THE HONOURABLE TUILA'EPA SAILELE MALIELEGAOI
PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
57th SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
New York, 17 September 2002
I congratulate you on your election as President of the General Assembly.
Our annual gatherings in this great hall serve well to reaffirm our commitment
to the purposes of the United Nations. Commitment to uphold the principles of
Charter. To assert fundamental human rights and freedoms, as we seek to improve
social and economic conditions. To act together in sovereignty in the maintenance
of international peace and security.
The lessons of history require that Nations be united in common effort. There
is no other way. Not today, in this inter-dependent, ever globalising world.
Certainly, from the perspective of the very small, there is no other way. Indeed,
we cannot see how any one country, no matter its size and power, can completely
fend for itself.
War and conflict divide Nations. They rage in too many places. Global forces
operate to degrade the environment and spread misery through poverty and disease.
And through the illicit trade in arms, drugs and people. The entire world community
is now seriously challenged by the terrible scourge of HIV/AIDS and terrorism.
Only through cooperation and multilateral action can we hope to respond. To
take counter-measures. To find solutions. To give protection to all.
The monstrous terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11`h were
an assault on values that are fundamental to humanity, and to the United Nations.
On behalf of my country I want to renew to the people of the United States our
feelings of solidarity and total support.
The spirit of America was never in doubt. Tested, it has become more resolute
in its purpose and courage. It is that spirit that provides global leadership.
It is the spirit that unites us all in the struggle against terrorism.
Let me reaffirm our strong support of Security Council resolution 1373, and
what the Council is doing to implement it. Samoa for its part has put in place
appropriate policies and domestic legislation, and we will review our arrangements
as necessary in line with the work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee.
Iraq remains in violation of Security Council resolutions. It has done so for
a considerable time. Far too long.
We commend Secretary-General Kofi Annan for his repeated efforts to encourage
compliance. We think there must be full compliance with obligations under the
Security Council resolutions. Compliance without preconditions. Without delay.
We welcome the wide acknowledgement in the statements we have heard in this
debate that actions that need to be taken will be taken within the framework
of the United Nations, and with the authority of the Security Council.
Weapons of mass destruction
Our concern about Iraq reflects, in part, our very serious concern about the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction - chemical, biological and nuclear
weapons. These weapons pose an immediate and major threat to international peace
and security. The international agreements and systems to control the development
and spread of weapons of mass destruction, and to eliminate them, must be strengthened
and must be implemented.
We live in a part of the world where nuclear weapons have been tested and used.
Our fear of the consequences is real.
It is why we have the Rarotonga Treaty that declared the South Pacific a nuclear weapons-free-zone. We call on the States that have not done so to complete the ratification process of the Protocols to the Treaty.
It is why we continue to object to the transportation of nuclear and radio-
active material through the waters of our region.
We are appalled about the suffering of families and communities in the Middle East, and we pray for permanent peace for all.
The current situation is a threat of the utmost gravity to international peace
and security. It calls for the highest priority and urgency in the efforts to
bring an end to the conflict. Security Council resolutions 242, 338 and 1397
provide the basis for settlement. The resolutions should be implemented.
My delegation strongly supports the Secretary-General in the ongoing reforms
of the United Nations. We have all seen good and positive results.
Reforms of the General Assembly and ECOSOC to make them more effective must continue.
Reforms of the Security Council call for particular attention. The issues are
sensitive and complex. That is clear. Yet, it is also clear that the Security
Council needs to reflect the geo-political realities of our time. It needs to
be properly representative of the international community of today, and to be
able to function effectively and be secure in its authority.
International Criminal Court
We applaud the entry into force of the Rome Statute that established the International
Criminal Court. Samoa has now ratified the Statute.
The Court will bring to justice those who commit genocide, crimes against humanity
and war crimes. It is therefore a major achievement, and a significant step
in the protection of human rights and in upholding international humanitarian
To that end the Court deserves every support, to allow it the strength of universality and the rule of law. We need to ensure not to undermine it in any way.
This has been an especially notable year in the international effort to realize
the Millennium Development Goals. In March we achieved the Monterrey Consensus.
Earlier this month we agreed in Johannesburg on the plan to implement sustainable
development in every land.
Rightly, the focus is on halving extreme poverty by 2015. The condition of
utter misery that condemns so many of our fellow humans worldwide is simply
The outstanding leadership of South Africa ensured the success of the Johannesburg
conference. We extend to President Mbeki, to his Ministers and colleagues our
warm thanks and congratulations.
In this context, let me also congratulate the leadership of Africa on the establishment
of the African Union, and the creation of the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(NEPAD). We have joined hands with Africa on other issues, including our ACP-EU
endeavors, and I give assurance of our close interest and support.
Small Island developing States
Speaking in Samoa's capacity as Chairman of the Alliance of Small Island States
(AOSIS) let me note our particular satisfaction with the provisions in the Johannesburg
Plan of Implementation dedicated to the sustainable development of Small Island
We greatly appreciate the role played by all countries in finding agreement
on those provisions. We look forward to their continuing support as we move
to prepare for the agreed international meeting in 2004 to review the Barbados
Overcoming the well-recognized vulnerability of small island States, and the
exposure of island countries to the effects of global climate change, natural
disasters, environmental damage and global economic shocks is fundamental to
long-term sustainability in all small island regions.
Climate change poses for our communities immediate and the most serious of
threats. It puts at risk, largely by the acts of others, countries like my own
that are least responsible for the causes and least able to adapt. In Johannesburg,
we were greatly heartened by the declarations from many countries - the Russian
Federation, China, India and Canada amongst them - of their plans to ratify
the Kyoto Protocol. This serious problem deserves no less than this type of
global solidarity and leadership.
As I close, let me welcome Switzerland upon its taking full membership of the
United Nations. Switzerland's role and contribution to the Organization are
known to all and well appreciated.
Let me also voice our satisfaction with the situation in East Timor. It is
a success story in every sense. In the determination of its people. In the response
of the international community.
Samoa is pleased to have been able to contribute to the United Nations peacekeeping
effort in East Timor. And we plan to continue doing so.
Last month, we welcomed East Timor as an Observer to the Pacific Islands Forum.
We look forward to her joining the United Nations soon.
Thank you, Mr. President.