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Mr. President Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen:

That we have forged forward with the 56th Session of the General Assembly and that political leaders have assembled for the General Debate marks an extraordinary accomplishment and one that brings great credibility to the United Nations. To all who reside in this great city I applaud and thank you for continuing your work.

Today, more than ever, our efforts and energies should focus on implementing the purposes and principles of our Charter and inspire hope and confidence in all humanity. Your Excellency, Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo, on behalf of my delegation I extend congratulations to you on your election as president of this 56th Assembly. The manner in which you have guided our work thus far is outstanding and worthy of our recognition. We wish you continued success as you preside over this Assembly. To the Secretary General and to the United Nations Organization we extend congratulations on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Before proceeding, please allow me on behalf of the Belizean people to extend to the President and people of United States of America, especially to the people of New York City our heart felt condolences on the tremendous loss suffered on September 11.

For most of us, the immediate reaction to this tragedy was one of shock and disbelief. As we joined in mourning the loss of innocent lives, including some of our own nationals, the international community moved swiftly to adopt a number of resolutions here at the United Nations. Through these actions we forcefully condemned acts of terrorism and reached out to the United States of America in solidarity, firm in our support to uphold the principles of justice and the maintenance of peace.

Today despots feast in the raging rivers of desperation, seeking refuge among the weak, prying upon the vulnerabilities of the less fortunate. Those who are caught in the sweeping currents of poverty, forced to five in a world were a dollar is a luxury, find little hope for a better future and are often abused by those who manipulate for selfish and destructive reasons. For us securing a better future for the millions who five in poverty continues to be our most noble of challenges.

To meet this challenge, the United Nations must remain true to its task as set forth in the Charter and reaffirmed just over a year ago when our Heads of State and Government gathered here and adopted the Millennium Declaration. This Declaration outlines various issues crucial to the realization of a world with for less poverty, death and despair, exhorting the values of freedom, equality, justice and tolerance. We must not allow the events of September 11 to cause us to lose focus on this righteous undertaking--we must stay the course.

For Belize the path to fulfilling the goals of the Millennium Declaration begins with addressing the issues of development and poverty eradication. We confirm our support for the Declaration on the Right to Development, which was adopted in Resolution 41/128 in 1986. As a small state working to provide greater opportunities for its people, especially those who live in poverty, meaningful sustainable development is critical and can only be achieved through partnership with the International Community. Regional and global cooperation are fundamental components for progress and can only be achieved through a universal acceptance of our shared responsibility to create opportunities for growth and development. Please allow me to say a few words in Spanish.

Senor Presidente

La globalizacion demuestra, en una gran, magnitud nuestra interdependencia, como tambien la importancia de cooperar con el resto del mundo basado en los principios de respeto mutuo. Un desarollo verdadero y sustentable requiere de practicas de comercio inclusivas y transparentes, y asi proveer las oportunidades que faciliten la participacion de paises en desarollo en la economia global. La ubicacion geografica de Belice nos permite participar tanto en la Comunidad Caribena, como tambien en el Sistema de Integracion Centroamericana, ofreciendo la oportunidad de proveer diversas perspectives en la lucha contra la pobreza. A la mismo vez aumenta nuestras opciones para una mayor participacion con todos las entidades interesadas en desarrollar mecanismos inovativos para integrar en una manera eficaz a nuestras economias dentro del sistema economieo global. En ese sentido, consideramos que la. cooperacion es primordial - una cooperacion equitativa y participativa, donde nuestras inquietudes y vulnerabilidades obtendran la atencion que se merece.

Mr. President

The Twenty-sixth Special Session on HIV/AIDS held last June brought together the International Community to collectively affirm the urgent need for critical action to combat this pandemic on the part of all stakeholders. For us in the Caribbean, the Conference was of special importance. Ranked the second highest in rate of HIV/AIDS infection after Sub-Saharan Africa, Caribbean states are working with its international partners to combat the spread of this deadly disease. Any progress made during the HIV/AIDS Conference must be attributed to the collaborative spirit displayed by all those involved, both at the political and technical levels. The inclusion of civil society as well as the private sector contributed to the effectiveness of the conference and remains crucial to the success of any programme to eradicate HIV/AIDS. We welcome the decision by the Secretary General to reach out to the entire world community to assist in the establishment of the Global HIV/AIDS and health Fund to help alleviate the suffering of the millions of people afflicted by the scourge.

Mr. President

The protection and preservation of our environment is a major concern to the developing world, as so many of us depend on our natural resources for our survival.

The commitments made by the international community for the protection of the environment have not been implemented and if not addressed urgently, the consequences will impact negatively on our small dependent economies as well as the global community. We attach great importance to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and welcome the successful results from the recently concluded meeting in Marrakech hoping to see more states ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

In the Central America and the Caribbean we perpetually suffer from the effects of natural disasters with the number and intensity of hurricanes increasing over the last decade. This has been attributed to the effects of climate change caused global warming. For two consecutive years, Belize has been struck by category four hurricanes magnifying the need to protect our environment and minimize our vulnerabilities. It is imperative that we gear our efforts towards creating the necessary mechanisms to reverse and curtail negative actions that contribute to the deterioration of the state of our environment. For this reason, Belize along with its partners in Caribbean Region continue to seek the support of the United Nations for a Special Regime for the Caribbean Sea.

Mr. President

If we are to speak of a shared responsibility for development and the maintenance of peace and security, this year especially, we must ensure that everyone be allowed to participate in this global forum. In this light, we continue to appeal to this organization to consider the right of the 23 million people on the Republic of China on Taiwan and allow their voices to be heard in this world institution. Equally we must continue to advocate for the Right of the Palestinian People to self-determination, including the right to their independent State.

With respect to our commitment to the development of peace and security, Belize is pleased to report the continuation of dialogue with our neighbor the Republic of Guatemala We continue to support all efforts to peacefully resolve our differences.

Mr. President

This year has been designated as the "United Nations Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations." The recently concluded debate on this Agenda Item produced meaningful discussion on the advantages of diversity and its benefits to human progress. Enhanced by globalization, our actions impact others immediately, creating new realities and require more openness and greater sensitivity to the differences among us. In our country where seven different languages or dialects are spoken and diverse ethnic populations live together peacefully, my delegation welcomes the prospect of increased dialogue among civilizations, one inclusive of all peoples, that will improve upon the understanding of who we are and where we came from. The Secretary General in his report to the Organization on the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations noted the importance of ensuring that the process of globalization be comprehensive and fair. Let us grasp the opportunity given to us through this process to work together as equal partners in this global community, seeking to understand our common objectives while respecting our differences.

Mr. President

The Millennium Declaration recognizes the existing inequalities in our world; likewise it offers a comprehensive formula for greater prosperity for all. It directs us toward a collective responsibility through greater partnership among countries of the world. At this time when we are faced with new global realities, let us make this Declaration meaningful by accelerating our efforts to achieve the just objectives of lasting peace and prosperity for all of our peoples.

I thank you