Wednesday, November 14th, 2001

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

On behalf of the Government of the Republic of San Marino, I wish to congratulate you on your election to the Presidency of the 56th Session of the General Assembly and thank your predecessor for his valuable contribution.

I would also like to congratulate the Secretary General of the United Nations, who has been recently re-appointed for a second term.  Over the last five years, my Country has greatly appreciated his efficiency, charisma and excellent diplomatic ability.

In expressing its most sincere satisfaction, the Republic of San Marino congratulates the United Nations and its Secretary General for having been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, in recognition of this Organizationís constant commitment to peace and irreplaceable role, as well as of its leaderís outstanding diplomatic skills and dedication, which have always characterized his fruitful activity.

Quite understandably, these days the General Assembly is debating and wondering how and why the world could change in just a few hours and the civilization process of the international community be so ferociously attacked.

We have gathered in the most important international forum to define the role to be played by each Country, either individually or multilaterally, and to work out how this daunting and insidious challenge can be faced by each and every one of us.  Our discussions should also focus on how to adjust our national legal systems to better support a resolute fight against any form of international terrorism, to strengthen our defense systems and promote a common culture of solidarity and firm condemnation of any violation of, and attack on, human rights and civil coexistence, the respect and safeguard of which is crucial.

However, at a time of enormous difficulties, when the wave of hatred and violence seems to be inexorable, the international community sends a strong signal of hope by showing its determination not to bend to people who, acting underground, try to spread terror and turmoil with any possible means.

Large and small Countries alike have joined forces to combat terrorism and have expressed their full solidarity with the United States, outstanding example of democracy and liberty.  Almost all Countries have seen the attack on the United States as an attack on each of them.  This explains why, facing such tragedies, also small Nations, like the Republic I represent today, cannot remain neutral by simply offering solidarity or making statements of principles.

Each and every one of us is called upon to offer a determined and timely contribution Ė however small - to the fight against terrorism, which my Country has always condemned in all international for as the main threat to peace.

In this spirit, San Marino has immediately expressed its willingness to collaborate with the United States of America and to fully comply with UN Security Council resolutions, in particular resolutions n.1333 of December 19, 2000 and n. 1373 of September 28, 2001.  This decision was motivated not only by the fact that our Republic has been a member of this Organization for almost a decade, but above all by its inherent vocation to promote peace and respect of human rights, prompted by the conviction, matured over 1700 years of peace and liberty, that any effort in this direction helps create and maintain international coexistence and mutual respect.

The Republic of San Marino will save no efforts in the global fight against terrorism as it has already done to prevent and combat money laundering.  To this end, it has adopted the necessary legislative instruments and effective domestic measures also through an active participation in the activities carried out in this field by major International Organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund, the Council of Europe and the OSCE.

My Country has successfully integrated many international provisions aimed at countering terrorism and intends to proceed to the ratification, as soon as possible, of those instruments not yet part of its legal system.  Indeed, San Marino is well aware of the importance and effectiveness of international law, which has been expressly designed to cooperate in this field.

In this context, the proposal tabled by India on a Comprehensive Anti-Terrorism Convention should be taken into consideration, as, today more than ever, this is a very topical issue, which deserves our greatest attention.

At the beginning of this new century, mankind cannot and must not move backwards.  This would be extremely dangerous, as it would challenge the state of civilization man has so strenuously achieved so far.

All free spirits must do their utmost to avert this potential defeat and embark on a path of solidarity, cooperation and mutual understanding.

I would also like to convey the hope expressed by San Marino Government and major institutional bodies for an intensified activity by the United Nations, in the conviction that a more active role of the Organization is needed to face the numerous international challenges which, apart from todayís exceptional circumstances, are still at the top of the world political agenda.

On this occasion, I feel the duty to congratulate the Secretary General and the President of the General Assembly for having implemented, with great determination and courage, a major program of reforms aimed at strengthening the United Nations, well aware of the fact that only a constant modernization process will enable the Organization to work effectively and keep abreast of future developments.

In this regard, San Marino has repeatedly stressed the need for a reformed Security Council which, better reflecting the new world order, would guarantee a higher degree of representatives, democracy and transparency.

We believe that such prerogatives can be ensured by simply increasing the number of non-permanent members.

Moreover, San Marino hopes that the right of Veto may be gradually restricted in view of its eventual elimination.  Indeed, my Country is convinced that the exercise of this right, or simply the threat to exercise this right, still represents a major obstacle to the proper functioning of the Organization.

Equally important is the on-going revitalization process of the General Assembly.  The progress made in terms of greater efficiency makes us believe that the General Assembly will regain its status as major decision-making and representative body of the United Nations.  My Country hopes that the ad-hoc Working Group, open to all member States, will carry on this revitalization process.

Mr. President,

In consideration of the pivotal role of the United Nations in fostering international peace and security, the Republic of San Marino is of the opinion that this Organization is the most appropriate negotiation forum at the disposal of the community of Nations.
Besides carefully following the Security Councilís efforts in facing the latest events, my County has paid great attention to its constant commitment to settle the conflicts afflicting Africa and, today more than ever, it believes that the immediate implementation of this bodyís decisions is crucial to restore peace in a geographical area already stricken by poverty, epidemics and underdevelopment.

San Marino is also seriously concerned about the escalation of violence and the increased hostilities in the Middle East and hopes that also in this tormented and contended land dialogue and negotiations may be resumed, as a sine qua non condition for a longed for world reconciliation.

Against todayís international scenario, also the phenomenon of globalization deserves careful consideration, and I am not referring exclusively to its economic and commercial implications, though these are its most tangible components.

Market expansion and the progressive abolition of customs barriers have unquestionably contributed to exporting job opportunities and, eventually, to economic well being.  On the other hand, however, the gap between the living conditions and standards of the North and the South of the world, of the industrialized Countries vis-à-vis the developing and least developed ones, also burdened by huge foreign debt, has widened dramatically.  Such a gap must be immediately bridged in order to guarantee globalization of opportunities along with globalization of markets.

We all have witnessed the anti-globalization demonstrations in Seattle, Prague and, more recently, in Genoa.  Paradoxically, both the participants in the summits and the demonstrators strived for the same objectives: poverty eradication, foreign debt relief for developing Countries and greater environmental protection.

I believe that the existence of common objectives is a first step in the direction of an open and constructive exchange of views.

The Republic of San Marino also maintains that poverty alleviation is one of the major challenges the international community is called to face.  Future projects should address not only the lack of access to consumer goods, but also the lack of education, liberty and decision-making.  In this broader meaning, poverty is an insurmountable obstacle to the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Recently published data dramatically show that over 1.5 billion people live with less than 2 dollars a day and at least two-thirds are illiterate; 830 million people suffer severe malnutrition and 750 million are homeless and without access to health care.  Moreover, how can we ignore that hundreds of million children suffer malnutrition, that 30 thousand children under five years of age die every day and that more than 500 million of them live with less than one dollar a day?

Well aware of the dramatic situation of many developing Countries, the Republic of San Marino has fully supported the initiatives sponsored by creditor Countries and international financial institutions to reduce or cancel foreign debts of highly indebted Nations.  Though not sufficient to mitigate the problem of poverty or to stop the vicious circle of misery, these initiatives reflect the will of both creditor and debtor Countries to jointly find a solution to the plague of poverty and share responsibilities.

It is not a utopia to think that, by addressing and solving the problems of hunger, poverty and the disproportionate social, economic and cultural gap between a tiny minority living in the North and an overwhelming, poor and despaired majority living in the South of the world, also terrorism will be wiped out in the near future.  Indeed, poverty and ideological extremism serve as fertile soil for terrorism, with its destructive potential and toll of human lives.

Once again, the Holy Father has rightly invited all States and peoples to struggle for justice since this is the only way to affirm the preeminence and sovereignty of law for the international community.  Throughout its long and glorious history of liberty, San Marino has always fully shared this ideal.

Prompted by these sentiments and determined to further support progressive international détente, to the benefit of both Nations and single individuals, I reiterate the hope of the Republic of San Marino that the international community, through the recognized ability of the UN system, will be able to give new lymph to the principles of dialogue and cooperation on which it rests upon.