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    For information only - not an official document.
      UNIS/GA/1699
        21 September 2000
     Emphasis Placed on Importance of Preventive Diplomacy
    And Peace-building in General Assembly Debate
     
     

    NEW YORK, 18 September (UN Headquarters) -- It would be simplistic and incorrect wishful thinking to suggest that the United Nations intervene in internal armed conflicts across the board, Sri Lanka's Minister for Foreign Affairs said this afternoon as the General Assembly continued its general debate.

    Describing as inadequate and inapplicable the clear-cut format of the Organization's response to inter-State conflicts, the Minister said that the United Nations, already woefully under-financed in fulfilling its development objectives, lacked the resources for such far-flung interventions.  

    Ukraine's Minister for Foreign Affairs emphasized the need to develop a comprehensive United Nations conflict-prevention strategy based on large-scale use of preventive diplomacy and peace-building.  The only successful preventive deployment operation in the Organization's history had been the one in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.  The situation in Kosovo remained a cause for serious concern.  A peaceful settlement there must be pursued in strict compliance with Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) and with full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

    He stressed his country's determination to intensify efforts to promote peaceful settlement of the so-called “frozen” conflicts in the post-Soviet territories, particularly in Abkhazia (Georgia), Nagorny Karabakh (Azerbaijan) and Transdniestria (Moldova).  The President of Ukraine had presented a feasible plan for the settlement of the Transdniestrian conflict based on the principle of “acquired status” which was acceptable to all parties.

    The representative of Swaziland said peace-building was a prevention task of growing importance.  After the disaster that had befallen the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), the Organization was faced with one of the most comprehensive tasks in its history -- reviewing peacekeeping operations.  The proliferating conflicts in Africa were a pressing reason for the long overdue reform of the Security Council.  Representative composition on the Council must involve enlargement of both its permanent and non-permanent membership, as well as Charter restraints on the veto, with a view to its eventual abolition.

    Tunisia's Foreign Minister, also addressing Security Council reform, said the issue of sanctions was one of the most important faced by the United Nations.  It was necessary to lift the embargo against Iraq, to reintegrate that country into the community of nations and to end the suffering of the Iraqi people, who had endured sanctions for 10 years.  It was also necessary to end entirely and definitively the recently suspended sanctions against Libya so that it could continue its development and support the aspirations of the Maghreb Arab Union.

    Also speaking this afternoon were the Foreign Ministers of Armenia, Madagascar, Malawi, Uruguay and Chad.  The representative of Bahrain also made a statement.

    Exercising their right of reply were the representatives of Iran and the Observer Mission of Palestine.

    The General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. to continue the general debate.

    Assembly Work Programme

    The fifty-fifth regular session of the General Assembly met this afternoon to continue its general debate.

    Statements were expected to be made by representatives of Bahrain, Ukraine, Armenia, Tunisia, Madagascar, Malawi, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Swaziland and Chad.

    Statements

     JASSIM MOHAMMED BUALLAY (Bahrain) said the ultimate challenge of the future lay in border disputes, racial and ethnic conflicts, the globalization of the international economy and development issues, as well as other political, social and environmental challenges and other issues related to weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.  Since attaining its independence and sovereignty, his Government had sought to build a modern State and a developed civil society through modernization, domestic openness and the rule of law.

     Driven by its firm belief in regional and international stability, his Government renewed its invitation to Iraq to cooperate with the United Nations, to fully implement relevant Security Council resolutions, particularly those related to weapons of mass destruction and to release prisoners and detainees, as a means leading to the lifting of the sanctions.  His Government hoped that the positive developments in relations between the States of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Iran would lead to a peaceful resolution to the dispute over the three islands, Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb, which all belonged to the United Arab Emirates.

     With regard to the Middle East peace process, he highlighted the importance of negotiations on a Syrian-Israeli track and the total Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories.  He called on the international community to redouble efforts and pressure Israel into meeting the requirements of peace.  He added that, aware of the dangers of the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the people of the Middle East, including the Gulf region, had supported all initiatives aimed at freeing the region from weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons.

    BORYS TARASYUK, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, said human history could be called a chronicle of continuous wars and conflicts and hoped that at the end of the second millennium, mankind had finally grasped the simple truth that it was necessary to fight the fires of wars long before they had erupted.  There was a need for developing a comprehensive conflict prevention strategy of the United Nations, based on large-scale use of preventive diplomacy and peace-building.  The only operation under the preventive deployment mandate -- in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia -- in the history of the United Nations had proved to be a success.

    While developments in Bosnia gave sufficient grounds for optimism, the situation in Kosovo remained cause for serious concern, he said.  The peaceful settlement in Kosovo had to be pursued in strict compliance with Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) and with full respect to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  Ukraine was also determined to intensify efforts aimed at promoting final peaceful settlement of the so-called “frozen” conflicts in the post-Soviet territories, particularly in Abkhazia (Georgia), Nagorny Karabakh (Azerbaijan) and Transdniestria (Moldova).  His President had presented a feasible plan for the settlement of the Transdniestrian conflict based on the principle of “acquired status” acceptable for all parties, he said.

    As a country which had made outstanding contributions to the process of practical nuclear disarmament, Ukraine shared the concern that the attention of the international community to that issue had substantially decreased, he said.  Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation were the cornerstones of international security and a means of averting a global conflict.  Regarding the problem of Security Council-imposed sanctions, there was a need for a clear and coherent methodology for the imposition and lifting of sanctions.  He supported the recent Council practice of defining time limits for sanctions at the stage of their imposition.  He also supported the lifting of sanctions when there were sufficient grounds to believe that they had served their purpose, as was the case in Libya.

    He hoped that consideration by the General Assembly of the item relating to the integration of the countries with economies in transition into the world economic system would contribute to strengthening economic cooperation in that field.  He attached great importance to the accession of Ukraine to the World Trade Organization.  Fulfilling the concept of “human rights for all” in the next century was a task of global dimension, he added.  At the same time, the use of force could not be considered an adequate means of ensuring respect for human rights.  The International Criminal Court was the only viable democratic mechanism of a universal character to enforce compliance with and respect for international humanitarian law.

     VARTAN OSKANIAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia, said that the major task of governments around the world today was the pursuit of sound policies and appropriate structural adjustments to meet the challenges that globalization presented, without falling victim to its hazards.  The revolution in communication and information technology had opened up the global market to new players.  Information technology and the Internet had become the engine for economic growth and, if used appropriately, could become the great equalizers. 

    During the nine years since Armenia’s independence, great strides had been made in anchoring democratic values, which would become irreversible this year, with Armenia’s membership in the Council of Europe, he said.  Armenia was confident that economic cooperation would help to transcend political problems and facilitate the resolution of political issues.  The promise of democracy in the Caucasus should not, however, shroud the fragility of the emergent equilibrium.  Armenia welcomed the constructive role that the United Nations and other international organizations had to play in the region, but stressed that these organizations must not, by the uneven or inconsistent application of their principles, exacerbate existing regional disparities.

     The region continued to remain adversely affected by the lack of formal relations between Armenia and Turkey, he said.  Although from day one of its independence, Armenia had opted for normalization of relations and the establishment of diplomatic ties, Turkey had insisted and continued to insist on certain conditions related to Nagorno Karabagh and the recognition of the Armenian genocide.  His President had addressed this issue at the Millenuim Summit and extended a hand to his neighbour, but Turkey’s response indicated that they continued to let the fear of history limit their freedom to act. 

     The Millennium Declaration provided for the right to self-determination of peoples who remained under colonial domination and foreign occupation, he said, a topic very important to Armenian’s right to freedom from fear.  In Nagorno Karabagh, there had been both colonial domination by the Soviets and foreign occupation by Azerbaijan.  During the last six years, the military phase of the conflict had ceased and Armenia remained committed to a lasting resolution, which would provide for peace and security for Nagorno Karabagh with a continuous geographic link to Armenia.  They would continue to work with the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group and were ready to maintain direct contacts with Azerbaijan in order to search for compromise.  However, direct negotiations between Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabagh would be more productive. 
      
    HABIB BEN YAHIA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, said that as a member of the Security Council, Tunisia had tried to ensure that its contributions were guided by consensus in order to achieve a common point of view and ensure success in safeguarding international peace and security.  In that regard, Tunisia stressed the need for in-depth study of the question of humanitarian intervention in all its aspects.  If particular circumstances dictated an urgent intervention to prevent the deterioration of the situation, that should not be done outside the framework of international law, the rules of international relations or the provisions of the United Nations Charter.  Any violation of that principle would alter the international balance and risk the spread of anarchy.

    The question of sanctions was one of the most important faced by the United Nations, including the Security Council, he said.  The experiences of the past decade had shown the need to modify the use of sanctions in order to alleviate their effects on the people.  Certain criteria should be borne in mind, notably that the sanctions should only be resorted to after all peaceful means had been exhausted.  Once imposed, they should be of limited duration and clear conditions must be defined for the lifting or suspension of sanctions.  Clear conditions should be defined for continued assessment of the humanitarian repercussions of sanctions on the peoples of the targeted countries and of their direct effect on the interests of third countries.

    He reaffirmed the need of efforts to end the embargo against Iraq, to reintegrate that country into the community of nations and to end the tragedy of the Iraqi people who had suffered the effects of sanctions for 10 years.  All parties must cooperate with to resolve other related humanitarian questions, particularly that of missing Kuwaiti nationals.  With respect to the suspension of sanctions against Libya, it was time they were lifted entirely and definitively so that country could continue its development and support the aspirations of the Maghreb Arab Union.  Tunisia had made the Union a strategic option and was constantly working for its promotion, the consolidation of its foundations and the strengthening of its structures.

    It was regrettable that the Middle East negotiations at Camp David had stalled without reaching a just settlement of the Palestinian question, he said.  It was time to give proper form to the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and to the establishment of a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital, in conformity with international law and the terms of reference of the peace process.  Tunisia hoped to see the United States Government continue to use its good offices, and other influential parties -- notably the European Union, the Russian Federation and Japan –-  to step up efforts for an agreement between the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel.

     LILA RATSIF ANDRIHAMANANA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Madagascar, said it was time to act on reforms of the United Nations, including the expansion of the Security Council, the downsizing of the institutional structure to achieve greater operational capacity and the improvement of the financial structure along more equitable lines.  The right of veto did not adhere to the democratic principles upon which the United Nations were founded.  Africa was the hotbed of permanent conflicts; however, there were new attempts to reach durable peace and reconciliation.  These initiatives were encouraging and she welcomed the developments in Burundi, Western Sahara and Djibouti.

     Madagascar was a peaceful island, she said, and reiterated her country’s commitment to the implementation of disarmament and the many important conventions to that effect.  Her Government had ratified the Ottawa Convention on anti-personnel mines and the legal work on the Convention on biological and toxin weapons had recently begun.  It was important to end the proliferation of small arms and light weapons as the traffic thereof caused international harm.  The Brahimi report must result in the adoption of a comprehensive approach to conflict prevention, including provisions protecting United Nations volunteers in conflict situations. 

     Children remained at the heart of United Nations action, she said.  They needed to be protected and informed of their rights.  To mark the Millennium Summit, her country had signed the optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. 

    Sex, tourism and the spread of HIV/AIDS were new threats and challenges that required joint action, she said.  It was also important to safeguard family values.  The family guaranteed sustained social development.  In the light of the ratification of the two optional protocols, her Government had outlawed pedophilia.

     The uncertainty and changes in the international economic system required partnerships, dialogue and cooperation, she said.  Her Government supported that the year 2001 be the year of the United Nations for dialogue amongst civilizations.  Dialogue was necessary in the overall rethinking of development.  Developing countries needed to become equal partners in the global economy.  It was clear that the current imbalance did nothing to promote financial flows.  The increase in official development assistance (ODA) and the implementation of programmes of debt relief, and ultimately the cancellation of debts, would go a long way to eliminating the “LDC category” from the world economy.  

     LILIAN E. PATEL, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Malawi, said that a multiplicity of factors constrained the efforts of the developing countries towards achieving economic development.  There was need for a multidimensional approach to address the plight of those countries.  Malawi had welcomed the process of globalization, joining other members of the international community who considered it inevitable in the march towards a global village.  However, a number of constraints had hindered Malawi’s march, notably its lack of modern information technology.  She called upon the donor community to level the playing field; the “digital divide” must be closed.

     International trade was critical to the economies of most developing countries, she said.  The steadily deteriorating barter terms of trade of primary products and the imposition of protectionist measures were sources of concern.  She stressed the need for development partners to open up their markets to products from developing countries.  Increased market access was one way in which Malawi could be empowered to meaningfully participate in globalization.

     The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative was notable, she said.  However, her country believed the problem could best be addressed through outright cancellation.  The HIPC countries needed to free resources for investment in basic infrastructural services.  The ODA at the United Nations target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP) was necessary for developing economies.  Malawi paid tribute to those developed countries that had met or exceeded the target.

     After the end of the cold war, she said, the concept of a peace dividend had gained currency, but trouble spots dotted the globe, notably the protracted civil war in Angola, civil strife in Sierra Leone, the Great Lakes region of Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kosovo and Central Asia, among others.  While Malawi praised the untiring efforts of the United Nations at maintaining international peace and security, it was time, as the Secretary-General suggested, to review peacekeeping operations.  

     LAKSHMAN KADIRGAMAR, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, said that there was a substantial body of opinion, within which Sri Lanka was included, which believed that the way to proceed in the matter of human rights was through continued cooperation between all States, while respecting the sovereignty of each.  The clear-cut format of the United Nations response to inter-State conflicts seemed for internal conflicts, inadequate or inapplicable.  To suggest that the United Nations intervene in internal armed conflicts across the board was wishful thinking of the most simplistic kind and incorrect in the extreme. 

    Where would the Organization, woefully under financed for fulfilment of its development objectives, obtain the resources for such far-flung interventions? he continued.  Charter provisions and United Nations practice affirmed that a State might act in individual or collective self-defence should there be an armed attack against its frontiers.  However, against massive internal armed attack, the abilities of most States to react were limited.  An internal armed challenge to any State anywhere was a challenge to all States. Unless all States agreed to come to the aid of a State in such peril, democracy would be imperiled.

     As funds available for criminal activities within a State, especially a developing one, were small, much fund-collection for such activities was carried out abroad.  Revenues came from the customary illegal trade in drugs, arms or other merchandise including the smuggling of humans.  A far more abundant source was that of expatriates settled abroad.  Collections from expatriates for the Tamil Tigers were staggering in their magnitude.  In order to implement adequately the provisions of the recently adopted Convention on the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism, a study on the collection of external funds for massive continuous internal armed rebellion against a State, should be undertaken by the appropriate United Nations bodies. 

     Globalization might be a reality for all, but it was no panacea for all, certainly not the developing world, he said.  There was little opportunity for developing countries to be formative in the shaping of the world economy for the future.  A “New Development Chapter for the Twenty-First Century” needed to be formulated in deliberations at which the developing world was accorded an adequate “formative voice”.  The seven States of South Asia were deeply committed to the advancement and social well-being of their peoples.

     Sri Lanka’s address could not be concluded without reference to the crimes being committed against young Tamil children by the rebel group, the Tamil Tigers, he said.  They were forcibly recruiting boys and girls as young as 10 years old for battle against the Sri Lankan Army.  Some had even been forced to be suicide bombers.  This was despite assurances made to the Secretary- General’s Special representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Olara Otunnu, in 1998 that they would not recruit any person under the age of 17.  He thanked the Special Representative for speaking out on this important issue.  To remain silent in the face of such criminality was to encourage and condone it.  Sri Lanka had, a few days earlier, deposited its instrument of ratification of the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CHILD).  He called upon all States to ratify the Protocol. 

     DIDIER OPERTTI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uruguay, said globalization was the unavoidable context to which the human family should adapt -- not from a perspective of confrontation or of resigned acceptance, but of playing an active part.  Acting within the framework of globalization, one would accept the intrinsic value in its scientific and technical dimensions, and transmit in turn the inspiration and political will necessary to control its negative effects on those societies which did not have access yet to resources and means that would allow them to benefit from it.

     The United Nations was now confronted with the distressing problem of having to achieve its goals of peacekeeping with limited resources and inadequate mechanisms, he said.  Financing of peacekeeping operations required careful administration of existing resources and also that all Member States fulfil their financial obligations with the Organization, without conditions.  The institutionalization of the current scale of assessments was essential, perhaps with little changes that would not represent a problem to developing countries and that would assure that States assumed their responsibilities according to their real capacity of payment.

     Inequality, poverty and debt in the developing world were problems which required attention and concurrence of permanent programmes and actions, he said. He mentioned the initiative to create a Development Council -- an idea presented during the Summit that must be analysed because it could indicate possible guidance for efficiently confronting economic matters.  That Council should have the authority to make decisions in order to correct and guide the international financial traffic jam, whose trends and developments affect the economies of all countries.

     Trade being a natural and historical way of communication among peoples, Member States must not impose protectionist barriers to free-flowing trade, he said.  The obstacles to trade, discriminatory trade policies and protectionism, became factors of political instability at the domestic and international level.  The strong response of the Millennium Summit on that point must not be overlooked by Member States who raised protectionist barriers in a selective way and defended in a selfish manner their own production and participation in the market, he said.

     CLIFFORD S. MAMBA (Swaziland) called the year 2000 the "Year of Delivery" in a number of key economic, social and political areas.  The Government had launched the Millennium Project, designed to maximize the tourism and manufacturing industry sub-sectors and to reduce the unacceptably high level of unemployment.  The HIV/AIDS crisis represented the single most important issue in the country, he noted.  He called upon the United Nations to exercise a much stronger leadership role in reversing the catastrophic spread of this pandemic.

     During the Millennium Summit, his Government had expressed concern about the negative effects of globalization, especially in the context of the widening gap between rich and poor countries.  He emphasized that the start of a new millennium represented an ideal opportunity to recognize that cultural diversity and sovereign rights added to the richness of humanity and must be respected and preserved at all costs.  Globalization presented many serious problems for developing nations, since poverty was accelerated and developing countries became further marginalized.  To counter the twentieth century's disparity on the international economic scene, it was necessary to strive for a more stable and predictable political and economic world order; one in which peace, security and development were inextricably linked.

     Peace-building was a prevention task of growing importance, he said.  After the disaster that had befallen the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), the Organization was faced with one of the most comprehensive tasks in its history, reviewing peacekeeping operations.  He said the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Sierra Leone and Angola among others had been the scene of terrible turmoil, mass murders, destruction of property and suffering by refugees.  

    Such conflicts were a pressing reason for the long overdue reform of the Security Council, which must recognize the new realities of the global political situation, he said.  Representative composition must involve enlargement to include both permanent and non-permanent members.  He stressed the importance of placing United Nations Charter restraints on the veto, aimed at its eventual abolition.
     
     MAHAMAT SALEH ANNADIF, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chad, said that the world was in constant change because of rampant globalization.  The people of his country were doing all they could to benefit from the positive sides of globalization in order to catch the political train of social and economic development.  His country needed to emerge from obscurantism, poverty and domination.  The democratic experiment dating back to 1990 had been consolidated.  Today, political pluralism was in place and the fundamental freedoms, which were required in a democracy, were fully exercised.  The final touches to the judicial institutions were underway.  The multi-party election of 1996 had taken place in a climate of calmness and transparency.  

    The climate of peace in Central Africa was of pivotal importance to Chad, he said.  Despite its potential, and perhaps because of potentiality, the region was in constant upheaval.  Some countries were gradually regaining stability, but they were few and far between.  The failure to respect the Lusaka Agreement had led to rivalry among external forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The situation in Angola was still unresolved and the legal Government had to be supported in order to help the Angolan people.  Despite developments in the African region in the establishment of democratic institutions, good governance and respect for human rights, the situation in Africa required more attention and support by the international community.  He urged the international community to ensure that the sanctions against Libya were lifted.
     
    He said the developments in the Korean peninsula must encourage action between China and Taiwan, where the levels of tension were abnormally high.  Whereas economic and trade relations were increasing regularly, the political interaction was practically non-existent.  The two sides must show political determination and imagination in order to decrease the tension and establish an open dialogue.  He called upon the international community to reconsider the question of the admission of the Republic of China on Taiwan into the United Nations.  Taiwan had an important economic role to play, not only internationally but also in the context of development initiatives and the fight against poverty.

    Other ills which prevented the development effort were the problems of foreign debt, protectionism and the unfair terms of trade, he said.  Concrete steps had to be taken to address these issues.  Another problem was the spread of HIV/AIDS, which consisted of a burden on both the financial and human resources of the country.  In the light of all these challenges, his Government hoped that Chad would benefit from the political and economic integration of Africa, which would create conditions for genuine partnerships.  

    Statements in Right of Reply

     SHAHROUK SHAKERIAN (Iran), speaking in right of reply, said that this morning the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel, had raised some baseless accusations.  Iran was among those countries in the Middle East that were party to many international agreements, such as the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).  Despite numerous demands from the international community, Israel would not join those instruments.  It was the only country in the Middle East not to have taken part in the Treaty.  Israel’s nuclear programme continued to be an alarming fact that menaced peace and stability in the Middle East

    SOMAIA BARGHOUTI, observer for Palestine, also speaking in right of reply, said that this morning’s statement by Israel’s Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs had been fraught with historical and political fallacies, particularly with regard to the questions of Al-Quds/Jerusalem and refugees.  The Observer Mission would reply during tomorrow morning’s meeting.

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