30 September 2003


Press Release

Fifty-eighth General Assembly


17th & 18th Meetings (AM & PM)



With international affairs now being driven by unbridled globalization, the notion of human security was no longer limited to political and military concerns -- transnational crime, economic stagnation, and the spread of pandemics also impacted peace and security and therefore demanded collective action from rich and poor countries alike, according to world leaders addressing the United Nations General Assembly today.  

While acknowledging the ever present threat of terrorism and the need to spare no effort to combat that scourge, the Assembly’s annual high-level debate continued today with a call to focus more strongly on the growing importance of multilateralism among nations.  Reiterating a theme that has echoed throughout the session, the leaders rejected unilateralism and reaffirmed their faith in multilateralism as the most effective means to seek peace and security, as well as human, social, and economic development.

Noting that terrorism posed a threat to democracy, Emomali Rakhmonov, President of Tajikistan said his country had been an active participant in efforts aimed at uprooting that evil.  However, terrorism could not be curbed only by military methods, but also by dialogue.  Terrorism did not have an ideology, nor a nation or homeland.  The drug trade had become a major source of financing terrorism, and to counteract the narcotic threat, Tajikistan proposed a global partnership responsible for coordinating field efforts at all levels.

Highlighting the interdependent nature of human security issues, Khandu Wangchuk, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bhutan, said that international peace and security and poverty eradication were the most pressing challenges facing the international community.  Those goals were interlinked and could not be achieved in isolation.  There could be no prosperity without peace and security, and peace and security, in turn, could not be sustained if billions were deprived of the basic necessities of life.  The fight against terrorism must be matched by an equal commitment to eradicate the poverty that afflicted more than half of the world’s population, he said.

Samsavat Lengsavad, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, said that the world had been beset by terror, civil wars, armed conflicts, acts of aggression, and interference in the internal affairs of States.  But the challenges faced today were not limited to the political and military spheres, and included global warming, natural disasters, HIV/AIDS and other diseases, poverty and underdevelopment, refugees, debt and economic stagnation.  The severity of those challenges was made more acute in a globalized world, where the gap between developed and developing countries continued to widen.

Chad’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and African Integration Nagoum Yamassoum said that while terrorism threatened international peace and security, and globalization had made relations between North and South more difficult, the best response to such situations was to be found only in collective and concerted action.  The United Nations remained the sole Organization to enjoy real international legitimacy.  To ensure that continued to be the case, the Organization must not become merely a showcase for the power of the few.  In that respect, the membership of the Security Council should be expanded to take account of the real state of affairs in today’s world.

Among those who stressed the unique character of each nation’s struggle to achieve democracy and security, Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe Velez reaffirmed his country’s commitment to fight terrorism until its final defeat.  He also underscored his country's faith in multilateralism as the most effective means to seek peace and security and ensure development.  While the United Nations was irreplaceable, the Organization required constant revitalization in order to enhance its efficiency to face challenges such as terrorism.  For Colombia, terrorism, the illicit drug trade and insecurity were all the same, he said, imploring the international community not to harbour the Colombian terrorists and to help the Government confiscate their goods.

The Assembly also heard from the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, and the Vice-President and Minister of Health of Palau.

Also addressing the Assembly were the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Uruguay, Brunei Darussalam, Thailand, Namibia, Uzbekistan, and the Dominican Republic, as well as the Attorney General and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Belize, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Togo, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Sao Tome and Principe, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Malawi.

The Permanent Representative of Marshall Islands also spoke today.

The General Assembly will continue its general debate tomorrow at 10 a.m.


The General Assembly met today to continue its general debate.


EMOMALI RAKHMONOV, President of Tajikistan, said that the process of establishing a democracy had certain common features, but each nation’s struggle took on a unique character.  Establishing a democracy should not be regarded as a simple process, but rather as a most complicated evolutionary one.  The democratic process in Tajikistan would continue to gain momentum.

Poverty remained an unsolved issue within the international community, he said, and the shortage of freshwater was one of the most urgent concerns of the millennium.  Some 1.2 billion people lived without access to freshwater, and annually more than 5 million people died from water-related diseases.  To support economic growth and reduce the burden of poverty, significant investments for updating technology and improving water-resources management were needed.

Noting that terrorism posed a threat to democracy, he said, Tajikistan had been an active participant in efforts aimed at uprooting that evil.  However, terrorism could not be curbed only by military methods, but also by dialogue.  Terrorism did not have an ideology, nor a nation, nor a homeland.  The drug trade had become a major source of financing terrorism, and to counteract the narcotic threat, Tajikistan proposed a global partnership responsible for coordinating field efforts at all levels.

Turning to religion, he said, attempts by the mass media to equate terrorism and extremism with Islam distorted the peaceful essence of Islam and presented the religion as a source of evil and violence.  Islam, in fact, was not a religion of violence, but one of mercy and compassion, peace and accord.  Tajikistan favoured increased regional cooperation and was striving to create a belt of peace and stability in Central Asia, featuring a zone free of dangerous weapons.  Another challenge for the twenty-first century was the increasing number of territories aspiring to the status of States, but not recognized as such by the international community.  A universal criterion for acknowledgement of States was needed.

SIMEON DE SAXE-COBOURG, Prime Minister of Bulgaria, said the 19 August attack against the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad had sounded an alarm:  terrorism was far from defeated.  The vigilance of all Member States must be redoubled and the effectiveness of their counter-terrorism activities tripled.  The Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee should work with regional and subregional organizations to ensure the efficacy of its work, in which context a high-priority role would naturally devolve upon the European Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  All 12 major counter-terrorism conventions should be universally ratified and the root causes of the phenomenon addressed.

Bulgaria would conclude its mandate as a non-permanent member of the Security Council at the end of this year, he said.  During its tenure, the Council had experienced a dramatic phase in which its very credibility had been called into question.  Yet it remained clear that international peace and stability required the active participation of the United Nations.  It was to be hoped that the Council would recover its unity on Iraq, as ensuring the stability and prosperity of that country was in the interest of the entire international community.  Thus, in order to assist the people of Iraq in restoring their sovereignty as soon as possible, it was vital for the Council to give the United Nations a clear and realistic mandate.

Also of concern was the deteriorating situation in the Middle East, he continued.  The Road Map remained valid and must be implemented by all concerned parties.  The Palestinians must adhere to the obligation to stop suicide attacks, while Israel must stop extrajudicial killings and renounce its decision to expel Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.

Turning to South-Eastern Europe and the situation in Kosovo, he reaffirmed Bulgaria’s commitment to a multi-ethnic, democratic and prosperous Kosovo in which all religious monuments would be respected.  The solution to that problem lay in dialogue between the concerned parties, especially Pristina and Belgrade.

Outlining the significant advances made by Bulgaria since his last intervention at the United Nations, he said, his country had progressed towards the realization of its two primary external objectives.  In 2004, Bulgaria would become a member of NATO, and, as of 1 January 2007, it would become a member of the European Union.  Moreover, Bulgaria would assume the presidency of the OSCE on 1 January 2004.  Among the contributions the latter organization could make to the work of the United Nations was the benefit of its accumulated experience of organizing and observing free and democratic elections.

ALVARO URIBE VELEZ, President of Colombia, said that, despite the anxieties that so many around the world faced because of terrorism, Colombia would reaffirm its commitment to “fight until we have left the scourge behind us”.  Colombia also reaffirmed its faith in multilateralism as the most effective means to seek peace and security, as well as human, social, and economic development.  The United Nations was irreplaceable, he said, stressing, however, that for the good of mankind, the Organization required constant revitalization in order to enhance its efficiency to face challenges such as terrorism.

He recalled that last year he had introduced his Democratic Security Policy to the Assembly.  That initiative had been developed to free the people of Colombia from terrorism.  Along with protection of the general citizenry, the Policy also provided protection for business leaders, labour union leaders, politicians, as well as political opposition factions -– all frequent targets of terrorist groups.  There was no State presence in a large part of Colombia, some 1.2 million kilometres, of which 400,000 kilometres were jungle.  Terrorists had asserted their authority over those areas.  A year ago, 170 of Colombia’s 1,100 municipalities did not have police presence, but today the police presence had increased dramatically.  It was hoped that all municipalities would be covered within a few weeks.

Still, there were hundreds of small towns that needed help, he said.  In many of them, the Government had placed soldiers to provide security.  It had also begun a successful initiative, which allowed navy infantrymen to fulfil their military service in their hometowns.  Although Colombia’s crime figures showed significant declines, they were, nonetheless, staggering.  For instance, the number of kidnappings had decreased 34.7 per cent in the past nine months, but that still meant there had been close to 1,500 kidnappings.  While illegal roadblocks had decreased and rescue operations for kidnap victims were yielding more successes, no country could feel at peace with itself with 1,485 kidnappings in nine months.

He went on to say that homicides and massacres had also shown significant decreases, but Colombia would only claim victory when the attacks were completely eliminated.  Each terrorist attack was painful for the country; just a few hours ago in Florencia, a terrorist bombing had left 12 people dead and 46 wounded.  Many soldiers and policemen had died in the fight against rebel groups, and indigenous communities were also under attack, as were local mayors, some of whom had been forced out of their towns under threat of violence.

However, the Government was slowly making headway.  Between August 2002 and August 2003, some 2,500 members of illegal self-defence groups had been apprehended, and the number of guerrillas captured in combat had risen 126 per cent.  Advances against rebel groups had also been accompanied by stepped-up efforts to curb drug trafficking.  Some 70 per cent of the country’s illegal crops had been destroyed, and the Government had deployed close to 6,000 families as forest rangers.  For Colombia, terrorism, the illicit drug trade and insecurity were all the same thing.  While the Government worked to stamp out terrorism and demobilize rebel actors, the country would implore the international community to join the fight.

SANDRA SUMANG PIERANTOZZI, Vice-President of Palau, said her country was enjoying rapid development following its independence nine years ago.  However, at a time when rapid globalization was making nations and peoples more interdependent, and events that were once “half a world away” could now affect safety and security in one’s own back yard, Palau realized that it must join the international community in the challenge of protecting its people and way of life.  To that end, Palau reaffirmed its unwavering support for the United States-led war against terrorism.

She said broad cooperation could also help to resolve conflicts, prevent the spread of disease and dangerous weapons, create economic stability, and raise standards of living.  Still, the risks of globalization were real and deserved attention.  Outlaw States and ethnic conflicts threatened regional stability and progress in many parts of the world, and other problems such as resource depletion, rapid population growth, uncontrolled migration flows, and the emergence of new infectious diseases such as SARS, had all increasingly significant implications for every nation’s security.

Pointing out that the highest environmental standards, such as those prescribed by the Kyoto Protocol, would not protect struggling small island States like Palau if other countries did not join the global effort to bring about peace and stability, she said that protection of the environment was a major concern for her country.  Decisions made today regarding the environment and natural resources could affect every nation’s security for generations.  Threats such as climate change, ozone depletion, over-harvesting and the introduction of nuisance species directly impacted the health and economic well-being of all the peoples of the world.  For Palau, the immediate danger was sea-level rise.

Palau was also concerned about human cloning, she said.  Any global ban on cloning must also include measures which proscribed the cloning of embryos for research.  While the goal of finding cures for chronic illness was laudable, creating and destroying human life for advancement and economic gains was too high a price to pay.  However, adult stem cell research was a promising field of study, which could provide an ethical source of stem cells for scientific study.  Regarding public health, with many people dying of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and cancer or similar diseases, the international community must advocate health care beyond the clinic wall, she said.  The global battle to defeat SARS had been an example of such an initiative.

SOMSAVAT LENGSAVAD, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, said that the world had been beset by terror, civil wars, armed conflicts, acts of aggression, and interference in the internal affairs of States.  In handling those problems, it was essential to show patience, courage, and determination to solve them through diplomatic and political means.  Furthermore, the challenges faced today were not limited to the political and military spheres, but included global warming, pollution, natural disasters, HIV/AIDS and other diseases, poverty and underdevelopment, refugees, debt and economic stagnation.  The severity of those challenges was made more acute in a globalized world, where the gap between developed and developing countries continued to widen.

Landlocked developing countries experienced special needs and problems in development, he said.  In its role as Chair of the 31-member Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, his country had spared no effort to bring those special concerns to the forefront of the international arena.  Such efforts had culminated in the holding of the International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and the Donor Community on Transit Transport Cooperation in Kazakhstan, and the adoption of the Almaty Declaration and Programme of Action, which all stakeholders were urged to implement fully and effectively.

The war in Iraq had severely tested the principle of collective security and the resilience of the Organization, he said.  The Security Council must play its full role in securing international peace and security.  Also of concern were the continued economic, commercial, and financial restrictions on Cuba, the ongoing violence and disproportionate use of force in the Middle East, and recent developments on the Korean peninsula.  It was to be hoped that the recent six-party talks held in Beijing would be followed up with a dialogue aimed at resolving the nuclear issue, and ensuring the security of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which would contribute to the realization of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

JAN PETERSEN, Foreign Minister of Norway, said that unless security needs were met in Iraq, democracy, as well as economic and social development, would be lost.  Without a safe and secure environment, the United Nations would be unable to help Iraq.  Norway urged focused attention on rebuilding Iraq with the aim of helping its people regain control of their destiny and a future of peace with their neighbours.

Terrorism was a dark force, he said, calling for strengthening the role of the United Nations in multilateral disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation.  The establishment of the International Criminal Court was a historic turning point, and Norway was committed to achieving progress in realizing the Millennium Development Goals.

Noting that the legacy of civil war was often another war, he said the United Nations could act to prevent that by stopping economic conflict drivers, such as diamonds and other natural resources, from fuelling and prolonging conflicts.  In the case of Africa, the United Nations would assist the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) in their endeavours towards social and economic development.  Norway urged the Sudan to step up efforts to reach a final settlement.

Considerable progress had been made in peacekeeping around the world, although Afghanistan still faced a challenging task, he said.  In Sri Lanka, he was hopeful that the parties would embark on negotiations towards an interim administration in the north-east province.  Elsewhere, 2003 was a tragic year for Israel and Palestinians, with renewed violence determining the course of developments.  Norway urged Israel to ease the living conditions of the Palestinians.

DIDIER OPERTTI-BADAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uruguay, said reform of the United Nations was indispensable and could no longer be delayed.  That process should be founded on four premises:  to preserve intact the purposes and principles of the Organization as enshrined in its Charter; to strengthen multilateral action; to engage in a process of self-criticism and self-reform; and to change the conduct of Member States in fulfilling their international obligations within the Organization.

While the modalities for each of the four premises differed, Uruguay believed the most important aspect of those reforms was the strengthening of the General Assembly, he said.  Its decisions were the most genuine manifestations of the will of the international community.  Although recent reform aimed at making the Assembly more effective, more profound changes were needed in order to restore the authority, which the Charter granted it and which it had exerted in the past.  Another area requiring reform was the improvement of the relationship between the Organization’s different organs.

Just as in the fight against poverty, he said, terrorism could not be defeated as a conventional enemy would be with a victorious battle.  Its eradication was an ongoing objective whose achievement required time, patience and perseverance.  Only a joint approach and multilateral action directed at its roots would reduce and hopefully eliminate that perverse and ubiquitous enemy.  Uruguay, a party to most international instruments on terrorism, thus attached priority to the conclusion of a general convention against international terrorism.

He lamented the lack of progress at the recent ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO), in Cancun, Mexico, a failure that sent a negative signal to a world that was demanding fairer and more balanced rules, especially for countries whose economies relied primarily on the production of agricultural goods.  Uruguay, however, was hopeful that renewed impetus in the negotiations would permit nations to achieve positive results in the forthcoming meeting in Geneva.  Such progress would benefit the less developed countries and be good for the future of international trade.

Prince MOHAMED BOLKIAH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Brunei Darussalam, said the failure by Member States to bring about much-needed reform of the United Nations had resulted in a gravely divided Security Council and left a legacy of bitterness.  The consequences for the world’s peoples, particularly those from developing nations, had been disastrous, even as Member States recognized the need for decision-making at the United Nations to be more inclusive, thus, reflecting the international justice its Charter stood for.

In order for them to feel truly part of the decisions it made, he said, Member States had affirmed their wish for the Organization to be truly multilateral and had, on many occasions, expressed their desire for it to reflect today’s world rather than that of half a century ago.  As it operated now, many observers and nations felt that Member States were too weak to act effectively in solving the issues of the day.  They believed international affairs were now beyond the control of individual nations.  Depressing as it was, that situation had forced them to examine what the United Nations could actually do more effectively and what it could realistically achieve.

He said that the feeling of hopelessness and frustration voiced, not only by ordinary people but also by many governments, made the task of restoring belief in the ability of the United Nations to act on their behalf the most important immediate one.  It was for that reason, too, that his country supported the Secretary-General’s calls for structural reform of the Organization, including its Security Council, and was optimistic that those goals would be accomplished.  In the face of today’s problems, the United Nations must continue to offer strong reasons for optimism about the future.  To do that, the Organization as a whole had to be a genuine partnership between nations, as well as stand for shared idealism and a shared sense of justice.

GODFREY SMITH, Attorney-General and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Belize, called for the inclusion of the Republic of China (Taiwan) as a Member of the United Nations, saying that one must question whether the fundamental principles of the Organization -– namely, the peaceful settlement of disputes, the right to self-determination, sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference, the right of peoples to the social and political system of their choice, respect for social, economic and political human rights, the non-use of force or threat of force, respect for international law and multilateralism –- were adequately observed and protected.  In a world riddled with fear and dominated by terrorism, where barbarism enjoyed greater tolerance, there was a need to concentrate on saving humanity. 

He said ideas were more powerful than arms, and that should be a source of comfort in an international arena where multilateralism was under threat and the development of peoples blocked by the practices of the rich and powerful.  The basic principles of the United Nations Charter remained valid, although there was an admitted need to reform it.  The fundamental purpose of the Organization, according to Article 1 of the Charter, was to ensure international peace and security and, to that end, to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace.  Moreover, Article 42 had given primary responsibility for maintaining that peace and security to the Security Council.

The United Nations, with its many lofty objectives epitomized by the Millennium Development Goals, would only become irrelevant if made so by its Member States, he concluded.  All nations -- large and small, powerful and weak -- were urged to keep the Organization alive, to respect the Charter, and to abide by agreed international principles and international law.

SURAKIART SATHIRATHAI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand, said the United Nations had indeed come, as the Secretary-General had said, “to a fork in the road” on the way to a multilateral system and the assurance of a better world.  At such a critical juncture, the international community must learn to live with and tolerate differences, in terms of religion, culture and values, through the promotion of true partnership and human security.  While the international community could be proud of having forged partnerships for peacekeeping operations from Timor-Leste to Sierra Leone to Bosnia and Herzegovina, it must do more to address the conflict in the Middle East.  For its part, Thailand remained as committed to reconstruction efforts in Iraq as it had been to those in Timor-Leste and Afghanistan.

Stressing the importance of collective action in ensuring human security, he noted that the narcotics trade and pandemics transcended all borders, threatening human security as much as terrorism.  His Government had declared war against the drug trade upon taking office in February 2001, and had mounted an integrated strategic campaign, which incorporated prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and suppression.  The Government hoped to declare total victory by the end of the year.  For that purpose, more effective partnerships had been forged with the country’s neighbours and with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). 

Other issues that must be dealt with collectively and comprehensively were the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the spread of diseases like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), he added.  Moreover, guided by the principle of combining strength and diversity through partnership, his country had embarked upon a policy of bridging socio-economic disparities at the regional and subregional levels, including through the creation of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue.  In its second year, the Dialogue comprised 22 Asian members, and the forging of an Economic Cooperation Strategy designed to narrow the economic gap between Thailand, Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic and Myanmar.

Nationally, he added, efforts to create economic and social partnership through combining and empowering the grass-roots economy and the export-led business sector had proved successful, ensuring that the economy rested upon a secure and firm foundation for continued economic growth and sustainable development.

CHOE SU HON, Vice-Foreign Minister of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said the international political climate was as unstable and challenging as it had ever been.  Indeed, on the basis of extreme national bigotry and hostility, some countries had been designated as members of an “axis of evil” and identified as targets for “pre-emptive nuclear attacks”.  Unilateral military attacks were launched against sovereign States under the pretext of the “war against terrorism” and suspicion of possession of dangerous weapons.  Sovereign equality was increasingly being violated and, as a result, international relations had plunged into a morass of confrontation and antagonism.

“As we are all aware, all of this is the product of unilateralism [which compelled] countries to be subservient to the high-handedness and unreasonable demands of the super-Power”, he said.  Therefore, it was the task of all Member States to reject unilateralism and build a world in which all countries coexisted peacefully.  He underscored his country’s sincere efforts to ensure a fair solution to the nuclear issue between itself and the United States.  That issue had risen from the hostile policies pursed by the United States to “isolate and stifle the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea politically, economically, and militarily”.

Nevertheless, his Government wished to resolve the nuclear issue peacefully through dialogue and negotiations, with the ultimate goal of ensuring a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.  Accordingly, at both the recent tripartite and six-party talks, his country had advanced that notion.  The 1993 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea-United States Joint Statement and the 1994 Agreed Framework attested to his country’s peace-loving stance on the issue.  However, the spirit of hope for a solution to those agreements evaporated, when the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was identified as part of an “axis of evil” and potential nuclear threat.

Thereafter, he continued, the United States reverted to its hostile stance, unilaterally halting the supply of heavy fuel oil since November 2002.  The United States also began to pressure his country to disarm, when all the while it was trying to overthrow the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  His country’s stance now was to maintain its powerful policy of war deterrence, which aimed not to attack anyone but to safeguard the country’s sovereignty.  The United States must abandon its hostile policies.

During the August six-party talks in Beijing, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had set as the goal the abandonment of United States’ hostilities in exchange for the abandonment of his country’s nuclear programme.  His Government had introduced a package proposal for simultaneous action for a comprehensive and fair solution of the nuclear issue, the conclusion of a non-aggression treaty between his country and the United States, renunciation of the nuclear programme, and normalization of bilateral relations.  But, it was the position of the United States that it would not discuss its steps until after the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea took steps first.

As it stood today, both sides were ostensibly “levelling guns at each other”, asking the other to put down its guns first.  That did not make any sense, he said.  It was clear that the United States’ true motive was “disarming and killing” his country.  His Government had been driven not to maintain any interest in or have any expectations of the next round of talks.

KHANDU WANGCHUK, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bhutan, said that international peace and security and poverty eradication were the most pressing challenges facing the international community.  Those goals were interlinked and could not be achieved in isolation.  There could be no prosperity without peace and security, and peace and security, in turn, could not be sustained if billions were deprived of the basic necessities of life.  The fight against terrorism must be matched by an equal commitment to eradicate the poverty that afflicted more than half of the world’s population.

He said the international community must work with renewed focus and resolve towards a new economic order that was inclusive, equitable and sustainable.  He noted that 33 countries, which together accounted for 26 per cent of the world’s population, were reported to be off-track on more than half of the Millennium Development Goals.  There was a critical need for adequate financing mechanisms through trade, investment and development assistance.

He also noted that of those 33 countries, 23 were in sub-Saharan Africa, highlighting the need for special attention to Africa.  He called on the international community to lend its full support to the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), stressing international support was particularly crucial for countries emerging from conflicts.  He hoped the international community would provide the necessary support to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, as they work to rebuild their countries under the most trying circumstances.

NAGOUM YAMASSOUM, Minister for Foreign Affairs and African Integration of Chad, said that while terrorism threatened international peace and security, and globalization had made relations between North and South more difficult, the best response to such situations was to be found only in collective and concerted action.  The United Nations remained the sole Organization to enjoy real international legitimacy.  To ensure that continued to be the case, the Organization must not become merely a showcase for the power of the few.  In that respect, the membership of the Security Council should be expanded to take account of the real state of affairs in today’s world.

Encouraging the United Nations to take a more proactive role in Africa, he stressed that while the NEPAD had been formulated as the strategy for extricating the continent from an economic mess, the programme’s success depended on international support and solidarity.  For its part, Chad had undergone a significant process of reform, which would be sustained until the country’s republican institutions were perfected.  The national strategy, which focused on the development of peace, security and justice, energy and water, rural development, health and education, decentralization, infrastructure, communications and good governance, was designed to reduce poverty and to ensure the proper management of public funds, especially those that would accrue from future oil production.  To that end, the President of Chad had promulgated a law, setting the terms of use for oil revenues and charged an independent body with powers of review. 

Given the new international context of the global village, he concluded, his country had endeavoured to open itself up to the outside world by contributing modestly to conflict resolution, particularly in Africa, where it was hoped that recent progress in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia would be built upon.  In a wider context, he reaffirmed the need to implement the Road Map peace plan, to ensure the restoration of Iraq’s sovereignty and independence, and to address the proliferation of dangerous weapons.  Among those issues requiring additional attention from the international community were the implementation of pledges related to development assistance, and the fight against HIV/AIDS.

BIOSSEY KOKOU TOZOUN, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Togo, said that the democratization of his country was fully endorsed by the Togolese people and their Government.  However, he noted, it was a process that required courage, determination and patience.  In Africa, the success of democratic rule depended on economic opportunities and on the creation of institutions, which required more resources than were currently available to most countries in the region.

Togo, he said, did not deserve the suspension of foreign aid, given its commitment to democratization.  In that context, he appealed to the international community to resume cooperation with his country, and emphasized that the continuation of sanctions would deepen poverty among the Togolese people and bring about anarchy.

He highlighted Togo’s contribution to peace and security in Africa, citing his country’s participation in peacekeeping operations in Chad, Sierra Leone, the Great Lakes Region, Guinea-Bissau and Côte d’Ivoire.  He welcomed the creation of the United Nations Mission in Liberia and urged wealthy countries to continue to provide financing to ensure its success. He also welcomed the formation of a new government in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and called for stability, unity and national reconciliation in that country.  In addition, he congratulated Burundi on the accomplishments of the Arusha Accords and exhorted the parties to work towards the resolution of the conflict.

Regarding the conflict in the Middle East, he encouraged both sides to reach a settlement, which would take into account the right of Israelis to live with security within recognized international borders and the right of the Palestinian people to have their own State.  Emphasizing the damaging effects of the burden of debt and the deteriorating terms of trade on developing countries, he urged developed nations to end protectionist measures and subsidies.  He also called for reforms to the United Nations and welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal to establish a panel of eminent persons to help guide such reforms.

HIDIPO HAMUTENYA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Namibia, said that the speeches delivered in the Assembly were an expression of Member States’ collective passion for and conviction about the ideals the Organization stood for.  Yet, as was the case with the war in Iraq, the United Nations was sidelined, and the unique legitimacy of its authority undermined through unilateral actions.  Such actions had produced a general feeling of fear and uncertainty, especially among the small and weak nations of the world.  Echoing the call for a return to multilateral dialogue, he said that multilateralism must be the basis of global security, if smaller countries were not to feel that they were at the mercy of the stronger ones. 

He emphasized the inseparable link between international security and economic development.  The Organization must hold up the commitments made in the field of economic development, especially the pledges made in the Millennium Declaration.  The implementation of the Millennium Declaration was a race against time, and failure to act now with a sense of urgency would mean that the rich of the world had failed to rise to the moral and political challenge of protecting the right to life –- the most sacred of all human rights.

He said Namibia was devoting considerable resources and attention to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS, and was working with other countries, relevant United Nations agencies, the private sector, and members of civil society.  The plight of AIDS orphans was given priority.  He stressed the need for more generous contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

On the need for reform, he said that the Security Council needed to become democratic and more representative, allowing other regions and States to be represented.  One of the issues that underlined the need for urgent reform of the Council was the “pathetic inability” of that body to bring the authority of the United Nations to bear on the situation in the Middle East.  Due to a lack of will in the Council, it had not been able to act collectively to put a stop to the carnage.  The end of occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian State, existing side by side with Israel, were key to peace and stability in the region.

SODYQ SAFAEV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, said the peace process in Afghanistan was still fragile despite efforts to restore stability.  He called on the international community, donor nations and neighbouring countries to engage in reconstruction efforts on a greater level.  Uzbekistan had assisted the Afghan people by building bridges, providing humanitarian aid, and supplying electricity to northern provinces.

He said that the aggressive drive of terrorists to acquire dangerous weapons had become a new reality, making necessary a streamlined system to prevent access by terrorists to arms, new technologies and dual-use material.  He welcomed progress made in the development of legal instruments to combat terror, but said tangible results would only be achieved through a global system of cooperation.  To prevent the emergence of terrorism and extremism, it was important to confront centres promoting fanaticism, which possessed financial resources and the capacity to influence the minds of youth.  He called for the establishment of a United Nations programme for youth education on that issue.

He supported the development of regional integration, and considered the Organization of Central Asian Cooperation (OCAC) a crucial element to multilateral collaboration.  Overcoming isolation was of foremost importance, he said, adding that the establishment of a Trans-Afghan transport corridor would provide landlocked nations new access to seaports, boost trade and economic ties, and change geopolitical and economic realities.  He advocated strict compliance to nuclear non-proliferation and a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia.  Facing assaults by international drug cartels, which used terrorism to protect drug routes, he emphasized the need for international programmes under the auspices of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

HOR NAMHONG, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, said the world faced four key challenges:  Iraq, the Middle East, terrorism and poverty.  Given the fragile and unstable situation in Iraq, the United Nations must assume a critical role in restoring stability during this transitional period, and Iraq should be allowed to govern itself as soon as possible through free and fair elections.  All parties to the Middle East conflict, particularly Israel and Palestine, should continue to pursue a peaceful solution based on the Road Map, both sides should have “a sense of political realism” and a shared determination to realize peace.  Also, the international community must remain fully committed to supporting the Middle East peace process.  Turning to terrorism in South-East Asia, he said the Jemaah Islamiah, which was linked to Al Qaeda and was responsible for a number of attacks, continued to present a serious threat to security in the region despite the active efforts to combat terrorism. 

He said the international community had not acted decisively enough, despite numerous calls for concerted efforts to combat poverty.  Without concrete measures and the provision of adequate resources, it was impossible for the least developed countries to overcome the current challenges of poverty which had been aggravated by globalization.  Fighting poverty was not the responsibility of the least developing countries alone but was the shared responsibility of international community, in which the developed countries had a critical role to play.  The United Nations should also assume a more meaningful role in global anti-poverty efforts.

In Asia, the establishment of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community had enhanced cooperation among a combined population of more than 3 billion people and that this carried enormous potential for economic growth in the region.  Regarding the Korean peninsula, Cambodia fully supported the peace talks in Beijing.  Tension could only be reduced through dialogue and compromise, and he called for the negotiation of a road map for a nuclear-free and secure Korean peninsula.  In Cambodia the free and fair elections held this year marked another important milestone in the country’s democratization.

On the Organization’s reform, he said “democratization needs to start right here at the United Nations”, adding that further inaction to calls for reform would mean a continuing decline of credibility for the United Nations.  He called for the enlargement of the Security Council to include Japan, Germany and India as permanent members, given their crucial role in current international political and economic affairs.

FRANCISCO GUERRERO PRATS, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic, said that in this time of reflection on the part of the international community, reform had become a priority task for the Organization.  Representation on the Security Council, in particular, must be made more equitable and its decision-making processes more transparent.  Moreover, global challenges, such as terrorism, organized crime and the illegal traffic in arms and drugs demanded that all worked together to respond decisively.

The Millennium Declaration, he recalled, had established the reduction of poverty by half by 2015 as a priority goal.  Yet, despite some advances, poverty continued to represent a fierce calamity.  All States must join together to meet the needs of the present generation while ensuring that future generations’ capacity to satisfy their own needs was not destroyed.  For its part, the Dominican Republic had created a Social Cabinet to coordinate all government institutions for social welfare and to ensure that national and international resources were equitably distributed.  Furthermore, given the recent impasse in negotiations at the Cancun Conference of the World Trade Organization, it was important to ensure that the development perspective of the Doha Round was not lost.

He described his country’s humanitarian assistance to Iraq, which aimed to contribute to a secure and stable environment, leading to the restoration of sovereignty of the Iraqi people.  He also voiced his continued support for the Road Map peace plan.  Guaranteeing the rights of equality and equity for women and promoting their increased political participation was equally a concern.  In that regard, the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) deserved the continued support of the international community. Other areas of particular concern included ensuring a culture of peace by teaching mutual understanding, civic training and human rights at the primary level; combating the spread of HIV/AIDS; continued humanitarian support for the people of Haiti; and the need to grant membership in the Organization to the Republic of China (Taiwan).

MATEUS MEIRA RITA, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Sao Tome and Principe, called attention to the enormous challenges faced by African countries.  Highlighting the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS on the continent’s societies, cultures and economies he urged the international community to mobilize human and financial resources to fight the epidemic.

Forces seeking to topple its constitutionally elected Government had recently threatened democratic rule in Sao Tome and Principe, he said.  He credited the failure of the coup attempt and the quick restitution of the country’s constitutional Government to the timely intervention of the international community.  He thanked Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the African Union and all the countries that had contributed to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Despite the restitution of his country’s popularly elected Government, democracy in Sao Tome and Principe would remain under threat unless the Government was able to mobilize much needed resources for its people.  He appealed to the international community to strengthen multilateral cooperation and to ensure that the United Nations continued to be a forum for the promotion of dialogue, peace, security and democracy.

Sao Tome and Principe supported an urgent reform of the Security Council which must be democratized with the expansion of permanent members.  It was also necessary to ensure the universality of the non-proliferation treaties.  While expressing his country’s support of the Millennium Development Goals, he noted that the rules of the international economy continued to be dictated by a small number of countries that promote free markets while closing their own.

As an island nation, Sao Tome & Principe saw its very existence threatened by global warming, he said, calling for the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.

He urged for an end to the United States embargo on Cuba and for normalization of relations between the two countries.  Highlighting its contributions to development assistance and international security, he said that under universality rules stated in the United Nations charter “the Republic of China on Taiwan has to be here one day among us”.

HENRY F. CHIMUNTHU BANDA, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Malawi, expressed gratitude for the humanitarian assistance extended to his country by the United Nations and the international community during the critical food shortage of the past two years.  He also reminded the Assembly that Africa continued to suffer the tragedy of HIV/AIDS, which had overstretched national budgets and taken an irreplaceable toll in terms of life.  That bleak and desperate situation necessitated an urgent and concerted international response to implement the Millennium Development Goals related to stopping the pandemic.

Stressing the centrality of market access and trade to the whole question of poverty eradication and sustainable development, he said there must be a deliberate, broad-ranging global policy against trade barriers.  Moreover, the noble objectives of NEPAD, which aimed to enable Africans to assume full responsibility for facing their own development challenges, could only be realized with support from developed countries.  The resource pledges made at the Group of Eight meetings in Canada and France must be honoured.

In terms of peace and security, he said the launch of the Road Map peace plan earlier this year had been heartening, but it was regrettable to see its implementation frustrated by elements that did not wish to see peace dominate in the Middle East.  In the African context, the humanitarian tragedies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and Liberia remained a serious distraction from important national and regional development initiatives.  He also urged the membership of the United Nations to be universalized through the inclusion of the Republic of China (Taiwan). 

Malawi, he concluded, would next year hold its third general election.  Following so closely on the heels of a serious food shortage, the elections were badly scheduled.  Yet, in response to the demands of the Constitution, the Government and people of Malawi were committed to fulfilling that constitutional necessity.  The cooperation, support and assistance of the international community in facilitating that process were, therefore, desired.

ALFRED CAPELLE (Marshall Islands) said that his country was in the process of assessing its national implementation efforts under the Barbados Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States, in preparation for the forthcoming international meeting in Mauritius.  All international donor and development partners were urged to engage in that preparatory process and to participate at the Mauritius meeting.  Like many small island States, his country faced challenges linked to its unique, but fragile, environment, which was highly vulnerable to the threats posed by global warming and environmental pollution and degradation.  Moreover, in addition to a narrow resource base, it was disadvantaged by its remote location. 

In the context of sustainable development, he noted that the three pillars of sustainable development -– economic, social and environmental -– posed many challenges.  Having developed a national blueprint for sustainable development, the Marshall Islands continued to seek opportunities to form partnerships aimed at implementing projects in the areas of increased fresh water access; affordable, renewable and environmentally sound energy sources; and the development of waste management systems, that minimized the hazardous impacts on society and the environment.  Announcing his country’s ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement, he also stressed the importance of adhering to the regime for the world’s oceans and fisheries, established under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  In addition, he expressed concern about instances of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing within the country’s exclusive economic zone.

The issue of nuclear weapons testing remained an issue of major concern, he concluded.  Due to tests conducted between 1946 and 1958, the people and environment of the Marshall Islands continued to suffer today.  The food chain still showed dangerously high levels of radiation and the country’s development capacity was limited by the inaccessibility of contaminated islands and atolls.  Moreover, the country remained committed to the fight against terrorism and the need to expand the membership of the Security Council.  It also felt that the Republic of China (Taiwan) should no longer be excluded from membership in the Organization.

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For information media. Not an official record.