HIS EXCELLENCY MR. ABDULLAH M. ALSAIDI
DEPUTY MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
OF THE REPUBLIC OF YEMEN
AT THE FIFTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK, 15 NOVEMBER 2001
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I am pleased, first of all, to convey to you sincere congratulations
on your election as President of the current session of the General Assembly.
I am certain that with your expertise and ability you will conduct the
proceedings of this session successfully. I should also like, at the same
time, to express our appreciation to your predecessor, Mr. Holkeri, for
the distinction with which he conducted the proceedings of the last session.
Mr. President, Distinguished delegates,
Our present gatherings are convened amid extraordinary circumstances arising from the acts of terrorism witnessed by the United States (on the very day set for the opening of the session). It is regrettable that the first session of the United Nations General Assembly in the twenty-first century should be convened in the aftermath of those alarming events, which truly constitute a negative phenomenon that will have major repercussions on inter-State relations at the bilateral and the multilateral levels alike. But at the same time they have convinced everyone that there is no alternative to collective endeavour through legitimate structures to confront the challenges of the future.
Here we should like to stress the necessity of supporting the United Nations as an ideal framework for international cooperation, especially at this stage when collective endeavour is indispensable for coping with the problems that now, in the era of globalization, affect us all to a greater or lesser extent. In this connection, we congratulate the United Nations and its Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for 2001, which has come at the appropriate time as an expression of the role of the Organization and the effective leadership of its Secretary-General.
The perseverance of the host country in ensuring quasi-normal conditions for the work of this session reflects in itself a will to transcend the catastrophe and confidence in the triumph of reason.
Permit me, as I stand at the heart of this great and wounded city, to
convey, on behalf of the leadership, Government and people of Yemen, our
sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to the American President and
the Government and people of the United States and to address these sentiments
in particular to the families of the innocent victims who lost their lives
in the tragic events of 11 September.
If the scourge of terrorism has this time struck the United States,
the phenomenon of terrorism is not new. Regrettably, it has worsened because
of negligence in confronting it. We in the Republic of Yemen have not been
spared the perils of terrorism. Our country has been seared by its fire
and afflicted by it in many ways, but its appeals for timely effective
cooperation fell on deaf ears. Today, in the face of this loathsome act
of terrorism, the Republic of Yemen reiterates its stand condemning terrorism
in all its forms and whatever its causes and sources. As we proclaim the
readiness of the Government of the Republic of Yemen to strive, within
the framework of international legitimacy, for the elimination of terrorism,
we also affirm our desire that those endeavours not lead to the suffering
of innocent persons or to the practice of oppression that will lead to
the emergence of a new generation of terrorists. We also affirm the Arab
Islamic position rejecting attempts to link terrorism to Arabs and Muslims.
Terrorism, as history teaches us, has no religion, no homeland and no identity.
On the same grounds, Yemen censures the voices making propaganda for a
clash of civilizations or, to be precise, a clash of Islam with Christianity.
Instead, we call for a meaningful intercultural dialogue and the creation of common concepts centered on justice, human and religious values.
The desire to combat and eliminate terrorism makes it incumbent upon
the international community to launch an unremitting campaign based on
uniform and clearly defined criteria identifying terrorists, whether individual,
collective or State. The international community cannot shirk its responsibility
to oppose State terrorism just as it opposes terrorism by individuals and
groups. Just as the states members of the Security Council, in particular
the permanent members, have hastened to shoulder their responsibility to
implement Security Council resolution 1373 (2001), it is logical, indeed
necessary, for those States to endeavour with the same seriousness to put
a halt to the crimes being perpetrated daily by Israel against the Palestinian
people and to compel it to withdraw from the occupied Arab territories
and to implement the resolutions of international legitimacy, first and
foremost Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). In this
regard, the Republic of Yemen proclaims that it welcomes the declaration
by President George Bush of the necessity of establishing a Palestinian
State with all the elements of sovereignty. This is a declaration that
has met with ever-increasing international support. Israel must realize
that its security is bound up with the achievement of its neighbours' security
and also that the guaranteeing of its future lies in the inevitable
acceptance of the right of the Palestinian people to establish its independent State and respect for its sovereignty over its territory.
Today's world is characterized by rapid transformations that, taken
as a whole, are the natural labour pains presaging the birth of a new reality
reflecting the yearning of humanity for a more just and more prosperous
world. The current reality and nature of international relations differ
from those of the 1990s; indeed they differ to some extent from the prevailing
situation only two months ago, to be precise, prior to the tragic events
of September, those events that have diverted attention from a focus on
globalization issues, the furthering of the democratic process and the
diffusion of human rights to the endeavour to confront and eliminate terrorism.
Everyone is aware that the exigencies of combating and eradicating terrorism
demand adherence to democratic modes of decision-making. Decisions must
be adopted on the basis of agreement and participation, exactly as is required
at the national level.
Unquestionably, the logic of power has become firmly ensconced and in
no way leads to the establishment of sound international relations or ensures
lasting solutions to the problems that inevitably arise from time to time
in inter-State relations. The Republic of Yemen has striven indefatigably
to ensure the best means of arriving at peace and stability at the regional
and world levels and has adhered to the course of resolving disputes by
peaceful means. Accordingly, our political leadership, represented by President
Ali Abdullah Saleh, has made continuous and unremitting efforts to help
to end the strife between the warring factions in fraternal Somalia. It
hastened to welcome the outcome of the Arta peace conference and was among
the first to lend its support to the Provisional National Government, under
the leadership of President Saleh, as a legitimate entity representing
Somali national consensus. The ordeal which our Somali brothers are going
through, both inside and outside the country, confronts the international
community with its responsibility to provide aid and support to the Provisional
Government and to increase assistance to the Somali refugees in the neighbouring
countries, including our own, which has opened its arms to some 150,000
of our Somali brothers, despite the difficult economic circumstances it
is currently experiencing.
Recent events have proven, beyond any shadow of doubt, that there is an urgent need to amend the rules of international relations so as to ensure consensus in decision-making and collective participation in endeavours to confront the growing challenges and dangers that face us all and are not confined within the borders of any specific State. That naturally makes it imperative to reconsider the policy of imposing international embargoes and sanctions that do not represent the collective will and the requisite agreement, while; in addition, the facts affirm their harmfulness and futility.
The sanctions imposed on the Iraqi people and the suffering of that people constitute a burden on the human conscience, and their continuation raises an increasing number of questions about the truth of the aims and purposes behind insistence on their maintenance now that the justifications for the decision to impose those sanctions no longer exist, since Iraq has committed itself to implementing the United Nations resolutions guaranteeing Kuwait's security and its sovereignty over its territory. My country has used its good offices with fraternal Kuwait and Iraq, and continues to do so, with a view to finding a solution to the issue of the Kuwaiti and other prisoners and missing persons and cooperating in the settlement of this distressing issue. Let me not omit here to express our pleasure at the decision of the Security Council to lift the sanctions against the Sudan.
At a time when fraternal Libya and certain other States are still suffering from the unjust embargo policy, there is an urgent need to reconsider these embargo resolutions, which have become obsolete and have been superseded by events.
One cause for optimism is the desire demonstrated by both the United
Arab Emirates and Iran and the current contacts between them with a view
to arriving at a solution of the issue of the three islands of the Emirates
in the Arabian Gulf. Yemen welcomes this move by the two fraternal States,
while wishing to affirm that direct talks or international arbitration
is the option that will preserve the security of the region and strengthen
relations between the two countries.
The developing countries are still experiencing extremely difficult economic and social conditions, and the returns on national development investment are almost nonexistent, since the external debt and debt-servicing consume most of the national development earnings. This is evident in the least developed countries, to which the Republic of Yemen belongs. In this context, we deem it essential to strive to implement the recommendations of the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries. The Republic of Yemen wishes to participate in the preparatory meetings for the United Nations Conference on Financing for Development, to be held next year in Mexico, inasmuch as it is an international gathering that will deal, inter alia, with issues relating to the mobilization of the financial resources necessary for comprehensive development activities, including commitment to payment of official development assistance pledges, consideration of the development of methods of increasing the domestic resources necessary for development activities and an increase in donor assistance, particularly for national plans aimed at the elimination of poverty in all its dimensions.
The Government of the Republic of Yemen is following a comprehensive development course in extremely difficult economic circumstances. Large sums are allocated in the national budget for the building of the infrastructure, and particular importance is assigned to multidimensional programmes for the elimination of poverty. An endeavour is being made to ensure the participation of the various segments of civil society in the process of decision-making for development activities.
Seeking integration in the global economy, the competent authorities are endeavouring to fulfill the requirements for joining the World Trade Organization. In this context, the Government has adopted a number of measures relating to economic reforms and measures aimed at finding new markets. However, in that regard there are obstacles facing the Republic of Yemen, as in the case of other least developed countries seeking market integration, and an effort must be made to remove these obstacles by allowing its products access to world markets and also by affording it an opportunity to acquire the technology needed for development, in particular communications and information technology.
The course of globalization, Mr. President, while we do not deny that the current concept of it has some positive features, should have due regard to the human aspects and not be confined solely to market interests. A type of inter-State relations should prevail that is characterized by justice and shared responsibility, as laid down last year in the Millennium Declaration.
With regard to bilateral economic cooperation, my country's delegation
would like to convey its thanks and appreciation to the contributions of
the friendly States that are providing assistance to development plans
and programmes in the Republic of Yemen, in particular Germany, the Netherlands
The most important variable in the world today is, unquestionably, the
increasing transition towards democracy as an inevitable requirement for
the achievement of equity, justice and social peace. In the Republic of
Yemen the democratic process has constituted a basic condition for guaranteeing
the unity achieved on 22 May 1990 and has been organically linked with
that unity. In spite of the short interval that has elapsed since the achievement
of unity and the proclamation of commitment to the democratic path, my
country has made major strides towards the achievement of political pluralism,
the peaceful transfer of power and the guaranteeing of human rights, especially
the participation of women in the comprehensive development process. The
most recent of those achievements were the holding of free and direct elections
for the presidency of the Republic
last year and the holding of local government elections early this year.
Our manifest desire for the development of the democratic process led to the convening of the forum on emerging democracies in Sana'a last year.
In conclusion, Mr. President, I hope that our meetings here will produce results that will contribute to the promotion of our joint endeavours and rise to the level of the aspirations of our peoples for a world in which justice triumphs over inequity and poverty and in which peace prevails instead of fear and war.
Thank you, Mr. President.