Mr. President,

Mr. Secretary General, Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

      Let me begin by joining the previous speakers in congratulating you, Mr. President, on your election. My Government is deeply gratified by the recognition of your accomplishments as a member of the Small Island Developing States. We are confident you will lead the work of 58 `h Session of the General assembly with the same abilities as your distinguished predecessor, His Excellency Jan Kavan of the Czech Republic.

       On behalf of people of Sao Tome and Principe I would like to reaffirm the principles of United Nations charter, its role in promoting peace, development and paying tribute to Secretary General Kofi Annan for his dedication and leadership.

      We all face daunting challenges ahead. Violence has inflamed international relations. On behalf of my country I would like to express our outrage and regret that the United Nations' mission in Baghdad was brutally attacked and at the tragic loss of such outstanding United Nations professionals as Sergio Vieira de Mello. We pay tribute to all those who died defending the peaceful way to peace and development in Iraq.

      Mr. President, as we are all aware, Africa, among perhaps all the world's continents faces enormous challenges. We are plagued by endemic diseases like malaria which debilitate and kill our people needlessly. HIV/AIDS is devastating Africa's families, societies, cultures and economies. How can we have economic development when our people are too ill to work, or when the main breadwinner in the family is dying of HIV/AIDS without any medical treatment? Our economy started feeling the negative effects of these two deadly diseases. We urge all nations to work together to mobilize human and financial resources for the critical endeavors to control these epidemics which create constant death and suffering for our peoples. There is no hope for progress in Africa without first ensuring basic health so that people can work and build their own prosperity.

      Sao Tome and Principe, a small island state with a fragile economy, is struggling. We are proud of our democracy, our free and fair elections, our human rights and rule of law. But in July of this year our proud and stable democracy
came under threat from forces seeking to topple our constitutionally-elected government. They did not succeed because the international community quickly intervened to support our elected authorities, and to negotiate a peaceful end to the coup attempt which restored our constitutional government. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Secretary General Kofi Annan for his personal concern for our country's well-being, as well as for the support of the African Union, led by President Chissano of Mozambique, and the tireless assistance of President Obasanjo of Nigeria, as well as officials of Portugal, the United States, Angola, Gabon, the Congo and the many others who rescued our democracy from peril.

       But our democracy will remain under threat unless the government can mobilize resources sufficient to provide basic services to our long-suffering people. For this reason, the people and government of Sao Tome and Principe's ask for continued international support with development aid to improve the lot of our people and ensure the survival of our young democracy.

      Mr. President, we must all work together to strengthen multi-lateral cooperation and ensure that the United Nations and all its agencies continue to be the for a forum where where all members states can promote dialogue and ensure world peace, security, democracy and development.

      My country regrets that international relations in some parts of the world have deteriorated to the point where extreme violence is the daily norm, where infrastructures have been destroyed, where human rights are daily violated. We lament the plight of the refugees that this violence creates, and especially the plight of children who often become the victims of traffickers in human beings.

      The tragedies in Iraq, the Middle East, Liberia, and Afghanistan, to name only the most egregrious, but by no means all, can only be overcome within the multi-lateral framework of United Nations. Unilateral actions are doomed to failure in the long run.

      At the same time, Sao Tome and Principe supports an urgent reform of the Security Council, to make it into a body that reflects current realities, and not those of the Cold War era. The Security Council must be democratised with the expansion of permanent members.

      We observe with great concern the spread of terrorist acts across the globe, ranging from tragic examples like Bali in Asia, to Palestine and Israel in the Middle East, to Spain and the U.K. in Europe, to Kenya and Tanzania in Africa, to Columbia in Latin America and right here to New York and other sites in North America. But fighting violence with violence is not enough. We must go to the root of the problem, and this is the task of the United Nations.

      The world is a less secure place today than it was just a year ago. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction continues, non-proliferation treaties notwithstanding. We must ensure the universality of these treaties and the compliance with same under the authority of the Security Council.

      Mr President, Sao Tome & Principe strongly supports the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations, but much remains to be accomplished. The rules of international economy continue to be dictated by a small number of
countries who promote free markets while closing their own. Massive agricultural subsidies in the EU and in the United States mean that the average European or American cow earns more each day than most Africans. With each year of the much-vaunted globalized economy we see that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The latest WTO meeting in Cancun is a natural result of this hypocrisy. Developing economies like that of my country can only be competitive if there is a level playing field, and if all markets are open, and subsidies and protectionism are erased. Free trade cannot be a case of "Do as I say, and not as I do."

       Sustainable development is a necessity for all mankind. We are all interlinked on this planet of ours. No one area alone can prosper while others fall further and further behind. Eventually poverty and disease in one part of the world affects the lives of people in another part of the world, be it through the spread of epidemics or the spread of terrorism. In addition, abuses to the environment in one part of the world inevitably impact on people halfway around the globe.

      As an island nation, Sao Tome & Principe continues to see our very existence threatened by global warming. Our shorelines erode, our national territory shrinks as the seas rise. Is my small country to end up nothing but a tiny volcanic peak sticking up above the waves with the last of our people clinging to the land left unclaimed by the rising sea? The Kyoto Protocol must be implemented by all for the benefit of all.

      Mr. President, after many years, people in Cuba have been living under no justifiable economic embargo. Economic embargo is blocking the development and life of the people could be better if the economic embargo ends.

      The time came for both sides to improve confidence-building measure by going back to negotiation table and normalise the relations.

      Mr. President, my country once again asks for your attention to The Republic of China on Taiwan. This is a country with a democratically elected government which has built a strong economy and which has built strong ties to many United Nations member states. Taiwan was recently affected by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) disease, but it was beyond the reach of the World Health Organization because Taiwan is not allowed to be a member, simply because Taiwan's people do not accept the imposition of "one China" principle.

      Despite its small size Taiwan offers development aid to a large number of countries. Taiwan also contributes to international security by being a strong proponent in the fight against terrorism.

     I call your attention that under universality rules stated in the United Nations Charter the Republic of China on Taiwan has to be here one day among us.

     Mr President, our goal is to leave a better world for the next generation. We cannot go along with the concept of using force in international relations. We denounce human injustice.

     We decry environmental degradation that ultimately threatens us all. Sao Tome & Principe urges dialogue, tolerance, and mutual understanding on all member states. We also ask all to respect the United Nations Charter.

Thank you.