THE HONOURABLE JAKAYA M. KIKWETE
MP MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
TO THE 57 SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK, 17 SEPTEMBER 2002
Let me begin my remarks by congratulating you on your befitting election as
President of the 57" session of the General Assembly. I want to assure
you of my delegation's full support and cooperation.
I wish also to commend your predecessor, His Excellency, Mr. Han Seung-Soo,
for having skillfully presided over the 56th session. Similarly, I wish to express
my delegation's sincere appreciation to His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan, our distinguished
Secretary-General, for the able manner in which he has continued to manage the
day to-day affairs of our Organization in the face of numerous and daunting
My delegation wishes to join others in welcoming the admission of the Swiss
Confederation, a country that has done so much for the United Nations over the
years. I would also like to welcome East Timor to the community of nations after
the successful tutelage by the United Nations.
As we commemorate the first anniversary of the tragic events of the 11 September
terrorist attacks, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate Tanzania's
solidarity and support for international efforts to fight terrorism. Coming
from a country that experienced a similar tragedy four years ago, I do understand
the continued pain and suffering of those who lost their beloved ones as they
come to terms with the aftermath of those tragic events. We have every confidence
that through our collective efforts the war on international terrorism will
ultimately be won.
It is a welcome coincidence that the 57th session is being held soon after
the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The recently concluded Johannesburg
Summit enjoins us all to translate words into action so that social and economic
development can be realized whilst the environment is kept healthy and protected.
Tanzania is glad that poverty eradication was underscored as humanity's critical
challenge and indispensable requirement for sustainable development particularly
in the developing countries.
It was very gratifying, indeed, to note that due regard was also given to the
burning issues of education, health, energy, shelter, water and sanitation,
as well as agriculture, in particular food security. The abundance of pledges
to fight poverty, promote social and economic development and enhance measures
to deal with pollution and protect the environment from all speakers and participants
was very reassuring indeed. However, what many stakeholders, including those
from my country, are anxiously waiting to see is how to move beyond rhetoric
to concrete action.
Those of us from the developing countries know too well in this regard, that
our biggest challenge is to put our act together by practicing and observing
good governance, democracy, rule of law and human rights. We have to institute,
sound political, social and economic policies, as well as to fight corruption
and graft. We have to create conditions conducive for investment flows and trade.
Fortunately, this is no longer wanting because most of our countries have made
serious efforts to meet these ideals with reasonable success. However, it is
frustrating to note that there is little appreciation of these achievements.
Instead there is amplification of the little that is yet to be overcome. Many
of us feel that we deserve to be treated better.
It is surprising also to note the temptation, in some quarters, to evolve new
paradigm in international relations: that of collective responsibility, condemnation
and punishment to a region or continent for the mistakes of one country in that
part of the world. A crisis in an African country, for example, is meant to
be left to African countries to fix and a threat of being held responsible and
accountable if that is not done. Several times we have been reminded to sort
out the problem in some crisis stricken African countries or else risk losing
cooperation on NEPAD from the developed countries.
Tanzania considers such tendencies as not only strange, but also dangerous,
unfair, discriminatory and totally unacceptable. Let all of us continue to work
together to resolve problems facing our countries and peoples wherever they
We look forward to the developed countries of the North to play their part
as is expected of them in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Monterrey
Consensus, the Brussels Plan of Action for the LDCs, the Doha agreement, the
Johannesburg Plan of Action and many major Conferences and resolutions before
these. We consider the role of the developed countries very critical for the
success in the war against poverty and the attainment of sustainable development.
We took forward to the countries of the North to increase ODA to the countries
of the South. At Monterrey, Kananaskis and Johannesburg there were good signs
that this was now possible. However, when one looks at the resource requirement
of the Millennium Development Goals and the time frame for implementation, the
promises made are far below target. At Monterrey and Kananaskis, some US$12
billion has been pledged over a period of 3 to 4 years whereas the requirement
is US$50 billion annually until 2015. We appeal to the developed countries to
commit more resources and within the time frames set out in the MDGs.
Another important area where the intervention of the developed countries is essential is in debt relief. Debt servicing is crippling the economies and governments of the poor developing countries when a sizeable chunk of their national budget is spent for that purpose. Debt relief, therefore, releases those resources which can then be used to finance priority sectors and activities such as education, health, energy, water, rural roads and micro-finance schemes. Let me take the example of my country, Tanzania. After reaching completion point to HIPC and the cancellation of a portion of the external debt, government expenditure on basic social services has increased to unprecedented levels.
We will now be able to give clean water to more people than we could have done
in the past. We were able to hire more teachers, build more classrooms, take
more students into schools and buy more textbooks and teaching materials. We
have improved the health care delivery systems. We have hired more medical practitioners
in rural dispensaries and health centers and we have provided more equipment
and medicines. There are more rural roads maintained now than before and new
ones are being opened up. The list of benefits is long and we could have done
much more if we got a bigger debt cancellation package. That is why we continue
to appeal for deeper debt cancellation to Tanzania and the rest of the Least
Developed Countries of the world. Benefits abound. Moreover, the amount of debt
that has not been forgiven is not payable given our level of poverty.
Debt cancellation or relief on its own cannot solve the resource needs of developing
countries, and the LDCs in particular. Measures to make available capital and
financial resources for investments and trade in the developing countries are
very important. To date, there isn't much that comes to our part of the world
despite putting in place the most competitive investment incentives. May I once
again appeal to governments of the developed countries to intervene in the most
judicious way possible to encourage investment flows to Africa and the developing
countries? I believe their word of encouragement and support will have a positive
Market access is another very important matter for us. We highly appreciate
and thank the United States of America and the European Union for granting a
duty free and quota free access for goods from Africa and the ACP countries
respectively into their markets. This has acted as an important stimulus to
increased production and investments in our countries. We welcome similar decisions
taken by Japan, Canada and China thus further expanding Africa's market access.
However, agricultural subsidies in the developed countries remain an obstacle
for which we again appeal to the developed countries to give due consideration.
As we all know, it is in agriculture where we have the best of the comparative
advantage. Unhindered access to markets of the developed countries therefore
could have immeasurable benefits. I am of the view that the developed countries
can afford to dispense with subsidies to agriculture. Instead, the US$1 billion
spent on such subsidies daily could be used to fund the implementation of MDGs
for a good seven and one-half years. If that were to happen, great progress
would have been registered in poverty reduction. Indeed, the spread of HIV/AIDS
may have been reversed, if not stopped completely.
Among today's daunting global challenges are the conflict situations in Africa
and the escalation of violence in the Middle East. Thousands of innocent lives
are lost and many more people are being wounded and properties destroyed. We
highly appreciate the proactive role played by the United Nations, countries
of the respective regions and the international community in trying to mediate
and end the conflicts. We pray for continued involvement of the international
community to put an end to conflicts and the cycle of violence, bloodshed and
the accompanying instability.
The framework for the resumption of negotiations between the Israeli government
and the Palestinian Authority already exists. Both sides must create a conducive
environment for negotiations. There must be an end to Israeli occupation of
Arab lands and significant movement toward the creation of a viable Palestinian
state living side by side with Israel as an imperative to lasting peace in the
Middle East. The security concerns of Israel must be balanced by the political
road map for the Palestinians. In this regard, all relevant Security Council
and General Assembly resolutions must be adhered to.
It is our conviction that without the active involvement of a third party,
not much can be achieved. Tanzania is convinced that the United Nations Security
Council as well as the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the
European Union and the Arab League, can play a pivotal role in getting to a
sustainable solution. Fortunately, all of them are now actively involved. We
appeal to them to remain seized with the problem and continue to work together.
The situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Burundi remains
a major concern and a pre-occupation for Tanzania and other countries in the
region. I want to reaffirm the continued commitment and readiness of the Government
of the United Republic of Tanzania to contribute in any way possible towards
building a peaceful, secure and stable Great Lakes Region.
In the DRC, it is encouraging to note that there are some positive developments
following the recent agreement and understanding reached between the DRC, Rwanda
and Uganda. It is our hope that the implementation of the Agreements and understanding
will be scrupulously observed. We welcome the undertaking of the United Nations
and the Republic of South Africa to help the parties. We are also encouraged
by the Security Council's readiness to take measures to strengthen MONUC with
a new andclear mandate.
The security situation in Burundi is still fragile. The new transitional government
installed on 1 November 2001 is functioning but the continuation of the civil
war seems to undermine its base. Tanzania underscores the significance of getting
a ceasefire agreement for the sake of the people of Burundi and the success
of the transitional government. It is in appreciation of that imperative that
my President, H.E. Benjamin W. Mkapa accepted the request of the Facilitator
and that of H.E. Pierre Buyoya, President of Burundi, for Tanzania to help urge
the rebels to come to the negotiating table.
We tried our best and as a result the Burundi government and the rebels started
direct talks in Dar es Salaam on 12 August 2002. The negotiations are continuing.
They are not easy but we are confident that they will be crowned with success.
Tanzania will continue to assist and work for the success of the negotiations.
We do so on the clear understanding that we stand to gain more from a peaceful
and stable Burundi and stand to lose if there is war and lack of stability.
The end of the refugee problem as well as the end of mistrust between our two
governments and free flow of trade across our common borders are the obvious
benefits, which we long to see, realized.
One of the serious consequences of conflicts in the Great Lakes region has
been the massive displacements of people and influx of refugees, which constitute
a huge burden to Tanzania. At present, Tanzania is hosting close to a million
refugees from Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC. While we appreciate the work of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian
agencies to protect the refugees, much remains to be done to offset the burden,
which these refugees place upon our country. We would like to see more being
done to facilitate repatriation of the refugees.
Unfortunately, the 1951 Convention is not as elaborate on the responsibilities
of refugee-generating countries or on those of the international community as
it is elaborate on the responsibilities of the refugee-receiving countries.
This is probably due to the context in which the Convention was conceived. The
situation has changed and we need to address prevailing challenges. Tanzania
feels strongly that there is need to review the 1951 Convention to keep it in
step with the changed times andcircumstances.
The long and protracted civil war in Angola appears to have ended. Angola however
still needs the continued support of the international community to deal with
the reconstruction and huge humanitarian crisis facing the country. Tanzania
welcomes the Security Council decision on continued United Nations involvement.
With regard to Western Sahara, Tanzania firmly believes that the United Nations
cannot, and must not, retreat from this unfinished agenda. Tanzania wishes to
reiterate its long-standing support for the United Nations efforts to organize
and supervise an impartial, free and fair referendum in accordance with the
relevant Security Council resolutions that will enable the Sahrawi people to
exercise their right to self-determination.
While we appreciate the progress made in the reform of the working methods
of the Security Council, we remain concerned that no movement has been recorded
in the area of expansion of membership in both categories. Tanzania would like
to reiterate her support for Africa's quest for two permanent seats.
In his address to this Assembly on 4 October 1996, my President, H.E. President
Benjamin Mkapa said: "What inspired the founding fathers of the United
Nations was the human solidarity which the world sought to promote five decades
ago. What holds our nations together, despite their diversity, is the common
bond and solidarity we feel for each other as human beings. Today, more than
ever before, we need that solidarity in order to deal with the myriad of common
problems". These words were relevant then, and they are still relevant
What is required of us, Mr. President, is to strengthen the United Nations
rather than to weaken it. We owe that to ourselves and to future generations.
It is our collective efforts, which will guarantee peace, development and prosperity
for all humanity. In that noble undertaking, each one of us has an important
part to play. Tanzania reiterates her pledge to play her part.
I Thank You.