Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary General,
Distinguished Delegates,

1. At the outset, I wish to join other distinguished delegates to congratulate you, Mr. President, for being elected as the President of the 57th Session of the UN General Assembly. With your able leadership, we are fully confident that the work of this General Assembly will further advance the cause of international cooperation in the interest of humanity.

2. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the Swiss Confederation for becoming the 190th member of our World Organization. I am also very pleased to express our warm welcome to the Democratic Republic of East Timor which will very soon join this global organization.

3. I believe that we are living in a fast-changing- and fragile world today, a world of uncertainties and turbulences which has been seriously threatened by terrorism, the negative sides of globalization, the rising effects of global warming and the impact of drastic climatic change. The effects of these rising forces underline our common vulnerability and a sense of urgency for a more effective sustainable development in the world. Without a functional sustainable development in the world, the survival of humanity will be at stake. Therefore, I believe that the common challenge we face today is perhaps the lack of collective wisdom and political will to make our world a better place for all, including the future generations, living on this planet.

4. The recent World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg rightly discussed the fundamental issue confronting humanity: climate change, global sustainable development and poverty. The dramatic appeal made by many leaders of the world during this meeting must be highly regarded as an important message of the Summit to save the Earth from being further destroyed and also to reverse the global trends of widening development gaps, increasing poverty and environmental destruction. While key problems were discussed, the priority issues of poverty eradication and environmental preservation were at the center of the Earth Summit. On the environment, I believe that the entire humanity is now confronting serious global warming, all-time floods, and the increasing disastrous effects of the greenhouse gases. This is no longer just a scientific theory, but a living reality. For the first time this year, we have experienced mega-floods and serious droughts across continents, from Asia to Europe, from Africa to South America. This year's "floods of the century" have far-reaching destruction, costing billions of dollars. We must seek to reverse these negative trends forthe survival of humanity. In this regard, I think that we all should welcome and strongly support the bold message of the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

5. I also wish to recall the Millennium Declaration in 2000 which centered on fighting poverty, combating HIV/Aids, ensuring sustainable development, and forging a common partnership for development. Both the Earth and the Millennium Summits share the ultimate goal of securing the survival of humanity on the one hand and fighting poverty and environmental destruction, on the other. In the same vein, the UN Conference on "Financing Development" in Monterrey, Mexico, in March this year called for more assistance for the least developing countries (LDCs), which was a clear message to the developed nations. Without adequate resources, it would be difficult for the LDCs to move out of the vicious cycles of poverty and catch up with the current process of globalization. It is not a question of generosity, but it is a question of sharing the wealth of the world, in which we all are living, in the most equitable way.

Mr. President,

6. As the world continues to be shaped by the forces of globalization, we are witnessing the growing disparities and development gaps between the haves and have-hots. As a double-edged sword, globalization could either help propel the whole humanity to greater prosperity or further marginalize the poor throughout the world. I believe that reducing poverty could to some extent contribute to the fight against terrorism and effectively manage the growth of transnational issues, such as human trafficking and the prevalent HIV/Aids epidemic.

7. In this context, the Cambodian government under the leadership of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen has set the fight against poverty as a top priority for the government's strategy. In addition, human rights and democracy in Cambodia have been further strengthened. In February this year, Cambodia for the first time organized free and fair local elections as part of its decentralization policy and strengthening grassroots democracy. Moreover, Cambodia remains committed to contribute actively toward the realization of ASEAN integration, in order for ASEAN to move forward in a collective spirit and to play its constructive role in deepening East Asia cooperation as a whole. In this regard, the forthcoming Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and ASEAN Summits in Phnom Penh in early November this year will be an important occasion for the ASEAN Leaders to further promote ASEAN integration and build closer cooperation in East Asia.

8. On regional issues that concern the whole international community, I wish to raise the Middle East conflict first. I believe that the international community has to help find a viable solution which could bring about a lasting peace to the region. Violence is not a solution in whatever form. On the contrary, violence appeals more violence. The Palestinian people have an inalienable right to dispose its own state living in peace with Israel. I think that both sides must have the wisdom to understand that they are condemned to live side by side forever. Therefore, it is better for both sides to remain at peace with each other than to engage in war. Second, with regard to the Iraqi situation, Cambodia believes that the acceptance by Iraq for the return of the UN weapons inspectors is an important step which will certainly contribute to diffuse the situation in the region. Third, on the Kashmir problem, I believe that we need to avoid the escalation of this conflict. If not properly managed, the Kashmir conflict could seriously escalate and thus threaten regional peace and security, not only in South Asia but also in Southeast Asia. We must do what we can to ensure that the terrorists would not seize the opportunity of this conflict to further complicate the present situation.

9. On a more optimistic note, I believe that the recent positive developments in the Korean peninsula-especially the resumption of North-South dialogue and the historic visit of Japanese PM Koizumi to Pyongyang-are considered to be a significant milestone. The renewal of political dialogue between Seoul and Pyongyang and the landmark diplomatic breakthrough between Japan and North Korea are very much encouraging for the region. In this context, Cambodia strongly supports the resumption of North-South dialogue as a follow-up meeting to the Inter-Korea Summit in 2000, as well as the normalization of bilateral relations between Tokyo and Pyongyang, as a necessary step toward tension reduction, confidence building, and moving ahead with the normalization of the situation in the Korean peninsula.

Mr. President,

10. As far as the fight against terrorism is concerned, Cambodia has signed and is in the process of acceding to all conventions related to the combat against terrorism. ASEAN, for its part, has been forceful and decisive in coming up with a number of initiatives and measures. The ASEAN Leaders at their 7th Summit in Brunei in November 2001 adopted the "ASEAN Declaration on Joint Action to Counter Terrorism." In addition, there have been a number of agreements and specific action plans that ASEAN and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) have been put in place in order to tackle the threats of terrorism in this region. Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, on the other hand, signed an agreement on sharing information and intelligence to combat terrorism, in which Cambodia had acceded to it. In July this year, ASEAN and the United States signed an anti-terrorism declaration as a framework for more cooperation to prevent and combat global terrorism.

11. Now, I wish to share with you the issue reforming the United Nations, particularly the UN Security Council, which I believe that we should not just ignore it or take a status quo approach. I believe that the UN cannot continue to operate in the current modus operandi, if we wanted to further improve this important global institution in order to truly reflect the twenty-first century's needs and political realities of the world today, which should be amended as early as possible. Any attempt to further delay the UN reform, in my view, will only undermine the credibility of this universal institution. Accordingly, I wish to reiterate Cambodia's call for an expansion of the UN Security Council to include other new members. In this regard, Cambodia would support Japan, the Federal Republic of Germany and India as the new permanent members of the UN Security Council, taking into consideration of the increasing political and economic role of these countries in world affairs. Cambodia believes that the current members of the UN Security Council should be more willing to compromise and support such a call as the only way to effectively support the UN reform.

12. In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that peace, stability and poverty are all inter-related and affected all peoples and nations on this planet. In this respect, it is essential that we must continue to work together in a spirit of building a caring community of nations where the development gap between the developed and developing countries is reduced, where the threat of terrorism is totally eliminated, where the menace of HIV/AIDS pandemic is receded, where poverty is being alleviated, and where global warming is kept in check. This can only be made possible through building better cooperation and closer partnership; fostering more mutual respect; cultivating greater tolerance; and enhancing a greater spirit of a true United Nations for all. I strongly believe that we can do it through the collective will and strong determination, as well as with greater ethics and moral responsibility that would help us make a better world for all peoples in the twenty-first century.

Thank you very much.