NORWAY

CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

ADDRESS BY

H.E. MR. JAN PETERSEN

MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

AT THE 56TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

NEW YORK, 11 NOVEMBER 2001


 

Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General, Your Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,

For more than half a century the United Nations has helped to settle conflicts and restore peace. We must reinforce these efforts and focus our work.

For more than half a century the United Nations has worked to promote human rights, and economic and social development. We must continue to invest in human dignity.

For more than half a century the United Nations has given millions of people hope for a better future. Such hope has never been more important than today.

The Nobel Peace Prize could not have been awarded to more deserving candidates than Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the United Nations. Let me once again extend my heartfelt congratulations.
 

Mr. President,

The terrorist attacks on 11 September were not only directed at innocent people. They were directed at the very values on which the United Nations is based.
We stand united in our condemnation of these attacks, in our call for international cooperation to prevent and eradicate terrorism, and to bring the guilty to justice. We will fight terrorism by all appropriate means: political, diplomatic, legal, financial and military.

Norway pledges its full support to the broad global coalition against terrorism. We are part of the Atlantic Alliance. We fully support the United States in
defending itself against international terrorism. We are implementing the provisions of Security Council Resolution 1373 by taking concrete steps to dry out the financial resources of terrorist networks.

The Taliban regime has refused to adhere to mandatory Security Council decisions. It is harbouring and supporting terrorists in blunt contradiction of Council resolutions. Taliban is refusing to cooperate with the international community in our common efforts to eradicate international terrorism. The use of military force is therefore the only option left.

The military operations in Afghanistan are aimed at the terrorists and those who harbour them. They are not aimed at innocent civilians. Not at Afghanistan as a country. They are aimed at a group of extremists exploiting a world religion for their own evil purposes.

Afghanistan has suffered misrule and war for decades. While the immediate task is to end terrorism and provide humanitarian support to those in need, we must work in parallel for a political solution. This is primarily the responsibility of the Afghan people themselves. But the international community must assist. The United Nations must have a leading role. Planning and preparations must start now. We strongly support the efforts of the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, to help lay the foundation for a broad-based and lasting political solution.

We must ensure that the Afghans receive humanitarian assistance - both inside Afghanistan and in neighbouring countries. But while seeking to meet the immediate needs, we must also focus on the longer-term assistance that will be necessary to rebuild this war-torn society. We must improve the respect for human rights, and help the Afghan people - in particular women, who have suffered so terribly under Taliban rule. These are issues that Norway will focus on during our Chairmanship of the "Afghanistan Support Group" next year. Only through coordinated efforts can we contribute to security and development in Afghanistan.
 

Mr. President,

A year ago, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians appeared to be at hand. Today, the hope for peace and security has given way to disillusion, despair and the murder of civilians.

We are convinced that the only way out of the current stalemate is through the full implementation of the recommendations in the Mitchell Report, which have been endorsed by both the parties as well as by the international community.

First of all, there must be an immediate end to the violence. Terrorism must be stopped. The cycle of violent action and violent reaction must be broken. Political leaders on both sides must do everything in their power to halt the violence and reduce the tension.

Secondly, confidence-building measures must be implemented simultaneously. Trust must be rebuilt step by step, since without it there can be no real dialogue or negotiation. The Mitchell Report lists several steps for restoring trust. Given the high level of hostility and mistrust, the timing and sequence of these steps are crucial. Decisions must be made now.

Thirdly, the parties must find a way back to the negotiating table. A halt to the violence, the resumption of security cooperation and steps to restore trust cannot be sustained for long without serious negotiations to resolve the underlying causes of the conflict.

Norway will continue to support efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution of the conflict. As Chair of the AHLC, we stand ready to work with other donors to help restore the economic and social infrastructure in the Palestinian areas.
 

Mr. President,

The bulk of the conflicts dealt with by the Security Council are to be found on the African continent. As a member of the UN Security Council, Norway is
determined to do what it can to promote long-term peace and stability in Africa.

Most of the conflicts in Africa clearly demonstrate the close links between peace, good governance and development. The root causes of many of these conflicts are poverty and lack of development, but also violations of human rights and disrespect for basic democratic principles.

Norway stands ready to assist in building a sound foundation for good governance and development in Africa

The developments in Burundi are encouraging, although we recognize that the peace process is still very fragile. The deployment of a multinational security force, on the initiative of South Africa, will hopefully improve the situation in Burundi. Norway is ready to support this initiative.
 

Mr. President,

The United Nations is our foremost tool for solving global problems. It reminds us that combating terrorism has not removed any of the challenges that were on the global agenda prior to 11 September. Nor has it become less pressing to effectively address these challenges. We must not let the cruelty of terrorists divert attention of the ambitious goals we set for ourselves during the Millennium Summit.

Meeting these objectives must remain right at the top of our agenda, along with our common fight against terrorism. If the UN is to be effective in pursuing these tasks, we must all commit ourselves and provide the necessary resources and financial support.

As political leaders we must show steadfast determination. We will have to make difficult choices and hard decisions, sometimes with painful consequences. But the alternative is even more pain and suffering.

This is true in our common fight against international terrorism.

This is true in our struggle to end poverty, eliminate infectious diseases, and uphold respect for human rights and the rule of law.

This is true if we are to make the United Nations our primary tool for safeguarding our common security.
 

Thank you, Mr. President