MYANMAR

STATEMENT
BY
HIS EXCELLENCY U WIN AUNG
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND CHAIRMAN OF THE DELEGATION
AT THE 57TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS
NEW YORK, 19 SEPTEMBER 2002

Mr. President,

At the outset I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your assumption of the presidency of the fifty-seventh session of the General Assembly. I am confident that your diplomatic skills and expertise will bring us to a successful outcome.

I would also like to express our gratitude and appreciation to your predecessor, His Excellency Dr. Han Seung-Soo, for his leadership and valuable contribution during the previous session.

May I also take this occasion to warmly welcome Switzerland and East Timor as new members of the United Nations. I am confident that the work of the organization will be enriched by the addition of the two new members. Increasing membership of the United Nations truly reflects the fact that States are placing greater trust in the relevancy and the work of the Organisation.

Mr. President,

We live in challenging and dangerous times. Conflicts in various regions threaten global peace and security. The danger posed by terrorism has become a global phenomenon. Millions of people the world over remain mired in the vicious circle of ignorance, poverty and disease. The United Nations plays an indispensable role in our collective endeavour to overcome these daunting challenges.

Mr. President,

The Charter of the United Nations provides us with the bedrock principles for maintaining peace and security. These principles - sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-threat or use of force - contribute to multilateralism and have deterred global conflagration for nearly six decades. These principles must remain inviolate, if we are to meet the daunting challenges that confront us. It is only through multilateral action that we can hope to overcome these challenges. Myanmar strongly believes in the United Nations and the multilateralism it represents as the best guarantee for global peace and security. We therefore share the view of the Secretary-General when he said, "All States have a clear interest, as well as a clear responsibility, to uphold international law and maintain international order."

Mr. President,

Terrorism poses a common threat to mankind. It is only through our collective endeavour that we can hope to overcome this menace. Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001), we have taken necessary actions to combat terrorism. Myanmar is also among the first countries to report on its actions against terrorism to the Counter-Terrorism Committee. It promulgated an Anti Money Laundering Law in June with firm provisions to help suppress terrorism. Myanmar has submitted a second report together with relevant documents to the Committee reflecting the legislative and executive measures that we have taken to give effect to the resolution. Here I wish to reiterate that Myanmar is against terrorism in all forms and manifestations and that it will extend full cooperation to the international community to fight against this menace.

Mr. President,

It is in our power to make the world a better place - a world of peace - a world of prosperity - a world free from conflict. To do so we must do away with hatred. We face numerous challenges today. We must work together in a cooperative spirit to overcome the dangers and challenges that confront us - be they imposed by nature or induced by man.

Throughout the ages the world had experienced many natural catastrophes and calamities including those that resulted in extinction of dominant species. But the greatest danger we face today is not from nature but one caused by man.

It is therefore not only pertinent but also vital to recall that the teachings of Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohamed all emphasize love and compassion as the guiding light to bring hope to all mankind. If we want a better future for mankind we must take to our hearts the teachings of these great religions. We should let love and compassion guide us. Only in so doing can we overcome our evil instincts such as hatred, anger and the desire for revenge. We must all do away with animosity, jealousy, excessive pride and self-centered behaviour.

Mr. President,

Many tragedies today, including the tragic events of September 11, have their roots in hatred, animosity and violence. It is those negative forces that we must address and overcome. Violence cannot be overcome with greater violence. It will only drive the world towards a vicious circle of increasing conflagrations and calamities. Only the rain of love and compassion can put out the raging fire of hatred and violence. It is not in hatred but in love and compassion that our future lies. It is through the peaceful settlement of disputes that we can find greater security for us all.

The United Nations and the principles it enshrines is best placed to guide us to this path. The United Nations is the light that can guide us to the path of love, tolerance, compassion and care. The United Nations was born out of our desire to live together in peace with one another as good citizens of the earth. It should not be used as a vehicle for inciting hatred.

Mr. President,

We live in an age of unprecedented prosperity. But this prosperity is not shared by all. While some nations enjoy highest standards of living, the majority remains in poverty. These countries, either because of resource constraints, lack of capital and technology or because of conflicts cannot hope to attain development without international cooperation. Because of their innate weakness and an unfavourable international economic environment, unassisted, they will remain forever mired in poverty. Poverty breeds discontent and despair - ingredients that could lead to a vicious circle of conflicts and violence.

Mr. President,

In Myanmar, which had been subjected to untold sufferings from insurgencies for over four decades, we are now actively promoting an end to conflict and bloodshed. We are also striving to eradicate poverty. We are building a modern and developed nation where peace, prosperity, justice and democracy flourish. It is a process that has achieved significant progress. It is our fervent hope that our endeavours towards this end will be helped, not hindered. It is our hope that our efforts to attain national unity and our efforts at nation building will be met with understanding and encouragement.

Mr. President,

Because of historical legacies, we still find ourselves having to address the issue of national unity. We are building a nation where all our 135 national races can regard one another as brothers - a nation where there is equality and justice - a nation that will bring prosperity to all. These are the ideals that motivate us. These are the goals that we are determined to achieve.

It is the goal of our government to bring to reality the aspirations of the people of Myanmar for a multi-party democratic political system. To this end, we are laying firm foundations so that this democratic system will have the strength to withstand any challenges that emerge.

We are firmly convinced that only through these strong foundations can we ensure a bright future for our nation. This is a conviction born of our bitter experiences - experiences of (14) years under parliamentary democracy and (26) years of socialism.

In this nation building process we place special importance on poverty eradication, particularly in rural and far flung areas. In the border areas where most of our ethnic nationalities reside, we are implementing a programme of all round development. We have established (24) development zones towards this end. May I reiterate that relentless efforts for the nation building process are motivated by our desire to bring prosperity to all our national brethren. We are laying the groundwork so that successive governments, which will emerge under the new constitution, will not have difficulty in overcoming future challenges. It is a task that we are endeavouring with might and main. Understanding, cooperation and encouragement by the international community will hasten this process towards achieving our cherished goal. Ostracizing and exerting political pressures will surely not help but rather hinder the path to our cherished goal of democracy. However numerous the obstacles are, whether we are helped or hindered, we remain resolute in our determination. For the goal we seek is in fulfillment of the aspirations of our people. It is our noble destiny.

Mr. President,

Cooperation with the United Nations is the cornerstone of Myanmar's Foreign Policy. Let me take this opportunity to apprise this Assembly of the continued cooperation that Myanmar has extended to the United Nations. We have received Mr. Razali Ismail, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, for the eighth time, in July 2002. We extended all possible cooperation for the accomplishment of this mission. Likewise, Professor Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights was accorded full and unhindered cooperation during his visits to Myanmar.

Mr. President,

I would also like to share with you the headway we have made in combating the scourge of narcotic drugs. The elimination of narcotic drugs was designated a national duty in 1988 and since then efforts have been redoubled to meet that challenge. A 15-year Narcotics Elimination Plan has been laid down and it is in its fourth year of implementation. The plan is showing results. UNDCP and INCB have acknowledged that the poppy cultivation in the country has fallen from over ninety thousand acres in 1999-2000 to a little over sixty two thousand acres in 2001-2002.

As part and parcel of our concerted effort, a project named "New Destiny" was launched earlier this year in the regions where poppy cultivation is concentrated. The main objective of the plan is to educate the poppy farmers, distribute substitute seeds, provide financial assistance and enhance law enforcement. As a result, a total of over 290 tons of poppy seeds and dried poppy bulbs have been voluntarily surrendered. The surrendered poppy seeds and bulbs were burnt in the presence of diplomats and the press. This alone has prevented a potential yield of 55 tons of heroin with the estimated street value of over US Dollar 2.2 billion.

At the same time US Dollar 1.1 billion worth of various narcotic drugs seized in the country were publicly destroyed in June in Yangon. Moreover, 26,000 acres of poppy fields were destroyed in 2000-2001 alone. Effective legal action has also been taken against drug traffickers. As a country deeply committed to addressing the problem of narcotic drugs, Myanmar also looks forward to contributing to the same cause in the international arena.

Mr. President,

We live in an increasingly integrated world. In this age of globalization a new partnership between developed and developing countries is needed more than ever. The Millennium Declaration spelt out targets for developmental cooperation. The Monterrey consensus outlined actions to be implemented in key financial sectors pertaining to development. The World Summit on Sustainable Development resulted in some progress and important commitments. Their early implementation will lead to a more equal distribution of benefits in this rapidly globalizing world. It will also enable us to pass on to future generations a world that is economically sustainable and environmentally sound. Myanmar stands ready to work with our family of nations to attain these goals - goals that we have all pledged in the historic Millennium Declaration.

I thank you.