Mr. President,

On behalf of the Indonesian Delegation, I am pleased to congratulate you on your election as President of the 57 t" Session of the General Assembly. We are sure that with your wise and skillful guidance, our deliberations will be fruitful.

Let me also take this opportunity to extend Indonesia's warm welcome and congratulations to the newest member of this world organization-Switzerland. We look forward to extending a similar welcome to East Timor when it joins our organization in the days ahead.

In November last year, on this same podium, I asserted that in order to wage an effective struggle against the multiple threats and challenges confronting humankind, we must imbue ourselves with the democratic spirit. Without that spirit, we can only fail.

In the relations and interactions among nations, the democratic spirit is given flesh through the practice of multilateral ism. When a group of nations adopts a set of goals and, each individual member is as responsible as any other for the achievement of these goals-that is multilateral ism. It entails respect for one another's sensitivities and point of view, and therefore requires consultations, the forging of consensus. For the worth of each nation, no matter how small or how poor, is equal to that of any other.

To my mind, the ultimate form of multilateral ism is a United Nations with a General Assembly already revitalized, with a Security Council that is truly representative of the UN membership, and a streamlined secretariat that is responsive to the needs and interests of all Member States.

Nowhere is the necessity for multilateralism more glaring than in our response to the scourge of our time: international terrorism. And nowhere else is the role of the United Nations more vital.

The l1 September terrorist attacks in this city and in Washington DC were not only a strike against the United States but were also an attack against all civilization and all human values. Therefore, the coalition that responded to these attacks had to represent all humanity-all nations, religions and cultures.

That is why the United Nations was actively involved in that response and must maintain a pivotal role in the response of the world community to the persistent threat of international terrorism. Otherwise, in the long run that endeavour will fail.

The same is true with our endeavours to advance the disarmament agenda-which is another imperative. For until the states concerned rid themselves of their arsenals of mass destruction-whether nuclear, biological or chemical-the danger remains that much if not all of the human race could be wiped out in a single holocaust.

In accordance with the multilateral principle of equality, states should no longer cling to the privileges derived from military superiority over others.

Multilateral affirmative action can also bring about peace where for many years there has only been violence and bloodshed. In the Middle East, the powers that wield great influence on the region are called upon to adopt a just and balanced approach to the issue of Palestine. They can, if they wish, persuade Israel to withdraw its forces from the occupied territories and to cease settlement activities in accordance with the relevant UN Security.-Council resolutions.

That will help pave the way for the realization of two states, Palestine and Israel, living side by side within secure internationally recognized borders. Only then will peace have a real chance.

Elsewhere, it is important to recall that the situation in Iraq has been an issue which has seized the Security Council for sometime. Hence, while over the past weeks we have witnessed an intensification of international focus on this issue, we must not lose sight of the fact that mechanisms already exist within the UN system to address the issue. In tackling the present challenge, Indonesia deems it necessary that peaceful efforts be fully exhausted and existing UN mechanisms be fully utilized, and if need be, strengthened.

Any unilateral use of force risks not only undermining the authority of United Nations, but would also carry the grave potential of destabilizing the immediate region, and indeed beyond, with its attendant humanitarian implications.

For its part, Iraq must fully comply with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. We are encouraged by the recent decision by the Government of Iraq to allow the return of UN inspectors. We trust that this will pave the way to a peaceful solution of the problem and preclude any attack against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq.

The situation in Iraq cannot be viewed in isolation. How we address this problem will have repercussions on the longer-standing issue of Palestine and the challenge of terrorism.

In Afghanistan, the United Nations has done commendable work in helping the Afghan parties manage the post-Taliban transition. The international community must now help the Afghan people at nation-building, rehabilitating the country's infrastructure and strengthening its newborn government.

In the long run, the war against terrorism can only be won if we emerge victorious in a more basic struggle-the one against poverty. The substantial eradication of poverty, in fact, is what the development goals of the Millennium Declaration all boil down to. As reported by the Secretary-General, the world community has made some progress in this endeavour, with East Asia recording the most significant gains.

We still have a long way to go, however, before we can meet the goal of cutting in half; between 1990 and 2015, the number of people living on less than a dollar a day.

If the Millennium goals will be met at all, a major factor will be the achievement of an international trade regime where unilateral practices and protectionism have given way to genuine multilateral ism. Hence, we trust that the forthcoming negotiations mandated by the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference at Doha last year will make possible the full integration of developing countries into the multilateral trading system.

Much also depends on whether the pledges made at the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterey could be fulfilled and then exceeded.

Earlier this month, the World Summit on Sustainable Development reached agreement on a global programme to reduce poverty and restore the integrity of our planet, including a blueprint for a switch to more efficient use of carbon fuels and renewable sources of energy.

Despite the lack' of a timetable, the fact remains that we have an actionoriented plan of implementation to be carried out by` 'a global- partnership of " governments, private business and civil society.

A factor that can work against our hopes is unilateralisttrend so apparent at the global level. In the face of that trend, it becomes even more necessary and desirable that regional organizations grow in strength and share some of the burden that is now borne by the United Nations. This role had been envisioned for them even when the world organization was still being established more than fifty-seven years ago.

In general, regional organizations strictly adhere to a regime of multilateral ism and at their level many global problems are so much more manageable.

It may therefore be highly advisable to find ways and means of further promoting the natural synergy between the United Nations and regional organizations.

A good example is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Indonesia is a founding member. For many years now, we' in ASEAN have been working with UN bodies to the considerable benefit of our peoples.

It is in this spirit that the we the ASEAN countries are sponsoring a resolution in the General Assembly on strengthening the working relationship between our regional organization and the United Nations system.

Long before the September 11 attacks, a region-wide programme to combat terrorism and other transnational crimes had been an integral part of our ASEAN functional cooperation. In the face of a surge of this global threat, ASEAN has set in motion a work plan to implement the 2001 ASEAN Declaration on Terrorism and Transnational Crime.

We believe, however, that it is the totality of ASEAN's work that will decisively overcome not only terrorism but also the basic problem of poverty in our region. Since it was founded in 1967, ASEAN has tirelessly promoted political, economic and social development cooperation among its members.

The result has been three decades of relative peace and unprecedented economic growth, interrupted only by the Asian financial crisis of 1997. To forestall the recurrence of such a devastating crisis, we have taken bold steps toward i`egional integration.

Through this approach, we hope to achieve our vision of an ASEAN that is at peace within itself and with others, an ASEAN that is technologically competitive with the rest of the world and, through sustainable development, has reached, for our part of the world, the Millennium development goals.

From the time of its inception, however, ASEAN has been much criticized for its preoccupation with consultations and consensus-building, which seem to delay action when swift action is needed. I am not troubled by this criticism because I regard it as an affirmation of ASEAN's adherence to the multilateral ethos.

Multilateralism gives ASEAN coherence, commitment and perseverance in the pursuit of its goals. That is why it has been an effective catalyst for the promotion of security and economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific.

At the national level, Indonesia has been similarly doubted: it is said that reform legislation has been lagging because of dithering and interminable debate. Moreover, in some international circles, Indonesia has been portrayed as less than fully enthusiastic in the global fight against terror on the basis of a mistaken perception that it is lenient with radical Muslim groups.

And yet, after all the necessary debates, we did take large strides toward further democratization. Our Parliament recently endorsed several amendments to our Constitution: the adoption of a system of direct popular election of the President and Vice President; the adoption of a bicameral system of legislature; and the abolition by 2004 of the 38 seats reserved for the military in the legislature.

A proposal for the adoption of the Shariah or Muslim law in our legal system did not obtain support. The proponents graciously and democratically accepted this reality and bowed to the decision of the people's representatives and to the force of public opinion. This reflects our common commitment to democracy:

We will adhere to the democratic process even in addressing serious threats to our national security, such as the separatist movements in the provinces of Aceh and Papua, and the disruptive communal strife in the provinces of Maluku and North Maluku.

On Aceh, we are prepared to resume negotiations with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), provided the Movement drop its separatist demand, cease resorting to terrorist tactics and accept the law on special autonomy as a final political solution to the problem. At the same time, we shall continue to provide protection to civilians from terrorist acts that disrupt public order and cause much suffering.

We have also applied special autonomy to the province of Papua, which guarantees protection of the cultural rights of the people, a just and equitable share of the resources for development, and redress of legitimate grievances.

In the provinces of Maluku and North Maluku, communal strife has greatly abated with the signing of two peace agreements between the factions and the holding of reconciliation dialogues. The main task now is to build goodwill among the communities and help thousands of internally displaced persons return home and start a new life.

In many of our endeavours at political, economic and social reform, we have been supported by United Nations organizations, funds and programmes. We are therefore deeply grateful to the UN Secretary-General for his' intention to enhance United Nations efforts to assist Indonesia in promoting good governance and in establishing a stable,-, dernocratic and prosperous society.

Thus at the national level, we have committed ourselves to the processes of dialogue, wide participation and accountability, which are all inherent in a democracy, just as we stand for multilateralism in international affairs. We are committed to promote and protect the individual rights of our citizens, just as we have always advocated that every nation, no matter how small or powerless, must have a voice in international affairs.

At the same time, however, we affirm that democracy is not merely the breaking of chains and the enjoyment of rights. Whoever would truly be free must bind himself to the duties and obligations that match and give meaning to his rights. Every individual has responsibilities to the community that nurtures him, just as every nation has responsibilities to the community of humankindincluding the responsibility to respect the views of all other members of that community. This is the fundamental meaning of multilateralism.

In the ultimate analysis, this is all we need to address the challenges of our time and make a more peaceful, more just and more prosperous world: that we all be sincerely responsible to one another, for one another and for the planet that is our only home in this life.

I thank you.