The Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs
of the Sultanate of Oman
Head of the Omani Delegation

To the 58th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
Wednesday, October 1, 2003
New Y

In the name of God, most merciful, most compassionate

Mr. President,

On behalf of the Government of the Sultanate of Oman, it gives ' me pleasure to congratulate you on your election as president of this session. We would like to assure you of our keenness in working with you and sincerely contributing to its success and the achievement of the goals we all seek to accomplish in the service of humanity and for the safety and security of the International community.

Allow me to seize this opportunity to express our heart¬felt thanks to your predecessor his Excellency Mr. Jean Kaffan, the president of the previous session for the efforts he made to guarantee the success of the regular session and the special sessions held during the past year.

Permit me, at the same time, to point out the efforts being made by his Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations in order to promote the pioneering role of the United Nations in the field of international peace and security. We reiterate the support of the Sultanate of Oman to this international organization in its endeavors to achieve the aims and purposes of its charter.

Mr. President,

I would like to start my statement by casting some light on the actions of my country in the field of developing its important institutions, particularly in the judicial. It is out of our strong belief that a fair and just judiciary is a basic pillar of social and economic development. In our contemporary history, the Sultanate of Oman enabled the judiciary to become the most important means of establishing justice, issuing fair judgments, and removing injustices in society without the interference of executive authorities or any other branch. This has been endorsed by the constitutional system of State enacted by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, by virtue of decree no 101/96 which His Majesty issued on 6 November 1996. His Majesty, may God protect him, also issued decree No. 90/99 on 21 November 1999, enacting the law of judiciary, which grants the judiciary full independence. This law regulates the competence and functions of courts of various types and degrees. Moreover, the Supreme Court was established to be at the top of the judicial pyramid, with a competence to unify legal principles and insure the legality of judgments.

This was followed by a series of legislations that organize various judicial organs, including the establishment of the higher judicial council. Additionally, a draft has been prepared for a law on civil and trade procedures. All of this is indicative of His Majesty's interest in the welfare of the Omani people, so that citizens would know that they have rights and obligations. These rights are guaranteed through the right to go to court and are available to all people.

Mr. President,

Consistent with the continued development and expansion of the comprehensive participation of the Omani people in our progress of social and. economic development, my country, since the dawn of the blessed renaissance which started in 1970, at the hands of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, and throughout the last 33 years, has adopted a general framework based on utilizing the experience and expertise of Omani citizens in a consultative system based on all positive aspects of our cultural heritage 'for the modem development of the Sultanate of Oman. The onward march of the Omani consultative process has been a qualitative shift and an important transformation in its history. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said issued royal instructions on October 2002 to expand the base of popular participation in the elections for the Omani Consultative Council by giving the right to vote to every citizen, male or female, who has reached the legal age of 21 to participate in the next election of the Council scheduled to be held on the fourth of this month (October), to select the 83 members of the consultation council for its fifth session (2004 to 2006).

This step complements previous steps aimed at the development of the Omani Consultative Council. These important developments in the Sultanate of Oman would consolidate a strong base for a more evolutionary and development programs for the Omani people.

Mr. President,

Despite the fact that the Palestinian National Authority has positively responded to the demands of the International Community, by accepting the Road Map, which is considered the most, important document so far in the history of the Arab Israeli conflict, since it embodies an international commitment to establish an independent sovereign Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel. The cycle of violence between Palestinians and the Israeli government has exceeded all limits, threatening the whole peace process and diverting it into a dark tunnel it may not survive. For this reason it is extremely important for members of the quartet, the sponsors of the Road Map, to exercise their international responsibilities.

One can ask how would it possible to establish peace between the Palestinian and Israeli people, when the Israeli Government takes a decision to expel President Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority and the leader of the Palestinian people who has been chosen by his people to be its president. One may also ask if Israel, a member state of the United Nations honors its commitments under the charter.

The United Nations should stop this Israeli policy. Israel must respond to the demands of the International Community and respect international resolutions. It should positively respond to the international efforts aimed at the implementation of the Road Map that gives international guarantees to both parties in order to establish peace based on the establishment of an independent sovereign Palestinian state on all the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967.

Such a solution would give States of the Middle East a historical chance to build a new Middle East. In this context, we find it our duty to warn that the non-establishment of the Palestinian State the Road Map talks about would create for all a crisis whose consequences would be destructive.

Because we believe that peace is the pillar upon which to build development, stability, and the welfare of people, Arab States have on various occasions, expressed their willingness to co¬exist with Israel. In this context, Arab States have supported all regional and international initiatives and efforts, and announced an Arab initiative they adopted in Beirut in 2002 embodying this willingness.

There is no doubt that this is a clear and strong proof of the genuine desire of the Arab nations to adopt the peace option. This initiative has become the basis of Arab policy towards Israel. Any retreat from the commitment to establish a Palestinian State, and a restore just and comprehensive peace among Arabs and Israel would subject the region and the world to great dangers that the Arabs countries would like to avoid.

Mr. President,

My country shares with many member States the view that peace in the region of the Middle East will not be a real peace unless it is just and comprehensive. This requires that efforts made to establish peace must include the Syrian-Lebanese-Israeli track. Here, the Sultanate of Oman would like to reaffirm its support of the right of the Syrian Arab Republic to restore the occupied Syrian Golans, and the right of the Republic of Lebanon to restore the rest of Shab'a farms.

Mr. President,

The war against Iraq in the first half of this year has been a link in the chain of war suffered by the region of the Middle East. This war has created a new reality characterized mainly by the collapse of the former regime, the creation of a big political and security vacuum, and the deterioration of basic services for the Iraqi society. The continued lack of security in Iraq and the resulting loss of lives, in addition to the destruction of the United Nations premises and the escalating tempo of assassinations, do not help Iraq to the phase of rebuilding'' the State and reconstruction.

Out of our concern about the situation in Iraq, we deem it necessary that efforts be made to enable Iraqis to assume the full responsibility for running their country. Iraq is full of efficient cadres in all areas. These cadres are capable of leading the process of establishing security and the total development and reconstruction of their country. Moreover, Iraq possesses the economic and human resources that could help it regain its strength and play its regional and international role. There is no doubt that the United;: Nations and its specialized agencies have an effective role to play in Iraq. This could definitely contribute to the realization of the desirable result we all aspire to achieve, namely the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq and the prosperity and security of its people.

Out of our keenness for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq, we have welcomed the formation of the transitional governing council, we believe it is essential to deal with that political institution in order to start the building of the right foundations for post-war Iraq, including the provision of basic services and the creation of a political climate conducive to the establishment of a stable political system, that would meet the wishes of all groups of the Iraqi people, as a prelude to starting the reconstruction phase.

Mr. President,

The stability of the situation and the consolidation of security all over the world is a requirement desired by all peoples, we, in the Sultanate of Oman, like` all countries of the region, have been following with interest and optimism the continued official contacts in various areas of conflict, hoping that the contacts and talks between the state of the United Arab Emirates and the Islamic Republic of Iran, concerning the islands belonging to the United Arab Emirates, would enable the two countries to reach an agreement on an effective mechanism to settle the disagreement between them, including taking the issue to the International Court of Justice.

We highly value the initiatives of India and Pakistan aimed at the start of a dialogue between the two countries. Also, my country hopes that the two Koreas and other concerned parties will reach an agreement that addresses the various pending questions, through constructive dialogue and adherence to international conventions and resolutions, so that peace and co¬existence may be established in that part of the world.

We pay tribute to the peaceful efforts made to solve conflicts in Africa, and call on the international community to develop a fair system to improve economic conditions and a mechanism to relieve the onerous burden of debt on the African countries.

Mr. President,

Security and stability are a blessing. Under this blessing peoples can devote all their time and energy to building and development in all areas of life, and direct all their moral and material resources to create prosperity and advancement. That is why one of the most important duties of the state is to guarantee security and stability so that their peoples may live and have the peace of mind to be able to work, produce, build and reconstruct. But if security is disturbed and stability is shaken, what will ensure will be chaos and destruction.

In recent years, international policies have lead to the emergence of various types of terrorist acts. All of us must pause and deeply focus on this phenomenon that targets people's security and order. We believe it has become essential to study the causes behind this phenomenon. Although we fully support international efforts to combat terrorism with all means, we have to allocate part of the massive financial resources devoted to combat terrorism to help the least developed countries that may be a fertile ground for terrorist organizations. All countries are called upon to consecrate their material efforts toward development as a weapon against terrorism, because terrorist elements seek to charge internal, regional and international situations that do not comport with their visions or help them achieve their goals. They provoke Authorities and make them use extreme force against them believing that this would win them the sympathy of certain parts of public opinions inside and outside the countries they operate in.

We believe that confronting terrorism requires a comprehensive and more positive international co-operation, instead of political polemics and exchange of accusations.

Mr. President,

There is no doubt that the United Nations' efforts in the field of disarmament are leading nowhere. These efforts may become a cry in the wilderness that hears only its own echo, so long as member states of the United Nations, cannot count on an effective system of collective guarantees to safeguard their security. Without such a system private assessments of the level and quality of weapons needed would become a purely individual responsibility of every elite and every Government. This would open the door wide for a vicious armament circle, and not for progress towards disarmament or the reduction of armaments.

The Sultanate of Oman, while supporting the efforts being made to limit armaments, would like at the same time, to affirm the need to take practical measures in accordance with the IAEA regime of mutual guarantees.

My country has signed a safeguard agreement with the IAEA on 28 June 2001 at the agency's headquarters in Vienna.

Moreover, my countries thinks that it is essential to have co-operation and exchange of information among states to reduce the illegal trafficking of small arms and light weapons.

Here, we would like to state the applicable laws in the Sultanate of Oman, which prohibits illegal circulation of small arms, and regulate their acquisition by groups allowed to carry arm, in accordance with rigid conditions and criteria, for the safety and security of citizens.

At a time when the world witnesses the efforts made by the United Nations to achieve the disarmament of all lethal weapons from every corner of the global and its outer space, my country blesses all the efforts and underlines the responsibility of the international organizations in the formulation of a world order more capable of guaranteeing the security of all States in a manner that reflects the reality of life in third millennium, consistent with the partnership and the need for everybody to shoulder their responsibility, which is an essential condition for the success of all their efforts.

Mr. President,

This session convenes at a time of big, successive and intertwined developments, at the world economic, financial and trade levels. Many economies still suffer from the phenomenon of economic recession.

The Sultanate of Oman appreciate the continued efforts of the International Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization, to realize the greatest complementarities among their work, to confront the challenges that still face the countries of the world. These challenges include sustainable economic development, poverty reduction and financial stability and balance.

The Sultanate of Oman has, since its accession to the World Trade organization in October 2000 gone a long away on the road of implementing its commitments to the organization. It has introduced many amendments and improvements to its systems, organizations and laws, in addition to the enactment of new legislations that conform with the requirements of the organization. Also, my country has been following, with interest, the on-going negotiations, in the framework of the organization, with a view to overcoming the obstacles and difficulties impeding its work. Here, we must point out an important point, namely the difference between developing countries and advanced countries which control intellectual property agreements and other such
conventions that should not be utilized by multi-national enterprises in a negative manner that adds to the burdens of the less developed countries in favor of rich countries in the field of pharmaceuticals, food stuffs and technology transfer.

Otherwise, the liberation of trade would force formidable obstacles that the World Trade Organization may not be able to overcome. Despite the fact that a separate statement was issued by the WTO Council guaranteeing the non-violation of the protections of patented drugs, which aims at helping countries in combating serious and contagious diseases in developing countries, this may not be sufficient as a safeguard against excessive costs to be born by less developed countries, since competition will not be fair. We look forward to the possibility of reaching positive results to liberate all fields of world trade, in a manner that would encourage the flow of foreign direct investments, which could stimulate the economy, create jobs, raise living conditions, thus reducing the level of poverty in developing countries.

The Sultanate of Oman has worked hard, at the regional level, with its brothers and friends, through regional economic groupings, to enhance the climate for the liberation of trade and the economy. In the framework of the co-operation council of the Gulf's Arab countries, the Sultanate has participated in the establishment of the Gulf customs Union, at the beginning of this year. Also, in the framework of the Arab league, we have advanced the date of arriving at an agreement on the establishment of a free trade zone among Arab States, who are members of the trade zone agreement to the beginning of January 2005, when full liberation is expected, opening the door for the exchange of Arab products and starting the road to the Arab Common Market.

At the local level, my country has continued its efforts to enhance the role of the private sector in the national market economy, based on free competition, under a favorable economic and trade climate which aims at the realization of a time of fruitful trade and investment partnership with all countries of the world, in addition to the creation of the right conditions for inter¬relationships between the Omani natural economy and the world economy.

Mr. President,

Based on recognition by all that the protection of environment and its resources is a collective responsibility, and that everybody must contribute to its health, my country's government has been active in stimulating the role of the Omani society and' its effective contribution to this cause. Here, we would like to affirm our total commitment to the basic principles adopted by the two earth summits, in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and south Africa in 2002, out our its belief that these principles constitute a scientific framework that safeguards the world partnership and the collective responsibility for the protection of the environment and its natural resources, in the service of development and its sustainability.

Mr. President,

We would like to express our gratitude and appreciation for the efforts and endeavors of the Secretary General of the United Nations reflected in his annual report, in which he details the achievements of the United Nations, the obstacles it faces, in addition to strategies for the future for this organization which
embodies the conscience and aspirations of the world, identifying its future work to achieve the purposes for which it was established, in light of this, we have to be ready to adopt the necessary visions for the development and restructuring the organs of the United Nations to enable the organization to reflect the facts of the political reality, for example, the expansion of the membership of the Security Council to be more fair and commensurate with the growth in the size of the International Community.

The aim is to have an organization that is the effective center of world politics and the supreme source of international legitimacy, away from selectivity in dealing with countries, so that it may be able to develop solutions to prevent wars and conflicts. Through enhanced early warning, preventive diplomacy, peaceful settlement of dispute, and the maintenance of peace. These means are less costly than to resort to methods of pressures and coercion.

It will also be essential to enhance international co¬operation and dialogue among civilizations to find solutions for the ills that force countries of the world toward poverty and disease, in addition to creating job opportunities, combating environmental problems as well as the phenomenon of terrorism, bridging the gap between advanced countries of the north and developing countries in the south. Relations should be strengthened between the United Nations and regional organizations in the field of the maintenance of international peace and security, through enhancement of weak regional structures to enable them to carry out their functions.

We are sufficiently confident that the need for collective security is increasing in a constantly changing world. It is high time to renew the organs of collective security upon which the organization and its member states can count in times of need.

Mr. President,

The United Nations represents international legitimacy. It is the crucible that melts all regional and international efforts to realize the hopes and aspirations of peoples and confront the time's challenges to peace, security and development in all their aspects, to enhance relations and stability and spread the culture of peace and constructive dialogue among generations of the present and the future, away from the logic of the threat of force and creativity fear of the future.

We hope every success for this session so that it may come out with visions for the future, which points to the roads that could serve humanity, and renew member states trust in the organization and their commitment to the implementation of its resolutions and respect for the provisions of its charter.

Thank you, Mr. President.

May peace be upon you.