29 September 2010

‘We Must Move Forward!’ Assembly President Says, Challenging Member States to Be Brave Enough to Reject Static Positions, Make United Nations Better

29 September 2010
General Assembly
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly


23rd & 24thMeetings (AM & PM)

‘We Must Move Forward!’ Assembly President Says, Challenging Member States


to Be Brave Enough to Reject Static Positions, Make United Nations Better


Sixty-Fifth Session of General Debate Ends with Delegations Warning

Against Yielding United Nations Vital Decision-Making Functions to Other Forums

The question of the United Nations being able to effectively tackle entrenched global ills — from poverty and terrorism to conflict prevention and pandemic disease — hinged on whether the 192-member body would be brave enough to move beyond deadlock and oft-repeated positions of principle to truly defend its role as the premier centre for global decision-making, the President of the General Assembly stressed today at the end of that body’s week-long general debate.

In closing remarks, Assembly President Joseph Deiss, of Switzerland, said he had been struck by the convergence of concerns expressed not only from the rostrum but during bilateral meetings held on the sidelines of debate.  “If our concerns are shared, why then have so many tragic situations lasted for so long?” he asked.  He wondered whether delegates had taken the time to talk with one another or been merely content with repeating the same issues year after year.

Summarizing key messages delivered throughout the week, Mr. Deiss said the high-level plenary on the Millennium Development Goals had laid bare the need to follow words with actions so as to meet the expectations of millions living in poverty.  Situations in the Middle East, Sudan and the Balkans were a reminder that the United Nations still had a long way to go in fulfilling its primary duty of maintaining peace and security.  Speaker after speaker, he said, had dwelt on the risks associated with climate change, including the loss of biodiversity, and reiterated the need for more efforts to address those challenges head on.

As for global governance, the theme of the general debate, he said the number of Heads of State and Government in attendance testified to the importance attached to that issue.  To improve cooperation between the United Nations and other players in that sphere, he planned to launch an informal dialogue with the Secretary-General and the prospective Group of 20 (G-20) host country to take place before and after those summits.  There was also a possibility for an informal debate, during the second half of his term, to explore routes towards a system that was more inclusive and open. Many leaders had cited a lack of leadership and need for major reform as areas of concern.

“Are we ready to strengthen the Organization today?” he asked.  Were States not already recreating the United Nations outside its walls by multiplying the number of decision-making forums?  Essential reforms currently under way, notably for the Assembly and the Security Council, must move forward.  It was clearly up to Member States whether the United Nations would prove a strong tool truly able to work for the common good.  Breakthroughs would require a great deal of creativity.

Throughout the final day of the general debate, speakers pointed to stark differences in access to lofty inner sanctums of decision-making, as well as to individual social freedoms that allowed some nations to enjoy free trade and social equality, while others struggled in the changing winds of global commodity prices and half-open markets for their goods and services.  Official development assistance (ODA) and foreign direct investment had dropped, leaving poverty an “open wound” and national efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals needing a global push.

With large swaths of the world weakened or powerless against such currents, it was up to the United Nations to show the path forward.  For many, that meant updating its structures to reflect the equity and balance being sought in other institutions, like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.  “How can we as members of the United Nations credibly espouse equity among nations and peoples if we fail to practice it among ourselves,” asked Dasho Daw Penjo, Foreign Secretary of Bhutan, whose own small nation sought membership for a non-permanent Security Council seat for the 2013-14 term.

Other non-transparent groupings were chipping away at what traditionally had been the United Nations’ sphere of influence, some said, meeting in informal ways to hammer out their countries’ interests.  They noted with concern grand proclamations made by the G-20 that it had become the premier forum for international economic cooperation.

The “we” that had established that Group did not include Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, said that country’s representative, Camillo M. Gonsalves, who stressed that, in the wake of the worst crisis since the Great Depression, 172 economies should not be locked out of economic discussions, waiting anxiously for policy shifts that affected their very survival. From its misunderstanding of the vulnerabilities of small, highly indebted middle-income countries, to its “draconian outlook” on offshore services, it was clear that the Group would have benefited from his region’s perspective.

Small island States had emerged as some of the most zealous guardians of the United Nations’ Charter, he said, which guaranteed their place in the Assembly among sovereign equals.  To avoid an ignominious devolution into an “amalgam of unwieldy bureaucracies”, the Organization as a whole must first ensure that good global governance was premised on inclusiveness and that some measure of predictability was built into the rules that governed the global family.

Despite its imperfections, the United Nations was advancing, if incrementally, in a few areas of influence, others said, notably disarmament, with some praising the 1 August entry into force of the Cluster Munitions Treaty and spring conclusion of the eighth Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review.  Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, said another sign of hope had been the decision to hold a conference on achieving a Middle East free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.

Efforts had also had come together around humanitarian disaster, still others said, citing the dispatch of “blue helmets” to Haiti in the aftermath of earthquake and relief personnel to Pakistan following epic floods.  In much of the United Nations’ work, Wilfred P. Erlington, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Belize, reminded the Assembly that international support must complement, not dictate, the way forward.  He urged broadening the “myopic” view of development assistance as synonymous with partnership.  Reform must reflect a new orientation, from a donor-recipient culture to one based on mutual respect.

Also speaking today were the Foreign Ministers of India, Uruguay, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Paraguay, Thailand and Guinea.  The Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea also spoke.

Also addressing the Assembly were the representatives of Russian Federation, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Tonga, Venezuela, Norway, and Poland.

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Republic of Korea, India, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Viet Nam. 

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 5 October, to consider the report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization.


The General Assembly met today to continue and conclude its general debate.


WILFRED P. ELRINGTON, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Belize, congratulated the Assembly President on his election, but said that, despite the common values of peace and democracy shared by their two countries, the dramatic differences - most notably, Switzerland’s $400 billion economy compared to his coastal country’s $1 billion economy - illustrated the stark differences that epitomize today’s world.  “We, in this hall, tout sovereign equality, but we experience social and economic disparity on a daily basis, across the globe,” he said.  Inequality continued to exist between nations - and within nations.  In the last 10 years, real output per capita in his country had grown, but so did the proportions of Belizeans living in poverty.  He acknowledged that development was a matter of national responsibility, but that contemporary reality rendered questions that were hitherto matters of national concern, matters of global concern, and diminished the capacity of State management.

As a result, he continued, Belize’s macroeconomic policy and fiscal capacity could barely address the multiple exogenous shocks occasioned by the ongoing financial, food and fuel crises.  Adequate international support was critical for Belize to avoid drifting away from attaining its goals, and he called on developed nations to make good on their promise to delver 0.7 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) for official development assistance (ODA) in order to further integrate Belize into the global economy.  In the last 15 years, he said his country’s ratio of public debt to GDP grew steadily from 27 per cent in 1995 to 70.3 per cent in 2008, with a peak of 80 per cent in 2005.  That debt-lead strategy, which had been the model of many other countries, had become a “burden for our children”, as the debt service obligations constrained the Government’s capacity to increase social investments.  Belize was “off track” in meeting its Millennium Development Goals in the areas of poverty, hunger, education and equality for women.  Therefore, international cooperation and support must complement, not dictate, the way forward.

While Belize’s traditional donors have long provided assistance, the country was benefiting from new modalities of cooperation, which was yielding direct and immediate returns for its people, he said.  Belize had benefited from cooperation with various partners, including Taiwan, whose Government helped Belize develop its capacity in agricultural research, aquaculture, education and social sector investment.  Cooperation with the Latin American and Caribbean region was also based on that approach.  Belize had benefited from partnerships with Cuba, Brazil and Venezuela, and had recently received two years worth of emergency relief funds from the United Arab Emirates.  “We need now to make these partnerships the standard for global cooperation,” he said.

At the United Nations, the global community had long focused on official development assistance as being synonymous with partnership, he said.  That “myopic” view needed to be broadened.  He called for a reform that would reflect a new orientation from a donor-recipient culture to one of true partnership with mutual respect, as well as a more equitable North-South representation that ensured coherence and was inclusive.  For its part, he said that Belize was crafting a twenty-first century vision for a modern, green and sustainable economy predicated on capacity-building, human dignity, human development and innovation.  The Government was working towards building domestic capital through social investments, job creation, improved access to credit and combating crime and violence, and recently launched Restore Belize, a programme that encompassed a comprehensive anti-crime initiative that would provide skills training, continuing education for adults, infrastructure development and fostering civic pride.  In addition, it introduced new feeding programmes, subsidies for secondary school students and seed programmes for farmers.  Its new Horizon 2030 project would help redefine its national objectives, and a Council of Science Advisers would integrate science and technology into the programme.  Belize’s efforts were aimed towards ensuring development with dignity, he said, “and for this we seek partnerships, not charity”.

S.M. KRISHNA, Minister for External Affairs of India, said the world had changed dramatically in the 65 years since the United Nations founding.  Terrorism, weapons proliferation, piracy and pandemics were just some of the problems that recognized no borders, making the goal of global governance truly formidable.  The United Nations role in that regard must be restored to reflect today’s realities.  Changes in the global geo-strategic order since 1945 had barely been reflected in its most vital organs, notably the Security Council, which spent most of its time on security issues related to developing nations, yet barely heard the voices of those countries on such matters.  It was imperative that intergovernmental negotiations on reforming the Council be brought to an early conclusion.  The General Assembly must reclaim its position on issues like appointment of the Secretary-General.

In other areas, he reiterated India’s strong commitment for UN Women, saying his country also had contributed over 100,000 peacekeepers to nearly every major peacekeeping operation and stood committed to those efforts.  The United Nations capacities to manage development operations must be augmented and funding increased, he said, noting that India had consistently contributed to such activities through South-South cooperation via the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).  India also regarded with the highest priority the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals and believed special attention must centre on the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States and African nations.

As a country vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, India had an important stake in the success of international negotiations to address that phenomenon, he continued.  India was doing everything possible to contribute to global action on climate change through an ambitious national action plan and was ready to work in a positive spirit with others to achieve an equitable outcome to those ongoing talks.  Also, his Government was committed to achieving universal nuclear disarmament within a specified timeframe.  In that context, he called for intensifying dialogue among States and the larger non-governmental community to strengthen international consensus to that end.  To defeat terrorism, concerted action must be taken against terrorists and their sponsors.  India was party to all major conventions against terrorism and fully supported implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which was designed to fill gaps in the international legal framework.

Turning to peace and stability in South Asia, he said India had pledged $25 million in aid to Pakistan for flood relief efforts.  At the same time, he shared deep-rooted concerns about the growth of militancy and terrorism in that country, particularly because Jammu and Kashmir, an integral part of India, was the target of such Pakistan-sponsored actions.  Calling on Pakistan to fulfil its solemn commitment of not allowing territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India, he said credible action against such groups was in the interests of the region.  If Pakistan lived up to that commitment, it would significantly help reduce the trust deficit that impeded better bilateral relations.  “We are neighbours, and as neighbours, we have an obligation to work together,” he added.  He also urged that the global community be steadfast in its engagement with Afghanistan to ensure the success of its reconstruction, and its emergence as a democratic, pluralistic and prosperous society.  The existence of sanctuaries for terrorists beyond its borders should be a primary focus.

LUIS ALMAGRO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uruguay, reaffirmed his country’s commitment to international law, the peaceful solution of conflicts, respect for human rights, and the sovereign equality of States, which found their maximum expression in the United Nations.  His country also rejected the threat and use of force, and the application of coercive measures contrary to the Charter — such as the trade and economic embargo against Cuba by the United States.  That last unilateral measure was contrary not only to the Charter, but international law and one of the most dearly held principles of his country’s foreign policy — the peaceful settlement of disputes.  His country had a long tradition in the promotion and protection of human rights, being among the countries that had subscribed to the widest number of international conventions.  Its long tradition had allowed it to assume a predominant role in protecting children’s rights, working with a formidable ally — the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The elimination of nuclear weapons was also among Uruguay’s causes, as was reducing and controlling conventional weapons, he said, highlighting strong support for a nuclear-weapon-free world.  His country had contributed to strengthening the Tlatelolco Treaty — the first nuclear-weapon-free zone in a densely populated area of the world — and the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and believed the entry into force of the complete nuclear test ban and a ban on the production of fissile material would deepen advances made in disarmament.  On conventional weapons, he supported a legally binding arms trade treaty.  His country also participated in United Nations peacekeeping, its commitment demonstrated by the deployment of 2,500 blue helmets, principally in Haiti and the Congo.  He added that the gap between the complexity of mandates and the existing capacities was a challenge that must be confronted each day, as such missions could not be sustained without serious consideration of the resources necessary.

Further, there was no sustainable peacekeeping without early efforts for peacebuilding, which should be incorporated early in mission planning, giving as much attention to strengthening institutions as to security.  Conflict prevention, mediation and preventive diplomacy should be at the forefront, he said, using Haiti as an example.  As a country that had deployed more than 10,000 military personnel to that country from 2004 to the present, Uruguay had advocated for a mandate that, without neglecting security needs, permitted helping establish the conditions necessary for strengthening the country’s productive capacity.  In his opinion, greater emphasis should be placed on providing teachers, doctors, agronomists and volunteers.  On the issue of peacekeeping reform, that should take place amid current United Nations reforms, including of the Security Council.  Uruguay’s pilot experience with the Delivering as One programme showed the country’s commitment to reform.  Now, Uruguay sought a non-permanent seat on the Security Council in 2016, being the only candidate country in the region at present time.

Turning to global governance, he said it was imperative to work jointly towards building long-term strategies and solutions that would lead to more just and equitable societies.  The United Nations role in international economic and financial governance was fundamental for democratization of decision-making that guaranteed participation on a level playing field.  Uruguay called on Member States of the Group of 20 (G-20) to focus activities on searching for solutions that would reinitiate the circle of global economic growth with equality, inclusiveness and transparency.  Also, development would have limited effects without a healthy environment, a challenge facing his country.  National plans and strategies required continued United Nations support to bolster strong, medium- and long-term social development.  The current economic crisis marked the closing of a cycle of growth and demanded a new way of thinking about development.  To mitigate the negative impacts, developing countries must have new and additional resources to allow them to apply counter-cyclical policies.  The elimination of subsidies and other non-tariff trade barriers that currently impede market access was indispensable, as was a conclusion to the Doha Round, with the result duly taking into account the development perspective.

JEAN-MARIE KACOU GERVAIS, Minister for Foreign Affairs and African Integration of C ôte d’Ivoire, said the United Nations must remain credible by adapting to a changed environment since its 1945 founding.  Because the Organization was at the crossroads of the world’s problems, it was there where the sources and solutions to them must be found.  Various questions centred on poverty, an open wound for humanity.  Women were losing lives as they gave life, while children were dying before they reached the age of 5.  A powerless world meant that the United Nations must be adapted to find proper responses and show the path forward.  Reform must see the enlargement of the Security Council and improvement in its working methods.  To that end, he expressed hope for the success of intergovernmental negotiations.

On other matters, he said the global economic crisis had worsened countries’ vulnerabilities and threatened collective security.  The purchasing power of developing nations had dropped, as had their inputs of ODA and foreign direct investment.  Indeed, global recovery was fragile and efforts must be combined to find the most appropriate solutions to enhance equitable growth.  He called on industrialized countries to follow through with assistance pledges and reform of the international financial architecture.  That reform should not only allow poor countries more adequate representation in global financial bodies, but also see the creation of policies better adapted to their needs.  The declaration adopted at the 2010 Group of Eight (G-8) Summit underlined the urgent action needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals, notably to improve women’s health, and in that context, he welcomed the creation of UN Women.

Food insecurity was another immediate obstacle to development that required lasting solutions in terms of financing for agriculture.  He welcomed efforts by the World Bank, regional development banks and United Nations funds and agencies for financing that sector.  He also welcomed the 2009 L’Aquila Initiative, which allowed for the mobilization of $20 billion for agriculture for developing countries, as well as the launch of the Global Programme for Agriculture and Food Security.  Turning to climate change, he said clear, committed international responses were needed and solutions found that ensured a more balanced world.  To that end, he welcomed progress made at the Copenhagen Climate Change summit, saying that, though an accord had not been reached, progress had been made, notably in the allocation of $30 billion for adaptation measures in developing countries, which should allow his country to combat climate change.

On human rights, he said the situation in his country had improved, thanks to help from non-governmental organizations and Côte d’Ivoire’s decision to go before the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review.  Finally, he said the United Nations’ role was vital in resolving armed conflicts around the world, especially Africa, which could not ensure its own economic and social developments despite its great potential to do so.  In his country, the Ouagadougou accord allows for presidential elections set for 31 October.  Signs of progress in the peace process included the determination of players to move towards free, transparent elections.  In closing, he said recent crises had shown that global development had been threatened more than ever before.  The United Nations had a crucial role in finding effective, appropriate solutions to such problems and to that end, must reassert its position in global governance.

SEYOUM MESFIN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, reviewed the salient aspects of his country’s political and economic transformation, most notably its democratization process, which was now in its second decade.  The process had been “bumpy and fraught with difficulties”, but despite its seemingly insurmountable difficulties, Ethiopia’s motto of perseverance had paid off.  His country’s single-minded focus on building institutions of democracy, good governance and rule of law was the crux of its efforts towards building a stable political system.  Nevertheless, the essence of all its endeavours was the devolution of power to its people, he said, and stressed a firm belief that democracy is “not an option but a means of survival for the country”, and was an irreversible process that had taken “deep roots” at the state level and society at large.

Democracy, however, was not an end to itself, but a means to bring about a better life for the people, he said.  The country’s development strategy envisaged democracy as the cornerstone of political and economic governance.  To that end, development in Ethiopia was in full swing; it had registered an annual average of double-digit economic growth over the past seven years.  Its successful achievements during that time helped to formulate its ambitious five-year economic “Growth and Transformation Plan”, which would lay the foundation for nation building, and remove the “bottlenecks” that prevented its progress towards reaching the Millennium Goals.  First and foremost, the plan would help make “poverty history in our country”, he said, and would mark the end of an era of food insecurity and dependency on aid, for which he expressed his gratitude to the international community.  Despite progress in sub-Saharan Africa, the global and economic crisis caused many African countries to lag behind other regions of the world in reaching its Goals.  Therefore, progress toward 2015 would require a commitment and accountability from the international community, he said.

Turning to climate change, he hoped that the upcoming Cancun meeting would produce a legally binding commitment to allocate change.  Regarding renewable energy, Ethiopia committed to a zero carbon emission by 2025, and since 2008, had annually planted over a billion trees throughout the country.  Energy development was key to fighting poverty, and over 1.4 billion people remained without it.  Therefore, electrification of rural areas was a top priority, with a target of providing energy to 75 per cent of the population by 2015.  In five years, the country would have 10,000 megawatts of hydropower with parallel development of its geothermal, biofuel, wind and solar power potential.  Nevertheless, progress in those key areas required external assistance.

He said Ethiopia remained on the forefront of maintaining global peace and security, being an active participant in peacekeeping since the 1950s.  Nevertheless, the threat of extremism continued unabated in Somalia, and there would be little progress without the highest level of commitment within the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFI) of Somalia.  In a recent meeting, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Council of Ministers called upon them to work together to address the challenges.  Furthermore, it reaffirmed the Djibouti Process as the sole basis for peace and reconciliation in Somalia, and expressed regret that Eritrea continued to play the role of a “spoiler” and the main conduit of arms to the terrorist groups.  With regard to Sudan, success there would be a significant success for Africa as a whole and failure would be a serious catastrophe.  In closing, he reiterated the “destructive role” that the Government of Eritrea played since its independence, and urged the Security Council to take the necessary steps to compel the country to live up to expectations under resolution 1907 (2009).  As a founding Member of the United Nations, Ethiopia underscored the importance for its reform in order to ensure its vitality.  Of particular importance was the ongoing cooperation and consultation between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council.  He said, “We should continue with this cooperation and Ethiopia will do whatever is necessary in that regard.”

HÉCTOR LACOGNATA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Paraguay, called for strengthening the United Nations as the body capable of representing the interests of all States for a more equitable world, guaranteed by the full force of international law.  Paraguay was very pleased that some great Powers had returned to the path of multilateralism as problems besieged mankind and could only be resolved with the help of all States.  While there had been achievements towards the Millennium Development Goals, there were still inequalities around the world.  Indeed, millions of people still lived in abject poverty, exacerbated by the sudden increase in the price of food and consequences of climate change.  Paraguay was betting on the globalization of democracy with social development, and was committed to including women in all areas of public life.

International solidarity could be enhanced through regional integration, sovereignty of peoples and design of a new international financial architecture whereby institutions could contribute to job creation and fair trade conditions.  Paraguay was greatly concerned many citizens had to migrate, notably to Europe and North America, to seek fulfilment, and he expressed solidarity with those suffering from discriminatory and violent migratory policies.  Migratory policy was a matter that must respect international human rights norms and he called on nations receiving migrants to use hospitality in working with those wishing to have a dignified life far from their respective countries.  He proposed deepening dialogue to find an equitable solution.  Decent employment was a worldwide objective and it was important to improve international cooperation to deal with macroeconomic issues that would help solve that problem.  Donors must insist that employment be central to the implementation of political decisions.

Disarmament, non proliferation and controlling the spread of weapons of mass destruction were not just key for ensuring peace and security, but also guaranteed sustained development.  He condemned coercive economic measures that denied countries their right to determine their own economic and social systems, firmly rejecting measures against Cuba and calling on the Assembly to end the blockade that undermined international law and principles of sovereignty.  The United Sates must also adopt measures to put an end to the irregular detention of five Cuban citizens in American jails.  Paraguay reiterated its commitment to peace and international security and would continue to contribute to peacekeeping efforts.  Aware of the serious and complex threats of climate change, Paraguay supported an urgent, coordinated global response to reverse its tragic and devastating consequences.

He also called for the sovereign right of peoples to manage their natural resources, in the broadest sense of that expression.  A new international financial architecture was needed for fair trade mechanisms and efficient regulations, and the United Nations should play a central role in guaranteeing the success of efforts to achieve better international coordination.  The issue of landlocked developing States was fundamental for Paraguay’s foreign policy, and they required special and differential treatment to integrate into the globalized world.  The United Nations must adapt to current realities and Paraguay supported strengthening the General Assembly, helping it recover its role conferred by the Charter.  Paraguay also supported full adherence to multilateralism and believed the Security Council needed to be expanded to be more democratic.  To promote the spirit of fraternity and values of the United Nations, Paraguay proposed that 30 July be designated as the “World Day of Friendship”.  Paraguay believed in the equality of nations large and small, which would help improve conditions under which justice could be maintained.

KASIT PIROMYA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand, said:  “We live in a world of divides.  […] Be they politico-security, socio-economic, digital, or even based on beliefs.”  Such divides presented challenges to peace, security, prosperity and human dignity.  The United Nations, where nations could work together as one, was required to overcome them.  The effectiveness of international cooperation depended on the strength and willingness of individual nations, and Thailand was ready to help the world cross into a better future.  Thailand had its own divides, but her people were capable of overcoming challenges thrown before them.  The Thai Government was committed to democracy, good governance and human rights and was resolutely working to heal the political and social division in the country, setting up an independent fact-finding commission to look at tragic events earlier this year.  The Government also recognized that some political grievances arose from economic disparities in society and it was working to bridge economic and social gaps.

Many conflicts stemmed from economic injustice, he said, and global economic growth should be balanced and inclusive.  The recent global financial crisis had been a reminder “to live within our means” and alert concerning the necessity of better global governance.  Thailand engaged in regional and international forums and believed the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), which it chaired, would help complement ongoing global cooperation to achieve balanced and sustainable growth.  Thailand, a developing country herself, believed in greater cooperation between developing countries.  It had achieved most of the Millennium Development Goals and was ready to share knowledge and experience, especially in alleviating poverty and improving well-being.  Through regional bodies and bilateral cooperation, Thailand worked with its neighbours to improve social welfare and build essential infrastructure.  Food security was the most important development problem.  As a major food exporter, his country could contribute to ensuring greater food security.  The ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve was a model for others to emulate.  On climate change, which he said was “undeniable”, Thailand would increase its forest area and renewable energy usage.

Development was linked to human security which was linked to human rights, a core principle of the Thai Government, he said.  As a member of the Human Rights Council, Thailand aimed to make it more effective through a more even-handed approach that engaged concerned countries to forge consensus.  Instead of mere criticism and imposition of values seen as foreign, we must persuade countries to understand human rights were values common to all.  Thailand also rendered humanitarian assistance to countries near and far, and remained ready to offer its facilities as a staging centre for humanitarian assistance in its region.  Thailand also supported efforts towards disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and believed that the United Nations must continue its active role to that end, but major Powers and regional entities must also do their fair share.  The South-East Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone was a good case in point.  It was also far less likely for a community of nations to wage war with itself, which was why the Association of South-East Asian Nations was steadfastly becoming a community — economically, socioculturally and politically.

Thailand has also done its part in peacekeeping for the past two decades, contributing nearly 20,000 troops, police officers and civilian staff worldwide, and recently began to assist international efforts protecting ships from pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden area.  It was poised to play a greater role ensuring peace and security, and asked support for its candidature for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council for the 2017-2018 term.  Thailand believed the Council had played an indispensable role maintaining international peace and security, but should be adjusted to better reflect world realities to work with greater efficiency, transparency and engagement.  Thailand was wholly committed to the United Nations and its ideals, and would continue to work closely with the Organization.

DOMINIQUE MAMBERTI, Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, said that despite its imperfections, the United Nations sought to find solutions to economic, social and humanitarian problems, with a view to maintaining peace among the world’s peoples.  The General Assembly was a fundamental instrument for achieving such goals, showing that the United Nations was irreplaceable in the search for a better future.  From that perspective, he recalled various peace and security developments over the last year, welcoming the 1 August entry into force of the Cluster Munitions Treaty, which his delegation had been among the first to ratify, as well as the conclusion of the eighth Non-Proliferation Treaty Review.  Another sign of hope had been the decision to hold a conference on achieving a Middle East free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.  The first session of the preparatory committee for a conference on an Arms Trade Treaty demonstrated that the Treaty process was shared by all States, aware of need to legally control the arms trade for reasons of peace, humanitarian protection and development.

Welcoming the signing of a new Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms between the United States and Russian Federation, he said the recent high-level meeting on disarmament had given new life to both the Conference on Disarmament and building of consensus on disarmament challenges, including the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty.  He supported all efforts along those lines.  In other areas, he said the Peacebuilding Commission, which was fundamental to the rebuilding of economic and social fabric destroyed by war, deserved support.  There was cause for concern on various issues, he said, noting that military spending continued to increase, while the problem of exercising the legitimate right to peacefully develop nuclear power remained relevant.

In the Middle East, he said, better living conditions for Palestinians would help transform violent opposition into calm, patient dialogue.  Turning to the Millennium Development Goals, he welcomed the repeated determination to eradicate poverty, underscoring the moral imperatives that had to be fulfilled in that regard.  Rich countries must carry out pledges for development aid and ensure the global trade system functioned, while both rich and poor nations must take measures to eradicate corruption.

Respect for human rights was the final objective of international affairs, he said, and the basis for productive dialogue among States.  He supported the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and all specialized agencies working in that field.  On the responsibility to protect, he said there was a lack of attention to refugees, expelled persons and migrants.  History also showed that respect for religious freedom was the cornerstone of respect for all human rights.  In sum, the United Nations was an essential forum for dialogue and understanding among Governments.

BAKARY FOFANA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guinea, said the new Government was facing numerous difficulties, particularly bad governance, widespread insecurity, widespread weapons proliferation and other critical issues.  The Government was now trying to establish order, along a path of dialogue.  The process of democratization had led to a transitional phase under a timetable to be fulfilled.  The new constitution had already triggered massive voter turnout.  He appealed to the African community to continue to support his country, as a way to support peace and stability in the region.

Regionally, there were challenges already, including the situation in Somalia and in Sudan, Côte d'Ivoire’s coming election, and the United Nations efforts in western Sahara.  The recurrence of threats and terrorist violence was a grave concern to Guinea.  Turning to the Middle East, he hoped that peace could be achieved in a climate of mutual confidence, following relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions and Israel’s changing of its settlement policies.

The Millennium Development Goals were within reach, he said.  With five years to the 2015 deadline, efforts should be sped up.  Guinea welcomed recent increased levels of official development assistance; however, commitments had not yet been fulfilled.  Development assistance should rise to meet needs, and a conference establishing Millennium Goal resource needs could help to provide the funds needed.  The African Declaration commitment to transparency would benefit the entire continent.

The Doha Round should be concluded to benefit developing countries and particularly least developed countries, he said.  Export subsidies should be eliminated, as they had a negative impact on agricultural sectors in developing countries.  Climate change was also high on the international agenda.  A collective awareness was emerging, and Guinea urged concerted international action to alleviate suffering resulting from climate consequences.  Technical cooperation and other efforts could improve the situation.  Guinea was committed to moving ahead on sustainable development policies and strategies, having over twenty rivers coursing through and near his country.  The new culture of international solidarity was essential in making governance more transparent.  With United Nations reforms, the world could move towards a future of liberty and prosperity, free of fear, misery and need.

DASHO DAW PENJO, Foreign Secretary of Bhutan, noted that the vast majority of Members of the United Nations were small States.  The principal of sovereign equality enshrined in the United Nations Charter, he recalled, established that all States, regardless of size, were accorded equal opportunity to participate in the Organization’s work.  “How can we as Members of the United Nations credibly espouse equity among nations and peoples if we fail to practise it among ourselves?” he asked.  In this context, Bhutan sought membership for a non-permanent seat in the Security Council for the term 2013-14.

On 20 September, he noted, the country’s Prime Minister stressed the need to move beyond conventional development practices, proposing the inclusion of “Happiness” as the ninth Millennium Development Goal.  The delegation was hopeful that the proposal would receive broad support.  He welcomed the unanimous adoption of the resolution on System-wide Coherence by the General Assembly in July and commended the establishment of UN Women to address the global issues of gender equality and women’s empowerment.  He also noted that, as a result of that resolution, the funding system would be more systematic and overall governance would be harmonized, improving the capacity of the United Nations to more effectively deliver assistance.

“My delegation recognizes the important role of the General Assembly in setting the global agenda and dealing with many of the important issues confronting the international community today,” he stated.  In that context, the delegation appreciated the progress made by the Ad hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly, particularly concerning the strengthening of the Office of the President of the General Assembly.

Further, Bhutan’s delegation supported the expansion of both the permanent and non-permanent membership of the Security Council and believed that India, Japan, Germany, Brazil and two more countries from the African continent had to be granted permanent membership in the Council.  As pertained to climate change, he stressed that success would be essential in Cancun for small and vulnerable countries such as Bhutan.  In this vein, he proclaimed, “We must have the necessary resources for mitigation and adaptation measures.”

PAK KIL YON, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, stated the most important meaning of the United Nations foundation was the principle of sovereign equality.  However, that principle was now one of the ongoing challenges to fulfilling the obligations under its Charter.  Indeed, power politics abounded, and sovereign equality and international law were “trampled down into shatters by arbitrariness and high-handedness of individual powers”.  Denying the rights of countries to choose their own system constituted a violation of human rights.  He noted that his country was victimized, and, in light of that situation, he called for United Nations reform, urging restructuring of the Security Council and the full representation of non-aligned and other developing countries on it.

Regarding security, he turned to the situation on the Korean peninsula and its effect on world peace.  Since its inception, the United Nations put the “Korean issue” on its agenda, and it had been a priority concern for more than 30 years.  Part of that work had led to the adoption of resolution 3390 (1975), which called for the dissolution of the “UN Command” in South Korea, the withdrawal of all foreign forces, and replacement of the Armistice Agreement with a peace agreement.  Thirty-five years elapsed, and the Korean peninsula was still in a state of armistice, which meant neither war nor peace.  While the resolution was yet to be implemented, the sovereignty and the efforts of his country for peaceful development were constantly threatened.  The most recent example was the Cheonan incident.

The situation created sometime ago in North-East Asia, including the Korean peninsula, proved once again the United States was a “disruptor of peace”  As long as that country’s nuclear aircraft carriers sailed around the seas of his country, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear deterrent could never be abandoned.  Had it not been for the powerful war deterrent built by the great leader, General Kim Jong-il, the Korean peninsula would have already been turned into “a war field”.  This year, his country proposed to the parties to the Armistice Agreement to begin talks to replace it with a peace agreement, which would represent the most effective confidence building measure for removing distrust, and guarantee the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.  His country opposed nuclear war, nuclear arms race and proliferation.  Indeed, denuclearization was the policy goal maintained by his Government for peace and security in Northeast Asia.  As already clarified, he noted that:  “Our nuclear weapons are not a means to attack or threaten others, but a self-defensive deterrent.”

He went on to say that it was unfortunate that the current authorities in the Republic of Korea rejected his own Government’s reunification program and drove the inter-Korean relations into a rupture by bringing forward the so-called “three-phase unification proposal”, which was anti-reunification and confrontational.  His delegation totally rejected the provocative statement delivered by the Republic of Korea’s delegation on 25 September referring to the Cheonan incident again, distorting the 9 July Presidential statement of the Security Council.  The truth of the incident was still “under cover”, and Republic of Korea officials had refused to send a field inspection group for scientific verification to reveal the truth.  The Security Council encouraged the settlement of all outstanding issues by peaceful means.  The Republic of Korea was advised not to create tension by waging war exercises with outside forces and should embark on North-South dialogue immediately.

VITALY I. CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said that amid numerous challenges facing mankind, it was encouraging that a unifying platform for collective action was taking shape under the central role of the United Nations.  The Security Council was a key instrument for peace and security, and its high-level meeting on 23 September reaffirmed the 15-member body’s intention to enhance its efficiency.  It was also encouraging the United Nations was working to improve quality of peacekeeping operations on a truly collective basis.  The treaty signed this year by the Presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States to reduce and limit nuclear weapons was a result of improved relations between their countries, and the Russian Federation hoped the process of nuclear disarmament would be followed by all nations.

The search must continue for an effective solution to the Iranian nuclear problem on the basis of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and international law, through constructive dialogue between Tehran and the six negotiating countries.  Sanctions sent a signal to Iran about the need for full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and gave impetus to the negotiating process.  Unilateral sanctions on countries such as Cuba, however, undermined the very foundation of joint efforts, ran counter to international law and must be ended.  On the Middle East, he said during resumed direct Palestinian-Israeli talks the parties must demonstrate political will and do their utmost for their success.  Israel’s decision not to extend the moratorium on its settlement activities raised serious concern.  The Russian Federation aimed to advance Middle East peace with its proposal for an international conference on the region in Moscow.

The future of Afghanistan must be determined by the Afghan people themselves, but the international community must continue assistance with the United Nations playing an important role.  International cooperation on Afghanistan’s drug problem needed to be increased to obtain lasting stability in the country and the region, he said.  As the referendum on self-determination of South Sudan was getting closer, parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement must redouble efforts to overcome their divisions.  The process towards settlement of the Darfur issue also needed new dynamics, as the stability of Sudan and Africa were at stake.  On Somalia, he called for a more resolute pursuit of a political process, stronger peacekeeping assistance and counter-piracy efforts.  Global problems, including achieving the Millennium Development Goals, could not be achieved without engaging the enormous potential of the United Nations.

ALEXANDRU CUJBA (Republic of Moldova) opened by saying the general debate was being held on the eve of the sixty-fifth anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Charter, which had laid the foundations of the Organization.  During the past six decades, the world body had been tested by numerous challenges, and today it continued to prove its relevance, importance and vision.  Continuing, he said the Republic of Moldova was committed to the accomplishment of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, and noted that the United Nations agenda reflected modern realities, such as human rights and democracy, welfare and sustainable development, climate change, peace and security, and United Nations reform.

Development of legal and institutional frameworks in the area of human rights was amongst his Government’s main activities.  Membership in the Human Rights Council, attained for the first time in May 2010, was in line with the irreversible course of the Republic of Moldova towards fundamental freedoms.  In addition, Moldova was a State party to nearly all the multilateral treaties in the field of human rights within the United Nations system.  He expressed solidarity with appeals articulated to invest more in advancement of women, and was confident the newly established UN Women would contribute to the consolidation of international efforts in achieving the goals of equality and advancement for all women.

He stressed the importance of cooperation in enhancing international security, disarmament and non-proliferation, and counteracting international terrorism.  He noted significant progress in disarmament and non-proliferation, evidenced by the Nuclear Summit and Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Review Conference.  Of primary importance was the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of conflict settlement, with a view to exclude future occurrences or escalation of crisis situations, which jeopardized the sovereignty of States.  At the same time, the Republic of Moldova faced security challenges generated by separatism in the Transnistrian region.  Some 18 years since the ceasefire agreement had been signed, the country remained artificially divided.  As a result, democratic governance and human rights were not being implemented in that territory and the population “lived in a legal vacuum with no clear future”.  At the same time, it was obvious that there were objective premises to resolve the problem.  He advocated for dialogue, openness and trust.  “Our main goal is to provide the much needed support to the population and businesses in the region, including by the means of international projects and programs,” he said.

ISABELLE PICCO (Monaco), noting the international community’s determined recommitment towards broad achievement of the Millennium Development Goals during the Assembly’s summit-level meeting last week, said that the United Nations was at the very heart of global development and “our trump card” in international relations.  The rule of law was not a succession of empty words, she continued, but universal, independent and impartial. 

Monaco, as part of the 3G group of countries on global governance, was convinced that it was necessary to involve the work of the Secretary-General on that matter, and that the 3G Ministerial Declaration, adopted September this year, would contribute to the development of the agenda of the G-20 Summit in Seoul in November this year.

Turning to the issue of displaced persons and refugees, she stressed that it was urgent to address this humanitarian crisis and for strategies addressing their circumstances be incorporated into policy.  Continuing, she thanked the Secretary-General for strengthening the role of women and for establishing UN Women.  She also noted that the investment in women’s health contributed to overall development, and to that end, Monaco supported the global strategy for full empowerment of all women. 

SONATANE TU’AKINAMOLAHI TAUMOEPEAU TUPOU ( Tonga) highlighted the positive results across the Millennium Development Goals that his country had achieved, including addressing the needs of households that suffered from poverty; reaching a net enrolment ration of 93 per cent in primary education in 2008; and creating the Tonga Energy Road Map for development with more than 20 partners.  He noted Tonga’s participation in the High-level Review of the Mauritius Strategy of Implementation last week, saying it offered small island developing States an opportunity to focus on areas of improvement.  He also called for the creation of a formal category for those States within the United Nations system to improve linkages and the ability to respond to their specific needs.  With regard to countries that are most vulnerable to climate change, he reiterated Tonga’s call for a dedicated stream of readily accessible “fast start” financing projects for small island developing States.

Stating Tonga’s support for reform of the United Nations Security Council, he said:  “There should be expansion in both categories of permanent and non-permanent membership with certain States worthy of such membership — Japan, Germany, Brazil and India — on an enhanced Council.”  He also expressed his country’s support for the current direct talks between the Israeli and Palestinian leadership being guided by United States President Barack Obama, the diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East peace process and regional neighbours to find a comprehensive, just and enduring settlement.

As a result of Tonga’s presentation of its partial submission to the Commission on the Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf earlier this year, a concern arose about the likely lengthy time frame in which submissions such as Tonga’s stood to be considered, he said, encouraging fellow States Parties to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to consider the adjustments necessary for the Commission to fulfil its mandate in a timely manner.  Adding that elections under Tonga’s “new system” of governance were to take place on 25 November, he reaffirmed his country’s respect for the values of the United Nations.  “Despite our size, our remoteness and our geographical isolation, we are not immune to the global challenges that beset us all and, therefore, we have a responsibility to our Government and our people to be more than mere bystanders in the work of our Organization,” he said. 

CAMILLO M. GONSALVES ( Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) opened by saying the centrality of the United Nations was being challenged as never before.  Various organizations and small groupings of States with selective membership and opaque modus operandi were becoming global decision makers.  It was irrelevant whether those groups had formed to respond to, or had precipitated, the declining effectiveness of the United Nations.  “We face the real threat of devolving into a mere talk shop, an amalgam of unwieldy bureaucracies,” he said, offering suggestions to “defend our role.”

Among others, he called for consistency in the rules in cases of ongoing disputes such as online gaming, which was adjudicated by the World Trade Organization.  He also noted that agency’s rulings that gutted the country’s once-thriving banana industry.  Further, he said that resolutions adopted must not be treated as a “buffet”; Member States could not pick and choose to champion some decisions and disregard others.  Also, donor countries needed to account for commitments that were voluntarily taken.  Much was written about “donor fatigue,” but less was said about “commitment fatigue”, which was the developing world’s exasperation with oft-made but seldom-honoured promises and pledges.  It was puzzling how some suffered donor fatigue when they had yet to donate what was originally promised.  He added that small States did not have the capacity or desire to establish entire bureaucracies dedicated solely to navigating the administrative labyrinth of irregular aid flows.

With regards to specific situations, such as Haiti’s earthquake, he mentioned the donors conference in March, in which over $10 billion was pledged for the recovery effort.  Today, some six months after the earthquake, a “pathetically miniscule” percentage had been delivered.  He went on to note the heavy rains a few days ago, which killed survivors of Haiti’s earthquake.  The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) had sounded alarms for months about the rainy season.  “To survive an earthquake, only to be killed by rain, is an unfathomable tragedy,” he said, calling the avoidable deaths a “stain” on the collective conscience of this body.  “Talk is cheap, even when it is in the heady talk of billions of dollars.”

Finally, he stressed that “We must cede no ground to the creeping encroachment of non-inclusive, non-transparent, non-representative groupings.”  He did not doubt the G-20 had a useful and essential role to play.  However the logic faded in the face of a crisis that spread rapidly and comprehensively to other parts of the globe.  His country and 172 other Member States had not been admitted to the meeting in Pittsburgh. Hence, those economies “waited anxiously on the doorstep of the G-20 for signals and policy shifts that affect our current survival”.  The Caribbean was devastatingly affected by the crisis, even though it played no role in creating it.  “Yet we have been forced to rely on friendly nations as interlocutors on our behalf,” he said, and added that the deliberations of the G-20 would have benefited from his country’s perspective. 

JORGE VALERO BRICEÑO ( Venezuela) called for the rebuilding of the structure and agenda of the Organization, which he said reflected the “existing and unjust power relationships in the world”.  The lifting of the United States’ embargo against Cuba, demanded by the majority of the world, still had not been resolved.  “What has this Organization done so that the United States Government abides by the will of the General Assembly?  The answer is well-known:  Nothing,” he stated.  Turning to the “dozens of resolutions” adopted by the Security Council and the General Assembly on the Question of Palestine, he observed that regardless of such international efforts, the “occupying Power” still acted with impunity and the Security Council’s response amounted to nothing, as well.

Turning to the reform of the Security Council, he proposed that the right of veto, to which only five Members were entitled, be suspended.  The Council’s permanent and non-permanent membership must also be increased.  Further, he called for access to a democratic and transparent process so that all Member States could participate in the nomination and appointment of the election of the Secretary-General.

Turning to the financial and economic crisis, which had impacted developing countries and the vulnerable sectors of developed countries, he urged that South-South cooperation create alternative and sovereign mechanisms to avoid the “credit monopoly maintained by the Bretton Woods institutions.”  To that end, Venezuela would focus on regional financial institutions such as the Bank of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our American and the Bank of the South.

TINE MØRCH SMITH ( Norway) reminded the Assembly that the Organization was global in character, and as the challenges were global as well, what was required was inclusive global forums in which to address them.  “The United Nations is not designed to comfort different leaders in their own convictions — it is the place to confront and surpass differences,” she said, stating that it was inappropriate to use the podium to express extreme views or unfounded claims.  As a global community facing shared risks and threats, it was essential that efforts not be derailed by “attempts to incite conflict”.

Turning to the work of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Group on Climate Change, which the Prime Ministers of Norway and Ethiopia chaired together, she stated that great efforts were being made towards raising funds committed at the Copenhagen Conference.  Norway was also focusing on reducing emissions from deforestation, notably following up commitments made in Bali, where it pledged up to $500 million annually since 2007 to halt deforestation.  It was working with key partners such as Brazil, Indonesia and Guyana where development of concrete methods were showing progress.  She urged all Member States to follow suit.

She then echoed the vision voiced by United States President Barack Obama when he expressed hope in his address to the Assembly that Palestine become a member of the United Nations as an independent and sovereign State.  The Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee, chaired by Norway, had requested that the Palestinian Authority assist in implementing the Programme for the Thirteenth Government for completing the building of a Palestinian State, and there were encouraging reports that the reform agenda has accelerated in the first half of 2010.  While regretting Israel’s recent decision to not extend the moratorium on settlement construction, she affirmed Norway’s commitment to a two-State solution and for the full compliance with road map obligations.

WITOLD SOBKÓW ( Poland) said his country had always been a firm supporter of the United Nations and multilateralism as a guiding principle in its participation in the European Union.  However, in light of heightened expectations and criticism, it was raising the issue of reforming the Security Council, while preserving that body’s cohesion and decision-making processes.  “We favour an additional non-permanent seat for the Eastern European Group.  We also find interesting and worth discussing an idea of the European Union representation,” he said.

Noting that the latest world economic crisis demonstrated the need for a globally coordinated economic and financial policy, which was being debated by the General Assembly’s Second Committee (Economic and Financial) and other United Nations-related organizations, he added that Poland continued to expect the Organization to be the key forum for multilateral debate on issues relating to the crisis.  The world body must also remain the appropriate forum to address global issues of security and to achieve a wider consensus on strategic peacekeeping aspects.  Additionally, Poland applauded the Secretary-General’s efforts towards disarmament, calling on all States to redouble their efforts to invigorate the Conference on Disarmament as a platform for non-proliferation negotiations, including regarding the reduction of sub-strategic nuclear weapons.

Discussing economic issues, as well as the costs and security of the energy sector, he said:  “We need a shift in our thinking about the North-South dichotomy to allow the international community to move effectively forward.  Allowing ourselves to be defined by our differences is a recipe for disaster.”  He noted that economic activities within the United Nations were scattered between many institutions, leading to overlapping Powers, but suggested that the Organization’s role might be to coordinate objectives and ensure coherence among the activities of major international organizations.  He also reiterated Poland’s support for implementing the Millennium Development Goals and the country’s active involvement in promoting global development cooperation.

Right of Reply

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Eritrea stated that his country had no problems with its neighbours and had successfully resolved all issues peacefully and legally without exception, including such issues regarding Ethiopia.  He said Ethiopia could not hide behind the Security Council’s resolution regarding Somalia and use that text “for its own hidden agenda”. 

He called for Ethiopia to be held accountable for the financial support it received, which was in turn supplied to Somalia to support of the insurgency.  Furthermore he called for a “total investigation” of Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia which had “created the largest humanitarian crisis” and destabilization, as well as the loss of some 20,000 lives.  Ethiopia believed in political solutions and inclusive peace processes both within and outside Government bodies.  All concerned parties in the region should come to the negotiation table, he said, adding that the peace process should be Somali-owned and driven.

Responding, the representative of Ethiopia stated that his country was part of the effort to help stabilize Africa, and had a long history in that area.  The Security Council sanctions had been clear, and as such, Eritrea could not use “its own excuses, real or imagined” to explain its acts, such as the support of extremists in Somalia and campaigning to appear “like the underdog”.  Continuing, he urged that all stay the course set out in Security Council resolution 1907 (2009).  Ethiopia also agreed with the Security Council’s belief that the primary responsibility for settlement “lies with the two parties”, and that a peaceful manner and dialogue were the only methods for resolution.

The representative of Pakistan said he was responding to the incorrect assessments of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of India, who had made a “self-serving claim” that Jammu and Kashmir was part of India.  Nothing was farther from the truth.  The disputed territory was on the agenda of the United Nations, which had passed resolutions to that effect.  The first Prime Minster of India, Nehru, had also made commitments — reaffirmation of which Pakistan welcomed — which noted that Kashmir was not the property of either India or Pakistan, but belonged to the Kashmiri people.

He went on to say that India failed to fulfil its commitments, but still had the audacity not only to claim democratic credentials, but also to aspire to be a permanent member of the Security Council.  Pakistan had only echoed non-governmental organizations and the media as to the ongoing situation concerning human rights in India, as well as Kashmir.  He quoted a number of statements made by the international media and civil society groups expressing concern over the loss of life in Kashmir and calling for an immediate end to violence.  For example, Amnesty International had called on Indian authorities to take steps and respect the right to life, while Human Rights Watch said that Kashmiris had been left without any justice.  Despite brute force by security forces, Kashmiris did not support the occupation of their land and persisted in the right for self determination.

India has maligned Pakistan on terrorism in order to hide its own behaviour, he continued.  Pakistan’s role in fighting terrorism has been stated by the international community, and security forces in Pakistan continued to try to make the world safer, although countries continued to provide weapons and money to create havoc.  The Indian Government was advised to take stock of its own policies and conduct, including supporting terrorism.  He said India was also a country that created and nurtured terrorist organizations that conducted suicide bombings in the region.  India’s policies resulted in systematic human rights abuses, and the killing and maiming of Kashmiris.  Pakistan remained committed to peaceful dialogue with India, including about the Kashmire dispute, which would bring lasting peace not only between Pakistan and India, but beyond their borders. Addressing human rights for the people of Kashmir was the first step.

Also speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Azerbaijan noted there was a “mountain of evidence” that proved that Armenia had attacked the Nagorno-Karabakh region, and carried out massive ethnic cleansing.  Those actions had led to the death of thousands of Azerbaijanis, mostly elderly persons, women and children.  What the Armenian side saw as an exercise of self-determination had been unambiguously qualified by the Security Council and the General Assembly as the illegal use of force.  The unlawful use of force, which led to war crimes and genocide, was contrary to sustainable international law.  The political agenda of Armenia that disrupted a multi-ethnic society was fated never to be realized.  Armenia must realize there was no alternative rather than a prompt end to its occupation of Azerbaijan.

Responding, Armenia’s representative rejected the comments by Azerbaijan and stated that Armenia had never started a war of aggression.  Azerbaijan started the war in Nagorno-Karabakh and had subsequently used military force to suppress the people of that region to exercise their right to self-determination.  He noted the “hostile stance” of Azerbaijan and noted that Armenia had done what the Security Council mentioned to help find a peaceful solution.  He noted the 1994 ceasefire, and said:  “Now is the time to find a peaceful solution.”

The representative of the Republic of Korea, exercising his right of reply, spoke of the findings of the scientific investigation by the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Sweden and which was endorsed by the Security Council, in regards to the sinking of the Cheonan ship.  The unprovoked attack was in violation of the Armistice Agreement, as well as the principles of the United Nations charter.  Furthermore, in regards to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s proposal to send in their own inspection team, there was a mechanism already established for military talks, which were designated for any Armistice-related issue.

Turning to the nuclear issue, he stated that his delegation was prepared to refute the argument that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was a nuclear State; the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea could not have nuclear status in accordance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The representative of Eritrea said that the key to the country’s dispute with Ethiopia was the withdrawal of Ethiopian soldiers from Eritrean territories.  He noted that the Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission had demarcated the border, and that Ethiopia had to respect the rule of law.  Ethiopia had committed a shameful act, which could not be swept under the carpet with unfounded allegations.  Ethiopia had to face up to its treaty obligations.

He further wished to draw the Assembly’s attention to the fact that Ethiopia had been the only constant factor throughout the crisis in Somalia.  Ethiopia had “a hidden agenda” and its involvement in Somalia was dangerous to the Somalis and rest of region, he said.  The international community must assess the situation and seek a better solution to allow Somalis to take charge of their political process.

India’s representative said that once again, regarding Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan had made false allegations regarding India.  In fact, Pakistan needed to tackle many of its own problems, rather than make comments on the internal affairs of India.  Pakistan should focus particularly on terrorism and how to dismantle it.  The violence in Jammu and Kashmir was being waged by “forces that don’t want peace”.  He noted that free elections in Jammu and Kashmir had been conducted.

Taking the floor again in right of reply, Azerbaijan’s delegate said he understood that the United Nations was not to be used for political advantage and promotion of ethnic and religious superiority.  He added that Armenia’s stance was not in the spirit of promoting peace, and he expected that Member States would ask it to cease its aggressive behaviour.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in exercise of the right of reply, stated that even the Security Council hadn’t made any proper judgements or conclusions on the sinking of the Cheonan and his country’s position was that it had nothing to do with the incident.  He also said that the unilateral investigation of the sinking wasn’t one of conclusive evidence but of “conclusive doubts”.  He also stated that if the Republic of Korea had “nothing to hide” they should accept his country’s inspection group.  In regards to the Republic of Korea’s statement that it would not recognize his country’s nuclear status, he stated that “we do not ask to be recognized or accepted”, and that his country’s nuclear weapons were not there to attack, but as a self-defensive deterrent.

Taking the floor again, the representative of Ethiopia said that both Ethiopia and Eritrea had replied and that both were throwing out accusations, but to no avail.  For the purpose of saving time, with regard to Ethiopia, he noted the records of the Secretary-General’s recent summit on Somalia, which should be consulted.  He said that sanctions had not been imposed on Ethiopia, but on Eritrea, because of the African Union’s specific request to that end.  He said that he would be surprised if the African Union “has gotten it all wrong and Eritrea has gotten it right.”  Regarding the demarcation, the representative of Ethiopia said he did not have anything to add, and the only way forward was dialogue.

Returning to the floor, the representative of Pakistan said that his country did not interfere in internal affairs of other countries, but that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir was not an internal dispute.  Pakistan had the right to provide support to the people of Kashmir and their right self-determination.  The Indian representative’s reference justifying occupation was not only rejected by the people of Kashmir, but by the Security Council.  In 1995, that body had concluded that the people of Jammu and Kashmir had the right to self-determination.

The ongoing indigenous peaceful movement for freedom in Kashmir had proven that, despite facing repression and human rights violations by security forces, the people of Kashmir refused to accept any solution except the right to self-determination.  Pakistan was aware of those who took cover behind democracy and tried to stand on high moral ground, he said, noting that India’s interests would be better served if it used “ancient wisdom” at home.  Kashmir should not be a tool of State politics, as the future of a people was at stake.  Pakistan remained committed to a peaceful resolution of issues with India, including Kashmir, through dialogue, Pakistan’s representative said, expressing hope that the two sides could move from conflict management to conflict resolution.

Taking the floor again, the representative of Armenia said that all people, Armenians, Russians, Jews, and Kurds, to name a few, should be afforded to live in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and that the comments made by the representative of Azerbaijan were politically motivated, destructive, and not reflective of the aims of the United Nations.

The representative of India stated only that the representative of Pakistan took the floor with “unsolicited remarks”, and that India rejected those remarks.

Also speaking in exercise of the right of reply, Viet Nam’s representative commented on remarks made yesterday by Sweden’s representative about the jailing and harassment of journalists in the country.  “We believe no country is perfect,” he said, but he believed there was an improvement in the system after the country’s conflicts.  He welcomed comments, provided they were well-informed.  He said Viet Nam had conducted talks with others, such as the United States and the European Union, and regretted Sweden made unfounded comments regarding journalists in countries, including Viet Nam.  He noted that unfounded comments were against the friendship and mutual respect of countries.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.