ETHIOPIA

STATEMENT BY
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

Mr. President,

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.

Mr. President,

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 Monterrey.

Mr. President,

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.

Mr. President,

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.

Mr. President,

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.

Mr. President,

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.

Mr. President,

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 planet.

Mr. President,

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