Hon. Arjun Jung Bahadur Singh,
State for Foreign Affairs and Head of the Nepalese Delegation
General Debate of the 57th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
New York, 19
Let me begin by taking this opportunity to congratulate you, Mr. President,
for your unanimous election to preside over the 57th session of the General
Assembly. My delegation pledges its full support to you and has full confidence
in your ability to steer the session to its successful conclusion.
I would also like to express my delegation's profound appreciation to your
predecessor, H. E. Dr. Han Seung-soo, for the excellent manner in which
he guided the 56th session.
Our tributes are also due to the Secretary General, H. E. Mr. Kofi Annan,
for his tireless efforts to carry out the mandate of the United Nations.
Nepal congratulates and welcomes Switzerland as a new member of the United
Nations. We also look forward to having the privilege of welcoming East
Timor as anew member in next few days.
We are meeting here under a long and dark shadow of the terrorist attacks
against the Host City on September 11, 2001. The trauma and tragedy the
attacks wrought are still fresh in our memory. Our heart goes out to those
children who lost their parents and those families who lost their near and
Itself a victim of terrorism, Nepal understands the pain and peril terrorists
brutally perpetrate on individuals and societies. As globalisation and technological
advances have made it possible for terrorists to move people and funds across
the world with ease, concerted efforts of nations will be essential to stamp
Therefore, we support the on-going global war terrorism and see the need
for the better enforcement of the existing international law and the conclusion
of a comprehensive global convention for this purpose. In Nepal, we have
enacted a new law as well as rules and regulations that include provisions
of relevant international treaties to which we are a party.
Opposed to democracy and freedoms, the so-called Maoist terrorists in Nepal
have been taking innocent lives, abducting children to work as child soldiers,
and destroying private homes, schools, and vital infrastructure. In view
of this, His Majesty's Government has recognised them as terrorists and
launched a campaign to protect the people and property.
We appreciate the moral and financial supports from our friends in this
effort. We also deplore any suggestion that tends to equate the government's
obligation to protect its citizens with the terrorists' dastardly acts of
Even though terrorism is the menace of the moment, other peace and security
problems continue to trouble the world. The Middle East is burning and Africa
is boiling with conflicts. Tension also abounds elsewhere: in Asia, Europe
and Latin America.
To find a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, Nepal supports a time-bound
implementation of Security Council resolution 1397 and of the Quartet agreement
of April 2002. Iraq must comply with relevant Security Council resolutions
and the global community must respect the sanctity and integrity of the
UN Charter not to set the wider region on fire.
We are happy that Afghanistan is limping back to normalcy. Providing security
coverage over the entire country should be the United Nations' priority
so reconstruction could pick up momentum.
East Timor has emerged from the South Pacific as a free nation. We congratulate
its people for their freedom and independence and the United Nations for
helping them through the transition.
It is encouraging that Sierra Leone has achieved a measure of stability.
Attempts must be redoubled to resolve the conflict in the Democratic Republic
of the Congo, in Liberia, and in Burundi for a wider peace. The Balkans,
Cyprus and the Korean peninsula should receive necessary support in their
quest for peace and harmony.
No durable peace will be possible without the prevention of conflicts and
resolution of disputes through peaceful means. Peacekeeping, disarmament,
and confidence building are the pillars of an edifice of culture of peace.
Integral to lasting peace is the eradication of poverty, sustainable development
and justice for all as well.
UN peacekeeping operations have proved very useful in helping to stabilise
fragile situations during and after conflicts. Nepal is a major player in
UN peacekeeping and has contributed over 40,000 military and police personnel
so far. Our peacekeepers have served the United Nations with the outstanding
competence and dedication, sustaining 42 casualties on the tour of duty.
Our commitment to UN peacekeeping operations remains robust. Supply of fully
self-sustained troops is our goal, but that often becomes difficult for
a poor country. Until we achieve our goal, the United Nations must continue
to bridge the resource gaps through innovative means.
In our view, total elimination of nuclear weapons in a time-bound manner
constitutes the cornerstone of disarmament endeavour. We as well stress
the imperative for observance of the existing international treaties, ratification
of CTBT and conclusion of a fissile materials cut-off treaty.
Nuclear weapon-free zones, the guarantee not to use or threat to use nuclear
weapons against non-nuclear weapon states and other confidence building
measures will be critical to help creating a nuclear weapons free world.
Equally important is the necessity to eradicate chemical, biological and
other weapons of mass destruction.
Small arms have taken more lives than any other weapons. We welcome the
agreement that emerged from the conference on small arms and light weapons
last year. Nonetheless, we underline the need for stricter controls on possession
of such arms by non-state actors.
UN regional centres for peace and disarmament are an important tool for
building confidence and help the process of disarmament in their respective
regions. We are grateful to member states that they have designated Nepal
as host for the regional centre in Asia and the Pacific. It is however deeply
troubling that the Centre is yet to move to Kathmandu, despite our full
commitment to meet all those obligations that other hosts have done. We
urge the United Nations to relocate the Centre immediately and not to set
terms and conditions over and above what the other hosts of similar centres
One may argue that not all conflicts are products of poverty. Yet people
living in poverty, deprivation and despair become easily susceptible to
the evil designs of extremist elements. Hence, poverty reduction and sustainable
development are an inseparable part of efforts to prevent conflicts and
terrorism and to promote peace.
Indeed, developing countries must bear the primary responsibility of their
development. Nepal has taken far-reaching reforms to liberalise the economy,
optimise internal resources, attract foreign investment and protect the
environment. Most of the public expenditure is invested in people and in
poor areas. Measures have been taken to provide clean government and improve
However, our problems are so big, their resources so limited, and the gaps
between rich and poor so wide that without additional resources and market
access we cannot accelerate our growth and sustain our development. So,
wealthy nations will have to fulfill their commitments made at the Millennium
Summit as well as at the Doha, Monterrey and Johannesburg conferences. We
appreciate the pledges of the European Union and the United State to raise
the level of their development assistance and urge them to keep their word.
Developing countries also need a conducive global economic climate to grow.
For it to happen, rich nations must strive to lift the world economy from
the current recession and agree on major reforms in the international financial
More than others, least developed countries in Africa and elsewhere need
increased assistance and support to break loose from their poverty trap.
Developed nations should do everything in their power to meet the official
development targets, provide duty-free and quota free access for LDC products
to their markets, and help implement other provisions of the Brussels Program
Landlocked developing countries suffer the constraints of remoteness, high
cost economies, and high transit costs. They need targeted assistance to
overcome their specific hurdles, so do the small and poor island developing
Nepal appreciates the United Nations for its important role in propelling
development in developing countries. We also welcome the timely appointment
of his High Representative for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS to follow up to the
Brussels Program of Action.
Regional co-operation is a linchpin of attempts collectively to foster competitiveness,
capacity and synergy. In South Asia, we are striving to build such co-operation
under the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Poverty
alleviation, trade liberalisation and technical co-operation have received
principal focus as precursors to the ultimate establishment of a South Asian
Economic Union. The 11th SAARC summit that Nepal hosted in January this
year is a testament to member states' eagerness to not let their political
differences affect the process of regional economic integration.
Nepal is fully committed to democracy, justice, and human rights, including
those of women and children. We are strengthening the values and institutions
of democracy and incorporating international human rights standards into
our domestic laws. The National Human Rights Commission is fully functional
and the judiciary is being revitalised.
Sadly enough, there are nearly 20 million refugees around the world and
many more internally displaced persons. In Nepal alone, there are over 100,000
refugees from Bhutan, deprived of their human rights at home. With a view
to finding a durable solution to the problem, Nepal has engaged in bilateral
negotiations with Bhutan nearly for a decade by now. We call on Bhutan to
take the negotiations as a matter of urgency and pave the way for the earliest
repatriation of the refugees.
Friendly countries, the United Nations system, particularly UNHCR and WFP,
and nongovernmental organisations have been generously assisting us in the
maintenance of the refugees. We express our appreciation to them for the
help and urge them to continue it until the refugees return home.
Committed to the principles and purposes of the United Nations, Nepal underlines
the necessity for United Nations reforms so that it can stand up to the
challenges before it. Therefore, revitalising the General Assembly and the
Economic and Social Council constitutes our priority. We are in favour of
reinforcing collaboration and complementarities between the ECOSOC and the
Security Council in their respective and related areas.
In our view, there is an imperative for limited expansion in Security Council
membership, in both categories, in such a manner that preserves the Council's
agility as well as ensures equitable geographical representation. Reform
in its working methods, too, must continue with a view to enhancing transparency
and improving the quality of consultations, particularly with troop contributing
Reform is equally essential at the UN Secretariat to increase its efficiency
and effectiveness. Interagency co-ordination ought to be upgraded as well.
Central to strengthening the Untied Nations is. a vigorous Non-aligned Movement
and robust Group of 77. As a member of both, Nepal pledges to work with
other countries to reinvigorate these frameworks and to deepen co-operation
between them and the United Nations.
Thank you Mr. President.