H.E MR. SEYOUM MESFIN
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
OF THE FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA
AT THE FIFTY-SEVENTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK 18 SEPTEMBER, 2002
I wish, first of all, to extend to you congratulations on your election
as President of the 57th Session of the UN General Assembly. I wish also
to take this opportunity to commend your predecessor for his invaluable
contribution to what was achieved by the 56th Session of the General Assembly.
Allow me also to express our appreciation to our Secretary-General, Mr.
Kofi Annan, for the effort he has been making to ensure that the United
Nations becomes a more effective instrument for tackling the
very many challenges faced by the international community.
Our continent, Africa, and its peoples, continue to face enormous and daunting
challenges. This is not new. This is something that has been going on for
the last few decades, with the general economic and social situation in
the continent deteriorating even further. The general trend has been an
ever-faster marginalization of Africa. The continent is yet to see the benefits
of globalization. Africa still awaits the creation of an enabling international
economic context for progress in its efforts to wage war against poverty.
This effort is unlikely to succeed without greater international co-operation.
Many in Africa, including my own country, Ethiopia, are unlikely to meet
the internationally agreed poverty-related targets and goals, including
those set by the United Nations Millennium Declaration, without greater
readiness on the part of the international community to contribute more
for Africa's fight against poverty.
The eradication of poverty is not only Africa's challenge, or only that
of the developing world. As was reiterated by the Johannesburg Summit on
Sustainable Development, poverty is the greatest global challenge facing
the world. The despair and hopelessness engendered by poverty does have
implications for the world in general; not only for the people of the South,
but for those of the North as well.
Many might have felt that the Johannesburg Summit failed to rise up to the
occasion and that its achievement was not commensurate with the gravity
of the challenges faced by the peoples of the world in a variety of areas,
most of all in areas most relevant for the eradication of poverty. But there
was one thing which was unambiguously evident at the Johannesburg Summit.
Those from both the North and the South had underlined with one voice that
the global apartheid we have is unsustainable. How can one implement this
vision? This is what continues to elude the international community. This
remains the case despite some progress that has been made, including at
The eradication of poverty in Africa, and in my own country, is not primarily
the responsibility of the international community. It is primarily our responsibility
to put our houses in order and to take the lead for rejuvenating Africa.
That is where in fact today there is a new development in Africa. Many in
Africa are prepared more than ever before to take charge of their destiny.
There is a new thinking in Africa today and a realistic resolve to ensure
the regeneration of the continent.
I am referring here, Mr. President, to the New Partnership for Africa's
Development (NEPAD). This is an Initiative by Africa which demonstrates
the readiness of the continent to take charge of its future. It is a concrete
commitment by Africa to take the necessary steps both in the economic and
political areas towards creating an enabling condition for economic and
social transformation. It is a realistic Initiative that specifies and underlines
the obligation of African countries in all areas relevant to the creation
of conducive conditions for economic and social development. Good governance
is such one vital obligation which the Initiative accords the necessary
importance. This is a major step for Africa whose significance should be
underlined. The commitment to democracy and good governance have major implications
for Africa not only for economic development but also for creating conditions
for nurturing peace and stability.
NEPAD, nonetheless, cannot succeed without the co-operation of Africa's
partners and the international community. And succeed it must, not only
because NEPAD's success is in the vital interest of Africa, but also because
it is in that of the world in general. The logic of globalization makes
it obvious that no part of the globe is immune from the negative influences
emanating from its other less fortunate parts. Realistically speaking, we
swim or sink together. It would be unwise to believe that the growing marginalization
and decay of Africa will have no significant adverse implications for the
stability and viability of the globalizing world. It is, Mr. President,
this common interest that we all have which is the basis for our mutual
obligation for the success of NEPAD. I must state here that we have been
encouraged by the preliminary response to NEPAD by many members of the international
community, including by the G-8 countries and by others. We are still hopeful
that even greater support and enthusiasm would be demonstrated by the international
community to ensure that NEPAD will be workable.
Ethiopia subscribes fully to the NEPAD framework. We are indeed at present
in the process of implementing the principles and ideas promoted by the
Initiative. We will continue to be committed to carrying out our obligations
for good governance, for creating enabling conditions for economic development
and for eradicating poverty.
All the efforts we make to ensure success in the fight against poverty is
bound to fail without peace and without durable stability. Here as well,
Africa, including our subregion, the Horn of Africa, requires the effective
support of the international community. What we need is enlightened support
which is transparent and targeted at ensuring durable peace and stability.
What we require is support which is not compromised by tactical considerations
which are shortsighted and likely to aggravate already existing problems.
Coddling unaccountable governments would not promote peace in the long run,
and would not bring about durable stability.
Ours is a region which has suffered so much, among other things, because
of strategic considerations which made propping up unaccountable and authoritarian
regimes, expedient. The result of all this has been disastrous for the region.
Peace and stability in the Horn of Africa, as is also true in all parts
of the world, is dependent, in a very critical manner, on the creation of
conditions for good governance. This is a value which ought to be universally
applied, including in our sub-region. Durable peace demands this. The welfare
of the people of our sub-region makes it imperative.
Ethiopia will leave no stone unturned for peace in our sub-region and in
Africa as a whole. The effort we have been making for peace in Somalia within
the framework of IGAD is being made in this spirit. It is also in this same
spirit that we shall continue to do our share for peace and national reconciliation
in the Sudan.
Most of all, we draw satisfaction over the fact that we have managed to
come out of a war which was imposed on us. We are determined on our part
to leave the crisis we had with Eritrea behind us. We remain committed to
the peace process until its final conclusion.
It has always been our conviction that it is in the vital interest of Ethiopia
to nurture peace in our sub-region. This is required by the war we have
to wage against poverty, which is the only real enemy we have. But the promotion
of the cause of peace in the Horn of Africa has not been that easy. Our
sub-region is one of the areas of the world which has for long been vulnerable
to terrorist activities. Ours has been an area which, including because
of the prevalence of poverty, has been taken advantage of, so recklessly.
My own country has been one of those that has suffered as a result. This
is a challenge that we still have to contend with, and still continue to
face. This first hand experience of ours put us in a position where we can
deeply share the anguish of the people of the United States over the September
11 terrorist attack which we have condemned vehemently. During this first
anniversary of that evil deed, we wish once again to express our solidarity
with the United States and its people.
It is our conviction that the fight against international terrorism requires
for its success the genuine co-operation and the solidarity of the entire
international community, no matter who might be the target. All those who
directly or indirectly support and encourage terrorism should be held accountable.
Resources made available to terrorist groups under whatever guise should
not be tolerated regardless of the area where this is taking place. In short,
what is required is zero tolerance for terrorism regardless of its intended
targets. It is not without reason that I am reiterating this point. For
us in Ethiopia, terrorism is not a theoretical threat. It is a practical
and immediate threat which we had to face in the pre-September 11 period
as well as subsequently, including most recently.
It is our earnest hope that the international community will do whatever
is necessary to eliminate this scourge and that better days will come when
we all will concentrate on addressing those challenges that trouble our
I would like to conclude by renewing Ethiopia's commitment to the United
Nations and to what it stands for. We wish to see the United Nations becoming
even a more effective universal organization and a more forceful and faithful
custodian of principles of international law. Our hope and dream is that
the United Nations will be an even more robust universal organization catering
for the legitimate interests of both big and small. We in Ethiopia will
continue to contribute our share to the greater nurturing of multilateralism
and to making the United Nations an effective custodian of those values.
I thank you