Print
GA/8967
23 October 1995

UNITED NATIONS CANNOT MEET GOALS WHILE ON BRINK OF INSOLVENCY, STATE WORLD LEADERS AT FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY MEETING

23 October 1995


Press Release
GA/8967


UNITED NATIONS CANNOT MEET GOALS WHILE ON BRINK OF INSOLVENCY, STATE WORLD LEADERS AT FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY MEETING

19951023

Speakers Say Anniversary Must Address UN Finances In Addition to Reform, Revitalization, Democratization

World leaders assembled in New York to commemorate the United Nations fiftieth anniversary this afternoon warned that the United Nations could not carry out its goals successfully while it tottered on the brink of financial insolvency. They called for the fiftieth anniversary to address that critical issue, as well as issues relating to reform, revitalization and democratization, so that it can adapt to the challenges of the times.

Speakers urged leaders to recognize their responsibility to support the Organization, respect one another's sovereignty, traditions and individuality, implement social, economic and political plans of action and abide by the principles of the Charter.

Statements were made this afternoon by King Mswati III of Swaziland; President Jerry John Rawlings of Ghana; President Soeharto of Indonesia; President Bailey Olter of the Federated States of Micronesia; President Glafcos Clerides of Cyprus; President Armando Calderon Sol of El Salvador; President Antonio Mascarenhas Monteiro of Cape Verde; Governor-General Bill Hayden of Australia; and President Ange-Felix Patasse of the Central African Republic.

The special commemorative meeting also heard statements by the Chairman of the Legislative Chamber of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mukar Cholponbayev; President of the National Assembly of Togo, Dahuku Pere; Prime Minister Owen Arthur of Barbados; Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel of Belize; Deputy Prime Minister Sheik Sultan Zayed Al-Nahayan of the United Arab Emirates; Second Deputy Prime Minister Prince Sultan Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia; Deputy Prime Minister Sheik Abdulla Khalifa Al-Thani of Qatar; Deputy Prime Minister Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili of Lesotho; and the Secretary of the General People's Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of Libya, Omar Mustafa Muntasser.

General Assembly Plenary - 1a - Press Release GA/8967 38th Meeting (PM) 23 October 1995

Also addressing the Assembly were Foreign Minister Destin Arsene Tsaty- Boungou of the Congo, Foreign Minister Chief Tom Ikimi of Nigeria and Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Ben Micah.

Statements were also made by the Chairman of the Delegation of Djibouti, Roble Olhaye; Chairperson of the Delegation of Trinidad and Tobago, Annette des Iles; Chairman of the Delegation of Samoa, Tuiloma Neroni Slade; Chairman of the Delegation of the League of Arab States, Mahmoud Aboul-Nasr; Member of the European Commission of the European Community, Hans van den Broek; President of the Permanent Council of Francophone States of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation, Emile Derlin Zinsou; and the Secretary- General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Chief Emeka Anyaoku.

When it meets again at 10 a.m. Tuesday, 24 October, the General Assembly will continue its special commemorative meeting.

Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly meets this afternoon to continue its special meeting in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations.

Addresses

MSWATI III, King of Swaziland: Swaziland remains committed to the Charter of the Untied Nations and pledges its support to the Organization and its agencies. After 50 years, the United Nations must learn from its mistakes and build on its successes. "We have much to be proud of, and we honour particularly those whose lives have been dedicated and lost in the service of mankind."

"Today I stand before you representing not only my own country, but also the youth of the world, and the generations still to come." During its next 50 years, the United Nations must focus on their expectations. Those expectations include good health, shelter, security for one's family, freedom to pursue the ideas and beliefs of one's choice, and to be educated and employed. Above all, they include the ability to live in peace, on equal terms with one another, and in harmony with all God's creatures.

The draft declaration before the Assembly is a blueprint for the improved performance of the United Nations. It requires the Members of the United Nations to work together with a common purpose. The Organization's key decision-making bodies must adapt so as to truly represent all countries, and to arrive at conclusions that take account of the opinions and welfare of all peoples.

Members of the United Nations must each recognize their responsibilities. These include supporting the Organization; respecting one another's sovereignty, traditions and individuality; implementing social, economic and political plans of action; and abiding by the principles of the Charter.

JERRY J. RAWLINGS, President of Ghana: The United Nations Charter has given the post-war international community moral and legal bearings. It has expressed in unforgettable words the principles upon which a new, better world could be built, a world where tolerance and mutual respect would reign.

"We cannot help being struck by the fact that the international community is willing to spend $5 million a day on United Nations peace-keeping operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina -- and we do not begrudge those noble people such international solidarity -- but when we have asked for a sum that represents 10 to 15 days of that bill to help Liberia, there is deafening silence." It must not be forgotten that Africa's resources, human and

General Assembly Plenary - 5 - Press Release GA/8967 38th Meeting (PM) 23 October 1995

material, have over the centuries, made a major contribution to the wealth of human beings and to human progress.

"We must denounce the selfishness that has the means and sees the other's need, but refuses to meet it. We see the reckless over-consumption of some, amid the wrenching, grinding poverty of many." It is also important to deplore the international focus on only the negative about Africa: the images of starving children, but not of new schools and clinics; the emphasis on failed policies, but not on success stories; the focus on urban degradation, but not on new industrial progress.

Mr. SOEHARTO, President of Indonesia: The fiftieth anniversay of the United Nations is significant to Indonesia because at the same time Indonesia is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of its proclamation of independence. The Charter of the United Nations and the Indonesian Constitution embrace the same principles and objectives. The United Nations is an important forum for the fulfilment of Indonesia's constitutional mandate to contribute to the eradication of colonialism, domination, poverty and injustice. The Organization has figured prominently in Indonesia's struggle to preserve its freedom.

On the whole, the United Nations has pursued an immense array of activities that have touched every aspect of people's lives. It cannot, however, continue to carry them out with undiminished success and vigour while it totters on the brink of financial insolvency. Let the fiftieth anniversary be an occasion to address this critical issue, as well as those relating to reform, revitalization and democratization, so that it can adapt to the challenges of the times. Although the Organization has launched a series of international development strategies, they have not been sufficient to redress the imbalances between the developed and the developing countries.

There is no question that the peoples of the world need the United Nations. What is often forgotten is that the United Nations needs the help of its Member States, who applaud its triumphs, but often forget that United Nations failures are their own. The international community will never be able to realize the new international order of greater peace, social justice and common prosperity so long as the Organization remains as it is today. That goal can be reached only after the United Nations is made an effective instrument of peace.

BAILEY OLTER, President of the Federated States of Micronesia: The people of Micronesia have placed special reliance on the United Nations throughout its existence. They remain grateful to the Trusteeship Council and to the United States as Administering Authority for the roles they played in Micronesia's progress towards independence. The conclusion of the work of the Trusteeship Council, just prior to this anniversary, is an accomplishment to

General Assembly Plenary - 6 - Press Release GA/8967 38th Meeting (PM) 23 October 1995

be celebrated. However, some nations have not put aside their colonial self- interest. This unfortunate reality still affects the lives of millions of people in the Pacific region.

"Because our region lies distant from the homelands of the colonial Powers, it retains a certain usefulness to them for the disposal of their dangerous materials and for the conduct of tests and other practices too hazardous to carry out at home." Along with the colonial inhabitants, others in the region are forced to endure the consequences of those actions, consequences which will be felt for generations to come.

The Charter commits all Members to promote respect for human rights. This is closely related to obligations regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories. Sad to say, those Charter goals remain largely unrealized. It is hoped that, during the next 50 years, strides can be made in achieving better harmony between national self-interest and the legitimate rights and expectations of the less-empowered people of the world.

The accomplishments of the United Nations in advancing world peace and security cannot be minimized. But the Organization has an even greater mission. The Charter calls on all people and governments to respect the rights of all to live in conditions of decency and equity. This challenge applies both to the developed and the developing nations. It calls for a universal awakening to the reality that the interests of each generation are linked.

"The destruction of war, improper stewardship of our natural resources, the pollution of our living space, the diminishment of our biological diversity and the havoc we will wreak upon the very climate of our planet, all will combine to overwhelm the Earth's population unless we find common ground. That common ground exists. It is the Charter of the United Nations."

GLAFCOS CLERIDES, President of Cyprus: The United Nations has addressed the vital issues of decolonization, peace-keeping, human rights, democratization, and the development and codification of international law with considerable success. "At the same time, long-standing problems, including the problem of the invasion and occupation of part of the territory of my country by Turkey, remained unresolved for years."

The United Nations Charter is a great human achievement, but "what is really needed is to reduce the gap between principle and practice created by the failure to apply objectively and universally the provisions of the Charter, thus causing insecurity, frustration and bitterness. It is also essential to uphold the authority of the Organization against those who flout international opinion as expressed in United Nations resolutions".

General Assembly Plenary - 7 - Press Release GA/8967 38th Meeting (PM) 23 October 1995

The challenges of the ever-changing, interdependent world require the United Nations to deal, on a priority basis, with the very important issues of revitalizing, both financially and otherwise, and of reforming and strengthening our Organization so that it may become a more potent instrument in the service of mankind. "Perhaps no tribute to our Organization would be more befitting than to recommit ourselves to the everlasting principles and ideals of the United Nations Charter and join the determined efforts, now and in the years that lie ahead, to invigorate both our institution and our own resolve for the promotion of its universal aspirations for peace, justice and cooperation among the countries and peoples of the world."

ARMANDO CALDERON SOL, President of El Salvador: With the help of the United Nations, the people of El Salvador achieved peace and put an end to a civil war that had lasted more than 10 years. This deepened El Salvador's commitments to the principles of the Organization.

Member States bear the responsibility for giving the United Nations the will and the means to obtain its objectives. In this context, the Organization must pursue its modernization process, which will permit it to rationalize the utilization of its resources and at the same time improve the efficiency and transparency of its activities.

The current world situation calls for prompt and effective measures against the production, trafficking and consumption of drugs, and against terrorism, money-laundering, organized crime, corruption and all such problems now plaguing humanity. The eradication of poverty continues to be the main challenge before the Organization. "We must not rest until he that is born poor is not condemned to die poor."

If the Organization is going to effectively meet such challenges, it is indispensable that the Member States show the necessary political will and that they meet their financial obligations. United Nations institutions should allow for more equitable participation. The representative nature of the Security Council should be enhanced, to better reflect the new structure of the international community.

ANTONIO MASCARENHAS MONTEIRO, President of Cape Verde: The special meeting is no mere celebration. The representatives here have the crucial task of assessing the course taken by the United Nations during the past half century and determining its future direction. It is the dawn of a new era, with new demands. "We must reaffirm our unequivocal will to fulfil the aims and purposes of the United Nations."

General Assembly Plenary - 8 - Press Release GA/8967 38th Meeting (PM) 23 October 1995

Firm leadership is needed on the part of the United Nations, to ensure that all Member States, large and small, can focus their energies on the well- being to which all peoples are entitled. Development is a vital issue for humanity. No effort will succeed without a framework in which peace is an overriding value. Peace and development are complementary, requiring the commitment of the international community as a whole, with the understanding that what is at stake is the future of humanity.

The contributions of all those who seek a better world are needed in such areas as the fight against desertification and drought, protection of the global environment, poverty eradication, the prevention and management of intra- and inter-State conflicts, resolution of refugee problems, improvement of the condition of women, social development, international crime prevention, and the promotion of human rights.

Continuing consideration should be given to financial matters, so that action for development is not impaired. There must be equality of rights among States and transparency and democratization within the United Nations. This applies in particular to the Security Council.

BILL HAYDEN, Governor-General of Australia: While Australia's primary goal for the United Nations in 1945 was the creation of a system in which conflicts could be settled peacefully, it argued then that the political activity of the United Nations would not be enough by itself to prevent future conflicts, and that the more fundamental causes of the world's problems would have to be tackled if international peace and stability were to be guaranteed. While the nature of the threats to global security and stability have changed since then, the Charter is as relevant today as it was in 1945 and the international community need look no further than to a reaffirmation of its goals and objectives to guide the Organization in the next millennium.

The challenge today is to reintegrate the functions of the Organization in the way the founders intended, to avoid the rigid division of peace and security issues, development issues and human rights and justice issues. International peace, and peace within States, must be based on an inextricable linking of the concept of peace and security and the concept of development. If human needs for dignity and liberty are not met, all the material gain imaginable is unlikely to lead to sustainable peace.

The United Nations can only do what its Member States allow it to do. If the United Nations is to work in the way the international community wants it to, it must be provided with appropriate resources and "we must be prepared to pay for it". Beyond this, the Organization must look seriously at the options which exist for supplementing contributions from Member States by external sources of finance.

General Assembly Plenary - 9 - Press Release GA/8967 38th Meeting (PM) 23 October 1995

ANGE-FELIX PATASSE, President of the Central African Republic: It appears unfair to some nations that an organization that wishes to be universal and democratic excludes other nations from its decision-making bodies. It is urgent to expand the Security Council and decentralize the United Nations system better to meet the needs of the people making up the Organization.

In Africa, if there is no sustainable development without democracy, there is also no democracy without economic and social development. The international community must mobilize itself in favour of a new economic order, one capable of honouring human dignity and of supporting Africa in its efforts, taking into account the constraints upon it. Specific problems include: the underrepresentation of Africa in international institutions; Africa's low rate of participation in international trade; its low capacity for investment because of domestic and external debt; and, especially, the cost of setting up new institutions in States that have successfully managed their democratic transition.

There should be a genuine Marshall Plan of aid for Africa. There should be more firmness demonstrated against injustice, along with more strictly- democratic approaches to things, in order to save the universality of the United Nations, particularly as regards the two Chinas and the two Koreas.

MUKAR CHOLPONBAYEV, Chairman of the Legislative Assembly of the Kyrgyz Republic: Thanks to the work of the United Nations, and despite enormous difficulties, the world community has been successful in interrupting the tragic cycle of world wars. Today, discussions can focus not on global war but on global development. "Although almost everyone, for a variety of reasons, is critical of the United Nations performance, we are all committed to its goals and principles. This means that the United Nations is a vibrant body and one that is needed by all of us." Joint efforts should aim at making it more efficient and responsive.

The Kyrgyz Republic appreciates the United Nations efforts in support of the recently independent States. "We see our future progress to be in the mainstream of global development. We have chosen the path of democracy and radical economic reforms."

The United Nations and its bodies should be transformed to meet the challenges of the post-cold war era. The Security Council should be reformed and made more efficient. "We are not in favour of turning it into a club of the rich and the powerful." The principle of global interdependence must be realized. "It will be difficult for larger countries to have material and spiritual prosperity until they feel that they are a part of the same world as smaller countries."

General Assembly Plenary - 10 - Press Release GA/8967 38th Meeting (PM) 23 October 1995

One cannot expect universal and eternal peace while factors causing hatred, intolerance and conflicts persist. The United Nations should be an international mechanism for preventing catastrophes rather than fighting their consequences. There must also be regional cooperation. The problems of ecology, security and drug trafficking require the joint efforts of all interested parties.

DAHUKU PERE, President of the National Assembly of Togo: As a former ward of the United Nations, Togo finds the commemoration of the Organization's fiftieth anniversary especially important. Togo owes its sovereignty to the United Nations which helped in its struggle for independence. While the United Nations has allowed us to escape a third world war, it has not succeeded in economic and social development. The goals of peace and international security have not been achieved. Preventive diplomacy must be strengthened and the General Assembly must be more involved in the process. The Security Council must be expanded to reflect today's international realities.

Improvement in the well-being of the peoples of the south is imperative; the eradication of poverty and illiteracy must be among the highest priorities of the United Nations. The international community must ensure justice and fairness as well as improve the international economic environment, including the role of the international financial organizations. The Organization must redouble its efforts to achieve its goals by exploiting the resources of the entire United Nations system. The peoples of the world expect that the Organization will fulfil its goals better in the next 50 than it did during the last 50.

OWEN S. ARTHUR, Prime Minister of Barbados: The vision of global cooperation enshrined in the Organization has matured into an extensive network of institutions whose service to humanity has touched the daily lives of people in every corner of the world. The Organization has a proud record of accomplishments; it has become the best hope for promoting global peace and security even as it fashions a body of international law and standard-setting that facilitates interdependence and cooperation.

The United Nations has promoted democracy, economic and social justice, and has provided a universal mechanism for charting international economic and social policy. It played a crucial role in the decolonization of more than 60 countries and the dismantling of apartheid.

The United Nations must construct a new system of security to deal with new conflicts taking place mainly within -- rather than between -- nations. It must also intensify its development mission and respond with greater despatch to the suffering of the world's poor. The United Nations remains a special place for small island developing States. Often buffeted by natural

General Assembly Plenary - 11 - Press Release GA/8967 38th Meeting (PM) 23 October 1995

and man-made disasters, and by the economic dislocations of globalization, those countries look to the Organization as their greatest hope for peace, development and social justice.

MANUEL ESQUIVEL, Prime Minister of Belize: Priority should be given in 1995 to Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Charter, which states that "The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members." Today, as the large and the powerful sit with the small and vulnerable, that principle is a difficult pill to swallow for some and an illusive goal for others.

The formal inequality of Member States is seen in the composition of the Security Council. The Charter must be amended to guarantee that the voice of small Member States and all geographic regions is heard in the Council. The principle of formal equality must also be applied to such issues as full employment, social integration and poverty. Additionally, pressure is being brought to bear on smaller nations to join the rush to the new orthodoxy of free trade. If largely agricultural economies are to survive, however, the potentials of the weaker and less experienced must be equalized with those of the stronger.

Many today are still unprepared to accept that human beings and nations are entitled to move upward on economic, social, political and cultural trajectories. They cannot accept the minimal obligation to transfer a nominal 0.7 per cent of their gross national product for official development assistance. Equality remains the great unfinished business of this Organization.

SHEIKH SULTAN ZAYED AL-NAHAYAN, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates: The United Nations was playing an historic role in strengthening international peace and security, especially in the Arab region that had suffered numerous wars over recent decades. The Arab region looked to the Organization to take a greater role in finding solutions to those problems. The occupation by Iran of three islands belonging to the United Arab Emirates was a direct threat to the security of the region.

On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary, all countries should review their commitment to the aims and objectives of the Charter and the provisions of international law. They should reaffirm the political will to strengthen the Organization and its specialized agencies and increase its effectiveness in order to realize the aims and goals for which it was established. The United Arab Emirates took a principled view in opposing extremism, terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and drug smuggling.

General Assembly Plenary - 12 - Press Release GA/8967 38th Meeting (PM) 23 October 1995

The international community should take the opportunity of the fiftieth anniversary to evaluate the course of the past and to set out for a bright future, in which all mankind will be blessed with security, stability and development.

PRINCE SULTAN ABDULAZIZ Al-SAUD, Deputy Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia: As the heart of the Muslim world and the country from which the Islamic Faith emerged, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to fulfil its mission towards peace. It has completed an ambitious development programme, including $70.60 billion in foreign aid contributions to 72 developing nations during the past two decades. Saudi Arabia believes in the importance of the realization of United Nations objectives. Security Council resolutions against Iraq had a very positive impact, and created renewed confidence in the role of the Organization in support of countries whose sovereignty is threatened. They enabled Kuwait to restore its right of existence and sovereignty.

Saudi Arabia attaches great importance to the safety and territorial sovereignty of Iraq, but holds the Iraqi regime responsible for the suffering of the Iraqi people. The regime must implement all Security Council resolutions, including the release of all prisoners of war. The Middle East process must continue. The Lebanese track of that process still has to be advanced, provided that Security Council resolutions regarding Israel's withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, and regarding Jerusalem -- Al- Quds Al-Sharif -- are adhered to. And for peace to be based on trust, all weapons of mass destruction must be eliminated from the entire Middle East region.

Serb aggression in Bosnia and Herzegovina must be confronted with firmness. Despite being late, the international response under the leadership of the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was correct. The United Nations should not merely manage conflicts but prevent them. "Delays in responding to events cause it to waste resources on failures rather than successes, and on death rather than life." Member States must be determined to support the United Nations at this time; they should abide by the Charter and provide support for the Organization, to enable it to achieve its goals so that the peoples of the world can enjoy security and continued progress.

SHEIKH ABDULLA KHALIFA AL-THANI, Deputy Prime Minister, Qatar: The fiftieth anniversary should be the moment of a new departure which will consolidate the trust of people and of human dignity. In a new United Nations, the challenges of intolerance, internal conflicts and international wars will be dealt with by preventive measures. The Organization should also take on underdevelopment, poverty and sickness. The United Nations machinery, such as the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council should be

General Assembly Plenary - 13 - Press Release GA/8967 38th Meeting (PM) 23 October 1995

reformed. The Security Council should be expanded and the Economic and Social Council should be re-energized.

The establishment of peace and justice in the Middle East has been a goal of the United Nations since its founding. The present peace process should bring a just and lasting settlement to the conflicts of the region. Qatar would work to implement the noble principles of the United Nations and of its Charter, including the peaceful settlement of disputes and non- interference into the internal affairs of Member States.

A new United Nations should seek to achieve the goals for which it was established. It should write a new history based upon the twin pillars of security and development. The Organization should be the guarantor of the world's aspirations. It should be the conscience of the world's peoples.

PAKALITHA BETHUEL MOSISILI, Deputy Prime Minister of Lesotho: Lesotho understands the bitter consequences of war and other war-like conflicts and is, therefore, committed to peace. In the words of King Moshoeshoe the First, Lesotho's founding father, "Peace is like rain which makes the grass grow, while war is like the wind which dries it up." All nations must renounce war and ban all nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

The United Nations needs to reflect on the causes of internal and international conflicts, most of which are a result of such fundamental problems as socio-economic deprivation, political and religious intolerance, oppression, ethnic cleansing and foreign occupation. Those, in addition to genocide, xenophobia and colonial domination, are inimical to the Organization's principles. Lesotho is proud of its modest contribution to one of the ideals of the United Nations -- tolerance among peoples. During the dark days of apartheid, Lesotho shared its modest resources with South African refugees, without making them feel that they were outsiders. Tribute must be paid to the Organization for its role in hastening the demise of apartheid and for its assistance to the refugees.

The three pillars of the United Nations agenda in the next 50 years are peace, human rights and the betterment of humankind's economic and social conditions. The Organization's capacity to satisfy aspirations in those fields must be enhanced and institutional reform accelerated, especially in those three areas. The Security Council needs to be enlarged to reflect current political realities in which the countries of the South are a preponderant majority of the United Naitons. Its structure was no longer consonant with the present-day drive for democracy within and among States. Similarly, the Economic and Social Council must be restructured to better meet the challenges facing the world's underprivileged. The Secretariat must be provided with adequate financial and human resources.

General Assembly Plenary - 14 - Press Release GA/8967 38th Meeting (PM) 23 October 1995

OMAR MUSTAFA MUNTASSER, Secretary of the General People's Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation, Libya: For the past 50 years the United Nations has sought to create a more secure world, yet the world has not yet become more peaceful. The failure of the United Nations to achieve this was due to the absence of political will on the part of great Powers which withheld financial resources from the Organization. Also, a few States were seeking to use the Organization to achieve their political agendas.

The General Assembly had become a powerless "wailing wall". The Security Council is an exclusive club where double standards are the order of the day. The Council no longer observes the rule of law; it observes only customary law. A few Council members impose their policies through the Council, using it as a tool to impose sanctions on countries, especially small States, in an attempt to subjugate them. The Council, entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining international peace and security, has become an instrument of aggression.

The General Assembly should convene a special session dedicated to the study of the phenomenon of terrorism -- including State terrorism. Terrorism is, in essence, an American phenomenon. That Government has used it against many peoples around the world, including against Libya. American terrorism reached its peak when hundreds of American military aircraft bombed schools, houses and hospitals in Libya. The United States recently arranged to have sanctions placed on Libya, causing in excess of $10 billion in economic losses.

The role of the General Assembly in the maintenance of international peace and security should be enhanced, because the Security Council had become a threat to world peace. The Security Council should be made accountable to the overall Assembly. The Security Council's membership should be increased and should reflect the principle of equitable geographic distribution. The Council should not respond to the will of only certain Member States. It was high time to rescind the right of veto, which had been used several times to impede the right of peoples under colonialism to express their right to self- determination. The super-Powers should not forget that small countries, which helped the United Nations increase its membership and realize its universality, are also capable of establishing their own organization away from the domination and hegemony of a few Powers.

DESTIN ARSENE TSATY-BOUNGOU, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Francophonie of the Congo: Member States must praise the United Nations for its achievements in decolonization, human rights and international law. However, the world continues to face other challenges. Pernicious wars, especially in Africa, have had a negative impact on social and economic development in that continent, which remains trapped in hunger and ignorance.

General Assembly Plenary - 15 - Press Release GA/8967 38th Meeting (PM) 23 October 1995

The United Nations anniversary should have been a celebration of an increase in prosperity of poor countries, commensurate with the resources which they possess and which should contribute to that destiny. The wealthy nations remain more powerful while the expectations of the people of the African continent have not been fulfilled. There was need for a display of solidarity of Member States towards the African continent.

Meanwhile, for many African countries, the end of the single party system has not created the conditions for a peaceful and prosperous life. There were now civil wars, which limited the potential for foreign investment or for the fulfilment of aspirations of justice, freedom and knowledge. The principles of equality and justice must remain a genuine source of solidarity between the North and the South.

TOM IKIMI, Minister for Foreign Affairs, on behalf of General Sani Abacha, Head of State of Nigeria: All Member States have the duty under the Charter to respect the rights of all nations, big or small, and to refrain from the threat or use of force and pressure capable of subverting the sovereignty and independence of other States.

Regrettably, wars are proliferating mostly in the developing countries, resulting in mindless human and material waste and a tidal wave of refugees and displaced persons. Peace-keeping operations have mitigated suffering and starvation, and helped to resolve conflicts. A balance must be struck between resources devoted for peace-keeping operations and those devoted to renewed economic development.

However, the underlying causes of many conflicts are mainly socio- economic. Countries of the South should not remain trapped in poverty or constrained by low commodity prices, unfavourable trade practices, unpredictable financial systems and external debt burdens. It is urgent that the international community deliver on its commitment to Africa. African countries recognize that their socio-economic destinies lie in their own hands.

The Administration of Nigeria has taken enormous steps to revitalize and restructure the economy. Its programme of transition to democratic rule seeks to widen the base of governance and ensure the participation of all sections of the country.

BEN MICAH, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Papua New Guinea: The commitment of resources both at the national and international level ought to be focused on the development programmes which place priority on the development of human capacities. Resources ought to be committed to removing infrastructural and institutional impediments in order to facilitate economic growth and sustainable development.

General Assembly Plenary - 16 - Press Release GA/8967 38th Meeting (PM) 23 October 1995

Papua New Guinea strongly deplores the actions of some nuclear-weapon States in continuing their nuclear-weapon testing contrary to the spirit and objectives of the Nuclear Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). "Such actions within a very sensitive and vulnerable region of the South Pacific constitute a direct threat to the environment and threaten the basic survival of our people."

Papua New Guinea supports the call for the reform of the United Nations. However, the process of reform should not be compromised by the dictates of the powerful. Consensus on the goals and objectives of the United Nations reform should reflect the needs and aspirations of all Member States, especially of the developing ones. The forces of economic globalization have profoundly changed the geo-political landscape creating new opportunities and challenges. Environmental issues have become an all-encompassing international agenda. Within the context of an interdependent world, there is a collective responsibility to manage resources in a manner conducive to long-term sustainability.

ROBLE OLHAYE, Permanent Representative of Djibouti: Mandates for peace- keeping have often been too weak, inarticulate or deliberately confused. The persistence of the conflicts in Bosnia and Somalia has sapped the will of the United Nations. The atrocities inflicted on a whole segment of the population in Rwanda will always haunt the United Nations. "Will mankind's future now be one filled with more Bosnias and Somalias, one of dangerous and unresolved conflicts, where the United Nations shies away from disarming belligerents or protecting innocent civilians because of a lack of the right mandates and adequate resources, and, of course, the lack of political will on the part of the international community?" The tragedy of Somalia must not be forgotten.

There is seldom peace without development, and democracy is simply another name for peace with development. The United Nations thematic global conferences of the 1990s have had a common thread of concern to improve the lot of the world's majority. The problems of health, education, poverty, environment and women, as well as human and social rights, were formerly hidden. Now they were glaringly public and unavoidable, calling for new approaches to international cooperation and governance.

The physical life of the individual has improved over the last half century, even in Africa, the last of the world's continents to improve economically. "While we are far from a totally healthy and socially productive world, at least the possibility of one is irrefutable." Reform which addresses both global developments and the structural inadequacies of the United Nations must be given priority. If not, the United Nations may soon become incapable of addressing the real global problems of disease,

General Assembly Plenary - 17 - Press Release GA/8967 38th Meeting (PM) 23 October 1995

hunger, poverty, development, conflict, security and national breakdown. States must renew their dedication to the United Nations. Failure to do so could bring tragic consequences.

ANNETTE DES ILES, Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago and head of delegation: For the great majority of Member States, their first priority is to provide an acceptable standard of living to their citizens. "It follows that in countries such as ours, this Organization will be judged largely by the extent to which it can assist in this effort. We wish to urge therefore that international cooperation for development be placed at the centre of the activities of the United Nations."

The Organization's accomplishments are numerous, covering a wide range of areas. Yet there is a crisis of confidence in the United Nations. It is necessary to summon the political will and determination needed to succeed; to develop a true spirit of global partnership based on mutual trust and respect; and to place people, particularly those less fortunate and more vulnerable, at the centre of international concern. "Let us, above all, provide the Organization with the financial and material resources required for the many complex and varied tasks which it must perform."

TUILOMA NERONI SLADE, Permanent Representative of Samoa and head of delegation: My country, like so many in this Hall, came to independence through the United Nations-assisted decolonization process. That was an historic achievement. "We found the League of Nations unresponsive and we were disillusioned. The United Nations was truer to our aspirations. Today, the United Nations remains a significant part of the modern development and progress of my country."

An important recent development has been the high rate of State-party adherence to international instruments, and the acceptance of international programmes on the environment and sustainable development, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, and in other areas. More concrete action should be taken to comply with treaty obligations and to implement agreed programmes of action like that on the sustainable development of small island States.

Samoa prays for effective disarmament and total elimination of nuclear weapons. A comprehensive treaty on the banning of nuclear testing next year is a first priority. Samoa welcomes the intention of France, the United Kingdom and the United States to adhere to the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty. "But we need to say again to France that we condemn its nuclear explosions in the Pacific: they are dangerous experiments posing a very serious threat to the health and the environment of my country and our region, and must stop."

General Assembly Plenary - 18 - Press Release GA/8967 38th Meeting (PM) 23 October 1995

As the world faces challenges that are beyond the capacity of individual States, they must remain the object of United Nations focus and action. The United Nations should be given the funds it needs, and the Security Council enlarged to reflect realities and enhance its effectiveness and legitimacy.

MAHMOUD ABOUL-NASR, Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States and head of delegation: The United Arab States are this year commemorating two important events. Along with commemorating 50 years of the United Nations, the Arab States celebrate the 50 years in existence of the League of Arab States. The Arab States aspire to an era where human rights and fundamental freedoms will be respected and there will be no more occupation of other lands, an era where there will be no double standards, an era of peace and justice, an era where the United Nations will build on its numerous achievements in the past.

The achievements of the United Nations should not be belittled. The Arab States, today, support the various agreements reached with respect to Palestine and look forward to further steps in that direction, in keeping with the objectives of the United Nations. The nations and peoples of the world need to draw lessons from the past and be ready to transmit to the twenty-first century an Organization equipped to deal with the demands imposed on it by a changing world.

HANS VAN DEN BROEK, Member of the European Commission, on behalf of the European Community: The United Nations agenda has become more complex and demanding than ever. Since the world is witnessing instability, the revival of nationalism, ethnic cleansing, humanitarian crises, gross violations of human rights and even genocide, it needs a strong United Nations more than ever before. The Organization can only be as strong and effective as its Members permit. As this also applies to its finances, it would be more appropriate to mark this commemoration by putting the United Nations on a sound financial footing.

The partnership between the European Community and the United Nations has led to some achievements. The Community is the second largest single contributor and operational planner to the work of the High Commissioner for Refugees, one of the largest donors to the World Food Programme and, along with its member States, gives about half of the world's official development assistance.

The international community must agree on an innovative agenda for development that sends two messages. The first is of the need to put international cooperation for development at the centre of common endeavours. The second concerns the enhancement of the effectiveness of the United Nations in development. There should be efforts to build on the outcomes of the recent global conferences. Economic growth, social justice, women's

General Assembly Plenary - 19 - Press Release GA/8967 38th Meeting (PM) 23 October 1995

empowerment, the protection of the environment, democratic institutions and the promotion of human rights must be seen as fundamental components of a common vision for sustainable development. The European Community, within the broader framework of the European Union, is determined to enhance its support for the United Nations and make it more effective.

ÉMILE DERLIN ZINSOU, President of the Permanent Council of Francophone States of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation: Recently, the Assembly adopted a resolution on cooperation with the Agency. "Please accept our warmest thanks." The members of the French-speaking world are closely following the aims of the United Nations. The French-speaking community finds unity in the diversity of its membership based on the shared goal of development. Efforts are focused on promoting democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Increasingly, the French-speaking community is working in the field of conflict prevention. It is also addressing questions related to population and the environment, as well as the fights against AIDS and drugs.

The French-speaking community is eagerly looking forward to reaffirming its support for Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali at its upcoming summit, to be held in December. The future of the French-speaking countries is bound to that of all other countries. In the spirit of the interdependence of States, the French-speaking world is readying itself to participate actively in the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II). It is increasingly performing a role of promoting peace and development and confronting major social and economic problems. The Agency is strengthening its relations with other organizations, and is resolved to contribute to the great value of the United Nations as a meeting place for the world's cultures and civilizations.

EMEKA ANYAOKU, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat: The importance Commonwealth governments accord the United Nations is a testimony of their commitment to multilateralism. Commonwealth leaders were among the visionaries who framed and signed the United Nations Charter. Commonwealth countries continue to contribute to the work of the Organization in many significant areas, including peace-keeping operations, in which the Commonwealth countries rank among the leading troop contributors.

In the dramatically transformed global environment of the post-cold-war era, the United Nations has been obliged to make unprecedented decisions in response to mounting strife. It is faced with new challenges and opportunities and, thus, the reform and adaptation of the Organization has become a pressing priority. Numerous proposals have been made for such reform.

General Assembly Plenary - 20 - Press Release GA/8967 38th Meeting (PM) 23 October 1995

"Whatever the merits of any individual proposals, the underlying imperative must be a recognition that the institutions and arrangements fashioned 50 years ago, in the age of colonialism and in the aftermath of a hugely destructive world war, are scarcely adequate to the demands of the present age." A strong and effective United Nations is crucial to building a more humane world order. It is the globe's only truly universal organization, held by Member States in trust for the world's people.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.