HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCE MOHAMED BOLKIAH
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
57TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK, 19TH SEPTEMBER 2002
Thank you, Mr. President,
My congratulations to you and the people of the Czech Republic on your election. I offer my very best wishes in all your work during the coming session.
I would also like to thank my colleague His Excellency Han Seung-soo from our regional neighbors in the Republic of Korea for his leadership of the General Assembly over the past year.
As well as this, may I congratulate the government and people of the Swiss Confederation on their decision to join the United Nations. They have long given most distinguished support to the institutions of world peace and it will be good to work with them here.
At the same time, I would like to welcome the coming membership of our neighbors in the Democratic Republic of East Timor. In doing so I would like thank all the members of the United Nations Transitional Authority. We are very grateful for their fine work in East Timor.
I assure you that we will be doing our best to consolidate these United Nations efforts for peace in our region.
It has been a pleasure working with President Gusmao and his new government and, as they plan their future development, we look forward to continuing this work, not only bilaterally but also through the long-standing process of consultation and cooperation we have established within our regional association.
I mention this aspect of our regional work for a specific reason. It is the main point I wish to make in my statement at this time.
The process I refer to has been at the heart of ASEAN's work since it’s founding well over thirty years ago.
It is not confined to our neighbors in South East Asia. It also involves dialogue partners from all over the world as well as all the permanent members of the Security Council.
It now covers the whole spectrum of cooperation: political, economic, functional, and, since the end of the cold war, all aspects of security cooperation.
In other words, it is a comprehensive approach to modern regional and international affairs. It comprises many layers of cooperation, all bound together by the United Nations.
An enormous amount of work has gone into it. That is why we place equally enormous value on it. We believe it offers a secure way forward for every citizen we represent.
I make this point, Mr. President, for reasons that deeply concern every one
of our colleagues here.
In the last year we have been made brutally aware of one terrible fact. The whole process is now threatened. The opportunities it presents to our people are profoundly at risk.
Like our fellow members in this Organization, we have had to accept a grim reality. There is a dark side to the international life we share, to globalization, to development, -to progress, to knowledge and even to the beliefs we cherish, whether they be religious, political, or social.
We have been taken to this dark side. It is a pitiless, bleak and miserable landscape. There is no path through it along which nation states can proceed. It is in every sense a terrifying vision.
In South East Asia we have responded to it as such. We have deeply mourned the innocent victims of terrorism in America, Africa, Europe and Asia. We have condemned all who took those lives.
We are, however, trying to move beyond condemnation. We have taken many immediate and practical short term measures. We have committed ourselves to long-term action.
We have had to do this for, without security and stability, we cannot implement the far-reaching program of development we have set ourselves. So, in no way can we permit those who engage in any form of terrorism to succeed.
By these, I mean any who try to drag our affairs across to their dark side: not just extremists no matter what cause they claim to represent; but also those who seek to corrupt international systems of trade, commerce, and banking; or who willfully destroy our environment; or who trade in human misery. They stand in the way of the deepest interests of the people whom we represent here.
For those people, the United Nations is the direct opposite of the dark vision of the terrorist.
They see it offering a totally different side to world affairs, one that rejoices in the diversity of peoples, cultures and beliefs; one that at all times seeks the consensus that comes out of dialogue and negotiation; and one where there is informed direction given to the great changes that are sweeping through all societies.
In other words, the bright side of international affairs lit by a beacon of hope.
That is how we see this organization, Mr. President.
We want our regional efforts to help fuel this beacon. We want them to complement the work of the United Nations.
So, put simply, we see only one permanent agenda item here.
How can the world body give hope and purpose to the lives of every family in every community in each of its one hundred and ninety member nations?
This is why we strongly support the efforts being made by the Secretary-General
to express our purpose in this way, not in the language of confrontation that
was heard throughout the last century nor in the appalling vocabulary of terrorism
but in the human terms offered at the millennium summit.
In short, an end to historical injustices, especially those that our brothers in Palestine continue to suffer, and a determined effort. to help communities earn a good living in a responsible manner.
These were the basic hopes I believe we all had here at the turn of the century. We do not wish to see it set aside. So we appeal to all our-fellow members to make sure they are not forgotten.
We urge everyone to use the mechanisms we have here to strengthen cooperation.
Whenever there are grave threats to international peace, we are confident that the members of the Security Council will guide us well.
We acknowledge the vital role they have in ensuring that international principles are upheld by every member. In this, they have our full support and we will contribute to their work in whatever way we can.
But the Council is still only one part of United Nations work. It has many other tasks: above all, the peaceful work that binds all our layers of cooperation together.
We do not wish to see this organization's attention directed solely towards the dark side of international life.
Building a secure framework for international cooperation involves a long process. It is one that has to be consistent, total and comprehensive. Like any process, it has to be constantly refined. We accept this.
We hope, however, that the events of the past year do not mean that it has to be abandoned and redesigned.
In saying this, Mr. President, I believe we share the deepest hopes of all developing nations.