Mr. President,

1. Allow me to express, on behalf of the people and the Government of El Salvador, our most sincere congratulations on your election to conduct the work on this Session of the General Assembly.

2. Likewise, we would like to express our recognition to His Excellency, Dr. Han Seung-Soo, for the successful work carried out during the past session. We recognize Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan, for successfully carrying out his duties in the prevention and solution of conflicts and encourage him to continue moving forward in the reform process of the United Nations.

3. We express our welcome to this important world forum, in their new capacity of Member States to the Swiss Confederation and to the Democratic Republic of East Timor. In this sense, we hope that in the near future, the participation of all the nations of the world, without exclusions, as is now the case with Taiwan, becomes a reality in this global Organization.

4. The Government of El Salvador is convinced that in the context of the discussions about the composition and the role of the Security Council in the new millennium, it is necessary to examine new and visionary initiatives that allow the existing obstacles, to be removed so that the United Nations continues to be the main forum of collective action facing the challenges of international peace and security.

5. We have commemorated this year the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Peace Accords, which put an end to, armed conflict and paved the way to a new reality of hope, peace, democracy and development. Our democratic process has been progressively consolidated and moves forward normally in the scheme of open-ended debates and deliberations that characterize all democracies. This has been a result of the firm desire of all Salvadorians to construct a free and democratic society and all Member States must feel proud and committed, for the successful role played by the United Nations.

6. In the economic and social fields we have achieved important progresses towards strengthening peace and democracy. The Government of President Francisco Flores has vehemently promoted economic liberty as a means to advance towards development, taking advantage of the opportunities globalization offers. We have also favored human development investing primarily in education, health, housing and basic services as indispensable elements that contribute to social well-being, improvement in the quality of life of our people and to development.

7. Ten years since the signing of the peace accords, El Salvador has successfully culminated its pacification process and is now enjoying the benefits peace brings. Consequently, we are grateful for the valuable support received from the International Community and from the United Nations and particularly from the Secretary General's group of friends for the peace process of El Salvador: Colombia, Spain, Mexico, Venezuela and the United States of America, for the support granted during the unfolding of such process; and whose successful outcome continues to serve the efforts of conflict resolution throughout the world.

Mr. President,

8. As far as Central America is concerned, I must reaffirm El Salvador's unequivocal spirit of integration, assigning utmost priority to our relations with neighboring countries, searching for the joint development of the region, and the consolidation of the Central American integration process in its political, economic and social facets, since only as a stable and united region, can we complement one another to strengthen our position in the world economic environment and jointly face the challenges globalization brings.

9. It is only through integration that we can surpass our narrow territorial limitations, and effectively respond to the fair demands of our citizens in education, health and future opportunities. And only integrated and opened to the world will we cease to appear small against the great challenge of effectively creating more and better jobs so that all our people can freely create a worthy future in their own homeland.

10. It is in this context, that the Central American Presidents have agreed on an Economic Integration Plan of Action, effective immediately, which includes the conclusion this coming year, of a Customs Union. Likewise, we will continue to work on the adoption of common duty tariffs, the facilitation of commerce and the free circulation of all products, among other actions.

11. Also in this context, we are jointly negotiating Free Trade Agreements with Canada and United States, having accomplished positive results in the Central American Agreements now in effect with Mexico, Dominican Republic, Chile and Panama.

12. We are also working in the execution and promotion of the Puebla - Panama Plan, by implementing eight large Mesoamerican integration projects. The PPP (Puebla Panama Plan) pretends to take utmost advantage of the Central American potential and the South and Southeast region of Mexico, as a natural corridor between two oceans that unites North and South America.

13. We have responsibly assumed the historical challenge to address in the pertinent bodies, the border controversies that our Central American generation has inherited. In this sense, El Salvador has done its share and, convinced that the strict compliance of international law is the foundation for the harmony that must prevail between neighboring countries, we have recently reached an agreement, at Presidential level, with the Republic of Honduras, to accelerate the demarcation of our land borders. Furthermore, we have appeared before the International Court of Justice, to make use of the right to request a revision of the 1992 judgement in the border case presented jointly by both countries, but only in regard to one of the six areas in dispute.

14. It is with these actions that El Salvador and Central America are clearing the way towards the realization of our common integration projects. Our vision after all, is that the borders that we now define within the law, in practice they are erased by harmony, mutual respect and regional development.

Mr. President,

15. In the international field, and when we have just commemorated the first year of the terrorist acts perpetrated in the United States, the Government of El Salvador wishes to reiterate its willingness and firm commitment in favor of the worldwide fight against terrorism and all related criminal activities. We conceive this global effort as a joint and individual endeavour of Member States, and consequently, this effort is associated with the deepest respect to the principles established in the Charter of the United Nations, in international law and in international humanitarian rights.

16. In this sense, the Government of El Salvador wishes to recognize the efforts that the Counter Terrorism Committee realizes, established in virtue of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001), and reiterates its utmost disposition to cooperate in the unequivocal application of said resolution.

17. Likewise, we would like to inform the international community that El Salvador will host the Third Session of the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism, that will be held in San Salvador during the first trimester of 2003, where we hope relevant decisions will be adopted to strengthen even more, the hemispheric fight against this scourge.

18. El Salvador recognizes the advancements and achievements reached with the entry into force of the Statute of the International Criminal Court. In this respect, my Government is carrying out the necessary analysis in order to ensure consistency between our constitutional rules and those of the Statute and enable us to initiate the process of becoming members.

19. Likewise, I am pleased to inform that last week El Salvador has ratified the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families and also the Original Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Mr. President,

20. The Secretary General of the United Nations states, in his report on the Implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration: "we confront a world divided between rich and poor as never before in human history". In his report, the crude reality reflected is that one sixth of all humanity, struggles everyday between life and death, in the light against sickness, hunger, and natural and human catastrophes. Meanwhile another sixth part of humanity have accomplished levels of well-being that could not even be conceived of, a few decades ago, and between both extremes we find four thousand million inhabitants of developing countries that, if we are not living in the border of disaster, we are very far from achieving the security, the capacity and the material well-being which the population enjoys in the developed world.

21. The Government of El Salvador, as a developing country, is following the path laid out in Monterrey, and embraces the confidence that the offers of financing from the different countries in the Conference will become effective. We are also actively participating in the preparatory work of the Information Society Summit, convinced of the benefits that connectivity and knowledge will bring towards the future development of free society.

22. In this sense, El Salvador shares the vision that international cooperation with countries of medium development must not be exclusively limited to technical cooperation, but also include financial cooperation. Borders or statistics must not circumscribe the fight against poverty where national averages greatly differ from a true reflection of the realities faced in different places. Our renewed democracies need groundwork, fortification and to become sustainable in a way that everybody has access to a better quality of life.

Mr. President,

23. All our effort of many years, could be destroyed by another of the mayor challenges we face: natural disasters their desolating effects, are concentrated not only in regions that are traditionally vulnerable, but in other regions that were not so affected before by natural phenomenon's, like recently has been the case of many European countries. In this regard, the people and the Government of El Salvador wish to reiterate its solidarity to the Governments of the affected countries and those families and individuals that have suffered as a consequence of the devastating floods.

24. The Government of El Salvador hopes that the international community positively applies the agreements reached in the five fundamental areas examined in the World Summit on Sustainable Development, that recently took place in Johannesburgo, South Africa, being: water and sanitation, energy, health, agriculture and biological diversity; all of them of crucial importance for the environmental future, and of particular importance in developing countries.

Mr. President,

25. Allow me to conclude by reiterating the firm compromise and political will of the Government of El Salvador to actively contribute in search of collective and individual solutions to the problems that we will examine during this session of the General Assembly; as well as reiterating our vote of confidence in the work that the Secretary General of the United Nations realizes in favor of the nations that conform our Organization, based on the purposes and principles established in the Charter of the United Nations, which continue to be fully in force, in this new millennium.

Thank you.