6 September 2000


6 September 2000

Press Release



Poverty and underdevelopment in many countries of the world, as well as inequality in the distribution of wealth and knowledge, were the roots of present conflicts, Fidel Castro Ruz, President of Cuba, said this afternoon as the Assembly continued its Millennium Summit.

It could not be overlooked, he said, that today's underdevelopment and poverty had resulted from conquest, colonization, slavery and plunder by the colonial Powers, from imperialism and from bloody wars fought over rival colonial claims. Today it was the moral obligation of those Powers to compensate such nations for the damage caused over the centuries.

While several speakers agreed with the Cuban President's point of view, Francisco Guillermo Flores Perez, President of El Salvador, said that the only way for poor nations to develop was to shoulder the responsibility for overcoming their own problems, including poverty. Transferring responsibility onto others would be blocking the chance to change, and an attitude of blame perpetuated the assistance-dependent mentality. "We are not asking the world to resolve our problems -- what we are asking for is an opportunity to participate in the world economy on equal terms."

Calling for unconditional debt cancellation, President Joaquim Alberto Chissano of Mozambique stressed that failing to address the scourge of underdevelopment would shake the very foundations of the current international system. He said that such phenomena as the spread of cross-border crimes, narcotics trafficking, terrorism, diseases and proliferation of weapons were becoming more difficult for individual States to control. Increasing inequalities, social injustice and poverty made it difficult for developing countries to be integrated into the world economy.

Several speakers stressed the need to increase the efficiency of the United Nations as a unique and universal international organization. For example, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of Latvia, said the United Nations could play a major role in ensuring a more equitable distribution of resources generated through globalization. It was necessary to strengthen its coordinating role and streamline its institutions, for the plethora of United Nations bodies with differing mandates had become unwieldy, difficult to manage and confusing.

General Assembly Plenary - 1a - Press Release GA/9751 4th Meeting (PM) 6 September 2000

Preventive diplomacy with enhanced mechanisms for maintaining international peace and security should be a priority for the United Nations, said Natsagiyn Bagabandi, President of Mongolia. That applied to issues involved in both international and internal disputes and conflicts. The unprecedented gathering of world leaders was an historic event offering a unique opportunity to formulate a shared vision on collectively addressing major global problems through the United Nations. The permanent and non-permanent seats on the Security Council should be enlarged.

Also addressing the Millennium Summit this afternoon were the Presidents and heads of State of Algeria, Belarus, Austria, Swaziland, Colombia, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Senegal, Republic of Korea, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Dominican Republic, Rwanda, Gabon and Cyprus, as well as the Chief Executives and Prime Ministers of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and Belgium. The Vice-President of Brazil, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados and the representative of Samoa also spoke.

At the opening of the meeting, the Assembly heard a statement by the Co-Chairs of the Millennium Summit. They welcomed the summit meeting held in Pyongyang in June this year between the leaders of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea, calling it a major breakthrough in bringing peace, stability and reunification to the Korean Peninsula.

The Millennium Summit will resume at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

General Assembly Plenary - 3 - Press Release GA/9751 4th Meeting (PM) 6 September 2000

Work Programme

The Millennium Summit resumes this afternoon, scheduled to hear from 30 Heads of State and high-level officials.


TARJA HALONEN (Finland), Co-Chair of the Summit, read out the following statements: The Co-Chairpersons of the Summit welcome the Summit Meeting held in Pyongyang in June this year between the leaders of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea and their Joint Declaration as a major breakthrough in bringing peace, stability and reunification to the Korean Peninsula and encourage the two parties to advance the process of dialogue so that it may eventually lead to the peaceful reunification of the Peninsula, while contributing to peace and security of the region and beyond.

VAIRA VIKE-FREIBERGA, President of Latvia: The United Nations can play a major role in ensuring a more equitable distribution of the resources generated through globalization. It can draw on the unique strengths of its universality and neutrality and on its established presence in numerous countries. However, the plethora of United Nations bodies with differing mandates has become unwieldy, difficult to manage and confusing. The Organization must, therefore, strengthen its coordinating role and streamline its institutions. It must focus on results and on impact. It must develop assistance programmes without competition, overlap and waste.

The United Nations must also reassess its resource allocation policies, which in some cases have proven wasteful and ineffective. It is one thing to oppose conditionality, but there should be no objections to stricter accountability and tighter follow-up requirements, thus ensuring that any aid received is well and truly spent on the purposes it has been destined for. The United Nations must also reassess its military peacekeeping operations, not all of which have been successful. There is little purpose in passing peacekeeping resolutions that cannot be implemented. Perhaps we should prepare for worst case scenarios and arm the United Nations forces for more muscular peace enforcement, rather than send in lightly armed troops who cannot intervene in serious armed conflict.

It is my pleasure to announce that within Latvia’s modest possibilities, my country has donated a beautiful and fully renovated building in Riga for the use of the United Nations organizations in Latvia. As a donor country, Latvia is also increasing its contributions to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and covering the UNDP’s local office costs. In addition, Latvia is once again making a voluntary contribution to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

NATSAGIYN BAGABANDI, President of Mongolia: Mongolia views the unprecedented gathering of world leaders as an event of historic importance, it offers us a unique opportunity to reaffirm our faith in the United Nations and to formulate our shared vision on how to collectively address the pressing challenges, both existing and emerging. The United Nations has throughout manifested its undisputed authority in identifying the ways and means to address major global problems. Yet, the need to reform and adapt the United Nations to the evolving international realities, with a view to ensuring its efficient functioning in the era of globalization, appears to have been universally recognized. Some important steps have already been taken. However, the reform process, particularly Security Council reform, tends to turn slow. Proper measures to accelerate the process are needed. Mongolia stands for a just and equitable enlargement of the Security Council by increasing the number of permanent and non-permanent seats and ensuring representation of both developing and developed countries.

In carrying out its activities to maintain international peace and security, the United Nations ought to give priority to preventive diplomacy, especially in the matters pertaining to international and internal disputes and conflicts. Further enhancement of the relevant international mechanisms is crucial. The central challenge the world faces today is to ensure that globalization becomes a positive force for all the human family. It has become evident that, along with greater opportunities, globalization has created situations of heightened vulnerability, especially for the weak and poor nations, thus leading to their further marginalization. The question is how to manage the inevitable process of globalization, so that it incorporates the human element in its seemingly unruly trends. The United Nations is uniquely placed to provide an overarching general guidance to the process of globalization, so that its benefits can be enjoyed by all.

Mongolia fully shares the Secretary-General’s call that Member States spare no effort in making the United Nations a more effective instrument in pursuing the triple-tier freedom, as identified in the Millennium Report. Ensuring human security and promoting human-centred development should remain high on the agenda of the world Organization. Mongolia strongly supports the Secretary-general’s proposals to establish a health inter-network with 10,000 on-line sites in developing countries. May I express my confidence that our Summit will yield a common strategy for the world community to collectively work in the new century towards a safer, more equitable and prosperous future, on the basis of the scientific recommendations contained in the Millennium Report, as well as those expressed by the high dignitaries gathered here.

ABDELAZIZ BOUTEFLIKA, President of Algeria: It is a fact that the full impact of progress and technology is not yet fully known. These phenomena leave many ills on the surface of the Earth, which humankind still does not know how to combat. The legitimate fears aroused by these issues are felt more in the developing countries, where the effects of globalization are more pronounced. We wonder what place our countries will have in the future world. Will our voices be heard, or will we fall back into a disguised form of servitude?

Spreading, the idea of democracy has begun to influence our lives. On the other hand, international life is moving further from the principles of democracy, as decision-making is concentrated in the hands of the developed countries. The world is becoming dehumanized, and it is felt by all the countries of the South. While prosperity of the rich is increasing, our countries are barely surviving as the burden of indebtedness persists. We are engaged in the system of unequal and marginalizing competition. We are worried over the price to be paid, based on the exclusive concept of material profit.

The United Nations can help us overcome our fears. It must preserve the ideals of justice and peace. The Secretary-General’s report touches upon many important challenges faced by our countries. In particular, it notes that there has been increased intervention of civil society represented by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in international affairs. Their status in international activities must be addressed. May this Summit lead to the recognition of the difficulties that our countries are facing.

ALYAKSANDR LUKASHENKA, President of Belarus: The great achievement of the United Nations system is that the world is no longer divided into ruling nations and subject nations. Nowadays, every nation has an opportunity to participate on an equal basis in the world community. Having experienced the horrors of devastating wars, Belarus is capable of determining its own destiny and cannot remain indifferent towards attempts to disrupt the geopolitical equilibrium of the world.

Proposals to increase the United Nations efficiency must make sure that the organization is capable of effectively responding to the global challenges of our time, while keeping its aims and principals intact.

The main challenge is to ensure international peace and security. Our decision to renounce our status as a nuclear State was done with the intention of making the world a safer place. But, bypassing the Security Council when deciding on the use of military force has not solved any problems it has only aggravated them. Environmental security is also an important challenge. Human rights and democracy are equally important. But they must be fostered in a way that recognizes the unique way of life of every nation and does not divide nations into arrogant teachers and objectionable pupils.

THOMAS KLESTIL, Federal President of Austria: This assembly is an occasion to celebrate our unity of purpose, explore longer-term options and necessities in the realm of development, and thank people who have served the United Nations with distinction. It is also a moment to recognize the most significant achievements of the recent past -- for example, the increasing democratization of global affairs with the participation of civil society in addressing issues of human rights, the environment, disaster relief and development cooperation, security and human security, among other questions.

I also welcome the recent initiative by the Secretary-General to develop a partnership with the business community. Institutional innovation is essential to make a renewed United Nations in a global neighbourhood of peace and development for all.

No quick fixes are possible. Our approach to the institutional challenge will have to be more comprehensive than in the past, when the Organization often evolved in a sectoral, ad hoc way. Implementing the fundamental objectives of the Charter, we must search for and attain the institutional responses appropriate to the agenda of our time.

King MSWATI III of Swaziland: The entire membership of the United Nations has gathered these three days to agree on how our Organization must adapt to assist its members to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. But the Summit also provides the perfect opportunity to address the issue of global relationships, and in particular how to correct the imbalance of wealth and social standards between the North and the South. We hope that the Summit will reconfirm the consensus that globalization is intended as a way for all countries to benefit evenly from the new world order. We expect the needs of the developing world to be treated seriously, while respecting national wishes and beliefs, and that they will be addressed without conditions that undermine sovereignty and independence.

Three major concerns require United Nations leadership in conflict prevention and resolution; resource mobilization for development priorities; and the fight against HIV/AIDS. It is a fact that conflicts and instability in Africa not only cause immense suffering to those directly involved, but can also have a negative effect on the rest of our people. We fully support the call by the Secretary-General for the United Nations to work hand in hand with regional groupings to prevent conflict by addressing its root causes. In the global effort to eradicate poverty, the United Nations must take a much stronger position in assisting developing countries to mobilize resources with which to implement their priority projects, especially for job creation and essential infrastructure.

Because of AIDS, around a quarter of my people will not survive the next 10 years and this is a fate they share with all too many in the developing world. We must acknowledge that AIDS is a far greater threat to global stability than even the great wars of last century. We have to act now to stop the spread. This is truly a role that the United Nations must play in this century if it is to fulfil its mandate. We have the opportunity now to set the United Nations on the right course for the rest of the century.

ANDRES PASTRANA, President of Colombia and Pro Tempore Secretary of the Rio Group: The United Nations is the most important world organization, and it is our duty to strengthen and increase its capacity to respond to the challenges and needs of mankind. We therefore defend multilateralism and the principles of shared responsibility and equality before the law and consider that any international action taken outside the legal framework of the Organization’s Charter is unacceptable. We in Latin America and the Caribbean have a decisive commitment to democracy and respect for human rights as the guiding principles of the new international order. With the authority to which we are entitled as the first major region of the world to be free of nuclear weapons, Latin Americans and the Caribbean strive to create a world free of the nuclear threat and of other weapons of mass destruction. We also expect the best possible results from the International Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons to be held next year; and we condemn the use of excessively cruel and inhumane weapons. As a priority and a matter of urgency, war must be avoided. Where conflict already exists, we must at least observe the rules of international humanitarian law.

In order to secure a certain future for the generations to come, we must show courage and determination in facing international problems of unlawful drugs and related crimes such as money-laundering, the traffic and diversion of precursors, contraband and arms-dealing. The Rio Group is convinced that they are problems for all, and that they must be solved by a global effort based on the principle of shared responsibility. It is our duty to foster the conditions whereby globalization can be controlled and fair. In this globalized world, trade and finance cannot afford to lose sight of humans and their needs. In Latin America and the Caribbean there are more than 200 million poor who hope to share the benefits of progress, and we cannot leave them behind. We seek growth with social equity and we need a new architecture for the international financial system which will help to secure stability in financial and exchange markets, and provide assistance and support for countries which are in difficulties or undergoing a process of adjustment.

I come from Colombia; a beautiful and green country where, unfortunately, confrontation continues, fed by a few violent men and by the tainted money of the traffic in drugs. But we are committed to the quest for a negotiated peace. We are possessed by a desire to achieve greater social justice for Colombians most in need. We are determined to combat drug trafficking and to fight for human rights. We have been living in a democracy for over 180 years, and we will continue to do so, because the spirit of freedom and tolerance is with us. We are a land of hope and friendship. Drawing on the spirit of the fallen heroes of our struggle, suffering the anguish of our poor, trusting in the talents of our people, we strive –- as our Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez has put it –- for a second opportunity on this earth, and I have no doubt that we shall obtain it.

GUSTAVO NOBOA BEJARANO, President of Ecuador: The United Nations, since its establishment, has been a universal meeting place for States to work towards the establishment of the common objectives of all people. The process of globalization is developing independently of economic stability and development. The debt problem has weakened economic stability and development. The problems caused by globalization are increasingly found beyond national borders. Violence, trade in narcotic drugs and terrorism have all burst fourth as a global phenomenon which threatens all of humankind. International measures have not been taken to offset the problems of globalization. In recent years, we have witnessed numerous regional conflicts. Wars have left deep and lasting marks.

The stockpiling and development of nuclear weapons continue as a constant threat to humankind. The world panorama today poses important challenges to peace, security and development. This Organization must provide elements for building an international system more fair and just for all. Ecuador is working hard for the implementation of programmes for international cooperation for debt alleviation and reduction. Debt servicing conspires against much-needed social programmes.

Ecuador urgently calls for the condemnation of the heavy burden of debt. In addition, emphasis must be placed on financing for development. Effective assistance must be assured through the resources of international institutions. Ecuador also attaches priority to the reform of the Security Council. Ecuador reaffirms its support for the multilateral system of international relations. The hope of humankind to live in a more secure world depends on the shared action of all countries.

JOAQUIM ALBERTO CHISSANO, President of Mozambique: The opportunities offered by globalization and increased interdependence are greatly overshadowed by the reduced ability of States to control the serious threats caused by the spread of cross-border crimes, narcotics trafficking, terrorism, disease and proliferation of weapons. Developing countries, particularly the least developed among them, are facing serious difficulties in their efforts to integrate themselves into the world economy. With increasing inequalities, social injustice and poverty continue to grow in poor countries. If the scourge of underdevelopment is not addressed, it can shake the very foundations of the current international system.

External debt is a major obstacle to economic growth and sustainable development of developing countries. While Mozambique welcomes the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt initiative, Cologne initiatives and other debt relief mechanisms, it believes that unconditional debt cancellation could enable us to redirect resources to poverty eradication. Technology should be made available to developing countries at affordable prices, so they can appropriate and further develop them for the benefit of their peoples. Our desires and aspirations can only be realized in a stable and peaceful environment. It is necessary to strengthen the role of the United Nations in the maintenance of peace and international security through its Security Council, which has to be legitimate and more democratic.

Mozambique is grateful for the support provided to it during the floods that affected the country and for assistance in convening a donors’ conference for the reconstruction of the devastated areas of the country. Mozambique has, to a large extent, experienced the positive impact of effective and coordinated action by the United Nations and the international community at large, both in times of peace and of conflict.

Nursultan A. Nazarbaev, President of Kazakhstan: There is no question that globalization is the dominant and irreversible trend of our time. There is also no question that globalization can have quite a few negative implications for many, if not most, States. There are a number of factors at play. Chief among them is the stark inequality between States. If only a small group of highly developed countries stands to reap the fruits and benefits of globalization, this will inevitably lead to confrontation and social upheavals. In this context, I believe that the United Nations and the national governments must make mutual commitments.

As part of its work to modernize its activity, the United Nations could develop a model for globalization, which would integrate the interests of all marginalized countries. At the same time, it should more adequately address the concerns of most people in the developed countries, since the disparity among their populations will inevitably continue to grow. This model should also incorporate measures to enhance the effectiveness of existing security systems and to develop new ones that will meet the demands of our time. In this regard, along with enhancing the peacemaking potential of the United Nations, it could be a very promising endeavour to utilize the potential of regional security systems and promote cooperation with them.

A pressing need for such approaches is demonstrated by the process currently under way in Asia. We believe it is necessary to convene a special meeting of the Security Council devoted to the situation in Afghanistan and Central Asia, in order to develop practical measures to stabilize the situation. The threat of nuclear proliferation could also be included on its agenda. Our country has set a precedent by voluntarily renouncing its arsenal of nuclear weapons. We call on all nuclear-weapon States to take concrete steps to eliminate nuclear arms. The world has become a global and interdependent place, where global partnership should become an overriding principle.

ABDOULAYE WADE, President of Senegal: The United Nations is challenged to establish global and sustainable peace and security both among and within nations. Member States have a prime responsibility for creating the minimum conditions to create a world free of fear. Decades ago I had a dream that Africa would cross into the twenty-first century with a rich mosaic of genuine democracy. Real change in Africa, however, can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Another aspect of the challenges facing the United Nations is the problem of social and economic development in a transforming world. On the issue of debt, generations work to pay off the debts incurred by other generations, as well as their own. The drain of debt is a recurring disease that would always come back if its causes are not eradicated. The world has to cease being a world “where paternalist creditors face shivering debtors”. Yet another challenge facing the United Nations is linked to reform. The Secretary-General has presented a bold programme for renewal. The first demand for reform lies in increasing the membership of the Security Council and improving its working methods. Reform of the Security Council, strengthening the work of the General Assembly and simplification of the institutional procedures of the Organization must also be carried out.

Today, at the crossroads of the twenty-first century, we have no other choice than to hope. At the time of the meeting here, daily realities remind us of the incomplete mission to build peace and security around the world. We must not fail. Good sense rejects poverty in a world where global wealth is so abundant. In the face of what borders on intellectual blindness, we need to chase away the absurd, and prompt the rule of reason.

KIM DAE-JUNG, President of the Republic of Korea: The new millennium is beginning with a miracle on the Korean peninsula. Warm sunshine has begun to melt down the wall of ice that has stood between the South and North during the past 55 years of cold war division. I am greatly encouraged by and deeply grateful for the decision by the co-chairs of our historic gathering to issue a statement in support of the South-North Joint Declaration that the inter-Korean Summit produced. Unification is the ultimate goal of the Korean people. However, unification must be achieved peacefully, no matter how long it takes. This was the agreement of the South-North Summit.

As long as we have the United Nations leading the global support for our efforts on behalf of peace, with the active backing of all the leaders here, the miracle of the new millennium unfolding on the Korean peninsula will become a great achievement for history. In the twentieth century, the United Nations achieved shining advances for peace and human welfare. Were it not for the United Nations, how much more would humankind have suffered from wars, calamities and infringements upon human rights? Indeed, I harbour no doubts that the establishment of the United Nations was humanity's greatest feat of the twentieth century.

The twenty-first century, however, presents itself with even greater missions for the global body to accomplish. Numerous challenges await, such as the realization of world peace, assistance for the economic growth of the developing countries, promoting human rights, combating terrorism and the preservation of the earth's environment. I appeal to all of you. Let’s join hands to make the twenty-first century the most peaceful and hopeful period in the history of mankind. Let us do so by having the countries of the world rally around the United Nations. I assure you that the Republic of Korea will render all the cooperation it can as the United Nations carries out its noble roles.

ALIJA IZETBEGOVIC, President of Bosnia and Herzegovina: We fully endorse efforts to create a more efficient United Nations that will successfully promote the values contained in the draft Declaration before the Millennium Summit.

The future of Bosnia and Herzegovina depends largely on three factors: the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina from within; its integration into the Euro- Atlantic institutions; and on further regional development overall. Our integration into the Euro-Atlantic institutions, from the Council of Europe to the Partnership for Peace and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), will ensure a stable future for our region as well. This process of integration is the source of our hope. It enhances necessary evolution and encourages the vision of a common future for our peoples. If people feel that they are not welcome in a borderless Europe, the demarcation lines in our region will become even more pronounced. This could mean an exaggerated separation of peoples and nations, and could possibly be an infinite source of conflict. Recent developments in Croatia show how quickly things can change in a positive direction. We would like to see similar positive events in our neighbour to the east.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all sincere friends of Bosnia and Herzegovina who were with us in our time of war and our time of peace. I would also like to assure you of the readiness of my country to contribute to the common wellbeing in order to build a better and more just world. As a crossroads of civilizations, cultures and religions -- Orthodox Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism and Islam -- Bosnia and Herzegovina can contribute much to a new dialogue and culture of peace. Our example teaches what should and what should not be done. It is both a positive and a negative lesson for future generations.

FRANCISCO GUILLERMO FLORES PEREZ, President of El Salvador: The proposal to hold this Summit contained an appeal to address world poverty, and I can support such an appeal, unless it implies an accusation against developed nations for developing countries’ poverty. The only way for poor nations to develop is to shoulder the responsibility for overcoming their own problems, including poverty.

El Salvador is facing its problems and taking responsibility for them. If we transferred onto others our responsibility we would be blocking a chance to change. An attitude of blame prolongs the mentality of assistance. We are not asking the world to resolve our problems -- what we are asking for is an opportunity to participate in the world economy on equal terms.

If the developed countries view developing countries only as markets, they are creating a distortion. It is intolerable that the developed countries are telling others that they cannot sell their fruit on their markets. The only sustainable link among us is openness. Through what we produce we generate resources to combat poverty. However, today I am optimistic, for we may be living in a time of renaissance. Today, we have the tools to overcome our problems. Progress is knowledge, and it is not denied to anyone.

HIPOLITO MEJÍA DOMÍNGUEZ, President of the Dominican Republic: Deliberating on the role of the United Nations means defining the expectations which governments must try to fulfil at the international level. We, heads of government should thank the Secretary-General for the issues he has covered in his report for the Millennium Summit.

I have come to this gathering to describe very briefly the hopes of the people of the Dominican Republic. The dignity of the human person, social progress, poverty eradication, a life of peace free of fear -- these are the aspirations and hopes of our people. While immersing ourselves in globalization, we must never relinquish the demands of social justice. If the much-vaunted macroeconomic equilibrium is to be effective, it needs universal participation in decision-making and the creation of sound physical infrastructures. However, we also must be able to act on equal terms and on a competitive basis in the international economy.

My presence here is confirmation of the Dominican Republic’s faith in the United Nations. The Secretary-General’s report is guided by an obvious commitment to reform and democracy. While the principles of the Charter have proved effective, the power structures created in 1945 cannot meet the demands of international relations that have evolved. The United Nations must serve to strike the right balance among all States on earth. We must ensure that the globalization process benefits everyone. While we agree that the main responsibility for ensuring the happiness of people rests with governments, we must deny that our misfortunes have often been compounded by certain international interests.

I refer to the situation facing Haïti and the Dominican Republic. We realize that it is Haïti’s economic situation that causes the daily illegal influx of citizens into the Dominican Republic, but the international community must be aware that the Dominican Republic does not have the capacity to shoulder the burden of its Haïtian neighbours. Our Government is making every effort to deal with the situation in the spirit of human rights. However, the Dominican Republic cannot solve on its own a problem that concerns all. It appeals to the United Nations to assume collective responsibility for tackling this situation. The time has come for solidarity. Only by sharing the same hopes and aspirations of all peoples will we have peace.

PAUL KAGAME, President of Rwanda: With regards to the character of the United Nations in the twenty-first century, we share the general view that this noble institution is in need of renewal and reform, to enable it to enjoy wider legitimacy. In carrying out this task, equal weight and urgency should be given to reforming other principal institutions, including the Bretton Woods institutions. The United Nations system and these institutions are now faced with a far more complex social, economic and political environment than was the case more than 50 years ago when they were founded.

In Rwanda's view, however, it is the issue of threats to peace that requires the most urgent attention. It is apparent that we are less threatened by world wars but confronted by regional and localized conflicts and tensions. We need therefore to pose a question in this regard: Why have preventive and peacekeeping efforts been less than successful over the past decade? Many reasons have been put forward, including, for example, lack of political will, ill-defined mandates, lack of means, and so on. These reasons may all be valid, but I want to add one more factor. That is, each conflict is unique in its history and in its sociology, something that does not often receive the attention it deserves. Nothing short of objective understanding of each conflict and its nature would contribute to its management and eventual resolution.

If the case of Rwanda may be cited, the additional shortcoming is the inability or unwillingness to assist countries in post-conflict situations. International agencies seem more effective in reacting to humanitarian crises, but are wholly inadequate in assisting affected countries in the aftermath of conflicts. Yet equally difficult challenges lie in the post-crisis phases, particularly in terms of economic and social reconstruction processes to permit sustainable development, thus preventing further cycles of violence. As has been widely commented, the 1994 genocide in Rwanda must go down as one of the darkest hours in the over 50 years history of the United Nations. It was in the aftermath of this event that the International Tribunal for Rwanda was created, and we support it in its commendable undertakings. And let me take this opportunity to thank Secretary-General Kofi Annan for commissioning a report on what happened in Rwanda in 1994.

FIDEL CASTRO RUZ, President of Cuba: Three dozen developed and wealthy nations that monopolize economic, political and technological power have joined us in this gathering to offer more of the same recipes that have only served to make us poorer, more exploited and more dependent. There is not even a discussion about a radical reform of this worn out institution to turn it into a true representative body where no one would have the irritating and anti-democratic right of veto and where a transparent process could be undertaken to expand membership and representation on the Security Council. The principle of sovereignty cannot be sacrificed to an abusive and unfair order that a hegemonic superpower uses while trying to decide everything by itself. That, Cuba will never accept.

The poverty and underdevelopment in many of the countries of the world, as well as the inequality in the distribution of wealth and knowledge, are the roots of the present conflicts. It cannot be overlooked that current underdevelopment and poverty have resulted from conquest, colonization, slavery and plunder by the colonial powers, imperialism and bloody wars over new distributions of the world. Today it is the moral obligation of those powers to compensate our nations for the damages caused throughout the centuries. There is also nothing in the existing economic and political order that can serve the interests of humankind. It is unsustainable and must be changed.

Age-old diseases from the third world have not been eradicated while new epidemics threaten to exterminate the populations of entire nations. On the other hand, wealthy countries invest enormous amounts of money in military and luxury items while voracious speculators exchange currencies, stocks and other real or fictitious values for trillions of dollars every day. Everyone understands that the United Nations basic role in the new century is to save the world not only from war but also from underdevelopment, hunger, disease, poverty and the destruction of natural resources. It should do so promptly before it is too late. The dream of having truly fair and sensible rules to guide human destiny seems impossible to many. We are, however, convinced that the struggle for the impossible should be the motto of this institution that brings us together today.

OMAR BONGO, President of Gabon: At the dawn of the new Millennium, it is necessary to reflect on the future of the United Nations and evaluate the challenges we face. The conflicts in Africa can be referred to as a permanent state of war, which destabilizes economies, compromises our development and gives rise to true humanitarian disasters. Humanitarian action in Africa is in its infancy, and we need to develop it with the help of the international community.

Another problem is AIDS, which is attacking the very structure of our societies. The fight against AIDS requires better international cooperation and deeper research, as well as improved access to care. Yet another challenge is that of the development of and access to science and new technologies. Here too, Africa will need special support.

In our will to give new dynamism to the United Nations, the principles of democracy should inspire and guide our thinking. The reform of the Security Council is of utmost importance. In fact, on 14 October 1977, from this very podium, speaking as an Acting President of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), I asked for Africa to get permanent representation in that body. I welcome the fact that what used to be a dream is becoming reality now, and I am calling for this dream to be implemented. I am convinced that this Summit will further strengthen our countries and that a stronger solidarity will be born among our nations.

GLAFCOS CLERIDES, President of Cyprus: Despite many positive developments that have occurred, ruthless conflict, poverty, inequality and the spread of disease call for our mobilization. Human dignity and rights, justice and fundamental freedoms must be embedded internationally and in all societies. Globalization must be made to equally benefit all societies.

The millions who live in poverty and misery, as well as members of the less fortunate groups of our societies, must be given our attention. In particular, we should focus our efforts on gender equality and children's rights, on policies for disabled people, and in the struggle to end the agony of the relatives of missing persons, and all those affected by the ravages of war.

In the settlement of disputes between nations, the United Nations should always act based on the solid foundation of the principles of its Charter. Small States should be assured of justice. Security Council resolutions should thus be respected and implemented. In Cyprus, however, numerous resolutions remain unimplemented. I will participate in the forthcoming negotiations, as always, with good will and determination to find a just and viable solution within the parameters established by United Nations resolutions.

ANTONIO GUTERRES, Prime Minister of Portugal: Globalization is a reality not an option. But there is a choice as to how it would develop. The Millennium is a time for a vision of great utopias, a world politically structured, and multipolar. Unfortunately, this is not our universe. To regulate the globalization of markets is one of the core objectives at the turn of the millennium. An international agenda of concrete reforms must be taken up, including the reform of the Bretton Woods system, giving it more means to intervene, a new emphasis on the social needs of people and the ability to resolve the debt problem of the poorest. Reform also includes the creation of codes of conduct, helping financial flows become more stable and bringing social questions into the work of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The energies of societies to combat infectious disease and prevent information exclusion must also be mobilized. International law must be perfected, and the environment protected. In the implementation of this agenda, world leaders have a fundamental role to play.

Member States and specialized agencies should function as the principle catalyst for peace, human rights, equity in circulation of wealth and access to information. The reform of the United Nations is therefore a key matter for the collective future, including the expansion of the Security Council. All must take responsibility for funding the United Nations. Resources for the United Nations to act must be made available.

SHEIKH HASINA, Prime Minister of Bangladesh: Hope and aspiration should lead us in overcoming our difficulties as we enter the new Millennium. Proposals of the Secretary-General before the Summit have challenged the international community to create a just, fair and democratic system. We need democracy for equitable sharing and for enjoying the benefits of globalization.

Peace is a fundamental human right, to be sustained and promoted all the time, and we call for a culture of peace worldwide. Ending discrimination and protecting the weak and the vulnerable are key to achieving equality and justice. We also place special emphasis on promoting the role of women, primary education and health care. We are happy that the United Nations is looking anew at its peacekeeping operations, in which Bangladesh is hoping to take a proactive role.

While many micro-credit and other poverty-eradication programmes have been successful, much still needs to be done. There have been outbreaks of dengue fever and arsenic poisoning in my country. Such problems have to be confronted globally. Let us all contribute to a strong and effective United Nations, which can respond to the needs of all. We hope the Summit will generate new momentum for our efforts to eradicate poverty, attain population control, preserve our environment and achieve world peace.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, Chief Executive of Pakistan: In the last century, the blossoming of human ingenuity brought about a massive global transformation. However, the most remarkable achievement has been the formation of the United Nations to uphold the ideals of justice, peace and prosperity. This body has resolved many major disputes and conflicts. In recent years United Nations interventions arrested massive human tragedies in Bosnia and Kosovo. Wherever there has been a departure from the United Nations Charter and a defiance of its decisions, disputes have festered, often leading to conflict. Of these, Kashmir and Palestine are two prime examples, but with a difference. Whereas the international community and this world body are seriously engaged in finding a solution to the Palestine issue, Kashmir cries for justice even after 52 years. Pakistan is located in the world’s most volatile region where one fifth of humanity lives in a state of economic deprivation.

While the global trend is for economic progress, South Asia is embroiled in conflict. This tragedy is the result of the Kashmiri people being deprived of justice, the consequence of which has been four wars. The problem of Kashmir, the root cause of tension in the region, has to be resolved. Ten million people of the state cannot be denied their fundamental right to self-determination. The savage brutalities and killing of 70,000 people by 700,000 troops have only hardened the resolve of the people of Kashmir. The problem does not lie in the Charter but in the lack of political will. Until we produce that will, all talk of crisis prevention and dispute resolution will ring hollow. Pakistan stands ready for peace and is prepared to take bold initiatives to change the status quo through a dialogue with India at any level, at any time and anywhere. Let me commit at this World Forum, that we desire a “No War Pact”; we are ready for a mutual reduction of forces; and we also seek a South Asia free from all nuclear weapons. Pakistan shall not be drawn into an arms race, nuclear or conventional, irrespective of provocation.

Pakistan remains conscious of international concern for democracy. The people of Pakistan have never lost faith in democracy. But autocracy in the garb of democracy led to dishonest governance and the collapse of institutions. A particularly dark aspect of the misrule had been corruption. Paradoxically, we have heard long lectures on democracy from countries that have laws that actually encourage corruption by giving asylum to plunderers and facilitating the concealment of illicit wealth in secret accounts. Corruption is a transnational crime that calls for concerted international action. The United Nations should call for a ban on the transfers of ill-gotten wealth and demand cooperation in tracing and repatriating such funds. Pakistan will continue to work other nations for a more effective and just United Nations, capable of rising above narrow interests to serve the greater cause of humanity. The best assurance for the consolidation of global peace lies in the economic development and prosperity of all regions and all peoples.

Wim Kok, Prime Minister of the Netherlands: We, the Member States, are crucial to any success or failure of the United Nations. Together, we must determine what we want from the Organization and what each of us should be willing to invest politically and financially to enable the Organization to do what we want it to do. Not only do we need agreement on the core functions of the United Nations, but such agreement also requires a realistic assessment of the Organization’s ability to perform them. Progress is needed on the issue of Security Council enlargement and reform. Progress is also needed to put the United Nations on a sound financial footing again.

Global governance needs to be strengthened to keep pace with the major challenges presented by globalization. Closing the gap between rich and poor is a task that cannot be left to the market or to individual countries. Globalization goes hand in hand with solidarity and security for all. The Secretary-General is right when he urges us to focus on measures to achieve freedom from want and freedom from fear. The persistence of extreme poverty is an affront to humanity. The Second World Water Forum, held in The Hague this year, agreed on realistic targets for achieving major improvements in the availability of safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. The Netherlands will continue its efforts to help achieve these targets, as well as the other development targets agreed to at the major United Nations conferences.

Equally important is freedom from fear. The United Nations should be in a position to respond to a crisis in its early stages. Improving the Organization’s peacekeeping capabilities is essential. The international rule of law needs to be strengthened. The International Court of Justice, the Yugoslavia Tribunal and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, all located in The Hague, contribute to that goal. Our endeavours to achieve universal freedom from want and freedom from fear should be guided and further inspired by the ideas in the Secretary-General’s report, which draw on the United Nations Charter. Ensuring a strong United Nations requires the combined efforts of all its Member States. The United Nations is not somebody else, the United Nations is us.

HELEN CLARK, Prime Minister of New Zealand: New Zealand is proud to reaffirm at this Summit its long-standing commitment to the principles and work of the United Nations. It has been a committed Member since the very beginning of the Organization. The Charter has stood the test of time as a framework for the conduct of relations between States and for the promotion of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms.

New Zealand places great importance on the rule of law and on the peaceful settlement of disputes. This year it has responded to the Secretary-General's request to Member States to sign or ratify as many of the 25 core treaties as possible. As a first step in that process, at this Summit we are carrying out seven fresh treaty actions. This week we are ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; acceding to the Convention to Combat Desertification; signing and ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; signing the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and signing the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. We are also announcing our intention to become party to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by mid-2002 and to the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist bombings. By these actions we hope to demonstrate how seriously we take the treaty-making process and international law.

Our passion for nuclear disarmament is well known. Now, our goal, working with our partners in the New Agenda grouping, is nothing less than the total elimination of nuclear weapons. The peacekeeping work of the United Nations is also a priority for New Zealand. My Government deplores the murders yesterday of United Nations relief workers in a West Timor refugee camp. I am gratified that New Zealand peacekeepers were able to evacuate many others to safety. I join other leaders in calling on Indonesia to act now to end this violence. We welcome the report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations and look forward to strengthening United Nations peacekeeping capacities. On development, the priority surely for the twenty-first century must be the needs of Africa.

JOSE MARIA AZNAR, President of Spain: This summit is a most fitting time to ask how history will rate the United Nations. I must remind reckless critics that we -– the Member States -- are the United Nations and our governments are the ones that influence its performance. We must decide whether we want the Organization to be a useful tool to prevent war, overcome poverty and uphold human rights, or whether we favour a hollow and dull forum. The choice is ours, and we must find common ground on the fundamental role of the United Nations for our time.

The original goal -– to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war -– remains valid, and the Security Council is the cornerstone of this. Its reform must be achieved, and through broad-based consensus so as to avoid dissension that would erode its legitimacy. Reform must be rigorous, because humankind’s conscience has evolved and the international community will no longer sit idle in the presence of atrocities. While no one would question that State sovereignty is a mainstay, that principle must not be used as a shield. Any progress achieved in the bloody twentieth century is due to the notion that human dignity was deemed more valuable than the sanctity of the State.

In addition, if we are to build a more just and equitable world, we must eradicate poverty, and the recent upsurge in economic growth and technology give us the best chance to do this. We support the concrete objectives to that end in the Secretary-General’s Millennium report. The responsibility for achieving them must be shared by all, and there are other tools, like education, that may open new doors. The United Nations must enhance the many positive sides of globalization to prevent the weakest from being left behind. Let us all be convinced and provide the means to make the United Nations a useful and indispensable tool to secure a better world for all.

GUY VERHOFSTADT, Prime Minister of Belgium: I want to emphasize the necessity to ensure that adequate quality and levels of troops and equipment are provided for United Nations peacekeeping operations on the basis of the worst-case scenarios; to establish clear, credible and flexible mandates which can be quickly adapted to field circumstances; to involve troop-contributing countries in formulating mandates; to ensure good preparation for operations; to increase resources and remove impediments to the chain of command and relations between the field and the Secretariat. In addition, we need a new concept for peacekeeping. This implies creating regional peacekeeping capabilities permanently ready for deployment. States in a region would set up these capabilities, of a brigade size force, with United Nations material and financial support. The creation of regional capabilities does not imply the disengagement of Western countries. Rather, they should help fund the equipment and training of regional capabilities, under United Nations control and responsibility.

Rich countries should substantially increase the resources they allocate for HIV/AIDS prevention, distribution of medicines and the development of a vaccine in order to meet the deadlines on actions against AIDS proposed in the Secretary- General’s report. Belgium has decided to provide four African countries with medicines worth 250 million Belgian francs to improve access to medication. It will also allocate an additional 150 million francs for AIDS research.

The Security Council should be reformed without delay by dropping unrealistic or extremely conservative positions. Belgium coordinates a group of Member States that has introduced realistic proposals that enlarge by five the number of permanent members and by five the number of non-permanent members, with equitable geographical distribution. Belgium is open to proposals in that direction.

MARCO MACIEL, Vice-President of Brazil: The establishment of the United Nations is one of the great legacies of the twentieth century. The time has come to revitalize it, to ensure that it mirrors the trend towards greater democracy in international relations. In particular, the Security Council must become more representative, effective and legitimate. No longer can we tolerate anachronistic decision-making structures, or unilateral actions falling outside the framework of the United Nations Charter and international law.

The debate on the issue of economic, social and cultural development must also be renewed. Poverty eradication, access to education, the supply of basic health services, and sustainable development require a concerted effort on the part of the entire international community. Globalization should help create a more equal world; therefore debt alleviation and access to information technologies are essential for the poorest countries.

As we reaffirm our collective international commitments, let us recognize that regional efforts can be very important. The success of last week's "Meeting of the Presidents of South America" is a case in point. At that meeting, it was shown that commitment to democracy, improvement of infrastructure, strengthening of trade ties, closer technical and scientific cooperation and the fight against drug trafficking and related crimes -- as well as the establishment of a Peace Zone -- could all be effectively discussed on a regional basis, as part of the effort to build a better world.

BILLIE MILLER, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados: We in Barbados and the Caribbean are, in truth, the people of this Millennium. We did not exist in the First Millennium. Those who inhabited our island then were extinguished by the desolation of early colonialism. The present people of the Caribbean are the New People of the New World. Our expectation when we became a Member of this Organization was that we would become part of an assemblage that would protect out territorial integrity, support our sovereignty and assist us in our quest to realize the full potential of our citizens.

Barbados has a perspective on multilateralism that is inherently positive. Debate continues on the worth of multilateralism as a natural evolutionary development in the relationship between countries. The United Nations is at the heart of this argument. Lack of trust in the system has led to apathy among the majority. In the midst of all our positive perceptions, there is a growing anxiety and unease. We have noticed a tendency by the large and mighty members of the world community to exploit the very laudable precepts of the United Nations in order to maintain an unjust status quo, or to impose unpalatable conditions on peaceful coexistence. True equity and true reciprocity need an equitable balancing of every aspect of multilateral transaction.

Barbados came to the United Nations with clean hands and a clear conscience. We remain a small peace-loving nation, guided on our course by the lodestar of democratic principles, parliamentary governance and respect for human rights. We want the United Nations to assume responsibility for integrating into the world multilateral system the small States of this planet, which expect and indeed have a right to be an active and effective part of the processes of global governance. To fail to act now would deny us a future of prosperity and fulfilled human potential. We are not expected to complete this task, but neither are we at liberty to abstain from it.

TUILOMA NERONI SLADE (Samoa): This Summit is an occasion for rededication to the spirit that presided over the creation of the United Nations. But the past half-century has not yielded full dividends for all nations or for all peoples. The promises of the Charter remain unfulfilled. All over the world, core values and the human condition are under constant, shameful assault. Far too many live in the torment of hunger and disease. Today's Summit must therefore be a recommitment to human needs.

It is also an occasion for the renewal of commitment to the purposes of the Charter. As a small country, Samoa does so with abiding faith in the principles of the Charter. Those principles remain sound, and the Organization itself remains uniquely suited to the pursuit of human values and the coordination of global activities. But much more remains to be done. A range of reforms are

needed to strengthen the United Nations and prepare it for the years ahead. The Security Council in particular must be made to respond to the requirements of a fundamentally different international setting. Its membership must be enlarged to meet contemporary demands and the needs of the world of today.

We believe very deeply in the sustaining power of international law in support of the principles of the Charter. The United Nations is an essential and cohesive force in the elaboration of international law. Samoa gives its fullest endorsement to the timely initiative of the Secretary-General and his call for participation in the multilateral treaty framework, especially those representative of the key objectives of the Organization. Samoa also continues to call for effective disarmament and the total elimination of weapons of mass destruction. Nuclear weapons, in particular, have imposed a global curse. Their continuing existence poses one of the gravest threats to international security and to global human survival. It is essential for the safety and future of all humankind that we place the highest priority on the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Samoa fully supports the Secretary-General's proposal for convening a major international conference for identifying nuclear dangers.

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For information media. Not an official record.