Check against delivery







1st October, 2003


Mr President

1. Let me from the outset, congratulate you on your election as the President of the 58th General Assembly.

2. I have no doubt that your election by the international community is a recognition of your vast diplomatic skills and
leadership qualities. Your election is also recognition of the coming of age of Small Islands States.

3. I wish to thank your predecessor Mr Jan Kavan for his stewardship of the work of the 57th General Assembly.

4. Please allow me to also pay tribute to the UN Secretary General, Mr Kofi Annan and his staff for their dedication and
commitment in dealing with many pressing international issues that confront us today.

5. I join others in expressing our Government’s sincere condolences to the families of the UN Staff including the late
Sergio Vieira de Mello, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who lost their lives in Baghdad on August 16, 2003.

6. The attacks were barbaric and against the principles of freedom, democracy and peace as enshrined in the UN
Charter. They must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

Peace and Security

Mr President,

7. In pursuit of our commitments to combat international terrorism, I am happy to report that Papua New Guinea has substantially complied with UN Resolution 1373.

8. Our Parliament recently ratified many of the Conventions and Protocols to combat global terrorism. Yesterday, I personally deposited four (4) Conventions with the Office of the UN Secretary General.

9. Having fulfilled these requirements, Papua New Guinea is now faced with resource constraints and other challenges to implement the Treaty obligations. This situation is further exacerbated by other threats such as illicit drug trafficking, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, human smuggling and money laundering.

10. In the Pacific Islands Region, we have taken positive initiatives to collectively deal with these threats. The Nasonini and Biketawa Declarations agreed to by the Pacific Forum Island Leaders provide the framework for cooperation in dealing with these threats.

11. In the wider Asia/Pacific Region, the South-West Pacific Ministerial Dialogue has met twice in addition to the annual Bali Security Meetings to discuss political and security issues facing the Region. The Dialogue Partners include Indonesia, Philippines, New Zealand, Australia, Timor- Leste and Papua New Guinea.

Small Arms and Light Weapons

Mr President,

12. Whilst issues of greater political and security risks are of concern to us, the real threat at this stage is the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

13. Small arms and light weapons have not only destabilized regions, sparked, fueled and prolonged conflicts but also obstructed relief programmes, undermined peace initiatives, exacerbated human rights abuses, hampered development, and fostered a "culture of violence".
14. There are no international treaties or other legal instruments for dealing effectively with this category of weapons.
15. In this context, Papua New Guinea welcomes the call for the immediate and full implementation of the Plan of Action to curb and eradicate the flow of small arms and light weapons.


Mr President,

16. Let me place this in the context of the crisis in our Province of Bougainville where the proliferation of small arms and light weapons contributed to the prolonging of the conflict.

17. With regard to progress on Bougainville, we have completed the second stage of the arms disposal programme which has been verified by the UN. The Regional Peace Monitoring Group (PMG) has now been wound down and replaced by the Bougainville Transitional Team (BTT). The BTT with the UN, will maintain logistical support for the peace process and assist in other operational areas.

18. I would also like to inform this august Assembly that the peace process under the Bougainville Agreement has reached the crucial third stage under the constitutional amendments agreed upon by the Papua New Guinea National Parliament. While there are delays, every necessary step is being taken by all parties concerned to ensure that the momentum built to date is not being unduly hampered.

19. My Government therefore seeks the understanding of the international community, especially the Members of Security Council, to help us fully achieve all tasks agreed to under the Bougainville Agreement. This will signal a win-win story for all – the United Nations, our Government and the people of Bougainville.

20. I express our Government’s profound appreciation to the UN Secretary-General for the invaluable efforts of the UN Observer Mission on Bougainville, including those of Ambassador Noel Sinclair.

21. I also acknowledge and thank our regional neighbours – Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, for their immense contribution to the peace process.

Solomon Islands

Mr President,

22. With regards to the conflict in the Solomon Islands, the package of assistance developed and agreed to by the Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers and later adopted at the Forum Leaders Meeting in Auckland, New Zealand last month has helped restore peace and normalcy in that country. It was undertaken at the request of the Government of Solomon Islands under the Biketawa Declaration. The Australian led operation includes the deployment of both civilian police and armed peace-keepers from many of the Pacific members states including my own. The cooperation among member states underlines the strength of regional peace keeping, if done properly.

Middle East and Palestine

Mr President,

23. On the Israel and Palestinian issue, we were encouraged by the general positive signs of progress towards resolving the conflict and securing peace based on the US led Roadmap. However, this has deteriorated in recent weeks. We call upon all parties involved to exercise maximum restraint and work towards the peaceful settlement of this crisis.

24. We are pleased that the Quartet has recently convened in New York to review the Roadmap. We look forward to their strong leadership in assisting to resolve this long outstanding issue.

25. Fighting and violence will not resolve the conflict. We join the international community’s call for both Israel and Palestinian leadership to make renewed efforts at the negotiating table to cease all hostilities by both sides and to find a permanent solution to the problem.

26. Our belief is that diplomacy is the only means by which States must join as partners and co-operate in bringing about changes which promote peace, economic and social progress for all people, both in principle, and more importantly, in practice.


27. We believe that this too should apply to the situation in Iraq. We support the work being done in the Security Council to adopt a new resolution on the UN’s role that would provide a framework for the widest possible participation of UN Member States in the reconstruction of Iraq.

UN Reforms

Mr President,

28. Regarding UN reforms, Papua New Guinea commends the leadership demonstrated by the Secretary General in the current work being done to reform the main organs of the United Nations General Assembly, its subsidiary bodies and agencies including the Security Council.

29. We support the expansion of the Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories. Such reforms should take into account the interests of both developed and developing countries.

30. All Permanent Members in an expanded Council should have similar rights and privileges. However, the use of the veto power should be curtailed and applied only to Chapter Seven issues.

31. In doing so, we must move with speed to complete the reforms of the UN system, including those with the Security Council, so we can restore the efficacy of the multilateral system to better serve us all.

Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development

Mr President,

32. Papua New Guinea fully endorses the recent Declarations and Plan of Actions from the Doha, Monterey and Johannesburg Conferences. We are resolved to meeting the challenges of poverty eradication, hunger, diseases, illiteracy, environmental degradation, climate change, HIV/AIDS, malaria and other preventable diseases. We are also committed to addressing issues of good governance.

33. It is the desire of the Government of Papua New Guinea to incorporate the MDG’s into our National Development priorities. We are in the process of adopting the Medium Term Development Strategy which is aimed at redirecting development to the rural areas where the majority of our people live.

34. We encourage the international community, including all stakeholders in developed and developing countries to continue making resources available to fully implement these Declarations and the Plan of Actions.

35. Like other developing member states of the Pacific Islands Forum, Papua New Guinea is firmly committed to the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island States. We fully support its 10 year review process at the International meeting to be held in Mauritius in August 2004.

36. We call upon our regional and international development partners to support the review process as was the case in the recent conferences of the least developed and landlocked developing countries.


37. The recent breakdown in the WTO negotiations in Cancun is of great concern to us all. However, this should not be a barrier to further negotiations to arrive at a fair and equitable arrangement which caters for the interests of all nations.

38. On a more targeted front, the ACP group of countries, of which Papua New Guinea is a member, are now negotiating with the European Union for a possible Economic Partnership Agreement. It is important that the main objective must be the eradication of poverty and therefore trade preferences enjoyed by ACP countries under successive Lome Conventions and the current Cotonou Agreements should not be eroded.

Oceans and Law of the Sea

Mr President,

39. The Small Islands Developing States of the Pacific region are amongst the custodians of the largest ocean space. The Pacific Ocean is rich in natural marine resources.

40. The recent Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Auckland again reaffirmed the "Pacific Islands Regional Oceans Policy" which aims to ensure the future sustainable use of our oceans and its resources by our island communities in close cooperation with our development partners.

41. The countries of the region however, have limited human, financial and technological capacities to control, manage, and secure these resources for the benefit of our current and future generations.

42. In protecting our vast marine resources, the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders reiterate serious concerns over the shipment of radioactive materials through the Region. They also call upon those states engaged in these activities to accept full responsibility and liability for compensation for any damage that may result directly or indirectly from the transportation of radioactive material through the region. The two accidents which happened in the Atlantic Ocean last year underline the reality of our concerns.

Climate Change/Natural Disasters

Mr President,

43. Papua New Guinea, with other small island developing states, continue to reiterate deep concerns about the adverse impact of climate change, climate variability and sea level rise, particularly on the small low lying islands that are already experiencing extreme hardships. We will continue to stress the urgency for developed countries to exert strong leadership in the reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. Papua New Guinea has signed and ratified both the United Nations Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol.

44. The Kyoto Protocol paves the way forward for developed countries to fulfill their obligations under the Climate Change Convention. We believe that the larger developing countries also have an obligation to take concrete actions in reducing their gas emissions.

45. We welcome the support for the Kyoto Protocol by Japan, the European Community and China. We urge the United States, Russian Federation, and Australia to join the global efforts towards addressing this issue, including the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.

Mr President,

46. Papua New Guinea is also not immune to the HIV/Aids pandemic. Tuberculosis and malaria are again on the rise, so there is an urgent need to find preventative measures for these diseases.

47. I am however pleased to report that the Papua New Guinea Parliament this year enacted legislation aimed at dealing with the scourge by assisting with prevention and awareness programs to reduce and limit the spread of HIV/AIDS threatening the lives of our people, particularly mothers and children.

48. In this regard, we thank Australia for its substantial assistance. We also acknowledge the continuing support from other development partners, including UNICEF, UNAIDS and WHO.

Rights of Women and Children

49. We also support the United Nation’s work in relation to the protection and advancement of the Rights of Women and Children. While we have ratified the appropriate Conventions, we realize that we have to do more. We acknowledge the support being provided by our development partners, including UN Agencies such as UNDP and UNICEF.

Reform of the International Financial Architecture

Mr President,

50. Papua New Guinea fully concurs with the calls by the international community to reform and restructure the charters and mandates of two (2) Bretton Woods Institutions.

51. In this regard, their lending policies should be made more lenient and flexible in assisting the developing countries in their developmental efforts.


Mr President,

52. Among the United Nation’s greatest achievements is the process of decolonization. But the process will not be completed, as it must be, until the remaining sixteen (16) non self-governing territories have exercised their inalienable right to self-determination.

53. The United Nations should continue to monitor developments in New Caledonia, Tokelau and the other fourteen (14) Non Self-Governing Territories on the United Nations Decolonization List on a case by case basis. Neither size, remoteness nor population density should be allowed to limit the exercise of this inalienable right. The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders Meeting held in Auckland, New Zealand last month, once again re-affirmed its support for this principle.


Mr President,

54. In concluding, I want to re-affirm Papua New Guinea’s firm commitment to the timeless principles enshrined in the UN Charter.

55. We also strongly advocate that it is Papua New Guinea’s position that diplomacy through positive dialogue is the key to addressing these challenges.

56. Finally, Papua New Guinea believes that a greater challenge for all UN Member States, is to work together as genuine partners. This will serve as an effective tool for implementing our collective goals to create a better and more secure world today and for future generations.

I thank you.