HIS EXCELLENCY TOMMY E. REMENGESAU, JR.
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF PALAU
BEFORE THE 56" SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NOVEMBER 14, 2001
Check Against Delivery
Excellencies, and Colleagues
Let me begin by conveying my deepest sympathy and condolences to the families and relatives of the victims of American Airline Flight 587 that crashed in this great city two days ago, exactly two months and one day since September 11 terrorist attack. The people of New York are once again put to a test and once again they will come out of this tragedy more resolved and determined under the leadership of Mayor Giuliani and Governor Pataki. While we pray for the victims and their families, let us also pray that the crash, as tragic as it was, will prove to be an accident and not an act of terrorist.
In the wake of an unfathomable, barbarous act of terror against a civilian population comprised of citizens from nations across the globe, we gather together in unprecedented unity. We are united in our sorrow over the losses arising from September 11- loss of lives, loss of friends and loved-ones, loss of livelihoods, and loss of innocence, for want of a better word. We are united in our condemnation of the horrific acts perpetrated by an isolated group of extremists who have no respect for human life. We are united in our resolve that those responsible for the atrocities of September 11 and those who support them are a cancer in the body of nations, a systemic blight which extends beyond the individual perpetrators and which must be utterly eradicated lest it return and spread. At the same time, we are united in-our conviction that their evil cannot be allowed-to force us to abandon the respect for human rights and adherence to the rule of law, which are fundamental principles of this organization. We are united in our recognition that those responsible for these criminal acts of terror; for all their claims to holiness, bear no legitimate claim to any civilized religion and certainly do not represent the noble and honorable beliefs of Islam. We are united in our understanding that the peoples of Afghanistan are also victims of the corruption and ill-fated control of their government by these criminals and their supporters and in our desire to assist in the improvement of the quality of life for the people of Afghanistan. In all these things and more, we are united to a degree that would have been unthinkable before September 11.
This new spirit of cooperation reflects the most positive feature of globalization; the feature which pro-globalization factions do not often - put forward and anti--globalization forces never consider. It is the only feature of globalization that Pacific Island Countries such as Palau can see as truly and inherently positive, a feature that the Pacific Island Countries have recognized amongst themselves for decades. That feature is the acknowledgement that, ultimately, there is only one system in which we exist and the related understanding that any act or condition within that system affects each of us, although in varying ways and degrees. In such a system, problems are best addressed through coalition building and a consensus-driven approach, a process of give-and-take involving the widest possible range of participants. We see this being proven as the world continues to cooperate in responding to the September 11 attacks against humanity.
As I have said, in this new spirit of cooperation, the process of decision-making and the implementation of those decisions must be as open and participatory as possible. This is especially true in light of the need to weave together military, financial, law enforcement, trade, intelligence-gathering and foreign aid issues. In these troubled times, it simply makes no sense to isolate a proven ally in the fight against terrorism. Yet, that is what is happening. The Republic of China on Taiwan, which could and should be a very valuable asset in these and other cooperative actions, is significantly restricted in the role it can play because it has been barred from membership in this body. In fact, it is the only nation in the world, which has no voice in this organization. Not only is the exclusion of Taiwan contrary to the fundamental, inclusive principles of the UN, on a more pragmatic level it also compromises security in Asia and the Pacific. Lacking a neutral forum for the non-violent, diplomatic resolution of any disputes it might have with the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China on Taiwan is at a great disadvantage in maintaining stable and peaceful relations in the region. It is just counterproductive, from either a practical or political viewpoint, to exclude from this body a peaceful, democratically governed, economically vibrant nation which embraces human rights and which plays a major role in other international organizations.
Similarly, it makes no sense, in this new global system, to ignore an entire bloc of nations because of perceptions leftover from a prior colonial-era world. Yet, the Pacific Island Countries are still being marginalized in the various UN bodies and processes. It His time to recognize that the Pacific Island Countries are unique entities, with distinct traditions, cultures, needs, interests and concerns and are not merely the left-overs of colonialism. It is time to recognize that they are among the youngest nations of the world, with special requirements for assistance in assuming their proper place in the global arena. Those needs, interests and concerns are often overlooked against the larger backdrop of the Asia-Pacific Group in the UN It is time to change that; to deal more fully with the Pacific Island Countries as such, rather than as an afterthought tagged onto Asia.
Resolutions have been put forward which could correct the erroneous exclusion of the Republic of China on Taiwan, pave the way to providing a properly expanded role for the Pacific Island Countries as such, and produce greater cooperation and broader support in all the key works of the UN Now is the time for the membership to adopt those resolutions, in recognition of the need for full participation of all peoples in the global events unfolding now and sure to develop for the foreseeable future.
Moreover, it is equally important, in this new globalization and world
order that the most important organ of the UN, the Security Council, be
reorganized and restructured to reflect true representation of this organization.
While we commend and
applaud the Five Permanent Members of the Security Council for their efforts and contributions to world peace and security, the time has come for this body to consider inclusion of several member states as permanent members of the Security Council. Japan, among few others, has certainly reached the level and capacity to be one of the permanent members of the Security Council. In this respect, we applaud the recent decision of the Japanese government to send support forces to the US-led coalition war against international terrorism.
Finally, if it can be said that any good came from the abominations of September 11, it would be this: countries of the world which gave little thought to engagement and cooperation in a larger, global system are now fully engaged and working side-by-side with countries to which they were formerly antagonistic or to which they gave only passing thought, at most. This new perspective can and should be applied to respond to another global attack, one that is even more basic than terrorism and will remain a threat to humanity after the criminals of September 11 are brought to justice. This threat arises from the attack on our own ecosystem, through desertification, through the reduction in global bio-diversity, and through global warming and sea-level rise, all resulting from human activities. These attacks, infinitely less dramatic than those of September 11, are nonetheless equally systemic in nature and equally threatening to us all. It is time to apply the same, new understanding of global dynamics, so forcefully driven home on September 11, to our environment. We applaud and are very much encouraged by the developments of the recently concluded COP-6 talks in Morocco. To that end, I want to repeat my often-stated call for all nations to finalize negotiation 'of, sign, ratify, and implement the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible. Just as we must now directly confront the effects of transnational acts of terror, we must now directly confront the environmental consequences of our own actions. Delay on either matter is unacceptable and will only further compromise our well being.
For perhaps the first time in its glorious history, the phrase "'United
Nations" literally describes this organization. While we remain shocked,
saddened, and deeply offended by the events giving rise to the new unity,
we must acknowledge and nurture
whatever good those events can be turned to. We now have the ability to see the clear advantages„ of close cooperation on matter, which affect us all. Let us use the knowledge, that wisdom gained from pain, and forge even stronger; institutional reliance on cooperation, consensus, and coalition-building across the widest possible constituency as we go forward in this new global system.
Thank you very much.