THE RIGHT HONOURABLE MR. PAKALITHA B. MOSISILI
PRIME MINISTER OF THE KINGDOM OF LESOTHO
AND HEAD OF DELEGATION TO THE FIFTY-EIGHTH SESSION
OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
24 SEPTEMBER 2003 NEW YORK
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Your Excellency Mr. Julian
R . Hunte,
President of the 58th Session,
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellency, Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
my delegation associates itself with the compliments extended to you
on your election to the presidency of this session, to your predecessor,
His Excellency Mr. Jan Kavan of the Czech Republic,
and to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan.
as we converge into this city of New
York, we are once again reminded of the stark
reality of the scourge of terrorism whose effects have reverberated
across the world. Two years ago, early this month, and in this very
City, humanity suffered the worst threat visited on it by terrorism.
We continue to
share the grief of those who will forever miss the love and support
of their loved ones. We must therefore reaffirm our resolve to
partner together to eliminate those elements which threaten to destroy
humanity and its way of life. Our best hope for success is, and should
be, our collective strength. We owe it to ourselves
and future generations of humankind to pool resources and strategies
together to annihilate the scourge of terrorism. In doing so,
we must simultaneously and genuinely examine and begin to understand
what forces and factors drive an inherently good human being to such
desperation as to commit such drastic acts of violence, not only against
others, but against self in the process.
Our preventive measures must address such forces and factors to disarm
the progress report on the implementation of the Millennium Development
Goals (MDG) in Lesotho,
documents that the single greatest obstacle to the development of
our nation, and indeed to reaching the objectives as laid out in the
MDG, is the scourge of HIV and AIDS. In our part of the world, Southern
Africa, governments are overwhelmed by the high levels
of morbidity and mortality, especially among the working age group
in all sectors, including Health and Agriculture. HIV and AIDS have
become the leading cause of food insecurity and famine that plagues
so many of our people today.
we are also frustrated because our efforts toward
the achievement of the MDG of education for all by 2015, through the
introduction of free primary education, is faltering due to
the high rate of absenteeism by both teachers and pupils. Teachers
are sick and dying, Children, especially girls, are dropping out of
school to take care of their sick relatives. The number of malnourished,
traumatized, orphaned and out-ofschool children, is increasing at an alarming rate.
stress the need for urgent assistance to Lesotho and to the Southern African
Region, with increased supplies of the anti-retroviral and other related
HIV and AIDS drugs, in order to curb the scourge. Lesotho and
the Region also need financial and technical resources for training
and capacity building in HIV and AIDS Programme
Implementation and Management.
Mr. President, Lesotho is concerned that the goal of poverty
eradication, which is the first MDG and one of the cross-cutting themes of all the major United
Nations Conferences and Summits, could elude the international community. Indeed, this critical state of affairs is highlighted in the Economic Report on Africa, 2003, which
reflects that in 2002, of the 53 countries in Africa,
only five achieved the 7% growth rate required to meet the MDG, while
43 countries registered growth rates below 7% and five countries registered
negative growth rates.
Against the back-drop of a democratizing continent,
a pre-condition set for assistance by the developed North, there is
a growing consensus that the decline in ODA and other financial flows
to Africa, increases the marginalization of the Continent
in the global economy. Without new inflows of external resources,
the pace of development in Africa
will forever remain elusive. My delegation therefore wishes to reiterate
its appeal to the developed countries to meet the commitments made
at all the major United Nations Conferences and
also at the Millennium Summit. Furthermore, we wish to stress
the need for the review of the list of heavily indebted poor countries
and those on the borderline, so that all poor countries like Lesotho,
which face debt servicing difficulties, could
be considered under the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC)
debt initiative. My delegation also shares the view that debt cancellation
for Least Developed Countries should be considered
as a viable option for enabling the said countries to inject that
money into their economies.
Mr. President, my delegation reiterates the call for increased support
to the New Partnership for Africa's
Development (NEPAD). We are aware that Iraq
today dominates the world spotlight as also confirmed in recent testimony
before the USA Congress which was asked to
approve 87 Billion Dollars for the rehabilitation of Iraq. But
in sharp contrast, an injection of only about six Billion Dollars
into NEPAD, would go a long way in achieving what is a continental
leaders need extensive support as they address, inter alia,
the root-causes of the agricultural crises in the Continent. For us
in Africa, agriculture is the engine of overall growth, for
it addresses the very core of people's livelihoods, mainly in the
rural areas. It responds to issues of food security and contributes
to growth in other economic sectors.
Mr. President, Lesotho is deeply concerned that armed conflicts
continue to hinder economic growth in Africa
and elsewhere. We are also shocked by several
reports of extreme lack of respect for basic principles of international
humanitarian law by parties to armed conflicts. Equally regrettable
are incidences of egregious violations of the rights of women and
children. We therefore commend the United Nations for all its efforts
aimed at the elimination of human suffering
in armed conflict. Indeed, the establishment of the International
Criminal Tribunals, the birth of the International Criminal Court
(ICC), and the setting up of the Special
Court for Sierra
Leone, have brought considerable
optimism and proved beyond any doubt that the world has grown weary
of impunity. It is our fervent hope that Member States will continue
to provide the necessary support and cooperation to these institutions.
Mr. President, Africa hungers for peace.
The Continent must never again have to witness acts of violence and
atrocities such as those that were recently committed in the Democratic
Republic of Congo and Liberia.
We hope that the international community will continue to support
all endeavours aimed at attaining lasting peace, security and
stability in these countries.
My delegation is encouraged by the progress made so far, to restore law
and order in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including the
establishment of an all-inclusive transitional government of national
unity. The international community has to intensify its efforts to
assist millions of the Congolese people, who are
not only displaced but are also facing serious food shortages.
My delegation is confident that, with the necessary support, the national
transition government in the DRC will restore peace and security in
the country and heal the deep wounds
caused by war and ethnic hatred. We are also gratified that the Security
Council mandated a special panel to investigate the plunder of natural
resources in the DRC. It is our wish and hope that those responsible
will be brought to book.
at last, the people of Angola
have peace after one of Africa's
long running fratricidal wars. The scars of war in Angola will forever remain deeply
embedded in the most vulnerable of the population, that is, women
and children of that country, whose motherhood was
abused and childhood deprived. Reintegration and rehabilitation
assistance to Angola, therefore,
should in the main, target these groups.
The future of Somalia continues to hang in the balance
despite the efforts by Kenya, IGAD, AU and all other stakeholders
to bring an end to carnage in that country. Somalia has been turned into a breeding
ground for war-lords who have no respect
for human life but greed for power and money. We tend to agree with
those who argue that the deployment of an international force would
help to facilitate the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration
processes. At the end of the day though, the responsibility for bringing
peace and reconciliation in Somalia lies,
first and foremost, with the Somalis themselves.
at a time when there were positive indicators in
the search for a peaceful and acceptable solution to the conflict
between Israel and Palestine, we are concerned that the
recent resumption of a cycle of violence shall render the road map
to peace futile. The drastic and repressive measures, the unilateral
erection of a wall dividing the two, and re-occupation of Palestinian
towns and villages, and the targeting, with the aim to kill HAMAS
leaders, are all measures which cannot help the course of ensuring that the
Palestinian people enjoy their inalienable rights, including the right
to self-determination in a sovereign and independent state. In like
manner, the continuing suicide missions by militant groups to kill
Israelis indiscriminately, cannot, and must not, be condoned or justified.
But then, Mr. President, two stark realities must be addressed.
First, that the root-cause of the problem is the illegal occupation
of Palestinian lands. Secondly, that no one country can be an honest
broker in the Middle East. History itself places some countries so
much with one party to the conflict that they cannot,
with the best of intentions, be non-partisan. Consequently, my delegation
strongly urges the United Nations to take the initiative and lead
the process, and thus lend legitimacy and credibility to the efforts
to find an abiding solution.
The same goes for the people of Western
Sahara. In the civilized world of the twenty-first century,
it is simply untenable that we still have colonisers
in some parts ofthe world, in disregard
of the widely accepted principles of self-determination and democracy.
The international community must intervene so as
to bring finality to the status of the Saharawi
Arab Democratic Republic. The brotherly people of Sahara
have suffered long enough and totally unduly!
On a positive note, we welcome the lifting of sanctions
by the UN Security Council. Nevertheless, it is our contention that
the lifting of the sanctions would have been more significant if all
the members of the Security Council had raised their flags in favour.
By the same token, it is now time
to collectively address all issues related to the unilateral economic
blockade against Cuba.
It is simply untenable for the United Nations to look on helplessly
when a Member State
strangles another Member
State of this
august body, simply because they hold and practise
different economic philosophies or political viewpoints. These truths
must be confronted and discussed in honesty and without malice to
anybody. Otherwise, our credibility and raison d'etre are called into question.
Mr. President, I wish to refer to the question of the reform of the
Security Council. It is now
a trite fact that the United Nation's credibility, including its adherence
to multilateralism, is being openly questioned. It will take a lot
of work to change this perception by the many, especially in the developing
world. The UN Secretary-General, Mr. Annan,
has on several occasions, stressed the need for "Radical Reform
to restore the UN credibility". We therefore applaud the statement
that he made to this august body, yesterday, that
he intended to establish a High-level Panel of eminent personalities
to look into the challenges to peace, security and other global issues.
It is our hope that recommendations of this Panel will pave a way
to a better international order.
It has been almost ten years since
the establishment of an Open-ended Working Group to study all questions
relating to equitable representation in the Security Council, including
the increase of the membership of the Council. My delegation is of
the view that there is an urgent need to accelerate the pace and redouble
efforts to bring this matter to a conclusion. Let us face it, the very
concept and practice of a veto in the Security Council is simply untenable
and totally at variance with democratic principles of our modern times.
For one Member with veto to overrule fourteen others, is simply undemocratic.
It is patently unjust and contrary to every principle underpinning
fair play and world order. My delegation cannot,
in all honesty, understand how and why leading champions of
democracy can cling so desperately to such an outmoded, primitive
and unjust system. The same sacred convictions, truths and beliefs
that guided and forced our forbears to abolish slavery, to declare
racism and genocide as crimes against humanity, and to declare and
uphold the equality of all humans must of necessity guide us in this instance. Otherwise, history
will judge and chastise us severely, but justifiably, as dishonest.
Such is the naked truth staring us in the face, Mr. President.
I thank you.