Statement of

H.E. Ambassador Fuad Mubarak Al-Hinai
Permanent Representative of the Sultanate of Oman to the United Nations

Chairman of the Omani Delegation to the Fifty-sixth Session of the United Nations General Assembly
11 November 2001 New York


Mr. President, Your Excellency...

At the outset, allow me to congratulate you on your election as President of the fifty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly. We are confident that your abilities, competence and the experience you enjoy in international affairs will ease your tasks in guiding and enriching the work of this session in a way that would ensure its success towards meeting our high expectations. I assure you of the full cooperation of my country's delegation in achieving the set goals that we collectively aspire to accomplish.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to your predecessor His Excellency Harry Holkeri, former Prime Minister of Finland, on the efforts he exerted in administering the success of the previous session of the United Nations General Assembly, as well as the Special Sessions of the General Assembly that he oversaw.

I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to express, again, our sincere congratulations to H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, and to the United Nations organization for obtaining the Nobel Peace Prize, which was, undoubtedly, awarded due to the eminent role of the Secretary-General and his contribution to the role of the United Nations in promoting international peace and security, and in strengthening its pillars. I would also like to take this opportunity to express on behalf of my government, our congratulations to the Secretary-General on the renewal of confidence in his leadership for a second term and we look forward to cooperating with him for the success of his assignment towards the achievement of the goals for which the Charter of the United Nations was established, and towards the promotion of international cooperation mechanism in different fields.

Mr. President,

My government strongly condemned the events of September 11th that occurred in this peaceful city which embraces and hosts our international organization, this city played a heroic role in bringing together the nations of the world to engage in a civilized dialogue through our international organization. It, therefore, deserved to be the city of peace and not the city of terrorism and violence. We would like, on this occasion, to express again our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims and to the friendly American people.

The world was shocked by the dangerous goals of the terrorist operation in their attempt to destroy vital locations in New York and in Washington resulting in thousands of victims and vast destruction of properties. While we would like, at this time, to express our solidarity with the friendly U.S.A. to combat terrorism and to defend its territories and people, as well as our understanding for the reasons of launching military operations in Afghanistan, we hope that no effort will be spared to protect the innocent civilians from the scourge of war and destruction, and to prevent more tragedy befalling them. The international society should play its role to protect these civilians. Furthermore, we should not ignore the role of other possible peaceful means in dealing with issues of  terrorism, and make every effort and sincere endeavor in order to eradicate this epidemic which threaten to destroy human and civilized achievements if no countermeasures are taken to study its causes and tackle them in a way to eliminate it from its roots. We need to ensure that the utilization of military force is not the only ideal solution to eradicate terrorist groups, and we call upon the prevailing logic of farsightedness to all elements that encourage such behavior. In this context, we would like to welcome again the Egyptian initiative to convene an international conference to combat terrorism and to find an effective international legal instrument obligatory to all states.

Mr. President,

In the middle of this tragedy, there are calls from political entities in states and international societies attempting to equate terrorism to Islam and Muslims; which we refuse in its entirety due to the fact that Islam is a religion of mercy towards the whole world, and is based on prosperity and tolerance, Muslims are bearers of a civilized culture and human morals, and based on this, the Members of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) expressed in their extraordinary meeting convened in Doha last October, the rejection of Islam of these terrorist acts, condemning all types and forms of terrorism; whereas the final statement indicates in the third paragraph, and I am honored in this context to quote: "such dishonorable terrorist acts are contradictory to the celestial tolerant message of Islam which rises against misdeed and aggression and calls for peace and respect among nations, and values the dignity of human life, prohibits the killing of innocents, and refuses any attempts to claim an existing fink or relations between the true and tolerant religion of Islam and terrorist acts; which will not serve the collective efforts to combat terrorism and will be harmful to relations between nations. It is necessary to establish common efforts to enhance the dialogue and communication between the Islamic world and the west in order to reach a mutual understanding among them with the objective to construct bridges of communication and knowledge between the two civilization" (unquote). In this context, Mr. President, my government would like to reiterate its absolute refusal to voices calling for the exploitation of this human catastrophe in order to settle accounts and old political disputes and to extend the military operation to other countries under the pretext of combating the terrorism.

Mr. President,

We are deeply concerned about the tragic suffering of the friendly people of Afghanistan. Reports of international humanitarian organizations say that the military operation launched on Afghanistan has resulted in the killing of hundreds of innocent civilians and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands from their homes living in difficult conditions. Furthermore, these organizations have warned of the possible human catastrophe waiting to unfold on the Afghan people, especially with the arrival of winter. My country has supported the international efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people including the support of the last decision of the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Organization of Islamic Conference regarding the establishment of a trust fund for this purpose.

Mr. President,

The difficult and harsh realities that continue to confront the peace process in the Middle East on all tracks and stages especially on the Israeli-Palestinian track have confirmed that the path towards a just and comprehensive peace in the region must be constituted on the basis of security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and all other international resolutions that call on Israel to withdraw its forces from the territories occupied since 1967 as well as the recognition of the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self determination and the establishment of their independent state with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital which is a legitimate and justifiable right for the establishment of peace and security in the region. We reaffirm our full support and commitment to these inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian people have the right to use all possible means to terminate the Israeli occupation of their land. The Islamic states also support the rights of the Palestinian people based on the fact that their cause is just, a right that is guaranteed by the international law and by Charter of the United Nations. My country calls upon the United Nations and the Security Council to shoulder their responsibilities and make Israel comply with the internationally recognized resolutions and to stop the mass torture of the Palestinian people.

Following the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference a euphoria of hope and optimism prevailed in the region and the rewards of peace seemed near and real for there were agreements that were concluded from Oslo and up to Sharm al-Shaikh and with all the parties beginning to negotiate with each other in an ideal atmosphere. Despite the hindrances that stood in its path, the journey towards the shores of peace continued. This was due to the fact that peace was the noble goal that everyone was patiently hoping for and where the Arab countries have believed in and accepted as a strategic option stemming from the lofty principles of Islam, which call for tolerance and inclination to peace and for their firm belief that prosperity, stability and development of nations can never be attained without peace.

On this basis, Mr. President, the Government of the Sultanate of Oman lent its support to all efforts that aimed at achieving peace that is founded on justice, fairness, international legitimacy, and the "land for peace" principle. Israel, on the other hand, has ignored these principles and crafted its own concept of peace by placing all its capabilities to impede it. Israel does not want the peace that all the world speaks about, on the contrary, what Israel wants is it is own version of peace and would also like the rest of the world to accept the type of situation where it will be allowed to continue to occupy lands without giving the Palestinians the right to self-determination and the right to establish their independent and free state. Continuation of the chain of violence caused through action and reaction resulting in further bloodshed and destruction is the type of situation Israel wants to see prevail in the region, but would the international community like to take the position of a spectator vis-a-vis the daily killing of innocent children and the elderly?

From this point of view, Oman calls on the co-sponsors of the peace process - The USA and the Russian Federation - and the Secretary General of the United Nations to play an important role to bring the situation to where it was and to revive the peace process on all tracks from the point where it had stopped.

Mr. President,

The Government of the Sultanate of Oman supports the position of the Syrian Arab Republic for a complete and unconditional withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied Golan Heights to the line of June 4, 1967 and the return of the Golan Heights back to Syria. We see it in the best interest of Israel to resume negotiations on the basis of resolutions 242 and 338 and the land for peace formula with the aim of enhancing the pillars of peace and security that are necessary for the forging of an effective partnership and a more stable and durable relationship with the countries in the region.

My government also calls on Israel to fully implement Security Council resolution 425 that demands the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all Lebanese territories including the town of Shabia farms which is an integral part of the Lebanese territory, and are covered by the afore-mentioned resolution in order to widen the scope of peace, security and stability in the region.

Mr. President,

The regime of sanctions was intended as a political tool to ensure the effective implementation of commitment by Governments in accordance with relevant international resolutions. However, this tool has recently become a weapon to undermine the basic rights of people and societies a matter which the Security Council has to seek ways and means to relieve the suffering imposed on nations such as Iraq and other states. We cannot accept the continuation of such harsh regimes for it has become a targeted sword against these nations without any consideration for the actual implications of the Security Council resolutions on these targeted nations such as Iraq, Libya and the Sudan.

Despite serious regional as well as international efforts to alleviate the suffering of the brotherly people of Iraq, the general situation in Iraq remains an issue of concern on the destiny and future of the people of Iraq and its generations as a result of the economic embargo imposed on this country and its people since 1990. This situation, according to international organizations working in Iraq, continues to worsen and which threatens the social fabric and foundations of this country.
Once again, we call on the Security Council to search, in a serious and concerted manner, for ways to put an end to the Iraqi tragedy and to adopt new mechanisms that would allow the Council to continue its inspection regimes relating to weapons of mass destruction. We are of the view that the Security Council should focus and direct its attention and resources towards the implementation of a long-term monitoring and inspection of Iraq's implementation of the relevant security council's obligations in a way to fully and completely lift the economic sanctions and to allow the return of Iraq to play its natural role within the family of nations and through a conducive environment that would allow peace and security to take form in the region.

While expressing its support to those efforts leading to the lifting of the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq, Oman also calls on the Iraqi government to show constructive cooperation with the United Nations in order to fulfill what remains from its obligations especially those related to the detainees and missing from Kuwait and other countries. In this regard, we call on Iraq to cooperate with the tri-partite commission and the International Red Cross in order to put an end to the suffering of those prisoners and resolve this humanitarian issue.

Mr. President,

In the context of disarmament, we emphasize the necessity of continuing efforts to make the Middle East a region free from all weapons of mass destruction without exception and exemption of any state.

We in the sultanate of Oman, warmly welcome the civilized and wise manner through which two sisterly nations, Qatar and Bahrain, have managed to resolve their boundaries disputes and their unequivocal acceptance of the decision issued by the International Court of Justice on the 16 March 2001. Such a positive attitude demonstrated by the two sisterly nations resulted in the eradication of tensions and has positively contributed to peace and security in the region.

The Government of the Sultanate of Oman welcomes the cordial and official contacts between the United Arab Emirates and the Islamic Republic of Iran, believing in the fact that this type of contacts would enable the two countries reach agreed measures to resolve their dispute over the three UAE islands: Abu Musa, lesser Tunb and Greater Tunb.

Mr. President,

The government of the Sultanate of Oman welcomes the results of the United Nations Special Session of the General Assembly on HIV/AIDS that was held this past June. And we encourage all countries in intensifying international efforts aimed at combating this scourge and limiting its spread, for the consequences of this epidemic could be disastrous on the texture of social and economic life of populations. And we also encourage developed countries with advanced technology to provide the resources and scientific research capabilities and to spare no effort in developing a vaccine to treat and eliminate this disease, especially in the least developed countries where there are widespread effects of this disease on their health and social environment as well as on their economic development. And in this vein, we welcome the Secretary General's initiative in creating a global trust fund and also the American initiative in combating this and other debilitating diseases.

My country also welcomes the outcomes and recommendations stemming out of the high-level dialogue on strengthening international economic cooperation for development through partnership that was held at the beginning of the current session. And we would like to express our appreciation for the report of the Secretary General to the Open Ended International Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee for the preparation of the first International Conference on Financing for Development between the countries of the North and the South and which will hopefully be held in Mexico in 2002. And in our view, the end result of the report presented by the team of high-level experts responsible for financing for development that was headed last May by His Excellency Dr. Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico, the recommendations and suggestions presented could be implemented at local and international level to advance the level of development, and this comes alongside the priority that was confirmed by heads of state and governments in the Millennium Declaration of September 2000, where they called for the mobilization of resources for economic and social development with the aim of halving the level of poverty by 2015.

Stemming from the importance that the Government of the Sultanate of Oman accords to development issues, we welcome the convening of this conference that exemplifies the cornerstone for the organization of financing and promoting development and to find suitable solutions for the economic problems that developing countries are facing especially those least developed. And my government encourages countries obliged to contribute 0.7% of their GDP to set a targeted time to meet that goal.

Mr. President,

My country believes in the importance of finding a forum to establish a dialogue between the rich countries of the North and the countries of the South that suffer from economic, social and environmental problems such as poverty and debt. And we welcome the follow-up mechanism to implement the decisions of the summit of the Group of 77 that was held in Havana in April 2000. And we highly value the invitation of the G8 for the participation of the G77 in their meeting in Genoa in Italy during July 2001. And we look forward to a series of communications and dialogue between the two groups to enhance positive cooperation and coordination between their respective countries in the different fields of economic, scientific and technological exchange with the aim of bridging the economic and scientific gap between their respective populations.

Mr. President,

During the last thirty years of the Omani Renaissance, my government has spared no effort to achieve a balance between economic activities and the protection of the environment in the Sultanate of Oman; and the protection of the environment has become one of the most important components of achieving sustainable development and ensuring the highest levels of preservation for the environment of the Sultanate and safeguarding its natural resources. And those efforts were crowned by the direction of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said to designate the year 2001 as the year of the environment aiming to add a vital dimension which is an expression of Oman's comprehensive understanding of the environment.

And in the context of Oman's contribution and concern with international environmental matters we have signed all conventions aimed at protecting the earth's environment, and it is from this point that we call on all developed countries to fulfill their obligations that they committed to during the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro, especially those pertaining to providing technical assistance to developing countries in the form and training and equipment to assist them in meeting their obligations of the relevant conventions. And we call upon those countries that have not yet signed the Kyoto Protocol to accept the call of the international community and sign this Protocol. And it is of the utmost importance that all efforts are intensified to achieve the decisions of the Sixth Conference of the States Parties in the United Nations Convention on Climate Change that held its first part in Hague, Holland during November 2000 and its second part in Bonn, Germany during July 2001. And we hope that the remaining decisions will be completed during the Seventh meeting of the States Parties to be held in Marrakech, Morocco, at the end of October of this year. And we look to all countries to fulfill the obligations of the Basel Convention through the ratification of decision 3/1 that forbids the transport of dangerous waste to countries that are not party to the seventh annex to limit its danger and proliferation.

And from the importance that my country accords to the environment and development, we would like to express our warm welcome for the upcoming summit on the environment and sustainable development (Rio + 10) to be held in South Africa in 2002 to measure what has been accomplished since the first summit in the past decade, and to review what has been achieved from the plan of action for the 21st Century in the field of the environment and development and to put forth scenarios to assist developing countries in implementing what remains of this unfinished agenda.

Mr. President,

The Sultanate of Oman endorses the endeavors of the United Nations to realize a world order that achieves the goals of nations toward a better future free from fear and want, and for the scientific progress achieved by mankind to bring about benefits for all and for the developing countries to reap the rewards of globalization positively exemplified in the principle of transfer of technology. There is no doubt that many developing countries currently face challenges and are not able to continue their development and combat diseases and are further marginalized in their role in the international forum. For this reason Mr. President, we encourage further attention to matters of international cooperation for development, and for the family of nations to give utmost attention to issues that are of primary concern for developing countries especially the least developed countries, and those are: financial contributions, additional investments, the freedom to enter markets, relief from external debt and the transfer of technology.

Mr. President,

Oman calls upon the importance of establishing a fair commercial and financial system, based on liberalizing the international trade and opening the markets, particularly the markets of the developed countries, and facilitating private international financial flows, including foreign direct investment in order to achieve sustainable development and economic stability, which are considered important elements for peace and security. In the context of international changes and conditions imposed by the WTO, it is of pressing need to offer opportunities to developing countries and emerging economy to negotiate with developed countries, in a fair and equitable atmosphere in order to achieve equality and establish a world with balanced interests. The remonstration of certain developed and developing countries ensure that the liberalization of international trade and free access to markets should be characterized by equal opportunities and balance between major and small economies.

In view of the importance of integration in the world economy, my country had officially joined the WTO on the 9th of November 2000 and became its 139th member. This accession represents an important step towards the implementation of its development plans and liberalization of its economy. Oman hopes to promote the role of our industrial and commercial institutions and services to access international markets. We are committed to cooperating with the international community to work towards the achievement of goals enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. Towards this end, my country has taken many steps for economic reforms in order to liberalize trade and investment. Therefore, appropriate laws were enacted, as well as measures taken to strengthen the organizational mechanisms in different related fields.

In this regard, Mr. President, the Gulf countries welcomed, with satisfaction, the decision to convene the fourth Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Doha, the capital city of Qatar. Oman considers this decision as an international appreciation for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and as one of the important and influential economic groupings in the world, in recognition of its positive role internationally. During this conference, we are looking forward to reaching an agreement on the agenda of the forthcoming multilateral trade negotiations. We call on the WTO to offer opportunities to developing countries to participate in these negotiations in order to enable them to address their concerns regarding their national interests and to afford them a greater role in benefiting from the multilateral trade system privileges.

The Government of the Sultanate of Oman had signed in New York on the 2e of December 2000 the Rome Statute on the establishment of the International Criminal Court. The process of ratification of this Statute is being undertaken in accordance with our national legislation, that would allow us to become a state party of this newly established forum for international justice which is entrusted with the mandate of punishing those that violate human rights and commit crimes against humanity wherever they may be. It is the view of the Government of the Sultanate of Oman that cooperation and exchange of information is necessary to prevent the illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons. In this regard, I would like to refer to the laws and regulations enacted by the Sultanate of Oman that do prohibit the illicit transfer of small arms and regulate the legal possession in accordance to strict measures and conditions that aim at protecting our citizens and maintaining peace. My Government has also signed a Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA on 28 June 2001 at the IAEA Headquarters in Vienna.

Mr. President,

In the context of disarmament, we emphasize the necessity of continuing efforts to make the Middle East a region free from all weapons of mass destruction without exception and exemption of any state.

Mr. President,

The trend towards establishing regional economic cooperation has been the result of the challenges that were created by an unstable economic order; therefore, Sultanate of Oman has been working with great interest to enhance the role of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC), which is making great progress towards achieving its goals, based on its Charter that calls for constructive efforts towards the common good, understanding and cooperation of its members through the principles based on compromise and non-intervention. Last April, the capital of Muscat, hosted the third ministerial meeting of the IOR-ARC, which concentrated on enhancing the confidence of state parties in pursuing practical means of implementing programs which will achieve the desired results in the time period set for achieving their goals. The meeting concentrated on precise projects where the private sector would have the principal role in their implementation as in the fields of tourism, development of human resources, maritime transport, information and communication technology, areas in which there are great opportunities to increase production and open new frontiers for cooperation.

Mr. President,

The political, economic, social and cultural changes witnessed by the world today obliged the African states to work seriously in order to build confidence among their nations and peoples and reach a new level of cooperation on the basis of common interests and constructive dialogue to arrive at measures that are capable of settling their disputes and to bring an end to the refugee problem aiming at eliminating poverty and destitute in which many African societies live through. We call on the international community, represented by the United Nations, to create a more effective and fair system to improve the situation in Africa and to combat political, economic, social and health concerns of Africa through sound mechanisms that aim at dealing with those calamities including reducing the debt burden or its cancellation in order to assist the African states to turn their attention to economic and social development, to combat diseases, to integrate themselves more fully into the international economic trends, and benefit from the rewards of globalization.

Mr. President,

The Sultanate of Oman was one of many countries with good intentions that have recently participated in the UN International conference on Racism which was held in South Africa. Oman believes that much in the human rights area can be achieved and that conferences of this nature should not become forums for delivering speeches after which delegations return to their respective capitals. Instead, we believe there is an opportunity to enlighten the world about the numerous problems of racism, xenophia that have been neglected and to create the political will to tackle them. Racism does exist in various forms around the world clandestinely if not openly.

Mr. president,

We would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks and gratitude to the secretary General of the United Nations for his tremendous efforts in preparing his annual report on the work of the organization through which he points to those areas where the UN has had successes and/or failures. This report not only contained a strategy for the future that would embody the aspirations and consciousness of the international community but also set the guidelines for the work of the organization for the years to come to promote the enshrined goals and objectives for which the United Nations was created, to attain the goals which we have set for ourselves in the Millennium declaration and the ambitious recommendation that have come out of that summit. Based on this, we should be prepared to adopt innovative ways to promote and restructure the UN and its institutions in a manner that would reflect the current political realities among which are the expansion of the representation in the Security Council in order for it to reflect the rapid expansion of the international community and United Nations membership. If we are to keep this organization on the focal point for international relations and the highest level of international legitimacy away from selectivity, then it will be possible for the organization to effectively preserve international peace and strengthen methods of international cooperation through dialogue among civilizations and the pursuit of solutions to some of the global problems facing humanity today such as poverty, diseases, unemployment, environmental degradation, terrorism, and the reduction of the growing gap between the rich north and the developing countries of the south.

Mr. President

We consider the UN as the representative body of international legitimacy and the focal point in which regional and international efforts converge a collaborated way towards meeting the expectations and aspirations of our people, in facing the real challenges to peace and development in all their aspects so as to consolidate the pillars of international relations and world stability and to spread the culture of peace and dialogue among today's generations and those to come free from the threat of force, terror and fear of tomorrow.

We wish all success for the session to reach an outcome with forward-looking conceptions that will pave a road map for the future in order to serve mankind and to encourage member states of the UN to renew their full commitment to implement its resolutions and to respect the provisions of the Charter.

Thank you Mr. President