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      UNIS/GA/1701
        25 September 2000
     Millennium Assembly’s Challenge:  Put Summit Commitments into Action,
    Says General Assembly President, as General Debate Concludes

    Mauritius, Nicaragua, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania,
    Venezuela, Benin, Equatorial Guninea, Uzbekistan also Speak

    NEW YORK, 22 September (UN Headquarters) – The challenge facing the Millennium Assembly was to put into action the commitments made by the world’s leaders in the Millennium Summit Declaration, the President of the fifty-fifth regular session of the General Assembly, Harri Holkeri (Finland), said in his concluding remarks at the end of the Assembly's general debate.

    The most critical issue facing the international community, that of the maintenance of peace and security and the role of the United Nations in it, had been the focus of many speakers, he said.  The statements made on the issue of Security Council reform indicated that there was willingness by the membership to move forward on that issue.

    There had been several calls to reduce poverty levels by the year 2015.  Many statements had referred to the unsustainable debt burden of the poorest countries, and to the unfavourable terms of trade for many developing countries.  The debate had touched upon other aspects of human life requiring common attention -- the situation of the children of the world, illiteracy, HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, racial discrimination, deterioration of the environment, pollution of soil, water and atmosphere, and lack of food security.

     Globalization and its impacts, both positive and negative, had been one of the overriding themes of the discussion, he said.  In the course of the debate, it had been reiterated that globalization had to be addressed in a multidimensional way.  Another important theme of the debate related to disarmament.  It had been noted by many that lasting peace would not be secured until weapons of mass destruction had been eradicated.  A number of speakers had referred to the need to look afresh at the application of economic sanctions.  Although they could be used as a tool for peace, sometimes they were counter-productive and penalized the population, rather than the targeted rulers.

     He had been pleased to listen to the statements recognizing the need for civil society to participate in the work of the United Nations.  The significance and relevance of the United Nations in the future would depend on the ability to involve civil society in the work of the Organization.

    The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Eritrea, Haile Weldensae, said because of their painful experience with war, Eritreans appreciated the need for the United Nations in the peaceful and just settlement of disputes.  Even in clear cases of self-defence, force could be used only with extreme caution, after all possibilities for peaceful resolution had been exhausted.  Despite its goodwill, however, Eritrea had been repeatedly tested since its brief seven years of formal independence.  And in the past two years, it has had to defend itself, in what was labeled a border dispute, against a serious attempt to recolonize the country or turn it into a satellite State.  

    The representative of Antigua and Barbuda told the Assembly that "small States do not equate with small problems".  Moreover, those on the periphery of dominant industrial entities suffered exploitation and underdevelopment.  Today, his country faced the problem of nuclear waste being trans-shipped through its waters.  Ruling’s by the World Trade Organization (WTO) had been in favour of the interests of multinational enterprises.  He asked that countries who had pledged to contribute 0.7 per cent of their gross national product (GNP) for official development assistance should carry out their commitment.

     The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of Mauritius, Anil Kumarsingh Gayan, and the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua, Jose Adan Guerra, also addressed the Assembly.  The representatives of Rwanda, Antigua and Barbuda, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Benin, Equatorial Guinea and Uzbekistan also spoke.

     The representatives of Turkey, Democratic Republic of the Congo, United Kingdom, Comoros, Ethiopia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Eritrea spoke in right of reply.

     The General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 27 September.

    Assembly Work Programme

     The General Assembly met this morning to conclude its general debate.

     The Assembly expected to hear from representatives of Rwanda, Antigua and Barbuda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Mauritius, Eritrea, Benin, Equatorial Guinea, Nicaragua and Uzbekistan.

    Speakers

     JOSEPH MUTABOBA (Rwanda) said the twentieth century had been an era of major technological conquests and unprecedented crises.  The two world wars had put into place advanced technologies with the capacity for enormous destruction.  Those wars had led to the loss of millions of lives and resulted in genocide, criticized by the founders of the Organization.  Today, the international community was living through the same horrors, as had happened in Rwanda in 1994.  He supported the conclusions of the Brahimi Report on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and the two other preceding reports.  The Organization had failed, but the report told us that we could rectify matters.  To let that opportunity go by would be rejecting the principles of the Charter.

     How could one even think of blocking the prosecution of criminals guilty of genocide? he asked.  He called on the international community to draw all required lessons from the Rwandan genocide.  Now Rwanda needed help to rebuild and develop after the destruction left by genocide.  He expressed his appreciation for the Security Council’s focus on the issue.  He added that he hoped the reforms under way in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) would lead to an enhanced partnership of equality, justice and fraternal solidarity.  

    As to the matter of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), he said the authors of the Rwanda genocide had taken refuge in that country.  Not only had they failed to disarm, but with the benefit of new equipment and military training they had carried on their fight.  A responsible government should act to protect its people.  A project for massive invasion by genocide mercenaries was put down in 1996, but in 1997 and 1998 invasions from Congo had to be fought off.  Within that context, there was a Rwandan military presence in the Congo, meant only to prevent a new genocide in Rwanda.  His Government had welcomed the signing of the Lusaka Agreement in 1999, and deplored the fact that the Kinshasha Government was calling the agreement in question.

     PATRICK ALBERT LEWIS (Antigua and Barbuda) said that “small States do not equate with small problems.”  Moreover, those on the periphery of dominant industrial entities suffered exploitation and underdevelopment.  Today Antigua and Barbuda faced the problem of nuclear waste being trans-shipped through its waters.  Another problem was decisions by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in favour of the interests of multinational enterprises and countries benefiting from the operations of those enterprises.  The Windward Island producers of bananas were at a total disadvantage because they could not afford adequate representation before the WTO.

     He observed that in modern history there had never been free trade, although it had been advocated, encouraged and even preached about.  Unfortunately, small States had been hurt by extraordinary pressures to control economic advancement, and because of that, poverty was spreading and the sick in poor countries lacked access to medicine.  Globalization lacked a human face because the developing countries had yet to experience its benefits.  At the Millennium Summit, Prime Minister Lester Bryant Bird of Antigua and Barbuda said that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development had dubbed his country’s tax incentives “harmful tax competition” and had linked them unfairly with money laundering.

     Antigua and Barbuda summed up what it wanted to see at the United Nations as follows: 1) it pressed for the end of “selective” multilateralism; 2) the reform process must be expanded beyond the Secretariat and be practiced among all countries; 3) the principle of rotation in major decision-making bodies should become a reality; 4) the concept of globalization should be studied for its effects on developing countries; 5) gross national product should not be used as the sole criteria for graduating a State from concessionary loans, but rather the Vulnerability Index; 6) countries pledged to contribute 0.7 per cent of Official Development Assistance should carry out their commitment; and 7) the nations comprising the United Nations must become truly united.

    HASSAN GUMBO KIBELLOH (United Republic of Tanzania) said that Official Development Assistance (ODA) was critical to supporting development efforts in Africa.  It was sad to note that ODA flows had fallen to an all-time low of  0.2 per cent.  Many African countries were undertaking painful reform measures aimed at attracting foreign direct assistance.  However, flows had been minimal.  He acknowledged the importance of the Heavily Indebted Countries Initiative, but stressed that the burden of meeting debt service payments would remain heavy even after debt relief.  The donor community should consider additional measures, including debt cancellation.  Improvement of the terms of trade and market access for the least developed countries’ goods in the developed countries’ markets would contribute towards poverty eradication efforts.

    In African conflicts, he said, there had been slow and inadequate response from the United Nations.  It was disturbing that Jonas Savimbi had been able to sustain his insurgency by violating sanctions imposed against his National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) by the Security Council.  He called on the international community to extend its support to the Burundi Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, and urged the Security Council to deploy the peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as soon as possible.  On Somalia, he welcomed the agreement reached in Djibouti.  As for Western Sahara, Tanzania reiterated its support for the self-determination of the Saharawi people.

    There was a direct linkage between conflicts and the incidence of refugees and internally displaced persons.  Tanzania found itself in the difficult situation of hosting more than 800,000 refugees, most of whom were products of the crisis in the Great Lakes region.  That was a huge burden for Tanzania.  Refugees posed many problems relating to security and environmental degradation.  There was an urgent need for the international community to increase its support to the refugees, as well as to refugee-receiving countries.  In the same vein, his country reiterated its call for international burden sharing and responsibility in refugee situations. 

     IGNACIO ARCAYA (Venezuela) said that the Millennium Summit had charted a plan of action for the immediate future, and the United Nations must make that plan its top priority.  Without the effective implementation of the Declaration, the Summit would be regarded as a mere expression of good intentions, something routine, as if nothing had really occurred.  Action must be taken to ensure that the vast majority of people, who lived in the developing countries, made significant progress toward sustainable development.  The millions in poverty needed special assistance to allow them a proportionate share of the means of subsistence, education and medical care.

     The United Nations, he felt, was the most important instrument the world shared, although, at present, it was poorly equipped to handle its enormous tasks.  It must be provided with the power and the means to fulfill its role in the struggle for development.  To that end, the Organization must become more democratic and more open; to do that, it was necessary to strengthen the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, which was the true Council for human development and which should have authority and means of action comparable to those of the Security Council.

     Debt relief for the highly indebted poor countries was the most urgent task in the fight against poverty. The United Nations, he stated, must play the leading role in reducing world poverty by half.  His country asked developed countries to meet their target of 0.7 per cent of Gross National Product for ODA.  The rules regulating international commerce and finance must be just and equitable, not only in theory but in practice as well, so that they could lead to development for all, rather than further enrichment of the privileged minority.  He called upon the Organization to serve as the coordinator of development on an equal footing with the WTO, particularly in bringing out North-South dialogue on external debt.  Debt servicing weakened development growth.  The economic and social costs of affected countries must be recognized.  All Member States were needed to help in eradicating poverty and promoting development. 

     ANIL KUMARSINGH GAYAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of Mauritius, recalled that the international community had watched helplessly as the recent tragic situation unfolded in Fiji.  It was not the first time that a democratically elected government was overthrown by unorthodox and violent means.  Mauritius unequivocally condemned all attempts by any group to thwart the will of the people by force.  The time had come to seriously consider excluding governments that came to power by unconstitutional means, in order to send a clear signal to people bent upon perpetrating constitutional violations in total disregard of the will of the people.

     The environment was yet another key area where the cooperation of the international community was required.  Mauritius was committed to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and supported United Nations initiatives in the environmental sector.  He urged Member States to adopt and ratify the Kyoto Protocol, so that it could enter into force no later than  2002.  Mauritius itself would shortly ratify the Kyoto Protocol, and supported the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat Desertification.

     Small Island States, constituting one-fifth of the membership of the United Nations, were in a particularly difficult situation due to their vulnerability to a wide range of ecological and climatic and economic factors.  Constraints to their sustainable development included a narrow resource base that did not allow them to benefit from economies of scale.  They relied heavily on external markets, which were usually geographically distant, and costs for transportation, energy and infrastructure were high.

     Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity was an acquired and inalienable right for every State, however big or small.  Mauritius was conscious that the United Nations favoured the completion of the decolonization process.  For a number of years his country had brought before the General Assembly the question of the Chagos Archipelago, which had always formed part of Mauritius.  The Chagos Archipelago, including the island Diego Garcia, had been detached by the colonial power just before independence.  Efforts had been made to solve the issue bilaterally with the United Kingdom; however, there had been no tangible progress.  Pending a resolution of the issue, the former residents of Chagos Archipelago and their families who were forcibly evicted to Mauritius by the colonial power must be allowed to return to their homeland.

    HAILE WELDENSAE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Eritrea, said he wished to join with those who had called for urgent reform of the United Nations, in particular the Security Council and the General Assembly.  Because of their painful experience with war, Eritreans appreciated the need for the United Nations in the peaceful and just settlement of disputes, with the premise that armed force was never an instrument of foreign policy.  Even in clear cases of self-defence, force could be used only with extreme caution, after all possibilities of peaceful resolution had been exhausted.

    Eritrea made the United Nations Charter the cornerstone of its foreign policy, and had committed itself to a major role in regional development and stability, forgetting the past and establishing good relations with its neighbours.  Despite its goodwill, however, Eritrea had been repeatedly tested since its brief seven years of formal independence.  And in the past two years, it had had to defend itself, in what was labeled a border dispute, against a serious attempt to recolonize the country or turn it into a satellite State.  The attempt was thwarted, though at a high cost:  the destruction of much of the country's infrastructure and the terrorization of the population in the large tracts of its territory that were occupied.

    Even so, he said, Eritrea remained convinced that there was no alternative to the solution of conflicts by peaceful means on the basis of the Charters of the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), as well as existing principles of international law.  Eritrea had shown flexibility and made important concessions.  But peace was a shared responsibility, and could only be achieved with the faithful implementation of agreements accepted by parties to a conflict. 

    To that end, he invited all concerned to join Eritrea in extending full cooperation to the OAU facilitators and make a full commitment to its peace process, in particular the Framework Agreement and the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement.  After thanking those in the international community who had contributed to peace efforts in the region, he concluded by stressing to the Security Council, the urgent need to deploy the peacekeeping force authorized by resolution 1320 of 15 September, as quickly as possible, to preserve the gains that had been achieved at great cost to so many.

     JOEL W. ADECHI (Benin) said that given the limited benefits of globalization, the aim should be to channel the process of globalization in the direction of economic and social progress for all.  In that process, the United Nations had a comparative advantage, in that it was the sole institution embodying universally accepted values.  It was the body where the weak and the forgotten were able to make their voices heard.  Globalization today was a fait accompli, but was not neutral.  Good governance, democracy, and transparency all should be consolidated in national terms, but also in international relations.  

     Benin was pleased to see that special attention had been accorded to Africa, he said.  The initiatives taken for the continent required firm support on the part of development partners.  Together, the international community must work for the following goals:  a durable solution to the problem of debt; a more just order for the international trading system; an increase in financial resources; and the strengthening of production capacities.  He also called for the integration of developing countries into the world economy, taking into account the particular needs of the LDCs, in order to counter the deterioration of their situation.

    The elimination of poverty was a problem that could not be solved in the twentieth century.  It was now the responsibility of the international community to succeed at that task.  He was pleased with the initiative taken by the Administrator of the UNDP to organize a special ministerial session to discuss the strategic orientation of the Programme, as well as the need for more resources to allow it to complete its missions.  In commending the countries that had announced an increase in public aid for development, he asked that a balance be restored in base budgetary resources, in order to implement the programmes and projects that were priorities for those governments. 

     NARCISO NTUGU ABESO OYANA, (Equatorial Guinea) quoting his country’s President, said that the century drawing to a close had all the characteristics of a threatened world, viewed as apocalyptic both by small and big countries, by rich and poor alike.  The world must now proceed on the premise that democracy began at home -- and therefore, also at the United Nations, the world’s shared home.  He therefore, joined the call for urgent and needed reform and empowerment of the Organization.  Fair and just representation of the African continent was one way of achieving that, in particular, in regard to the Security Council.

     Some individuals enjoyed levels of inconceivable wealth, unheard of in the past, while the poor remained marginalized, their ranks daily increasing.  Poverty must be the main concern of the United Nations, and the struggle against it must be strengthened.  Poverty eradication was an ethical social, political and economical imperative of our times, he said.  It required an improvement in economic growth and employment opportunities, among other things.  It was one of the primary tasks to which the peoples of the twentieth century aspired in their quest for the development and prosperity of humankind.  

     He called for elimination of all discriminatory practices against women, and for respect and implementation of the recommendations of the Beijing and Beijing Plus 5 conferences.  There was a growing awareness in the world regarding human rights and good governance.  His country would continue to strive for the restoration of all rights to which vulnerable groups such as women, children, refugees and displaced persons aspired.  He regretted the steady decline in international resource flows in his country, and invited the international community to steadily increase the volume of international cooperation.  Welcoming the ceasefire in the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, he hoped that the parties would engage in a dialogue with a view towards lasting peace.

     JOSE ADAN GUERRA PASTORA, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua, said the process of renewing the Organization meant a strengthening of its organs to enhance effectiveness in peacekeeping and international security, poverty eradication, stronger health and education programmes and preventing environmental destruction.  In that regard, all peoples should be fairly represented in the Security Council, and the Council should be reformed with a possible elimination of the veto.  Also, global-level discussions should be held for greater consensus and effectiveness in resolving humanitarian emergencies.

     He said other issues the Organization should address with greater determination included drug activities, organized crime and terrorism and achieving global disarmament.  As a victim of serious armed conflict in the 1990s, Nicaragua continued to clear the huge quantity of anti-personnel landmines that were still claiming numerous innocent victims.  It would host the third session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Ottawa Convention in September 2001.  It also supported preparations for the 2001 World Conference on Racism, in a commitment to tolerance and respect for diversity.

     The determining factor for preventing conflicts having serious and permanent consequences for humanity, he said, was for all to make a firm commitment to non-violence and the principle of peacefully settling disputes through modalities established by international law.  He welcomed the dialogue between the two Koreas, expressed concern about the conflicts in Africa, and urged their speedy settlement.

     Calling for technology transfer to developing countries to prevent globalization from becoming a negative phenomenon, he cited a trinational agreement his country had made with Nicaragua and El Salvador as an example of cooperation enabling States to integrate into the global economy.  Cooperation activities must be accompanied by appropriate treatment.  Namely, small economies must have access to large international markets, and should obtain fair prices for their exports.  The multilateral trade system must also be strengthened.  Towards that end, a round of trade negotiations should be urgently convened within the framework of the World Trade Organization.

    HARRI HOLKERI, President of the General Assembly, said at the conclusion of the general debate that the challenge facing the Millennium Assembly was to put into action the commitments made by the world’s leaders in the Summit Declaration.  The most critical issue facing the international community -- the maintenance of peace and security and the role of the United Nations in it -- had been the focus of many speakers.  The issue of Security Council reform and the need for its composition to reflect the realities of today, in order to make the Council “more representative and more legitimate”, had also been a theme repeated by many.  The statements made indicated that there was willingness by the membership to move forward on those issues.

     There had been several calls to bring to fruition the commitments made in the Millennium Declaration to reduce poverty levels by the year 2015.  Many statements had referred to the unsustainable debt burden of the poorest countries, and to the unfavourable terms of trade for many developing countries.  The debate had touched upon many other aspects of human life requiring common attention -- the situation of the children of the world, illiteracy, HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, racism and racial discrimination, deterioration of the environment, pollution of soil, water and atmosphere and lack of food security.  Many of those issues would be addressed during the ongoing General Assembly.

     Globalization and its impacts, both positive and negative, had been one of the overriding themes of the discussion, he said.  In the course of the debate, it had been reiterated that globalization had to be addressed in a multidimensional way.  Another important theme of the debate related to disarmament.  It had been noted by many that lasting peace would not be secured until weapons of mass destruction had been eradicated.  Some speakers had stressed that, in the face of massive human rights violations, the United Nations must not remain paralysed.  Others felt that the principle of State sovereignty and non-intervention in their internal affairs was a basic principle of the United Nations Charter.  A number of speakers had referred to the need to look afresh at the application of economic sanctions:  although they could be used as a tool for peace, sometimes they were counter-productive and penalized the population rather than targeted rulers. 

     He had been pleased to listen to the statements appreciating the need for civil society -- in the broadest sense -- to participate in the work of the United Nations.  The significance and relevance of the United Nations in the future would depend on the ability to involve civil society in the work of the Organization.  Overall, to quote one distinguished speaker, the debate had reaffirmed the commitment of the international community to the validity and importance of multilateral action as being “the most realistic approach to transnational problems in an increasingly globalized world.”  He echoed that sentiment, and looked forward to a most productive fifty-fifth session of the General Assembly.

     MR. CENGIZER (Turkey), exercising his right of reply, said that the minister for Armenia had on 18 September remarked that their region was adversely affected by the lack of formal relations between Armenia and Turkey.  They had also stated the well-known allegations of the tragic events that took place earlier in the century.  It was one thing to decry the lack of formal relations, another to make accusations against another country.  The Armenian side insisted that their single interpretation of history was the sole and only version.  What was presented as genocide, however, was a most unfortunate tragedy, which befell Turks and Armenians alike during the Ottoman Empire. 

    Today, at such an historic threshold, it was not the time for extracting enmity from history.  It was, indeed, unfortunate that Turkey and Armenia found themselves lacking normal relations.  Armenia’s wish for normal relations was gratifying.  Yet, the call was made without grace and was tantamount to Turkey accepting their version of history.  It was also incomprehensible for a government to aspire to normal relations, while for ten years it continued to defiantly occupy one fifth of a neighbour’s territory.  

    ATOKI ILEKA (Democratic Republic of the Congo), exercising his right of reply, said he would not answer the statements and pointedly provocative remarks from his sister States, Burundi and Rwanda, who had tried to justify occupation of his country.  The population of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was tired of a pointless war.  It wanted and desired peace in a strong and unified Democratic Republic.  The people would like to cohabit in peace with its nine neighbours.  His Government was open to all initiatives and suggestions that would put an end to the ongoing barbarity.  Whether it was by the Lusaka Agreement or the Security Council resolutions or an international conference, the essential thing was that efforts had to be coordinated to obtain a lasting peace.  The people in the subregion deserved peace, without which any hope for human dignity would be vain.

    ALISTAIR HARRISON (United Kingdom), exercising the right of reply to remarks about the Chagos Archipelago made by the representative of Mauritius, said that his Government maintained that the British Indian Ocean territory was British and had been since 1814.  Hence, it did not recognize the sovereignty claim of Mauritius.

    However, the United Kingdom recognized Mauritius as the only State that had a right to assert a claim of sovereignty, when the United Kingdom relinquished its own sovereignty, which would occur when the Territory was no longer required for defence purposes.  The United Kingdom remained open to discussions concerning arrangements governing the Territory and its future.  It would liaise closely with the Government of Mauritius when the time came for the territory to be ceded.  The question of access to the territory was currently before the British courts.  The matter was under careful consideration and no further comment could be made.

     MS. ASSOUNANCY (Comoros), exercising the right of reply, said that she merely wished to make some clarifications in response to Mauritius.  It was regrettable that neighbors of her country appealed to the international community not to accompany, but rather to condemn a national effort undertaken in order to avoid confrontation.  It was essential that countries within regions support the peaceful conclusion of disputes.  It was the position of the National Army for Development that a civil war was avoided in Comoros.  The electoral timetable established in 1999 was not implemented because of the refusal of the Antrung party to sign the accord.  Her people understood the concern of the Organization of African Unity and neighboring countries.  That concern, however, was not equal to the concerns of her country.  The process would enjoy the support of the League of Arab States as well as other special partners. 

     MR. HUSSEIN (Ethiopia), exercising his right of reply, said when his country signed the agreement to halt hostilities, it had done so with a full commitment to a comprehensive peace agreement.  It went beyond the simple silencing of the guns.  The agreement covered all acts of hostilities.  His Minister for Foreign Affairs, in his speech to the Assembly, had looked to the future, not to the past.  His Eritrean counterpart had done so in the beginning, but then went on with the old stories.  If there were matters to be raised, it should be done in the context of recent negotiations. The Assembly was not the place for it.  

     To set the record straight, Eritrea had accused his country of making it a victim of aggression, but the opposite was true.  Since its independence in 1993, Eritrea had attacked several of its neighbours and had invaded Ethiopia in 1998.  Ethiopia’s use of force was an act of self defensce after two years of begging for peace.  The talk of recolonization was laughable, since the people of his country had fought for Eritrea’s independence.  If it had wanted to deny Eritrea its rightful place, his country would not even have recognized it.  There was no intention to recolonize, and Ethiopia had turned its back on war.

    He also took issue with who was still bent on militarizing its own society.  Eritrea, with a population of 3.5 million, had over 200,000 troops in May 1998.  Ethiopia, under a former Government, had decreased its troop strength from 1 million to 400,000, and was prepared to do so again.  Ethiopia could not be accused of human rights violations.  His Country had brought to the attention of the international community what had been happening to innocent civilians.  Eritrea had signed the Geneva Convention only weeks ago -- as the last country to do so.

    MOVSES ABELIAN (Armenia), speaking in right of reply, said that remarks in reference to the Armenian genocide had been made by Turkey.  He therefore wished to make a few points about the impossibility of denying the genocide carried out by Turks of the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians from 1915 to 1923, which had resulted in the deaths of over a million Armenians, along with rape, assault, and plunder.  Scholars had fully documented the event along with the genocidal intentions of Turkey.  That documentation was available in archives.  The event had been a model for later genocidal events of the twentieth century.  He cited historical figures who had mentioned parallels with the actions of Nazi Germany.  

    There was, therefore, no need to argue the issue again, he said.  Acknowledgement and penitence were the only relevant activities.  Denial was the final act of genocide.  Armenia hoped for the normalization of relations with Turkey and remained committed to a peaceful solution to the situation regarding Nagorny Karabakh.  His country had direct contacts with Azerbaijan on the issue. 

     MR. TEKLE (Eritrea), speaking in right of reply, said it was not unknown to those who had closely followed the peace negotiations that the Government of Ethiopia had tried to replace the Algiers agreement with a different one.  This campaign had started in Algiers on the same day that the Algiers agreement was signed.  Not many days later, Ethiopia had resumed its harassment of Eritrea. 

     Eritreans were being routinely tortured, and their homes and property were being destroyed, he said 15,000 Eritreans had been expelled from their homes a few weeks ago.  These were not deeds of peace -- they were deeds of war.  The Eritrean Government had undertaken the voluntary repatriation of two groups of Ethiopians.  There were very few who had been expelled because they were undesirable aliens, and there was evidence that those who had departed Eritrea had arrived safely.

     The Ethiopian Government had claimed that Eritrea held its people in camps, which would have been too farcical to comment on, had it not been a smear campaign.  There were no such camps in Eritrea.  Even before Eritrea had signed the relevant Geneva Convention, its record was recognized as one of the best.  Could Ethiopia, which signed the Geneva Convention only 3 years ago, claim to have such a record? he asked.  Let Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch be witnesses.

    MR.CENGIZER (Turkey), again exercising his right of reply, said that Lord Curzon was not a historian but a politician who had every reason to be a partisan.  After all, he had been negotiating with Turkey in the aftermath of the First World War.  He deplored the parallel made by Armenia concerning Hitler.  There had been no "Kristall Nachts" in Turkey.  It was his sincere wish to come to an understanding regarding the tragic events, but the Armenian side should also refer to the 2 million Turkish Muslims who also had lost their lives.

    ELDAR KOULIEV (Azerbaijan), exercising his right of reply, responded to statements made by the representative of Armenia regarding the settlement of  the Nagorny Karabakh issue, which was being hampered primarily by almost ten years of occupation of 20 per cent of his country’s territory.  The result of that occupation that one in eight Azerbaijans had become a refugee.  The Armenian side had demonstrated that it did not want to settle the conflict.

    MR. HUSSEIN (Ethiopia), speaking again in right of reply, said there were still 400,000 Eritreans living in Ethiopia, including many in the government.  This was not what one would expect in a country which was practicing ethnic cleansing.  Conversely, he pointed to the expulsion of Ethiopians from Eritrea, during which people were made to leave through areas filled with mines.  That was not an example of humane repatriation. 

    MOVSES ABELIAN (Armenia), speaking again in right of reply, said that the General Assembly was not the place to discuss the recognition of the Armenian genocide.  April 24th 1915 was the first day of the genocide.  Armenia had not made the comparison.  The comparison had been made by Rafael Lamkin.  The representative of Turkey had also said that two million Turks were killed.  The Armenians had not been involved because they had been killed already when those events had happened.  He added that during the last six years the military phase of the conflict, which Azerbaijan had ceased and Armenia wished for peace, as well as to maintain a compromise with Azerbaijan.

    MR. TEKLE (Eritrea), again exercising his right of reply, said he wished to clarify two issues of fact.  The International Committee of the Red Cross had been involved in almost all of the voluntary repatriation that had taken place.  Furthermore, the report of the International Committee of the Red Cross resident in Eritrea had been repudiated by its headquarters.  He would not indulge himself in responding to Ethiopia’s arguments, which he said were the tactics of the weak.

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