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Mr. President,

Mr. Secretary General,

Distinguished Delegates,

1.      First of all, I wish to extend my warmest congratulation to you, Mr. President, for your election as the President of the 58th Session of the United Nations General Assembly this year. I am confident that under your wise leadership the work of this great Assembly will further strengthen international cooperation and thus contributing to the maintenance of peace, stability and security in this globalized world.

2.      The international environment today, no doubt, remains uncertain, as the world continues to confront constant changes and turbulences, On a global stage, at least four key challenges continue to occupy the attention and priority of the international community.

I. Global Situation

3.       First, the current situation in Iraq. I believe that the present condition in Iraq is a serious predicament. While the war in Iraq is over, the situation in the country remains critical. Peace, security and stability have not returned to Iraq. Although the number of international contingents deployed in Iraq has been increased in recent months, the overall environment in the country is very much fragile and highly unstable. I think that the UN should assume greater role and responsibility in bringing about normalcy back to the country during the transitional period. The road to normalcy means that
Iraq should be allowed to govern itself as early as possible, which could be done in several ways, including the holding of free and fair election.

Cambodia strongly condemns the criminal attack against the UN Headquarters in Baghdad on August 19 and wishes to pay tribute to all the victims, especially to Sergio Vieira de Mello, Special Representative of the Secretary General. Let us pay our respect to memory of this great servant of peace. We always remember his noble action in Cambodia in the early 1990s in the framework of UNTAC.

4.      Second, the Middle East quagmire. I consider it is important that all parties to the conflict, particularly Palestine and Israel, as well as the international community must continue to pursue a peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict on the basis of the agreed Quartet Roadmap. At the same time, I believe that it is vital for the leaders of both sides in this conflict to renounce the cycle of violence and overcome the feelings of animosity as well as myopic interests. Instead, they should consider broader collective interests of peaceful coexistence, peaceful life of their peoples, and stability in the region. There is a need for all sides to have a sense of political realism and a shared determination to make peace possible. I believe that the day of peace in the Middle East will come only when both Palestine and Israel reasonably recognize in every aspect that they must coexist side by side, living in peace and harmony with each other, and looking after each other's interests. Peace, tolerance and harmony are the only way forward for the peoples of Palestine and Israel. In this regard, the international community must remain fully committed to continue supporting the Middle East peace process to the end.

5.      Third, terrorism.
The terrorism, in my view, is still a very serious threat to the whole humanity. After the September 11 attacks and the international reaction to the fight against terrorism, terrorists have been also strengthening their worldwide networks and, at the same time, continuing to kill innocent people everywhere in the world. In Southeast Asia, the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) that linked to al-Qaeda has been responsible for a number of terrorist attacks in the region. ASEAN has been actively responding to terrorism by strengthening cooperation at all levels and by issuing various statements and concrete measures. Nevertheless, Jemaah Islamiah remains a significant threat to the region today, despite the progress of the antiterrorism actions thus far.

6.       Fourth, global poverty. In recalling the Millennium Summit here in New York and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg as well as the UN Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey and the recent G-8 Summit in Evian, the overriding theme is the fight against poverty, which calls for concerted efforts on poverty alleviation and sustainable development. However, poverty always remains a severe problem for the world, particularly the developing countries, with 1.2 billion people who still survive on less than US$1.00 per day. Despite clear messages from those summits, one after the other, especially from the developed countries on the need to reduce poverty, yet the actions so far have not been decisive enough. I believe that, without concrete measures and provisions of adequate resources, it is impossible for the least developing countries to overcome the current challenges of poverty, aggravated by the speed of globalization which has contributed toward the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots. Fighting poverty is not the responsibility of the least developing countries alone, but a shared responsibility of the international community, in which the developed world has an important role to play. Today's poverty prevails in many forms and dimensions. The sharing of resources from the developed to the developing countries is not only an action of generosity but also a need for living together in a world of peace, security and harmony. In this regard, I am convinced that the international community must act collectively and in the spirit of responsibility and solidarity to end this alarming situation of poverty by taking concrete steps to reduce it gradually.

II. Regional Developments

Mr. President,

7.       With regard to the regional situation, there have been many developments. Some are positive; others negative. I wish to note several important developments since last year. First, the 8th ASEAN Summit and other related summits in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) have successfully advanced ASEAN integration by moving the region ahead through the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), by deepening the cooperation between ASEAN and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, as well as by strengthening cooperation with India. With these four countries, ASEAN has enhanced close and pro-active cooperation among a combined population of more than three billion that have enormous economic potentials and opportunities for development and growth. In addition, during this ASEAN Summit, its Leaders held also for the first time a summit dialogue with Africa through H.E. Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa and Chairman of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

8.       Second, the situation in the Korean peninsula
continues to evolve and bring about concerns for countries that are directly involved. Cambodia fully supports the peace talks in Beijing and believes that only dialogue and compromise are the way out of the present quandary. Although a number of outstanding issues need to be mutually resolved, I think it is important for all the parties concerned to reduce tension by avoiding the escalation of hostile actions. One possibility for the situation in the Korean peninsula to move ahead positively, I would argue, is to negotiate a roadmap for a nuclear-free and secure Korean peninsula. If this can proceed, I believe that the steps toward normalization of the situation in the Korean peninsula are within our reach.

9.      Third, the recent developments in Cambodia. The situation in Cambodia continues to improve significantly. The
recent election was held in a free, fair and democratic environment, as many international election observers had noted in their statements. This year's election marks another important milestone in Cambodia's democratization which has been strengthened to the grassroots through its successful local elections of communal councils last year. At the same time, Cambodia's GDP growth continues to show positive signs, with the approximate growth rate of 6.7% per annum during the last five years, despite natural calamities, regional and global impacts, such as terrorism and SARS. In addition, the government's strategy has given top priority to poverty reduction. In March this year, Cambodian Prime Minister, Samdech Hun Sen, officially launched the campaign for poverty alleviation by reducing poverty rate of 1.2% every year. By 2015 the poverty level would be further reduced to 19%. In order to achieve this campaign a budget of 1.5 billions US dollars has been projected.

III. Reform of the United Nations

Mr. President,

10.      Every year, every delegation advocated in this august Assembly the necessity of reforming the United Nations, in particular the UN Security Council. I also believe that without sufficient reform of this world body, the United Nations cannot be an effective and efficient world organization to collectively respond to the complex global challenges affecting humanity in this 21st century. While the world has witnessed and experienced the wave of democracy since the end of the Cold War more than a decade ago, I think democratization needs to start right here at the UN that should respect the will of the community of nations. Any further inaction on the part of the UN to the calls for reform means a continuing decline of credibility as well as the increasing loss of confidence in this universal institution.

11.       I believe that one of the key issues of the UN reform is the need for expansion of the UN Security Council. Cambodia calls once again for the enlargement of the UN Security Council to include Japan, the Federal Republic of Germany and India as the new permanent members of UNSC, given the crucial role of these three countries in international political and economic affairs today. Moreover, the General Assembly, as the highest body of the United Nations, should play a more important role, in accordance with the UN Charter, for the maintenance of peace and international security. Also, in the context of UN reform, I think that we should look beyond the conventional agenda of peace and security, while current glaring poverty is no doubt part of the international peace and security today. In the broad framework of human security, I believe that UN should play a more meaningful role in the world's collective efforts to fight poverty.

Mr. President,

12.      As the world marches on, I think that we have to think and perhaps invent new ways to deal with a myriad of challenges that menace the whole humanity. We will have to close the gap between the poors and the riches and between the developed and developing world. We have to fight poverty, HIV/AIDS which affected millions of people in the developing countries. We will need to tackle together the rising impact of transnational crimes. At the same time, we will have to pay greater attention to the hotspots around the world in order to make sure that we have a peaceful and secure world for all. Finally, we need to continue to ensure that the United Nations is truly a democratic global institution that reflects the reality of the world today. We need to advance together in peace, security, stability, development and prosperity in building a better place for all peoples on this planet.

13.       In conclusion, I believe the way forward for the world will largely depend on international cooperation and the need for sharing global resources more equitably. The growing interdependence and the increasing globalization mean that every nation must work collectively in addressing the current challenges in the most effective way.

Thank you very much.