ASSEMBLY CONSIDERS FURTHER SUPPORT FOR PROMOTION, CONSOLIDATION OF NEW, RESTORED DEMOCRACIES, RECONSTRUCTION AID TO NICARAGUA

GA/8992
10 November 1995

ASSEMBLY CONSIDERS FURTHER SUPPORT FOR PROMOTION, CONSOLIDATION OF NEW, RESTORED DEMOCRACIES, RECONSTRUCTION AID TO NICARAGUA

10 November 1995


Press Release
GA/8992


ASSEMBLY CONSIDERS FURTHER SUPPORT FOR PROMOTION, CONSOLIDATION OF NEW, RESTORED DEMOCRACIES, RECONSTRUCTION AID TO NICARAGUA

19951110

United Nations support for the efforts of countries promoting and consolidating new and restored democracies was widely commended by speakers in the General Assembly this morning. The plenary was discussing that issue as well as the question of international assistance for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Nicaragua.

The representative of Spain, speaking on behalf of the European Union as well as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania and the Slovak Republic, praised the Organization's involvement in the consolidation of democracies, and stressed that coordination between the United Nations system and regional and non- governmental organizations was essential. Sustainable development and democracy must be instituted everywhere. "To achieve that goal, funds are needed and the deterioration of the United Nations financial position must be reversed", he stated.

The representative of India said that in supporting democratization, the United Nations should focus on such issues as better terms of trade, enhanced access to markets, increased and stable investment flows, access to technology and the availability of increased overseas development assistance.

The representative of Uganda said that democracy was not a model to be copied but a goal to be attained by all peoples and States, in accordance with their circumstances and peculiarities. Development should also be strongly emphasized for democracy to take root, and it should not end with the holding of fair elections.

Introducing a draft resolution on the subject, the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua said that democracy was not an end in itself; it could not resolve the essential problems of society, but it could promote the full involvement of all people in seeking solutions. "This objective can be achieved only in stages." The pace at which democracy proceeded depended on the society concerned.

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Nicaragua's Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs also introduced a draft resolution on international assistance for rehabilitation and reconstruction of his country. Reviewing Nicaragua's accomplishments, he said that the country had not been able to progress as rapidly as it would have liked, due in part to the excessive foreign debt burden. He said that most debt holders had accepted the offer of repurchase by Nicaragua with the support of international financial agencies and friendly countries, and called for renegotiation of the remaining debt.

The representative of Germany said his country had recently concluded an agreement with Nicaragua which had resulted in a reduction of that country's debt to Germany by 80 per cent. He expressed the hope that other creditor countries would follow Germany's example.

An appeal was made by the representative of Mexico to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Inter-American Development Bank to continue their efforts to build and consolidate economic development in Nicaragua.

Other statements on assistance for the reconstruction of Nicaragua were made by the representatives of Japan, Italy and Spain (on behalf of the European Union).

Statements on United Nations support for governments consolidating new and restored democracies were also made by the representatives of Latvia, Malta, Hungary, Romania and Swaziland.

The General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 13 November, to continue its consideration of support for new and restored democracies and to take up the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council.

Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this morning to consider the reports of the Secretary-General on support of the United Nations system for the efforts of governments to promote and consolidate democratic institutions and on international assistance for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Nicaragua.

The report on efforts to promote and consolidate democratic institutions (documents A/50/332 and Corr.1) has been submitted in response to a request by the Assembly that the Secretary-General study "the ways and mechanisms" the United Nations system could use to help promote and consolidate new or restored democracies.

Describing the Organization's considerable fund of experience in support of democratic process, the report reviews a broad range of United Nations activities in promoting democratic culture and structures of government; assisting the transition from single- to multi-party systems of government; and developing civic education and independent media.

Requests by Member States for all forms of electoral assistance increased dramatically after 1992, reaching a total of 89 by 1995. In response, the United Nations has provided assistance in such areas as organizing and conducting elections, verifying election results, and coordinating and supporting national and international observer teams.

The Secretary-General notes, however, that "elections are necessary but not sufficient to ensure the durability of a democratization process". That is why the United Nations has broadened its action to include assistance to constitutional reforms, institution-building and civic education. That assistance has encompassed efforts to create independent judicial, military, police, media and human rights institutions.

The report provides data concerning the 89 requests from Member States for United Nations operations. In Nicaragua, for example, the United Nations provided observation and verification assistance for the 1990 and 1994 elections. The most extensive form of assistance was provided to Cambodia, where the United Nations was given the responsibility for organizing and conducting elections. The Secretary-General's Special Representative also held consultations with leaders of all of Cambodia's major political parties and contributed to the consolidation of a political mainstream which made those elections possible. Verification of election results was also provided to such countries as Angola, El Salvador, Eritrea, Haiti, Mozambique, Nicaragua and South Africa.

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had long assisted Member States in implementing transitions in government structures in response to a new political or economic situation. In the Lao Democratic People's Republic, UNDP, together with the World Bank and representatives of State organs, reviewed key policy matters including constitutional separation of powers, redefinition of the roles of provincial and district bodies, and the creation of national institutions of public administration.

Regarding the role of international observers, the Secretary-General suggests that smaller numbers of observers who remain for the entire electoral process allow for more sensitive and useful assessments than does short-term observation, which has been the more frequent practice. He recommends that the Secretariat and all agencies expand their cooperation in the area of institution-building and governance through development of expanded capabilities for policy development and programme coordination, and that the Department of Political Affairs be consulted in the preparation of future economic, financial and social programmes and plans. As an example of enhanced coordination, he reports his designation of the same person as UNDP Resident Representative and Deputy to his Special Representative in Haiti, a double appointment meant to ensure maximum coordination of the different elements of the United Nations system in that country.

The Assembly also has before it a draft resolution on United Nations support for governments promoting and consolidating new or restored democracies (document A/50/L.19). By that text, the Assembly would encourage the Secretary-General to continue to optimize the Organization's capacity to respond effectively to Member States' requests for cooperation and assistance in that field. Member States would be encouraged to promote democratic values and ideas and to make additional efforts to identify possible steps to support the efforts of governments to promote and consolidate new or restored democracies.

That text is sponsored by the following countries: Armenia, Australia, Belarus, Benin, Cambodia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, Georgia, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Kazakstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Latvia, Nicaragua, Panama, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Suriname, United States and Uruguay.

Also before the Assembly is a report of the Secretary-General prepared in response to its request for information on the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Nicaragua (document A/50/535).

In an introduction to the report, the Secretary-General recalls the state of internal war, international confrontation and economic blockade at the end of the last decade. He writes that internationally monitored elections in February 1990 led to the peaceful transfer of the presidency to

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an opposition party in April of that year, which inaugurated a complex transition to peace, a market economy, democracy and development.

Currently, the Secretary-General writes, "The country enjoys a level of political freedom greater than at any time in its history, and significant advances have been made in the institutionalization of democracy." The Secretary-General goes on to note that the new Government has achieved progress in reconciling the country's former combatants and stabilizing the economy. Most Nicaraguans support reconciliation and national understanding. However, confidence in democratic institutions has not yet taken root due to a large extent to the lack of a democratic tradition and the stagnation of living standards.

The report states that support has come from the international community for the renegotiation of Nicaragua's external debt. "As political and macroeconomic problems are overcome, the deteriorating social situation is becoming the main obstacle to the Nicaraguan transition." The Secretary- General points out that growth in last year's gross domestic product was outpaced by population increase.

The report identifies such challenges as recovering economic output; improving overall living conditions of the population and solving the property issues stemming from the expropriations and confiscations carried out by the predecessor Government. The current Government must also solve the problem of the enormous external debt; manage uncontrolled migration and control such destabilizing factors as trafficking in drugs, weapons and people.

In Section II of the report, the Secretary-General details the activities of the United Nations system in Nicaragua during 1994-1995. He reports that the UNDP serves as a secretariat to the informal Support Group for Nicaragua, which comprises the representatives of Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. Its agenda includes improving the country's investment climate, formulating a medium- and long-term national development strategy and resolving the problem of the country's external debt.

According to the report, UNDP activities address a wide number of concerns. Its projects for demobilizing and resettling former combatants provide productive inputs to those who received land in the former conflict zones from the current Government. Support is also provided for the Nicaraguan Public Administration Institute and for fostering a public investment system, a trade plan and agricultural policies. Other UNDP projects support the judiciary institutions and the incorporation of human rights education within military training; education and culture; and rural financial services for small- and medium-scale farmers.

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The report also describes the activities of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other agencies and bodies. Within the context of national reconciliation and rehabilitation, the UNICEF programme of integrated basic services seeks to improve living conditions of women and children by strengthening community health, sensitizing municipal officials to gender and empowerment issues, providing health training and water management and disseminating information on children's rights. The report also discusses the activities of such agencies as the United Nations Capital Development Fund, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Also before the Assembly is a draft resolution on international assistance for the rehabilitation of Nicaragua (document A/50/L.18). By that text, the Assembly would request all Member States, the international funding agencies and non-governmental organizations to continue providing support to Nicaragua both to overcome the aftermath of the war and natural disasters, and to stimulate a greater effort in the process of reconstruction, social investment and development. It would call upon Member States, the international funding agencies, regional and intraregional organizations and in particular the Secretary-General to provide technical cooperation and assistance required in support of the electoral process in 1996.

Also by that text, the Secretary-General would be requested to continue to provide assistance to activities for the reconstruction, stabilization and development of Nicaragua and to ensure the formulation and coordination of United Nations programmes in that country. He would provide Nicaragua with assistance in areas such as caring for displaced persons, land ownership in rural areas, care for war victims and mine clearance so that the peace and democracy already achieved would become irreversible.

The draft resolution is sponsored by Belize, Benin, Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Israel, Japan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Senegal and the United States.

Also before the Assembly is the third report of its General Committee (document A/50/250/Add.2). The General Committee recommends that the Assembly include food and sustainable agricultural development in its agenda, and allocate it to the Second (Economic and Financial) Committee. It also recommends that the Assembly consider the appointment of a member of the Joint Inspection Unit directly in plenary.

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Introduction of Draft on Nicaragua

Introducing the draft resolution on international assistance for rehabilitation and reconstruction of Nicaragua, JOSE BERNARD PALLAIS, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua, thanked the international community for its contribution to the democratization process in his country. In 1990, President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro began the transition of the country from authoritarianism to participative democracy and from a centralized economy to a free market, he said. Violence with a political motive had not occurred in any important way since 1993.

Nicaragua had actively undertaken to develop education programmes on human rights and that was a sign of a society which had a desire for reconciliation, he continued. In 1995, the first transfer of command of the Army to a military commander appointed by a civil authority took place. However, Nicaragua had not been able to progress as rapidly as it would have liked. The macroeconomic and social objectives depended on ample and sustained financing and foreign cooperation in the mid and long range. Foreign debt continued to be an excessive burden and renegotiation of debt continued. Seventy-nine per cent of debt holders had accepted the offer of repurchase by Nicaragua with the support of international financial agencies and friendly countries. Renegotiation of remaining debt with flexible criteria was required.

Natural disasters also posed a problem to the country, he said. Floods and the emergence of epidemic haemorrhagic fever threatened the nation. Those circumstances made the efforts at democratization in the aftermath of war even more difficult. Therefore, Nicaragua called on the United Nations community to lend its political and financial support to the democratization process.

Statements

SHUNJI MARUYAMA (Japan) said Nicaragua was to be commended for reducing the size of the National Army from 98,000 to 15,700, thereby rendering it the smallest in Central America. In recent years, Japan had dramatically increased its assistance to Nicaragua; it now intended to provide economic and technical assistance, with particular emphasis on social development and eradicating poverty, improving socio-economic infrastructure, conserving the environment, promoting the democratization process, and enhancing economic stability.

LORENZO FERRARIN (Italy) said that since the end of the civil war, the people and Government of Nicaragua had made great efforts to rebuild its civil society and to move towards peace and prosperity. Nicaragua had achieved important progress in re-establishing democracy, respect for human rights, and fundamental freedom, fostering a market economy and eradicating poverty.

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Pacification appeared to be consolidated and economic policies were producing stabilization. Italy had granted Nicaragua a unilateral debt reduction, in addition to the one agreed to by the Paris Club in March 1995. His country was also contributing to the peace process by funding the Programme for Displaced Persons, Refugees and Returnees, which had assisted in the resettlement of 350,000 persons. Italy also contributed to a project for improving local health facilities and to food aid.

GUSTAVO ALBIN (Mexico) said the enormous efforts undertaken by Central America in recent years demonstrated the fervent desire of the region to set aside years of violence and political, social and economic instability. That difficult stage required the support of the entire international community. Mexico was determined to continue working with Nicaragua to make progress towards peace and social development.

Despite relatively positive macroeconomic indicators, he said, Nicaragua's economic situation was still fragile. Because of a large increase in population, the growth in gross national product (GNP) was not reflected in an increase in per capita income, which had fallen 10 per cent since 1990. In 1995, 20.2 per cent of the economically active population was unemployed, and 33.7 per cent underemployed. Mexico appealed to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Inter-American Development Bank to continue their efforts to build and consolidate economic development in Nicaragua. And it invited the General Assembly to renew its support for Nicaragua by adopting the draft resolution.

JUAN A. YANEZ-BARNUEVO (Spain) said Nicaragua was undergoing a complex process of transition that should be supported by the international community, in particular by the United Nations. While in the past year a great deal of progress had been made towards macroeconomic stability, consolidating democracy and establishing civil society, there was also a worsening of the social situation which threatened to undermine those other advances. The international community must continue to provide assistance to completely overcome the aftermath of the war and consolidate stability in the country. Such assistance would also shorten the time required to spread the fruits of development to the entire Nicaraguan population and thereby support social cohesion.

Through bilateral and multilateral arrangements, he said, Spain had provided and would continue to provide a range of assistance to Nicaragua, for example in the areas of education, debt reduction, infrastructure development, and environmental protection. At the last session of the General Assembly, Spain co-sponsored the resolution supporting Nicaragua, and it hoped that the current resolution would also be approved by consensus.

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GERHARD WALTER HENZE (Germany) said his country was the third-largest bilateral donor to Nicaragua. While assistance had initially focused on emergency measures, today, the extensive bilateral development cooperation mainly focused on the rehabilitation of social infrastructures, promotion of private economy and protection of resources. "Another important issue for us is the advancement of women. Our cooperation is increasingly focusing on the countryside", he said.

Stating that Nicaragua's extremely high external debt burden was hampering economic revival, he welcomed the recent German-Nicaraguan negotiations on the rescheduling of debts which, he said, had yielded a generous solution. The agreement resulted in a reduction of Nicaragua's debt to Germany by 80 per cent. "We hope that other creditor countries will follow this example."

The Assembly President, DIOGO FREITAS DO AMARAL (Portugal), announced that action on the draft would be taken at a later date.

Introduction of Draft on Democracies

Mr. PALLAIS, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua, introduced the draft resolution on consolidating support for new and restored democracies. He said that conferences on new and restored democracies had been held in Manila and Managua and a third such conference would be held in Romania next year. Democracy was not an end in itself; it could not resolve the essential problems of society, but it could promote the full involvement of all peoples in seeking solutions. "This objective can be achieved only in stages." The pace at which democracy proceeded depended on the society concerned.

Democracy was the form of government which best responded to the requirements of peoples and best facilitated the development of societies, he said. Development had a better chance of succeeding in a democracy than under a totalitarian regime. A solid democratic and pluralistic system based on the Charter and international treaties on human rights must focus on efforts to achieve development. The United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions must have a greater awareness of the difficulties faced by new and restored democracies, particularly in the least developed countries. They should also be aware that structural adjustment programmes had the potential to destabilize societies and undermine efforts aimed at democratization.

PAUL MUKASA-SSALI (Uganda) said he shared the view that democracy was not a model to be copied but a goal to be attained by all peoples and States, in accordance with their circumstances and peculiarities. What counted, therefore, was peace and security, national unity, a culture of tolerance, freedom of political participation, and good governance, based on respect for

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human rights and dignity. The international community should build on the atmosphere of support for democratic culture and what had been achieved so far. Support should be strengthened for civic education, constitution- building, electoral assistance, development of democratic institutions and programmes of national unity -- all through the politics of inclusion and the culture of tolerance.

He said people were the centre and object of democracy. Special attention should be paid to the full involvement of women. Development should also be strongly emphasized for democracy to take root, and it should not end with the holding of fair elections. Enhancement and promotion of socio- economic development were crucial.

AIVARS BAUMANIS (Latvia) said independence and democracy were re-established in his country four years ago. Latvia appreciated the efforts of friendly democracies which supported it. A firm foundation for democracy had been established and the country was striving to create public services and administration for the implementation of new legislation and regulations.

He said reform of the legal system was a priority. The independence of the judiciary was a concept that was unknown in the former Soviet Union. The transition to a market economy was taking place concurrently with other complex developments.

He said that if democratic institutions wound up working ineffectively, windows would be opened to authoritarian forces. Democracy meant that all members of society put the collective interest before their own and sought effective solutions to economic and social problems. Latvia could not solve all its problems alone. It depended on the involvement and support of the international community. The security of small States should be a central concern of the General Assembly since there was no balance of power or agreement on goals between small States and their larger neighbours at this time. The United Nations must ensure that the world economic environment was conducive to the growth of all States.

He said the security of small States gradually came to the foreground. His country considered the opening of the existing European and Transatlantic security institutions to Central European and Baltic countries to be extremely important.

KAMALUDDIN AHMED (India) said democracy had acquired the status of a global norm of governance. India, as the world's largest functioning democracy, was committed to democratic principles and practices. It firmly

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supported United Nations activity in that area. No prescriptive norms could be imposed on a society, however. All democratization efforts should flow from the requests of Member States, as accepted by the governments concerned.

He appreciated that the United Nations had responded to 77 of the 89 requests by Member States for electoral assistance. The process should be encouraged, he said. The United Nations must discourage attempts by groups adopting violent means to thwart the electoral process. The Secretary- General's observation that electoral assistance was aimed, ultimately, at its own obsolescence, was to be welcomed.

He said the Assembly's resolution 47/120 B of 1992, on post-conflict peace-building was also relevant. The processes covered by that omnibus goal should be in accord with United Nations Charter principles regarding the sovereign equality and political independence of States, territorial integrity and non-intervention in matters within the jurisdiction of any State. Economic development could not be placed on the back burner by international agencies. It was essential that democracies be supported in achieving their core economic and social goals.

He said the sustained development of democracy required the fulfilment of economic and social programmes for better trade terms, enhanced access to markets, increased and stable investment flows, access to technology and availability of increased overseas development assistance. The United Nations should also focus on those issues in supporting democratization. India had participated in the establishment of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance which aimed to promote and advance democracy.

Mr. YANEZ-BARNUEVO (Spain), speaking on behalf of the European Union as well as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania and the Slovak Republic, said democracy was an important measure of development. "Often times, absence of representative structures spell stark social inequalities and the entrenchment of ruling elites that perpetuate a vicious circle of poor governance and unaccountability to the majority of the population." The empowerment of community structures and grass-roots organizations would ensure that people were not alienated from decision-making structures and that they would be less likely to manifest their grievances through violence. Pluralism was essential, but it must function in the larger context of periodic elections, accountability of public officials, a transparent public administration, an independent judiciary and a free press. The empowerment of women was also critical.

He went on to say that the success of larger peace-keeping and peace- building efforts hinged on providing a sound foundation for peace. Democratization had been the aim and instrument of settling long-festering

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conflicts and unrest in Cambodia, El Salvador, Mozambique and Haiti. Experience had highlighted the need to coordinate the various efforts of different agencies and departments in the aftermath of political settlements.

Reviewing the Organization's involvement in the consolidation of democracies, he stressed that coordination between the United Nations system and regional and non-governmental organizations was essential. The European Union, which was actively supporting activities related to democratization, commended the success of United Nations efforts in that field. Sustainable development and democracy must be instituted everywhere. "To achieve that goal, funds are needed and the deterioration of the United Nations financial position must be reversed", he said.

JOSEPH CASSAR (Malta) said he endorsed the statement of Spain on behalf of the European Union. The topic of democracy was at the heart of that which inspired the founders of the Organization, and it encompassed the fundamental worth and dignity of the individual person.

He said that in the past five years, the popular will to secure and consolidate democracy had determined a global transition. Authoritarian regimes world-wide had been forced to bow their heads. The institution of democracy was a fragile and painful process that required sustenance.

Democratic governments had been placed in power in places where that had been inconceivable a few years ago, he continued. Democracy enhanced civil society through participation. Promotion of human rights should be intensified and given the highest priority. Lack of resources and development were not to serve as a pretext for governments to restrict human rights and fundamental freedoms. The passivity which had often prevailed when crises threatened or undermined democracy, had been replaced by a reinvigorated United Nations commitment to act.

ANDRE ERDOS (Hungary) said that, now that the euphoria of great changes had passed, the international community faced unprecedented and singularly difficult challenges as countries that had decided for democracy underwent political and economic transformation. It would be a mistake to suppose that there was an automatic process of evolution from choosing democracy to succeeding in establishing it.

The observations and recommendations of the Secretary-General's report, he continued, clarified the task in underscoring that it was impossible for either the United Nations or governments alone to meet the challenge of democratization. Regional organizations had an important role to play.

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In the past, he said, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) had been able to make a major contribution to opening up the societies of Eastern Europe. In particular, documents of the CSCE had inspired those in Eastern Europe who were struggling for democracy, human rights and basic liberties. Now that the CSCE had become the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), it was playing an increasing, multidimensional role in trying to control conflicts in the region, and to promote respect for democracy and the rule of law.

He said the United Nations must continue to support the process of democratization under way in many of the countries of Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. There was an indissoluble link between the spread of democracy and the stability and security of individual countries and regions. The fundamental relationship between peace, development and democracy should be reinforced in the heart of the Organization.

ION GORITA (Romania) said the commendable efforts of the United Nations to consolidate democracies were at an initial stage. "We are convinced that this is just a beginning and the Secretary-General, in concertation with Member States, non-governmental organizations and other international actors, will find new ideas and more avenues to explore." Development was best served by democracy on the basis of participation and consultation of the people in the process of governing. It provided lines of accountability and a permanent control of the performance of governments for the benefit of the whole society.

He went on to say that a powerful and active civil society was essential to maintain a proper democratic government, correct any tendency to abuses of power, and to promote and ensure pluralism, civil liberties and opportunities for all. Democracy offered the means to permanently seek a good governance. "Democracy is not a utopia but has proved able to produce tangible results."

Consistent progress in democratization could not be taken for granted, he said. The process was painful and it might not be irreversible if not backed continuously. The draft resolution, which confirmed that need, should be adopted by consensus.

As the next host of the International Conference of New or Restored Democracies, Romania would do its utmost to make the meeting a politically significant event, he said.

MOSES M. DLAMINI (Swaziland) appealed to the United Nations to continue instilling a sense of respect for the sovereignty of States so that there be continued appreciation of the different approaches to democracy, which was an internal evolutionary process reflective of national experiences and circumstances. "We, the developing nations, have been unfortunate for too

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long", he said. "After the end of the 1945 World War, political ideologies were introduced and imposed on us by those countries who found them fit for their national prestige. What subsequently happened to those ideologies should be sending a clear message to us, the developing nations, that any democracy founded on foreign principles end in a fiasco, thus resulting in national crises and confusion."

"Different methods of acquiring parliamentary representation have been adopted by various nations and they have proved to work well if they are reflective of national circumstances, which are the essential building blocks for true democracy", he continued. "In some cases, there are single-party methods, in others, there is multi-party democracy and yet in others there are no parties at all. Democracy can therefore be regarded as the vehicle which conveys commodities to the people."

It was the responsibility of the United Nations to discourage certain States from being armchair critics without appreciating the attendant national circumstances, he said. "So serious is the situation, that certain developed countries withhold their financial assistance for development under the facade that the developing nations fall short of the yardstick of `democracy' perceived by the former".

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For information media. Not an official record.