AT THE 55TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Mr. President, Excellency Harri Holkeri, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Finland,
I offer your Excellency my sincere congratulations on your election as President of the 55th Session of the United Nations Millennium Assembly. We are confident that your expertise and Knowledge of international issues will be an outstanding asset, it will enrich the deliberations of this session, and help the Assembly reach a successful conclusion. We assure you of our delegation's readiness to cooperate with your Excellency to fulfill the objectives, which we all aspire to.
I would like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to your predecessor, RE. Mr. Theo-Ben Gurirab, Foreign Minister of the friendly Republic of Namibia, for the successful manner in which he steered the work in the previous session, which was marked by a genuine desire to enhance and reinvigorate the work of the General Assembly.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express my warmest appreciation of the work of RE. Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, for his persistent efforts and commendable endeavors toward the promotion of the role of the United Nations, and the development of its organs in order to conform with the expectations in the third millennium.
The Sultanate of Oman welcomes the accession of the Republic of Tuvalu to the membership of the United Nations. We hope that its membership will enrich the efforts of the international community, in reaching the noble goals of this important international forum in order to achieve progress and prosperity for all the people of the world
Our Heads of State have already considered our main concerns and preoccupations during the Millennium Summit, and have identified a number of values and principles, which shall guide present and future generations towards a secure and stable livelihood, based on cooperation and peace. If this goal is to be achieved we must remain fully committed to it.
As we bid farewell to a century, which includes in its memory a host of calamities and human sufferings, due both to natural and man‑made causes, we must also remember that this century was also marked by many bold and visionary initiatives that greatly benefited humanity.
At the turn of the century, this stage of our history is characterized by great technological progress, which widens the horizons for development and prosperity. But the emerging international order commonly called "globalisation", has created and increased economic, social and political disparities, at both the international and national levels. Globalisation presents many concerns and challenges to developing countries, sometimes with outcomes which are unpredictable, and this will be a real hindrance to the developing countries' development and progress, limiting the effectiveness of economic integration in a globalised economy.
We in the Sultanate of Oman support globalisation. However, present indications, stemming out of the World Trade Organization, do point towards wealthy countries conglomerating with the aim of using this organization as a tool to advance their own interests, to open the markets of developing countries for their own trade, and to target developing countries' natural resources regardless of any negative economic and social impacts.
The most important factor that lead to the famous Seattle Conference not achieving it's expected conclusion was the aggregation of about 20 countries within the organization attempting to impose their philosophies upon the entire world. This conduct is based on an old doctrine of discriminatory policies, which insinuates the appearance of hidden disputes between various countries. If the World Trade Organization is transformed into a wrestling arena then globalisation and free trade will not be able to meet the needs of developing countries. Furthermore if developing countries are to survive and uphold the basic rights of their citizens, they must obtain their fair share of the fruits of globalisation. It is necessary to enact laws, and regulations and honor agreements in an equal manner that applies to all, because the dominance of a minority is in contradiction with the principles of good governance. Therefore it is incumbent upon us to devise new measures to assure the utilization of technological progress, of which there will be a great deal in the new century, to achieve prosperity and development for all.
The international economy continues to prosper after the setback of the 1997‑1998 recession, due to the economic crash of emerging markets. It is pressing need that we redouble our efforts to avoid a recurrence of this. When the G8 met in Okinawa, Japan, it was obliged to consider the problems of the developing world. The financial assistance offered by the G8 was itself vivid proof that advanced information technologies are designed in such a manner that they can be monopolized by some, and not accessed by others except with great difficulty and at colossal cost. However we still welcome some decisions of the Okinawa Summit, particularly the assistance agreed to combat certain debilitating diseases.
The decision of the G8 to invite the Group of 77, for the first time, to its deliberations was not merely a ceremonial event, it made the vast disparity that exists between developed and developing countries all the more tangible. The Summit addressed the problem of debt which we believe should be totally abolished, and reviewed the policies of the International Monetary Fund and international financial mechanisms. Of these, in particular, the fluctuation of international currencies has created difficult economic problems for advanced countries, let alone countries with small economies, which have to barter their resources with hard currency.
The stumble of the Asian economies occurred because of the power of the market, largely because of currency instability. The prosperity achieved by ASEAN through a decade of dedicated work evaporated. Developing countries have therefore every right to take all necessary precautions against the occurrence of a similar situation.
In view of the fact that the Indian Ocean countries enjoy natural resources and a geographic location poised between three continents, and based on my country's conviction of the importance of this region as a vital economic vein for all its members and their people, the Sultanate of Oman, together with a number of other countries, has played a constructive role to establish and activate the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation
The launching of this newborn association, amongst the many regional economic groupings that cluster throughout the world today, embodies the firm desire of its member‑states to promote this new grouping, which enjoys huge potential and looks forward to creating a huge market.
Based on my country's belief in the importance of regional cooperation, as a means to propel the wheels of development, and to exchange expertise in different fields, we are working to present an agreement to establish a regional Cooperation for Fisheries in the Indian Ocean. We hope this initiative will soon see the light, bringing many benefits in the service of regional stability and development. In this context, we look forward to a pragmatic translation of the objectives of the General Assembly Declaration to make the Indian Ocean a region of peace and security.
In the Sultanate of Oman, we have embraced peace and dialogue as a basic principle since the dawn of the Blessed Omani renaissance on the 23rd of July 1970. We are convinced that dialogue is the foundation on which all sorts of conflict between states and peoples can be resolved. Throughout history, mankind has aspired to enhance confidence on the basis of agreed creative ideas, which deepen and widen common interests and mutual benefits. We believe that dialogue will always remain the surest path to security and stability rather than confrontation.
The Tripartite Camp David Summit on the Peace Process in the Middle East was an extremely important political step, and a display of unique courage by its participants. The Summit imposed upon itself the task of discussing and negotiating fundamental issues of the final settlement in an unprecedented and distinguished manner; particularly so in relation to the future of the Holy Quds. We express our admiration and appreciation of the historical role and great efforts made by U. S. President Bill Clinton. Despite the fact that the Summit did not produce a final agreement between Palestine and Israel, it has opened the door for dialogue on the most complex issues, on which significant progress has been achieved, and has established an important understanding of the true
scope of peace, and the spiritual and emotional sentiments attached to it. B is vital to conclude an agreement, which will lay down the cornerstone for a lasting peace. In our view, there is tangible and clear progress with regards to the positions and claims of each party, as well as their capability to fulfill this mission.
We are confident that the continuation of negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, and contacts on all levels, are the proper and responsible way to reach the desired objective of establishing a just, comprehensive and lasting peace. We confidently look forward to the second round of negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis, with continued U. S. sponsorship. Time has bestowed to all parties an historic opportunity to put in place a solid foundation for peace.
We reaffirm our full support for the Palestinian people for self‑determination on their land, and for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with the Holy Quds as its capital. There is no sovereignty possible on the Holy Quds except that of the Palestinian State, in order to solidify the pillars of peace and security in the region. We expect the State of Israel to understand this fact, which means that the sovereignty of Palestine on the Holy Quds would allow Israelis full freedom of access to worship and conduct their rituals in peace.
We strongly support the position of the Arab Republic of Syria concerning restoration of its land to the line of June 4, 1967. We encourage Israel to resume negotiations on this important track, in accordance with legitimate international principles and resolutions, particularly Security Council resolutions, 242 and 338, and the principle of land for peace. Israel should not feel exposed to security threats in the future because with a peace, which is based on these principles, whether it is with Syria, Palestine, Lebanon or any other Arab neighbour shall build an effective relationship and partnership serving mutual benefits and interests. This, by itself, is one of the most important guarantees of security and stability, based on economic development within the context of globalisation.
Despite all the serious international and regional efforts to alleviate the suffering of the people of Iraq, the general situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate as a result of the economic embargo imposed for the last 10 years. Therefore, we cannot now but call for the establishment of a mechanism to end the siege and to lift the embargo, which doubtlessly has done great harm to the people of Iraq.
Despite the fact that the regime of sanctions was intended as a political mechanism to guarantee that governments implement their commitments in accordance with UN resolutions, this mechanism has now became a weapon that has harmed the basic rights of people and society. This no doubt contradicts the letter and spirit of the International Declaration of Human Rights. We call on the Security Council to adopt new policies and effective mechanisms that will relieve the suffering imposed on states such as Iraq, Libya and the Sudan. The Security Council with its responsibilities defined by the Charter, should without doubt play a positive and unifying role, to maintain security and stability, under international circumstances, which aim to develop a new vision for economic globalisation.
The mechanisms available to the Security Council with regard to Iraq are no longer positive tools. UN inspectors have exerted substantial efforts to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, and indeed destroyed known Iraqi weapons. This could be sufficient to review once again how to end this tragedy, and to establish new mechanisms to enable the Security Council to continue monitoring Iraq's implementation of relevant UN resolutions, alongside the lifting of economic sanctions. We do not believe it is justified to punish a population on simply fear and suspicion. The Security Council should protect the Iraqi people from the deterioration of the human environment. The United Nations has an historical responsibility to cooperate with Iraq in order to minimise the widespread suffering that may befall the people of Iraq in the future. We look forward to Iraq cooperating in a positive manner to clarify the fate of the Kuwaitis who remain captives of the unknown inside Iraq, and their fate still undetermined.
We highly value the efforts of the Secretary General of the United Nations in preparing his annual report. It is important to be willing to adopt a new vision for the restructuring of the United Nations, particularly the Security Council as its principal tool, with primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. We should review the expansion of Security Council membership to reflect a fair representation, as well as to review United Nations activities in regions of conflict and tension; without interference in internal affairs. We fear the United Nations may become a direct participant in regional conflicts that will precipitate financial and moral obligations that it would be unable to fulfill. We have emphasized in the past the importance of the international collaboration which the Untied Nations can foster in support of regional organizations, to achieve peace and development.
The problems of the African continent have been aggravated, and it has become really important to search for the cause of these problems. It is incumbent upon the international community to work together and redouble its efforts in a positive and effective manner to confront the political, social and the problems and the exacerbating health problems. The United Nations should put forward a comprehensive plan, in which all states should participate and contribute, for the development of Africa; instead of fighting over control of its resources.
We are facing real challenges that we must be prepared to confront with courage, if we were to focus on all aspects of development. We need a new century and new millennium marked by a healthy balance between material values and mankind's heritage of moral and spiritual values. We need a world where the strong feels compassion for the weak. We need a working programme for the betterment of living standards of all people in need, wherever they may be.
Thank you, Mr. President.