THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA
It gives me great pleasure on behalf of my delegation, and on my own behalf, to extend to you, Your Excellency, Mr. Julian Hunte, our heartfelt congratulations on your well-deserved election to the Presidency of the 58th session of the General Assembly. My delegation is particularly pleased at the way you have been conducting the work of the Assembly thus far. The skills and experience that you bring to the Assembly have been amply proven in the past days of our deliberations. I wish to assure you of the continued support and cooperation of my delegation.
Let me use this opportunity to congratulate your predecessor, His Excellency, Mr. Jan Kavan of the Czech Republic, for a job well done during the 57th session of the General Assembly.
In the same vein, I wish to pay tribute to our illustrious Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan, for his valiant efforts in bringing the United Nations closer to the people and in fostering peace and development around the world. He is discharging the functions of this high office such that he has won the hearts and minds of many people all over the world.
This 58th session of the General Assembly is being held at a very momentous time in the history of the United Nations. A time when multilateralism is facing serious threats and a time when the United Nations, the main embodiment of multilateralism, has been confronting formidable challenges. Never in history has the relevance and mandate of the United Nations been put to a greater test as in the past few months.
Certainly, the tumultuous events of the past months
have shaken the very foundation of our Organization but have not broken
it. We are comforted by the fact that the United Nations has withstood
the test of time and emerged as not only relevant, but indispensable
in keeping world peace. Likewise, multilateralism has stood out as the
only hope for all peoples. This is therefore a moment to celebrate the
United Nations and its success. As we celebrate the United Nations,
we should always remember that it is our solidarity and steadfastness
to the ideals of the United Nations that made our Organization survive
the trials and turbulences of the past year.
I want to assure this august Assembly that the Government and people of the United Republic of Tanzania take pride in Tanzania's membership in the United Nations. We remain committed to its ideals and ready to work tirelessly towards its advancement, strengthening and success. We will always oppose any designs or action to undermine the United Nations and multilateralism as a whole.
Peace and security still eludes the world as guns and explosives continue to thunder and cries of agony continue to be heard across Continents. These days, violations of human rights have become common occurrences, even among the developed countries of the world. Wars continue to rage, with Africa and Asia, sadly, claiming the largest share. Acts of terror too continue to resonate all over the world. Since the last General Assembly, for example, terrorists have struck in Afghanistan, Algeria, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Kenya, Morocco, Palestine, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
As a country that has been a victim of international terrorism, Tanzania condemns terrorism whatever the reason and wherever it takes place. My government remains committed to the war against terrorism. In this regard, we will continue to cooperate with world governments and institutions of goodwill to defeat terrorism. I would like to take this opportunity to inform this august Assembly that Tanzania has ratified all the major anti-terrorism protocols. We have also legislated a comprehensive law to deal with terrorism and terrorist acts.
It is very saddening to note that even the United Nations has become a target for terrorist attacks as exemplified by the recent tragic bombing of the United Nations Headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq which resulted in the death of 23 UN staff members, including the charismatic diplomat and Chief of Mission, Sergio Viera de Mello and his Chief of Staff Nadia Younes. Once again, we condemn this senseless act while at the same time we join the Secretary General in mourning our fallen heroes. They died for the United Nations. They risked their lives and died for a just cause for which they will be remembered forever in the history of our Organization. Tanzania proposes a befitting memorabilia be erected in their memory by the United Nations.
Tanzania appreciates the support of the United Nations and the international community to the efforts expended by African nations and leaders in the search for peace in the Continent. We appeal for continued support to sustain the peace and in the reconstruction phase. Equally important, I appeal for timely support and action. Experience has shown that support of the international community, including the United Nations, in finding solutions to African conflicts is a bit too slow or comes a bit too late.
My delegation is extremely pleased to have been a witness on September 25, 2003 to the adoption of the principles of good-neighbourly relations and cooperation between the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda. It is a welcome initiative. We commend the Secretary General, Kofi Annan, for conceiving the idea. Once again, I want to register Tanzania's support to the initiative and promise to do whatever is within our means to promote its success.
I would also like to use this opportunity to call on the international community to extend the necessary political, economic and financial support to the transitional government in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, under the leadership of President Joseph Kabila. We consider this critical to keep up the momentum and avoid reversals.
The situation in Burundi, regrettably, remains precarious. While we welcome the smooth transfer of power from President Pierre Buyoya to President Domitien Ndaizeyi, we also take note of positive developments under the transitional government. However, the government and people of Burundi need to be supported to achieve comprehensive peace and social and economic reconstruction. The regional leaders have been trying to help and will continue to do so now and in future. Some progress has been made but serious challenges still lie ahead.
The unrelenting support of the international community, especially the Security Council, is therefore essential. We also call on the international community to do more on the side of extending economic and financial support to the transitional government of Burundi. They need the support to effectively respond to the humanitarian needs in the country.
My government welcomes the decision taken by the United Nations to convene the long-awaited International Conference on the Great Lakes Region. Preparations are progressing well under the able leadership of Mr. Ibrahama Fall, the Secretary General's Representative for the Great Lakes Region. There is good cooperation between him, the African Union and the six core countries of the Great Lakes Region. Tanzania feels greatly honoured to be given the opportunity to host the Conference in June 2004. We stand ready to contribute to the success of this Conference.
The Conference will undoubtedly provide an important forum to all concerned parties to deliberate on important issues of peace, stability and development in the region. We hope also the Conference will accord due focus on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of war-torn countries of the Great Lakes Region. I appeal to all of us in the United Nations to extend the requisite material, financial, political and diplomatic support to the Conference.
We welcome the latest Baker Plan on resolving the long-standing Western Sahara problem. We appeal to the parties to extend the maximum possible cooperation to Mr. James Baker so that the people of Western Sahara can have an opportunity to determine their future peacefully.
"Reform of the Refugee Convention"
Owing to its geographic position in a conflict-ridden
region, and its history of stability and traditional hospitality, Tanzania
has played host to thousands of refugees from neighbouring countries.
The influx started in 1959 and has not stopped to date. At present,
we play host to about 800,000 refugees from Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic
Republic of the Congo and Somalia. We remain committed to our international
obligations under the 1951 Geneva
THE ROAD MAP TO PEACE
The situation in the Middle East remains a matter of great concern to my Government. When the Middle East Road Map was promulgated a few months ago, we became hopeful. My government supported it because it addressed comprehensively the issue of the establishment of a viable Palestinian state living side-by-side and in peace with Israel. We still believe that the Road Map is the most reasonable and viable way of resolving the long-standing Israeli-Palestine conflict. It is an imperative therefore that the obstacles on the Road Map are overcome quickly. Violence and counter-violence will not help. We are of the view also that use of excessive force and resort to extra-judicial measures in dealing with Palestinian militants or to exile President Yasser Arafat will be counter-productive. Instead, it will inflame the situation. We appeal to the Quartet and' the Security Council to do everything possible to bring the implementation of the Road Map back on track.
THE MILLENNIUM DECLARATION
As we all remember, at the dawn of the 21st century, a special session of this General Assembly discussed the challenge of poverty and development. At the end we came up with the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which embodied a vision of engaging in a comprehensive offensive against poverty, deprivation and lack of development. Clear targets were set of halving the scourge of poverty by 2015.
When we look back and do an evaluation of what has been achieved in the three years since the Millennium Summit, one cannot fail to discover that not much has been done. The estimated $50 to $100 billion additional resources required annually over a period of 15 years to finance the implementation of the MDGs is far from being realized. The subsequent meetings in Monterrey on Financing for Development; the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, as well as the successive Summits of the G8, have not been able to meet the requirement. As it stands now, the Millennium Development Goals risk not being implemented as expected. Indeed, something needs to be done quickly to save that historic Summit. It is incumbent upon the developed countries to demonstrate greater political will. Certainly failure will not be good for our Organization. For sure, it will be bad for all of us.
The current wave of globalization is the greatest economic process of our time. The unfortunate collapse of the WTO meeting in Cancun last month demands that we face up to this phenomenon. We hope the Summit will be reconvened soon. The social imperative of the wave of globalization presents is with two interlinked challenges that are central to the work of this Organization. These pertain, on the one hand, to fighting poverty, and on the other, to working on constructive and inclusive measures to promote the effectiveness of global institutions for global issues and conflicts.
These concerns have also been at the centre of the work of the World Commission on the Social Dimensions of Globalization established last year under the auspices of the International Labour Organization, with a mandate to promote social justice and decent work linked to economic and social policies for global prosperity. The World Commission, which my President, H.E Benjamin William Mkapa, is privileged to Co-chair with President Tarja Halonen of Finland, is about to complete its work and is due to submit its report early next year.
The Commission has been a forum of useful dialogue between eminent personalities with a wide cross-section of backgrounds, views and competencies. It has consulted widely and extensively. Its report is expected to generate practical ideas for change that can make the process of globalization more inclusive and more equitable. It will address the needs of those who feel marginalized, as well as those who have benefited from globalization but feel uncertain about the future. It will speak of the significance of a value-based multilateralism and the role of this Organization.
However, the recommendations, mandate and vision of the work of the Commission will not be undertaken, pursued and achieved through the work of the International Labor Organization alone. They will constitute a wide remit for other agencies of the United Nations, other multilateral agencies, regional groupings, individual governments and non-governmental organizations and the civil society. It is hoped also that the report will be submitted to this august assembly for consideration and appropriate promotional direction.
It is the hope of my delegation that the Commission's report will be a welcome basis for collective and concerted action towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, and in rendering globalization a process that works for all people, in all countries; within countries and between countries.
The fight against AIDS remains a major challenge to mankind today. It is a war that we must fight and win. We realise the dire consequences of the pandemic on human life and on our economies. The High-Level Plenary Meeting held last week was very reassuring. Most of us came away from the session modestly optimistic. Certainly, our resolve to squarely face up to the pandemic and to meet the targets set has to be coupled with equal responsibility for leadership initiatives, accountability and more judicious resource mobilization and management.
"REFORM OF THE UNITED NATIONS"
Reform of the United Nations Security Council has been in the cards for sometime now. Tanzania is convinced that the reform of the Security Council is desirable to make this important organ of our Organization more representative, more democratic, more transparent and more measured in the conduct of its business. We believe that this will go a long way towards renewing the confidence and support of Member States in the relevance and effectiveness of their Organization.
Tanzania accepts the truism that reform is a process and not an event. We support the establishment of the High level Panel of eminent personalities to review the functioning of major organs of the United Nations. We look forward to its early constitution. We attach special importance to this process and promise to play our part.
I thank you for your attention.