in the war against terrorism.


In parallel with this wave of solidarity, the international community must bring appropriate responses to global problems that could be used as pretexts by certain radical groups.  It is therefore urgent to act with a view to finding solution to the conflicts as well as to the economic and social problems of our time.


Regarding armed conflicts, we are convinced that if an end can be put to the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons it would be much easier to arrive at a swift and lasting settlement of such conflicts.  The universal implementation of the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Traffic in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all its Aspects, discussed here in New York last July, would bring us closer to that goal.


At the very moment when the process of globalization of financial markets and commercial exchanges affects all aspects of society, it must be recognized that millions of people risk being marginalized unless concrete measures are taken in their favour.  It is important, therefore, that the international community mobilize additional new resources to reduce significantly reduce the gap.


Another vital question for the future of our planet is the protection and preservation of the environment.  The world summit on the sustainable development to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 2 to 11 September 2002, will give us an opportunity to assess the progress made in implementation of policies reflecting the commitments undertaken in Rio de Janeiro 10 years ago.


YASSER ARAFAT, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian Authority:  We meet in the aftermath of the criminal and ugly terrorist acts of 11 September.  We strongly condemn this act.  The Palestinian people have expressed their readiness to confront all forms and manifestations of international terrorism including State organized terror, in order to build a new world that will guarantee justice, peace, security and freedom to all people, a world based on human rights and international legality.


I express my deepest appreciation for what President George Bush declared in his speech yesterday about the need to achieve a just peace, based on the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242, 338 and 425, and on the basis of a two-State solution -- Israel and Palestine -– and to expeditiously resume the peace process.


The current Israeli Government continues the aggression against the Palestinian people, begun by the previous Government.  State terror is being practised, including assassinations of Palestinian political leaders, demolition of homes, uprooting thousands of trees and farms.  The Palestinian economy is devastated as a result of all forms of economic, financial, medical and food closures, and a siege imposed on Palestinian cities and refugee camps.  We call upon the international community and for every possible effort to stop this “war of aggression” and send international observers to protect our people from occupation, terror and ethnic cleansing and to supervise the implementation and

consolidation of the ceasefire declared a number of times by our side, and always violated by the Israeli Government.


After the assassination of my late partner in the peace process, Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli governments took the path of non-compliance, failing to implement their obligations.  Settlements and settlers have doubled since the start of the peace process, reflecting Israel’s lack of commitment to agreements signed.  It is essential for the international community and the influential great powers to be actively involved in saving the peace process and putting it back on the right track.  We have fully cooperated with all international efforts and initiatives. We call upon the United States, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, France, China, Japan, the members of the European Union and the non-aligned countries to exert every possible effort to transfer the vision of a Palestinian State with holy Jerusalem as its capital into reality, in order to enable the Palestinian people to live in peace, dignity, freedom, independence and sovereignty.


Those countries, as well as Arab and Muslim countries and other friendly nations, should introduce immediately a comprehensive framework for a permanent solution, based on international legality and signed agreements, so that both parties can negotiate expeditiously on the details of the permanent solution.  The Israeli Government and people should respond positively to this approach, so that together we can build peace.


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