Tanzania 

STATEMENT 

BY

THE HONOURABLE JAKAYA M. KIKWETE, MP

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS 
AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
OF THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA

TO THE 56TH SESSION
OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

NEW YORK, 
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2001

(Check against delivery)


 


Mr. President,

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your election as President of the Fifty-sixth Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Your election is a clear manifestation of the confidence and high regard which the entire membership has in your able leadership and diplomatic skills. We wish you success in the tasks ahead. I want to assure you of my delegation's full cooperation and support.

Our salutations are also extended to your predecessor, Mr. Hard Holkeri of Finland, for a job well done.

Mr. President,

Allow me also to sincerely congratulate the Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, for the able and distinguished manner in which he has continued to administer and guide the affairs of our Organization. His re-election for a second term attests to the confidence and trust that Member States have in him. The award of this year's Nobel Peace Prize to him and the United Nations is a recognition of His Excellency's personal attributes and his distinguished contributions in strengthening the world body. It is also a recognition of the glorious performance and achievements of the United Nations in the search for global peace, solidarity and prosperity. Please accept our hearty congratulations.

Fight against Terrorism 

Mr. President,

As we applaud and pay tribute to the Secretary General and the United Nations for the remarkable achievements, the 11th September horrific terrorist attacks on the United States is a clear reminder to us all that the fight for lasting world peace is far from being won. The fight can take new and dangerous dimensions when airplanes, which are a magnificent human invention for fast movement of people, goods and services between distant places, can themselves become weapons of terror attacks.

Coming from a country which fell victim to a terrorist attack with the bombing of the United States Embassy in Dar-es-Salaam in 1998, I can clearly understand the pain, anger and quest for revenge on the part of President George W. Bush, his Administration, and the people of the United States of America. On that fateful day when 11 of our fellow citizens perished, and over 70 people were wounded through the terror attack, the government and people of my country felt exactly the same. We therefore perceive and share the pain and grief of the people of the United States and support their right, and that of their government, to seek redress and fight the perpetrators of this heinous crime.

Terrorism is a horrendous crime in its brutality and victimization. It is a wanton, cruel and indiscriminate crime against which the world must work together to fight and defeat. In the current situation, it is our ardent wish and hope that the multilateral approach taken by Member States to deal with the global threat of terrorism will help rid the world of this scourge once and for all. Allow me, Mr. President, to reiterate Tanzania's resolve and readiness to participate fully in the efforts to combat terrorism.

Mr. President,

The September 11 events remind us of the need to expedite the process establishing the International Criminal Court.

Mr. President,

This is the first General Assembly of the United Nations after the Millennium Summit held here last year (2000) to welcome the third millennium and the twentyfirst century. At that Summit, the world leaders defined the agenda and strategies of our Organization in the new century. There was a common understanding and resolve to continue to work together to tackle the numerous problems bequeathed from the last century which unfortunately continue to adversely affect humanity and their nations. It is the view of my delegation that this General Assembly and subsequent ones should translate that commitment into concrete actions. It is important to ensure that the benchmarks and targets set out at the Millennium Summit are kept and followed through to the desired conclusion.

Mr. President,

Permit me at this juncture to share with this august assembly some thoughts about what could be the important priorities of the United Nations. Tanzania would like to see a United Nations that continues to be the guarantor of world peace and security, a United Nations that has the development agenda at the center of its main objectives and activities. And last, but not least, a United Nations that continues to fight for justice and equality among peoples and nations the world over. All these tenets were very ably underscored at the Millennium Summit and form the very foundation of the United Nations from its inception 56 years ago to date.

Reform of the Security Council

Mr. President,

Strengthening and revitalizing the United Nations is an imperative we all agreed to undertake almost a decade ago. We have done a remarkable job as regards restructuring of the Secretariat and the United Nations agencies. It is regrettable that reform and restructuring of the Security Council remains elusive. A process started seven years ago is yet to bear the desired result. The disturbing thing is the fact that it no longer appears to be a priority subject now as it was three or four years ago. My delegation is of the view that we have to remain seized of the matter for the winds of democracy and transparency are blowing all over the world and the Security Council has to march in step.

Tanzania believes that Security Council expansion of membership in both the Permanent and Non-Permanent categories is as relevant and desirable today as it was seven years ago. We would like to reaffirm our support to the principle of equitable representation of member nations on the basis of their geographical regions. In particular, we want to reiterate support for Africa's request for, two seats in the permanent category. As a continent with the largest membership of our Organization, such a representation is well-deserving. We also think that the time has come to have a serious look at the circumstances and modalities of invoking the use of veto powers. We are of the view it is not right to use the veto power in pursuit of narrow national interests.

The Development Challenge

Mr. President,

In the Millennium Summit, the world leaders underscored the development agenda to continue to be at the center of the objectives and activities of the United Nations. We know the United Nations is not a major funding institution but over the years the United Nations has been the moral force behind the many difficult decisions taken to address serious economic issues. The United Nations organized several fora where various development agenda items were discussed or continue to be discussed and decisions taken. We want the United Nations to continue to do that because as Secretary General Kofi Annan said very succinctly in his statement to this General Assembly on 10 November 2001, "The number of people living on less than one dollar a day has not decreased. The numbers dying of AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and other preventable diseases, have not decreased. The factors that cause the desert to advance, biodiversity to be lost, and the earth's atmosphere to warm, have not decreased. "

Mr. President,

During a period of global economic slowdown like the one we are witnessing today, the task of forging new strategies to tackle the intractable problems of poverty, hunger, disease, deprivation and environmental degradation becomes very challenging indeed. We hope the current economic crisis will not last long because if it did its consequences may be bad for all of us, especially the developing countries. As The World Bank has surmised, poor developing countries will suffer disproportionately in a global recession now considered, inevitable. I would also add that Africa, as a continent with 34 of the 48 least developed countries, will suffer the most. In view of this situation, this world body, donor countries and LDCs must muster collective efforts to ensure that these problems and many more are addressed collectively.

Poverty Reducton

Mr. President,

I know that there can never be quick fixes to resolving such problems. For example, given the complexity of the problem of poverty and the intricacies surrounding its reduction, let alone eradication, it is imperative that we build partnerships vertically and horizontally that will mobilize talents, resources and all the goodwill to confront it. Building those kinds of partnerships is one thing which the United Nations should help to be realized.

There is no doubt that for development to make sense in the context of the developing countries like Tanzania, availability of ODA plus long-term capital flows, as well as getting access to technology and markets of the developed countries are necessary pre-requisites. These will have a catalytic role in building domestic supply capacity as they lead to benefits such as export growth, technology and skills transfer, employment generation and poverty reduction.

We are particularly concerned that the situation, in as far as availability of ODA funds is still not encouraging., Most developed countries are far from meeting the target of contributing 0.7 percent of their GDP to ODA as agreed way back in 1970 and reiterated at the 1992 Rio Summit on Sustainable Development. What is more disturbing to us is the fact that the decline continues despite numerous appeals made. The most recent one was made at the Millennium Summit last year. My delegation would once again, like to use this opportunity to call upon the developed countries to honour this historic duty to mankind. We hope the United Nations will remain seized of the matter and exercise leadership.

Mr. President,

The flow of FDI which is so essential for inducing growth of production and services in our nations leaves much to be desired. So far, the flow of FDI is not as we would have wanted and expected it to be. The painful part of this problem is the fact that many of our countries have done everything that has been demanded of us in order to create a conducive environment for FDI to flow, yet there isn't much of it coming. Take the example of Tanzania where we have established, through an Act of Parliament, a financial, legal and institutional framework as attractive and competitive as one would find anywhere in the world. We have a sound macro-economic environment, there is political stability, good governance and democracy are vibrant yet FDI flows are minimal.

My country's experience, Mr. President, is the experience of many countries in the developing world. We are at a loss on what else weave to do that we have not done. Maybe someone may volunteer to tell us. While we continue to appeal to developed countries to do more, we request the indulgence of the United Nations. In this regard, we welcome and support the convening of the Conference on Financing for Development. We hope the question of ODA and FDI will be given appropriate consideration. I promise Tanzania's full participation in that conference.

Mr. President,

Easy access by the developing countries to technology and markets of the developed countries could contribute immensely towards the alleviation and eventual eradication of poverty in the world. There are encouraging developments on the part of market access with initiatives like the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act of the United States which allows over 1800 products from 35 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa to enter the US market duty free and quota free. Also, the Cotonou Agreement between the countries of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific with the European Union which allows duty free and quota free entry from the ACP Member States of all goods except arms. These two arrangements will go a long way towards promoting growth in the developing countries. There are already practical examples of those benefits in 10 countries that have started to implement AGOA.

We hope the initiatives taken by Japan under TICAD and by the People's Republic of China under the China-Africa Forum will go a little further and offer opportunities similar to those offered under AGOA and the Cotonou Agreement. If that is done, African countries will have greater possibilities for inducing growth and therefore strengthening the capacity to fight poverty. It is our sincere hope and expectation that the four initiatives will also ease difficulties experienced by our countries in accessing financial, scientific and technological resources available in the developed countries. These resources are crucial for accelerating growth and development of production and services in the Third World. There can be no meaningful development without enhanced use of finance, science and technology. While our nations will continue to engage the developed countries bilaterally or collectively in the various fora, the United Nations should never lose sight of helping us.

Mr. President,

The problem of external debt of developing countries, and particularly of the LDCs, continues to pose a serious challenge to the development efforts of these countries. External debt servicing has been crowding out priority social investments, diverting the limited revenue available domestically to overseas creditors. In Tanzania, for example, debt servicing averaged one-third of the entire government's budget. When another one-third is spent on payment of salaries to government employees, only a third of the budget is left to government to perform its duties which range from maintaining law and order, to provision of basic social and economic services like health, education, water, communications and transport, etc. This clearly underscores the fact that debt relief and debt forgiveness will go a long way towards enhancing government capacity to discharge its duties. In this regard, Tanzania welcomes the various measures undertaken by the international community, in particular the G8, Bretton Woods Institutions, Paris Club and other creditor countries and institutions aimed at dealing with this chronic problem. We particularly welcome the institution of enhanced HIPC which compresses the time for the accession and completion. Our only concern is that despite all these measures, the scope and magnitude of debt continues to build up to dangerous proportions. It therefore calls for more surgical measures to be taken to deal more effectively with this crippling problem.

Mr. President,

Tanzania welcomes the convening of the forthcoming Rio + 10 Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa in September 2002. It is important that preparations for this event begin early, both at the national and international levels. Tanzania is ready to participate actively in the preparations.

Peace and Security

Mr. President,

Let me now turn to issues related to peace and security. At the outset, let me state that it is heartwarming to see the Security Council more engaged in trying to tackle the crisis in the Great Lakes region. The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania is committed to building a secure and stable Great Lakes region. I want to assure the United Nations that we will continue to play a positive role as we have been doing in order to help the people of Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo secure and enjoy the peace which they so rightly deserve.

It is encouraging to note that in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the cease-fire between the main belligerents is holding except for few violations by the minor players. However, it is a matter of concern to us. The disengagement and redeployment of forces and deployment of MONUC component are taking place. We are gratified that the Inter-Congolese dialogue is underway. I would like to use this opportunity to appeal to the parties to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to stay the course as defined in the Lusaka Agreement. We also appeal to the Security Council to remain seized of the matter and the international community to extend the urgently needed financial resources to the facilitation of the dialogue.

Mr. President,

We welcome the installation of the Transitional Government in Burundi on 1 November, 2001. We hope this historic event which marks the successful conclusion of the long and arduous political negotiations is also the irreversible beginning of the end of the long years of pain and suffering endured by the people of Burundi. While the sub-region continues with the search for cessation of hostilities and to ultimately secure a ceasefire agreement between the rebels and the government, I would like to take this opportunity to say three things. Firstly, to reiterate Tanzania's calls for the leaders of FDD and FNL to see reason and join the Arusha process. I believe there is nothing which they are fighting for which has not been discussed and decided upon in the Arusha Agreement. Even if there is something which they feel strongly to have been excluded, the Arusha Agreement provides opportunities' for discussion by the parties. And secondly, that Tanzania promises readiness to work with the new government and do all in its reach to help it succeed. We are ready to work with the new Administration in Bujumbura and FRODEBU to engage and encourage the rebels to join the Arusha Agreement.

The third issue I would like to address is in relation to the repatriation of Burundi refugees, living in Tanzania. It needs no emphasizing that the return of refugees to their homeland is a crucial element in the healing and normalization process in that troubled country. Being host to over 800,000 refugees from Burundi, Tanzania expects repatriation of these refugees would be among the priority issues when implementing the Arusha Agreement. It is our sincere hope that in that exercise the UNHCR will include not only the half-a-million in the present camps they manage in Kigoma and Ngara, but also the earlier caseloads of 300,000 they left to Tanzania to manage in the old camps in Mpanda and Tabora and many others who live outside those camps.

Mr. President,

It is sad that Savimbi and his renegade armed bandits in UNITA continue to be a menace in Angola. Tanzania believes that the United Nations and the international community should do more to stop the Savimbi menace. If it could be done in Kosovo and Sierra Leone against criminal leaders, why not do the same for Savimbi and UNITA. I believe it can be done. Let us muster the political will.

With regard to Western Sahara, Tanzania reiterates her long held position that this is a question of colonialism and the Saharawi people have a right to decide on their future through a referendum as stipulated in the relevant Security Council resolutions. We fear abandoning that path may lead to untoward events.

Mr. President,

It is regrettable that the situation in the Middle East remains volatile and explosive. It is our hope that the peace negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel would be revived with resolute commitment by all parties. The United Nations has still a major role in ensuring that the peace process gets back on track. The commitment made by President George W. Bush of the United States of America on the creation of two States of Israel and Palestine based on Security Council resolutions is very reassuring. We hope this will be followed through and the US government will once again assume its leadership role.

As host country to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, we cannot but reiterate our call for continued support for the Tribunal. We owe this to the people of Rwanda as we do to all of us. It is therefore gratifying that the fulfillment of the Tribunal's mission of bringing to justice those responsible for the genocide in Rwanda, is well underway.

It is pleasing to note that, contrary to previous negative publicity, the Tribunal is increasingly obtaining the appreciation and credit it deserves for its work.

Mr. President,

Tanzania welcomes and supports the outcome of the July 2001 United Nations Conference on illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects. It is our hope that the Programme of Action adopted by the Conference will be fully implemented. In the case of Africa, Tanzania will continue to call for the prohibition of small arms and light weapons to non-State actors.

Mr. President,

It would be remiss on my part if I concluded my remarks without addressing the debilitating disease, HIV/AIDS. The impact of this worldwide scourge is not only a major medical challenge, but a threat to the very existence of humanity. Our leaders at the June Special Session of this august body dedicated to HIV/AIDS articulated in broad terms the scope of this scourge and their resolve to fight it. Let me express our appreciation to the United Nations leadership role, particularly the Secretary General's commitment in combating this global crisis that has left no corner of this world safe.

Mr. President,

With the resolute political will, the war against this world pandemic is not insurmountable.

I thank you for your attention.