04/11/2003
Press Release
GA/10203



Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Plenary

54th & 55th Meetings (AM & PM)


GENERAL ASSEMBLY, FOR TWELFTH STRAIGHT YEAR, ADOPTS TEXT ON NECESSITY


OF ENDING UNITED STATES EMBARGO AGAINST CUBA


Also Adopts Text on IAEA Report by Recorded Vote


For the twelfth straight year, the General Assembly today overwhelmingly adopted a resolution on the necessity of ending the four-decade-old economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba.


In a resolution, adopted by a vote of 179 in favour to three against (Israel, Marshall Islands and United States), with two abstentions (Morocco and Micronesia), the Assembly expressed its concern that since its earliest resolution on the matter in 1991, further measures had been taken by the United States to strengthen and extend the restrictions, which adversely affected the Cuban people and Cuban nationals living in other countries.  (See Annex I for details)


Chiefly concerned by the application of laws and regulations, such as the United States 1996 Helms-Burton Act, “the extraterritorial effects of which affect the sovereignty of other States, the legitimate interest of entities or persons under their jurisdiction and the freedom of trade and navigation”, the Assembly once again, urged States to take the necessary steps to repeal or invalidate such measures, as soon as possible.


Likening the effects of the embargo to genocide, Felipe Perez Roque, Cuba’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, said the blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba must be lifted and the Helms-Burton Act repealed.  The United States had no right to determine or influence economic structures within Cuba.  It must allow Cuba to freely import and export from within its own territory.  In the meantime, Cubans were far from surrendering, were more united than ever and had tapped new sources of strength to preserve their sovereignty and freedoms.


The representative of the United States said the resolution constituted an attempt by Cuba to detract attention from its deplorable track record on human rights.  The measures imposed by the United States, a bilateral issue between it and Cuba, did not actually constitute a blockade, as it did not affect Cuba’s trade with other nations.  Cuba remained free to trade with any other country -- a freedom it was exercising.  Cuba’s best day, he stated, would come when Cubans opened their eyes and saw freedom, when they opened their mouths and proclaimed “Cuba libre”, when they said to President Castro, “Hasta la vista, baby”.


In other action today, the Assembly adopted a resolution on the annual report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  By that text, adopted by a vote of 129 in favour to one against (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), the world body affirmed its support for the Agency’s indispensable role in encouraging and assisting the development of practical application of atomic energy for peaceful uses and in technology transfer to developing countries and in nuclear safety, verification and security.  (See Annex II for details)


Explaining his vote, the representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea said that it was totally irrelevant for the IAEA to refer to his country’s implementation of the responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).  The Democratic People's Republic of Korea had withdrawn from the NPT, due to the hostile policy of the United States.  That withdrawal had been a legitimate exercise of the country’s sovereign rights, under

the Treaty.


That report, he continued, contained inaccuracies, as it claimed the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was not in compliance with its obligations under the NPT and had admitted to having a uranium enrichment programme, both of which were untrue. 


The Assembly also discussed the situation in Central America and progress in fashioning a region of peace, freedom, democracy and development.  The representative of Costa Rica, who spoke on behalf of the Central American Integration System, said the consolidation of peace and democracy in Central America was the result of the hard work of the people and governments in the region.  As of now, all countries of the region had freely-elected democratic governments.  Still, there were concerns over high levels of poverty, which were close to those in the 1980s.  The struggle continued, and the peoples of Central America deserved improved quality of life.


Also addressing the Assembly today were the representatives of Mexico, Morocco (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), China, Jamaica (on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)), Malaysia, Viet Nam, Namibia, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Sudan, Iran, Guinea, Zambia, Libya, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Syria, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Ghana, Australia, India, Uruguay (on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR)), Guatemala, Canada, Nicaragua, Norway and El Salvador.  


Speaking in explanation of vote were the representatives of the Russian Federation, Italy (on behalf of the European Union), Japan, Uruguay (on behalf of Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR)), Australia, Belarus and Norway.


Exercising their right of reply were the representatives of Cuba and Japan.


The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 5 November, to take up matters related to the zone of peace and cooperation in the South Atlantic.  It is also expected to begin its discussion of the Secretary-General’s report on assistance in mine action, and to take action on a draft resolution on global road safety crisis.


Background


The General Assembly met today to consider the necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba.  It was also expected to conclude its consideration of the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as well as begin its consideration of the situation in Central America and the zone of peace and cooperation in the South Atlantic.


For a summary of the IAEA report and the related resolution, see Press Release GA/10201 issued on 3 November.


The Secretary-General’s report on the United States embargo against Cuba (document A/58/287) reproduces the replies of governments and of organs and agencies of the United Nations that had been received as of 16 July on the implementation of the resolution adopted last year by the Assembly on the same issue. 


In its letter to the Secretary-General, Cuba states that throughout these last 44 years, a total of 10 different United States administrations have merely reinforced and expanded the complex system of laws and measures that make up the embargo established by the United States Government against the people of Cuba.  The current United States Government has tightened the measures and prohibitions of the embargo to an unprecedented extent.  Preliminary studies have shown that the total amount of economic losses incurred by Cuba during the more than four decades of the embargo could already surpass $72 billion. 


The extraterritorial application of the United States Government’s embargo against Cuba, institutionalized and systematized through the Torricelli and Helms-Burton Acts, in addition to violating international law, has provoked serious additional damages to the national economy over the last decade.  The current United States administration’s non-objection to sales of some foodstuffs to Cuba should not be interpreted as a relaxation of the embargo policy.  On the contrary, the numerous obstacles and severe restrictions applied to these sales demonstrate the depth and all-encompassing scope of this illegal policy of unilateral action. 


The related draft resolution (document A/58/L.4) would have the Assembly reiterate its call on all States to refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures such as the “Helms-Burton Act”, the extraterritorial effects of which affect the sovereignty of other States, the legitimate interests of entities or persons under their jurisdiction and the freedom of trade and navigation, in conformity with their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and in international law, which inter alia, reaffirm the freedom of trade and navigation.


The Assembly also had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala:  renewal of mandate (document A/58/262), which describes a complex and precarious political context that has slowed implementation of the agreements reached between the Government and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca.  It states that the coming year will be decisive for the future of Guatemala's peace process. 


The Mission was to be phased out at the end of this year, but in light of the efforts to implement the 1996 peace agreements -- repeatedly frustrated by false starts and failed expectations -- Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo had requested that it be extended to cover the new Government's first 12 months in office.  Following consultations, the Secretary-General has now recommended the extension of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala’s (MINUGUA) mandate until 31 December 2004 and lays out the proposed structure and staffing requirements in the report. 


While MINUGUA has verified some progress in specific areas like the approval of a reparations programme for victims of human rights abuses committed during the armed conflict, too many governmental initiatives were inconclusive or limited in relation to the magnitude of the problems they sought to address.  Advances tend to be overshadowed in the public eye by a worsening security situation, persistent corruption, ongoing persecution of human rights activists and other negative developments.


The report also says that the November elections will be held in an increasingly tense and polarized atmosphere, and it notes some violent incidents had already occurred during the early campaign period.  At stake are the presidency, all 158 congressional seats and 331 municipal governments.  The new Government, together with civil society and the private sector, must work with increased energy and commitment to lead the country into a new period characterized by the rule of law and full human development.


Another report by the Secretary-General on MINUGUA (document A/58/267) is the eighth on the verification of the peace agreements reached between the Government and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca.  The report covers the period from 1 May 2002 to 15 July 2003, which was a difficult period for Guatemala.  It states that implementation of the peace accords has lagged.  While there have been some advances, the sustainability of the peace process can be ensured only if Guatemalans assume full ownership and responsibility to carry it forward.


The complex and sweeping nature of the accords makes progress difficult even when sufficient political will and financial resources are available, states the report.  But the scale of the problems or the time necessary for their resolution should not become a justification for failing to advance more decisively on this path.  Great challenges require great efforts, and although the present report documents some important progress and many reasons to remain optimistic, it is also a reminder that more substantial efforts are needed.


The report calls on the international community to continue to focus its cooperation in the framework of the peace accords, while national efforts are being strengthened at the same time to sustain the process.  Even as MINUGA phases out its operations in Guatemala, the United Nations will remain engaged, steadfast in the conviction that the peace accords are the best and only workable path for lasting peace and development in the country. 


The report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Central America (document A/58/270) addresses developments in the region during the past year, in particular efforts to overcome the aftermath of the conflicts of the 1980s, and to build equitable, democratic and peaceful societies.


The General Assembly was first seized of the situation in Central America in 1983, when violent conflicts engulfed the region.  The United Nations has actively accompanied countries in Central America in their endeavours to end armed conflict and encourage peaceful and equitable societies since 1989, when governments


requested that the Organization verify compliances with provisions of the agreement they had reached in 1987 at Esquipulas, Guatemala (documents

A/42/521-S/19085, annex).


The report observes that political inclusion provides an avenue for resolving differences in non-violent ways.  In societies torn by armed conflict, inclusion puts to the test the solidarity of institutions and the political system that emerges from peace agreements.  The fight against impunity remains the main challenge for the region, and the deterioration of human rights in Guatemala and the cases of intimidation as the electoral process approaches are worrying.  The proposal by civil society to investigate armed groups has merit, and should receive the full support of the international community.  Steps taken to promote transparency in weapons inventories and in budgetary allocations are positive indications of changes that some armed forces have undergone.


Still, decisive action is required to combat corruption on which impunity thrives.  State security policies should have as a priority the strengthening of civilian police bodies as the main instruments to protect citizens from criminal activities.  The system for vetting police officers, keeping their performance under review and punishing those guilty of corruption and abuse should also be strengthened.  In addition, adequate control should be exercised over private security initiatives.


Also before the Assembly was the report of the Secretary-General on the zone of peace and cooperation of the South Atlantic (document A/58/265), which contains replies and communications from three governments and five organizations and United Nations bodies on the implementation of the declaration of the zone of peace and cooperation of the South Atlantic.  The three governments are Argentina, Mexico and the Sudan; and the five organizations are the Department of Disarmament Affairs, the Department of Public Information, the International Labour Organization, the International Maritime Organization and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.


While reaffirming the importance of the purpose of the zone as the basis for the development of cooperation among the countries of the region, Argentina also believed that it is necessary to renew and strengthen its content.  The objectives of peace and cooperation for which the zone was established will be attained only when the institutions of representative democracy are fully operative and when respect for human rights and fundamental freedom is attained in the countries of the region.  Additionally, it also believes that the zone represents an appropriate forum for providing those nations which so request with the tools for cooperation in the peaceful settlement of conflicts.


In its reply, Mexico similarly expresses support for efforts to consolidate the zone in the belief that such zones also promote disarmament, non-proliferation, implementation of confidence-building measures, socio-economic development and protection of the environment.  Greater cooperation and dialogue among the various zones of peace will help to achieve specific common objectives, such as de-nuclearization, eradication of the illicit trade in small and light weapons, preservation of seas and oceans and the combating of drag trafficking, illegal fishing and other forms of transnational organized crime. 


The Sudan similarly restated its commitment to abide and to implement all pertinent resolutions on the matter.  To that end, Sudan had taken measures to enforce existing laws and promulgate new regulations with a view to consolidating its efforts to combat trafficking ins small arm and drugs; exchange of experiences and promotion of cooperation and coordination with its neighbours.


The Department of Disarmament Affairs in its response outlined the progress made since the submission of the last report on the zone of peace and cooperation of the South Atlantic, noting that several States in the region had signed, acceded to or ratified multilateral disarmament treaties and conventions.  The Department of Public Information similarly highlighted the activities carried out by the United Nations information centres in the South Atlantic region in support of the zone of peace; including seminars, panels, press conferences, interviews, videoconferences, radio programmes and workshops on peacekeeping, disarmament and humanitarian assistance among others. 


The draft resolution on the zone of peace and cooperation of the South Atlantic (document A/58/L.12) would have the Assembly call on all States to cooperate in the promotion of the objectives established in the declaration of the zone of peace and cooperation of the South Atlantic and to refrain from any action inconsistent with those objectives.  It would also welcome the offer by Benin to host the sixth meeting of the States members of the zone and request the relevant organizations, organs and bodies of the United Nations system to render all appropriate assistance that States members of the zone may seek in their joint efforts to implement the declaration of the zone of peace and cooperation of the South Atlantic.


Statements


LUIS ALFONSO DE ALBA (Mexico) said that his country rejected economic blockades against any nation.  Mexico based its policies on the principles of international law, such as non-intervention, self-determination, and equality of States.  That was why his Government had repeatedly voiced its rejection of any political, economic or military sanctions that had not been explicitly approved by the Security Council or the General Assembly.  It had consistently opposed the economic blockade against Cuba and had supported all Assembly resolutions to that effect.


Mexico had consistently noted that the “Helms-Burton Act” was inconsistent with international law, he stated.  Mexico had a long history with Cuba and, in mid-October, held the third meeting on Joint Cooperation for Development Mexico-Cuba Commission.  The blockade against Cuba must be brought to an end, he continued.  During the past decade, the Assembly had repeatedly asked nations to refrain from unilaterally imposing laws which affected the sovereignty of States.  At the current session, Mexico, for the twelfth time, would renew its call for an end to the blockade, which contravened not only Mexico’s laws but also the United Nations Charter.


MOULAY LAHCEN ABOUTAHIR (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed against Cuba was a unilateral action, whose extraterritorial effects had no validity in international law.  It must be lifted immediately to allow the free flow of international trade.  Among the concerns underscored by the Group at its 2000 South-South Summit in Havana, Cuba, was the need for developed countries to eliminate laws and regulations with adverse extraterritorial effects and other forms of unilateral economic coercive measures inconsistent with the principles of international law, the United Nations Charter and the principles of the multilateral trading system.


At that Summit, the Group had also underlined its concern over the impact of economic sanctions on the civilian population and development capacity of targeted countries, he added.  Therefore, it had urged the international community to exhaust all peaceful methods before resorting to sanctions.  Sanctions should only be considered as a last resort.  Furthermore, if necessary, sanctions must only be established in conformity with the Charter and they must possess clear objectives, a clear time frame and provisions for regular review and precise conditions for their lifting.  They should never be used as a form of punishment or to exact retribution.


The economic embargo served no other purpose than to preserve tension between two neighbouring countries and to impose untold hardship and suffering on the people of Cuba, he concluded.  The replacement of the embargo with greater dialogue and cooperation would contribute immensely to the removal of that tension and promote meaningful exchange and partnership between two countries whose destinies were linked by history and geography.


ZHANG YISHAN (China) said that forcing a country to give up its chosen road of development, and to attempt to overthrow its Government through embargo and sanctions, ran counter to the principles of the Charter.  It also violated the principle of democracy.  The United States embargo against Cuba had been ongoing for more than 40 years under the auspices of enhancing democracy and human rights in that nation.  However, the embargo had, instead, constrained Cuba’s nation building, its efforts to eradicate poverty, improve people’s living standard and promote economic and social development.  The extraterritorial effects of the financial embargo had violated international law and principles, as well.  Currently, 78 nations had suffered economic losses as a result of the embargo.


The international community should demand an immediate end to the embargo, he stated.  The sovereign equality of States and non-interference in their internal affairs remained the essence of norms guiding present-day international relations.  It was his country’s position that the principles of the Charter should be abided by in efforts to promote the democratization of international relations and common development and prosperity of all countries.  Differences between States should be solved through dialogue and cooperation on the basis of equality and respect.  The Chinese Government opposed the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba.


STAFFORD NEIL (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said he joined those who supported bringing an end to the United States’ economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba.  He reaffirmed the importance attached by CARICOM States to the strict observance of international law and to freedom of trade and navigation.  The CARICOM stood resolutely opposed to extra territorial application of national legislation which sought to impose artificial barriers to trade and cooperation, and which was contrary to the principle of the sovereign equality of States. 


The CARICOM States, he continued, in keeping with their policy of mutual respect, good neighbourliness and respect for the Charter, maintained friendly relations with both Cuba and the United States.  Accordingly, he reiterated the call for constructive dialogue and normalization of relations, which was in the interest of all parties.  For those in the Caribbean region, that would remove a source of tension and conflict and improve the climate for peaceful development and cooperation in the region.  The CARICOM nations supported the draft and would vote in favour of it.


RASTAM MOHD ISA (Malaysia) said he joined the rest of the international community in calling for an immediate end to the embargo imposed by the United States on Cuba and its people.  The Assembly had consistently adopted, by an overwhelming majority of votes, a resolution calling for an immediate end to that embargo.  The policy, adopted by the most powerful nation in the world against its small neighbour, was perplexing.  That policy was said to bring a peaceful transition to democracy, yet the prolonged embargo had caused untold suffering to the Cuban population.  It had also impeded Cuba’s socio-economic development potential.


The unilateral policy of the United States ran counter to the spirit of the Charter, he stated, adding that it had completely ignored the current trend towards calls for increased understanding and dialogue.  The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) had reiterated the collective rejection by the developing countries of that policy, and expressed its deep concern at the extraterritorial application of laws, in particular the Helms-Burton Act of 1996.  Malaysia joined NAM’s call to end the embargo.  The application of laws by the United States were intended to restrict Cuba’s access to much needed markets, capital, technology and investment, in order to exert pressure on Cuba into changing its political and economic system.  That was not consistent with the universally accepted principles of international law, the Charter, and the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO).


SICHAN SIV (United States) said the draft resolution on lifting the embargo against Cuba constituted an attempt by that country to detract attention from its deplorable track record on human rights.  Whatever opinion one might have about the embargo, it must be clear that that was a bilateral issue between the United States and Cuba.  The embargo had been imposed after the illegal, large-scale expropriation of United States properties, for which the Cuban Government had never offered any indemnification.  The embargo had been reaffirmed by successive United States administrations as a means of continued pressure for restoring democracy in Cuba.  Moreover, it did not actually constitute a blockade, as it did not affect Cuba’s trade with other nations.  Cuba remained free to trade with any other country the world over -– a freedom it was exercising.


The truth was, he said, that Cuba’s trade with other countries was affected by its credit insolvency.  Cuba did not pay its debts and owed billions of dollars in loans and arrears.  The failed economic policy of the Communist regime was what had brought trouble to Cuba and destroyed what used to be one of the most advanced economies in the region.  The United States had recently conducted a study, jointly with the Cuban Research Institute at the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), which had determined that Cuba, to rebuild its economy, must relieve the restrictions it had put on small businesses.


Furthermore, he continued, the United States had offered to relax its embargo in response to political and economic reforms in Cuba, to include free and fair elections to the Cuban National Assembly, the opening of its economy, permitting the formation of independent trade unions and putting an end to practices discriminating against Cuban workers.  United States President Bush had stated clearly that if those reforms were carried out, he would prevail upon the United States Congress to relieve trade and travel restrictions on Cuba.  Yet, far from initiating a political opening, the Cuban Government had, in March 2003, carried out brutal repression.  It had sentenced 75 people -– most of them journalists and human rights activists –- to prison terms of exorbitant length.


Cuba, he affirmed, had shown no interest in carrying out practical economic or political reforms.  Cuban President Fidel Castro remained closed to any political opening and continued to deprive his people of the most elemental human rights recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  To support the draft resolution was tantamount to endorsing Cuba’s repressive policies.  Cuba’s best day, he concluded, would come when Cubans opened their eyes and saw freedom, when they opened their mouths and proclaimed “Cuba libre”, when they said to President Castro, “Hasta la vista, baby”.


NGUYEN THANH CHAU (Viet Nam), said he vehemently opposed the use of sanctions by one State against another.  Besides being legally and morally wrong, sanctions, blockades and embargoes only brought suffering to innocent people, particularly the elderly, women and children.  While, welcoming the recent lifting of sanctions and embargoes against a number of countries, he did not understand why the unilateral embargo and blockade against Cuba had not been lifted.  That embargo had already damaged Cuba’s economy.  It continued to affect the country’s economic development and social well-being -- causing losses of approximately $72 billion in all sectors of the country’s economy. 


Declaring that Cuba posed no security threat to the United States, he said that the quarrel between the two countries should be resolved through dialogue and negotiation, based on respect for independence and sovereignty, non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of States.  Resolving the dispute required the goodwill and determination of the United States.  He would vote in favour of the draft resolution before the Assembly to lift the embargo.  He hoped that action would cause the United Nations to take concrete measures and initiatives to implement the adopted resolutions, and thus put an end to its hostile policies and acts against Cuba.  The longer the embargo continued, the more the Cuban people would suffer. 


FELIPE PEREZ ROQUE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, who introduced the draft text before the Assembly, said the economic, financial and trade blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba must be lifted.  It qualified under the Geneva Conventions as a crime of genocide, and it violated the United Nations Charter.  It hurt international trade and went so far as to prevent foreign investors from investing in Cuba.  Before continuing his statement, he said that he must address the arrogant, rude and disrespectful tone of the United States’ representative, whose ill-mannered and impertinent comments were most surely borne of that country’s desperation and isolation in connection with its policies against Cuba.  With his “Hasta la Vista, Baby” comment, the United States representative had been crude and disrespectful, but Cuba would not stoop to such personal attacks.


He declared that the representative of the United States had lied, and Cuba would denounce that statement.  The Assembly deserved the truth and it deserved respect.  He had counted 15 lies and lowbrow attacks in the statement of the United States, including his justification of the blockade based on Cuba’s “deplorable human rights record”.  That was a lie, and the United States had no moral right to pronounce on anyone else’s human rights record -– it must deal with its own sorry civil liberties record.  Another lie was that the United States did not discourage investment in Cuba, when that country went around the world trying to turn investors against Cuba.  Another lie had been that over 170,000 United States citizens had legally traveled to Cuba.


While, he would not quibble over the numbers, he would emphasize that those American citizens had traveled to Cuba against the wishes of Washington.  He said that other lies included that Cuba did not pay its debts, that it repressed free thought and that its current economic difficulties did not stem from the 40-year-old blockade.  Finally, the United States representative had referred to Cuban President Fidel Castro as a dictator and to Havana, as a “maligned and dictatorial regime”.  Never had such disrespect been shown to the leader of a sovereign nation.  At any rate, he would say to that representative that it would be the people of Cuba, with the backing of the international community, who would say “Hasta la Vista” to the United States and to the blockade.  “We will say homeland or death.  We shall win”, he declared.


He went on to say that the only human rights violations occurring in Cuba were those spawned by the United States, its mercenaries operating in Cuban territories and its blockade.  There were also rights violations occurring at the naval prison in Guantanamo Bay.  He stressed that his comments were not directed at the people of America, whom he considered to be victims, along with Cubans, of the policies of a corrupt Government.  He wondered how much farther Cuba could have come as a nation if it had not had to struggle with the negative effects of the blockade for the past 40 years.  United States President Bush was himself held hostage to that “spurious Cuban minority” in Miami, to which he owed his election in 2000. 

Far from surrendering, Cubans were more united than ever and had tapped new sources of strength to preserve their sovereignty and freedoms, he said.  The United States must repeal the “Helms-Burton Act”.  That country had no right to determine or influence economic structures within Cuba.  It must allow Cuba to freely import and export from within its own territory.  It must allow its citizens to freely travel to Cuba.  The United States must stop hampering the free flow of ideas.  It must allow Cuba to acquire top-of-the-line information technology.  The United States must cease its aggression against Cuba and let Cubans live in peace.  He urged the Assembly to support the draft.


MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) expressed dismay that no significant steps had been taken towards the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States on Cuba.  Instead, the embargo had been strengthened in the past few years, and its extraterritorial implementation broadened, as insitutionalized by the Torricelli and Helms-Burton Acts which, in addition to breaching the sovereignty of third-party States and international law, continued to seriously damage the Cuban economy.  The embargo had caused, and continued to cause major damage to the Cuban people’s material and spiritual welfare, inflicting serious obstacles on their economic, cultural and social development.


The embargo, he continued, had affected Cuba’s full realization of basic human rights, such as the right to health and education, because both sectors had been acutely affected by embargo regulations.  Consequently, the embargo had made it difficult for Cuba to buy food and medicines needed to sustain the lives of its people.  It had also deprived them of the opportunities and benefits derived from free trade and peaceful coexistence.  He pointed out that world leaders had resolved in the Millennium Declaration to create an environment at the national and global levels that was conducive to economic development and to the fight against poverty.  To live up to that expectation, he urged Member States to ensure that no country was left behind in the fight to eliminate poverty, stating that clearly the embargo was an obstacle to Cuba’s efforts to implement the Millennium Declaration.


JEANETTE NDHLOVU (South Africa) said the international community had repeatedly and consistently called for the lifting of the United States’ embargo against Cuba, as peaceful coexistence between and among nations required that civilized States observed international law.  The United States’ measures had caused untold suffering for the Cuban people.  It was no wonder that the majority of those present had rallied to support Cuba.  The Non-Aligned Movement, she recalled, had expressed their rejection of unilateralism, which was increasingly leading to the erosion and violation of international law, at its thirteenth Conference of heads of State and government in February.


She also fully associated herself with the Movement, in calling on the United States Government to put an end to its economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba.  She also expressed deep concern over the widening of its extraterritorial nature and the adoption of new legislative measures to intensify it.  All countries should reject the unilateral extraterritorial measures imposed against Cuba, as they constituted a flagrant violation of the principles of the sovereign equality of States, non-intervention and non-interference in the domestic affairs of sovereign States.  In line with previous resolutions, she believed that constructive dialogue could foster mutual trust and understanding and engender harmony and peaceful coexistence between the two nations, and welcomed all efforts to end the economic strangulation of Cuba.


AUGUSTINE MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania) said the embargo and blockade violated the fundamental principles of international trade, the Charter, and international law.  That situation was made worse by the passing of the Torricelli Act in 1991 and the Helms-Burton Act in 1996.  The extraterritoriality of the embargo had caused further damage to the economy over the past 10 years.  The effects were particularly damaging to trade relations between Cuba and third party nations and their private companies.  The embargo had seriously affected Cuba’s economic and social sectors, and it was estimated that over the past 40 years, Cuba had lost more than $72 billion.


One of the sectors hardest hit, was agriculture, a sector whose development was key to food production and hence, to the nutritional standards of the Cuban people, he stated.  The embargo had generated conditions that led to hunger and despair.  It was encouraging, however, that despite all odds, and under difficult conditions, Cuba had managed to develop a world-class health and educational system, which it had generously shared with other developing nations.  His country, in fact, had benefited from the excellent training in those fields throughout the years.  Those world-class accomplishments had survived and flourished at a high cost inflicted by the embargo on Cuba.  Coping with the embargo had become the preoccupation of the entire nation, and he believed that easing sanctions and embarking on dialogue could end the stalemate.


MILOS ALCALAY (Venezuela) firmly rejected the application of coercive measures that defied international law and, in particular, were in violation of provisions enshrined in the Charter.  Venezuela, over the past 12 years that the Assembly had considered that item, had voted time after time to lift the blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba.  Today, he reiterated that position.  He also fully shared the rejection of the application of laws with extraterritorial effects, as they ran counter to the sovereignty of States and had a negative impact on international trade and navigation.


The application of national laws, such as the Helms-Burton Act and the Toricelli Act adversely affected the sovereignty of States, he stated, adding that, with growing concern, Venezuela had witnessed how those measures had intensified.  He requested that measures be adopted to make the embargo null and void, as it was illegal and harmful to the Cuban people and jeopardized multilateralism.  That illegal measure constrained the socio-economic development of the people, and struck at the most vulnerable.  It also adversely affected housing, food and health programmes.  Lastly, controversies among States must be resolved through dialogue designed to foster peace in the region.


ELFATIH MOHAMED AHMED ERWA (Sudan) said that respect for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations was one of the most important obligations of the Organization’s Member States.  For that reason, the international community should have, by now, surpassed the rule of the strongest, in favour of respect for international law.  Yet, for the twelfth year, the Assembly was considering a resolution on the need to lift the unilateral economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba.  The Assembly had, last year, adopted the resolution with 173 States voting in favour.  The adverse effects of the embargo had touched on all aspects of life in Cuba.  He could imagine the untold suffering of the people of Cuba on a daily basis, as his own country had suffered from the imposition of sanctions.


NASROLLAH KAZEMI KAMYAB (Iran) said unilateral economic measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries had historically been held to contravene the United Nations Charter in promoting solidarity, cooperation and friendly relations among nations.  The Security Council and the Assembly had repeatedly condemned the use of such measures, and the wider international community should become more vocal about the necessity of repealing and preventing them.


The adoption and application of unilateral coercive measures impeded economic and social development, and also hampered the promotion of fundamental human rights, including the provision of medical care and necessary social services.  Women and children were particularly negatively affected in that regard.  Since, such measures also jeopardized the legitimate economic interests of targeted developing countries, it was necessary that the international community consider ways and means for compensating the losses of those targeted countries, by those who had resorted to the unilateral measures.


ALPHA IBRAHIMA SOW (Guinea) associated himself fully with the statement made by Morocco and noted with regret that the present agenda item had been a constant feature of the Assembly’s agenda for more than a decade.  The international community’s position on the matter was unambiguous; Member States had voiced their strong opposition to the unilateral embargo imposed on Cuba.


He reiterated his country’s unflagging commitment to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, which had enshrined the sovereignty of States, non-interference and non-intervention in the domestic affairs of sovereign States and the freedom of trade and international navigation.  The promulgation and enactment of unilateral, extraterritorial coercive measures was unacceptable.  For that reason, he expressed solidarity with the Cuban people and reaffirmed profound concern over the continuation of legislation violating the spirit of the Charter.  He would vote for in favour of the draft.


BERNARD MPUNDU (Zambia) said the embargo had aggravated the plight of ordinary Cuban people, especially the most vulnerable, such as children, women and the elderly.  The Assembly had adopted numerous resolutions demanding the lifting of the embargo, with overwhelming support from member countries.  His delegation did not support the use of coercive measures to exert pressure in international relations, and was, therefore, opposed to the imposition of sanctions which did not have the blessing of the Security Council.  The embargo was a breach of international law and a violation of the Charter.  In addition, the extraterritorial nature of the Helms-Burton Act was an infringement on the territorial integrity of States, and was an impediment to international navigation and free trade.


Zambia’s relations with Cuba were based on mutual respect and the principle of non-interference in each others’ internal affairs, he said.  He called on the Assembly to support the resolution designed to enhance the social and economic development of the Cuban people.  He would vote in favour of the draft resolution before the Assembly, and appealed to all Member States to support the call for a complete lifting of the embargo against Cuba.  Lifting the embargo would go a long way in strengthening free trade and navigation in the Caribbean and other areas around the world.


JUMA AMER (Libya) said that despite the large number of resolutions, and decision passed on the issue, and despite the fact that the United States should lift its embargo, those texts were being ignored and the unilateral measures against Cuba were indeed being expanded under the “Helms-Burton Act”.  The United States had levied sanctions against many countries, including Libya.  The wider international community had, nevertheless, repeatedly called such measures into question.  He hoped that the two neighbouring countries would see the way to a peaceful resolution of disputes.  That would be the best way forward for socio-economic development, as well as for the people of both Cuba and the United States, who were undoubtedly being harmed by the embargo.


KYAW TINT SWE (Myanmar), noted that successive General Assembly resolutions had called on the United States to end the embargo against Cuba.  However, the United States had yet to heed the wishes of the international community.  While, agreeing that Member States had the right to adopt policies promoting their own national interests, he believed firmly that the conduct of relations among sovereign nations should uphold international law and the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.


Embargoes ran counter to those principles, he added, and constituted a violation of the fundamental principles of international law.  The normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba was in the best interests of the peoples of both countries.  In that regard, he welcomed the decision of the United States Congress to lift travel restrictions on United States citizens visiting Cuba.  It was to be hoped that increased interaction would promote better understanding among the peoples of both countries and lead to the lifting of the embargo.  He would vote in favour of the draft.


BONIFACE G. CHIDYAUSIKU (Zimbabwe) said that like many others that had spoken before, his delegation firmly rejected the imposition of laws and regulations with extraterritorial impact and all other forms of coercive economic measures, including unilateral sanctions against developing countries.  Such actions, not only undermined the principles enshrined in the Charter and international law, but also severely threatened the freedom of trade and investment.  He called on the international community to disregard such measures and refuse to apply them.  At the same time, in the spirit of North-South relations, he underlined the necessity for developed countries to eliminate laws and regulations with adverse extraterritorial effects and other unilateral economic coercive measures. 


FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) said that the principles and purposes enshrined in the United Nations Charter were those of respect for the sovereignty of States, non-interference and non-intervention in the domestic affairs of sovereign States.  Member States must respect those principles and purposes.  The embargo imposed against Cuba by the United States for more than 40 years had caused untold suffering to the Cuban people and had negatively affected the economic development of that country.


Affirming that the United States and Cuba should settle their differences on the basis of the principles of international law and those enshrined in the Charter, he also said the normalization of relations between the two countries would serve the interests of the peoples of both countries.  The embargo must be brought to an end and all sanction must be lifted, including those imposed against Cuba under the Helms-Burton Act.  Syria would vote in favour the draft.


REZLAN ISHAR JENIE (Indonesia) said the Assembly must find a way to collectively bring the embargo to an end.  The objective of the United States embargo on Cuba was to foster a rapid, peaceful transition to a democratic form of Government, where human rights were protected, civil society flourished and economic prosperity was extended to all Cuban people.  The irony was that the embargo had hurt the ordinary and innocent of Cuba for more than 40 years, and ran counter to the spirit of the Charter by imposing unilateral trade measures.  The embargo, which included food, medicine and other humanitarian aid, was extreme and prejudicial.  It had also inflicted the most pernicious economic damage on the nation and multiplied difficulties.


He called for the review of that policy in favour of one based on dialogue and negotiation.  However, it was noted that the United States had, in recent years, granted some American companies the licence to supply medicine and food to Cuba on a purely humanitarian basis.  While that development was welcomed, nothing but the complete removal of the embargo could be good enough.


ALOUNKEO KITTIKHOUN (Lao People's Democratic Republic) said that for more than four decades, the United States had imposed a blockade against Cuba, causing great suffering on the Cuban people and leading to superfluous tension between the two countries.  It was disappointing to see that unilateral and discriminatory trade practices continued in the current day and age.  According to United Nations principles, Member States must not promulgate and enact legislation with extraterritorial effects that harmed another State.  In accordance with principle of sovereignty, no State had the right to interfere in the domestic affairs of another. 


The Government of Cuba had a right to choose its own political system and development model, he added.  To reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development, Cuba should be empowered to maintain and promote trade ties with all countries.  In concert with the majority of Member States, his country would continue to strive to put an end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba, which had thus far benefited neither country.  Cuba had a right to participate as a full-fledged member of the globalized economy.  He would vote in favour of the draft.


Action on Draft


The text on the necessity of lifting the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba was adopted by the General Assembly by a vote of 179 in favour, three against (Israel, Marshall Islands and the United States) with two abstentions (Federated States of Micronesia and Morocco).


Speaking in explanation of vote, YURIY ISAKOV (Russian Federation) said that, like the overwhelming majority of States, his country firmly rejected the United States embargo against Cuba and favoured its repeal.  The continuation of that embargo was incompatible with modern international relations.  It was a relic of the cold war that created an artificial impediment to the establishment of a world legal order, based on the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law and justice.  His country had repeatedly expressed its disagreement with United States’ attempts to tighten the embargo, and to expand the extraterritorial implementation of the Helms-Burton Act, which was discriminatory and contrary to both the Charter and the norms of international law.


As it favoured the normalization of relations between the two countries, he said his country noted with regret the tone of American statements on key aspects of its policy towards Cuba, which revealed that the United States continued to rely on the sanctions method for bringing pressure to bear on Cuba.  At the same time, he noted with satisfaction the decision of the United States Congress to ease travel restriction on Americans visiting Cuba.


He was convinced, he said, that lifting the commercial, economic and financial embargo against Cuba would represent a major step towards normalizing relations, benefit the interests of both countries’ peoples and contribute to the overall situation in the Central American and Caribbean region.  He also reaffirmed his country’s intention to continue furthering normal trade and economic ties with Cuba.  Guided by the fundamental principles of the Charter concerning the inadmissibility of discriminatory measures or interference in the affairs of sovereign States, his country had voted in favour of the resolution. 


ALDO MANTOVANI (Italy), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said he viewed the United States’ trade policy towards Cuba as a primarily bilateral issue.  The Union could not accept the restriction of its economic and commercial relations with third countries through unilateral measures imposed by the United States on specific countries, in this case, on Cuba.  Therefore, in November 1996, the Council of Ministers of the European Union had adopted a regulation and joint action aimed at protecting the interests of natural or legal persons from the Union against the extraterritorial effects of the Helms-Burton Act.


It had been encouraging to see the European Union and United States agree on a package of measures, including the suspension of titles III and IV of the Helms-Burton Act and agreements not to adopt any further extraterritorial legislation of that kind, and to increase investment protection during their summit in London in 1998, he said.  The European Union trusted that the United States would continue to act in accordance with the commitments made.


The European Union policy towards Cuba, he continued, was clear and coherent with its principles.  The Union’s main objective, reflected in the common position on Cuba adopted in December 1996, was to encourage a process of peaceful transition to pluralistic democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the improvement in living standards of the Cuban people.  The Union strongly condemned the serious deterioration of the human rights situation in Cuba.  The increase in violations of human rights had raised an international wave of protest and condemnation and had increased the Union’s concern over the political situation in Cuba.


Constructive engagement remained the basis of the Union’s policy towards Cuba, he concluded, and the Cuban authorities were called on to respond accordingly, including through bringing about speedy, lasting and substantial improvements in the situation, in particular with a view to ensure the full respect of all human rights.  There should be an immediate release of all prisoners of conscience.  The restrictions imposed on the embassies of most European Union member States by the Cuban authorities were also rejected.  Economically, the Union considered the opening of the Cuban economy to the outside world necessary, in which respect the negative consequences of the United States’ embargo and the severe limitations caused by the centralized economic system of Cuba were held to be contrary to the economic development of the island.  For those reasons, the Union had voted unanimously in favour of the resolution.


HIROSHI ISHIKAWA (Japan) said he shared the concern of many others that the extraterritorial application of jurisdiction arising from the United States “Helms Burton Act” was likely to run counter to international law.  His Government had been closely following the implementation of the legislation, as well as the circumstances surrounding it, and its concerns remained unchanged.  For that reason, he had voted in favour of the text.  At the same time, despite its support, Japan questioned whether the Assembly was the proper forum, in which to address the very complex issue of the United States embargo against Cuba.  He believed that both countries should seek resolution through dialogue, and called on them to strengthen efforts to that effect.


SUSANA RIVERO (Uruguay), speaking on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), said she had voted in favour of the resolution.  The MERCOSUR rejected laws, which violated the sovereignty of States.  Disputes and differences must be resolved through dialogue, and coercive measures must be used as a last resort.  Further, unilateral measures contravened international law, and did nothing to further development and the promotion and protection of human rights.


PETER TESCH (Australia) said that while he shared the concerns of others about the current human rights and socio-economic situation in Cuba, he did not believe that isolating the country was the best way of ensuring the achievement of fundamental human rights and economic reform.  In Australia’s view, there was no place for such laws and unilateral measures as the 1996 Helms-Burton Act.  


Mr. PAULOVICH (Belarus) said he had voted in favour of the resolution during the fifty-seventh session of the Assembly.  However, it was of concern that the situation had not substantially changed since that time.  The Assembly had now adopted another such resolution during its fifty-eighth session.  Belarus had constantly favoured the abrogation of national legislation that had extraterritorial effects harmful to other countries.  Moreover, his country had never, and would never apply, any measures of that kind.  International disputes should only be resolved through mutual respect, including for the principles of international law and those enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.  Calling on the two parties to normalize relations, he said his country had voted in favour of the resolution.


WEGGER CHRISTIAN STROMMEN (Norway) said that a clear distinction between unilateral coercive measures and sanctions, adopted by the United Nations, must be made.  His country had voted in favour of the resolution.  However, the embargo did not, in any way, justify the violations of human rights and political freedoms in Cuba, including the imprisonment of journalists and human rights activists that had occurred during the past year.


Right of Reply


Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Cuba said his delegation had been surprised by several of the statements made in explanation of vote on the text, particularly those made by Italy, on behalf of the European Union, and Norway.  By asking of Cuba what they would not dare ask of the United States, those statements had been vivid proof of the hesitation of the Union and other European nations in the face of United States pressure.  It was total hypocrisy.  The European Union’s statement had moved into areas outside the scope of the item being discussed today.  Cuba had established its own laws, regulations and Constitution, and would not bow to colonial ideals and backward ways of thinking.  Notwithstanding the blockade, Cuba had stood firm, upholding the banner of dignity and freedom.


He said that no one in Cuba was arrested or tried for his or her religious ideas.  The representative of Italy must know that the individuals he had mentioned had for years worked for a foreign and hostile power and had received backing from that power -- the United States, along with extreme right wing Cubans -– attempting to re-establish American supremacy on Cuban soil.  Those persons arrested and tried had blatantly violated Cuban law, by acting on behalf of a foreign power on Cuban soil.  But, they had, nevertheless, been tried within all constitutional laws and had enjoyed full freedom to choose their own attorneys and to speak freely at trial.  At any rate, the European Union’s abiding concern had been odd, since it had not shown similar feeling for five young Cubans detained and harshly sentenced in Miami.  Those trials had been practically bereft of traditional constitutional guarantees.  Finally, he repudiated the Union’s decision to suspend all cultural exchange with Cuba.


Statements on IAEA Report


HYNEK KMONĺČEK (Czech Republic) outlined the latest developments in his country in the areas of technology and safety, and its involvement in international cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  The commissioning of the two nuclear power plant Temelin units had remained a prominent theme over the past few years in the country’s use of its nuclear energy.  Both Temelin units were 100 per cent power rated and were continuing in their trial phase.  Noting his country’s readiness to share its experiences in that regard, he said the Temelin units could not have been completed without wide international cooperation, by all involved in the project.  The criticism by some of an unfeasible “mix of technologies and approaches” proved unjustified in the end.


To that end, the Czech Republic was prepared to actively contribute to any efforts intended to lead to increased capacities and experience sharing in the safe use of nuclear energy.  He expressed appreciation of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) prompt and professional response to his country’s requests for independent third party peer review of various phases during the construction of the Temelin units.  He recognized the importance of technical cooperation among IAEA Member States.  In the framework of the IAEA Technical Cooperation Programme, his country had contributed to four projects in the countries of the former Soviet Union in 2003.  The themes of those projects varied from nuclear power plant safety in Armenia and Ukraine, to radiation protection issues in medical applications in Moldova.  He added that his country had this year joined the Agency’s Safeguards Support Programme by signing the cooperative arrangement. 


VICTOR KRYZHANIVSKY (Ukraine) believed that the global implementation of an effective system of strengthened safeguards brought universal security benefits.  The IAEA’s verification and promotional activities were mutually reinforcing.  Strengthening the credibility of the Agency’s verification system promoted confidence in nuclear science and technology.  In that regard, he said that a global nuclear non-proliferation regime that was backed by a strong international safeguards system, requiring States to properly account for and control nuclear materials, was an essential basis for international efforts to maintain the collective security of the world.  It was the responsibility of Member States to promote the universality of the non-proliferation regime and to ensure compliance with international instruments in that field.


To that end, he expressed deep concern over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s decision to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and renounce its obligations under the Safeguards Agreement.  He urged that country to relinquish its nuclear ambitions and re-admit IAEA inspectors, as soon as possible, so as to finally enable the Agency to verify the correctness and completeness of its initial declaration of nuclear material.  Ukraine was for the early resolution of the current crisis on the Korean Peninsula by diplomatic means, either bilaterally or multilaterally, and in accordance with international law.


He also repeated his concern regarding the continued existence of un-safeguarded nuclear facilities and material in States not parties to the NPT or similar treaties, and called on all such States to place all their nuclear activities under the IAEA’s safeguards.  In addition, the Agency had a vital role in combating nuclear terrorism, and he commended the Agency’s Director General in quickly responding to that challenge.


NANA EFFAH-APENTENG (Ghana) noted that the Agency had been unwavering in fostering worldwide cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology and promoting global nuclear safety through its verification activities.  Peaceful uses of nuclear technologies, in helping to fight disease, enhance agricultural production, preserve food and manage water resources, were keys to global developmental efforts.  Ghana, through its Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), had attempted to encourage the commercialization of research and development results by aligning the Commission’s research activities with the needs of the country.  That had called for collaboration between the Commission, on one hand, and industry and other productive and social sectors, on the other.  Under the auspices of institutes set up by the Commission, a number of research activities were undertaken with the aim of making a positive socio-economic impact in several areas, including animal nutrition, production and health research, radiotherapy, and nuclear medicine.


One of the most pertinent issues facing the IAEA, he noted, was the need to strengthen its system for verification in order to increase the chances of detecting clandestine nuclear weapons programmes.  Adherence by all States to the strengthened safeguards system was a crucial component in that endeavour, he stated, adding that the Parliament of Ghana had ratified a number of outstanding IAEA protocols.  Nuclear disarmament was still a priority issue in contemporary international relations, and it was of concern that there had been slow progress on nuclear disarmament and the work programme of the Conference on Disarmament.  Nuclear weapons were weapons of mass destruction, and must, therefore, be decommissioned for a peaceful and more secure world.  He could not subscribe to the view that there were some “highly responsible” States deserving of a monopoly over nuclear technology.  Such a policy, bordering on unbridled double standards, would undermine the NPT and the IAEA nuclear safeguards regime.


ISMAIL MUSTAPHA (Malaysia) said his nation recognized the value of nuclear technology for the achievement of sustainable development and the process of nation-building.  The IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Programme remained a crucial component of its mandate and activities, and Malaysia was a beneficiary of that programme.  He attached great importance to the issue of nuclear safety, including the shipment of high-level nuclear waste.  The risk posed to coastal States by such shipments was immense, with potentially fatal consequences.  Further dialogue on that issue was necessary.  The threat posed by nuclear terrorism to public safety and security was also a problem.  The international community must work out and implement new and stronger measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons and using them to achieve their objectives.  In that regard, he welcomed the Agency’s efforts to promote nuclear security, and its efforts to provide improved and new services to States to upgrade nuclear security.


The nuclear issue in the Korean Peninsula was of concern to Malaysia, he stated, adding that his country supported efforts to address the issue peacefully among the concerned parties.  As such, he welcomed recent efforts to resume the Six-Party Talks and continue dialogue among the parties, resulting in a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.  Additionally, he welcomed the submission of Iran’s declaration regarding its nuclear programme and its decision to conclude an Additional Protocol.  The Agency’s verification process had begun and was making good progress.  He looked forward to a resolution of the issue of the verification of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.  In addition, the resumption of the work of the IAEA and the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) in Iraq, would enable the two bodies to conclude their work in that country. 


HU XIAODI (China) said with the concerted efforts of the IAEA secretariat and Member States, the Agency had done a remarkable job in realizing the two major objectives of its statute -– preventing nuclear weapon proliferation and promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  China’s consistent position was that the Korean Peninsula should remain weapons free, its peace and stability maintained and the issue resolved through dialogue.  With the joint efforts of China and other countries, the six-party talks held in Beijing last August, following the three-party talks in April, marked an important step towards a peaceful solution. 


Important consensus was reached during those talks and the parties agreed to resolve the nuclear issue through peaceful means and dialogue.  The parties also agreed that in the process of negotiations, any action or word that may aggravate the situation was to be avoided.  It was also agreed that the specific date and venue of further talks would be decided through diplomatic channels, as soon as possible.  He urged all sides concerned to exercise restraint, so as to create a favourable atmosphere and conditions for continued talks.  In that vein, China was now working with all other parties for an early opening of the next round of six-party talks. 

Turning to Iran, China had all along held that all non-nuclear weapon States parties to the NPT were obliged not to develop or possess nuclear weapons in strict observance of the Treaty, he stated.  States parties were however, entitled to peaceful uses of nuclear energy under strict IAEA safeguards.  Iran should fully cooperate with the Agency by making all its nuclear activities transparent and joining the Additional Protocol at an early date.  He was pleased to note that Iran had recently cooperated with the Agency by submitting all documents concerning its nuclear activities, and had expressed a willingness to sign and ratify the Additional Protocol, as well as suspend nuclear enrichment and reprocessing activities. 


PETER TESCH (Australia) said his country strongly supported the three pillars forming the basis of the IAEA’s mandate -– safety and security, science and technology, and safeguards and verification.  Global implementation of an effective system of strengthened safeguards would be of substantial benefit.  The Agency’s verification and promotional activities were of a mutually reinforcing nature.  Strengthening the credibility of the verification system promoted confidence in nuclear science and technology.  Achieving the widest possible application of the Agency’s Additional Protocol on strengthened safeguards was, thus, a priority for his country.


The safety and security of nuclear and radioactive materials, he added, must be a priority for all countries.  One particular focus was to promote improvement in the safety regime for research reactors, while others included promoting constructive dialogue between shipping and coastal States on the safe transport of radioactive material.  The development of an action plan, within the framework of the International Conference on the Safety of Transport of Radioactive Material, would help to build confidence and ensure the continuation of the excellent safety record in that field.  The adoption of the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources was also welcomed, as was the strong level of support for technical cooperation witnessed across the Agency’s membership.


Recently, he noted, the international community had been faced with worrying challenges to the nuclear non-proliferation regime.  Expressing deep concern at the Democratic People's Republic of Korea’s withdrawal from the NPT and its removal of nuclear facilities from Agency safeguards, he said, that country’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons would only serve to isolate it further from the economic and other benefits it needed.  Australia strongly supported efforts to reach a peaceful, diplomatic solution to that issue.  He had also been encouraged by recent developments in respect of Iran’s nuclear activities.  It was in Iran’s own interest to heed the international community’s message and cooperate fully with the IAEA.


LUIS ALFONSO DE ALBA (Mexico) said the Agency’s relevance and its contribution to international peace and security had been once more made clear, with respect to the recent situations in Iraq, Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.  The pillars, on which the Agency’s activities were based, corresponded to principles upheld by his country.  Thus, while considering it necessary to continue to review the Agency’s activities, there could be no doubt about the critical importance of the IAEA’s verification and safeguards system.  Mexico was actively participating in the elaboration of a draft convention on the protection of nuclear materials.  Agreement should be reached on outstanding issues before the convening of an international conference thereon.


Mexico continued to attach high priority to programmes for technical cooperation, he said.  The IAEA should continue its support for the elaboration of programmes that reflected national priorities for technical cooperation.  The Secretariat should also continue to support Member States in elaborating those areas, in which more advances could be made in peaceful uses of nuclear technology.


Last July, he noted, the Agency’s Board of Governors had adopted a draft budget project, after agreeing on certain deferrals that would alleviate increases proposed for developing countries.  However, it would still be necessary to conduct an analysis of national safeguards and their financing, in order to achieve a complete understanding of their costs and the appropriate levels of financial burden sharing.  Finally, his country had consistently advocated the fulfilment, by members of their obligations under the NPT.  The international community must remain alert with regard to possibilities for nuclear proliferation.


ANN M. CORKERY (United States) said that despite the broad attention paid to nuclear issues in 2002, a few States seemed determined to misuse nuclear materials in violation of nuclear non-proliferation commitments.  Concerns about terrorism had escalated, and support had intensified for measures to verify how nuclear materials were being used.  The world again turned to the Agency.


She said that some of the most contentious issues arose because a few countries chose to pursue activities in violation of their commitments, including those under the NPT.  While that had been only a few parties, the implications of their successful acquisition of nuclear weapons would be enormous, in terms of regional and international peace and stability, as well as the viability of the Treaty itself.  Since 1994, even though the Agency had maintained a presence in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, that country had for years been pursuing a “clandestine uranium enrichment route to nuclear weapons”, an activity it acknowledged last October.  That country had stepped up its brinksmanship culminating with the expulsion of the IAEA inspectors, in 2002.  Since then, it had announced its withdrawal from the NPT and had failed to abandon its nuclear weapons programmes.


“DPRK contravention of the NPT and its other nuclear non-proliferation commitments has led to one of the most serious threats to international security we face today”, she said.  And for 12 years, Saddam Hussein defied resolutions of the Security Council.  Today, the threat of nuclear-armed Iraq had been removed and the efforts to promote peace in that region could move forward, freed from the need to address that threat.  But, at the same time, Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions had become more visible.  As evidence mounted, confirming Iran’s illicit nuclear-related procurement and nuclear-related activities, which it had failed to declare to the IAEA, as required by the Agency’s Safeguards Agreement, the world had become increasingly alarmed.  While, recent developments gave some grounds for hope, the United States remained skeptical.  There was still a long way to go before that hope could be turned into reality.  Iran must completely and verifiably abandon its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.  As regrettable as the actions of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iraq and Iran were, “we should not overlook the important lessons we have learned in dealing with their actions that have violated the NPT”.


The world community must promptly and firmly confront the issue.  “Cheating cannot be tolerated and must be addressed without delay and conviction”, she said.  There must be real consequences.  Any State tempted to violate its nuclear non-proliferation commitments needed to know it would be quickly detected and firmly confronted.  Finally, she stressed the need to confront nuclear terrorism -- chiefly the need to improve the safety and security of radiation sources worldwide –- and the need to strengthen the IAEA safeguards.


T.A. SAMODRA SRIWIDJAJA (Indonesia) expressed appreciation for the Agency’s commitment to technical cooperation, including in the expansion of nuclear technologies to enhance peace and development.  He noted that 87 country programme frameworks were now in place, to be used as planning tools in designing technical cooperation projects within the context of national priorities.  International cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy was of essential importance, and constituted one of the fundamental pillars of the NPT.


He noted progress made in the field of nuclear verification –- the Safeguards Implementation Report (SIR) for 2002 showed that 145 States had safeguards agreements in force.  He also observed the progress made in terms of approving the Additional Protocol.  However, there was still concern that only 35 States had brought the additional protocols into force, and that 46 States parties to the NPT, still had not concluded the required safeguards agreements with the Agency.  All States should conclude and bring into force the respective legal instruments to enable the Agency to give credible and comprehensive assurances regarding non-proliferation commitments.


On nuclear security and safety, he noted that concern over nuclear terrorism had increased attention on improving the security of radioactive material and countering illicit trafficking.  Nuclear security must be one of the world’s priorities, and all concerned parties should do their utmost to support efforts to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety.  Indonesia itself requested the assistance of the IAEA and all Member States in the development of measures against nuclear terrorism, as well as emergency actions and recovery measures in case of nuclear terrorism.  As a coastal State, nuclear transport safety was also a concern.  The Agency was urged to develop an action plan on the safe transport of radioactive material.


B. MAHTAB (India) said the world’s population had crossed the six billion mark by 1999 and that two billion more would be added over the next twenty years, with another one billion 20 years after that.  Nearly all of that increase would be seen in developing countries, particularly in urban areas.  At present, there were wide disparities between rich and poor.  However, with abundant and affordable energy supplies to improve livelihoods, that disparity could be rectified.  Only atomic energy currently possessed the capacity to realize such growth.  However, the barriers to the growth of that technology had yet to be addressed.  Moreover, without seriously addressing the growth of safe energy technology, environmental degradation would continue.


There was increased concern over the security of nuclear installations and materials, he said.  India had participated actively with regard to the evolving IAEA code of conduct on the safety of radioactive sources.  India’s atomic energy programme, now in its fiftieth year, had come a long way.  It was today, on a fast track of growth, backed by effective safety structures.  The Government of India, for example, had approved the construction of a large new reactor, which would significantly increase India’s energy resources, even considering its modest uranium supplies.


The growth of nuclear technology in developing countries should be a matter of international interest, he said.  And, while there must be a move to a more peaceful and prosperous world, applying mindless controls without addressing the needs of the poor did not improve the situation.  The development of the next generation of nuclear reactors and fuel cycle technologies was important, as it could redress the situation with regard to the development of peaceful nuclear technology worldwide.  Conscious of the responsibilities that arose out of its possession of advanced technologies in the nuclear field, India realized that the baggage inherited from the past, which restricted the flow of nuclear technology for peaceful uses, must be shed.  The Agency’s technical cooperation programme had played an important role in the development of peaceful nuclear capabilities, in which respect, India would continue its strong support for the IAEA’s activities.


KHALID OSMAN (Sudan) emphasized the constant efforts of the Director General to improve the Agency’s efforts and efficiencies.  Nuclear non-proliferation had been an important subject on the agenda of the Agency.  The situation in the Middle East required a global approach, particularly since, Israel persisted in refusing to sign the NPT.  His delegation appreciated the technical help and information given to developing countries, which enabled them to avoid depending too much on contributions from donors.


He called on States to provide greater contributions to support the IAEA’s projects for developing nations.  That was especially important in areas of water and radiological safety.  He also hoped for advances with regard to the eradication of the tsetse fly and the control of insects that could transmit malaria.  Lastly, he wished the Agency and the Director General all the best in working toward a world free of weapons of mass destruction.


ENRIQUE LOEDEL (Uruguay), speaking on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), said, unfortunately, today’s world was characterized by challenges to the nuclear non-proliferation regime.  However, he reiterated his commitment to peaceful uses of nuclear technology, in which regard he attached great importance to the technical cooperation activities of the IAEA.  And, while MERCOSUR understood the importance of safeguards in maintaining levels of confidence among countries, there must be deepened cooperation between the IAEA and other verification agencies to reduce costs without sacrificing effectiveness.


He also reiterated MERCOSUR’s appreciation for the Agency’s efforts to protect the environment and people from the harmful effects of radiation.  In that regard, achieving a balance in the transport of radioactive materials was important.  He also expressed resolute support for the Agency’s activities in the area of protecting against nuclear materials falling into the hands of non-State actors.


Action on Draft


Speaking before the vote, KIM CHANG GUK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) said he wished to clarify his country’s position on the draft resolution on the report of the IAEA.  It was totally irrelevant for the IAEA to refer to the implementation of the responsibilities under the NPT by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  His country had withdrawn from the NPT due to the hostile policy of the United States.  That withdrawal had been a legitimate exercise of the country’s sovereign rights under the NPT.  He wished to remind the co-sponsors of the draft that his country was no longer a member of the NPT. 


Moreover, he did not support the submission of the annual report of the IAEA to the Assembly.  That report contained inaccuracies, as it claimed the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was in non-compliance with its obligations under the NPT and had admitted to having a uranium enrichment programme.  However, his country had implemented its responsibilities under the NPT, as well as its agreement with United States, until its withdrawal from the NPT.  Furthermore, his country had never admitted to having a uranium enrichment programme.  Allegations that his country had admitted to having one, constituted attempts to shift responsibility for the origin of the current situation onto his country. 


As for his country’s position with regard to the IAEA’s involvement in the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, he said that situation was the product of the United States’ hostile policy towards his country.  The IAEA could not resolve that situation with acts of pressure, as long as the United States continued that policy.  It was dastardly for the IAEA to connive with the United States’ policy in putting pressure on the victim, simply because it was a small country.


Moreover, in light of the representative of Japan’s referral to his country as “North Korea” during the previous day’s debate of the item, he said those countries eager to put pressure on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, especially Japan, were not in any position to weigh in on the issue of the nuclear situation on the Korean Peninsula.  They were simply abusing the situation for their own political and military purposes.  The “Japs” simply desired to invade his country anew.


The Assembly then proceeded to adopt the resolution on the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by a vote of 129 in favour to

1 against (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) with no abstentions.


Right of Reply


Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Japan said that the representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea’s comments had not been particularly relevant to the contents of the resolution on the report of the IAEA.


Moreover, he said, in referring to the Japanese as “the Japs”, the representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea had been intentionally derogatory, whereas his own use of the term “North Korea” had not been meant in a derogatory manner.  The representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was requested to change his usage.


On a third point, he said his country bore no animosity toward the North Korean State and was prepared to talk about all sorts of issues, including nuclear ones.  It was to be hoped that all their differences could be resolved within the context of the six-party talks.


Statement by Assembly President


JULIAN ROBERT HUNTE (Saint Lucia), President of the General Assembly, said that he had been alarmed at the name-calling witnessed during the Assembly’s session.  Therefore, the Chair wished to associate itself with any remark that attempted to raise the level of the debate.  With respect to the representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea’s reference to “the Japs”, he requested that representative to take his statement into account and desist in the future from using such language at the United Nations.


Statements on Situation in Central America


BRUNO STAGNO UGARTE (Costa Rica), on behalf of the Central American Integration System, said the consolidation of peace and democracy in Central America was the result of the hard work of the people and governments in the region.  As of now, all countries of the region had freely elected democratic governments.  In fact, elections were held in El Salvador this year without incident, demonstrating progress toward democratization.  In Guatemala, presidential elections would be held this month, and would be closely observed.  Working towards that, an agreement was signed on 10 July regarding the electoral process and commitment to peace.  To ensure transparency, the Organization of American States and the European Union had combined efforts with Electoral Observer 2003, a local group, to deploy independent observers in that country.


In the area of human rights and security, he said that there were serious problems in the region, with each nation struggling with its own unique issues.  Budgets for human rights organizations were at the forefront of that problem, and it was important to take up the question of common crime and strengthen civil police.  The report of the Secretary-General related efforts made to eradicate bad practices; officials had been appointed and reorganized.  Still, reforms were hampered by low budgeting.  The report, however, did note progress in Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador in those areas.  Major efforts were being made to improve public affairs, as well.  In El Salvador, reforms of its audit agency were in place.  In Guatemala, the budget law of 2003 showed progress with monies being allocated to agencies responsible for peace agreements.  At the same time, corruption was still an issue.


Regarding trade, the Central American economies had recovered from the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks and the global recession.  The Canadian-Central American Free Trade Agreement had been institutionalized, customs regulation had been harmonized and negotiations were in place for trade agreements with the European Union.  In June, eight nations participated in the Puebla Panama Plan on regional sustainable development, and to see to it that nations observed environmental practices.  Still, there were concerns over high levels of poverty, which were close to those in the 1980s.  The struggle continued, and the peoples of Central America deserved improved quality of life.


ALDO MANTOVANI (Italy), on behalf of the European Union, said that after more than two decades of civil wars and the signing of several peace agreements starting in the 1990s, Central America was consolidating its democratic institutions.  Nevertheless, many obstacles still remained on the road to peace, freedom and economic development in the region.  Despite the important steps taken, there was a continued risk of serious setbacks in the democratic process.  Some of the greatest risks stemmed from the shadows of internal conflicts, the difficulties in transitioning to a system of democratic pluralism, and the challenges of equitable and sustainable development. 


He observed that despite the Central American governments’ efforts to fight corruption, drug trafficking and weapons smuggling, social inequality and poverty continued to undermine internal security and slowed development.  While, appreciating the progress the governments of the region had made in consolidating democracy and good governance, further progress needed to be made in the field of transparent political elections and fair administration of justice.  Similarly, progress was also needed in the areas of decentralization and efficient management of public affairs, the fight against corruption, and the participation of civil society in public affairs.  He called on Central American governments to guarantee greater internal security, which had deteriorated in recent years.  To encourage foreign investment, the countries of the entire region also needed to introduce fiscal reforms. 


He welcomed the Central American countries’ important decision to accelerate their regional integration, as a vehicle for sustainable development.  In that regard, he recognized the substantial progress attained in the modernization and transformation of the region’s economic integration by the establishment of a Customs Union, the entry into force of the Settlement of Commercial Disputes Mechanism, and the signing of the Central American Treaty on Investment and Trade Services. 


On Guatemala, he said the European Union was closely following the political situation in that country.  In the wake of the violence there last July the upcoming elections were especially important.  He reiterated the need for fair and peaceful elections, and called on Guatemalan authorities and all political parties involved to ensure that appropriate measures were adopted for the elections scheduled for 9 November.  He also called on the Government there to continue strengthening the judicial system to prevent illegal forces from undermining State institutions and providing fertile ground for corruption, organized crime and drug trafficking.  The European Union continued to have a positive assessment of MINUGUA, which had helped consolidate the gains of the Peace Agreements, and supported the extension of its mandate into 2004. 


On El Salvador, he appreciated that Government’s efforts to strengthen democratic institutions, in particular its appointment of an Ombudsman, who played a key role in protecting the rights of the indigenous and the poor.  He also commended the President of Honduras for his efforts to meet the challenges of poverty and corruption in that country.  However, human rights safeguards still remained weak and required strengthening, he added. 


LUIS ALFONSO DE ALBA (Mexico) said his country attached a high degree of priority to its relationship with Central America, with which it shared historical, geographical and cultural ties.  For those reasons, Mexico had worked to reaffirm its commitment to democracy and stability and the development of those countries in the post-conflict period.  That had occurred through both humanitarian assistance in emergency situations, as well as economic, scientific and technical assistance.  He was pleased at the success of the peace process in El Salvador, in which the United Nations had played a fundamental role, as had the aspirations of El Salvador’s population to achieve peace.


He said the presence of the United Nations in Guatemala had had important effects on the consolidation of peace.  The Guatemalan Government and civil society had recognized that contribution and had, last year, requested the extension of MINUGUA.  As a member of the “Friends of the peace process in Guatemala”, Mexico had supported that request.  The “Friends of Guatemala” would also request a further extension of one year, he announced, and it was hoped that the draft resolution would be adopted without a vote, as in years past.


Reiterating the fundamental importance of those elected in the Guatemala elections to endorse the commitments taken by the political parties in July of this year, he urged all parties to reject the use of violence, so the elections could be conducted in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.  On the establishment of the Commission for the Investigation of Illegal Bodies and Clandestine Security Apparatuses, he said the report of that body was eagerly awaited.


GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala) said that for a number of years the Assembly had been dealing with the agenda item on Central America, including the situation in Guatemala.  Since 1994, MINUGUA was tasked with verifying compliance on human rights issues.  In 1996, its mandate was expanded to help the parties to the peace agreement.  While, the Secretary-General’s report had noted more setbacks than advances since then, now was not the time to discuss whether the right balance had been struck.  The tasks still pending were numerous.


Nor was it the time to withdraw the mission, he stated, quoting the Guatemalan President on the need to extend the mission’s mandate to 2004.  Pursuant to that request, the Secretary-General recommended in his report that the mandate of the mission be extended, in view of the difficulties encountered in the peace process.  He believed that MINUGUA’s presence in Guatemala was necessary.  As such, Guatemala intended to strengthen the national bodies that would eventually take over the mission.  The Government was in consultations with the Secretariat regarding a new activity that would involve the United Nations and sought to combat organized crime.  The presence of MINUGUA in Guatemala would enable his nation to capitalize on efforts by the United Nations to help his country consolidate its work for peace, development and democracy.


GILBERT LAURIN (Canada) congratulated the countries of Central America on their achievements in the pursuit of peace and democracy, and for putting an end to the civil conflicts that had severely affected the region.  Through the Canadian International Development Agency, his country had targeted its development assistance to that region to address the root causes of conflict such as poverty, lack of access to basic social services, environmental degradation, agrarian reform and the marginalization of women and indigenous groups.  Canada also recognized that the countries of Central America continued to struggle with political, social and economic challenges that were often magnified by their vulnerability to natural disasters.  In that regard, the measures taken to address such challenges, including to strengthen economic cooperation, open economies, increase transparency and strengthen political and social inclusiveness, were commended.


However, Canada also remained concerned by evidence of continued human rights abuses and the impunity, under which such abuses were committed, he said.  Demilitarization remained an important and necessary objective, in which regard Guatemala’s definitive demobilization of its ‘Estado Mayor Presidential” was welcomed, as was the region’s support for preventing and combating illegal trafficking in small arms and light weapons.


He supported extending the mandate of MINUGUA for an additional year, and expected it to be the final renewal.  The MINUGUA was encouraged to work closely with the Guatemalan State and civil society institutions to enhance their capacity to assume the roles and responsibilities of the mission by the end of next year.  On the existence of illegal armed groups and their links to organized crime, it was hoped that the Government of Guatemala and the United Nations would soon be able to finalize a mechanism to address those problems.  The Government of Guatemala should also take resolute steps to ensure that the upcoming elections took place in a safe and secure environment.


JOHAN L. LOVALD (Norway) said the main challenges the countries of Central America faced since the end of the armed conflicts there, were the eradication of poverty and the safeguarding of human rights.  Key issues had been and continued to be, good governance and sustainable economic development, the end of impunity and the strengthening of civil police structures.  Governance remained one of the main pillars of Norway’s cooperation with the region, he said, adding that an important aspect of that was the need to depoliticize government agencies and the judicial system.


He took note of the recently concluded Consultative Group meeting on Nicaragua, which had demonstrated broad and unanimous support for the Nicaraguan Government’s impressive effort in fighting corruption.  Election processes had taken place in an orderly and transparent manner during the last year, as was the case in El Salvador.  He was confident that the upcoming elections in Guatemala would also be conducted in an orderly and transparent way.  That way Guatemalans could exercise their democratic rights without undue interference or pressure.  In that regard, he commended the efforts of the United Nations agencies and of the Organization of American States in the preparation of the elections, which his country had supported through its cooperation with Guatemala.


He said it was of paramount importance that the government that took over in January next year, continued to actively pursue the implementation of the peace accords, where important elements were yet to be fulfilled.  While, significant progress had been made in a number of areas, he expressed concern that some of the elements in the Secretary-General’s report concerning human rights in the country remained unattended to.


EDUARDO J. SEVILLA SOMOZA (Nicaragua) said that the fight against impunity remained one of the main challenges confronting his region.  Decisive action must be taken to fight the phenomenon of corruption, which was characterized by impunity and linked to other forms of organized crime, including drug trafficking, that undermined society.  The President of Nicaragua had undertaken to establish a new culture of ethics in public administration, in order to overcome the endemic evil of corruption, and to ensure that public servants acted honourably and not as potentates availing themselves of public goods.  For that purpose, controls had been established for the auditing of public funds.


He said the judicial system must be modernized, which required changes in the established legislation and the training of personnel.  He thus expressed appreciation for the international community’s support of his country’s resolve to make public service ethical.  Nicaragua had also undertaken initiatives to transform its military and security forces, in conjunction with democratic principles.  Moreover, the President’s proposal to limit spending on defence forces regionally, in the effort to achieve a greater balance, had been well received.  Nicaragua would also be the headquarters of regional efforts to combat the spread of small arms and light weapons.  In order to further its sustainable development, Nicaragua had presented its National Development Plan, which would serve as the map and compass for socio-economic, environmental and organizational development.


VICTOR MANUEL LAGOS PIZZATI (El Salvador) said that while his nation had been involved in a Central America of upheaval, today, it was a transformed nation.  Salvadorians were proud of the courage and determination that led their nation through dialogue and agreement.  In a new society, there was further consolidation of what had just been a dream of reconciliation and democracy.  However, despite what had been achieved, with every passing day, there was a need to continue to build on those achievements.  It was in that solid conviction that El Salvador viewed its future.  His delegation reiterated its appreciation for the help given to it throughout the peace process.


He said El Salvador had turned a new page in history, and, with optimism, it was tackling challenges of building integration into the region and recovering what was lost during years of violence.  His nation was grateful for the report on the situation in Central America, and grateful to members of the international community for their support.


(annexes follow)


ANNEX I


Vote on Text on Ending United States Embargo against Cuba


The draft resolution on the necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba (document A/58/L.4) was adopted by a recorded vote of 179 in favour to 3 against, with 2 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe


Against:  Israel, Marshall Islands, United States


Abstaining:  Federated States of Micronesia, Morocco


Absent:  El Salvador, Iraq, Kuwait, Liberia, Nicaragua, Palau, Uzbekistan


(END OF ANNEX I)


ANNEX II


Vote on Text on Report of International Atomic Energy Agency


The draft resolution on the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (document A/58/L.10) was adopted by a recorded vote of 129 in favour, to 1 against, with no abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe


Against:  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea


Absent:  Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Federated States of Micronesia, Namibia, Nauru, Niger, Palau, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu


* *** *