SABAH AL-ARMAD AL-JABER AL-SABAH
ACTING PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
OF THE STATE OF KUWAIT
FIFTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS
UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS
NEW YORK, NY
SUNDAY, 11 NOVEMBER 2001
In The Name of God, The Compassionate, The Merciful
On behalf of the State of Kuwait, it gives me pleasure to congratulate you, Sir, and your friendly country, the Republic of Korea, on your election to the presidency of the fifty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly. The office you hold no doubt carries enormous responsibility coupled with confidence. My delegation offers you all the support and cooperation you might need to fulfill your mandate. I wish here to pay tribute to your predecessor His Excellency Mr. Harri Holkeri for his efficient stewardship of the last Assembly session.
Let me take this opportunity to warmly congratulate Mr. Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General, on the well-deserved winning of the Nobel Prize for Peace jointly with the United Nations Organization as well as on the unprecedented early re-election to a new term of office. The renewal by the international community of Mr. Annan's mandate reflects a deep confidence in his character and capabilities in addition to a recognition of his past record. Thus, we continue to look forward for seeing him bringing into play his creative perspective in addressing a whole array of complex interactive issues facing our worid.
Many of the questions and challenges facing our countries nowadays involve implications and risks that cut across national sovereign borders. Little wonder that our world has become virtually a smaller planet where geographical boundaries, cultural diversity, economic status and ethnic characteristics have receded in shielding communities against global influences and, by the same token, provided larger platforms for interaction with others. The fact that the worid community is now seized with fighting terrorism is perhaps yet another compelling and clear evidence of the deep interaction among and complexity of the states' interests and concerns. The strong and massive condemnation of the heinous terrorist acts committed against the United States of America on the 11 September 2001 reflects recognition by the international community that the real target of that assault is the political, economic and social stability of the world order. For indeed those attacks affected, without discrimination, virtually all nation states, all continents, all civilizations, all religious and all races.
Kuwait, for its part, has had a long standing and firm position of total and unequivocal condemnation of terrorism irrespective of its form or manifestation. Thus only hours after the commission of those criminal acts, which contravene and violate every religious concept and every cultural and humanitarian value system, the Government and people of Kuwait condemned them. I wish, Mr. president, to reiterate here and now our deep sympathies and condolences to the bereaved families and to the friendly people of the United States of America. Let me reaffirm our full backing and support for all the efforts and measures adopted by the international coalition to destroy the dens and bases of terrorism with a view to stamp out its roots and to apprehend the perpetrators of these criminal acts and bring them to justice. In this regard, we call for the completion of work on the evolution of a tight international legal system with which all countries of the world would comply in good faith to eradicate this evil.
In pursuance of Security Council resolution 1373, Kuwait enacted specific measures to plug any loopholes that might be abused in the charitable fund raising activities and to make sure that any charity assets would be used solely and exclusively for their original legitimate purposes. Our competent authorities are now in the process of taking further enforcement measures to ensure universal and strict compliance.
At a time when we condemn al¡ acts of terrorism, we are really surprised to hear some voices that started to mount intense and relentless campaigns linking terrorism with the Islamic thought. These allegations are an obvious mistreatment of and injustice to a divine faith revealed from God, The Almighty, to the human kind to ensure human mercy and compassion on this planet. A faith that advocates peace, that calls for tolerance, that promotes love and amity, that renounces bigotry and extremism. Suffice it for me to cite one verse from the Muslim book, the Holy Koran, which captures the entire concept and thrust of the Islamic advocacy which reads as follows:
In the Name of God, The Compassionate,
The Merciful "Invite others to the path of your Lord
by wisdom and the appeal of good sermon." (Surah 16, Al Nahl (Sees), Verse 125).
Therefore, we really can not accept these tendencies to resonate in the domestic or international mass media irrespective of the excuses or pretexts. Indeed, it is our common responsibility to face up to those pernicious campaigns in the interest of global social harmony.
An effective fight against terrorism requires maximum international cooperation and coordination. It also demands a soul searching review of our political, economic and social policies and practices in dealing with current global challenges. The aim is to minimize, if not to elimínate, the ¡lis that might be exploited by evil doers to carry out their terror schemes in a bid to advance their own agendas. While we underline the importante and relevante of all United Nations resolutions and instruments relating to the suppression of terrorism , Kuwait endorses the call to convene an international conference on terrorism. A key purpose of this proposed meeting is to set out an agreed definition of terrorism that draws a line between terrorism as a phenomenon that strikes at the international peace and security order and the right of peoples to struggle against occupation with a view to achieve self-determination in line with the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international law.
Kuwait is in fui¡ sympathy with the friendly people of Afghanistan who endured great and steady decline in their living conditions for over twenty years. The relentless conflicts and wars which afflicted Afghanistan for too long destroyed the infrastructure and resources of that country. In response to the appeal of the Secretary-General seeking resources to meet the severe humanitarian crisis of the Afghan people, the Government of Kuwait has announced a donation of 3 million dollars in support of international humanitarian relief efforts. Also, 3 shipments of relief aid have been sent to the Afghan refugees. These supplies are distributed in coordination with UNHCR. Furthermore, back home in Kuwait, we are organizing a public fund-raising campaign to solicit donations from individuals and prívate companies to alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people. The total yield of that effort stands at 8 million today.
With regard to the overall situation in Afghanistan, Kuwait maintains
that international efforts should be maximized now to bring about the long-awaited
peace and security there. National reconciliation and a national coalition
government elected by the people of Afghanistan which represents all factions
and ethnic groups are perhaps the most viable means that would ensure the
sustainability of the country and eventually its normal status within the
region and the world. Only then, the nation of Afghanistan can channel
its energy and resources for reconstruction and development.
In the meantime, while we express our deep regret for the civilian casualties among the Afghan population, we sincerely hope that the ongoing military operations against the bastions of terrorism and the terrorists would
cause no injuries to innocent unarmed population who are totally powerless and helpless.
Kuwait views the environment as a key common heritage that must be preserved
for future generations. The indeleble bitter experience suffered in the
recent past by the Gulf region where two devastating wars took place
left wide-scale environmental damage. Against this background, Kuwait sponsored a draft resolution submitted to the General Assembly to consider the 6` of November each year as the Universal Day for the Prevention of Exploitation of the Environment in Wars and Military Conflicts. Kuwait is grateful that the resolution was adopted by consensus. It is our hope that this initiative would help in further promotion of a deeper understanding of the need to safeguard our environment which is the source of human life now and in the future.
The eyes of the world have been mesmerized for over one year now on the valiant uprising (intifadah) of the Palestinian people which carne as a natural and legitimate response to the continued Israel¡ occupation of the Palestinian territories and to the backtrack by the Israel¡ government from the accords they signed with the Palestinian side.
The obvious policy of the Government of Israel is to reject any Palestinian, regional or international initiative. Instead, they count, as a matter of policy, on the use of force and the creation of fait accomplis on the ground. They slam every door opened; they innovate their oppressive measures and they trigger one crisis after another. Their overriding goal is to abort the peace promise born in Madrid in 1991. The barbaric Israel¡ practices and the open challenge of all United Nations resolutions, the excessive and unwarranted use of lethal force in response to the stone-throwing Palestinians al¡ combined to create an overwhelming sense of despair, frustration and gloom in the Palestinian ranks. Here one must pause and ponder over the hand lessons we all learned from similar situations of alloyed gloom and doom. It is precisely against this backdrop that the United Nations, the international community, and the United States in particular, being a co-sponsor of the Middle East peace process, must assume a special international responsibility to mount an effective and meaningful drive to force Israel to fulfill its undertakings and commitments set forth in its bilateral agreements with the Palestinian Authority as well as to carry out Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, including those relating to the city of Jerusalem with a view to preserve its Arab and Islamic character and its holy religious identity. Hence, Kuwait welcomes the United States indications of support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Now, we hope that this favourable declared position will be translated into concrete steps on the ground that would move the whole peace process forward toward its long-awaited outcome.
In this context, let me stress that Kuwait will maintain its continued support for our Palestinian brothers and we will continue to lend all possible political and material assistance to them until they attain all their legitimate political rights, including the establishment of an independent Palestinian State on their own territory, with Jerusalem its capital. In the same vein, Israel must unconditionally withdraw from the Syrian Arab Golan and the Lebanese Shab'aa farms.
The ultimate objective of Kuwait's foreign policy is to consolidate security and stability throughout the Arabian Gulf region. This goal will remain unmet unless and until Iraq implements al¡ relevant Security Council resolutions. It is indeed regrettable that the Government of Iraq persists in its allegations that they had carried out al¡ their obligations under those resolutions. In addition, that Government continues to pursue its long-standing hostile practices and policies towards Kuwait in order to heighten regional tension and to destabilize security and peace. Time and again. Kuwait drew the attention of the Security Council and the Secreta ry-General of the United Nations to the non-peaceful intentions of Iraq as betrayed by recurrent threats made to Kuwait's security and sovereignty by many high officials of the Iragi government. Accordingly, Kuwait called on the Security Council to bring pressure to bear on the Iraqi Government to honour all its obligations in order to make it possible to lift the sanctions affecting the brotherly people of Iraq and to allow Iraq to reclaim its normal status as an active member of the regional order and the international community.
When we discuss here the suffering of children, women and the elderly, Kuwait can not but remember its own excruciating experience which we have been enduring over the past decade, namely the question of Kuwati and thed-country prisoners and hostages. In fact, this is a key obligation Iraq has failed as yet to meet. To the government and people of Kuwait, this remains a top national priority.
The humanitarias nature of this long-running trauma does not really allow any further delay in resolving it simply because of the anguish it causes to the immediate families of the prisoners and to our estire population. The Government of Iraq alone bears the responsibility for lack of any meaningful progress in implementing the relevant Security Council resolutions. Among other things, those resolutions demand Iraq to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and with the High-Level Coordinator, Ambassador Yuli Vorontsov, who was appointed by the Secretary-General to facilitate the return of those prisoners and hostages. It is clear that the Government of Iraq is insensitive to the humanitarian dimension of this matter. This insensitivity is borne out by its insistence on boycotting the meetings of the Adhoc Tripartite Committee and its technical sub-commission since it walked away from those meetings in January 1999 for unjustifiable political reasons. Parallel to that, let me reiterate our cal¡ to Iraq to return the balance of our stolen property, primarily the State of Kuwait archives and other official documents.
The world economic scene has undergone over the past few years remarkable changes. We have thus seen the emergence of severa¡ new economic phenomena created by the revolution in information technology and immense scientific progress in communications and trade. These changes made it imperative upon many countries, especially the developing nations, to introduce drastic changes in their economic plans and structures in response to those changes and in an attempt to benefit from the globalized economy with a view to ensure development and progress for their societies. Despite the promise of substantial benefits of the policies of liberalization of world trade and the elimination of customs barriers, we still have to make concerted efforts in order to make the globalization process a positive force working in favour of all peoples of the world. This would require the evolution of regional and international guidelines and standards that protect the nascent economies of the developing nations from economic turbulences and crises that would have adverse impact on the living conditions of their peoples. In the meantime, the developed countries and the international financia¡ institutions should double their financia¡ aid to the developing countries in order to enable them to bolster the underpinnings of their economic structures. This would in the end help establish more balanced economic relations built on mutual benefits and common interests.
With that in mind, Kuwait is pursuing its steadfast policy and efforts to support developmental projects in many developing countries. Most recently, Kuwait has contributed 1 million dollars to the fund established by the United Nations Secretary-General to combat HIV/AIDS epidemic.
On a parallel track, Kuwait contributes to the funding of many developmental programmes and projects in the developing and least developed countries via the international and regional financia¡ institutions as well as through many public Kuwaiti charitable organizations. These philanthropies are motivated by a sense of common social responsibility and social inter-dependence, values that are embedded in the traditions of our Islamic faith.
Let me close by saying that we look forward for active participation
in the forthcoming celebrations this year of the dialogue among civilizations.
Hopefully, this will turn out to be yet another event that underlines our
determination to promote and consolidate the concepts of civilized tolerance
and understanding among our nation-states and peoples who all yearn to
live free of self-inflicted conflicts and to enjoy a prosperous life in
which the good and virtuous human tendencies will prevail as a basis for