16 NOVEMBER 2001

Mr. President,
Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

My delegation congratulates you for your dynamic stewardship of the deliberations of the present session of the General Assembly. Our felicitations also go to the Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan, and the United Nations on being honored with the Nobel Peace Prize.

The brutal and tragic events that took place in New York, Washington and Philadelphia on September 11th were acts not only against the United States, but against the international community at large.

In his message of condolences to President George W. Bush, the President of the Republic, Mr. France Albert René, condemned unequivocally and in the strongest terms these terrorist attacks and stated “our global village cannot tolerate such acts that disrespect the value of human lives and jeopardize world peace and stability”.

The subsequent military action in Afghanistan was understood in its very principle by the Seychelles Government as being in accordance with article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations.  The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jérémie Bonnelame, in an interview with the local media, referred to this military action as “self-defense” and expressed the wish that only the terrorist networks and their clearly identified allies be targeted as part of a carefully proportioned action plan, sparing civilian populations and avoiding any kind of amalgamation between religious faiths and ideological deviations.

Mr. President,

The Seychelles Government agrees on the following principles:
    -Terrorism is a threat to international peace and security.  There is no political or religious justification for such violence.  We vigorously condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
    - Further to the events of September 11th, Seychelles recognizes the right of the US Government to react, under guiding principles of international law, and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

But there is also a need to acknowledge the root causes of terrorism, including extreme poverty, despair and injustice and to strongly advocate concerted efforts and collective commitment throughout the world to eradicate poverty and under-development.

Based on these principles and concerns, the position of the Seychelles Government does not diverge from the views and recommendations expressed by the international community:

    -We appreciate the authority of the United Nations in providing global legitimacy for a universal response against terrorism.  The war on terrorism must be fought on many fronts.  The elaboration of a broad, long-term strategy for combating international terrorism, including military, political, diplomatic, legal and economic means – is of paramount importance.

    - Seychelles welcomes Security Council resolution 1373 of    September 28th 2001 which outlines clear steps and measures that all UN member states must now implement in order to prevent and suppress terrorist activities.  We are fully committed to implementing the provisions of the resolution, despite being handicapped by the constraints linked to lack of capacities and resources.

    - Seychelles is a party to 6 of the 12 existing UN Conventions and Protocols on Terrorism.  My Government is taking steps to accede to the remaining 6.  Furthermore, we have also decided to accede to the 1999 OAU Algiers Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism.

    - Seychelles fully supports the on-going negotiations to elaborate a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.  We commend the personal intervention of Secretary General Annan in trying to bridge differences and achieve consensus.  It is our hope that despite the complex and sensitive nature of the issues being addressed, the international community arrives at an agreement very soon.

Mr. President,

Bearing in mind the unprecedented international mobilization against terrorism and the magnitude of the present situation, we consider that the larger, influential members of the UN, particularly the permanent members of the Security Council, should manifest their strong political will and backing in resolving regional conflicts in all parts of the globe.
Above all they must intensify their efforts to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East.  Let us not underestimate the fact that regional conflicts are often breeding grounds for terrorism.

It was mentioned earlier that terrorism is rooted in poverty.  The UN must engage its full potential to vigorously pursue its development agenda.  This should comprise, inter alia, the drive for the alleviation of poverty and achieving sustainable development, the quest for equitable distribution of the benefits of Globalization, and the achievement of the Millennium Summit goals, as well as the success of next year’s Conference on Financing for Development and the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Mr. President,

As a small island state whose economy depends mainly on tourism and related industries, Seychelles’ vulnerability is obviously at stake, should the on-going military campaign in Afghanistan persist.

As a peaceful community enjoying stability and social harmony, Seychelles, without questioning its strong moral support to the cause of international security, also encourages a dialogue giving the voices of reason and compassion a chance to be heard.  Especially with regard to the needs of the Afghan people who have lived three decades of war, resulting in the suffering of very large numbers of refugees and displaced persons.

Mr. President,

Finally, Seychelles would like to lay stress on the urgency for the United Nations to rethink the world order not just in terms of geo-political balance but in terms of a new ethic.  International terrorism cannot be fought by way of offensive weapons, either traditional or sophisticated.

To agree on a common value system is in the middle and long term a more profitable orientation for the whole humanity.

This being said, Seychelles renews its adhesion to the international coalition of nations that are united in the war on international terrorism and in the quest for worldwide peace and security.

Thank you