STATEMENT BY H.E Mr.
NOR NAMHONG SENIOR MINISTER
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL
COOPERATION OF THE KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA
AND HEAD OF DELEGATION OF THE KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA
AT THE 58th SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK, 30 SEPTEMBER. 2003
check against delivery
Mr. Secretary General,
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
Thank you very much.