of His Highness
Shaikh Hamad Bin
Khalifa Al Thani
Amir of the State of Qatar
At the General Assembly
Of the United Nations
On Saturday November 10th, 2001
In the Name of God,
The Most Compassionate, The Most Merciful
Mr. Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to address the UN General Assembly today, in my capacity as the Amir of the State of Qatar and as Chairman of the Ninth Summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
It is our duty to make this important session of the General Assembly a session for rebuilding confidence and realizing the aspirations and expectations of our peoples for a world where pence, prosperity prevail.
I take this opportunity to extend to you Mr. President my congratulations on your election to chair this session and would like to extend my thanks to your predecessor H.E. Mr. Harri Holkeri. I must also congratulate Mr. Kofi Anan on his re-election as U.N. Secretary General and on the Noble Peace Prize awarded him and the United Nations.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are all aware of the extraordinary circumstances under which this session is being held, in the wake of the political situation prevailing in the world after the events of September 11. On analyzing those terrible events We can say that humanity has reached a turning point. Where We go now, depends on how We respond to the crisis We are facing.
Personally I believe chat the greatest repose and serenity we can offer to the souls of the victims of that criminal act, the sincerest consolation to their families, and the most effective support to the friendly United States of America, where these events took place, is for the international community as a whole to stand up not only to confront what happened but also to act with determination to, avoid the repetition of such acts in the future.
What happened in New York and Washington is unprecedented and almost beyond our imagining. There may be strategic planners who see the events as confirming their predictions, but for the rest of us it would have seemed like fiction. Sadly, the events were all too real and we watched with amazement and horror as we realized the full gravity of those attacks for the future of humanity.
Dealing with the repercussions of these events should not just be a matter of punishing those whose guilt in masterminding and carrying out this criminal act is proved. Inflicting punishment, though imperative, will not, in my opinion, prevent the repetition of similar or even graver acts in future.
We are facing a grave situation. We are seeing what could be described as a globalization of terrorism through the evil utilization of the revolution of technology and communications which We once thought could only be for the benefit of mankind. So we are all involved in an unconventional war for which We are not yet prepared.
As we know, terrorism is neither a temporary phenomenon nor is it confined to a certain continent; it is to be found everywhere concealed like time-bombs in over midst.
We should ask ourselves: What haze we done as an international community vis-a-vis this situation? Have we actually faced up to this grave situation? Frankly speaking my answer is NO. What have We done to rebuild confidence among people? What have we done to contain the fear that is demoralizing our citizens? What are we going to do now to stop the economic recession and social anxiety Which threatens its all? Furthermore, is this the world we promised at the millennium summit a year ago? A world which would be ruled by amity, peace and cooperation?
If anything, we have moved away from these ideals of a year ago we are a world in which liberties are increasingly restricted, where democracy is in retreat and where caution and isolation are replacing freedom and openness.
The State of Qatar, along with all Islamic countries, has condemned the terrorist acts that took place on September 11th. This stand was explicitly expressed at the Emergency Meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference Ministers of reign Affairs held in Doha last month. Our unanimous agreement on condemning what happened emanated from the values of our true religion, its sublime Sharia that is based on tolerance, justice, equality and cooperation among people, and forbids the taking of human life unjustly.
In this connection, I would like to stress that what deepens our conviction and strengthens our stance towards these eternal values is our realization and understanding of the geopolitical importance of the Muslim nation with its diverse peoples, which makes it a strategic partner in the process of building balanced international relations.
In fact, this is what makes Muslims deplore those Who deliberately try to link Islam with terrorism. Our peoples condemn and reject all attempts to distort the image of Islam, which is the last of divine messages, and those who abuse and terrorize its adherents and jeopardize their lives, dignity and interests. Violence and extremism are not related to any particular race, creed or culture.
Therefore it is now necessary to
stand up firmly against all forms of harassment against Arab and Muslim
communities in any country under the pretext of combating terrorism and
the pursuit of terrorists.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We need to have a clear definition of terrorism and distinguish between this phenomenon, which is based on criminal practices and attacks against civilian and innocent people, and legitimate struggles to get rid of the yoke of illegitimate occupation and subjugation.
Terrorism has taken root not only because of our incapacity to tackle world tension hotspots but also because we have tolerated for too long those who pursue policies of repression and deny fundamental liberties and basic human rights. The seeds of terrorism lie in those places which reject pluralism, allow corruption to spread, exploit authority and hound political opponents under the guise of protecting the security of their homelands and people. It is neither just nor wise for any once to claim to improve internal conditions by resorting to oppressive practices or suspending democracy.
In this context, we feel it is high time and extremely urgent to pact an end to the tragedy of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces. We call on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities in providing the necessary international protection for these people against the unjustified and unacceptable daily aggressions they are exposed to. This has become more indispensable today, if we really want to avoid an imminent human catastrophe Which will only lead to more spirals of violence, terrorism and destruction in our region. We would urge everyone to support their political leaders when they call for restraint to avoid the loss of innocent civilian lines, so that the right climate can be created for a just peace to be brought to this troubled region.
Here, We should put on record our
support for the positive stance of the U.S. President George W. Bush and
his administration in connection With the establishment of a Palestinian
State. Also it is necessary in this regard to praise the stance of Mr.
Tony Blair , the .British Prime Minister, and to mention the efforts exerted
in this respect Ink governments of the friendly European countries and
other international bodies concerned with the settlement of the crisis.
The ultimate criterion is the implementation of the stances they have taken
and moving from statements to actions.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have to put emphasis on the need
to address the human tragedy of the people of Afghanistan. We feel it is
our duty to come forward with every possible aid to these people, most
of whom are living under extremely hard conditions, which in turn increases
their sufferings which were already acute before the crisis brought upon
them by the events of 11 September.
Therefore we appeal to the international community to provide assistance and aid to save the lives of millions of Afghans who are facing a bleak future. There is an immediate need for relief as the Afghan winter approaches. We would urge the Taliban authorities to cooperate fully with relief organizations to ensure that essential food and medicines reach all their people. We would urge the US government to designate a safe corridor for these supplies to travel through before winter sets in and before the start of the holy month of 'Ramadhan. At the same time as we address these urgent humanitarian concerns we feel that it is essential to resort to the longer term solution proposed by the Organization of Islamic Conference to the Afghani problem. This solution is simply based on maintaining the territorial integrity and Islamic identity of Afghanistan, and forming a government representing all factions of the Afghani society without excluding any one of them.
It is the responsibility of the international community to draft global and comprehensive programs arid plans to counter all forms of World challenges.
In this respect, We are convinced of the necessity to reform the United Nations, step up the effectiveness of its organs and agencies arid promote its efficiency. Equally, as member states of the organization We are required to shoulder our political responsibilities and honour our financial and moral obligations towards it. In this context, we support the idea of expanding the Security Council membership, making it more democratic and more representative of the international community in our contemporary world. We also support the idea of expanding the permanent membership of the Security Council in order lo secure wider representation. The same thing goes for restricting the ability to use the veto on the part of permanent member states, and regulating the possibilities of using this right within the limits of specific conditions and provisions to be agreed upon by the international organization.
From this platform, I have to say that it is high time we took steps to activate the human rights charter. In implementing the charter, international organizations should not confine their role to merely recording the violations of its principle. They should move to comprehensive, democratic dialogue which consolidates the provisions in the charter to people right to participate in governance, expands its scope and makes it more responsive not just for today's requirements, but for tomorrow's as well.
Since the State of Qatar is convinced of the importance and necessity of this dialogue, as Qatar would be one of those benefit from the outcome of such dialogue, we are willing to contribute all forms of support to make this year a year for democratic dialogue that would be a true introduction to the U.N. Charter at the beginning of this millennium.
This endeavour, if approached with conviction and resolve, will lead to interaction of different views, and could possibly help unify our efforts against present threats and future challenges.
This way, our cultural distinction could be turned into a source of strength, and wealth, our social disparities become an element of diversity and contribution, and our political and geographical borders become points of cooperation, convergence and communication among our peoples and nations. This gives us the opportunity for us all to live in a world in which man takes pride in his humanity, and to look forward to a future of prosperity and Welfare for our children and grandchildren without any discrimination or distinction.
May the peace and blessings of God
be upon you.