On behalf of the Uganda delegation, I wish to congratulate you Mr. President on your election to preside over the 58th Session of the UN General Assembly. We are confident that under your able leadership, we shall achieve the objectives of our deliberations. I wish also to thank the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, for the excellent leadership he has provided to the UN during a very trying and difficult year.
Uganda attaches great importance to the centrality of United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security and fostering of international development cooperation. In this regard, Uganda hopes that this General Assembly will focus on the critical reform of the UN to meet the new challenges to multilateralism.
Terrorism has reached epic proportions as a threat to international peace and security. Particularly since September 11, terrorist organizations have indiscriminately attacked, killed and maimed thousands of innocent civilians in Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. In Northern Uganda, a terrorist organization called the "Lords Resistance Army" has killed hundreds, displaced thousands, and abducted children into forced recruitment and sale in slavery.
On August 19, the terrorists chose to strike at the heart
of the United Nations. They attacked the UN Headquarters in Baghdad. This
callous attack led to the death of innocent Iraqis and many members of
the UN staff, including the Secretary-General's Special Representative,
Sergio Viera de Mello. On behalf of the Government and people of Uganda
I wish to express sincere condolences to the UN Secretary-General and
to the bereaved families. We must condemn these acts of terrorism in the
strongest terms and the international community must unite to fight this
scourge. Under no circumstances should indiscriminate use of violence
We must acknowledge that the emergence of new threats such as terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (WMD), combined with genocide and the massive violations of human rights, pose a clear and present challenge to United Nations.
Uganda, therefore, shares the view of the Secretary-General that the time has come to examine the fundamental policy issues and structural mechanisms that may be needed to deal with these new challenges. We support his proposal to establish a Group of Eminent Persons to make recommendations regarding the necessary reforms of the UN Security Council and other UN institutions and processes.
On the situation in the Middle East, Uganda welcomes the Quartet-led Roadmap for a comprehensive settlement. We support the establishment of a Palestinian State living side by side and in peace with Israel, within secure and recognized borders in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.
Turning to the Great Lakes Region, we are pleased to note that there have been positive developments as a result of regional and international efforts to build peace and stability in the region. In the DRC, the Transitional Government of National Unity has been established in accordance with the Lusaka Cease-fire Agreement and the related Pretoria and Luanda Agreements as well as the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.
Uganda remains committed to supporting the peace process
in the DRC including ending the Lendu-Hema inter-ethnic conflict in the
Ituri Province. Uganda encouraged the UN Security Council to establish
a robust MONUC force under Chapter VII for peace keeping operations in
the DRC including disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation, resettlement
and re¬integration (DDRRR) of the negative forces.
With regard to the situation in Burundi, the implementation of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement remains on track under the regional initiative chaired by President Museveni of Uganda, and facilitated by Deputy President Zuma of South Africa. The African Union Mission in Burundi (ANIIB) has been established. We call upon the international community, including the UN Security Council, to provide the necessary support for the Mission.
On the Sudan, the Government of Uganda commends the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/ Army for the historic agreement on security arrangements signed in Naivasha, Kenya last week. We urge parties to expedite the negotiation of the remaining issues so that a comprehensive agreement is reached. The restoration of peace, security and political stability in the Sudan is not only good for the long-¬suffering people there, but also for Africa as a whole.
Uganda particularly welcomes the initiative of the Secretary-General to convene a High-level meeting which adopted the Principles on Good¬Neighbourly Relations and Cooperation between the DRC, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda on 25 September 2003. Our countries pledged to refrain from interfering directly or indirectly in one another's internal affairs; including making sure that none of the neighbouring countries territory is used to arm, supply or host any hostile elements/ armed groups against the other.
These efforts aimed at restoration of peace, security, political stability and good-neighbourliness are not only good for the Great Lakes Region, but for Africa and indeed the international community as a whole. Uganda strongly believes that these are necessary pre-conditions for regional integration, and promotion of trade and investment to meet the needs of our people. To this end Uganda welcomes and supports the forthcoming UN Conference on Great Lakes Region.
Despite many commitments already made at various international fora, the international community has yet to demonstrate sufficient political will to mobilize adequate resources to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to ensure equitable sharing of benefits of globalization for all. The failure of the Cancun WTO Ministerial Conference vividly points in this direction.
Since the Millennium Summit in 2000, important plans of action, declarations and strategies have been agreed upon, inter-alia, in Brussels, Doha, Monterrey, Johannesburg and Almaty for the achievement of sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals. The challenge for the international community now is to ensure their full and effective follow-up and implementation. The international community must accord special priority to the development needs of the Landlocked and Least Developed Countries in order to facilitate their full integration into the global system.
Although Official Development Assistance will continue to play an important role in development, Uganda regards trade as the single most important external source of development financing and productivity growth. In this respect, the Doha Development Agenda should not only ensure that the Least Developed countries have access to markets, but also attain capacity to produce competitively for those markets. We call upon the developed countries to show the necessary flexibility, especially on the question of agricultural subsidies, to allow for the full and timely conclusion of the comprehensive agenda agreed at Doha.
The 57th UN General Assembly endorsed NEPAD as a home-grown African framework for international development cooperation with the Continent. We reiterate the call made last week from this podium by the current Chairman of African Union, President Joachim Chissano of Mozambique, for strong and effective support for NEPAD by the international community.
In summary, Uganda has supported the call for collective action against terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. We have noted the positive developments in the Great Lakes Region and expressed our commitment to building a peaceful and stable region. We have also underscored the need for urgent and effective implementation of agreed plans of action to meet the Millennium Development Goals and practical support for NEPAD. Finally, we have re-affirmed our full commitment to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
I thank you.