HON. JAMES F. WAPAKABULO, MP
THIRD DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AT THE 57TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK SEPTEMBER 19, 2002
On behalf of the delegation of Uganda, I congratulate you on your election to preside over the deliberations of the 57th regular session of the General Assembly. We express appreciation to your predecessor Dr. Han Seung-Soo for a job well done. And we congratulate the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, for the outstanding work he continues to perform on behalf of the United Nations and the international community.
Uganda welcomes to the membership of the United Nations two new members, the Democratic Republic of East Timor and the Swiss Confederation, whose admission to the United Nations brings closer to realization the goal of universality of membership of this global Organisation.
One year after the tragic events of 11th September, 2001, the primary role of the United Nations namely, to maintain international peace and security must be strengthened in order to ensure that the tragedy that befell New York City and Washington D.C last year is not repeated, anywhere on this globe. The United Nations together with all member states must make every effort to eradicate the scourge of terrorism from the world. The Government and people of Uganda stand united with all peace-loving countries of the world in condemning and resisting acts of terrorism perpetrated by cowardly and barbaric forces. The use of indiscriminate violence cannot be justified under any circumstances and must, therefore, be roundly condemned.
The people of Uganda have been victims of senseless acts of terrorism perpetrated by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) for many years. Uganda is committed to efforts to bring the perpetrators of terrorism and their collaborators to justice. Uganda is ready to cooperate .with other countries in the implementation of the provisions of existing international anti-terrorist Conventions as well as conclusion of new international instruments to comprehensively counter terrorism. At the domestic level, Uganda recently enacted the Suppression of Terrorism Act. The enactment of this Law is clear testimony of the commitment of the Government of Uganda to fight terrorism at home and abroad.
The scourge of conflicts on the African continent has for decades been one of the major contributors to socio-economic decline, causing untold suffering as civilian populations are forced into a drifting life as refugees and internally displaced persons.
It is with this in mind that we welcome the historic decision of the inaugural Assembly of the African Union to establish the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to deal with this scourge of conflicts in Africa and ensure that peace, stability and security prevail on the continent. Uganda has duly signed the Protocol relating to the establishment of the Peace and Security Council.
As a collective security and early warning body, the Peace and Security Council will enhance Africa's capacity to manage conflicts by facilitating timely and efficient response to conflict and crisis situations in the Continent. I wish to call upon our development partners and the international community at large to support Africa in this new endeavour.
In conformity with our commitment to restore peace and stability in the Great Lakes Region and consistent with the spirit of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, the Presidents of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo signed an Agreement in Luanda, Angola on 6 September, 2002. This agreement provides for total withdrawal of Ugandan troops from the territory of the DRC, normalization of relations and cooperation in economic and social fields. Under the Agreement Uganda undertakes to withdraw all her troops from Beni, Gbadolite and Bunia within the period of 100 days. At the same time the two countries agreed to establish a joint security mechanism over the western slopes of the Rwenzori mountains in order to address Uganda's security concerns.
Also of importance is the undertaking by the parties to refrain from all types of military and logistical support, including the provision of bases and sanctuary to armed groups, inter-ethnic militia, subversive organisations and all rebel movements against each other. Uganda is indebted to the government of Angola for providing crucial auspices that led to this breakthrough.
As Chairman of the regional initiative on Burundi, Uganda has played a leading role in efforts to find a just and lasting solution to the internal conflict in Burundi. While we welcome the conclusion of the Arusha Peace Accord, I should like to appeal to all the parties to honour the ceasefire and support fully efforts to implement the Accord. I thank, in this regard, the Governments of South Africa, Tanzania, and Gabon for their tireless efforts and, in addition, we pay tribute to former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa for his role as facilitator. Uganda and countries in the region will continue to exert every effort to bring about peace and stability in Burundi. We call upon the United. Nations and the international community to support our efforts to restore peace in Burundi.
Since the Nairobi Agreement signed in December 1999 between the Governments of the Sudan and Uganda, facilitated by former President Jimmy Carter of the United States and President Daniel Arap Moi of Kenya, the relations between the two countries have continued to witness steady and satisfactory progress. To-date, the Sudan and Uganda have agreed to restore cooperation in the political, security and diplomatic fields. We have also agreed to establish a Joint Ministerial Commission to oversee further co-operation in all areas.
Uganda strongly supports and actively participates in the IGAD-initiated negotiations aimed at resolving the conflict between the Government of the Sudan and Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) which culminated in the breakthrough of the Machakos Agreement on 20th July, 2002. It was indeed in the spirit of the hopeful anticipation for peace that President Museveni hosted a historic meeting in Kampala on 27th July 2002, between President Bashir of the Sudan and the Chairman of SPLM/A, Dr. John Garang.
It is, therefore, extremely unfortunate and regrettable that the second phase of the Machakos negotiations between the two Sudanese parties has stalled. The Government of Uganda calls upon the international community and especially the countries in the region, to demand a return to the negotiating
table by the Sudanese parties so that a comprehensive, just and ,lasting settlement can be reached.
The situation in Somalia continues to be volatile and the prospects for peace elusive. Following the Arta Agreement and the formation of the Somalia Transition National Government, the position of Uganda has been to encourage the reconciliation process and an all-inclusive and broad-based administration for that country. It is in this context that Uganda looks forward to the convening of the forthcoming Somali Peace and Reconciliation Conference due to start in Nairobi, Kenya on 15th October, 2002.
Uganda is concerned about the lack of progress in efforts to find a just and permanent solution to the question of Western Sahara since the former colonial power abandoned the territory in 1975.
We urge the United Nations to hold, as soon as possible, a referendum to enable the Saharawi people to exercise their inalienable right to selfdetermination in accordance with relevant General Assembly resolutions. Mr. President,
Uganda supports the right of Palestinian people to a homeland and we appeal to the two parties to resume negotiations with a view to finding a just and lasting solution to the Middle East Crisis. We support the establishment of Palestinian State to exist side by side in peace with the State of Israel.
Uganda participated actively and at the highest level at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg, South Africa. WSSD was clearly one of the major events of this year in the field of development. Uganda welcomes the outcome of the Conference. It reaffirmed the principles and priorities of agenda 21. In focusing on poverty eradication, the Summit established the essential integration of the three concepts of people, planet and prosperity. We believe that the challenge before the international community now is to implement fully and
expeditiously the concrete agreements reached at the Conference.. This session of the General Assembly must, therefore, translate the aspirations of the developing countries expressed at WSSD into reality. We believe that all countries have an obligation to implement the Johannesburg Plan of Action and Declaration on Sustainable Development and by so doing contribute towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the 55th Session of the General Assembly.
Uganda welcomes the international consensus reached at Monterrey in March this year, including new development assistance commitments for financing development of developing countries. We appeal to our development partners and international financial institutions to provide additional resources and honour the agreed targets for ODA. The priority accorded to the eradication of poverty by the Millennium Summit and, in particular, the goal of reducing poverty by half by 2015 will not be realised unless all countries, especially developed countries, honour the obligations and commitments which have been agreed to by the international community.
Uganda is committed to fulfilling the objectives and goals of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). In this connection, we welcome the G8 Africa Action Plan adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the eight major industrialised countries at their Summit held in Kananaskis, Canada. NEPAD recognises that the primary responsibility for Africa's future and development rests with Africans, but Africa needs support from its development partners. It is against this background that Uganda appreciates the commitment made by the G8 governments to mobilise and energise global action, marshal resources and expertise and provide impetus in support of NEPAD's objectives. We welcome the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the New Partnership for Africa's Development by this Session of the. General Assembly and the overwhelming support NEPAD has received from the international community.
Uganda believes that trade, especially free and fair trade is the engine of
growth and development. In this regard, we urge the international community
to make every effort to ensure that the multilateral trading system caters for
the special needs of the Least Developed Countries with practical measures which
can improve their terms of trade, enhance their export capacity and sustain
their balance of payments.
The major agricultural products of LDCs, such as coffee, cotton, bananas and tea are exported to a few markets, notably the European Union, USA and Canada, and due to this fact, conditions of market access are of critical importance for defining the trading opportunities of LDCs.
While Uganda welcomes the US/African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the EU's All But Arms initiative (EBA), we believe these positive developments should be complemented by simplified rules of origin and coordinated programmes of assistance by the donor community to increase the capacity of LDCs to produce, market and export. We are encouraged by Canada's unilateral decision to lift tariffs on African exports to Canada, including abolishing subsidies on agricultural products. We urge other countries to emulate this positive step. The collapse of commodity prices has contributed to the drastic decline in the terms of trade of LDCs. This matter deserves urgent attention by the international community in order to fully integrate LDCs into the multilateral trading system. We call upon the international community to implement fully the provisions of the Doha Declaration in favour of LDCs and, in addition, provide technical support to LDCs to build their capacities in the ongoing negotiations.
In the short term, Aid can be and has indeed been beneficial for the development of developing countries and, in this respect, Uganda would like to appeal to the donor countries to make the necessary effort to honour the agreed target of 0.7% of GNP for Official Development Assistance. We thank those countries which have already reached or even surpassed this target.
Uganda supports the Secretary-General's efforts to reform the United Nations system to make it more efficient and effective. The reform of the Security Council is, however, long overdue. We appeal to all member states to expedite the process of reform, including the expansion of the Council's permanent and non-permanent category.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate Uganda's full commitment to multilateralism
as well as the objectives and principles of the United Nations. We are ready
to make every effort to achieve the lofty goals established by the international
community at the Millennium Summit.
I thank you, Mr President.