Republic of Mozambique



HE. Dr. Leonardo Santos Simao
Minister for Foreign Affairs and
Cooperation of the Republic of Mozambique

Before the 56th Session of
the General Assembly of the United Nations

New York, November 15, 2001

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Mr. President,

I wish to congratulate you upon your election to preside over the 56th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations and express my confidence that under your skilful guidance, leadership and outstanding experience our deliberations will be crowned with success.

Allow me to also pay a special tribute to His Excellency Mr. Harri Holkeri, for the excellent manner in which he conducted the affairs of the 55th General Assembly. I wish him success in his future endeavours.

On behalf of the people and the government of Mozambique, I would like to extend our congratulations to His Excellency Kofi Annan for the well-deserved reelection to the post of Secretary General of the United Nations for a second term, as well as having won the Nobel Peace Prize this year.

We commend his re-election and the Noble Peace Prize attributed to him and to the United Nations as recognition of their tireless efforts in the search for viable and lasting solutions to the problems facing humanity.

Mr. President,

Allow me to express our sympathy to the Government and people of Algeria for the loss of life and property caused by the recent floods in this sisterly country. Mozambique, having been victim of terrible floods over two consecutive years, shares the sorrow of the Algerian people. We also express our condolences to the Government and people of the United States of America and the Dominican Republic for the tragedy, which resulted from the plane crush, last Monday.

Mr. President,

On September 11th, we witnessed the most barbaric terrorist attack in New York and Washington DC. We are deeply shocked at the loss of life of thousands of innocent people.

We wish to avail ourselves of this opportunity to, once again, reiterate the condolences of the Government and people of the Republic of Mozambique to the Government and People of the United States of America for this tragic and unjustifiable loss of life of their citizens. We express our sympathy and solidarity with all the victims and families that lost their beloved ones.

We reiterate our condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations regardless of its origin, place of occurrence, race or religion of those who perpetrates it. Terrorism represents a serious threat to international peace and security as well as to friendly relationship amongst peoples and nations worldwide.

The struggle against this scourge requires a concerted action by the whole international community, within the framework of the United Nations, for the target of this evil is not a sole nation or people, but the whole Humankind.

It is, therefore, crucial that all United Nations member states work towards signing and ratifying all the conventions and protocols related to the eradication of this enemy of humanity. These conventions represent the legal foundations upon which we can build our collective action against international terrorism.

The work underway for the elaboration of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism constitutes a further effort to reinforce the international community resolve to face the challenge of eliminating the scourge of terrorism.

Mozambique is a result of the exercise by Mozambicans of their inalienable right of self-determination. Therefore, Mozambicans know well from their own experience what terrorism is all about. But they also know the distinction between terrorism and legitimate struggles of peoples for their freedom and independence.

Mozambique is ready to participate in a global discussion about this issue, as an important and useful initiative to formulate a joint organized response to international terrorism so that the targets of our common struggle against terrorism are clearly defined.

Conscious of the need for effective implementation of national measures to combat terrorism as a way to complement the international legal regime, Mozambique has already initiated a comprehensive review of international legal instruments to combat and eliminate terrorism with a view to ratifying and adhering them.

In this context, Mozambique has signed, on the 11th day of this month, the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. However, it is clear to us that for an effective implementation of this and other legal instruments Mozambique needs support from the international community to strengthen its institutions, namely the police, the judiciary, the financial system and the state prosecutor office.

Mr. President,

Last year, our Heads of State and Government met here at the Millennium Summit to reaffirm their faith in the United Nations and its Charter as indispensable foundations for a just, peaceful and more prosperous world.

The leaders set specific targets to halve the proportion of people who live in extreme poverty, to provide clean water and basic education for all, to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS and to reach other development goals. They called for the strengthening of the United Nations peace operations, so that vulnerable communities can count on them in their hour of need. They committed themselves to fight injustice and inequalities, terror and crime and to meet the special needs of Africa. In order to achieve these lofty goals, all Member States should display political will and determination to turn these commitments into concrete actions at international, regional and national levels.

The holding by the United Nations of the General Assembly Special Sessions on HIV/AIDS and HABITAT and the Conferences on Small Arms and Light Weapons, as well as on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, represent bold steps towards to resolving the various problems affecting humanity, and constitute concrete steps in the implementation of the provisions of the Millennium Declaration.

Mozambique is proud of having played an active role towards the promising outcome of the UN Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons. We are confident that the commitments assumed at that conference will decisively contribute towards preventing, combating and eradicating the illicit trade and proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

We should, continuously and critically, assess the progress made in each area of commitment, with a view to materialising the aspirations and needs of our peoples. Each subsequent Session of the General Assembly should be used to assess the degree of progress made in the implementation of the declared commitment towards specific targets. To this end, we should ensure that followup mechanisms are put in place and effectively enhanced for the successful implementation of the plans of action adopted.

Mr. President,

As we take on the daunting task of pursuing the goals of the Millennium Summit we need to work together in partnership and co-operation.

Today we are living in a world where few countries are reaping the benefits of globalisation and the majority, particularly in Africa, are increasingly being marginalized by the global economy. Consequently, these increasing inequalities and asymmetries aggravate poverty, fuel conflicts and threaten international security, stability, democracy and peace.

To reverse this negative picture, we call upon all developed countries to fulfil their commitment with regard to Official Development Assistance (ODA), increase the levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in poor countries, as well as cancelling the external debt of the heavily indebted poor countries.

It is disturbing to note that in Africa 340 million people, half of the population of the continent, live on less than US$ 1 per day, the mortality rate of children less than five years of age is 140 per 1000, and life expectancy at birth is only 54 years. Only 58% of the population have access to safe water, the rate of illiteracy for people over 15 is 41%, and there are only 18 main telephone line per 1000 people in Africa, compared with 145 for the world as a whole and 567 for high-income economies.

This appalling situation requires a strong and clear commitment from all of us, Africans in the first place, the international community and other relevant stakeholders.

The establishment of the African Union during the 37th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Organisation of the African Unity (OAU) is recognition that only by joining our efforts we can find effective solutions to problems affecting the continent.

This effort deserves the support of the international community so that a solid union and a strong integration can become a reality in Africa.

The New Partnership for African Development, NEPAD, is an initiative aimed at setting an agenda for the renewal of the continent, based on national and regional priorities and development plans prepared through a participatory process. It foresees a new framework of interaction with the rest of the world, including the industrialised countries and multilateral organisations. The encouragement given by the G-8 Summit and other multilateral institutions in Genoa, Italy, last July is well appreciated.

We are also encouraged by the commitment assumed by Ministers and Heads of Delegation at the High Level Segment of the Substantive Session of the ECOSOC held in Geneva last July, in welcoming the New Partnership for African Development and calling on the United Nations System and the international community to support it. The invitation to the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to ensure an effective and co-ordinated response of the UN system is a good course of action, aimed at promoting sustainable development and active participation of Africa in the world economy. The African leadership and ownership of the NEPAD must be guaranteed during its implementation.

Mr. President,

Conflicts are one of the main obstacles to development, particularly in Africa. In order to find durable solutions to conflicts we need to focus our actions on prevention measures and address their root causes. In this regard, prevention should be aimed at addressing inter alia poverty, governance, human rights abuses, hunger, endemic diseases and underdevelopment. The success of this action requires national ownership based on partnership between the government and civil society.

Beyond the preventive measures, we should also think on how we can effectively implement sound strategies for conflict resolution and management. The Comprehensive Review of the Whole Question of Peacekeeping Operations in All their Aspects contained in the "Brahimi Report" provides sound recommendations to improve the effectiveness of peacekeeping. It emphasizes the need for effective command and control structures, enhanced levels of interoperability, as well as the importance of training troops to understand and operate with more robust rules of engagement. We believe that the recommendations contained in the report will be effective if more resources are allocated to peacekeeping activities, particularly in Africa, and the response to actual conflicts are timely given, so as to avoid double standard situations.

Initiatives undertaken by regions and sub-regions aimed at conflict prevention, management and resolution should be supported and endowed with the resources they need to build their capacity to act effectively. The OAU Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, should be enhanced and consolidated to better give appropriate and timely responses to conflicts affecting Africa.

The international community should continue to assist Africa in searching for peaceful resolution of conflicts, particularly in Sierra Leone and Somalia, as well as in the UN plan for Western Sahara agreed to by all parties to the conflict.

It is worth noting that within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) we are strongly engaged in activities aimed at tackling conflicts affecting the region. As the current chair of the SADC Organ for Political Co-operation, Defence and Security, Mozambique, in close co-operation with the other Member States, will spare no efforts to promote peace and security, through conflict prevention and resolution.

SADC will continue to work with the United Nations and all cooperating partners to bring about lasting peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola and other conflicts in the continent. The partnership between SADC and the United Nations should be continuously maintained and nurtured, in the spirit of the Brahimi Report.

As the chair of the Community of the Portuguese Speaking Countries, Mozambique is also engaged in the current efforts to bring about lasting solutions to the problems still affecting some of Community's member states.

We are committed to the efforts made by SADC to eradicate poverty, combat HIV/AIDS and better respond to challenges posed by globalisation, as a way to prevent conflicts. We are also supportive of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan within SADC, which aims at boosting the region's development agenda for the coming decade.

Mr. President,

Political dialogue, consensus building, partnership and cooperation are a must and should be pursued vigorously. We believe that the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Doha, and the forthcoming International Conference on Financing for Development and the World Summit on Sustainable Development, provide unique opportunities to collectively produce an integrated and effective mechanism for the eradication of poverty and overall implementation of the development goals set out in the Millennium Declaration and in the plan of action for the LDC' s.

It is our expectation that the Monterrey Conference will be instrumental in reshaping the world economic order, towards more equity and fairness. To that end, the Conference must resolutely address the steady decline of ODA and FDI, untie development aid (as already done by the United Kingdom, which we salute), reform the international financial architecture and provide a sustainable solution to the debt crisis, through broad, deep and faster debt relief mechanism, including total debt cancellation for LDC' s.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development should allow us to assess the implementation of Agenda 21 as well as devising appropriate strategies to further pursue this daunting challenge. In Johannesburg, we should strive to ensure the right balance between environment protection and socio-economic development, while placing poverty eradication as our highest priority, and fully reinstating the principle of common, but differentiated responsibility. This is perfectly consistent with the Rio spirit embodied in Agenda 21, a blueprint that should be absolutely endorsed, and so, we should avoid any re-negotiation of Agenda 21.

Mr. President,

In Mozambique the incidence of poverty affects about 70% of the population. To address this negative picture, the Government approved a Poverty Reduction Strategy Plan, commonly known as PARPA, for the period 2001-2005. The strategic vision of the PARPA is founded on two imperatives: the need to maintain peace and stability; and the need for rapid, sustained and broad-based growth where the private initiative plays an important role. The program has gained strong support from the meeting of the Consultative Group that was held recently in Maputo, and a boost from Mozambican debt reduction made within the framework of HIPC. Mozambique is greatly thankful to all and each of its cooperating partners for the support pledged at the Consultative Group meeting and for the enhanced HIPC. We hope for a quick implementation of the commitments made, so that our resolve to combat poverty can be a success.

Looking at the longer term, the Government of Mozambique launched a national initiative, the "Agenda 2025", a strategy based on a constructive dialogue on the future of Mozambique. The Agenda aims at creating, through a participatory and inclusive process, a national strategic vision for development, as well as strengthening the government's and civil society's ability to define and implement national policies and projects.

The fight against HIV/AIDS is another priority for the Government of Mozambique for which it has adopted a National Strategic Plan that focuses on prevention and reduction of its impact. The plan places the human being at the centre of actions, and is directed to the vulnerable groups of the society, including women, orphaned children, and the youth, particularly girls. In this endeavour the government has adopted a multi-sector approach, with the active involvement of all stakeholders, including civil society.

Because HIV/AIDS is a global problem, its combat calls for a global solution, and we commend the United Nations for having proposed the creation of a Global Fund Against HIV/AIDS. The Fund will contribute positively for the prevention and combat of this pandemic, which gravely affects the Sub-Saharan Africa region.

Mr. President,

Floods affected Mozambique in two consecutive years, 2000 and 2001. This resulted in loss of lives and production, damage to infrastructure including roads, schools, hospitals, houses, and forced people to flee from their lands and abandon their belongings. These catastrophes posed a serious setback to the development of our country.

We are encouraged by the outcome of the Flood Reconstruction Conference, held in Maputo in July 2001, at which the Government of Mozambique presented the reconstruction programme for the central region of the country, following the devastation caused by the floods in the early part of 2001. At that conference the Government had also the opportunity to report on progress made on the implementation of the programme that was presented at the International Reconstruction Conference for Mozambique held in Rome, Italy, on May 2000. Once again, we wish to thank all those who extended assistance to our country.

The government of Mozambique appreciates also the contribution of the United Nations system and the international community at large in the efforts of the country to consolidate peace, strengthen the democratic institutions and promote development.

In conclusion, I would like to reaffirm my country's faith in the United Nations and its Charter, for they remain indispensable foundations for a just, peaceful and more prosperous world.

Thank you.