LESOTHO
STATEMENT BY
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE MR. PAKALITHA B. MOSISILI
PRIME MINISTER OF THE KINGDOM OF LESOTHO AND HEAD OF DELEGATION
57 TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

15 SEPTEMBER 2002, NEW YORK

YOUR EXCELLENCIES, HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT,
YOUR EXCELLENCY, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS, DISTINGUISHED GUESTS,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
MR. PRESIDENT,

MY DELEGATION ASSOCIATES ITSELF WITH COMPLIMENTS ALREADY EXTENDED TO YOU FOLLOWING YOUR ELECTION TO THE PRESIDENCY OF THIS SESSION, TO YOUR PREDECESSOR, DR. HAN SEUNG-SOO AND TO THE SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS, H.E. MR. KOFI ANNAN.

MR. PRESIDENT,

THE ADMISSION OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF EAST TIMOR AND OF THE SWISS CONFEDERATION TO MEMBERSHIP OF THE ORGANIZATION IS A JOYFUL OCCASION FOR MY DELEGATION.

MR. PRESIDENT,

AS WE MEET HERE TODAY, LESOTHO AND SOME OTHER COUNTRIES OF THE SOUTHERN AFRICA SUB-REGION ARE IN THE GRIP OF THE MOST DEVASTATING AND HITHERTO UNPRECEDENTED FOOD SHORTAGES AS A RESULT OF A COMBINATION OF FLOODS, UNSEASONABLE FROST AND DROUGHT, CONSEQUENT UPON CLIMATIC CHANGES THAT HAVE HIT THE REGION IN THE RECENT PAST.

ON 19TH APRIL 2002, WHEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE KINGDOM OF LESOTHO DECLARED A STATE OF FAMINE, IT WAS EVIDENT THAT OVER HALF A MILLION PEOPLE OUT OF A TOTAL OF 2.2 MILLION. FACED A SEVERE FOOD CRISIS. SINCE THEN, EFFORTS HAVE BEEN MADE AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM.

MR. PRESIDENT,

LET ME TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY, ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE KINGDOM OF LESOTHO, AND ALSO ON MY OWN BEHALF, TO EXPRESS OUR GRATITUDE FOR THE RAPID RESPONSE BY THE UNITED NATIONS, ITS SPECIALISED AGENCIES AND PROGRAMMES, AND THAT OF THE DONOR COMMUNITY, TO THE CRISIS FACING MY COUNTRY.

MR. PRESIDENT,

HIV/AIDS, WHICH HAS EMERGED AS A MAJOR HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT THREAT, CONTINUES TO BE A SOURCE OF GRAVE CONCERN IN MY COUNTRY. MOST PEOPLE WHO ARE INFECTED ARE BETWEEN THE AGES OF 15 AND 45. THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO CONSTITUTE THE POTENTIAL AND ACTIVE WORKFORCE IN LESOTHO.

EQUALLY, OF GREAT CONCERN IS THE CORROSIVE EFFECT THAT HIV/AIDS HAS ON THE FAMILY STRUCTURE AND THE SOCIAL FABRIC OF OUR SOCIETY. WE NOW HAVE A LARGE NUMBER OF ORPHANS AND OF CHILD-HEADED HOUSEHOLDS. THOSE WHO ARE SICK NOT ONLY LACK ADEQUATE COUNSELING AND MEDICINE, BUT ALSO LACK CARE AND SUPPORT.

MY DELEGATION THEREFORE WISHES TO MAKE AN APPEAL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR THE AFRICAN COUNTRIES, TO ARREST THE SPREAD OF HIV/AIDS. IN THIS REGARD, THE EFFORTS OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE UN IN ESTABLISHING THE GLOBAL FUND TO FIGHT AIDS, TUBERCULOSIS AND MALARIA, ARE MOST WELCOME. INDEED, AFRICA AS A WHOLE NEEDS UNCONDITIONAL SUPPORT IN MANY OTHER AREAS, PARTICULARLY IN THE SECTORS OF AGRICULTURE, HEALTH, NUTRITION, WATER AND SANITATION AND EDUCATION. THERE IS, INDEED, NO DOUBT THAT THERE IS A STRONG LINK BETWEEN POVERTY AND THE SCOURGE OF HIV/AIDS.

MR. PRESIDENT,

THE MONTERREY CONFERENCE ON FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT, THE DOHA MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON TRADE AND THE WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PROVIDED USEFUL FORA FOR DISCUSSING STEPS THAT NEED TO BE TAKEN TO REMOVE OBSTACLES TO ECONOMIC GROWTH AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, PARTICULARLY IN THE DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. WE ARE HOPEFUL THAT COMMITMENTS MADE BY OUR COOPERATING PARTNERS MARK A BEGINNING FOR THE STRENGTHENING OF THE PROCESS OF HELPING THE LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES (LDCs) TO TRANSLATE GOALS AND TARGETS OF MAJOR GLOBAL CONFERENCES AND SUMMITS INTO CONCRETE ACTIONS. MY DELEGATION REITERATES THAT THE MARGINALIZATION OF LDCs CAN BE ENDED ONLY IF THEY ARE ASSISTED TO INTEGRATE PROFITABLY INTO THE GLOBAL ECONOMY.

MR. PRESIDENT,

AFRICA TOOK A VERY BOLD AND DECISIVE STEP RECENTLY IN DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, IN LAUNCHING THE AFRICAN UNION. THERE IS NO DOUBT, AS MANY MAY HAVE OBSERVED, THAT WHILE THE ROAD TO THIS UNION HAS BEEN STREWN WITH MANY OBSTACLES, THERE IS NOW SOME LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL. THIS HOPE IS PREMISED ON THE PRINCIPLES WHICH HAVE GUIDED US IN THE LAST 39 YEARS OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AFRICAN UNITY. THE AFRICA OF TODAY IS COMMITTED TO THE PRINCIPLES OF DEMOCRACY, STABILITY, PEACE, SECURITY, GOOD GOVERNANCE, AND THE RULE OF LAW. ABOVE ALL, MODERN AFRICA IS COMMITTED TO GOOD ECONOMIC MANAGEMENT BECAUSE IT IS, INDEED, THE MISMANAGEMENT OF OUR ECONOMIES THAT HAS OFTEN LED TO CONFLICTS ON THE CONTINENT.

MR. PRESIDENT,

THE NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR AFRICA'S DEVELOPMENT (NEPAD) IS A HOME-GROWN AFRICAN STRATEGY AND AN AFRICAN UNION PROGRAMME FOR AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT. IT IS A COMMITMENT BY AFRICAN LEADERS TO ERADICATE POVERTY AND TO PLACE THE CONTINENT ON A PATH OF LASTING GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT. HENCE, MY DELEGATION APPEALS FOR MORE INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT FOR NEPAD. WE ALSO BELIEVE THAT THE SUPPORTIVE ROLE OF THE WHOLE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO NEPAD AND THE ROLE OF THE UN IN THE COORDINATION AND SYNCHRONIZATION OF ACTIVITIES RELATED TO ENSURING THE SUCCESS OF NEPAD, WOULD INDEED PROVIDE A FRESH IMPETUS FOR AFRICA'S DEVELOPMENT.

MR. PRESIDENT,

THE RIGHT OF A PEOPLE TO SELF-DETERMINATION IS A HUMAN RIGHT. IT IS A FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE AS ENSHRINED IN THE CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS. THE PEOPLE OF WESTERN SAHARA AND PALESTINE, THEREFORE, DESERVE NO LESS.

MR. PRESIDENT,

LESOTHO IS GRATIFIED THAT ONE OF THE OLDEST AND LONGEST RUNNING CONFLICTS IN AFRICA HAS FINALLY COME TO AN END WITH THE SIGNING OF THE CEASEFIRE IN LUANDA, ANGOLA, EARLY THIS YEAR, BY THE REPRESENTATIVES OF UNITA AND THE GOVERNMENT OF ANGOLA. HOWEVER, LESOTHO AND OTHER SADC COUNTRIES AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY AT LARGE, ARE ALARMED BY THE HARSH SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS THAT CONFRONT INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS AND REFUGEES WHO RETURN TO THEIR HOMES IN ANGOLA.

WE APPRECIATE THE EFFORTS OF THE WHOLE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM TO ADDRESS THIS SITUATION. WE ARE OF THE VIEW THAT A LOT MORE STILL NEEDS TO BE DONE FOR THE ANGOLAN PEOPLE, INCLUDING THE PROVISION OF SIGNIFICANT ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AS CALLED FOR BY THE UN SECRETARY GENERAL, IN ORDER TO ADDRESS THE HUMANITARIAN NEEDS OF THE ANGOLAN PEOPLE.

MR. PRESIDENT,

DESPITE THE TEMPORARY DISRUPTION OF THE CEASEFIRE NEGOTIATIONS, MY DELEGATION IS CONVINCED THAT THE MACHAKOS PROTOCOL SIGNED BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE SUDAN AND THE SUDAN PEOPLES'S LIBERATION MOVEMENT (SPLA), REMAINS A VIABLE FRAMEWORK FOR REALISING DURABLE PEACE IN THE SUDAN.

MR. PRESIDENT,

THE SITUATION IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO HAS ALSO BEEN A SOURCE OF CONCERN TO US ALL. WE WISH TO CONGRATULATE THE GOVERNMENTS OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, RWANDA AND UGANDA FOR THE SIGNING OF THE PEACE AGREEMENTS WHICH SHOULD PAVE THE WAY FOR THE WITHDRAWAL OF TROOPS FROM THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. WE BELIEVE THAT THIS WILL ALSO ENSURE THAT THE SECURITY CONCERNS OF THOSE NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES ARE ADEQUATELY ADDRESSED WHILST AT THE SAME TIME CREATING CONDITIONS THAT ARE CONDUCIVE FOR THE CONGOLESE PEOPLE TO LIVE IN PEACE IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY.

MR. PRESIDENT,

TERRORISM HAS BECOME ONE OF THE MOST PRESSING CONCERNS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY IN RECENT TIMES. THE GOVERNMENT OF LESOTHO HAS JOINED OTHER PEACE-LOVING MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY IN WAGING WAR AGAINST THIS HEINOUS CRIME.

THE GOVERNMENT OF LESOTHO IS COMMITTED TO FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 1373; AND, DESPITE FINANCIAL AND TECHNICAL CONSTRAINTS, WE WILL CONTINUE TO DISCHARGE OUR OBLIGATIONS, AS STIPULATED IN THE RESOLUTION.

MR. PRESIDENT,

THE SHOCKING IMAGES OF ATROCITIES PERPETRATED IN RWANDA AND IN THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA WILL FOREVER BE EMBEDDED IN OUR MINDS. THEY HAVE SERVED AS A PAINFUL REMINDER TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY THAT SUCH CRIMES SHOULD NEVER GO UNACCOUNTED FOR. IN THAT SPIRIT WE HAIL THE LANDMARK AGREEMENT REACHED BETWEEN THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE TO ESTABLISH AN INDEPENDENT SPECIAL COURT FOR THE PROSECUTION OF THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SERIOUS DECADE-LONG CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY COMMITTED IN THE TERRITORY OF SIERRA LEONE. WE HOPE THAT THE CREATION OF THIS SPECIAL COURT WILL CONTRIBUTE GREATLY TO THE PROCESS OF NATIONAL RECONCILIATION AND HEALING, AS WELL AS TO THE RESTORATION AND MAINTENANCE OF PEACE IN SIERRA LEONE.

MR. PRESIDENT,

THE GOVERNMENT OF LESOTHO REVERES THE COMING INTO FORCE OF THE STATUTE OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT, A MOMENTOUS PERIOD WHEN THE COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD AFFIRMED THEIR INTOLERANCE OF THOSE WHO COMMIT CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, WITH IMPUNITY. WE THEREFORE INVITE THOSE STATES THAT HAVE NOT YET DONE SO, TO BECOME PARTY TO THE STATUTE, SO THAT WE MAY EMBARK ON THIS NOBLE BUT DIFFICULT PURSUIT IN SOLIDARITY.

MR. PRESIDENT,

I SHOULD NOT CONCLUDE THIS STATEMENT WITHOUT MAKING REFERENCE TO THE ISSUE OF THE REFORM OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL. THE PROCESS OF DEMOCRATIZATION IS, INDEED, VERY DIFFICULT, AND YET INEVITABLE. IT ESSENTIALLY INVOLVES A LOT OF COMPROMISE AND UNDERSTANDING ON THE PART OF THOSE WHO CHERISH AND UPHOLD THE BASIC TENETS OF DEMOCRACY AND EQUALITY OF STATES. MY DELEGATION THEREFORE WISHES TO REITERATE ITS CONCERN THAT THIS ORGAN OF THE UNITED NATIONS, WHICH IS CHARGED WITH THE MAINTENANCE OF INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY, HAS ITSELF NOT YET MOVED TO BE MORE INCLUSIVE AND MORE REPRESENTATIVE.

I THANK YOU.