Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate
and Head of the Omani Delegation
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY 57th ORDINARY SESSION
New York, 14 September 2002
Mr. President, Excellency Jan Kavan,
It gives me great pleasure to offer, on behalf of the government of the Sultanate of Oman, our warmest congratulations on your election as president of the current session of the United Nations General Assembly. We would like to assure you of our fullest cooperation toward achieving the noble goals and objectives that we collectively aspire to, for the benefit of mankind and the maintenance of peace and security.
I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the accession of the Swiss Federation and the Democratic Republic of East Timor to the membership of the United Nations. We are confident that their membership will be an important asset in the promotion of the work of this organization in achieving its noble goals of international peace and security.
We, in the revered city of New York, are witnessing the remembrance of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Once again, we would like to express our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims who lost their lives in this attack.
We would like to reaffirm again our solidarity with the United States of America in fighting all forms of terror against humans wherever they are.
The Middle East is passing through a perturbed stage of tension due to the serious regression of the peace process in all tracks, particularly the IsraeliPalestinian track. The primary cause is the deviation of the Israeli Government from the fair principles and foundations on which the peace process was built upon during the 1991 Madrid Conference, as well as the desires of successive Israeli Governments, since 1996, to impose peace through the use of excessive force. A far cry from the spirit and provisions of the "Land for Peace" formula, rather the implementation of a policy of procrastination, intimidation, and bypassing international charters and conventions signed by the concerned parties, resulting in a further escalation of Palestinian resistance by all its factions and forms in the face of the Israeli occupation.
My Government condemns any terrorist act, whatever its motivation and denies all acts of violence against innocent civilians, whether on the Palestinian or Israeli side. Events have proved that the use of force against the Palestinian people will not allow for a fair solution in order to end the violence and establish security as the Israeli government alleges, nor will this terminate the legal Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation. The end of such resistance depends on the end of the occupation.
All Arab countries constantly affirm that the achievement of peace based on principles of international law and justice, is a strategic choice, and we have exerted great efforts in this regard, the latest being the Arab peace initiative adopted unanimously during the Beirut Summit held last March. This historical initiative was widely welcomed by the international community in light of the fact that it was issued in line with international legitimate foundations and principles, and in compliance with Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, demanding the withdrawal of Israel from the Arab territories occupied since June 1967, including the Quds El Sharif, and the granting of the right return to the Palestinian Refugees; in return for the recognition of the state of Israel by Arab states and the normalization of relations.
Security Council resolution 1397 set an understanding for the inauguration of a Palestinian state recognized alongside the state of Israel in the context of a peaceful coexistence. It is from this premise that my government calls on the international community and Security Council members to shoulder their responsibilities in making the Israeli government assume respect for and implement relevant international legitimate resolutions and respond seriously to Arab and international efforts.
My Government supports the positions of the Syrian Arab Republic in regaining its territory of the occupied Golan Heights and its request for an Israeli withdrawal to the line of June 4, 1967. In the same vein, we support the position of the Republic of Lebanon in regaining the occupied Shaba Farms, and its demand of Israel to fully implement Security Council Resolution 425, which calls for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from all Lebanese territories including the Shaba Farms.
The general humanitarian situation in Iraq remains tragic due to the ongoing economic sanctions imposed since August 1990. Accordingly, my government emphasizes the importance of review by the Security Council of the international sanction policy imposed on countries, which leads to an increase in humanitarian harm that befalls populations, and to take into consideration what happens on the ground in terms implementing of international resolutions by the targeted governments.
My government reiterates its call on the Security Council to put an end to the human suffering in Iraq, and in this regard, calls for the continuation of dialogue between Iraq and the United Nations in order to fulfill the remaining international commitments of Iraq, with the necessity that UNMOVIC start its work from the point where UNSCOM left off in 1998. My Government reiterates also its call on the Security Council to put in place a clear and focused mechanism, specifying to Iraq what needs to be accomplished by the Iraqi government to end its tragic suffering and arrive at the final lifting of the economic sanctions in a complete form.
We feel optimistic and pleased by the accomplishments of the Arab summit in Beirut, especially in terms of its positive climate in the creation of a spirit of understanding and rapprochement between Iraq and Kuwait. In this context, my government welcomes the Iraqi initiative to return the Kuwaiti national archives and encourages the Iraqi government to maintain the choice of the continuation of a constructive dialogue and serious consultations to fulfill its remaining commitments stemming from Security Council resolutions, including specifically what concerns the prisoners of war and missing Kuwaiti citizens and those from third countries. Thus, we urge the Iraqi government to cooperate with the tripartite committee and the International Red Cross in order to end this human file.
My government, Mr. President, is confident that the end of the Iraqi file cannot be attained without continuous diplomatic efforts exerted by all, and through United Nations channels and any other possible and supporting political ways. And from this premise, we find no justification for any military operation against Iraq. We therefore welcome the statement given by his Excellency the President of the United States George Bush at the start of this debate in this assembly, and specifically to handling the Iraq crisis through the Security Council.
My government continues to follow up with great interest and optimism, the official contacts between the United Arab Emirates and the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding the dispute on the three Emirate's Islands, Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and lesser Tunb. We hope that these types of contacts will lead toward an agreement on an effective mechanism for the settlement of this issue. We ensure our support toward any fair and peaceful solution.
My country, along with most other countries in the region, is interested in the stability of the situation and the prevalence of security in the Sub-Indian continent. In this regard, my country highly values the international efforts exerted to contain this conflict between India and Pakistan and we urge them to benefit from international diplomacy to arrive at an effective mechanism that will lead to a peaceful, just and final settlement to the conflict in Kashmir.
Regarding Afghanistan, Mr. president, we welcome the return of this country to the international family, and we look forward to the establishment of security and stability in its territory under the supervision of a government reflecting the ambitions of all parties of the Afghan people. My government values the international efforts exerted to assist the Afghan government and the continuation of the international community in offering financial and technical assistance in order to rebuild the country, and to provide basic requirements which the Afghan people need after long years of suffering and war.
Stemming from my countries firm position of condemning terrorism in all its forms, and in compliance with the goals of the United Nations of maintaining international peace and security, my country ensures its support toward the international efforts in fighting terrorism, and its commitment toward the relevant international resolutions, including Security Council resolution 1373, and all relevant Islamic, Arab and International treaties and agreements which my country acceded to. My government expresses its readiness to cooperate with the United Nations in fighting international terrorism in accordance with principles of international law and the undisputed right of national sovereignty. Taking into account the necessity of the importance of distinguishing between terrorism and legal resistance against occupation, we will work continuously to achieve principles of Justice and fairness. In this regard, the Sultanate of Oman supports the call for the convening of an international conference on terrorism under the auspices of the United Nations in order to find a clear international definition for terrorism and put a mechanism in place to address this issue and uproot it.
My country deeply believes that the accession of States to treaties and conventions on disarmament and their commitment will strengthen and maintain peace and security on a regional and international level; consequently the name of the Sultanate of Oman in the record as a state party to these treaties is and still remains a fact. From this principle we call upon the necessity to taking practical measures to make the
Middle East a region free from all weapons of mass destruction; and in this context, request Israel to join all relevant treaties, starting with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and to subject its nuclear establishments to inspection, in accordance with the liabilities system of the International Nuclear Energy Agency, this matter will create a positive climate and put an end to armament in the region.
My country, Mr. president, calls on the United Nations to continue its widespread efforts to rid the world completely from all types of weapons of mass destruction and calls on nuclear countries in particular, to establish timely programs to achieve this goal as soon as possible. In this connection, my government commends the accord agreed upon between the US and the Russian Federation over the reduction of their nuclear arsenal.
My country presides this year over the 22nd session of the Gulf Cooperate Council, and the works of the high council of leaders were held last December in Muscat. This Summit resulted in the adoption of many decisions and achievements, namely, the signing of an economic agreement between member states and an agreement on the unification of customs tariff by 5% on all imported merchandises from outside the Group, with the exception of essential commodities exempted from taxes. This agreement will take effect in the application of customs union between member states in the beginning of next year. The leaders of the G.C.C have already adopted a decision to bring about a unified Gulf currency.
There is no doubt, Mr. president, that these developments will undoubtedly enhance the economic structures, facilitate differential trade and increase the capabilities of the Gulf's competitiveness alongside other regional economic groups, in addition to the promotion of manpower and the private sector in our countries, and furthermore will attract more investors and commercial partnerships; whether within the greater Arab region or with other friendly States and world markets.
Amongst the prominent outcomes of the Muscat Summit was the decision of our leaders to invite the Republic of Yemen to join numerous joint establishments. This decision was taken based on the mutual desire and deep belief of both parties that the incorporation of Yemen in the G.C.C in a gradual and calculated manner will conform to the economic and social needs and circumstances of development of Yemen, and will serve our joint interests.
My country continues its iniatives to foster the role of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional co-operation. We are working firmly toward establishing an understanding of trade liberalization, open markets and active participation in order to achieve the goals we aspire to, in collaboration with our partners the members of the Association; represented in the establishment of an economically effective and harmonious economic group on the basis of economic and social development. By virtue of the fact that my country presides currently the work of this association, we recently hosted many meetings in order to research and develop projects and programs of common interest, which we hope will result in important benefits for the states and people of the Indian Ocean Area.
The tragic events of September 11 have left behind different impacts on the world, that urge us, more than ever after the cold war, as a responsible international community, to review and promote many conventional policies and mechanisms in addressing international crises in a constructive spirit and with more tolerance, based on justice and transparency, and paved by positive cooperation, coexistence and understanding between nations and civilizations.
From this premise, my country calls on its partners, in this important international gathering, to zealously adopt this program with a strong unbending will that will guide us toward a more balanced, stable and secure world. We are facing critical issues, some new, others that have plagued our international community for many years. The precarious financial situation with negative impacts on the stability of markets and their development and issues of globalization and its effects on developed and poor countries; in the absence of equitable chances and a comparatively fair and free international economic system. In this regard, we call to uphold the outcomes of the 4th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) held at Doha, Qatar, in order to guide this organization in the direction of greater developmental goals and promoting strong incentives for economic development.
On the other hand, there is an urgent need to accelerate the means of the transfer of technological information and to specify a percentage of income from industrial countries to least developing countries, and ease the debt burden in a way to expedite the bridging of the gap between the North and South. It is
necessary to point out the importance of cooperation between all countries, primarily the great industrial countries to implement the recommendations adopted by the International Conference on Finance of Development held in Mexico last March.
The Sultanate of Oman constantly endeavors to support policies aimed at stabilizing the oil market in view of its importance, not only in national development programs and economic plans, but also on the entire international economy. Therefore, my country pursues a policy of constructive cooperation and understanding with oil producing countries within and outside OPEC, in order to preserve a set level of production to serve common interests of all parties and support the rights of both producer and consumer nations in a balanced manner. Thus, my government calls on the continuation of coordination and cooperation with all concerned countries in order to maintain the stability of oil prices in a fair and rewarding manner, and prevent these prices from subjugation to market speculation.
The present renaissance of the Sultanate of Oman, under the auspices of his majesty, Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed is based on numerous initiatives and policies aimed toward the growth, security and prosperity of the human person. My government continues to achieve a balance between development programs and the preservation of the environment and maintenance of natural resources. The record of the Sultanate of Oman is filled with achievements and demonstrable consistent measures adopted by the government in planning national strategies and legislation, in addition to great awards in the field of the preservation of the environment and its protection from pollution and desertification. But, it is well know to you, Mr. president, that there are great challenges threatening our environment, either on the local, regional or international level. In our area these challenges are in the form of insufficient water required for population development and industrial development, which in its turn increases the danger and fear of unexpected desertification in our countries. This leads to inevitable cooperation in addressing this problem through concentrated scientific research and the enhancement of necessary resources for this purpose.
Regardless, in light of the active participation of my country in the World Conference of Sustainable Development, held recently in Johannesburg, we are hopeful and we would like to express our interest in the outcomes adopted by this conference.
We would like to take this opportunity to express our warmest appreciation to his Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, on the efforts he exerted in order to maintain international peace and security and the sovereignty of the international law, as well as his contribution in promoting and fostering the role of the United Nations. We would also like commend the annual report prepared by his Excellency, which contains the achievements of the United Nations Organization and the challenges it faces including his future view for our organization that embodies the conscience of the international community and its ambitions. As an international society we have to work together, in a serious and firm manner, to enhance and strengthen this organization and its organs, in conformity with present political facts; to increase the representation in the Security Council and make it more equitable and consistent with the expansion of international society. In order to allow the organization to retain its niche with regard to international politics and as the highest source of international legitimacy, far from standards of selectivity in dealing with countries, and also capable of finding solutions for conflicts and wars as well as means to prevent them and to maintain international peace and security; and enhance methods of cooperation and dialogue among civilizations, and find ways to combat ignorance, poverty and disease, alongside finding useful solutions for different problems and concerns of mankind and its apprehensions.
We consider the United Nations a melting pot of international efforts toward achieving the expectations and aspirations of people and consolidating the pillars of international relations, and disseminating the culture of peace and constructive dialogue among today's generations and those to come, free from threat of force, terror, and fear.
We wish all the success to this session in reaching an outcome with a new forward looking vision that will serve mankind, based on a commitment to implement the United Nations resolutions and to respect the provisions of its charter.
Thank you Mr. president.