H.E. Mr. Somsavat LENGSAVAD
MINISTER, MISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, HEAD OF DELEGATION
OF THE LAOS PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
THE 57th SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
New York, 15 September 2002
On behalf of the delegation of the Lao PDR, I would like to convey
to you my congratulations on your election to the presidency of this fifty-seventh
session of the United Nations General Assembly. I am confident that with your
vast diplomatic skills, and given the cooperative spirit generally manifested
here by the Member States, our deliberations on many of the most pressing global.
issues will be constructive and fruitful. For its part, the Lao delegation pledges
its cooperation and will do its utmost to contribute positively to the success
of the meeting.
The current session is taking place at a time when member states
have entered the third year of implementing the development goals adopted at
the Millennium Summit. During the past two years, some satisfactory progress
has been made toward those objectives, yet so much more need to be done. It
is our view that the war on poverty should deserve our greatest attention, for
poverty is, as we speak, putting out a million of more deaths and has no ground
for sustainable development. Furthermore, our planet is facing the scourge of
terrorism in various forms against which our government is in solidarity with
the world community.
Since the end of the Twentieth Century, globalisation has widely
been claimed to be providing tremendous economic and development opportunities
to the nations. However, it is evident that it has brought numerous challenges
to the majority of the world population, in particular, those in the developing
countries. The most outstanding effects of globalisation are the fact that the
disparity between the developed and developing countries, particularly, the
Least Developed Countries continue to widen, the rich get richer and the poor
Against this backdrop, while with the sense of ownership and partnership, the developing countries have adopted various measures to cope with its disadvantages, they still find themselves confronted with the problem of financing and human resources capable of handling new technology as well as the inability of access to the market of the developed countries. Although the International Conference on Financing for Development and other international conferences have given some hope in addressing these disadvantages and challenges the results are far from satisfactory. Moreover, the World Summit held in Johannesburg early this month has failed to respond to the strong aspirations of developing countries as well as of the world community in addressing the issue of environment deterioration and sustainable development. Therefore, only by implementing the commitments and pledges adopted at those international conferences that a fair and sustainable development as well as lasting peace for humankind would be ensured in our world.
Our world today is the world of peace, co-existence and cooperation
for development that continues to prevail. However, to our regret, violent disputes
and conflicts are still raging in many parts of our planet as the remnants of
historical legacy and other factors remain. We are again gathered here with
a conviction that the United Nations, having been reaffirmed by leaders of the
world as the only and truly universal organization, should have a higher responsibility
and greater role to play under the UN Charter and international law in resolving
various disputes in the world and preventing new hot spots and interference
in internal affairs of independent and sovereign states. Equally, we should
continue to call for a reform of the United Nations so as to enable it to meet
a formidable challenge of poverty eradication and the promotion of sustainable
development, and particularly the reform of the Security Council to ensure its
responsibilities in safeguarding peace and security. In this context, I would
like to pay tribute to our Secretary General Kofi Annan, who has spent his tireless
efforts to render our Organization more effective and wish him greater success
in his endeavours.
The Lao PDR shares the international community's deep concern
over the excessive use of force in the Middle East since March of this year.
We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the lingering bloodshed, which
has claimed thousands of lives of the innocent people of both Palestine and
Israel. In conformity with the common position of the Non-Aligned Movement on
the Middle East peace process, the Lao PDR believes that only a politically
negotiated settlement acceptable to both parties under the international supervision
will bring peace, stability and cooperation to the region. Such a settlement
must be preceded by the respect for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian
people to establish an independent and viable state of their own living side
by side with Israel in peace and security within internationally recognized
borders, in accordance with all relevant UN resolutions.
Like the overwhelming majority of the member States, the Lao PDR also expresses great concern over the issue of Iraq - an independent and sovereign nation, and a member state of the United Nations. We are of the view that this should be resolved through political means by the United Nations. In this regard, we call upon all concerned parties to urgently implement all relevant UN Security Council resolutions to ensure national interests, peace, stability and the common interest of the countries in the region and in the world.
In the Caribbean region, the Lao PDR reiterates its call for the lifting of the economic, financial and trade embargo against the Republic of Cuba by the Government of the United States of America. An end to this long and obsolete policy would not only mean the effective compliance with various UN General Assembly resolutions, international law and the current world trend, but also would promote economic prosperity and cooperation in the region as a whole.
With regard to the Korean Peninsula, the Lao Government welcomes the recent positive developments, especially the Inter-Korean Ministerial Talks between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea as well as the preparation for a negotiation between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the United States of America and Japan. These developments will help pave the way towards the goal of national peaceful unification of Korea and significantly contribute to the consolidation of peace and stability in East Asia and the Asia-Pacific regions as a whole. In view of this, we hope that through the successful follow-up to the historic June 15th 2000 North-South Joint Declaration under the guidance of the leaders of the two countries, the strong aspirations of all the Korean people for peace, cooperation and prosperity will finally come true.
While many other countries are taking advantage of the benefits
offered by globalization, the landlocked developing countries are still marginalized
due to our geographical disadvantage. The lack of territorial access to the
sea, aggravated by the remoteness and isolation from major international markets
and prohibitive transit transport costs continue to constitute major obstacles
for our countries to meet the objectives of national economic development and
poverty eradication. Moreover, this geographical handicap deprives our rights
to be competitive in the international trading system and fully benefit from
it. In its capacity as Chairman of the group of Landlocked Developing Countries,
the Lao PDR expresses its appreciation and gratitude to the General Assembly
of the United Nations for its decision made last year to convene in 2003 an
International Ministerial Meeting of Landlocked, Transit Developing Countries
and Donor Countries and Financial and Developmental Institutions on Transit
We trust that this historical International Ministerial Meeting will adopt a global program of action, which contains concrete measures to minimise the abovementioned constraints. This will contribute to the betterment of our position to sooner meet the goals of poverty eradication set forth by the United Nations.
Over the past year, the Lao PDR has striven to meet the challenges
and seize all the opportunities offered by the globalization process to ensure
the national interest and the promotion of development cooperation in the region
and the world. As a result, a number of important achievements in the socio-economic
development have been recorded. This has contributed to the gradual improvement
of the livelihood of the Lao people of all ethnic groups, ensured and strengthened
political stability and social order. While expanding its cooperation with the
international community in many spheres, the Lao PDR has contributed to the
strengthening of ASEAN 's solidarity and to the cause of peace, friendship,
cooperation and development of nations in the world.
An event of significance was the successful election of the Fifth National Assembly held on 24 February this year. This reaffirms the promotion of democracy and the spirit of national ownership of the people of all strata and ethnic groups across the country. It also demonstrates the people's patriotism and firm confidence in the policy of renewal pursued by the government which aims to gradually transform the country into an industrialized, modern and strong state that is effectively governed by the constitution and laws for the benefit and the well - being of the people.
May I again wish for this important session of ours to reach the best of conclusion.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.