H. E. Mr. HOR NAMHONG
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION OF THE KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA
56TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 11, 2001
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Mr. Secretary General
1. I wish to join other distinguished delegates in congratulating you on your unanimous election as the President of the 56th Session of the UN General Assembly. We are confident that under your able guidance, the work of this General Assembly session will be another milestone in the new international scene, particularly, in confronting the new challenges facing our world, especially after the most tragic September 11 to terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
2. I believe that the world has completely changed after the most deadly terrorist attacks against the United States of America, where so many innocent lives were lost. These acts of terrorism shook the world with surprise as the images of destruction were lively broadcast. They were undoubtedly, crimes against humanity. We must strongly condemn these terrorist acts. We cannot forget those who lost their lives and the families of the victims. In this regard, I wish to extend on behalf of the people and the Royal Government of Cambodia our most sincere condolences to the families of the innocent victims and the Government of the United States of America.
3. Cambodia fully supports the UN resolutions in condemning acts of terrorism against the United States. Cambodia, also, fully endorses the international efforts in combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. However, Cambodia is disturbed over the loss of innocent civilian lives as a result of the bombings in Afghanistan. We must do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties and loss of lives.
4. In order to find solutions to the current problems facing our world, especially terrorism, I believe that we need to look into not only the root causes of terrorism but also the other contributing factors to terrorism that are confronting the world today.
5. First, as related to the cause of terrorism, we need to look for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, in particular, a solution to the Palestine problem. We need to respect the fundamental rights of self-determination of the Palestinian people. In this regard, we should support for a Palestinian State as early as possible. One may argue that the present situation in the world may have opened a window of opportunity for finding solutions to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. I believe and hope that all parties concerned should give peace in the region a chance, which is the way to overcome the lingering conflict in the region and, subsequently, terrorism.
6. Second, the increase in poverty in the world is another crucial problem that must be addressed with some sense of urgency and collective responsibility. Poverty is unquestionably one of the major causes of the problems in the world today. We have every reason to believe that the terrorists would take advantage of poverty. I think that all nations must join hands together to fight against poverty throughout the world, and at the same time we must work to reduce the widening gap between the developed nations and developing countries.
7. In this regard, it is important for us to recall last year's Millennium Declaration, in which the main thrust of it was the war on poverty in the most comprehensive and most inclusive manner. For the developing countries, one of the main challenges in the war against poverty is how to manage the negative sides of an irreversible process of globalization. The key is how best to integrate ourselves into an ever-accelerating process of globalization so that the developing countries will not be left out or continue to be further marginalized. The process of globalization is an unprecedented reality, leaving no country in this world immune or able to opt out of the process.
8. At the same time, we should work collectively towards minimizing the negative impacts of globalization, which would enable the developing countries to pursue sustainable development and poverty reduction, and provide the necessary tools for the people to improve their standards of living. Moreover, we think that if there is no mechanism or principle which is universally accepted in order to manage globalization the gap between the developed and developing countries will further widen in the future. This is the problem ' of human security which the international community must consider in finding appropriate ways and means to address it.
9. Third, another side effect of poverty is the growing epidemic of HIV and AIDS worldwide across regions, and continents, affecting mostly the poor and the developing countries. As a concrete policy, we must focus on three interrelated objectives: preventing new infections and reversing the spread of the epidemic, expanding equitable access to new HIV treatment, and alleviating the disastrous impact of AIDS on human development. Ultimately, we must reduce the infection rate of HIV/AIDS on a continuing basis. This is a very important priority in our development context, as is being shared by other countries throughout the world. The rich, developed countries should do more to help the fight against global HIV/AIDS epidemic.
10. Fourth, as a contributing factor towards combating terrorism, we should attempt to find practical solutions to the growing threat of proliferation of nuclear weapons and the illegal trade of small arms and light weapons around the globe. In this context, we fully agree with the Secretary General's statement at the Millennium Summit that the issues of nuclear weapons and illicit trade in small arms and light weapons should be given the highest priority in the UN Agenda in the area of arms control and disarmament. We ultimately believe that a gradual reduction of nuclear weapons is the only guarantee against the misuse of nuclear weapons or any possible nuclear accidents in the future. In this context, Cambodia wishes to call upon all the countries to respect all the nuclear weapon-related treaties, including the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) treaty. Cambodia strongly believes that the international community should work towards a gradual reduction of the stockpiles to the minimum level, non-proliferation and non-production of such weapons in the future, which should be the basis for building and maintaining a peaceful, safe and nuclear-free world.
11. As a country that has suffered considerably from small arms proliferation, Cambodia welcomes the adoption of the Action Program at the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons. Since 1998, the Royal Government of Cambodia has launched a nationwide campaign to confront the problems of small arms and light weapons. So far, more that 120,000 pieces of multifarious small arms and light weapons have been confiscated, wherein more that 50% o of these weapons have been completely destroyed under the slogan "Flames for Peace." As an important measure to combat terrorism, I believe that the international community needs to seriously stop not only the proliferation but also curb the illegal trade of small arms and light weapons. In this regard, I congratulate the United Nations for taking a bold step in addressing this vital issue.
12. Fifth, for the United Nations to play a greater role in addressing the increasing number of complex problems, including today's terrorism, the Kingdom of Cambodia is of the view that the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council must be reformed, so that they become more effective and more efficient. As we may recall, in the Millennium Declaration last year, one of the most important pledges is the revitalization of the General Assembly. While progress in the structural and procedural aspects of the General Assembly are vital, we must not lose sight of the primary objective of this exercise, which is purposely to return the General Assembly to the original objective as a chief deliberative policy-malting and representative body of the UN. In other words, the international community, especially the UN as a whole, must play its constructive and proactive role without exclusivity, including the role of combating terrorism.
13. I also believe that the current global situation should call for a constructive and timely reform of the UN Security Council, which must reflect the realities and needs in the world today. The Security Council must be reformed so that it will become more representative, more democratic, and more effective in its decision-making process. The membership and structure inherited since 1945 are definitely outdated and do not reflect the political, economic, social and demographic realities of our time and, of course, the growing issues of human security.
14. As the UN Charter mandated the
role of the Security Council in maintaining international peace and security,
it is important for us to ensure that the interests of all nations are
sufficiently reflected in its composition and voting structure. It is unacceptable,
however, that two-thirds of the world's population residing in the developing
countries are not equitably represented in the Council. These practices
could jeopardize the credibility of the Security Council in the maintenance
of international peace and security. In this regard, Cambodia supports
the decision of the Non-Aligned countries for an additional increase of
permanent and non-permanent members, and, in particular, reiterates its
strong support for Japan, Germany and India as candidates of the permanent
members of the Security Council.
15. It is clear that we are living in a fast changing world where the full speed of globalization and growing interdependence are the order of the day. Peace, stability and prosperity are all inter-related and affect all nations and peoples on this planet, especially after the most tragic terrorist attacks in September. No nation is an island by itself. In this respect, it is essential that we must work together to truly build a community of nations where the gap between the developed and developing countries is reduced, where the menace of terrorism and nuclear annihilation is eliminated, where the threat of a global HIV/AIDS epidemic is receded, and where poverty is being alleviated. This is only possible through building more genuine cooperation; fostering more mutual respect; cultivating greater tolerance; promoting better understanding, and enhancing greater spirit of a true United Nations or one world that works for all. I strongly believe that we can do it through collective will and actions that would help us usher in a new, and a bright future for our world -- a world free from terrorism and a world of peace, stability, security, development and prosperity for all peoples in the twenty-first century.
Finally, I am pleased to express, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, our very warm congratulations to His Excellency Mr Kofi Annan, for his re-election for the second term to the noble post of Secretary-General of the United Nations.
I do believe that with his dedication and long-standing experiences in dealing with many challenges faced by the United Nations, the Secretary-General will certainly achieve more success for the sake of peace and stability for all nations, members of the United Nations.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.