HIS EXCELLENCY DR. LEONARDO SANTOS SIMAO
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND COOPERATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF MOZAMBIQUE
57TH SESSION OF THE GENERAL SSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS
NEW YORK, 18 SEPTEMBER, 2002
I wish to join previous speakers in congratulating you on your election as the President of the-57th-Session-of the General Assembly of the United Nations. We are confident that with your experience, wisdom and proven skills, our deliberations will produce the desired successful outcome.
Let me also pay a well-deserved tribute to your predecessor His Excellency Mr. Han Seung-Soo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Commerce of the Republic of Korea, for the excellent manner in which he discharged his duties as President of the 5e Session of the General Assembly.
I would also wish to commend the Secretary General for his continued devotion to peace and development worldwide. During his recent visit to Mozambique, we had the opportunity to discuss the best ways of furthering the goals of the United Nations and to reinforce co-operation between Mozambique and United Nations. We remain committed to continue working closely with the Secretary-General.
The Government of Mozambique welcomes the Democratic Republic of East Timor and the Swiss Confederation as members of the United Nations. They will further strengthen our universal Organization.
Allow me to express our sympathy to the Peoples and Governments of several countries in the world that have been recently hit by severe floods. We in Mozambique and in Southern Africa understand the economic and social consequences of floods. Floods, drought and other natural calamities have become a frequent occurrence in the world and in Africa in particular. It is therefore our hope and expectation that we may be able to prepare ourselves to better deal with issues of natural disasters. Perhaps, it is high time we revisit the Yokohama Conference on Natural Disasters.
The September 11th attacks demonstrated to all of us the dangers of international
terrorism, which represents a serious threat to peace and security to every
nation, rich or poor. In this regard, it is our collective duty to fight effectively
this threat, under the UN leadership. To be successful in this endeavour we
need to clearly understand and address the root causes of terrorism, amongst
which we want to stress poverty and other injustices.
In addition to the Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001), we must give due recognition to regional agreements and declarations to combat and eliminate terrorism, such as the 1999 OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, and the SADC Declaration on Terrorism adopted by our Heads of State and Government in January this year, as valuable tools for strengthening co-operation and provide a platform for effective action to suppress terrorism.
Mozambique has already submitted its report on legislation and measures for prevention and combating terrorism, and is also in the final stages of the process of ratifying all 12 Conventions on terrorism.
However, for an effective implementation of these legal instruments, Mozambique needs support from the international community to strengthen its institutions, namely the police, the judiciary, the financial system and the Attorney General's office.
We have witnessed this year the holding of a number of major UN Conferences and Summits devoted to a wide range of socio-economic issues, namely the International Conference on Financing for Development, the World Food Summit, the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Special Session on Children. We have also registered the holding in Madrid, of an International Conference on HIV/AIDS, in which our leaders recognized that this pandemic is a global problem challenging our common sense and requiring a global responsibility and response.
The common feature of all these events has been the strong and unanimous agreement on the need to ensure the implementation of the agreed outcomes and commitments, in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Our leaders stressed that for this to happen, there is a need of unity of purpose, collective responsibility and political will.
We should, continuously and critically, assess the progress made in each area of commitment, with a view to materializing the aspirations and needs of our peoples. The future of the world is in our hands. We must not fail the expectations of our peoples. Time has now come for action. We must act decisively to honour the commitments made in the Millennium Declaration.
My government has been following with keen interest the latest developments in the Middle East. We urge both parties to return to the negotiating table to find a lasting peace in that region, that must include an independent Palestinian State living side by side with Israel and the solution of outstanding issues deemed important by both parties. Without a comprehensive and just solution to the question of Palestine, and without full respect for the legitimate interests of all the peoples in the region, the prospects of peace will remain elusive and distant.
The international community should encourage both Israelis and Palestinians to work hard for peace, drawing all strength and resolve they need to overcome obstacles along the way. Taking into account our own experience in Mozambique, we believe that peace is a real possibility in the Middle East, and the parties must seize the opportunity now.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Government of Iraq for the wise decision taken to allow the return of the UN inspectors. It is our hope that the resumption of the inspections will mark a new era of cooperation between Iraq and the UN, within the spirit and letter of the UN Charter and international law.
This session is taking place at a particular moment when we are witnessing important progress regarding the resolution of conflicts in Africa.
In Angola we have registered with satisfaction the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding between Government and UNITA, which marked the end of a protracted war. We salute this Memorandum of Understanding and believe that it opens a new era for the Angolan people: an era of hope and great expectations. We appeal to the international community to continue supporting the People and Government of Angola in
the consolidation of peace and stability, national reconstruction and consolidation of democracy, as well as in responding to the current humanitarian needs.
Sierra Leone is living in peace, after the successful implementation of the
peace process, and general and presidential elections. We hope that these positive
developments will lead to the improvement of the political environment in the
Mano River region as a whole.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the recent agreements between the DRC and Rwanda as well as the understanding between the DRC and Uganda have created the hope that the peace process will be irreversible. The attainment of peace in the DRC would undoubtedly contribute to bringing about the needed stability in the Great Lakes region, and pave the way for a rapid economic integration of Southern Africa. We believe that with good will there can be a solution to the concerns of all parties involved in this conflict.
In the Comoros and Lesotho, peace is now a reality. We salute the efforts made by the peoples of these countries to make Africa a continent of hope. We are happy to see Ethiopia and Eritrea working together and with the support of the UN to strengthen peace and good neighbourliness. The acceptance by both parties of the decision of the Boundary Commission was a major step forward.
My government is concerned with the lack progress in Western Sahara.. We wish to encourage the United Nations and the parties concerned to pursue further efforts, within the established framework, with a view to finding a lasting and internationally acceptable solution to this issue.
The African leaders established the New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD), as an instrument to address these problems. NEPAD is based on the principle of African ownership aiming at setting an agenda to renew the continent that captures national and regional priorities and development plans, through a participatory process and a new framework for interaction and partnership with the rest of the world.
The support already expressed by many partners of Africa is a signal that NEPAD is viable initiative. In this context, I would like to salute the encouraging results of the G8 Summit, recently held in Kananaskis, Canada, where the world most industrialized countries expressed their support to NEPAD. By the same vein, I salute the results of the General- Assembly Special Session on NEPAD, held here two days ago. These results widen our hope of a better future for Africa. Lets us work together to make it a reality.
In Mozambique, as part of efforts to fight poverty and implementation of the Millennium Declaration, the Government approved and is implementing a Plan of Action for the Eradication of Absolute Poverty (PARPA). The overall objective of PARPA is the substantial reduction of absolute poverty in Mozambique, through investment in education, health, agriculture and rural development, good governance and macroeconomic stability.
PARPA is partially financed by savings made through debt reduction from our creditors, bilateral and multilateral, under the HIPC initiative. We are thankful to all our partners for the debt reduction and cancellations we are receiving. Let us continue to work together up to the final solution.
This Session is held at a particular moment for the history of Mozambique, given the fact that on 4th October 2002, we will celebrate 10th Anniversary of the signing of the Rome Peace Agreement, which marked the end of a devastating war of destabilization. Ten years after this historic achievement, Mozambicans have kept peace and shown that they can live together in harmony. Given the historic significance of this date, we have declared it a national holiday: the Day of Peace and Reconciliation.
Mozambicans are today enjoying the dividends of peace, which was achieved with the invaluable contribution of the United Nations in what became a success story of peacekeeping operations.
To consolidate this hard won peace, we are implementing homegrown development plans, with a view to promoting the welfare of our people. We are also strengthening democracy, governance and the rule of law, and
currently, preparations are underway for the forthcoming municipal elections in 2003 and general and presidential elections in 2004.
In my address during the 56th Session of the General Assembly, I spoke of negative consequences of - floods, which affected-Mozambique in two consecutive years, 2000 and 2001. Today, I am pleased to inform that most of the flood victims have been re-settled and engaged in production activities. Mozambique's economy is gradually emerging from the scourge of floods. As a result of hard work of the Mozambican people and adequate international assistance, my country has achieved 13,9 % GDP growth last year and 12.1 % in the first six months of this year.
The report of the Secretary General on Assistance to Mozambique (doc. A/57/97), which I commend, provides further account of the state of the results the Mozambican people have made in the process of national reconstruction, economic and social rehabilitation after the floods of 2000 and 2001. The 2001 Human Development Report gives additional evidence of the progress occuring.
I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the Mozambican people and Government sincere gratitude to the international community for the valuable support to the flood victims. I am confident that Mozambique will continue to count with international community's support, in particular to mitigate the effects of drought that affects Mozambique and other countries of Southern and Eastern Africa, as well as in making the country more prepared to face natural calamities.
In conclusion, I would like to reaffirm my country's faith in the United Nations and its Charter, for they remain indispensable foundations for just, peaceful and more prosperous world. We believe that current reforms at the United Nations will reinforce its principle of providing better service to member states particularly those most in need. We are convinced that from the reform will emerge a stronger United Nations with a clear focus on developing countries and results-oriented actions.