DR. SURAKIART SATHIRATHAI
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THAILAND
AT THE FIFTY-SEVENTH
SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK, 17 SEPTEMBER 2002
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Government and the people of Thailand, I wish to extend
my heartfelt congratulations to Your Excellency Mr. Jan Kavan upon your
election to the Presidency of the Fifty-seventh Session of the United Nations
General Assembly. I am confident that, under your able leadership and guidance,
this session will build upon the momentum and efforts of previous endeavours
leading to a fruitful conclusion.
I also wish to commend your predecessor, His Excellency Dr. Han Seung-soo,
whose tireless efforts have guided us through this past eventful year.
We are pleased to welcome the Democratic Republic of East Timor to the United
Nations. Thailand is honoured to have actively participated under the UN
operations in East Timor from the very beginning. Thailand's role in East
Timor was unique in linking the peacekeeping mission to development and
I also wish to congratulate Switzerland as a new member to the family of
this world body. On her part, Switzerland is not at all a stranger due to
her long-standing support for the UN system. I am certain that the two new
members will further contribute to the universality and the work of the
One year on, as we hold ourselves in remembrance of the horrendous event
of 9/11 terrorist attacks, we share the grief and painful awareness of the
extent of this heinous crime on global security and stability. One year
on, we are still witnessing developments of conflicts, threats of terrorism
and challenges of how to deal with errant members of the international community.
Indeed, the post 9/11 world has to rely a lot more on the role of the multilateral
mechanism to promote peace, security and prosperity in the international
community. More than ever before, today's terrorism continues to be a threat
to human security and global economic stability.
As rightly put by the Secretary-General, this tragic incident and its repercussions
required a broad, sustained, and global response. Thailand fully endorses
his call for the international community to use multilateral institutions
effectively to respond to the global scourge of terrorism. In condemning
terrorism, Thailand, on the one hand, supports all United Nations actions
against terrorism. On the other hand, the Thai Government is determined
to push ahead with the steps needed in terms of domestic legislation and
regulations to enable Thailand to become Party to all international conventions
relating to terrorism. We are working closely with the Counter-Terrorism
Committee to implement UNSC resolution 1373. So far, there is yet no indication
whatsoever of traces of any terrorist capability in Thailand. We are making
sure that no terrorist activities or network can be harboured in our territory.
The ASEAN-US Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism
also demonstrates our common and regional resolve to fight terrorism.
Evidently, we cannot take peace for granted.
The uncontrolled spread of small arms and light weapons and the proliferation
of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction are growing threats to
world peace and security. The mandatory role of the United Nations to maintain
international peace and security must gain support from every member of
To prevent proliferation of these weapons of mass destruction and pave way
for their reduction and eventual elimination, the multilateral security
system must be effectively complied with. In this regard, we urge Iraq that
it has the responsibility to comply with the relevant Security Council resolutions
unconditionally and unreservedly. At the same time, we are
just as convinced that diplomatic efforts through the UN framework is the
most effective and desirable means to reach the best solution to prevent
the escalation of this crisis. Therefore, while we view as a positive development
the letter to the Secretary-General yesterday undertaking to allow UN inspectors
back to Iraq, we along with other nations expect it of Iraq that it will
live up to its solemn undertaking given to the world body to the full.
While effective multilateral mechanism is the key to the maintenance of
international peace and security, it is also the responsibility of each
and every member of the international community to bring about and uphold
peace. Equally, it is the responsibility of each and every state also to
ensure that once restored, that peace is to last.
In this regard, Thailand is honoured to host the peace negotiations between
the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or
LTTE held right at this very moment from 16-18 September. We hope to facilitate
the peace talks with a view to bringing a lasting solution to this longstanding
conflict and suffering.
As part of the reconstruction efforts for Afghanistan, Thailand has pledged
to share her experiences and knowledge in opium cultivation reduction through
crop substitution programme under the renowned Royal Sponsored Project of
His Majesty the King. In so doing, this is part of the global effort to
sustain peace in Afghanistan as the scourge of drugs is a menace to peace
The present Thai Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra is determined to see the Thai people enjoy the benefit of freedom
from fear, and freedom from want. Human security has therefore been placed
as one of this Government's important policies. Thailand believes that we
shall be one of the first few countries in the world to set up a Ministry
of Human Security for these specific purposes. This Ministry is due to be
inaugurated next month. Thailand is also proud to be one of the thirteen
members of the Human Security Network, whose work is well in progress.
The scourge of drugs is one issue that deprives our people of both freedom
from fear and freedom from want, while poverty remains a major threat to
human security. Since taking up office earlier last year, the present Thai
Government has waged war against drugs and war against poverty with resolute
determination to win them both. And we are not doing it alone. On drugs,
our partnership in tackling this global threat through bilateral, regional
and international cooperative frameworks, such as the United Nations Drugs
Control Programme (UNDCP) has been fruitful. At Thailand's initiation, the
quadrilateral cooperation on the prevention and suppression of the production
and trafficking of drugs between China, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand is advancing,
particularly in the combat against the spread of methamphetamine. The Leaders
of the four countries will meet at an appropriate time to give the much
needed political impetus at the highest level.
The issue of HIV/AIDS is another major transnational threat to human security.
Thailand has forged partnership with its neighbouring countries, particularly
the Greater Mekong Sub-region, as well as a partnership with related UN
agencies and with the Human Security Network members to tackle this global
epidemic. At the 15th International Conference on HIV/AIDS to be hosted
by Thailand in 2004, we hope to share our experiences in addressing the
multifaceted aspects of HIV/AIDS, namely prevention, treatment, care and
support as well as research and development.
Even if the war against poverty is Thailand's major priority, the eradication
of poverty is not any country's exclusive agenda. Rather, it is an agenda
for all mankind. The UN Millennium Development Goals have rightly placed
the interests and welfare of the people at the core of socioeconomic development.
Since then, several events under the UN framework have taken place to ensure
Our children must inherit the world, at least in no worse shape than what
it is today, if not better and more livable.
From Brussels to Doha and Monterrey to Johannesburg, the resolve and commitment
of the international community to advance towards the Millennium Development
Goals for sustainable development have been clearly mobilized.
The Monterrey Consensus has provided a road map for fostering more effective
partnership and greater policy coherence amongst governments, financial
and trade institutions. International trade and financial environment must
be developed to better serve sustainable development.
Greater market access for developing countries' exports forms part and parcel
of making the Doha Round a truly development round.
The G-8's decision to resist protectionist pressure is a positive step forward.
And equally important is the role of foreign direct investment which requires
re-channeling in order not only to meet the development goals of the host
country but also to promote investors' corporate accountability and social
The WSSD in Johannesburg was, indeed, a historic event. Thailand gladly
welcomes the adoption of the Political Declaration and the Plan of Implementation,
particularly its emphasis on poverty reduction which binds the three pillars
of sustainable development.
The WSSD has underscored a range of principles such as self help and common
but differentiated responsibilities to make sustainable development a reality
for mankind. Enhanced coordination and coherence amongst governments, international
organizations, and other stakeholders are crucial to provide the necessary
synergies in achieving our common goals.
The principle of partnership as enunciated at Monterrey and echoed at WSSD
is being implemented. Thailand is proud to be cited as one of concrete examples
to have succeeded in the coordination and partnership efforts in capacity-building.
As a result of UNCTAD Ten held in Thailand in 2000, the International Institute
for Trade and Development or ITD has been established in Bangkok. The ITD
is a Thailand-UNCTAD partnership to enhance the productive capacity and
trade negotiating skills of developing countries as they prepare for the
new round of global trade negotiation.
Capacity-building is crucial if developing countries are to participate
effectively to defend and advance their interests both in bilateral and
multilateral free trade arrangements, where increasingly, non tariff barriers
are often found in the guise of environmental measures. In this aspect,
the ITD can serve as a useful linkage between UNCTAD, WTO and UNEP for capacity-building
in trade negotiation. Thailand urges Member States to consider the best
use of this Thailand-UNCTAD institute.
As a world agenda, poverty eradication can never succeed unless there is
genuine efforts neighbourly, regionally and globally. The Mekong Sub-region
is another-example of self-help and partnership among developing countries.
The road for opportunities to advance economic integration in this Sub-region
is now taking shape. The commercial routes: the routes of economic opportunities
providing transportation linkages are undertaken with partnership of donor
countries and the Asian Development Bank. From east to west Viet Nam, Laos,
Thailand to Myanmar and India; from north to south: southern China, Myanmar,
Laos and Thailand, these road linkages are the new life-line for the future
prosperity of the region. They will bring about access to market, capital
and knowledge for sustainable development.
Based on the same principle of creating opportunities in the region for
economic progress, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra took an initiative
with the support and participation of 18 Asian nations to turn Asia's rich
diversity into collective strength by creating synergy from an Asia-wide
partnership, known as the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD). Incepted in June
this year, with its original members ranging west to northeast of the Asia
continent and with its core principles of positive thinking, the ACD is
envisaged as an evolving, informal, noninstitutionalized, open, inclusive
and incremental process.
The ACD's strength is to build upon multiple layers of strategic partnerships
in practical areas of cooperation such as SMEs development, tourism, transportation
linkages, agriculture, and poverty eradication. We hope that the ACD will
help enhance Asia's economic competitiveness, open up business opportunities
and make Asia a stronger partner for both our developed and developing partners.
After the success of its inaugural Ministerial Meeting in Cha-am, Thailand,
in June, Thailand will be the host once more to the ACD meeting next year
to move our cooperation forward.
International and regional partnership as well as commitments to sustainable
development are not enough. They must be reinforced by partnership and policies
at the national level. The goals and methods contained in the Johannesburg
Plan of Implementation are being pursued as part of our development strategy.
The present Thai Government is pursuing a development strategy of enhancing
international competitiveness and domestic productivity through mobilizing
both domestic and external sources of growth for balanced and sustainable
This balanced development strategy has been inspired by His Majesty the
King of Thailand's philosophy of "Sufficiency Economy". The main
principle of this approach to development is the adherence to a middle path
at the level of the individual, families, and communities. This involves
strengthening the grassroots economy to build its immunity against the adverse
impact of global volatility as well as to enhance its ability to benefit
from the multilateral trading system.
Thailand places people at the forefront of its development efforts. Their
livelihood must entail human development and community participation. This
Government is making progress in its programmes and measures at improving
the quality of life of the Thai people. They include provision of health
care for all, the three-year debt suspension for farmers, the establishment
of micro-credit facilities such as the People's Bank for small entrepreneurs,
and the launching of a village and urban revolving fund to provide financial
support for local initiatives. In enhancing human potential and innovation,
twelve years free education for all is guaranteed by our Constitution. This
goes along well with the recent recommendation by the G-8 Education Task
Force on education in developing countries.
As a result of lessons learned from the past history, the Charter of the
United Nations prescribes the multilateral structure of this institution
as the best means to maintain international peace and security as well as
to advance social and economic development and prosperity. It remains the
tasks and duties of both this institution and its Member States to continue
performing to achieve the Charter objectives. Peace, however, cannot be
enforced but must be cultivated through tolerance and respect for each other.
Prosperity, on the other hand, cannot be obtained without creating opportunities
from the diverse strengths of each other. Those tasks and duties, therefore,
are not merely the compliance of each Member State to the UN multilateral
mechanism but for each of us to forge cooperation and partnership at all
levels among all the stakeholders. On our part, Thailand remains firmly
committed towards achieving global peace and prosperity by working with
other States regionally and universally within the UN framework.
For, we have faith that ultimately through this multilateral institution
we shall sustain the world best fit for us and our children to live peacefully