REPUBLIC OF
ZAMBIA

HIS EXCELLENCY MR. LEVY P. MWANAWASA,
SC PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA
57TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATION GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK September 14, 2002

 

Your Excellency Mr. Jan Kavan, President of the 57th Session,
Your Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Representatives,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me begin by congratulating you on your assumption of the Presidency of the 57th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. My delegation is confident that given your vast political skills, you will execute your responsibility as President of the 57th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, most honorably.

My delegation pledges its total support and cooperation to you in the discharge of your important responsibilities. You can depend on Zambia's support and cooperation.

May I also take this opportunity to pay tribute to your predecessor His Excellency Mr. Han Seung-Soo of the Republic of Korea, for the excellent manner in which he presided over the 5e Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

My delegation also congratulates, the Secretary-General, His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan, for the able manner in which he has steered the work of the United Nations.

We are happy to welcome Switzerland and East Timor as new members of the United Nations family. My delegation looks forward to working closely with the two new Member States.

Mr. President,

Three days ago, the world commemorated the 1st anniversary of the tragic events of 11th September, 2001. The past year has witnessed a global resolve to fight international terrorism. My Government wishes to join the host nation in remembering the tragic events of 11th September 2001.

My delegation salutes the efforts of the United Nations in ensuring that there is peace in the world. I am pleased to note that there are signs of positive developments in most trouble spots where there are conflicts.

Mr. President,

The African Union and the international community have to work together as partners in conflict prevention and peace building. In the past forty years, Africa has lost too much blood through conflicts. Zambia is ready and willing to play her part to create in Africa a culture of respect for the rule of law and human rights, social and economic development, to promote peace and security. In this regard we welcome the positive signs towards peace in Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other conflict areas in Africa.

Mr. President,

The search for peace is a continuous process. I therefore appeal to the international community to continue extending assistance to bring about peace in the conflict areas around the world.

It is against this background that my Government welcomes the implementation of the Lusaka Peace Protocol in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since the death of Dr. Jonas Savimbi the former UNTfA rebel leader on 19th February 2002, the prospects for peace in that country and the entire sub-region are encouraging.

The cease-fire Agreement signed between the Angolan Government and the UNITA military, that followed, further paved way for the implementation of the Lusaka Peace Protocol of 4th November 1994.

Mr. President,

The full implementation of the Lusaka Protocol is vital for the reintegration of Angola in the Southern African economy and the promotion of regional peace and stability. The people of Angola require the moral and material support of the international community to complete that process.

Mr. President,

I would like also to express my country's appreciation to the United Nations Security Council for the measures being undertaken to strengthen the United Nations Observer Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC). I am further gratified that the efforts by His Excellency Sir Ketumile Masire, former President of Botswana to promote internal political dialogue are bearing fruit. I also wish to note, with appreciation, that the number of foreign troops still on DRC soil has been significantly reduced.

Mr. President,

Conflicts have a negative impact on the economic life of the region. As a host to refugees from both Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and other parts of the continent the recent signs of peace are significantly important. My Government hopes that these positive signs will result in the voluntary repatriation of refugees back to their countries. Currently there are 270;000 refugees in designated camps and about 120,000 other who are simultaneously settled in the border areas among the local people in Zambia. My Government will continue to require the material and financial support of the international community to help in the refugee management effort.

Mr. President,

Since the 37"' Session of the Assembly of the former Organization of African Unity (OAU), held in Lusaka in July, 2001, Africa has continued to refine its partnerships with the rest of the world to foster development. The vehicle for this effort is the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

I wish to convey my Government's appreciation to the Leaders of the Group of S for endorsing the NEPAD Program during their annual meeting held in Kananaskis, Canada on 27th June, 2002. I note with appreciation that the G-8 countries considered positively the request by the four-nation African representative of Algeria, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa that they earmark for Africa, 50 percent of their projected foreign aid increases in the coming years.

I wish to thank the European Union, who have supported the NEPAD Program and remain committed to their pledge of support to the initiative. The past year has seen practical and positive developments in the response of the cooperating partners to African trade liberalization initiatives. In this regard I wish to take this opportunity to welcome the initiative by the American Government for refining the scope of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), to increase products eligible to be exported to the United States.

Mr. President,

In the health sector, Africa is experiencing a catastrophic impact from a combination of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and a series of outbreaks of diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and diarrhea. Unfortunately, my country is one of those hard hit in this regard. Although my Government has implemented health reforms that focus on ameliorating the situation, a lot more resources are required to address the problem.

My Government has taken a decision to acquire affordable anti retroviral drugs for distribution to people affected with AIDS. My delegation wishes to express our gratitude to our cooperating partners who have been forthcoming in providing resources for this effort. Early deaths from HIV/AIDS related illnesses are robbing the country of skilled professionals and creating large numbers of orphaned children.

As you are aware Mr. President, a combination of natural and other factors has caused a food shortage and crisis in the Southern African sub-region. In response to this impending catastrophe, on 18th July 2002, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) launched an appeal for food aid, in support of the affected countries.

Mr. President,

In response to the food shortage, a number of countries and international organizations have pledged their support. My delegation pays tribute to the United Nations and other cooperating partners in providing assistance to Zambia to mitigate the food shortfall.

However, it came to the Government's attention that some of the food aid products offered to Zambia constituted Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

The offer of Genetically Modified Foods has created a difficult situation for the Government. While on the one hand, we are determined to procure food and seed for mostly rural population that is hard hit by the food shortage, we have expressed concern over the true impact of GMOs on our people and soil. Due to our low scientific and technological base, Government has opted for the procurement of non-GMO Food products. I wish, therefore, to appeal through this August Assembly, to all Zambia's friends, to help my Government procure non-GMO food products. It is not my Government's intention to sacrifice lives of the Zambian people by taking this position. Given the lack of and often-conflicting international information on the possible consequences of Genetically modified Products on Humans, I, therefore, wish to request for your understanding of Zambia's position on GMOs.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, I wish the 57th Session of the United Nations General Assembly successful deliberations of the issues before it. I wish to appeal to all Member States to ensure the rapid implementation of decisions emanating there from.

I Thank You.