Decolonization Was United Nations ‘Success Story,’ but Renewed Momentum Was Needed on Behalf of 16 Remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories, Fourth Committee Told
Decolonization Was United Nations ‘Success Story,’ but Renewed Momentum Was Needed on Behalf of 16 Remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories, Fourth Committee Told
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fourth General Assembly
6th Meeting (PM)
Decolonization Was United Nations ‘Success Story’, but Renewed Momentum Was Needed
on Behalf of 16 Remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories, Fourth Committee Told
As the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) continued its general debate on decolonization issues today, Member States stressed that, with the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism about to wrap up in 2010, there was a crucial need to generate new momentum and ensure that the 16 remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories were able to exercise the right to self-determination.
In a statement with elements echoed by a number of delegations, Gabon’s representative said that, while there was no “single solution” to decolonization, it remained vital to press ahead with the work under way and pay closer attention to the follow-up and application of the relevant resolutions on the issue. While each Non-Self-Governing Territory must be considered individually, it was important to encourage dialogue and ensure concrete outcomes for each case.
While acknowledging that decolonization had been one of the success stories of the United Nations ‑‑ with some 750 million people having been given the opportunity to exercise their legitimate rights ‑‑ Ethiopia’s representative deplored the stalled process to effectively implement the Decolonization Declaration in the remaining territories.
Stressing that the support and cooperation of administering Powers, legitimate representatives of Non-Self-Governing Territories, and Member States was vital to eradicating colonialism, he said it was regrettable that some administering Powers were still unwilling to cooperate with the Special Committee on Decolonization ‑‑ something he called a “flagrant violation of the right to self-determination”.
Moreover, he underlined the need for the activities of the international community ‑‑ particularly the United Nations system ‑‑ to be enhanced in the Territories with a view to improving the socio-economic conditions of their inhabitants. In addition, the oversight function of the Special Committee, although often carried out against a backdrop of fierce resistance on the part of the administering Powers, needed to be bolstered in light of changing world circumstances, he stressed.
Along those lines, the representative of Fiji said that additional international decades for the eradication of colonialism would mean little if the Committee did not find alternative ways to resolve difficulties associated with the decolonization process. A greater focus was also needed on the economic and social considerations of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, with the central priority for all stakeholders always being the interests of the people. Noting special challenges facing the decolonization process in general, and particularly with regard to the Malvinas, Western Sahara and certain cases in the Caribbean, he said they emanated, in part, from the lack of cooperation among stakeholders.
Throughout the afternoon, delegates focused on the question of Western Sahara, with many praising Morocco for its efforts to achieve a lasting solution on the issue. Commending the Secretary-General and the work of his respective Special Envoys, the representative of Equatorial Guinea said Morocco’s proposed plan complied with the principle of self-determination embodied in the United Nations Charter. The initiative also constituted an objective basis for negotiations between the two parties, which the international community should remain committed to providing support, with a view to a continuation and revitalization of the talks.
For his part, Morocco’s representative said that, when the United Nations concluded that the referendum stipulated in the “defunct” settlement plan of 1990 was not viable, and had rejected an Algerian proposal for autonomy, Morocco had endeavoured to seek a “win-win solution”, which was favoured by the Security Council and the international community at large. His country’s regional autonomy initiative was a framework for a negotiated and final settlement, and it respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Morocco.
Morocco’s plan also allowed the population of the region to manage their domestic affairs through democratically elected bodies. That “serious and credible” process had generated a dynamic and was a turning point in the search for a political solution. “It was not time for vindication and controversy”, he said, but rather for “conciliation and renewed brotherhood”. Any resolution adopted by the Fourth Committee should avoid selective and piecemeal approaches, he continued. A resolution based on confrontation would inflict irreparable damage to the ongoing negotiation process.
At the same time, the representative of Algeria said the African continent had welcomed the liberation of almost all of its formerly colonized peoples. Now, the people of Western Sahara, whose national aspirations were clear to all, should be offered the opportunity to exercise the right to self-determination. In that regard, the United Nations should discharge its duty of preserving peace in the region, as freedom in Western Sahara must be internationally guaranteed.
He went on to say that his Government had worked from the very beginning in a spirit of clarity and cohesiveness, and in consistent way, to re-establish the legitimate rights of the people of Western Sahara. Calling for an intensification of efforts to hold a referendum, he said the issue was quite clear. The adoption of Security Council 1754 (2007) enjoyed general consensus, and it was, therefore, necessary to relaunch the dialogue, without preconditions, to end the impasse. That approach aimed at breathing new life into the situation, and was based on a fragile balance, with the proposals of both parties worthy of equal attention.
At the close of the meeting, Committee Chairman Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of Qatar announced that a consensus resolution on the issue of Western Sahara had been drafted, and would be put to a vote of the Committee next week, on Tuesday or Wednesday.
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Republic of Tanzania also addressed the Committee.
Also speaking were the representatives of Namibia, who spoke on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Burkina Faso, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, India, Pakistan, Brazil, New Zealand, Lesotho, Spain, Bahrain, Papua New Guinea, Iran, Congo, Benin, Zambia, Comoros and Guinea.
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of the United Kingdom, India, Argentina and Pakistan.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 12 October, to resume consideration of the cluster of items on decolonization, and to take action on draft proposals submitted under those items. It will also take up the issue of the University for Peace, during which it would hold an interactive dialogue with the Rector of the University.
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this afternoon to continue its general debate on decolonization issues. (Reports before the Committee are summarized in Press Release GA/SPD/422.)
KAIRE M. MBUENDE (Namibia), speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), expressed regret that despite all the calls for the full implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories remained on the Committee’s list, including Western Sahara, the last colony on the African Continent.
He said the General Assembly had consistently recognized the inalienable right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and independence and had called for the exercise of that right in accordance with Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) (1960). The continuous occupation of Western Sahara constituted a challenge to the principles of the Charter and the Organization’s authority and credibility.
The people of Western Sahara were struggling for self-determination based on the principles of decolonization, promotion of human rights and international law, he said. The African Union had also maintained that the inalienable right of the people of Western Sahara was not negotiable, while the 1975 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice stated that there were no links of territorial sovereignty between Morocco and Western Sahara prior to the Spanish colonization of the Territory.
He went on to say that the Security Council had recently sought a solution through a referendum supervised by the United Nations. The African Union had also reiterated its commitment to resolving the question of Western Sahara through negotiation that would provide for self-determination of the people of the Territory. He expressed concern that the position of the parties had not changed since the fourth round of negotiations in March 2008.
Direct negotiations between Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (Frente Polisario) and Morocco were the only way to move the process forward. While he was encouraged by the decline in ceasefire violations, he was alarmed by recent statements from Morocco threatening human rights defenders who had visited the area, as well as by reports of human rights violations perpetrated on the Saharawi people. He called for an investigation into those allegations with a report to be submitted to the Security Council, General Assembly and Human Rights Council.
MICHEL RÉGIS ONANGA NDIAYE ( Gabon) commended the historic success of the Organization on the decolonization front, and of the work of the Special Committee of 24. In Africa specifically, he said it was not necessary to recall how great that success had been. Standing at the threshold of the end of the Second International Decade, it remained vital to continue those endeavours by according closer attention to follow-up and application of the decolonization resolutions. It was important to encourage dialogue and ensure concrete outcomes for all 16 remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories.
There was “no single solution”, he said, as each Territory must be considered individually and on a case by case basis. Regarding Western Sahara, he commended the progress made to date, and considered it in line with the spirit of dialogue and cooperation. Regarding the current situation, and the differing views which persisted, he said there was nonetheless considerable progress being made, especially regarding the Moroccan proposal for autonomy, as that would move the settlement of the dispute forward.
Provided it corresponded with the freely expressed wish of the people, he supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation that the parties engage in intensive and substantive negotiations and show a spirit of compromise. Morocco was considering extending sovereignty to the Territory, which was both “bold and realistic”. Yet, he was convinced that taking into account the interest of the two parties was necessary to engage in sincere negotiations to settle the question. Gabon should step up its efforts in the Fourth Committee and bring “new momentum” to the process of decolonization.
It was pressing, he said, to arrive at a final and lasting solution which would prevent the possible destabilization and criminal activities in the region. He encouraged all efforts being made by the Secretary-General and Christopher Ross, his Personal Envoy for Western Sahara and hoped such efforts would be pursued consistently in a spirit of consensus. That was the only way that would allow the parties to move beyond the current impasse and find a mutually acceptable political solution. To conclude, he expressed the belief that it was up to the various parties to look to their respective situations, but also find ways to bring them together to ensure the development of the entire Maghreb and the African Union as a whole.
PAUL ROBERT TIENDRÉBÉOGO ( Burkina Faso) praised the untiring efforts by the United Nations in the field of decolonization, which he said had enabled a number of colonies to achieve self-determination. Such efforts must continue and be stepped up before the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism came to an end in 2010, for the good of the 16 last Non-Self-Governing Territories whose fate was being discussed in the Committee.
In the meantime, he urged the international community, including the different United Nations bodies, to continue to back the socio-economic development efforts of those Territories, especially in the current times of economic crisis, and particularly given the fragility of the Territories as far as climate change was concerned. On the question of Western Sahara, there was a need to find a political solution acceptable to all parties, he said. Despite the difficulties, the momentum of the Manhasset negotiations had to be maintained, and he welcomed efforts by Special Envoy Christopher Ross to breathe new life into the political negotiations and make use of existing achievements.
Wishing success to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara and the head of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), he reaffirmed Burkina Faso’s adherence to Security Council resolution 1813 (2008). Burkina Faso also backed the Secretary-General’s efforts in seeking a political solution to the issue, and considered the Moroccan initiative as an appropriate way to resolve the dispute. Furthermore, there was a need for the parties to launch negotiations focused on substance and to make all the necessary compromises to transcend difficulties and differences. The entire international community should assist the parties involved on that path.
JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO (Nicaragua) said the recommendations to the Special Committee continued to be essential to the decolonization process, and it was necessary for the administering Powers to fully collaborate in order to remedy the situation, asking “how many decades more” would the Non-Self-Governing Territories be kept in oppression.
He also acknowledged the importance of the information annually provided by the non-autonomous territories regarding violations of human rights, pillaging of natural resources, destruction of the environment and the failure to respect freedom and the right to life. He thanked the petitioners for coming to the Committee to share their experiences and said that, with the elimination of colonialism, those people would find true enjoyment of human rights, happiness, and participation in democratic life.
He said it could not be argued that a democratic process existed under a colonial situation, as it could not. He said he shared the position on the Turks and Caicos Islands regarding the unilateral actions taken by the colonial Powers, and he questioned the distinction between dissolving an elected Government, as had been done in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and “what the South Americans call a coup”. He agreed with the statement made earlier on behalf of Non-Aligned Movement calling for the immediate restoration of the Territory’s Government.
Speaking to other Non-Self-Governing Territories, he also rejected the presence of military operations or bases which were “a serious obstacle” to the peoples of those Territories, situations which went “hand in hand” with the compounding circumstances of destruction of the environment.
He restated his country’s solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico in its long and heroic path to independence, adding that one day all of Latin America and the Caribbean would be free and independent. He encouraged the administering Power to work with peoples of that island to ensure that it would not be the exception in the region. The administering Power must work to halt the re‑emergence of social exclusion and policies which were damaging to the environment.
He also expressed support for Western Sahara for its self-determination and independence, and hoped negotiations would continue without prior conditions, so that the people of the Territory could exercise their rights. Morocco and the Democratic Saharawi Republic should work in good faith and continue negotiations, including an option of independence of the Territory, to achieve a just, lasting and durable peace. He also called on the United Kingdom to act in keeping with the relevant resolutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful, lasting solution through negotiations in the Falkland Islands, and recognized the readiness of Argentina to renew the negotiation process and achieve a solution.
As the end of the Second International Decade drew near, much remained to be done, as many people were still denied the basic right to freedom and full life. The Third International Decade should ensure emancipation, once and for all, for all colonized peoples. Colonial Powers must therefore implement and be guided by the United Nations statement on the rights of indigenous peoples.
JAVIER LOAYZA BAREA ( Bolivia) said that the cause of territorial integrity and the exercise of sovereignty must act now in a multilateral manner in order to ultimately eliminate colonialism. There must be a transparent political determination to achieve that end. Despite the progress made since 1962, there was a clear need to decisively promote the opening of more imaginative spaces for consultation. It was also necessary to open up an opportunity for dialogue, as well as an instrument to deal with and respond to the particular situation of each individual territory.
In addition, the administering Powers should assume a greater response to ensure that no trends in colonialism were incompatible with the United Nations Charter. In particular, the situation in the Turks and Caicos Islands was a clear move in the wrong direction. Basically, the process of decolonization should be seen from an economic, cultural and social perspective, and not confined merely to the legal front.
The Special Committee on Decolonization could not ignore the current reality, and must analyse it, he continued. In that sense, Bolivia also endorsed the statement made by Uruguay on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR). Bolivia also believed that any solution to a dispute should be the outcome of constructive dialogue, in a situation of mutual confidence that allowed situations to be rectified or that prevented actions that might have unfortunate outcomes. Further achievements were possible, particularly on social and economic fronts. Provision of funding was essential for the United Nations system to contribute to rendering the principles of General Assembly resolution 1514 (1960) viable, in addition to those of other relevant resolutions. The responses were in the hands of Members States to find the solutions in order to eradicate all forms of colonialism.
FESSEHA ASGHEDOM TESSEMA ( Ethiopia) said the adoption of the 1960 Declaration on the Granting Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples was a paramount contribution to enabling the peoples of former colonies in exercising their right to self-determination and to joining the United Nations. He applauded the work of the Special Committee for its firm commitment to the full implementation of the Declaration and to the objective of totally eradicating colonialism in all Territories.
He said decolonization had been one of the success stories of the United Nations, as 750 million people had been given the opportunity to exercise their legitimate rights. As a result, over 80 territories were freed from their masters and had declared independence in the sweeping wave of decolonization. However, he deplored the stalled process to effectively implement the Declaration in the 16 remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories.
He stressed that in order to eradicate colonialism or to fulfil the Special Committee’s mandate, the support and cooperation of administering Powers, legitimate representatives of Non-Self-Governing Territories, and Member States was vital. It was regrettable, that some administering Powers were still unwilling to cooperate with the Special Committee, which was a “flagrant violation of the right to self-determination”.
As a member of the Special Committee of 24, Ethiopia reaffirmed its readiness to accelerate the process of decolonization in all Non-Self-Governing Territories. Additionally, he said the activities of the international community, particularly the United Nations system, needed to be enhanced in the Territories with a view to improving the socio-economic conditions of the inhabitants. The oversight function of the Special Committee, although often carried out against a backdrop of fierce resistance on the part of the administering Powers, needed to be bolstered in light of changing world circumstances.
There were a number of challenges that the Non-Self-Governing Territories were confronted with, and the action-oriented recommendations contained in the Special Committee’s report should be given utmost consideration in addressing the environmental, social and economic development in the Territories. Independence should remain the only acceptable solution across all the Non-Self-Governing Territories on the United Nations list.
NDUKU BOOTO (Democratic Republic of the Congo) said that concerning the majority of issues before the Committee, her country’s position was in line with those defended by such groups as the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, and by regional groups, such as the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). On the issue of Western Sahara, her country’s position was consistent and remained unchanged. It was in line with United Nations efforts, particularly those of the United Nations Secretary-General and Security Council, who had not stopped affirming their desire for the parties to achieve a mutually‑acceptable solution that would allow the people of Western Sahara to have self-determination.
Urging parties and States in the region to continue to cooperate fully with the United Nations to advance a political solution, she welcomed the dynamism launched by Morocco, and the serious efforts it had made. She also welcomed the central role of the Security Council in attempting to settle the question of Western Sahara, and said her country would back any consensus and impartial recommendation by the General Assembly aimed at backing the relevant resolutions of the Council.
It was also necessary to protect the negotiations underway between the parties from any outside interference, which could undermine them. Commending the Secretary-General’s efforts and those of his Special Envoy, in attempting to achieve a lasting solution, she also urged all States in the region to continue dialogue and to show political will to achieve a political solution acceptable to all.
SEIF ALLI IDD, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of United Republic of Tanzania, welcomed the efforts of the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, and invoked resolution 1871 (2009) which called for a mutually acceptable political solution that would provide for self-determination of the people of that region. He pointed out that the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples was running behind schedule.
Regrettably, colonialism in different manifestations and guises continued in the Non-Self Governing Territories that remained on the Committee’s agenda. He added that Africa remained grateful and indebted to the Committee for ushering in the independence of all colonies and trusteeship territories in the continent. “We trust that the Committee’s historical role and responsibility, as well as its deliberations should lead to a speedy progress towards a definitive resolution of this conflict.”
He affirmed the United Republic of Tanzania’s support for the African Union position that supported the ongoing United Nations efforts to overcome the current impasse. In addition, he supported the declaration of the recent special session of the African Union in Tripoli on the consideration and resolution of conflicts in Africa. That text called for the intensification of efforts towards the holding of a referendum to enable the people of the Western Sahara to decide the future status of their Territory in line with self-determination.
The principle of the right to self-determination was based on international legality, and was the principle governed under the auspices of the United Nations. Lastly, he commended Morocco and the Frente Polisario for embracing a path of peaceful negotiations. He called on the Security Council to use its authority to advance the process and decisively break the stalemate.
CARLOS COSTA (Mozambique), aligning himself with the statement delivered by Egypt on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the rights to self-determination, freedom and independence were inalienable for all people, and his country attached great importance to ending decolonization around the world. He expressed hope that delays in implementing relevant Security Council resolutions calling for a referendum in Western Sahara would be overcome, and urged all parties to renew their commitment to reaching a political solution that would allow Western Saharans to enjoy their right to self-determination.
At the same time, he was encouraged by the recently resumed dialogue between Morocco and Frente Polisario through informal meetings, held in Austria, under the auspices of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Western Sahara. He fully supported that initiative as a “significant step” towards achieving an acceptable and durable political solution to the question of self-determination for those in Western Sahara. In closing, he said Mozambique subscribed to the relevant Security Council texts on that matter, notably resolution 1871 (2009), as key instruments in the pursuit of talks between the parties.
M.S.PURI ( India ) noted that the world was about to complete the first decade of the twenty-first century, yet colonialism was still an issue. He called it a “sad reflection”, and added that it was the concept of an exploitative past and that it ran counter to the principles of sovereign equality on which the United Nations and other multilateral systems were grounded. “It is anachronistic, archaic and outmoded; it contravenes the fundamental tenets of democracy, freedom, human dignity and human rights,” he said.
“One of the greatest achievements of the United Nations has been to rid most of the world of this scourge,” he said, referring to the Declaration on Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples that boldly set out the goal nearly 50 years ago. He lauded what he called one of the greatest achievements of the United Nations: the 80 million people living in 60 former territories that had been decolonized.
However, the goal was not fully realized as 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories remained. He said that a combination of urgency, activism, sensitivity and circumspection was needed and that special attention should be paid to the needs of the people of the Territories themselves. Citing the “crucial and delicate” role of the Special Committee and the United Nations, he said that ascertaining the political aspirations of the people in each of those Territories and taking into account the stages of development and advancement of each would enable them to acquire political and socio-economic institutions and structures. He mentioned the importance of administering Powers and their responsibility in disseminating relevant information regarding options that the people in the Territories have, and added that visits by United Nations missions were important tools to bridge this information deficit in the process of decolonization.
BERENADO VUNIBOBO ( Fiji) said the work of the Committee and its significance had become even more relevant and pressing as it collectively addressed the remaining 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories. Fiji was cognizant of both optimism and hardship associated with the realization of the Committee’s objective. Although it was acknowledged that there was never a full measure of certainty about the ideal time for the leap into self-governance or independence, it was absolutely crucial that such a decision took into full account the sustainability of a self-governing entity or government, as well as the long-term welfare of its people.
That brought into focus the preparations in the Non-Self-Governing Territories for the point at which such a decision had to be made, the crucial role of respective administering Powers, and close and even-handed support of the Committee to that process, he continued. As far as the mandate of the Committee was concerned, the central and unquestioned priority for all stakeholders should always be the interest of the peoples of the Territories.
Noting special challenges facing the decolonization process in general, and particularly with regard to the Malvinas, Western Sahara and certain cases in the Caribbean, he said they emanated, in part, from the lack of cooperation among stakeholders. Additional International Decades for the Eradication of Colonialism would mean little if that situation persisted or if the Committee did not find alternative ways to resolve associated difficulties. Also, economic and social considerations needed to be accorded deeper attention.
In his own region, Fiji continued to follow very closely the progress made in the decolonization of Guam, New Caledonia and Tokelau, he said. He welcomed the efforts in improving social and economic conditions there and urged the administering Powers to continue to deepen their support in that respect. He also welcomed the offer for the annual regional seminar on decolonization to be hosted in Noumea. Further consideration should also be given, in consultation with the administering Power, to sending a mission to New Caledonia.
In the case of Guam, his said his country continued to support the Chamorro people in their expressed wishes regarding self-determination. In the light of representations made by the petitioners from Guam, he wondered whether a point had been reached where an alternative way could be found, by which the Committee could examine more closely the representations made. He also reiterated his call on the administering Power to renew its commitment to the United Nations decolonization process.
AMJAD HUSSAIN B. SIAL (Pakistan) said that in pursuing the decolonization agenda for a better and more peaceful world, Pakistan valued the role and contribution of the Special Committee, particularly its position as the focal point for a comprehensive, system-wide effort of engaging United Nations bodies and agencies, the people of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, the administering Powers, the Member States, and the wider international community.
Unfortunately, progress on the issue in the last few years had not matched the goals set. The Second International Decade was coming to an end, but colonialism continued. He said the reason was not any dearth of resolutions or decisions, but a lack of political will to implement them. It had been seen in the past that decolonization had a way only where there was a political will. As status quo powers, the administering Powers must show such political will to engage positively with their respective territories. In that context, the case of Tokelau and the Government of New Zealand could set a benchmark for all others to emulate.
Achieving the goal of universal decolonization would require that the administering Powers and the United Nations system fulfil their respective responsibilities. In that equation, the administering Powers must create conditions in the Territories that would enable the people there to exercise freely, and without interference, their inalienable right to self-determination. For its part, the United Nations system had a twofold responsibility: It should address the special needs of the Territories through assistance by the specialized agencies and international institutions, and it should keep the people of the Territories cognizant of options available to them regarding self-determination, he said.
The right to self-determination was the fundamental principle driving the struggle against colonial domination and foreign occupation. It was a fundamental human right, guaranteed by the Charter and recognized under relevant human rights conventions. Decolonization and the right to self-determination were objectives of such importance, scope and global relevance that they could not be limited to the Non-Self-Governing Territories alone. Their application was universal. Negation of the right to self-determination led to discontent, ignited conflicts, and threatened peace and security. Unfortunately, South Asia and the Middle East had witnessed it directly, he said.
REGINA MARIA CORDEIRO DUNLOP ( Brazil) joined the statements of the Rio Group and MERCOSUR and its associated States, and noted that only Timor-Leste had been decolonized since the First Decade on Decolonization had been proclaimed. To better promote the decolonization agenda, she suggested taking a case-by-case approach to address the specificities of each of the remaining 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories, including differences in their colonial relationships and in their ethnic, social and economic structures.
The Malvinas Islands presented a specific colonial situation, for example, where there was a sovereignty dispute, he said, expressing support for the legitimate rights of Argentina in that regard. He also encouraged that country and the United Kingdom to promptly resume bilateral negotiations so as to find a peaceful, just and lasting solution to the issue.
For the people of the majority of Non-Self-Governing Territories, the need to exercise the right to self-determination was of paramount importance, he said. Noting that many small island Non-Self-Governing Territories had been particularly affected by natural disasters, climate change and the economic and financial crisis, he encouraged the administering powers and the United Nations system to take into account the special needs of those Territories.
KIRSTY GRAHAM ( New Zealand), welcoming the draft resolution under consideration on the question of Tokelau, said Tokelau was relevant to New Zealand both as the administering authority and as a country strongly committed to the principle of self-determination. It had been two years since the people of Tokelau had voted in a United Nations-supervised self-determination referendum. In that exercise, for a second time, Tokelau’s electorate did not reach the threshold they themselves had set for a change of status from that of territory to one of self-government in free association with New Zealand.
She said that last year before the Committee, she had explained that Tokelau and New Zealand had decided to focus primarily on further improving essential services on the atolls, rather than moving in the medium-term to a further act of self-determination. That continued to be the approach both partners were taking. At a time when global challenges added extra pressure onto small and vulnerable communities such as Tokelau, a focus on the core needs of the atolls populations seemed particularly appropriate.
The right to self-determination was fundamental, she stressed. It deserved no less than the full support of Member States. It was, however, not sufficient on its own. The peoples who sought to exercise self-determination must also have the opportunity to develop their full needs. For that reason, New Zealand was committed to the people of Tokelau. Welcoming the ongoing interest of the Special Committee in Tokelau, she said New Zealand would continue to report to it on developments there.
MOTLATSI RAMAFOLE ( Lesotho) said that being a former colony, his country knew exactly how it felt to exist under colonial domination. It was difficult to explain to the average person in Lesotho why there were still nations under colonial rule in the twenty-first century -- and more than six decades since the United Nations had been formed. The exercise of a right to self-determination should be enjoyed by all people remaining under colonial rule and domination.
The United Nations Charter obliged the administering authorities to recognize the importance of the interests of the inhabitants of Non-Self-Governing Territories and promote their well being. He commended those administering Powers that continued to cooperate fully with the Territories under their rule, in their noble efforts to achieve decolonization. He also encouraged all the parties still engaged in the decolonization process to continue with all diplomatic efforts that would soon bring an end to colonization.
The year 2010 marked the end of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, and the pertinent question was whether colonization would belong to history by that time, he continued. Examining the achievements made so far, the answer would be “no.” Naturally, the next question would be, how long must people in the colonized Territories wait before they were fully emancipated. That question must be answered through collective action.
He went on to express concern over the situation of Western Sahara, the only remaining colony on the African soil, welcoming the appointment of the new Special Envoy for the Territory and noting preparations for the eighth round of negotiations. He reiterated the call for the parties to engage in negotiations as equals, without preconditions, and with renewed zeal to arrive at a solution.
He had full confidence in the process leading to decolonization of Western Sahara and trusted that the Government of Morocco and the Frente Polisario would find a common ground in their search for the liberation of the Saharawi people. He also called on the international community to redouble its efforts in assisting colonized territories in achieving their aspirations. Decolonization must continue to constitute one of the main agenda items of the United Nations.
ROMÁN OYARZUN ( Spain) said that Committee members were well aware that the question of Gibraltar was of the utmost importance for the Spanish Government. The doctrine of the General Assembly acknowledged, through its decisions and resolutions, that the colonial situation in Gibraltar was contrary to the United Nations Charter, given that it undermined the unity and territorial integrity of Spain. Indeed, as the members of the Committee knew well, the principle of self‑determination could not be applied to the decolonization of Gibraltar.
He said the principle of self-determination was applicable to the decolonization of colonized peoples. The present inhabitants of Gibraltar did not constitute a colonized people, but they were used to dispossess the native Spanish peoples of the land they inhabited. The United Nations doctrine on the decolonization process on Non-Self-Governing Territories was fully devoted to the defence of the rights of their native inhabitants regarding the colonizing territories.
Furthermore, in the case of Gibraltar, there were two overlapping disputes, he said. One was that of sovereignty, which referred to the territory transferred by the Treaty of Utrecht –- sovereignty that should be returned to Spain in application of the decolonization doctrine of the United Nations. The second dispute referred to the boundaries of the occupied territory. Part of that territory was occupied by the United Kingdom without any basis. In the territory of the Isthmus, Spain must fully recover the jurisdiction illegally exerted by the United Kingdom.
He said that while an attempt had been made on some occasions to “artificially convince” the Committee that decolonization and the sovereignty dispute were two issues that ought to be examined separately, in the case of Gibraltar, the consolidated doctrine of the United Nations had inextricably joined them, given that the two mentioned disputes, which violated the territorial integrity of Spain, constituted a clear violation of the aforementioned doctrine, he said.
The United Nations mandate on Gibraltar had been clear since 1964, with either resolutions or decisions that repeatedly urged bilateral negotiations between the United Kingdom and Spain to find a negotiated solution that kept in mind the interests of the inhabitants of the colony. Following that mandate, the Spanish Government wanted to express once more its firm determination to resume direct talks with the United Kingdom to that aim. The Committee would agree that the United Kingdom’s attempt to use the new constitutional decree it had granted to Gibraltar or the vote in a referendum could not be accepted.
Moreover, he said, declarations qualifying the United Nations doctrine as anachronistic, or its criteria as old-fashioned and unreal, could not be accepted either. The Spanish Government would continue working within the Forum for Dialogue on Gibraltar, and it was fully committed to resolve issues relating to local cooperation for the welfare and economic development of the inhabitants of the “campo de Gibraltar” and Gibraltar, he concluded.
FAISAL AL ZAYANI ( Bahrain) said the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples translated the “aspirations of the peoples”, and he stressed that it was abundantly clear that the objectives of that Declaration enjoyed particular attention by the international community. In addition, the preambular part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stressed the inalienable rights of the human family, as well as their dignity, as the basis for freedom, justice, and peace in the world.
Those were the main ideas and ideals of the Declaration, he said, and the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration, which would be celebrated next year, was a historic opportunity to take stock of United Nations achievements regarding the eradication of colonialism. If the Second International Decade, which was declared because of the non-fulfilment of the action plan on decolonization, was about to end without achieving a world free of colonialism, the international community “should not despair”, but should continue to strive to achieve the objectives of the Declaration.
However, the designated International Decades had provided great impetus to all efforts with a view to exploring ways and means to achieve the desired goals. The notion of another international decade was derived from the ongoing efforts to find new methods to eradicate colonialism, including strengthening the means towards achieving that goal, particularly the programme of work adopted by General Assembly resolution 2621, and the plan of action to implement the Declaration.
He said that all those methods played a major role in eliminating the major obstacles hindering the emancipation of colonial peoples and countries, as such peoples managed to break free from the yoke of colonialism and become free and independent States that enjoyed sovereignty with the rightful standing among other States. That had been achieved thanks to the synergy between those States and the United Nations. Still, the United Nations must take stock of what had been achieved, and strive through collective efforts to end apartheid and racial discrimination.
ROBERT G. AISI ( Papua New Guinea) noted there were five Non-Self Governing Territories in the Pacific Region and much remained to be done in the process leading to their exercise of self-determination. Addressing the Territories by turn, he first conveyed his sympathies to the people of American Samoa for the tragedy caused by the earthquake and tsunami, saying countries of the Pacific were helping to rebuild their way of life.
He commended the prompt response of the United States, the administering Power, in providing to the Territory with emergency relief, and also encouraged the United States to address the concerns of the people of American Samoa regarding their Territory’s status. On Guam, he said Papua New Guinea was supportive of earnest dialogue between the United States and the people of Guam along with the Special Committee towards a mutual resolution on the Territory’s future status.
On New Caledonia, he welcomed the participation of its President in the work of the Fourth Committee last week. The delegation from New Caledonia was made of different representatives from all political factions, which was a good sign of cooperation. He also acknowledged the participation of the Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) in the Committee’s work, and expressed encouragement at the cooperative efforts of the administering Power, France. Papua New Guinea supported the offer by New Caledonia to host the next regional seminar in Noumea in 2010, and suggested that the possibility of a United Nations visiting mission be considered to coincide with the Seminar.
Turning to Tokelau, which he said continued to be the model on how the process of self-determination should be addressed, he commended the efforts of the New Zealand Government in recognizing the rights of the people of Tokelau and in its efforts to meet their commitments to the development of that Territory. While the referendums of February 2006 and October 2007 did not produce the required two-thirds majority to change Tokelau’s status, his Government appreciated General Fono’s decision to defer any future act of self-determination.
He concluded with a call on administering Powers to enhance their cooperation with the Special Committee on decolonization to implement the Plan of Action of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism with respect to all Non-Self-Governing Territories, both in the Pacific and other parts of the world.
AMIR HOSSEIN HOSSEINI (Iran), associating himself with the statement made by Egypt on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, commended the hard work of the United Nations on decolonization since the 1960s, but said that the work was not finished since 16 Territories remained under colonial dominance. Decolonization must remain a top priority on the international agenda, he stressed, adding that Member States should give more support than ever to the Plan of Action for the Second International Decade.
Reiterating the call for improved cooperation between Member States, administering Powers and the representatives of Non-Self-Governing Territories, he called on all parties to speed up the decolonization of those territories. In that context, the Special Committee should improve its working methods and its interaction with administering Powers and ensure the active contribution of peoples of the Non-Self-Governing-Territories in determining their own future.
Affirming the fundamental and inalienable right of all peoples to self‑determination, he stressed that it was the responsibility of the administering Powers for the political economic, social and education progress of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories. “Window dressing policies” and the promotion of a colonial mentality for the purpose of retaining their colonial rule must have no place in their agenda.
LINO SIMA EKUA AVOMO ( Equatorial Guinea) said that the Committee was again pursuing its endeavours in the quest for a peaceful, negotiated and lasting solution regarding the process of self-determination in Western Sahara, consistent with the spirit and principles of the United Nations Charter. It was necessary to take advantage of the steps that had been taken guided by the relevant Security Council resolutions, and to also take advantage of the commitment of the parties involved to resolve the conflict that had lasted for more than 30 years.
In the Maghreb region, his delegation supported a solution that incorporated the elements of a lasting peace: agreement, stability and reconciliation. Equatorial Guinea also wished to acknowledge that, despite continuing difficulties, the United Nations, the Secretary-General, his Special Envoys and the wider international community as a whole had done a great deal in recent years to reduce the differences between the parties with a view to arriving at a peaceful solution in Western Sahara. His delegation therefore believed that such endeavours should not be wasted.
In that sense, he was of the view that Morocco’s initiative to grant broad autonomy complied with the principle of self-determination embodied in the United Nations Charter. The initiative also constituted an objective basis for negotiations between the two parties. His delegation also wished to repeat its support for the territorial integrity for the Kingdom of Morocco. In that regard, his delegation truly believed that the international community should remain committed to providing support, with a view to its continuation and revitalization.
RAPHAëL DIEUDONNÉ MABOUNDOU ( Congo) said the implementation of Security Council resolution 1314 (2000) on children and armed conflict remained a necessity. He reaffirmed support for the decolonization process, to ensure that all people still labouring under the burden of colonialism would be able to exercise their inalienable rights to self determination. He welcomed the various reports before the Special Committee, as well as that body’s primary role, including through following up to the situation in the Non-Self-Governing Territories.
He said improving cooperation between the Special Committee and the administering Powers remained essential in implementing the Fourth Committee’s mandate. Congo was gratified by the progress achieved on the issue of Tokelau, including the cooperation between New Zealand and Tokelau in all stages of negotiations, including referendums conducted in 2006 and 2007, in which the people of Tokelau participated in exercising their right to self-determination.
Turning to the question of Western Sahara, he said that question had been at the heart of the Committee’s work for a number of years, and he supported Security Council resolutions 1754 (2007), 1783 (2007), 1813(2008), and 1871 (2009), urging the parties to the conflict to continue to show the necessary political will and work for bringing about more intensive negotiations.
He noted with concern that the Second International Decade was coming to an end without significant progress in implementation of the Action Plan, and the international community must step up efforts to find constructive methods to finalize the decolonization process. He said the Congo would continue to participate actively in the work of the Special Committee to contribute efforts in eradicating this “outdated phenomenon”.
JEAN-FRANCIS RÉGIS ZINSOU ( Benin) said the General Assembly was continuing to seek solutions acceptable to all parties for a rapid solution to the questions of the self-determination of the remaining 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories still on its agenda. Paying tribute to the efforts undertaken by the Secretary-General -- through his recent and current Special Envoys -- to bring about a candid dialogue between the parties on the issue of Western Sahara, his delegation welcomed such work and actions. He especially noted the Moroccan initiative aimed at granting autonomy, which sought a consensus settlement on the issue of Western Sahara, in line with the international community’s efforts.
Suffering would only increase if the parties did not manage to leverage the risk of prolonged destabilization in the region, he continued. It was necessary to make use of consensus by creating a framework to revitalize the Manhasset negotiations. It was also necessary to achieve a new spirit of collective commitment. In that framework, the remaining differences on the draft resolution before the Committee, submitted by Algeria, could, and indeed must, be overcome so that there could be a position of adopting a consensus text. Such a consensus text could send a signal to the next round of Manhasset negotiations. He urged all parties to work in good faith in the interest of all peoples and in the interest of international peace and security.
LAZAROUS KAPAMBWE (Zambia), associating his delegation with statements made by Namibia’s representative on behalf of SADC, and the statement made by Egypt on behalf of Non-Aligned Movement, with regards to the situation in Western Sahara, called for the holding of a referendum to enable the people of that Territory to exercise their inalienable rights to self-determination.
He said the credibility of the United Nations rested on its ability to implement the decisions it took, and when the General Assembly adopted resolution 1514 in 1960, it became entrusted with the hopes of the weak, the disenfranchised, the dispossessed, the dominated, and the downtrodden ‑‑ the colonized peoples ‑‑ in every corner of the world and of every colour and creed.
The failure on the part of the United Nations in some cases, like Western Sahara, was a disappointment not only to the peoples of that Territory but to all those throughout the world who were fighting for their inalienable rights, and the confidence of those people in the Organization was thus called into question. The ruling of the International Court of Justice, made 34 years ago, had yet to be implemented. Likewise, the settlement plan between Morocco and Frente Polisario, and the Houston agreement, had also not been implemented.
Thus, he said, the time had come for the United Nations to act and ensure that the parties respected the agreements which they had freely negotiated and signed. It must also act to stop the numerous human rights abuses said to be happening in Western Sahara, beginning with an international investigative mission to the areas controlled by both sides. He lent support to the Manhasset process, and implored the parties to recognize that sovereignty did not subsist in government, but in the people. Any effect to limit the scope of self-determination was, therefore, a prescription for failure. Only a solution based on a referendum with a full range of options, including independence, would constitute the true exercise of this sovereign right.
SAID MOHAMED OUSSEIN ( Comoros) said Africa, more than any other continent, had been, and continued to be, plagued by conflicts, with the misery and death they brought in their wake. Such conflicts also brought destabilization to the continent. Wars and conflicts of any kind hampered all efforts for the good and well-being of its peoples. They also hampered the achievement of an Africa of strength and solidarity.
On the question of Western Sahara, he said there must be faith, and negotiations must be valued. There were one people, in one nation, sharing the same cultural and religious values. The Moroccan proposal was a brave, wise and reasonable alternative for all parties involved. The initiative would guarantee national cohesion and stability for the region as a whole.
Comoros supported the commitment taken by the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy to achieve a just, lasting and acceptable political solution. He called upon all stakeholders to transcend their differences so that a solution could be reached. If that did not occur, he said, the United Nations efforts would remain futile.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria), associating his delegation with the “firm and rigorous attitude of the General Assembly”, said he had “no reservations” with the rights of Non-Self-Governing Territories, a belief which served as a permanent feature of Algeria’s foreign policy. The right of a people to be self-determined was inalienable and the example of Timor-Leste perfectly illustrated the rightness of this approach.
It had been a decade, since the decolonization of Timor-Leste ‑‑ a territory which should be compared to Western Sahara ‑‑ and that country had since been afforded the opportunity to express its free will through a referendum. Thus, a chronic, outdated situation of colonialism condemned by the international community was put to an end. Timor-Leste had now joined the community of nations and could contribute to the Millennium Development Goals and participate in the international arena.
The African continent had welcomed the liberation of almost all of its formerly colonized peoples. Now, the people of Western Sahara, whose national aspirations were clear to all, should be offered the opportunity to exercise the right to self determination. In that regard, he said, the United Nations should discharge its duty of preserving peace in the region, as freedom in Western Sahara must be internationally guaranteed.
The issue of Western Sahara was one of decolonization that had not been finalized yet, and was a typical example of deadlock. The guidelines for extricating the conflict from the impasse were well known. It required a resolved, pro-active, enlightened approach to ensure stability in the long-term. A settlement of the issue of Western Sahara must involve the genuine exercise of people to the right to self-determination.
He said Algeria had worked from the very beginning of conflict in a spirit of clarity and cohesiveness, and in consistent way, to re-establish the legitimate rights of the people of Western Sahara. In that endeavour, organizations had acted in imaginative ways to achieve a settlement through negotiations based on the goodwill of both parties, and not sacrificing any of the rights of the people of Western Sahara. That was the thrust of the message of the Heads of State of Africa at the meeting of the African Union in Tripoli at the end of August.
He called for an intensification of efforts to hold a referendum, and said the issue of Western Sahara was quite clear. The adoption of Security Council resolution 1754 (2007) enjoyed general consensus, and it was therefore necessary to re-launch the dialogue, without any preconditions, to extricate the conflict from impasse. That approach would aim at breathing new life into the situation, and was based on a fragile balance, with the proposals of both parties worthy of equal attention.
He paid tribute to the efforts of Christopher Ross, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, whose appointment had quite clearly contributed to restoring a climate of trust. Since working for peace was in the best interest of all peoples in the region, he said actions must be taken within a framework of improving the political atmosphere.
Over 18 years after setting up MINURSO, the Territory remained closed to foreign observers and was inaccessible to the human rights mechanisms of the United Nations. He said the international community must remedy that “exceptional” situation. The people of the region were linked by a same fate, and held aspirations of establishing a harmonious and prosperous whole, in line with the history of that part of the world, and the creation of an Arab Maghreb Union and a future without fratricidal conflict.
PAUL GOA ZOUMANIGUI ( Guinea) said considerable progress had been made in regards to colonization, and that progress had been made possible by combined efforts on the part of the many international actors and parties involved. But much remained to be done to ensure Non-Self-Governing Territories were able to exercise their right to self-determination. More needed to be done to achieve the objectives established in connection with the action plan of the Second International Decade, he added.
Guinea had been one of the main initiators of Assembly resolution 1514 (1960), and would continue to make contributions to the international efforts, with a view to eliminating colonialism. Guinea encouraged the Committee to continue to organize regional seminars, in order to assess and receive information on the Non-Self-Governing Territories. As such, it hoped that the seminar in the Pacific region in 2010 would achieve conclusive results.
Regarding the settlement of the situation in Western Sahara, his delegation regretted that the efforts of the international community had not yet achieved the desired results. Guinea welcomed the appointment of the Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, and also welcomed the contact that had been established by that official with the parties in order to ensure stability in the region. Guinea would also invite neighbouring countries to work with Mr. Ross under the basis of Security Council resolution 1813 (2008).
Furthermore, Guinea hoped that the fifth cycle of talks between the parties would make it possible to arrive at a just, lasing and political solution in Western Sahara, one that would be in compliance with resolution 1813 (2008). Guinea also welcomed the fact that the parties involved had been willing to continue negotiations. He expressed hope that the preparatory meeting for the fifth cycle would soon be organized so that the cycle would achieve the desired success. Guinea also looked forward to a relaunching of the Manhasset process. In addition, Guinea supported the Moroccan initiative and urged the parties involved to find a mutually acceptable political solution.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) said that long before gaining its full independence, Morocco had fought for the freedom of all peoples under colonial occupation and had lent its diplomatic and logistical support to genuine liberation movements, especially in Africa. That commitment had continued after independence, and Morocco became a rallying point for all those fighting for the freedom and unity of the African continent.
However, 30 years ago, Morocco had strongly opposed attempts to “amputate the Sahara part of its national territory”, he said. The Sahara was then recovered peacefully from Spain in 1976, and that process was formalized by a negotiated agreement by virtue of which Spain returned the southern provinces to Morocco. During that recovery process, part of the Saharan population was deported and kept in inhospitable camps inside the Algerian territory.
Since then, those populations had lived in precarious and inhumane conditions, he said, where they were deprived of basic rights, denied a census by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the right to repatriation and reunification. He said that when the United Nations concluded that the referendum stipulated in the “defunct” settlement plan of 1990 was not viable, and rejected an Algerian proposal for autonomy, Morocco had endeavoured to seek a “win-win solution”, which was favoured by the Security Council and the international community at large.
That regional autonomy initiative was a framework for a negotiated and final settlement, he continued, and he said it respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Morocco, while allowing the population of the region to manage their domestic affairs through democratically elected bodies. That “serious and credible” process had generated a dynamic and was a turning point in the search for a political solution.
However despite that new dynamic, other parties had maintained their obstructive policy, invoking the necessity for Morocco to uphold human rights in its southern provinces. Ten years ago, Morocco had launched far-reaching reforms aimed at consolidating its multicultural identity and preserving human dignity. It had also embarked on “ambitious” reforms in the fields of human rights for women, development, transitional justice, and the exercise of political, economic, social and cultural rights by Moroccan citizens in the whole of the country. Those efforts had won Morocco the first “advanced status” with the European Union, he said.
Building on the progress achieved during the mandate of Peter van Walsum, former Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara, he said current Envoy Christopher Ross had witnessed Morocco’s genuine willingness to move forward. That willingness materialized in the active participation of the Moroccan delegation in the first informal meeting held in Dürnstein, Austria, where it expressed its readiness to work with the Algerian delegation on a consensus draft resolution based on the 2008 text.
He said Morocco was keen on normalizing and developing friendly and cooperative relations with Algeria, and was still hopeful that Algeria would put an end to the “anachronistic” situation of the unilateral closure of borders between the two countries, a practice now in its fifteenth year. Such a measure contravened the need for communication and impeded the economic and social development of the Maghreb. It was not time for vindication and controversy, he said, but rather for conciliation and renewed brotherhood. Any resolution adopted by the Fourth Committee should avoid selective and piecemeal approaches. Any resolution based on confrontation would inflict irreparable damage to the ongoing negotiations process.
Right of Reply
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of the United Kingdom first responded to the statement made by Spain’s representative regarding Gibraltar. The United Kingdom welcomed the continued progress of the Trilateral Forum. The third ministerial meeting of the Forum had reviewed progress and had recommitted the United Kingdom, Gibraltar and Spain to full implementation on issues still outstanding. He underlined the value of the three-way dialogue, and said that the United Kingdom would continue to work constructively on all Gibraltar-related issues.
In response to statements made by the representatives of Nicaragua, Bolivia, Fiji and Brazil on issue of the Falkland Islands, he said that the United Kingdom’s position was well-known. There could be no negotiations unless and until such time as the people of the Falkland Islands so wished.
Responding to statements made by the representatives of Nicaragua and Bolivia on the issue of Turks and Caicos Islands, the United Kingdom’s representative said the matter constituted a serious constitutional measure, which the United Kingdom did not take lightly. Suspension would last for up to two years. The United Kingdom’s intention remained that elections should be held on 11 July 2011, if not sooner.
Also speaking in exercise of the right of reply, India’s representative said that Pakistan’s representative had gone back to the “language of the past” during his intervention. India’s delegation had hoped the focus would be on the “crying need of the hour”. There was no place for bilateral disputes in a multilateral forum, he said.
Next, the representative of Argentina, responding to the United Kingdom’s statement regarding the Malvinas Islands, said she wished to repeat what had been said on 5 October and would remind the Committee that the Malvinas and its surrounding waters were an integral part of Argentinean territory and that they were being illegally occupied. The dispute was one of sovereignty that had been legitimately recognized, and which had been the subject of numerous resolutions. All of those resolutions acknowledged the existence of a sovereignty dispute regarding the archipelagos. The relevant resolutions also urged the resumption of dialogue to find a lasting solution to the dispute.
Responding to the statement just made by the representative of India, Pakistan’s representative said India had made some untenable associations regarding their dispute. Pakistan’s position on terrorism was well known; it condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and was a lead country in the fight against that scourge.
The Decolonization Declaration stated that all peoples had a right to self-determination, and that the subjection of peoples to alien exploitation was contrary to the United Nations Charter and an impediment to world peace and cooperation, among other things. In that regard, Jammu and Kashmir were most relevant to the discussions. The Jammu and Kashmir region was not an integral of India, nor would it ever be. Although the dispute was an international issue, it had been agreed to be addressed bilaterally. Pakistan had advanced several ideas to try to resolve the issue, and awaited substantive progress towards such resolution.
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