Mr. President,
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 poverty eradication.

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 United Nations.

Mr. President,

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.

Mr. President,

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 the community.

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 and stability.

Mr. President,

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.

Mr. President,

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 sustainable development.

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 responsibility.

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.

Mr. President,

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.

Mr. President,

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 development.

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.

Mr. President,

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 and harmoniously.

Thank you.