The General Debate of the 56th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

New York, 12 November 2001

(Check against delivery )

 Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General Distinguished Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the onset, allow me to convey our deepest condolences to the American people and Government for today's plane crash and to express our deepest sympathies to the families of the victims for their tragic loss. Our condolences also extend to the people and Government of the Dominican Republic, whose nationals were mostly on board.

Mr. President,

Pleading for a concerted action against terrorism and for urgent accession by States to al¡ relevant international conventions, the Millennium Summit anticipated the need for more effective and comprehensive joint efforts and cooperation. The tragic events of 11 September united the world and reaffirmed the resolve of all of us to fight the baffle against terrorism, gathered around our common values and interests. This unprecedented terrorist attack took place during the UN year of dialogue among civilizations. The fatal message of terrorism is to destroy the very essence of dialogue as a global response to conflict and violence.

By the adoption of Resolution 56101 by the General Assembly and SC Resolutions 1368(2001) and 1373(2001) the United Nations demonstrated powerful solidarity and readiness to combat terrorism. Today, this has been reaffirmed by the Security Council Resolution 1377(2001), adopting the Declaration on the global effort to combat terrorism.

  Expressing its strong condemnation of the attacks and solidarity with the American people and Government, my country, the Republic of Macedonia, immediately joined the call for establishing a global international anti-terrorist coalition. In this respect, we undertook concrete measures as our contribution to the global efforts and cooperation to curb terrorist actions.

As a response to terrorism we also proposed the establishment of a Regional Antiterrorist Pact, stemming from our terrible experience with terrorism over the last 8 months and conscious of the fact that terrorism transcends borders. We also called upon the international community to cut off financial support to terrorist activities, and in this context to strengthen the fight against organized crime, aware of the strong link between these evil phenomena. The resolution of regional conflicts is yet another profound contribution we can make to the fight against terrorism.

Speaking about relevant international instruments, we believe that the existing UN Conventions provide a solid international legal framework to implement a large number of steps aimed at eradicating terrorism. While we strongly support the adoption of a comprehensive convention against terrorism and a consensus on a global definition of terrorism, the absence of one should not prevent us from taking action.

Action is needed now, by all of us, all countries, regions, international organizations. There is no alternative to international cooperation, as there is no alternative to the common fight against organized crime that feeds terrorism.

But, there is one matter we have to have in mind. Different approaches towards acts of terrorism undermine our struggle. There is no big or small terrorism, international or domestic, one that is tolerated, other that is not. No one should be allowed to practice terror; the consequences are equally devastating. We have to defend, more vigorously than ever, our shared values of democracy, human rights, rule of law. We must not allow the following manipulation: social, economic, religious and political differences to be used as justification for terrorism.

Mr. President,

For the past ten years the Republic of Macedonia has developed a democratic society, being a factor of stability on the Balkans. Our model of interethnic relations was set out as an example and was applauded by the international community.

Then, eight months ago, Macedonia was exposed to violent terrorist attacks, threatening to undermine all our achievements. Under the cloak of the struggle for minority and human rights, the so-called NLA whose structure, command and control and logistics is of Kosovo provenience, wanted to realize one aim: division of Macedonia and changing of the borders in the region.

Our response to these attacks was military, political and diplomatic. The Framework Agreement of 13 August of this year, signed by the leaders of the four main political parties, is a result of our strong commitment to finding a political solution to the crisis as the best way to defend our country and undermine the goals of the terrorists. But, let me reiterate that we will also defend our country by other means, if necessary.

The cost of terrorism for Macedonia was high: loss of lives, destroyed homes, thousand of refugees and internally displaced persons. The crisis also caused economic downfall and a large budget deficit. It has had a negative impact on the country's development, increasing unemployment and poverty rates. Therefore, I urge the international community, financial institutions, and particularly the EU to address our needs on the upcoming Donor Conference and to consider the possibility of writing off our foreign debts.

At this point, allow me to underline that the international community gives strong political support to the Republic of Macedonia. The EU, OSCE and NATO play an important role in overcoming the crisis, for- which we are grateful.

I would also like to commend the prompt reaction by the UN Security Council. The awareness that the problems in Macedonia were largely inspired and imported from neighbouring Kosovo, FRY resulted in the adoption of the SC Resolution 1345 (2001) by which the Security Council, inter alia, strongly condemned extremist violence, including terrorist activities, and supported the Macedonian Government in its efforts to end the violence in a manner consistent with the rule of law. On 26 September the SC adopted resolution 1371 (2001) which supported the full implementation of the Framework Agreement and rejected the use of violence in pursuit of political goals. Even though the United Nations were not directly involved in the resolution of the crisis in Macedonia, the UN is present on the ground through its agencies, working in cooperation with the Government to alleviate the consequences. We are grateful for their help too.

Despite the efforts of the Macedonian Government and the international community, attempts are still being made to block the work of the Parliament, and there are provocations of terrorists and obstructions to the implementation of the Framework Agreement. The latest events in the Tetovo area, the death of three policemen and the kidnapping of Macedonian civilians are proof that violence continues. We should all condemn these obstacles to peace and stability. Macedonia is determined to pursue the path of peace and will not allow these events to blur our vision and detract us from our main goals of building a strong democracy at home and integration into Euro-Atlantic structures.

Mr. President,

The recent history of crises has shown more than ever the importance of cooperation and solidarity among the countries of our region and we have acted accordingly. The integration into the EU and NATO is a common goal of all the countries in the region of South Eastern Europe and we are all aware that membership is a solution to lasting stability and prosperity.

We are determined to contribute to the strengthening of international peace and security, enhancement of international cooperation in al¡ areas and strengthening the role of the United Nations. This year, the Republic of Macedonia submitted and the First Committee adopted, without a vote, the Resolution on Maintenance of International Security: good-neighbourliness, stability and development in South Eastern Europe. The resolution was cosponsored by 46 member states.

Mr. President,

The struggle against terrorism must not defer us from other important parts of the UN agenda. At last year's Millennium Summit, we identified the direction of future UN activities to which we committed ourselves: eradication of poverty, struggle against HIV/AIDS, conflict prevention, protection of the environment. On this occasion, however, let me refer to the matter of the rights and well being of children, and in that context to reiterate the importance of the upcoming Special Session on Children as a forum to review the progress achieved and further steps that need to be taken for the benefit of children al¡ over the world.

Furthermore, globalization remains one of the most important issues on the international agenda. It is obvious that there are some essential problems that need to be addressed immediately. In the new millennium, it is crucial for the International community to address the development agenda in a more appropriate way. We believe that the UN has a major role to play in this process. Next year's International Conference on Financing for Development and the World Summit on Sustainable Development are the most important events in this respect, and we should all contribute in the best possible manner for their successful outcome. Another important issue is the launching of the new comprehensive trade negotiations under WTO patronage with special emphasis on the problem of marginalization, sustainable development and implementation of all Multilateral Environmental Agreements.

Mr. President,

After September 11 the world changed. We have to adjust to the new reality. There are many challenges that are ahead of us and the UN has to be more prepared to deal with them. That will require even greater commitment from us. The strength and the success of our organization depend on the resolve of all its members to respond to the new realities in a more efficient, relevant and adroit manner. We all have our part to play in it. This is the best contribution we can make to building a better world for all of us.

Last, but not least, allow me also to extend my sincere congratulations to the Organization of the United Nations and to its Secretary General Kofi Anan on the Nobel Peace Prize Award. This is yet another proof of the lasting relevance of the principles and values of our organization enshrined in the UN Charter and the outstanding leadership of its Secretary General.