25/09/2001
Press Release
GA/9917



Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Plenary

10th Meeting (PM)


POVERTY REDUCTION, TERRORISM, DISARMAMENT, HUMANITARIAN RELIEF DISCUSSED


AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONTINUES REVIEW OF SECRETARY-GENERAL REPORT


The belief that there was a "technological bullet" to solve illiteracy, ill-health or economic failure reflected a scant understanding of real poverty, the representative of India told the General Assembly this afternoon as it continued its consideration of the Secretary-General's report on the work of the Organization. 


A judicious blend of basic social, education and health services with the development of both "brick" and "click" industries was required for sustained human development and poverty reduction, he said.  With a much sharper focus on poverty eradication, they would ensure that justice was provided to the world’s population that earned less than $2 a day.


Speakers touched on an array of issues, from terrorism, disarmament and humanitarian relief to implementation of the Habitat Agenda.  Addressing an issue not mentioned in the report, the representative of Australia said "people smuggling" should receive more attention in the future.  It was a growing area of transnational criminal activity which exploited existing international agreements designed for humanitarian purposes.


Trafficking in people was beyond the ability of any country to solve unilaterally, he said.  International conventions and norms should be examined to ensure they did not inadvertently create opportunities for people smugglers.  The United Nations had an increasingly important role to play in this new disturbing situation, including developing a more coordinated response to the criminal gangs that preyed on people's hopes and fears.


Japan's representative said global environmental degradation demanded urgent action.  Negotiations to ensure that the Kyoto Protocol would go into effect in 2002 were at a critical stage.  It was important for all States to follow the same rule as they implemented measures to curb global warming.  Japan continued to seek the understanding and cooperation of all relevant countries on this matter, particularly the United States.


Also speaking this afternoon were the representatives of Germany, Indonesia, Namibia, Iraq, Norway, Belgium (on behalf of the European Union), United Republic of Tanzania, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Viet Nam.


Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of Turkey, Kuwait, Iraq, and Cyprus.   


The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 26 September, to continue its consideration of the report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization.


Background


The General Assembly met this afternoon to continue considering the Secretary-General’s report on the work of the Organization (document A/56/1, Add.1 and Corr.1).  The report has been summarized in Press Release SG/2071-GA/9911 of 20 September. 


DIETER KASTRUP (Germany) said the leaders of the European Union met last Friday in an extraordinary session to discuss ways and means to integrate as many countries as possible in a worldwide system of security and prosperity.  Issues addressed included the provision of incentives within the framework of development cooperation to States that cooperated in the battle against terrorism.  A particular priority in that context was the creation of a basis for political and economic stabilization for crisis regions.  Above all, all efforts should be made to achieve a breakthrough for peace in the Middle East.


The United Nations must engage its full potential to identify and eventually eradicate the roots of terrorism.  Development questions should be addressed ever more vigorously.  In this respect, it was necessary to ensure that international terrorism could not infringe on the common efforts and commitments aimed at promoting sustainable development, at the equitable distribution of the benefits of globalization, and at the achievement of the millennium goals -– above all, poverty eradication.  The international community had to work for the full and timely implementation of the plan of action adopted during the Third Conference of Least Developed Countries in May.  And there had to be assurances of success of the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey next year.


The Secretary-General had widely stated in his report the need to find peaceful solutions in Central Asia.  The search for these peaceful solutions to regional conflicts, which all too often were a breeding ground for terrorism, had to be intensified.  Pace should be accelerated towards the establishment of the International Criminal Court, as a timely response to combat impunity for crimes against humanity.  The dialogue among civilizations and within civilizations must be promoted as an antidote to blind and savage terror, to bigotry and hatred.  And the plight of those who suffered from terrorism, be it as immediate victims or as refugees, had to be addressed.


MAKARIM WIBISONO (Indonesia) said when one spoke of globalization, one spoke of threats, weapons, communications, environment, economy and other pertinent issues in a global context.  It meant far-reaching changes were taking place in world affairs to which no nation was immune, and requiring adjustments to approaches to global issues and interest to all nations through a strengthened and democratized United Nations.  Indonesia had attached particular importance to multilateralism in peacefully resolving the myriad of problems confronting the international community.  His country was undergoing a profound democratic process based on openness, tolerance and inclusiveness.  Its vision was the preservation of democratic pluralism and cultural diversity and the creation of a modern state.


He said the report had noted the uncertainties concerning the strategic relationships and the persistence of diverse views on priorities.  Consequently, there was little doubt that the question of nuclear disarmament had entered a new dangerous era, as commitments of the 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Non-proliferation Treaty had remained unfulfilled.  The deadlock in the Conference on Disarmament was compounding the situation.  Global military expenditures had registered a steep increase.  Those ominous developments called for the resumption of negotiations on the priority issues of disarmament, with determination to reach agreements.


As to the critically important issue of sustainable development, he was pleased to note that numerous initiatives had been undertaken in implementing Agenda 21.  It was also encouraging that a growing number of companies had adopted sustainable development as an essential element of corporate stewardship.  In the days ahead, the need for greater efficiency on the part of the aid community in the area of humanitarian relief would become more acute than ever.  In providing humanitarian assistance during armed conflicts, the continuum from relief to development and the transition from conflict to peace had to be taken into account.  He hoped that during these uncertain times the hopes and aspirations of those in vulnerable groups would not be overlooked.  The Second World Assembly on Ageing next year would offer an important opportunity in that regard.  Issues relating to the disabled and to youth must also not be lost in the days ahead, he said.


MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) said that in light of the numerous conflicts that afflicted Africa, the Secretary-General’s emphasis on the prevention of conflicts was well-placed.  Regional and sub-regional organizations could play a crucial role in prevention, and pro-active approaches had already been successful in preventing conflicts from spreading.  The United Nations system, together with Bretton Woods institutions, could play a vital role in creating a peaceful environment and addressing the root causes of conflict.


The United Nations and the international community should continue to provide the necessary resources for peacekeeping operations in Africa, just as was done elsewhere, he said.  The implementation of the Lusaka ceasefire agreement was progressing smoothly.  Remarkable progress had been made in inter-Congolese dialogue; the ceasefire had been holding for a long time; and parties were withdrawing in line with their commitments.  The aspirations of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination could not be compromised, and the United Nations Plan for Western Sahara remained the only legal instrument for resolution of the question.


He said that though the HIV/AIDS pandemic had continued to spread, there had been positive developments in the international sphere, such as the Millennium Declaration’s resolve to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS and the successful conclusion of the twenty-sixth special session of the General Assembly on HIV/AIDS.  Development and poverty eradication remained a priority for the United Nations, especially in Africa, where the burden of poverty is disproportionate.  He welcomed the commitment of the General Assembly’s prioritization of the development of Africa and noted the resolve demonstrated by the Organization of African Unity’s adoption of the New African Initiative.


KAMALESH SHARMA (India) said armed conflict was the traditional threat to peace, prosperity and security.  Studies showed that the number of armed conflicts had dropped in the last few years, but they still created instability and inflicted suffering on millions.  While there was agreement with many of the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General’s report on the Prevention of Armed Conflict, it was believed that action was required to strengthen and spread democratic governance, to remove poverty, and to seriously address the question of disarmament.  Above all, there must be respect for the principles of inter-State relations and a commitment to settle disputes through peaceful negotiations.


Integral to the efforts to end terrorism and prevent armed conflict was the denial to the perpetrators of access to arms and ammunition, he said.  India agreed with the Secretary-General’s assessment that the Programme of Action adopted by the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms was a significant first step, but it had to be urgently and fully implemented.  In the meantime, it was important to build consensus on the outstanding issues, particularly on the supply of weapons to non-State actors.


While terrorism and armed conflict posed dramatic and violent threats, endemic poverty was the single most important challenge confronting humanity, he said.  In the Millennium Declaration, world leaders resolved to reduce by half the number of people who lived in absolute poverty by 2015.  With a much sharper focus on poverty eradication, the United Nations must ensure that justice be provided to the world’s population that earned less than $2 a day.  In Africa, the failure to eradicate poverty had been the most acute.  The rate of poverty eradication there was six times too slow to meet the 2015 deadline.  The New African Initiative adopted by the Organization of African Unity Summit in July centered on African ownership, and also called on the rest of the world to complement its efforts.


The United Nations’ role in providing humanitarian assistance was important, he added.  The report stated that the growing need for this assistance required greater efficiency in relief efforts.  This could be so, but it missed the more important point that additional resources were required.  The report noted that less than 33 per cent of the requests listed in the consolidated appeals for 2001 had been met.  What was even more troubling, however, was that this seemed to confirm a trend.  In 1994, 80 per cent of the requirements were met -- last year, only 59 per cent were met.


While the United Nations had done much over the past year to harness information and communication technologies to advance the millennium development goals, India recognized that the belief that there was a technological bullet that could solve illiteracy, ill-health or economic failure reflected a scant understanding of real poverty.  A judicious blend of basic social, education and health services with the development of both "brick and click" industries was required for sustained human development and poverty reduction, he concluded.


YUKIO SATOH (Japan) said that the terrorist attacks against the United States posed a new and heightened threat to international peace and security.  The world was not yet free from more traditional threats to international security, such as the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the Middle East, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kosovo and East Timor.  In light of the increased numbers and the expanded scope of operations, the Japanese Government was considering strengthening its contributions to United Nations peacekeeping operations.  Japan would also continue to lead efforts to enhance the safety and security of all personnel engaged in peace activities.  In addition, Japan would submit a draft resolution on nuclear disarmament that would outline a concrete path toward a nuclear-weapons-free world.


Global environmental degradation and HIV/AIDS demanded urgent action, he said.  Negotiations to ensure that the Kyoto Protocol would go into effect in 2002 were at a critical stage.  It was important for all States to follow the same rule as they implemented measures to curb global warming.  Japan continued to seek the understanding and cooperation of all relevant countries on this matter, particularly the United States.


Promoting international cooperation in combating the scourge of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases was yet another priority policy objective of Japan, he said.  During last year's G-8 Summit, Japan had established the Okinawa Infectious Diseases Initiative, under which it would, over the next five years, extend financial and technical assistance amounting to United States 3 billion dollars to help combat HIV/AIDS.  More recently, Japan had committed to contribute 200 million dollars to the Global AIDS and Health Fund.   


MOHAMMED ALDOURI (Iraq) said the report of the Secretary-General was comprehensive, referring to numerous important topics, including the achievement of peace and security, international law and order, and human rights.  Iraq agreed that the United Nations was trying to build a world based on justice and order.  It was also agreed that this could only be achieved by respecting the rule of law in international affairs.  That would ensure that brutal power would not prevail.


The Secretary-General reported that he could not verify Iraq’s compliance with Security Council resolutions relating to weapons of mass destruction.  This conclusion did not reflect the reality of the situation, nor did it reflect the real concerns of the United Nations.  It was hoped that the Secretary-General would invite the Security Council to lift the inhumane sanctions.  The Secretary-General expressed concern over the halting of monitoring activities since 16 December 1998, but he did not express concern over the aggression imposed against Iraq from 16 December 1998 to 19 December 1998 by the United States and the United Kingdom.  This aggression killed many people and destroyed important infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and people’s homes.  Yet, there had been no sanctions against either the United States or the United Kingdom.  All fair-minded States of the world, including three permanent members of the Security Council, said that the sanctions against Iraq should come to an end.


Since 1999, the United States and Britain imposed no-fly zones on Iraq, he said.  That was by unilateral resolutions, and they used military force to enforce the zones.  This unilateral use of force was a continuous gross violation of the United Nations Charter, yet the United Nations did nothing to stem it.  The Secretary-General himself said there was no basis for imposing no-fly zones in Iraq.  The Secretary-General, referring in his report to missing persons, ignored the numerous Iraqi initiatives to try to solve the problem of the missing people.  Iraq had wanted to continue with the work of the tripartite committee under the aegis of the International Committee of the Red Cross.  It was Iraq that proposed the starting of a dialogue with the Secretary-General.  The first round was held last February, and the second round was supposed to be held in March.  But it was the Secretary-General who canceled the second round.  In July, he announced that the second round would be held when the Security Council had completed its deliberations.


The Secretary-General also referred to the Oil for Food Programme.  The Secretary-General stated that the Government of Iraq’s delay in contracting humanitarian supplies and equipment was of great concern.  This was inaccurate.  Despite the great obstacles in the contracting process, the Iraqis reached agreements on all stages, and some contracts even exceeded their allocations.  But the Oil for Food Programme still had obstacles put in its place by the United States and Britain.  More than $2 billion of contracts had been hampered, under the pretext of review.  Food should not be used to influence economic or political pressure.  This violated the rights of Iraqi citizens’ right to food –- and that was echoed by a former Assistant Secretary-General and by an expert of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  Equitable positions on Iraq had to be adopted.  The sanctions had killed more than 1.5 million citizens.


OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) strongly endorsed the notion that prevention should be the focus of the United Nations.  Fighting poverty, underdevelopment, and environmental degradation must be at the top of the agenda.  He noted with regret the continuing vulnerability of civilian populations throughout the world to natural disasters, complex emergencies and deliberate targeting for violence.  Because of their severity, Africa’s problems should continue to be among the Organization’s highest priorities.


The HIV/AIDS pandemic continued to be a grave concern to his country, he said.  Over 36 million people in the world were living with AIDS and 22 million had already died from the virus.  Africa was the continent most affected by AIDS, which was now the leading cause of death in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Rapidly increasing rates of HIV infections in Eastern Europe, South Asia and Southeast Asia made the situation of great concern to all.


In the wake of recent terrorist attacks, still higher priority should be given to developing and strengthening the international legal order, he said.  Early establishment of the International Criminal Court would be welcome.  Identifying and holding the perpetrators of the attacks of 11 September accountable was crucially important to preventing similar attacks.  The Secretary-General was right to devote much of his time to the situation in the Middle East, which had brought extensive loss of life and raised serious concerns.    


JOHN DAUTH (Australia) said one of the strengths of the United Nations system was its capacity to adjust to changing international conditions.  The Organization could only remain effective, as the Secretary-General had said, if it preserved that tradition of innovation which was illustrated in the Organization's role in East Timor.  It had been a success story of the United Nations, but its role was not yet complete.  East Timor would require a substantial international presence after independence if the transition to an effective democratic administration was to be completed.  That international presence should be provided through an integrated United Nations mission comprising civilian, civilian police and peacekeeping components, under a single Security Council mandate and funded from United Nations assessed contributions.


Although not mentioned in the report, he hoped the issue of people smuggling would attract increased attention in the future.  It was a growing area of transnational criminal activity which exploited existing international agreements designed for humanitarian purposes.  The issue was of particular concern to his country, but also of increasing global concern, and beyond the ability of any country to solve it unilaterally.  A coordinated approach was required, both at the source of the problem -- where many factors caused people to leave or flee -- and in transit and destination countries which facilitated smuggling operations.


International conventions and norms needed to be examined to ensure that they did not inadvertently create opportunities for people smugglers, he said.  The United Nations had an increasingly important role to play in dealing with critical elements of that new disturbing situation, including, through a renewed focus, a more coordinated response to the criminal gangs that preyed on people's hopes and fears.  He supported efforts to address the problem of outflow at its source, and welcomed the joint initiative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to convene a forum on Afghan refugees in Geneva early next month.


JEAN DE RUYT (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, expressed deep concern at the persistence of humanitarian crises in several regions and indignation over violence against humanitarian personnel.  It also welcomed the reinforced partnership between the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and other parts of the United Nations system, which had enabled humanitarian and peacekeeping operations to be more aware of human rights violations.


He said that development, sustainable development, the fight against poverty and specific action towards the least developed countries (LDCs) remained priority objectives of the European Union.  It was particularly pleased with the success of the General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS which had placed the struggle against the scourge at the forefront of the concerns of States, private industry and the medical world.  The Union had been particularly active in preparing the Brussels Conference on Least Developed Countries in May.


Turning to peacekeeping and crisis management, he noted the good work carried out in restoring the difficult operation in Sierra Leone, the success of operations in East Timor, Ethiopia and Eritrea and the deployment of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC).  In addition, cooperation between international organizations had allowed the containment of the crisis growing in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.


Beyond that, he said, worrying trouble spots remained where the United Nations was less present, including Burundi, West Africa and the Middle East, where the attention of the entire international community remained focused even after the events of 11 September.  The Israeli-Palestinian conflict weighed heavily on the region’s stability.  The European Union strongly encouraged the parties to pick the path of peace through direct dialogue on the implementation of the recommendations of the Fact Finding Committee, which should allow the earliest resumption of negotiations on the final status of the occupied territories.


DAUDI N. MWAKAWAGO (United Republic of Tanzania) expressed heartfelt sympathies and sincere condolences to the Government and people of the United States on the tragic events of September 11.  He then commended the Secretary-General for his presentation of the report on the Work of the Organization.  The document reviewed the efforts of the United Nations in terms of constructive solutions to fundamental problems and recognition of the complexities of tasks.  More importantly, however, it attempted to underline the significance of the United Nations as an instrument of global cooperation.


Underscoring some of his own concerns, he cited protection of and assistance for refugees as a primary challenge for Africa.  Over the years, his own country, for example, had hosted thousands of refugees from neighbouring countries.  That presence in the United Republic of Tanzania had created an additional and heavy financial burden, notwithstanding the security concerns, environmental degradation, theft and violence perpetuated against Tanzanians.  Anybody reading the report, however, might conclude that his country was hosting only about 100,000 refugees.  "The truth of the matter is that we are currently hosting over 500,000 from Burundi; over 170,000 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and over 10,000 from Rwanda", he said.  His delegation therefore wished to stress the need to ascertain the correct number of refugees worldwide and the tremendous burden on host countries.


While his Government recognized that the needs of refugees were great, they were however, not greater than those of the nationals of host countries.  It was important therefore that the question of refugees should receive serious attention by the international community.  A piecemeal approach, while offering temporary respite, did not address really critical questions.  Turning to the issue of poverty, he agreed with the report that if the international community were to meet its goals of development and poverty eradication, economic growth in developing economies must be accelerated.  Also, given its limited capacity, he stressed that Africa could not afford to be left on its own to fight HIV/AIDS.  It must be assisted in building the capacity to tackle the spread of the pandemic and other infectious diseases associated with it.


SRGJAN KERIM (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)  said that in the globalized world, none of the crucial issues with which the United Nations was dealing could be resolved within a national framework.  There was a need for concerted action against national terrorism and he supported setting up an international terrorism network.  He also supported efforts to strengthen the capacities of the peacekeeping operations, noting that the focus should be on conflict prevention.  He stressed the need for enhanced institutional cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, to cope with emerging challenges in different parts of the world.  While he agreed that the Conference on Small Arms and the adopted Programme of Action were significant global steps towards preventing, combating and eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, an enhanced follow-up process was needed.  The problem of small arms proliferation posed a serious threat to the security and stability of his country and of the broader region, especially after the civil unrest in Albania and the conflict in Kosovo.  He favoured strong action to combat the illicit trade.


Regarding the situation in his country, he emphasized the importance of the role of the United Nations Interim Administration Commission in Kosovo and the Multinational Force in Kosovo in combating organized crime and terrorist activities originating from Kosovo.  The Framework Agreement, aimed at overcoming the serious political and security crisis in the Republic of Macedonia, envisaged an active role for the international community in facilitating, monitoring and assisting its implementation.  Within this context, it was necessary to ensure the return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes within the shortest possible timeframe. 


He said the lessons that had to be drawn from the situation in the Republic of Macedonia were: Macedonia's sovereignty and territorial integrity must be preserved; there were no territorial solutions to ethnic issues; use of violence in pursuit of political aims should be rejected completely; and the multiethnic character of the society must be preserved.  Those principles should serve as a basis for the assessments and activities of the United Nations, particularly the Council and the Secretary-General, in their future activities in the spirit of close cooperation with the Macedonian authorities.    


NGUYEN THANH CHAU (Viet Nam) said the Secretary-General’s report showed that maintaining peace and security in a globalized world was closely tied to promoting sustainable development and social justice.  Those were closely linked and critical issues that could not be resolved in a national framework.  Development cooperation was the solid foundation on which to build stability as well as economic and social development.  The United Nations was the instrument most suited to galvanize common national efforts in the task.


He said that in its focus on conflict prevention and peace-building, the United Nations should expend more efforts on addressing the root causes of conflicts in a comprehensive and consistent manner.  In both peacekeeping and peace-building, priority should be given to preventing conflict, since it was more costly and difficult to settle once it broke out.  The United Nations had taken a number of good steps in that direction recently.


Touching on other issues in the report, he said sanctions should not be used so that they precipitated humanitarian distress.  Indefinitely imposed sanctions were counter-productive and served no purpose.  The recent Security Council efforts to develop benchmarks for smart sanctions were welcome.  The Council should put the regimes under regular period review and lift sanctions that brought about adverse impacts, particularly on the innocent and on neighbouring countries.  Also, development was a huge challenge for many countries and the United Nations.  The Secretary-General’s recommendations for rendering globalization inclusive and equitable could create the favourable environment that would enable developing countries to take part in the global economy.     


      Rights of Reply


The representative of Turkey, exercising a right of reply, said it had come to the delegation’s attention that this morning another delegation had taken the floor and had repeated a litany of well-known allegations regarding the Turkish Cypriots.  The Turkish Cypriot authorities would respond to these allegations in due course.


The representative of Kuwait, exercising a right of reply, said it was important to underline the misinformation in the statement of Iraq.  Kuwait was fully committed to the statement made by the Ambassador of Kuwait.  Kuwait never offended Iraq in its statement -- there was simply a reference to the Secretary-General’s report on the non-compliance of Iraq.  It did not misquote the report, and there were no distortions of facts.  Regarding Kuwaiti disappeared persons, relevant resolutions did not mention in any way Iraqi disappeared, but the International Committee of the Red Cross called on Iraq to release Kuwaiti prisoners of war and disappeared persons.  The tripartite party agreed to discuss the issue of Iraqi disappeared persons, and thus the Iraq accusation that the Security Council was biased was wrong.  Security Council resolutions created the tripartite party to free Kuwaiti prisoners of war.  As for peaceful overtures by Iraq, that was merely an attempt to run around Security Council resolutions.  There was another allegation that was false -- no aircraft had left Kuwait to attack Iraq.


The representative of Cyprus said Turkey’s representative had referred to the statement of one delegation, meaning Cyprus, mentioning Turkey in regard to paragraph 39 of the report.  The item had been on the agenda for years because Turkey continued to occupy parts of the Cypriot island.  Further, Turkey’s representative had referred to a letter naming an area that had no standing with the Organization.  It was not the first time Turkey had referred to a body the Security Council had condemned.


The representative of Iraq, exercising a right of reply, said it had to clarify some facts that were raised by Kuwait.  When Kuwait yesterday attacked Iraq, Iraq did not request the floor.  Yet Iraq was forced to do so today because of the misinformation and distortion expressed by the Kuwaiti delegation.  States were not allowed to exaggerate or distort the interpretations of the Secretary-General in his report, which he submitted annually.  Iraq concurred with the statement of the Kuwaiti delegation that the contents of the Kuwaiti speech should be re-read and then compared with the Secretary-General’s report, particularly paragraph 31.  The Secretary-General did not hold Iraq responsible, but the remarks made by Kuwait did not reflect that.  With regard to Iraqi missing persons, it abided by Security Council resolutions.  For four years, Iraq participated in the meetings of the tripartite commission on the subject of Kuwaiti missing persons, and missing persons from other states.  The subject of Iraqi missing persons was also under the aegis of the tripartite commission, which met occasionally in Geneva.  Iraq stated the need to give special attention to Iraqi missing persons.  There was no disagreement on this matter because it was in sync with international humanitarian law.


Iraq took numerous initiatives, and the Kuwaiti delegation said Iraq was running around its responsibilities and commitments.  The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq suggested bilateral talks between Iraq and Kuwait, and Kuwait did not respond to these.  It was apparent who was trying to escape discussing this subject.


The representative of Kuwait said he had not attacked Iraq.  The statement was available to all.  One had only to look at paragraph 31 to ask that Iraq reconsider its position for the embargo to be lifted.  Regarding disappeared persons, Iraq talked of humanitarian law but did not want to participate in the tripartite talks.  It was Iraq who was not responding.  There was no point sitting down in a dialogue when Iraq had no information on the 137 Kuwaiti prisoners it had mentioned.  Paragraph 31 of the report showed the truth of the situation.  


The representative of Iraq, exercising a second right of reply, said paragraph 31 included much information raised by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.  However, the Secretary-General never stated that Iraq was internationally responsible.  While the statement of Kuwait ascribed the Secretary-General as saying Iraq was internationally responsible, that was erroneous.  There was not one Kuwaiti or non-Kuwaiti prisoner of war in Iraq.  The tripartite commission was looking into the issue of missing persons, not prisoners of war.  The ceasefire resolution enjoined Iraq to release all prisoners of all nationalities.  That resolution was considered implemented.  As for the statement that Iraq never provided information on Kuwaiti prisoners of wars, that was not correct.  Iraq had provided 5,000 names to Kuwait.  The current number of missing persons, according to Kuwaiti files, was 598.  If the International Committee of the Red Cross had a representative in the hall, he could confirm that number.  Iraq was prepared to continue considering the issue of missing persons –- it was a humanitarian issue, and it should not be exploited for political ends.


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