14 NOVEMBER 2001


Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General, Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The 56th Session of the United Nations General Assembly is no ordinary one. We are meeting in the aftermath of the despicable terrorist attack on New York, the seat of the United Nations and in Washington, DC and Pennsylvania. Once again, we express our deep condolences to the Government and people of the United States. Our thoughts go out to the families of those who lost their loved ones in those tragic and horrific events. Namibia reiterates its unreserved condemnation of these and all other terrorist acts wherever they occur.

In the same vein we express our condolences to the families of those who perished in the American Airline Accident on Monday, 12 November 2001. Namibia also express is sympathy to the Government and people of Algeria as they mourn the death of those killed after a violent storm and mudslides. Our thoughts are with them.

Mr. President,

I congratulate you on your unanimous election as President of the 56th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Please be assured of Namibia's cooperation during your tenure of Office.

I also congratulate your predecessor H.E. Mr. Hard Holkeri for the skills he brought to the work of the General Assembly while presiding over the 55th Session. Under his able leadership, we have made a firm beginning on the implementation of the Declaration of the Millennium Summit.

Our Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan and the United Nations have earned a deserved place among the Nobel Peace laurettes. For this, as well as for his unanimous and early re-election, Namibia extends warm congratulations to the Secretary-General. This, indeed, is eloquent testimony of the universal respect and admiration he has earned from all member States. We wish him well, and assure him of our full support during his new term of Office.

Mr. President,

Today, we face multiple challenges, some of which threaten the future existence of communities and nations. With the adoption of the historic Millennium Declaration, world leaders pledged their determination to address old as well as new obstacles hampering peace and security. A solemn commitment had thus been made to enhance social and economic prosperity for all the people, thereby ensuring a better world.

Through the United Nations and with a strong political will, no challenge is insurmountable. For, the United Nations is the only international body capable of serving the interests of all nations. It is an effective consultative and organizational forum for world affairs and it can create trust among nations. It can bring peace to war torn areas and bring relief and development to the people who need it most. When sufficiently funded, its programmes and mandates can help developing countries to meet the challenges of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases threatening our populations.

It is, therefore, important that we, the member states, reaffirm our commitment to continue to strengthen our Organization, to effectively address the challenges of the New Millennium. In this context, we reiterate our call for the reform and democratization of the Security Council. The Security Council must be transparent and equitably representative. Above all, it must be responsive and accountable to all its members, on whose behalf it maintains international peace and security.

 Mr. President,

The outcome of the historic first Conference on Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects, held in July 2001, set an important first step and achievable goals to address the problems associated with this scourge, at all levels. It would now require the combined efforts of the United Nations, member States and relevant international and regional organizations to ensure that rapid progress is made to stop the proliferation, which has created havoc, especially on the African continent.

Mr. President,

Terrorism has assumed an increasingly globalized character. For some time now, the Movement of the Non-Aligned Countries has been calling for an International Conference Against Terrorism. The time is right for member states to reach a consensus on such a Conference. In this respect, I wish to point out that Namibia signed the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and we call on others to do so.

Mr. President,

At the World Summit on Children in 1990, we made a commitment to put children first, take care and educate them, protect them from harm, exploitation, war and abuse. Yet, too many children, in too many parts of the world, are still deprived of a peaceful childhood. Let us seize the 27"' Special Session of the General Assembly on Children to take effective measures to make the world fit for all the children.

The HIV/AIDS pandemic has reached catastrophic proportions. The Secretary-General reminded us that out of 30 million people infected worldwide by HIV/AIDS, 25,3 million are living in Sub-Saharan Africa, and that 22 million have died of HIV/AIDS. Thus, if indeed we are to succeed in reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015, as World leaders committed themselves to, in so many fora, then Governments, the civil society and the private sector must in strong partnership tackle HIV/AIDS. In this connection, the establishment of the Global AIDS and Health Fund to combat the AIDS epidemic and other communicable diseases is a welcome initiative, which calls for generous contributions.

Mr. President,

The World Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durban, South Africa was the beginning of a process by the international community to address the inhuman and brutal treatment of the victims of these dehumanizing practices of slavery and colonialism, especially of the African people. The transatlantic slave trade and the colonization of the African peoples remain the darkest episodes in the history of the African continent. The process for healing will be enhanced if and when those who committed and benefited from slavery and colonialism accept responsibility.
Namibia applauds the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) designed to bring to justice those individuals accused of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. Recently, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), adopted the Windhoek Plan of Action on ICC Ratification and Implementation, designed to promote early ratification of the ICC Treaty. Namibia is currently reviewing its national legislation to prepare for the ratification of the Treaty.

Mr. President,

The knowledge-based global economy has revolutionized the nature of trade, finance, employment, migration, environment and social systems, as well as the concept and application of governance.

Namibia like other countries of the south expect tangible results from the international Conference on Financing for Development to be held next year in Mexico. It is in the interest of North-South and South-South Cooperation that additional options be explored to mobilize financing for development.

 Similarly, the Fourth World Trade Ministerial Meeting in Doha, Qatar, could pave the way to an equitable international trade system, mutually beneficial to all countries, provided political will prevail.
World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa next year should galvanized momentum for the full implementation of Agenda 21, in particular, the principle of common but differentiated responsibility. Desertification, land erosion and land degradation should be given due consideration.

Mr. President,

Africa has recently taken an important step towards greater unity with the transformation of the Organization of African Unity into the African Union. This momentous step would bring about closer integration of the continent and would make Africa more competitive in an increasingly global market. Furthermore, the Heads of State and Government adopted the New African Initiative, now the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), whose primary objective is the eradication of poverty through sustained economic growth and sustainable development. We call on the international community to support and assist African countries in the implementation of this New Partnership.

Let me stress that the initiatives undertaken by Japan, the People's Republic of China, the USA, under TICAD, the China-Africa Forum and AGOA respectively can complement the efforts of African countries for sustained economic growth.

Mr. President,

We congratulate the people of East Timor on their struggle for independence and for conducting successful elections for their first Constituent Assembly. We commend the United Nations for its important role in East Timor. We wish the people of East Timor every success for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of their country. We call on the international community to be generous in support of the people of East Timor in this most challenging phase of their nationhood.

Mr. President,

For more than a quarter of a century, the people of Angola have endured a brutal and devastating war. They have suffered horrendous terrorist attacks against civilian targets, including a passenger train, busses, kidnapping of school children, hospitals, and the destruction of infrastructure, all at the hands of UNITA. Tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children have died. Their agricultural fields are infested with landmines. Angola has acquired a dubious distinction of having the greatest number of amputees and the largest number of landmines. This is not right; It cannot be right. These heinous atrocities committed by UNITA as well as that group's consistent record of duplicity and negotiating in bad faith, had compelled SADC in 1998, to declare Savimbi a war criminal. On its part, having determined that UNITA is responsible for violations of the Lusaka Protocol and the resumption of war, the United Nations Security Council has imposed sanctions against UNITA. While sanctions have been effective in many important respects, more concrete measures need to be taken by member states to strengthen and make them even more effective. African countries have a special obligation in this regard. Sanctions must be tightened in those areas identified by the Monitoring Mechanism on Sanctions against UNITA, such as the freezing of UNITA assets and bank accounts and the closing down of UNITA representations abroad, which now operate under misleading and innocuously sounding appellations, but which continue to promote UNITA activities and advocate its cause. The international community should respond more decisively to repeated defiance of Security Council resolutions by UNITA. By acting more resolutely against UNITA, the international community will help end the suffering, the tears and the agony of the people of Angola.

Regarding the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Namibia is encouraged by the progress made in the implementation of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement. The Ceasefire has been holding so far despite some violations, particularly in the eastern part of the country. The continued occupation by forces of aggression has created a deplorable human suffering and large scale human rights violations. Namibia, once again wishes to remind the members of the United Nations that a cardinal principle of the Charter of the Organisation has been viblated with impunity, when some of its member states committed an act naked of aggression against the DRC. It is even more deplorable when the aggressor countries are engaged in the ruthless exploitation and plundering of the natural resources of the Congo. We reiterate that aggression should be rejected and condemned whenever and wherever it occurs. The international community should also assist the Congolese people in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of their country.

Now, it is for the Security Council to implement its decisions and approve personnel for phase III of MONUC deployment, taking fully into account the demands and requirements of the DRC's peacekeeping operation. The United Nations and the international community cannot fail the Congolese people this time again.
The increased efforts of the Security Council and serious attention by the international community in Sierra Leone are paying off. The international community should remain engaged and continue to assist with peace building and reconstruction.

Mr. President,

History teaches us that no "Administrative Power" has relinquished authority as a gesture of good will, no peace process has been problem free and Parties to a conflict, naturally, will have differences. This, notwithstanding, no amount of difficulties can justify an abandonment of the UN Settlement Plan for Western Sahara. Any attempt to legitimize in whatever form or shape the present situation in Western Sahara is unjustifiable and is a departure from the United Nations Declaration on Decolonization and relevant General Assembly and Security Council Resolutions. Ignoring the aspirations of the brave Saharawi people, will only delay durable peace in the region. A departure from the UN Settlement Plan will deny the Saharawi people their inalienable right to self-determination and independence. Namibia will disassociate itself with any plan, informal or otherwise, to deny the Saharawi people their legitimate right to express themselves through a free, fair and impartial referendum for their self-determination.

Mr. President,

No people can maintain peace and security or build its prosperity upon the helplessness and abject misery of others. The people of Palestine and, indeed, the international community are crying out for the establishment of a Palestinian State. The time is now to heed this call. The legitimate right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the establishment of an independent state of their own cannot be compromised. A Palestinian state will be in the interest of Israel, the entire Middle East and the world at large. The basis for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East remain Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

Let us make sustained, determined collective efforts to promote peace and development in all corners of the world.

I thank you.