H.E. Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Sudan
The Fifty Seventh Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (General Debate)
New York, 18 September 2002

Mr. President,
Assalamu Alaikum,

At the outset, I would like to express my sincere congratulations for your election to preside over the Fifty Seventh Session of the General Assembly. We are fully confident that your well known diplomatic experience will lead the deliberations of this important session to success and to the adoption of resolutions and recommendations commensurate with the current international challenges. I would like also to express my appreciations to your predecessor Mr. Han Sung Soo, for his tireless endeavors for the revitalization of the role of the General Assembly. I would also like to express the sincere congratulations of the Government and the people of the Sudan for the Government and the people of Switzerland for joining the United Nations. We are confident that Switzerland with its well known cultural heritage and its role in the human history, specially in the field of diplomacy and international relations, will contribute in enhancing the principles and objectives of the charter of our organization which is constantly faced with growing challenges. I would also like to seize this opportunity to congratulate in the name of the people and the Government of the Sudan the State of East Timor for joining the membership of the United Nations.

Mr. President,

One year has elapsed since the deplorable terrorist events of September 11th which terrified this city, headquarters of our Organization where our flags fly and where we meet every year to deliberate on peace, security and justice. The anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center is an occasion to strengthen the international solidarity to combat terrorism. It reaffirms our conviction that terrorism is a fluid enemy, that is not related to a specific religion or country. It is a challenge that should be faced with a collective international effort. The war on terrorism should be conducted through close national, regional and international cooperation and coordination in conformity with the principles of International Law and under the umbrella of the United Nations Organization. The Sudan, while reiterating its commitment, its participation and support to the international campaign against terrorism, would like to draw the attention of the international community to the feelings of anxiety raised in different places, about the derailment of 'the campaign from its path and objectives, anxiety about the exploitation of the campaign by the forces of extremism and advocates of confrontation among civilizations and cultures.

The situation in the Arab and Islamic world in general and the Middle East in particular reflects this anxiety. For this reason, and in the name of the Sudan the current Chairman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, we reiterate our denunciation of this derailment and urge that the international campaign against terrorism should be guided by the rules of International Law.

The report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization presented to this session has reflected more than once the desire of the countries of the world to strengthen their co-operation to eradicate poverty, to eliminate the debt burden and to resolve conflicts. By this, we hope to create a world of justice, equality, a world free of grievances, injustice, hatred, bigotry, double standards and politicization which runs contrary to the noble objectives of human rights. Sudan would like to reiterate its conviction that the United Nations remains the appropriate mechanism to achieve International cooperation. In this connection Sudan reaffirms its readiness to cooperate fully with UN organs. Based on this conviction Sudan calls for the revitalization of all the organs of the United Nations and urges that top priority be given to the Security Council and the General Assembly in this regard.

Sudan's relations with the United Nations have witnessed great progress during this year, this progress has been crowned by the important visit of H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General, to Khartoum. The visit availed a good opportunity for him to see the positive developments in all aspects in the Country. The visit has strengthened the existing prospects of cooperation between the Sudan and the International Organization. This year has also witnessed the visits of the Director Generals of the IAEA, UNIDO, OPCW and the Director General of the WIPO to the. Sudan. The Sudan is maintaining good channels with the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies through close coordination and cooperation, in light of the fundamentals of its foreign policy characterized by the principle of overture at the regional and international levels, and in consistence with its firm commitment to the active presence and participation in all activities aiming at realizing the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

Mr. President,

The Charter of our Organization calls for the peaceful resolution of conflicts and emphasizes the role of the Regional Organizations in this regard. The Sudan is currently presiding over two regional organizations, IGAD and the OIC. In some countries of these two organizations there are conflicts, which occupy much of the thinking of the world today. The IGAD is endeavoring to resolve the conflicts in Somalia and the Sudan. In the OIC the membership of which include Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine, Bosnia Herzegovina among 57 countries representing one third of 'the membership of the General Assembly we are sparing no effort to find solutions for serious conflicts at the country and regional levels. Without resolving the root causes of the Arab-Israeli conflict through:

- ending the occupation,
- Implementing the resolutions of the international legality,
- Recuperation of the legal rights of the Palestinian people including its right for the establishment of its independent state with its capital Al-Quds Alsharif, Peace, Security and stability will not be achieved in this sensitive volatile region of the world.

Mr. President,

We would like to reiterate the importance of the political settlement between Iraq and the United Nations. In this regard we commend the brave decision of the Iraqi leadership allowing the return of the UN inspectors with hope that this will lead to the lifting of sanctions imposed on Iraq and the consolidation of its security, sovereignty and its territorial integrity to enable it to regain its active role regionally and internationally.

Mr. President,

The birth of the African Union last year represents a great African event, which renewed the aspirations and hopes of the continent.for the total liberation from conflicts, poverty and underdevelopment to achieve solidarity, unity, security and comprehensive sustainable development in its countries. We look forward to work closely with the International Organization, through the mechanisms established like the African Council for Peace and Security, effective bilateral cooperation between its countries and through effective regional cooperation with economic groupings and partnerships in order to advance our continent. In this connection, the New Partnership for the development of Africa has emerged as a testimony for the ability of the continent for the initiation and coordination between its countries. It reflects also the desire and seriousness of the continent for cooperation through this initiative which has clearly outlined the socioeconomic priorities. The different regions of the continent have also defined their priorities in the different fields of infrastructure, energy, environment, communications, education, health and primary care. I call upon the international community to support Africa through this new partnership.

I also call on Africa to speak with one voice regarding the follow-up and implementation of this initiative through the mechanisms of the African Union.

Mr. President,

We have All followed closely the proceedings of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which took place in South Africa last July and the plan of action agreed upon in order to achieve the objectives of the Earth Summit. In this regard, I have the honour to inform this august forum that the Sudan has taken many steps during the last decade to implement the decisions of the earth summit, especially Agenda 21 on the achievement of the economic, environmental and social aspects of sustainable development. To achieve these objectives, the Sudan established a ministry for environment and a higher Council for environment and natural resources. It has also signed and ratified the International environmental conventions. The environmental dimensions have also been included and reflected in the comprehensive national strategy and the constitution of' the country. Consequently the Sudan has adopted an ambitious program, for combating poverty in its sustainable development strategy. We call upon the international community specially the developed countries to contribute generously in the implementation of Johannesburg plan of action.

Mr. President,

Speaking about the developments in my country I have the honour to share with you the latest endeavors towards resolving the conflict in Southern Sudan. In this connection, I would like to remind this august forum that the Government of my country has always considered the issue of peace and ending the war in the Southern part of the country as a priority and strategic objective. This is stemmed from its conviction that national peace leads to regional peace which in its turn leads to international peace which we all aspire for. My Country has spared no effort to find a solution for the root causes of the conflict, and in this regard the Government has organized national conferences and meetings of dialogue, and has also responded positively to the various regional and international efforts aiming at ending the conflict. Against this background, under the auspices of IGAD initiative led by Kenya and the efforts of friends, the Government and the Rebel Movement have signed on the 20th of July this year in Mashakos in Kenya, an agreement called Mashakos framework. That agreement was widely welcomed inside and outside the Sudan, but soon the rebel movement has spoiled that positive progress through the escalation of its military activities and its insitance to reopen issues agreed upon during the first round of talks. This regrettable development forced the government to suspend the negotiations so as to be able to stop and abort the military agenda which the rebel movement insists upon.

My Government believes that it is meaningless to continue the military activities after the signing of the Peace protocol. My Government will bear its full responsibility to protect its territorial integrity and its national security and to find solutions for the dire humanitarian situation of its citizens affected by the military activities of the rebels ..as well as its responsibility to secure peace and stability for all the citizens.

As I am recounting the important political and constitutional developments in my country, let me stress on my Government's policy to further consolidate democracy and the situation of human rights in Sudan, in particular the positive developments in the fields of political freedoms and freedom of the press. This course of action opened the door wide for the participation of all our citizens. Many political opponents, encouraged by these positive developments, returned to the country and joined the march .for peace, stability and development.

While reaffirming its commitment to promote the situation of human rights, in a manner that suits the aspirations of its people and its cultural and moral heritage, the Sudan would expect the international community to understand the impact of the armed conflict in Southern Sudan on the situation of human rights in the country.

Mr. President,

Sudan's Foreign policy has always been guided by a clear vision based on very well defined principles namely openness towards the others, effective participation in all international and regional forums and constructive dialogue based on objectivity and transparency. Inspired by those principled positions, Sudan looks forward to playing its role as an instrumental country on issues of regional cooperation in Africa and among its neighbors. Sudan is well placed to play such a role because of its unique geopolitical situation and its human and natural resources. Thanks to this policy, Sudan's relations with its African neighbors witness successful economic cooperation, exchange of trade and even strategic partnerships. The same applies to Sudan's interaction with Arab and Islamic countries. This policy of overture has positively contributed to the improvement of relations with the members of the European Union through the renewed dialogue which has been going on for the last four years... This constructive dialogue proved to be very useful in clarifying perceptions and restoring confidence with the European Countries. Based on the same principles, and along the same lines Sudan embarked on a dialogue with the United State of America - a dialogue that's three years old now- which resulted in a positive development that shifted the bilateral relations between the two countries from tension to the current situation where the United States is fully involved in the efforts aimed at reaching a peaceful settlement in the Sudan. Fully cognizant of its of political and economic weight as well as its role in all regional and international issues, we are very keen to further enhance and promote balanced relations with the United States of America. Armed with faith in our just position vis-a-vis all the pending issues between the two countries, we remain confident that our relations with the US will progress in the near future and will be characterized by cooperation as long as the both sides continue to adhere to dialogue and not confrontation. We are also confident that in-depth dialogue will lead us to consolidate the confidence between the two countries in a manner that will help avoiding bitterness of the past. The unfortunate case of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical Plant, which was falsely alleged to produce chemical weapons, bear witness to the significance of such confidence-building process.

Mr. President,

The end of the twentieth century witnessed so many wars and conflicts that preoccupied the international community. The negative impacts of globalization continue to widen the gap between the North and the South. Though a considerable progress has been achieved in the international cooperation, due to the qualitative shift at the level of' the United Nations, and due to the commendable role of its Secretary General Mr. Kofft Annan, yet some issues and challenges continue to preoccupy the conscience of the international community. That is why the reform process of 'the UN remains imperative specially its Security Council which should become more transparent and democratic in order to meet the hopes and aspirations of the entire membership of the organization.

Thank you Mr. President.