|For information only - not an official document.|
|14 September 2000|
Strength of UN Comes from Keeping to Purposes, Principles of Charter,
Foreign Minister of China Tells General Assembly
Assembly also Hears from Foreign Ministers of Italy, Kuwait, Saint Kitts and Nevis,
NEW YORK, 13 September (UN Headquarters) – It was precisely because the United Nations over the past 55 years had kept to the purposes of the Charter in safeguarding peace, developing friendship and promoting cooperation and its core principles, such as sovereign equality and non-interference in internal affairs, that it had grown stronger and stronger, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, Tang Jiaxuan, told the General Assembly this morning, as it met to continue its general debate.
Security was mutual and relative, he said. The only way to protect the fundamental interests of all countries and enhance universal security was to replace the old security concept, based on military alliances, with a new one that was characterized by equality, mutual trust, cooperation and settlement of disputes through dialogue. International intervention and the danger of inappropriate intervention were complex issues. Major powers should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries concerned, rather than meddling in their internal affairs.
Fernando De Trazegnies, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Peru, said change and globalization were constantly reshaping reality and were attempting to impose a new sense of commonality and even new morals. The unrestricted respect for the international legal order had, therefore, acquired an enormous significance, since it was the only basis for restricting arbitrariness and subjectivity. It was also the most effective mechanism for the protection of human rights and human freedom.
The most complex of the challenges in the twenty-first century was to build an international system based on a genuine democracy, he said. Any idea of a crusade however, even in the name of democracy, was undemocratic, as was any principle that sought to impose itself universally. Thus, paradoxically, the missionary enthusiasm for democracy ended up affecting the nature of democracy itself, he said.
The first Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sam Condor, said small island States had yet to benefit from globalization and feared increased marginalization. He called for a vulnerability index, which must be used by the United Nations, development agencies and financial institutions in all strategies when dealing with small island States.
Also addressing the problems of small island States, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, Ralph Maraj, said that international cooperation was needed to stop environmental degradation, especially on the part of the industrialized countries. Small-island States were at particular risk. He joined his Caribbean Community (CARICOM) colleagues in lamenting the blatant and persistent misuse of the Caribbean Sea as a trans-shipment route for hazardous wastes.
He said in developing countries, the level of violent crime was directly related to poverty. Due to its geographic location, Trinidad and Tobago continued to face the challenges of the illicit traffic in drugs, a problem that needed the cooperation of the international community.
The Assembly's President, Harri Holkeri (Finland), announced that Cape Verde had made the necessary payment to reduce its arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the Charter. [Article 19 of the United Nations Charter states that a Member which is in arrears in payment of its financial contributions shall have no vote in the General Assembly if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of contributions due from it for the preceding two full years.]
Statements were also made this morning by: the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Hamad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah; the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Italy, Lamberto Dini; the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco, Mohamed Benaissa; and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves.
The Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. to continue its general debate.
Assembly Work Programme
The fifty-fifth regular session of the General Assembly continued its general debate this morning. It was expected to hear from the representatives of Saint Kitts and Nevis, China, Italy, Kuwait, Estonia, Trinidad and Tobago, Morocco and Peru.
TERRENCE SAM CONDOR, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of St.Kitts and Nevis, said that the maturity of the United Nations should not be measured in days or decades, but by the quality of commitment and the depth of vision. Globalization had been characterized by increased flows of capital and increased technology. There were inherent inequalities within globalization, however, that required action. Small island States had yet to benefit from globalization and feared increased marginalization. He urged the United Nations to protect the small island States, which were especially vulnerable. Why was globalization not improving the lot of the poor? New strategies had to be developed and increased cooperation was needed to secure the collective interest of the international community. The United Nations needed the political impetus to address the inequalities across the world. Effective governance at the global level had to complement the democratic and political will at the national level.
A vulnerability index had to be included when dealing with small island States, he continued. Such an index must be used by the United Nations, development agencies and financial institutions in all strategies. The United Nations was urged to put pressure on the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to end their unilateral attempts to effect multilateral solutions for their own self-interest. Any discussion on the development strategies of countries -– large or small -- had to be raised to the level of inclusive discussions or multilateral forum. There was no harm in a competitive, well-regulated and supervised financial service sector. However, the unilateral challenge to the sovereign rights of States to implement legal tax regimes was an unwarranted attack on the integrity of States. The coupling of the financial service sectors and money laundering without distinguishing between the two did a grave injustice to a legitimate economic enterprise. His Government was committed to ensuring that no individual or entity abused the financial service sector and had established a Financial Intelligence Unit to keep the sector free of abuse.
The human face of poverty was overlooked in discussions on globalization, he said. The United Nations should continue, through its specialized agencies, to support national poverty reduction programmes to promote favorable economic and financial opportunities for young people. The initiative of the Secretary-General to establish a Disaster Relief Fund would complement effective and timely reconstruction efforts. However, the impact of man-made disaster was even more devastating than natural disasters. The frequent passage of shipments of toxic and hazardous waste posed a serious threat to the fragile ecosystem of island States. Action was required to avert the threat of pollution from ship-generated waste, as well as the accidental release of hazardous and noxious substances.
His Government was currently implementing a new gender management system and had introduced measures to ensure that the national budget and development programs were more gender sensitive, he said. The proposal of the Secretary-General, through the United Nations Information Technology Service, could go a long way towards building capacity and bridging the global digital divide. His Government had embarked on a programme to make each child in St.Kitt’s and Nevis computer literate by the year 2005. Change was the only constant. In that context, Member States must recognize the importance of change, as they embraced the true concept of democracy within the Security Council. The undemocratic structure and lack of fairness within the Security Council threatened to undermine the commitment and trust of Member States in the organization. On the issue of the Chinese people on Taiwan, he said that the invaluable contribution of those 23 million people could not be ignored. Their inclusion would add great substance to international discourse. Also, another major source of concern was the link between poverty and poor health. The statistical report on HIV/AIDS painted a sinister picture. The disease did not recognize national boundaries and it threatened to undermine future economic and social development in many nations. A United Nations Special Session on HIV/AIDS was required to intensify and better coordinate approaches at the international level.
TANG JIAXUAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, said it was precisely because the United Nations for the past 55 years had kept to the purposes of the Charter in safeguarding peace, developing friendship and promoting cooperation and its principles, such as the core principles of sovereign equality and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, that it had grown stronger and stronger. Global issues had made interests intertwined and modern technology had made communication easier. One needed, more than ever, to face up to the common challenges together, on the basis of mutual respect and democratic consultation.
He said the reform of the United Nations should give full expression to democracy in international relations, aimed at better safeguarding the fundamental rights and interests of all Member States and, especially, truly reflecting the will of developing countries. The reform of the Security Council should primarily aim at increasing representation of developing countries. It was against the will of the overwhelming majority of the Member States to arbitrarily set deadlines or force the passage of immature plans. Another important historical task facing the United Nations was to respond to globalization and realize the common development of mankind. The Organization should promote the establishment of a new international economic order, based on cooperation on an equal footing. The United Nations also had the responsibility for introducing new rules, so that science and technology truly serve all mankind.
Strategic stability was the foundation on which world security rested, he said. The proposal for a national missile defence system, prohibited by the 1972 Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty), was essentially aimed at seeking unilateral military and strategic supremacy. If implemented, the plan would negatively affect world security. Security was mutual and relative. The only way to protect the fundamental interests of all countries and enhance universal security was to replace the old security concept, based on military alliances and military build-up, with a new one characterized by equality, mutual trust, cooperation and settlement of disputes through dialogue.
International intervention and the danger of inappropriate intervention were complex issues, he said. Major powers should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries concerned, rather than meddling in their internal affairs. The human rights conditions of a country were up to the people of that country to assess and improve. To arbitrarily impose a fixed set of human rights rules, regardless of the differences in the specific environment and reality, would not serve the interests of the people of any country. “To interfere in other countries’ internal affairs in the name of protecting human rights in order to advance one’s own political agenda is simply a blasphemy and betrayal of the human rights cause”, he said.
LAMBERTO DINI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Italy, discussed the new face of international migration. The expansion of migratory phenomena was a problem that nations must face and attempt to manage, if they were to prevent such flows from descending into chaos, he said. Migration needed to be governed by fixed, transparent rules. Moreover, it was clear that the United Nations, as the Organization built on international cooperation, was the source of those rules.
Any solution to the problems connected with migration must come to terms with globalization, he continued. Globalization had reduced distance and time and there were even those who spoke of the “end of geography”. The paradox facing the world was that the difficulties of globalization extended not just to the economic, financial and information areas, but to the movement of peoples. Human beings were not commodities. When individuals moved, they preserved their roots, even when coming into contact with other societies. Hence, the need for mutual tolerance. Moreover, the capacity of individual States to effectively deal with migration had been challenged by the demand of individuals wishing to move. All too often, the gap was filled by organized crime.
He said the fears that immigration sometimes generates should not lead industrialized countries to build new walls and fences. A Europe built on fear, for example, would ultimately cast immigrants as the imaginary enemy. The European Union had a great capacity to take in people and already had large immigrant communities. But, only now was it developing a common approach to immigration. For many years, Europe did not have to worry about the long-term consequences of immigration. Today, however, with a declining birth rate and an ageing population, Europe needed a strategy that embraced the complex process of integrating people from different regions.
Italy had much to share on the issue, he said. It identified three potential instruments to facilitate global migration. First, assistance to the developing countries must be increased –- assistance in preventing and quelling tensions that gave rise to migration flows, as well as assistance in easing the integration of their economies with more advanced economies. The Italian Parliament strongly supported the generous remission of debt. To that end, foreign debt would be reduced by a total of $6 billion over the next three years. A second initiative was to encourage cooperation between countries to ensure strict and consistent law enforcement on illegal entry. Lastly, migration must be managed, so that it was a source of stability and wealth. For that to happen, it must take place legally. Those three guidelines must be set within a global framework. A solidarity pact was needed, to find the best way to balance the supply and demand of labour, while respecting the diversity of those involved.
SHEIKH SABAH AL-AHMAD AL-JABER AL-SABAH, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, said that the reverberations of the sinister Iraqi aggression of 2 August 1990 were still felt today. Since the invasion, the Security Council had adopted 54 resolutions and numerous Presidential statements in response to the persistent procrastination of the Iraqi Government, which had constantly sought to escape its international obligations. Chief requirements yet to be met under Council resolutions related to the question of Kuwaiti and third-country prisoners and hostages.
Resolutions 686, 687 and 1284, which requested Iraq to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to account for those prisoners and hostages, remain unimplemented. Iraq persisted in showing disregard for the humanitarian nature of the issue by not resuming its participation in the Tripartite Commission and its Technical Subcommittee since it boycotted both organs in January 1999. Further, it also insisted on not cooperating with the High-level Coordinator, Ambassador Yuli Vorontsov, who was appointed by the Secretary-General to facilitate the repatriation of those prisoners and hostages. He called on Iraq to complete the return of stolen property, also in accordance with relevant Council resolutions.
What was deeply regrettable, he said, was that Iraq not only failed to meet its obligations, but alleged that it had completed the elimination of its weapons of mass destruction while not allowing United Nations inspectors to verify those claims. The Secretary-General put it most succinctly in his Report on the Work of the Organization this year when he said, "Iraq's lack of compliance with various Security Council resolutions continues to be of grave concern".
For ten years now, Iraq had continued to reveal its non-peaceful intentions and policies of aggression towards Kuwait and neighbouring countries. The remarks made by the Iraqi President and other officials last month together with the unjust Iraqi misinformation campaign against Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were perhaps the most compelling evidence that the Iraqi regime was still determined on pursuing a course of aggression.
RALPH MARAJ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, said that urgent action was needed within the international community. Poverty must be eradicated. The international community must take concrete action to bring to fruition the commitments made in the Millennium Declaration to reduce poverty levels by the year 2015. Education was a human right and a powerful force for social change. He reminded the Assembly that, according to the United Nations report on “The State of the World’s Children 1999”, 130 million children in the developing world were denied the right to basic education, two thirds of them girls.
He said international cooperation was needed to stop environmental degradation, especially on the part of the industrialized countries, which were mainly responsible for the emission of greenhouse gasses. Smaller countries, especially small island nations such as Trinidad and Tobago, were at particular risk. He joined his Caribbean Community (CARICOM) colleagues in lamenting the blatant and persistent misuse of the Caribbean Sea as a trans-shipment route for hazardous wastes. Accidents could occur. Such shipments must be halted.
No country, he said, could progress without democracy and good governance. All citizens must be included in the mainstream of national activity. Governance must also be based on the rule of law. Each country had a duty to ensure the security of its citizens. In developing countries, the level of violent crime was directly related to poverty. Due to its geographic location, Trinidad and Tobago continued to face the challenges of the illicit traffic in drugs, a problem that required international cooperation. Also, the drug trade was connected to the illicit trade in light arms. In that respect, the 2001 United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons was significant.
He said that the disease of racism continued to plague the world as it entered the twenty-first century. It could only be ameliorated through education and enlightenment. He hoped that the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, to be held in August 2001, would produce action-oriented recommendations to eliminate that scourge. In today’s global village, no country could survive alone. Today’s reality was globalization, borderlessness and integration. Thus, the United Nations, as well as other international actors, had a pivotal role to play. For example, international financial institutions must become more sensitive to the developmental needs of countries and the world trading system must take into account the special needs of the disadvantaged.
MOHAMED BENAISSA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco, said that no State could claim to have the capacity to address the multiple problems facing the world on its own, whether it might be nuclear disarmament, the degradation of the environment, extreme poverty, transnational organized crime or drug-trafficking. Despite the progress made during the last few decades, half of the world population still lived in poverty. There was an international obligation to ensure the eradication of poverty and the establishment of sustainable development in order to integrate developing countries into the international economic order. That was the only way that governments of developing countries could provide for the basic needs of their populations in terms of health, education and employment opportunities. The Bretton Woods institutions must adopt new strategies to assist developing countries including provisions on the burden of foreign debts and on unjust trade barriers.
Africa needed the assistance of the international community to redress its current influx of arms trafficking, refugees and HIV/AIDS victims. Mr. Benaissa urged the protagonists of the many African conflicts to renounce the use of violence. Preoccupation with internal conflicts had prevented the continent from taking advantage of the opportunities presented by globalization. The warring factions’ military expenditures would be put to better use in promoting social and economic development. The current marginalization of Africa was the major obstacle to development. With a population of 700 million people, Africa received only 2 per cent of global international investments. Another handicap was the problem of burden of extreme foreign debt.
The Middle East peace process was important to the Government of Morocco. Peace could not be achieved before Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 were adhered to and there had been a total withdrawal of Israeli forces from Palestinian territories and the Syrian Golan. The international community had an obligation to assist the Palestinian people. Another regional concern was the inhuman conditions imposed upon the people of Iraq through sanctions, particularly the lack of access to food and medicine by children. He called on the international community to lift those sanctions, adding that the territorial integrity of Iraq was a prerequisite for regional stability. With regard to Western Sahara, Mr. Benaissa assured the General Assembly that Morocco, having initiated the referendum, had cooperated fully and made several compromises, allowing the population of the region to express their political wishes. There had been a total respect for self-determination, and the rights of Morocco over the area were being confirmed.
With regard to the two villages of Sebta and Mellilia, it was important for Spain to understand that its occupation thereof was against international law. The Government of Morocco was convinced that the territorial integrity of Morocco could be respected without harming the economic, social and cultural interests of Spain. Due to its geopolitical position, Morocco attached particular importance to its relationship with the Mediterranean region and the European Union. He urged the European Union to increase its investments in North Africa and protect Moroccan minorities in Europe in order to create long-lasting regional stability. Regional stability also required adherence to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. In that context, the Israeli Government had the power to make a real contribution to the climate of peace and trust in the region.
FERNANDO DE TRAZEGNIES, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Peru, reiterated that the global order shaping the conduct of international actors must be based on the principles of the United Nations Charter -- which, contrary to certain opinions, had not only not lost ground, but were increasingly relevant for peaceful coexistence, collective security and development for all of humanity. The principles of the sovereignty of States, of non-intervention in their internal affairs and of juridical equality among States had fostered the development of effective mechanisms for self-regulation and stabilization in the international system.
Change and globalization were constantly reshaping reality. They now promised to impose a new sense of commonality and even new morals and a new political ethic on the international community, he said. The international legal order had therefore acquired an enormous significance, since it was our only means of restricting arbitrariness and subjectivity. It was also the most effective mechanism for the protection of human rights and human freedom.
The most complex of the challenges in the twenty-first century was to build an international system based on genuine democracy. Democracy was a recognition that everything -- including the idea of democracy itself -- was subject to divergent interpretations, none of them more valid than the others. Any idea of a crusade, even in the name of democracy, was undemocratic. Any principle that sought to impose itself universally had an undemocratic base. Thus, paradoxically, missionary enthusiasm for democracy ended up affecting the nature of democracy itself.
Building a new international order for the twenty-first century did not mean resolving a mathematical equation. A domestic or international order must be the result of a complex interaction between different and even opposed elements, just like a work of art. The society of the future must be capable of living within diversity -- expressing different points of view, different world visions and different interpretations of democracy itself -- if it was to establish an international order that articulated the world’s wealth of social and cultural diversity.
TOOMAS HENDRIK ILVES, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Estonia, said that there were four points of particular interest to Estonia in the current year. The first concerned efforts to reform the Security Council. The Council was prone to indecisive waffling, which undermined its authority, credibility and effectiveness. In order to combat that, voting procedures and mechanisms must be revamped. Some permanent members of the Security Council, for example, had used the veto to advance their own domestic and foreign policy interests, regardless of the particular issue at hand. Furthermore, in composition, the Security Council was stuck in 1945, an issue that cried out for resolution.
Estonia’s second concern, he said, was peacekeeping. His country had shouldered 100 per cent of what was expected, forgoing the privilege of paying only 20 per cent of its peacekeeping assessment. Security could not be had at discount prices. Estonia paying its own way was not enough to raise the effectiveness of peacekeeping, however, and he required a broader concept of security. Last week, the Security Council had taken an important step towards ensuring the security of people, as well as frontiers, with its unanimous resolution to overhaul United Nations peacekeeping operations.
Third, he said, equality around the globe must be increased. Alleviating debt and allocating more resources for development assistance could go a long way towards levelling the playing field for all peoples. Those efforts must go hand in hand with good governance and open markets. Without those, no amount of aid and debt relief would bring the world closer to its intended goal.
Finally, he stressed the importance of the role of information technology in furthering development, and expressed agreement with the conclusions of the Secretary-General’s Millennium Report, which emphasized that the fruits of new technologies, especially information technology, must be available to all. Information technology had brought new possibilities to rural areas, which often bore the brunt of change. His country wholeheartedly endorsed the United Nation’s plans to assist all Member States in making the information technology dream a reality.
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