ABDURRAHMAN MOHAMED SHALGHEM
SECRETARY OF THE GENERAL PEOPLE'S COMMITTEE FOR FOREIGN LIAISON AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
THE FIFTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK, 12 NOVEMBER 2001
In the name of GOD. Most Merciful. Most compassionate.
At the outset, I would like
to congratulate you on your unanimous election as President of the 56th
Session of the General Assembly. Your choice to assume this high post is
a reflection of Member States appreciation of your personally, and their
confidence in your ability to conduct the deliberations of this session
in a manner that would enable it to reach conclusions that could contribute
to the strengthening of stability and the promotion of development all
over the world. I would also like to seize this opportunity to express
our gratitude and appreciation to your predecessor "Mr. Hany Holkeri",
President of the previous session of this assembly which has witnessed
many activities that have gone a long way towards responding to the
common concerns of the International Community. Our great appreciation
also goes to His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United
Nations, who continued to perform his duties with dedication and renewed
vigor, even under very difficult circumstances. His re-election to a second
term at the helm of this Organization and the fact that he was awarded
the Nobel Peace Prize, together with the United Nations, this year, is
a testimony of the extent of appreciation of him and the confidence in
his ability to further enhance the role of the United Nations and making
it more effective in facing the challenges of the new millennium.
On September 11, a number
of American towns, including the city of New York which hosts our Organization,
was subjected to terrorist attacks to which thousands of innocent people
fell victims. I once again, express to the people of the United States,
and the families of the victims who lost their beloved ones my deepest
sympathies. We, in Libya, having been subjected to various forms of terrorism,
including state terrorism, realize better than others, the cruelty and
the depth of the feelings which the American people suffered, their psychological
impact, particularly on the families of the victims. My country has, therefore,
condemned those painful events, emphasizing our firm position that denounces
terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and calls for the eradication
of this phenomenon which constitutes a danger to the stability of states
and the lives of peoples.
We, in Libya, appreciate
the measures which the International Community has taken in order to uproot
terrorism, among which the number of agreements made, to the most important
of which we are already party to, and to the rest of which we are in the
process of acceding. Nevertheless, it is very evident that there is an
urgent need to take other measures to confront the challenge posed by this
phenomenon. This will necessitate that the roots of terrorism be tracked,
in order to eradicate them. It is also imperative that effective action
be taken to put an end to terrorist practices, and to eliminate all the
reasons and motives that stand behind terrorism. Before
all of this, we must agree on a unified definition of terrorism to determine
ways of combating it. We cannot condemn terrorism and fight it when it
hits one country and turn a blind eye when it hits other countries and
peoples. It is also very dangerous to link terrorism to a certain
religion or a nationality, as terrorism has no nationality and no religion.
Further, it is unacceptable to label as terrorism, the struggle of peoples
to protect themselves or to attain their independence, while ignoring real
terrorism which has several faces and is practiced in different ways. Occupation
and provocation and aggression against peoples, like the one against Libya
in 1986, all of this is terrorism. The establishment of military bases
on the territories of others is terrorism. Fleets which roam the
seas and are stationed opposite the coasts of other states and violate
their territorial waters are forms of terrorism. The downing of civilian
aircraft like the Libyan aircraft that was hijacked and destroyed over
Sinai in 1973, is terrorism. Mass massacres are terrorism. Training of
extreme elements in certain countries and facilitating their arrival in
other countries to carry out criminal acts, including assassinations, as
happened to my country in 1984 and 1993, is terrorism. Acquisition of weapons
of mass destruction and the threat of their use is terrorism. The imposition
by one state of unilateral coercive measures against other countries and
the enactment, by the same state of laws to punish others who deal with
these countries is terrorism. Exploiting the United Nations Security Council
to impose sanctions against peoples without any justification or evidence
is terrorism. Preventing the Council from adopting measures to protect
those who are subjected to killing and displacement constitutes support
and encouragement of terrorism.
For all these considerations, we believe it has become important and necessary to take international action to combat terrorism at all levels. We think that such action could be effective if undertaken under the umbrella of the United Nations, and in accordance with the principles of its charter. The fact is that my country was among the first to act in this context, when in 1992, we called on the Secretary-General of the United Nations to request the convening of a special session of the General Assembly to be devoted to the consideration of means of combating terrorism. Today, we renew this call, out of a conviction that this is the best way to study the question of terrorism, with a view to reaching an accurate definition of terrorism, away from selfish and subjective classifications. We are also convinced that this is the best way to deal with this phenomenon in all its political, economic and social aspects, and consequently to take the necessary measures to fully uproot it.
Every year, we get together to review and assess our achievements. Despite the tragic events of September 11, we notice that the previous year witnessed a number of important developments. The General Assembly held more than one special session. Within the framework of the United Nations, two high-level conferences were also held, one of which devoted to the situation in the least developed countries and the other to our common struggle against racism and xenophobia. In the declarations and programs of action emanating from these conferences, there has been a rededication and commitment to the purposes of the United Nations aiming at the maintenance of international peace and security and the development of friendly relations among states. It was also affirmed that more efforts would be made to implement priorities such as promotion of development, provision of shelter for all, eradication of want and diseases, ending injustice and unfairness, and uprooting discrimination in all its forms.
The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
has participated in all these fora and we are happy to have contributed
to the results reached at them. Like other Members of this Organization,
we have an interest in the establishment of peace, realization of justice
and support of sustainable development. Notwithstanding all that has been
achieved, it is evidently clear that there is need for additional efforts
so that we may be able to address the challenges facing all Members of
the United Nations. One such challenge is the environmental
degradation which threatens life on earth, "our common home". There is
also violence and armed conflicts raging in several regions. In many places
in developing countries, millions suffer from extreme poverty. Diseases,
especially HIV\AIDS, threaten the lives of whole communities. Among us
there are still those who challenge our collective will and cling to unilaterally
enacted laws that they apply to all. Old ideological barriers have been
replaced by other barriers including hampering access by many developing
countries to the technology needed for their development and advancement.
Moreover, our world is still not free from criminal activities, including
illicit trade in small weapons, drugs and transborder organized crime.
The United Nations is the tool of our common work in the endeavors we make to face these challenges. It has undoubtedly, made many efforts. However, it could be certainly more effective in carrying out the duties entrusted to it, if drastic reforms were introduced to the structures of its organs and new methods of work were developed for its various mechanisms. In the last few years many proposals were submitted in this regard, but did not resonate with certain powers that care only for their narrow selfish interests. This makes it incumbent upon the other members of this organization, who have a real stake in reform, to unify their efforts and capabilities to effect the inevitable change, if we wanted for our organization to succeed, consistent with the spirit of the times, and be able to meet the needs of the peoples. On our part, we would like, once again, to reaffirm that such a change should aim at realizing the following:
First: To enhance and develop co-operation among the principal organs of the United Nations, and between these organs and other bodies and agencies of the United Nations system with a view to solving international problems in all their aspects.
Second: To enhance the role of the General Assembly and make it more effective so that it could carry out the functions entrusted to it by the charter, including contribution to the adoption of measures to maintain international peace and security. The General Assembly should have the power to control other organs of the United Nations, including the Security Council, which should be accountable to the General Assembly. The Security Council itself should be made an executive organ for the implementation of General Assembly Resolutions.
Third: To establish a mechanism affiliated with the General Assembly to follow up the implementation of the Assembly's Resolutions. We cannot wait indefinitely for the implementation of resolutions most of which were adopted fifty years ago.
Fourth: To accelerate the introduction of radical reforms in the membership of the Security Council in order to apply the principle of equitable geographic distribution and thus. do justice to the disadvantaged regions in Africa, Asia and Latin America which are under-represented in the Council. Reform should also apply to the improvement of the working methods of the Council to guarantee transparency in its work and democracy in its decision making.
of the privileges emanating from World War II victories, paramount among
which is the right of veto which has become obsolete and there is no longer
any justification for maintaining it, not only because it contradicts the
principle of sovereign equality among states, but also because it has been
used to protect aggressors from condemnation. It is also being used to
prevent the adoption of measures to protect those subjected to aggression,
killing, displacement and other acts of genocide.
Seeking to establish peace
and enhance stability is among the major purposes of the United Nations.
For sure, this Organization cannot, alone, perform all these functions.
Member States can put in place mechanisms that can be effective in solving
the most intractable problems. Based on this, we in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
have made consistent efforts to assist countries suffering from conflicts
and disputes. Under the auspices of the Qadhafi Charitable Organization,
talks last June, between the Government of the Philippines and the MARO
Front led to the signing of the Tripoli Peace Agreement, which ended a
bitter conflict, and met the aspirations of both parties for the restoration
of security and stability in Southern Philippines. We have effectively
participated in various negotiations which resulted in the settlement of
the Ethiopia - Eritrea dispute and the conclusion of the Aruja Agreement
which ended the conflict in Burundi. Together with other African countries,
we are intensifying our efforts to support reconciliation in Somalia, and
restoration of peace to the Democratic Republic of Congo based on the Lusaka
Agreement, emanating from the accord signed in the city of Sirte in September
of 1998. Currently, intensive efforts are being made to implement the Libyan
- Egyptian initiative, in co-ordination with the IGAD initiative, in order
to achieve broad-based national reconciliation in the Sudan, so that it
could live in harmony and stability, based on the unity of that sisterly
country, its territorial integrity and equality among its people.
We take great pride in our
contributions and achievements. But above all, Libyans of all walks of
life, men and women greatly cherish the historical event that took place
in March of this year, when African Leaders declared in the 2nd Sirte Summit,
the establishment of the African Union. This was followed by the 37th African
Summit held last July, which took advanced practical measures to strengthen
the fundamentals of this union which is an important transformation in
the history of Africa, realizing as it did, the dream of the forefathers
of a unified Africa. It was a great culmination of the efforts of the Great
African Leaders whose objective has always been the unity of the continent
so that it could enhance its security and progress and build its future.
It is a new phase in an African renaissance that would eliminate rifts
that divide the continent, and establish one bloc for all Africans, capable
of confronting various challenges in a world of large groupings.
The fact that Africa has
taken all these initiatives and steps, sends a clear message to other countries
of the world that Africa realizes fully that solving its problems and developing
its abilities is the responsibility of its children. Yet, we must emphasize
that the world will have no peace and no stability, as long as Africa suffers
from problems and disturbances. This requires that the United Nations,
and all countries, assist in the efforts of African countries to establish
peace all over the continent, and enhance security in all its corners.
This necessitates, in the first place, the provision of support for Africa's
mechanisms for the settlement of disputes, assistance for the continent
in eradicating the poverty of millions of its population, and elimination
of diseases, specially HIV\AIDS, which threatens the lives of over 30 millions
Africans. Moreover, a solution must be found for the problem of external
indebtedness which devours most of its earnings. Moreover, an end must
be put to consequences of colonialism, the cause of Africa's underdevelopment
and the obstacle to its progress. The only way to do justice to the peoples
of Africa is for those states that conquered their land and looted the
continent's resources and built their progress at its expense, to apologize
to the peoples of Africa for these practices and pay them full compensation
for the losses and damage caused by colonialism.
The International Community, has thus far failed to solve the Palestinian problem, which is almost as old as the United Nations itself. This is essentially due to disregard of the core of the problem, namely that a land was usurped and its people kicked out of their homeland. Thus Palestine remained occupied. Most of its children became refugees in various parts of the world and those who stayed over were turned into prisoners in their homes, deprived of the simplest human rights. The Palestinian people are subjected to the most heinous crime to be committed against any people in contemporary history. Palestinian children, young people and elderly people are assassinated, their land confiscated, their farms destroyed and their houses demolished to be replaced by houses for settlers who came from all over the world in pursuit of unbelievable illogical myths. The developments, old and new, of the Palestinian question, are sufficient proof that ending the suffering of the Palestinians under occupation cannot be realized through plans that are never implemented. It has also been cogently proven that the problem will not be solved by resolutions which the United Nations kept repeating over more than five decades. In the light of all these irrefutable facts, the solution which should be sought, and all efforts must focus on it, lies in what my country has declared before and reaffirms now, namely the return of the Palestinian People to their homeland from which they were expelled, and the establishment of a democratic non-racist state in which all citizens are equal, regardless of their religion or ethnicity, similar to what has been achieved in the Republic of South Africa. Any other solution will be a fabrication that will only perpetuate the Palestinian tragedy.
Speaking of the situation
in the Arab East regions, my country reiterates its unlimited support for
sisterly Syria and Lebanon in their steadfastness in the face of the Israeli
aggression, condemns all attempts to provoke them, and upholds their right
to recover their entire occupied lands. As we follow-up the current state
in Iraq, we once again condemn the daily violations of Iraqi sovereignty,
and the continuous aggression to which Iraq is subjected. We call upon
all peace-loving countries to work towards the practical lifting of the
sanctions imposed on the Iraqi people, and ending all schemes aiming at
the destruction of their capabilities and the division of their land.
Ceaseless efforts have been
made in the field of disarmament. My country is a party to most international
agreements in the field of disarmament, and is in the process of acceding
to the rest, including the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Nuclear
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. However, we strongly believe, that general
and complete disarmament will not be realized without changing current
standards and methods of addressing disarmament issues. What we are witnessing
now is an increasing trend towards control and getting rid of small arms,
not weapons of mass destruction which pose a greater threat to international
security and a greatest danger to the lives of people. That is why we ask:
why is this sharp focus on the convention on anti-personal land mines,
though it addresses only simple and limited weapons which are necessary
for the defense of the territory and borders of small and weak countries
against the powerful who own aircraft carries and planes that can be refueled
in the air?. Why not focus our efforts on the destruction of chemical,
biological weapons and ballistic missiles?. Why don't nuclear states take
serious, practical measures to destroy their nuclear stockpiles?. Why are
certain countries falsely accused of acquiring weapons of mass destruction
while there is silence on the Israelis, who, as everybody knows, own hundreds
of nuclear heads, in addition to other weapons of mass destruction and
conventional weapons?. Moreover, they continue to defy the international
will which calls on them to accede to the NPT and place their nuclear facilities
under the safeguards regime of the International Atomic Energy Agency,
to help make the region free from nuclear weapons?
Speaking of this important
topic, we ask that the issue of disarmament should be dealt with in a comprehensive,
non-selective manner. Efforts should concentrate, in the first place, on
the adoption of practical measures to destroy nuclear and other weapons
of mass destruction. This should apply to all who possess these weapons,
without exception, instead of insisting on the development of new defense
systems which could threaten the strategic stability of the world and start
a new arms race. Unless the question is addressed in this manner, efforts
aimed at disarmament would be meaningless. They will remain a great act
of deception played on all peoples of the world.
Concrete achievements have
taken place in the service of humanity's aspirations for peace and development.
However, there is need for more efforts to create a world wherein prevail
equality and justice, a world free from tendencies of aggression and attempts
at hegemony, in which there is no place for all forms of discrimination,
injustice and violence. That is why we hope that the next special session
of the General Assembly on children, will take additional measures to guarantee
the survival and growth of children. It is highly important to adopt measures
that would safeguard human dignity so that every human-being may have his
own home, share in what he produces, and whose basic needs are not the
subject of any bargaining and his rights are not traded in. People should
enjoy their rights and be able to earn a living. More plans and programs
should be developed to eliminate diseases, especially AIDS and Malaria.
In this respect, we call on states and international organizations to emulate
the initiative announced by Colonel Muammar Qadhafi, Leader of the Revolution,
in the African summit, held in Abuja, to establish the African Center for
Research and Control of Contagious Diseases, in the context of unifying
the fight of humanity against this lethal disease.
Solidarity, translated into
effective acts, is the only way to create a fair and just world economic
order capable of achieving sustainable development and equal partnership
between the North and the South. We share the concern expressed by the
Secretary- General over the widening gap between the developing and poor
countries on the one hand, and the rich and powerful countries on the other.
We reaffirm his call to the International Community to give special attention
to development programs of developing countries, and take firm actions
that would enable them to overcome the obstacles impeding their becoming
true partners in the world order which should promote trade and development
for the benefit of all. Multilateral and bilateral creditors should take
the right measures to provide deep and quick relief of the indebtedness
of the heavily indebted poor countries or cancellation of their debts.
In the context of endeavoring to build a secure and prosperous world, concerted
efforts must be made to combat white poisons and to protect our planet
against the dangers that threaten it. It is very essential to combat agricultural
pests, develop cheap desalination methods, and prevent the flow of water
from rain, rivers and ice to seas and oceans. It is also important
to eliminate all obstacles which hamper the prevention of desertification,
and the expansion of land reclamation, such as mines and other remnants
of war from which several countries, including my own, have been suffering.
There are still in our territory, millions of mines planted by the combatants
in World War II. We hope that the states responsible for planting these
mines will implement international resolutions calling on them to provide
us with maps for the mines, and technical assistance in de-mining, in addition
to the payment of compensation for the losses they caused and the rehabilitation
of the affected areas for productive purposes.
Over the last nine consecutive
sessions of this General Assembly, we have reviewed before you the developments
of the dispute between my country and a number of western countries over
the incident of the American plane which crashed over Lockerbie. In the
last two sessions, we have focused on the extent of the co-operation of
the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya with the Scottish Tribunal, sitting in the Netherlands,
after the two suspected citizens decided voluntarily to appear before that
court. Every time we have affirmed our request that the Security Council
must lift the sanctions it imposed on the Libyan people, since Libya has
fully responded to the requirements of its Resolutions 731(1992), 748(1993),
1192(1998), a fact that was confirmed by the Secretary-General in his report
submitted to the Security Council in conformity with paragraph (16) of
We find ourselves compelled
to talk again about this question for a valid reason, namely the developments
that took place earlier this year. As you are aware, the Scottish Tribunal
commenced on 5 May 2000 its deliberations to try the two Libyan suspected
of having a link to the Pan-Am plane incident. During the period of the
trial, it was very clear that the judges were not convinced of the veracity
of testimony of the three witnesses presented by the other party as witnesses
for the prosecution. The court concluded that the principal witness in
the case (Mr. Abdel Megid Ga'aka) was lying. Paragraph (34) of the legal
reasons for the verdict said "Overall, we cannot agree to considering Abdel
Megid, a credible or dependable witness in any way". The court also acknowledged
that it could not count on the statements of the second witness (Mr. Polieux)
who claimed to have sold to Libya the timers that caused the explosion
of the plane. Paragraph (45) of the same legal considerations states, and
I quote: "We have closely perused the statements of witnesses in relation
to the timers. It turned out that the testimony of the three witnesses,
and specially (Mr. Polieux) is not credible since it was sometimes contradictory
with each other, and at other times their testimony, specially that of
(Mr. Polieux) was self-contradictory. Even the third principal witness
whose name is (Tony Ghotchy) who owns a clothing store in Malta, and who
was said to have sold the piece of cloth in which the timer that exploded
the plane was wrapped, was unable to prove to the court that it was one
of the two suspects who bought the piece of cloth from him ".
In the light of all
these facts, all expectations were that the Scottish Tribunal would acquit
the two suspects in view of insufficient evidence. However the judgment
pronounced on 31 \ 1 \2001 contradicted these expectations. The tribunal
convicted one of the two suspects, namely Mr. Abdel Basset Elmigrahy and
acquitted the second Mr. Elamin Fhema. This judgment surprised all political
analysts and jurists. Many questions came to their mind including: why
convict one of the two suspects when the two principal witnesses in the
case were proved to have lied while the court was unable to count on the
testimony of the third witness? How can the tribunal's decision to convict
one person and acquit the other be explained since suspicion in both of
them was based on the same assumptions?.
The only reply to these questions
is that the tribunal has, at the last moment, deviated from applying the
law and instead, implemented a political decision. The first to highlight
this fact was (Mr. Robert Black), the architect of the Lockerbie Tribunal
when he said " The elements of the case against Abdel Basset Elmigrahy
are very weak ". As for (Mr. Hans Kochler), the university professor appointed
by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as an international observer
at the trial, he prepared a report dated 3 February 2001, in which he included
many comments such as, and I quote: "The court's judgment is not understandable
at all, to any reasonable observer, specially that the accusation, in essence,
was based on the participation of the two suspects in the act in Malta
". In another place he states: "The decision of the court was wholly based
on a series of doubtful and controversial presumptions and conclusions.
There was no single material proof linking the two suspects to the crime.
The conviction of the first defendant is haphazard and unreasonable ".
He also said "The judgment of the court is suspicious because political
considerations overrode the purely legal assessment in the case ". In paragraph
(15) of his report (Mr. Kochler) said, and I quote: "1 have generally concluded
that the final judgment of this tribunal, may have been governed by political
considerations, it was the result of a clear influence exercised by some
parties outside the legal context". In paragraph (16) of the same report
he said "The tribunal, on the whole, was not fair and did not act in an
objective manner ".
As we place these facts on record before Members of the United Nations, what we wish to highlight and emphasize is that the conviction issued by the Scottish Tribunal on 31 st January, earlier this year, was a political decision that has nothing whatsoever to do with the law. Abdel Basset Elmigrahy, is a Libyan citizen, who has been kidnapped for political reasons. This has been confirmed in resolutions and statements issued by several regional organizations, including the Summit of the Organization of African Unity which was held in Lusaka, the 28th Session of the Foreign Ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference held in Bamaku, and the Foreign Ministers of the League of Arab States in their meeting held in Cairo early this year. As we express our deep gratitude to the members of these organizations and others who have shown solidarity with us since the beginning of the issue, and repeat our thanks to them for standing by the side of right, we call upon all Members of the United Nations and all those who support right and justice to take the necessary action in order to ensure the achievement of what they called for within the framework of these organizations, namely the following:
1. Immediate release of Abdel Basset Elmigrahy, the Libyan citizen convicted for political reasons which have nothing to do with the law. His continued detention amounts to taking him hostage under all relevant laws and customs.
2. Categorical rejection of the insistence on impeding the lifting of sanctions imposed on Libya, as it ignores the provision of paragraph (16) of Resolution 883(1993) and the contents of the report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in this respect. In addition the Security Council should be called upon to immediately, totally, and finally lift the sanctions imposed on the Jamhiriya in view of the fact that it has implemented all requirements of relevant Security Council Resolutions, including Resolution 1192(1998).
3. Support of the legitimate right of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to receive fair compensation for the material and human losses it has suffered as a result of the sanctions imposed against it.
In conclusion, I thank you
Mr. President for your attention.
And may you have peace and the mercy and blessings of GOD