Press Releases

    GA/9961
    13 November 2001

    CONTINUING GENERAL DEBATE, ASSEMBLY
    SPEAKERS FOCUS ON MIDEAST, AFRICA, WOMEN IN
    PEACEKEEPING, CLIMATE CHANGE

    NEW YORK, 12 November (UN Headquarters) -- Participants in the General Assembly's general debate this morning heard about a broad range of issues -- including, most importantly, the fight against international terrorism -- but also about such issues as the situation in the Middle East and Africa, peacekeeping operations, climate change, and fishery management and marine ecology.

    The Deputy Chancellor and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany said both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples had a right to live free of fear, in dignity and peace. This was inseparable not only from Israel's right of Statehood, but also from its security. Germany bore Israel a special responsibility stemming from its past. Any policy aiming at destroying Israel by means of terrorism or otherwise would face determined opposition from Germany. He also advocated the Palestinians' right of self-determination and their right to their own State.

    The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Jordan welcomed the declaration by President Bush during the general debate in which he endorsed a solution ensuring the existence of two States, including the establishment of a Palestinian State on the Palestinian territory now occupied by Israel. The current situation, one of constant killings and destruction as a result of Israel's use of force, endangered security and stability throughout the region. There was no alternative but for the two sides to return to the negotiating table as equal partners.

    The issue of refugees represented the worst form of injustice and frustration in the conflict, he said. Jordan would accept only a solution that took into account its rights and interests as a State, as well as the rights and interests of its citizens, on the basis of international law and all relevant United Nations resolutions.

    Daniel Arap Moi, President of Kenya, said that conflicts in Africa continued to destabilize the continent. Conflict situations impeded development, provided an atmosphere for the illegal exploitation of resources, the abuse of children, the influx of refugees and the spread of dangerous weapons and poverty. Conflicts stole the dreams, hopes, aspirations and opportunities of too many people, especially children. Poverty had become a roadblock to every effort to improve the welfare of African people, and was now a fertile breeding ground for conflict, instability and even terrorism. It was therefore regrettable that very little progress, if any, has been made since the World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995.

    Efforts to combat poverty were further undermined by the scourge of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, which had the potential of reversing all the socio-economic gains achieved. Many African countries had taken bold initiatives to provide a conducive environment for investors. Those efforts needed support through clear policies of the developed countries.

    Rene Harris, President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nauru, said the issues of climate change and rising sea levels were of major concern to his country. The Kyoto Protocol represented a significant step forward on the path of taking action to combat climate change. Significant action must be taken on a practical compliance regime, however, to make financial outcomes enforceable. He said the Pacific Island Forum, as the world’s very first nuclear-free zones, had again expressed its desire to have the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) enter into force. His country would also pursue its concerns about trans-shipment of radioactive material.

    The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland said that evolving knowledge and new approaches could provide the world community with opportunities to improve protection of the oceans and sustainable use of its living resources. In a Declaration adopted by the international Conference in Reykjavik on Responsible Fisheries and Marine Ecosystems, States pledged to incorporate ecosystem considerations into fisheries management. The Reykjavik Declaration was a landmark contribution of the fisheries nations to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

    Regarding peacekeeping operations, he said that by passing Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security, the Council had recognized the importance of incorporating a gender perspective into those operations. When involved in peacebuilding and reconstruction in Afghanistan, the United Nations had to make sure that the terms of that resolution would be honoured.

    The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malta, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and for Senegalese Living Abroad of Senegal, the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Austria, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Communities of Cape Verde, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Niger, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mali and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates also spoke, as did The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources, Environment, Commerce and Industry of Belize.

    The General Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. to continue its general debate.

    Background

    The General Assembly met this morning to continue its general debate. (For more background information, see Press Release GA/9957 of 10 November.)

    The Assembly was expected to hear from the heads of State of Nauru and Kenya, the Deputy Chancellor of Germany and the Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, among others.

    Statements

    RENE HARRIS, President and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nauru: Much of the work at the United Nations since the 11 September attack has understandably focused on terrorism. While the Security Council resolution obligates countries to implement anti-terrorist measures, regional anti-terror initiatives should also be supported.

    The World Bank has predicted that the 11 September events will exacerbate a gloomy economic outlook, its ripples affecting especially those countries dependent on tourism, remittances and foreign investment. The Security Council must make sure the costs of extending, expanding or adding new peacekeeping operations are carefully assessed. The General Assembly should address long-standing issues affecting its efficiency and status. And since no progress has been made on reform of the Security Council, the process should be moved to a higher level to deal with the complex issues in a step-by-step manner.

    The issues of climate change and rising sea level are of major concern to my country. The Kyoto Protocol represents a significant step forward on the path of taking action to combat climate change. Significant action must be taken on a practical compliance regime, however, to make financial outcomes enforceable. Further, as the world’s very first nuclear-free zone –- created because of harsh experience with nuclear testing by colonial powers -- the Pacific Island Forum has again expressed its desire to have the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) enter into force. Nauru will deposit its instrument of ratification today and will also pursue its concerns over trans-shipment of radioactive material. On the issue of money laundering, it was disappointing that Nauru had not graduated out of the special non-cooperating countries category, despite the fact that anti-money laundering legislation was passed in August. It would continue to work with regional partners under the Pacific Regional Action Plan now being developed.

    Nauru and 25 other States had supported the inclusion of a resolution on admitting the Republic of China on Taiwan on the present Assembly’s agenda. The initiative had failed but Nauru would pursue the objective, noting with pleasure that the Republic of China on Taiwan had been admitted into the World Trade Organization.

    Finally, in the war against terrorism, Nauru has taken in 795 asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine, along with migration personnel from the United Nations, among others. More resources must be given to the United Nations to cope with the humanitarian tragedy. The international community must urgently tackle the problem in a coordinated manner, not only in terms of providing assistance and refuge but also by addressing the sources and causes of refugees, people smuggling and terrorism. The good old days before 11 September are gone forever. Will the world we hand over to our children and their children be better than the one we inherited?

    DANIEL ARAP MOI, President of Kenya: Terrorism poses a real threat to international peace and security and must be condemned by people of good will throughout the world. Terrorism cannot be justified in any form whatsoever. No philosophy, religion or creed can allow the taking of innocent lives and the destruction of valuable property. The people of Kenya experienced first-hand the devastating effects of terrorism in August 1998. The attack on Kenya, a country faced with challenges of poverty and under-development, was especially severe and continues to affect us all. Kenya understands well the pain of those affected by the recent attacks in the United States.

    As an organization, the United Nations must address the issue of conflict seriously. Conflict situations impede development, provide an atmosphere for the illegal exploitation of resources, the abuse of children, influx of refugees, the spread of dangerous weapons and poverty, to mention just a few. Conflicts steal the dreams, hopes, aspirations and opportunities of too many people, especially children. The conflicts in Africa continue to destabilize our continent. The United Nations and its membership must intensify efforts to find solutions to these conflicts. The peaceful resolution of conflicts is a fundamental tenet of Kenya’s foreign policy. It is a matter of record that I have spared no effort in seeking peaceful solutions to conflict in our region and elsewhere.

    The biggest challenge facing the African continent today is the increasing level of poverty. Poverty has become an obstacle, a roadblock to every effort we make to improve the overall welfare of our people. Poverty is a fertile breeding ground for conflict and instability and even terrorism. It is therefore regrettable that very little progress, if any, has been made since the World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995. We cannot succeed in improving the lives of our people without the wholehearted engagement of the international community. The global target of halving poverty by the year 2015 cannot be achieved without tangible availability of resources.

    Our efforts at attacking poverty are further undermined by the scourge of HIV/AIDS and other treatable diseases like malaria and tuberculosis, which have the potential of reversing all the socio-economic gains we have worked so hard to achieve. The marginalization of developing countries by the accelerated process of globalization must be addressed as a matter of priority. Solutions in the form of better terms of trade and market access must go hand-in hand with the flow of foreign direct investment to developing countries. Many African countries have taken bold initiatives to provide a conducive environment for investors. These efforts need to be supported by clear policies of the developed countries to encourage private-sector investment in Africa.

    We urgently need to be freed from the burdens that are diverting vital resources from our economic development. Debt relief is necessary. It is in our common interest that our economies should be restored to health in a meaningful time frame.

    JOSEPH BORG, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malta: With each passing day, we are witnessing the domino effect that acts of terror may have at the national, regional and global level. The unity of purpose currently prevailing within the international community in its fight against terrorism is perhaps unprecedented. Indeed the political will displayed over the past two months is a clear manifestation that multilateralism remains a vital tool in the conduct of relations between States at a global level.

    Other world events continue to pose a threat to the fundamental right of peoples to live in a secure, stable and prosperous environment. The current state of affairs in the Middle East is one such example. The dramatic contrast between the optimism at the Millennium Assembly’s opening and the escalation in violence over the past few months has made it increasingly difficult for the parties to return to the positions they were in just over 12 months ago. The peace, security and welfare of all the people concerned require that full implementation of their commitments be urgently embarked upon. This means re-establishing security cooperation between the parties in the interests of both Israelis and Palestinians, the stationing of international observers and an end to all new settlement activity, including so-called "natural growth".

    Also in the Mediterranean, the situation in Cyprus has remained a cause of concern for over 25 years. Progress towards lasting peace and stability in the Mediterranean often appears very slow. Events in the Balkans since we met there last year, however, bring fresh hope to us all. The end of the Milosevic era was a clear example of the positive change that can be wrought through the power of the people, signaling a fresh beginning for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and indeed for all the neighbouring independent republics. In recent months, turmoil and unrest have also threatened to engulf the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Yet the unfolding of the situation now reveals encouraging signs of the power of diplomacy.

    Not so long ago, use of the terms "environment" and "international security" in the same sentence would have drawn a perplexed response from most audiences. Today, the link between the two has become increasingly apparent. Difficult and complex as it may be to tackle environmental global problems, the most challenging environmental problems are often those in our own backyards. There is no simple trade-off between the protection of the environment and the production of wealth. The Mediterranean Sea, which provides Malta with its economic lifeline, is perhaps the most tangible proof that economic progress at the expense of the environment is no progress at all.

    ISMAIL CEM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey: To identify terrorism with any religion is a sacrilege against religion. Terrorism does not have a geography. What manifests itself in the West and in the East, all over the world, is the "same terrorism". Being drawn into the trap of "double standards" in defining terrorism or in dealing with it is inherently supportive of terrorism. International efforts to combat terrorism cannot be fully effective in the absence of a global convention in the field. I call upon all States to make an additional effort towards finalizing the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

    The challenge of Afghanistan has two dimensions: to combat the terrorist network and to support the revival of Afghanistan by ensuring peace, stability and economic development. Regional and tribal affinities should be encouraged to merge into a single Afghan identity, and assume a secondary role as sub-cultures. All countries involved in Afghanistan should be discouraged from relying on particular Afghan groups as their primary ally and refrain from pursuing their special interests through those groups. Comprehensive humanitarian support should be provided, organized and facilitated. In regions of Afghanistan freed from terrorists' oppression, the United Nations and involved forces should immediately act to ensure security and relief.

    The Cyprus issue has remained unresolved for 38 years. Now some people are apparently talking of dates for radical change in Cyprus, via the Greek Cypriot side's unilateral accession to the European Union. Turkey considers such moves to be potentially dangerous for both parties and for the whole region. The issue therefore needs further attention. The legal and practical realities of Cyprus do not permit any party in the island to unilaterally decide to enter any international body of which both Turkey and Greece are not members; any such decision has to be mutually taken by the two co-founders. Both Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have declared they will not accept any solution which is not mutually satisfactory -- and which would make Turkish Cypriots a minority under Greek Cypriot rule. The Turkish Government will not allow the resurgence of the situation of 1964 and 1974.

    Turkey and the TRNC are for a solution based on the realities of the island: two distinct nations with a different religion, language and culture, with two separate States and democracies. The confederation proposal of President Denktash deserves serious consideration. We also support the Secretary-General's good offices mission and his efforts to start a new phase of talks. In order to succeed, this initiative should depart from a prepared common ground. Turkey welcomes the recent proposal by President Denktash to his Greek Cypriot counterpart to get together, informally, without any preconditions, and to discuss all relevant issues in order to find a way forward. Refusal by the Greek Cypriot party is in no one's interest.

    JOSCHKA FISCHER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany: 11 September thrust a dangerous future upon us all. We now live in the terrible knowledge that no country in the globalized world is invulnerable, and this eerie, awful danger has at a stroke dramatically altered the foundations of security policy as we know it. A comprehensive strategy against terrorism must concentrate primarily on prevention. Developing such a strategy means nothing less than drafting a policy for a cooperative world order for the twenty-first century, a policy which no longer tolerates areas characterized by a breakdown of order, which has at its goal a world order under which all peoples can claim their full and equitable share. This includes making economic globalization more socially just for more people, and supplementing it with the political globalization so urgently needed.

    No conflict-prevention measures have ever been undertaken in Afghanistan. For more then 20 years, a humanitarian catastrophe has been playing itself out before the eyes of the world. Civil war, human rights violations and abject misery have been the nourishing ground for the unprecedented symbiosis between the terrorists of the Al Qaeda group and the Taliban regime. The United Nations should be the coordinating agency for all peace efforts. It is indispensable as the framework for the political process and as the guarantor of internal agreements within Afghanistan.

    Both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples have a right to live free of fear, in dignity and peace. This is indivisible not only from Israel's right of Statehood, as recognized in Madrid, but also from its security. Germany bears Israel a special responsibility stemming from its past. Any policy which aims at destroying Israel by means of terrorism or otherwise will face determined opposition from Germany. However, we equally advocate the Palestinians' right of self-determination and to their own State.

    The fight now beginning against terrorism must build on the awareness that the First World cannot in the long term live safe from the tensions and conflicts in the Third World. Up to the present day, only a minority of the world's citizens profit from the opportunities for growth offered by globalization. This state of affairs cannot be accepted, both for moral reasons and because tensions and conflicts today spread much more quickly and widely then ever before. The prime objective of the industrialized nations must be to help the developing countries eradicate poverty and enhance their capacity for good governance, and thus take responsibility for their own actions.

    JOHN BRICEÑO, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment of Belize: Today despots feast in the raging rivers of desperation, seeking refuge among the weak, preying upon the vulnerabilities of the less fortunate. Those who are caught in the sweeping currents of poverty, forced to live in a world where a dollar is a luxury, find little hope for a better future and are often abused by those who manipulate for selfish and destructive reasons. For us, securing a better future for the millions who live in poverty continues to be our noblest challenge. The Millennium Declaration outlines various issues crucial to the realization of a world with less poverty, death and despair, a world extolling the values of freedom, equality, justice and tolerance. We must not allow the events of 11 September to cause us to lose focus on this righteous undertaking -– we must stay on course.

    Ranked second-highest in the rate of HIV/AIDS infection after sub-Saharan Africa, Caribbean States are working with their international partners to combat the spread of this deadly disease. Any progress made during the recent HIV/AIDS Conference must be attributed to the collaborative spirit displayed by all those involved, both at the political and technical levels. The inclusion of civil society as well as the private sector contributed to the effectiveness of the conference, and remains crucial to the success of any programme to eradicate HIV/AIDS. We welcome the decision by the Secretary-General to reach out to the entire world community to assist in the establishment of the Global HIV/AIDS and Health Fund to help alleviate the suffering of the millions of people afflicted by this scourge.

    The protection and preservation of our environment is a major concern to the developing world, as so many of us depend on natural resources for our survival. The commitments made by the international community for the protection of the environment have not been implemented, and if not addressed urgently the consequences will impact negatively on our small dependent economies as well as the global community. In Central America and the Caribbean we suffer constantly from the effect of natural disasters, with the number and intensity of hurricanes increasing over the last decade. This has been attributed to the effects of climate changes caused by global warming.

    For two consecutive years, Belize has been struck by category four hurricanes, magnifying the need to protect our environment and minimize our vulnerabilities. It is imperative that we gear our efforts towards creating the necessary mechanisms to reverse and curtail activities which contribute to the deterioration of the state of our environment. For this reason Belize, along with its partners in the Caribbean region, continues to seek the support of the United Nations for a Special Regime for the Caribbean Sea.

    CHEIKH TIDIANE GADIO, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Senegal: There is no cause, moral, religious or political, noble enough to justify terrorism and its barbarous manifestations, and we must all, without exception, strongly condemn it. Convinced that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance, Senegal condemns the linking of Islam with terrorism as well as the exploitation of religion for criminal purposes. Massacring expectant mothers and causing buildings full of innocent civilians to collapse cannot be justified by any religion, especially not Islam.

    The international community must act with firmness to eradicate terrorism, its financing and its bases of action throughout the world. Those who argue that Africa has other priorities than the problems of terrorism forget the blind killing in the African States of Kenya and Tanzania. Bombers in Nairobi killed 12 Americans, 212 Kenyans and wounded more than 3,000 of our brothers and sisters. Fighting international terrorism means saying that all people of the world have an equal right to stability and peace.

    Momentous events have occurred over the past year –- for the world and for Africa -- which history cannot obliterate. The Millennium Summit, where distinguished heads of State met to identify the great problems of the world and act to remedy them, was one such event. Africa is the region numbering nearly half of the world’s refugees and 33 of the 48 least developed countries, and its inhabitants are the most severely affected by HIV/AIDS. The second major event of the past year was the adoption at the Lusaka Summit of the plan known as the New African Initiative, which contains specific features for Africa -– the Omega Plan and a plan for the rebirth of the continent. This initiative should provide the necessary stimulus to tackle poverty continent-wide.

    Despite deep-rooted conflicts, such as those in Burundi or Sierra Leone, progress has been impressive in Africa this year. Significant steps have been taken to reach peace agreements, and it is now up to the Security Council to perform its responsibilities under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter. There is also great need for a rapid settlement to the Angolan crisis. However, the international community must find new sources of financing for the developing world, especially with cutbacks in official development assistance (ODA). The cycle of debt in Africa, which has been described as a scourge similar to slavery, must be broken. Africa is relying greatly on the ministerial results of the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting, the Conference for Financing and Development in Monterrey and other conferences to provide innovative solutions for Africa at the beginning of the millennium.

    Africa had been following with great concern the situation in the Middle East, and condemns the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Senegal calls upon all parties and co-sponsors of the peace process for the withdrawal of occupying forces, resumption of peace negotiations and conclusion of an enduring, overall settlement agreement. Peace cannot prosper until the sovereignty of both Israel and Palestine is assured. Both have the right to existence, peace and development in security and dignity.

    HALLDOR ASGRIMSSON, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland: The key role the United Nations should play in fighting international terrorism must be to stimulate intensification of our efforts to achieve a comprehensive reform of the Security Council in all its aspects. Iceland is seriously concerned about the slow progress. It is essential and timely that the membership of the Council should become more representative and thus more likely to sustain the present international coalition against terrorism. It goes without saying that the efficiency of the Council must be secured. The fight against terrorism is not a fight against any religious or ethnic group. We must at all times adhere to the values of human rights, freedom and democracy.

    Uprooting terrorism in the world must go hand in hand with the solving of regional conflicts threatening international peace and security. This is particularly true for the Middle East. Both parties have to unconditionally resume negotiations. A lasting peace should be based on the establishment of a viable and democratic Palestinian State and on the right of Israelis to live in peace and security within internationally recognized borders. Iceland decided last year to increase its contribution to peacekeeping. By passing Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security, the Council recognized the importance of incorporating a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations. When involved in peacebuilding and reconstruction in Afghanistan, the United Nations has to make sure that the resolution will be honoured.

    In the area of the oceans -– the foundation of human life –- we have made some progress. We are looking at ways to improve the assessment of the state of the oceans to further improve marine protection and management. Evolving knowledge and approaches can provide the world community with opportunities to improve protection of the oceans and sustainable use of its living resources. In a declaration adopted by the international Conference in Reykjavik on Responsible Fisheries and Marine Ecosystems, States pledged to incorporate ecosystem considerations into fisheries management. The Reykjavik Declaration is a landmark contribution of the fisheries nations to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

    The United Nations needs more than ever to address the problems that might in any way contribute to the desperation, alienation and hopelessness that those behind terrorism seek to exploit. The malicious actions of 11 September and the latest shocking news of biological terrorism demonstrate that all our efforts are not only necessary but also crucial in protecting the lives of our citizens. Terrorists are fighting against everything the United Nations stands for. Fighting against them is fighting for the United Nations, the future of our civilization and mankind.

    BENITA FERRERO-WALDNER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Austria: While we are in shock about the thousands of innocent lives lost, we are encouraged by the resolve of the community of nations in both the Assembly and the Security Council. The unanimous and strong reaction gives hope that a world of deadly divisions can be left behind for a genuine global community. One sign is the appearance of astonishing new political alignments and perhaps geopolitical ones, which are of historic proportions. Another is that the unprecedented menace is forcing a look at the root causes of terrorism, which are at the heart of many conflicts around the globe.

    The European Union, on a continent marked by centuries of war, has developed a model of conflict resolution that can be summed up in three words: cooperation, partnership and integration. An expanded Union will add to the stability of the world, in which the Middle East and Central Asia are priorities. Negotiations must resume in the former, and the humanitarian tragedy in long-neglected Afghanistan must be addressed by a concerted reconstruction in which women play a major role. Since women and children make up 85 per cent of those in refugee camps there, programmes should be immediately implemented to empower women through education and training to assume public responsibility in reconstructing their country.

    Combating terrorism requires cooperation on many fronts. The United Nations must play a central role and regional partnerships must be developed. Long-term social development must be addressed at the local, national and global levels to build a universally shared culture based on respect for human rights and dignity, including the plurality of cultures. Further, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice will hold a special meeting on terrorism on 15 November in the context of the Vienna Declaration on Crime and Justice. A Plan of Action for implementing the Vienna Declaration, adopted a week before 11 September, will play an important role in the system-wide response to international terrorism, with comprehensive recommendations for both national and international action.

    Needless to say, governments must meet the challenges of terrorism, including by ratifying the relevant international legal instruments. In addition, the Global Agenda must be pursued, including by recognizing the fundamental importance of the individual and the need for a global culture advanced by the Dialogue among Civilizations. Regional "human rights cities" should be established, and a central concern should be the sustainability of development and the sustainable use of local, national, regional and global natural resources, possibly through shared policies and institutional support. The Economic and Social Council should be strengthened, its reporting coordinated and integrated, as the Secretary-General prepares a comprehensive "state of the world" report to enhance the Council’s role in formulating policy.

    ABDEL-ELAH KHATIB, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Jordan: The fight against terrorism should be comprehensive. This means forging a unity of purpose coupled with a firm resolve to win this war on all fronts. The war against terrorism, however, is not a religious war, nor should it be turned into a clash of one civilization against another. We must insist that the terrorists be denied the opportunity to hijack religion and to misuse it to serve their purposes or advance their agenda.

    The current situation of constant killings and destruction, as a result of Israel's use of force against the Palestinian people and the siege of their towns and communities, endangers security and stability throughout the region. There is no alternative but for the two sides to return to the negotiating table as equal partners, and to seek a settlement that ensures their legitimate rights and their destiny. The issue of refugees represents the worst form of injustice. Jordan will only accept a solution of the refugee question that fully takes into account its rights and interest as a State as well as the rights and interests of its citizens, on the basis of international law and all relevant United Nations resolutions.

    Lack of trust between the two sides precludes their ability to achieve any progress without an active involvement by a third party. Jordan welcomes President Bush’s endorsement of a solution which ensures the existence of two States, including the establishment of a Palestinian State on the Palestinian territory currently occupied by Israel. In the same vein, a comprehensive peace must include an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Syrian territories, back to 4 June 1967 lines, and the completion of withdrawal from all the remaining occupied Lebanese territories.

    The suffering of Iraq and its peoples under the international sanctions imposed on them for over 11 years is yet another source of frustration in our region. Jordan once again stresses the need to lift those sanctions, and the importance of creating conditions that will allow Iraq to reclaim its active regional and international role. Jordan hopes to see an end to the plight of the Afghan people and hopes that the world community will mount a massive effort to assist them in facing the tragic economic conditions that have afflicted them for too many years.

    MANUEL INOCENCIO SOUSA, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cape Verde: The tragedy that recently struck the United States, causing the loss of thousands of innocent lives and destroying one of the most prestigious landmarks in this city, can only be the object of our most vehement condemnation. No country is safe from similar attacks or attempts to use its territory for the perpetration of terrorist actions. Therefore, any strategy intended to permanently eliminate this threat to international peace and stability must be a common one, in which the United Nations plays a crucial role.

    In participating in the global effort to eliminate terrorism, the developing countries are, once again, at a serious disadvantage. On the one hand, the scarcity of resources and the lack of sophisticated means of detection and prevention make them more vulnerable to infiltration by terrorist organizations. On the other hand, when they attempt to respond to demands from the international community, they are forced to mobilize resources that would otherwise be dedicated to their economic and social development. Added to this is the fact that the poorer economies are the ones that will pay most dearly for the direct consequences of the terrorist attacks on the world economy. There is, therefore, a critical need for the international community to help developing countries bear the added burden that the battle against terrorism imposes on their economies.

    As we know, a complicated combination of endogenous and exogenous phenomena has left the African continent feeling increasingly marginalized. Economic growth has not been able to significantly reduce poverty. Diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS continue to cut lives short at a frightening rate. Several countries are the scenes of instability, many of them engaged in armed conflicts and experiencing terrorist activities that kill thousands of innocents, systematically destroy property, disrupt governments and displace populations. The scanty positive results of the many plans conceived to deal with Africa’s problems have resulted in widespread dissatisfaction, both in the international community and among African leaders.

    Yet, despite the discouraging international climate, Africa has taken important steps that may open the way to a more promising future. There is doubtless a long road to travel before we achieve political integration based on democratic institutions and grounded in popular participation, good governance, and actions aimed at promoting sustainable development on the economic, social and cultural planes. But we believe that, with the emergence of new leadership dedicated to economic rebirth, the consolidation of democracy and good governance, and with the support of the international community, conditions will be present for a fundamental and historic turnaround in Africa.

    The terrorist acts of 11 September have added a new measure of instability, provoking anti-terrorist military intervention in Afghanistan. The impasse in the search for a lasting solution to the Palestine question -– primarily a result of the intransigence of Israel and the cycle of violence that has been set in motion –- has created one of the most dangerous focal points of tension and threat to world peace. Implementation of the Oslo Agreements must be resumed. Violence must be brought to an end and the internationally recognized rights of the Palestinians respected, including their right to have their own State. And the Israeli people must be guaranteed the right to live in peace in their country within internationally accepted borders.

    MODIBO SIDIBE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mali: Our fifty-sixth session is of particular importance as it is held in the aftermath of the brutal attacks of 11 September. The Government of Mali has firmly condemned this attack and has taken the measures necessary for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1373. We have ratified the different treaties on the struggle against international terrorism in order to complete the existing legal instruments in this battle. Mali has also worked on a more regional level, signing the Organization of African Unity convention on the prevention of terrorism, which was adopted in Algiers in July 1999. The terrorist acts of 11 September, totally incompatible with Islam and its message of peace, has exposed the vulnerability of the international system and underlined the need for cooperation.

    We are concerned by the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, and call for an effective and generous international assistance to the innocent civilians of that country. The price of peace is that of security and a rigorous control of small arms and light weapons. The question of light weapons constitutes another source of concern for the people of Mali. Light weapons lead to the breakdown of society by attacking its social balance and harmony.

    The West African subregion remains characterized by conflict, growing levels of poverty, the illicit proliferation of weapons and the multiplication of armed gangs. In order to deal with these conflicts, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has undertaken a regional approach to determine the root causes and the humanitarian consequences of these conflicts. The ECOWAS has assumed an important role in the resolution of regional conflicts, and is in the forefront when it comes to early-warning systems. However, the success of these activities will require assistance from the international community, particularly the United Nations.

    In the field of human security and poverty, something needs to be done about HIV/AIDS. We must also increase our potential to fight curable diseases such as malaria. Poverty is persistent and inequalities are growing. All the peoples of the world aspire to more dignified living conditions. The need for financing of development is still acute in Africa. There must be concrete development objectives designed to improve the situation and give the people of Africa a chance to fulfil their potential. The role of the United Nations in the development of Africa cannot be underestimated: it must and it can lead to a concrete impact on the lives of millions. We hope that the ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization will make it possible for Africa to develop all its assets. I reiterate my appeal, and urge the international community to help Africa in this development process.

    AICHATOU MINDAOUDOU, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Niger: The process of ratifying the CTBT and the signing of the Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is in its final stages. As regards conventional weapons, the United Nations conference on the illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons has reflected the commitment governments made in the Millennium Declaration. Niger has a programme of action to combat this scourge; the programme takes into account the bulk of the concerns of African States for disarmament, demobilization and the reintegration of former fighters. Developing countries are paying the highest price in the proliferation of small arms from the security and development viewpoint, and should enjoy substantial support from the international community.

    For too long the attention of the international community has been focused on the Middle East. Niger supports the "G-8" proposal to send observers to the Palestinian territory, and believes this is an important step. But a lasting settlement in the region requires implementation of the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to create a sovereign State. Niger supports United Nations efforts to bring about a final settlement acceptable to all interested parties.

    The Millennium Summit recognized the magnitude of the problems Africa is facing, which include the ravages of armed conflict and such pandemics as HIV/AIDS. The flow of ODA assistance to Africa has plummeted and foreign investment continues to stagnate. Between 1999 and 2000, investments fell from $10.5 billion to $9.1 billion. It is vital to increase ODA, expand initiatives for cancelling debt and promote investment. The United Nations, more than any other forum, is the place to promote new partnerships for the benefit of Africa. The Conference on Financing for Development should be a decisive turning point on the road to a more equitable world economic order. It should result in a clear-cut political declaration with respect to the capacities of developing countries.

    The damage caused by HIV/AIDS may prove to be irreparable: some estimate that 200 million will be dead by 2010. And malaria claims as many victims. We welcome the United Nations decision to make 2001-2010 the decade for combating malaria in Africa. There is no doubt that the fight against major diseases needs an influx of resources. We welcome the creation of the World AIDS and Health Fund, which should make it possible to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The initial commitment of $1.8 billion to launch the Fund is an important step in the right direction.

    RASHID ABDULLAH AL-NOAIMI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates: The most horrible and dangerous form of organized terrorism has been aimed at the United States. It has targeted not only innocent people but also the moral codes and values underlying the principles of the United Nations and of the legal, political, economic and social regulations governing all international relations. Offering our condolences to the American Government and people, we fully support efforts to track down the perpetrators of these brutal acts, bring them to justice and eliminate the dangerous phenomenon. A careful investigation should be carried out, however, to find the real culprits; we must not allow them to escape, nor should we punish the wrong people by jumping to conclusions. Also, the international community should raise the levels of relief to the weary people of Afghanistan, who now face the largest and most dangerous internal and external migration ever in the country.

    On other issues, not all of the recent changes in society, technology and communications have been positive. They have widened the information gap between the peoples of the developed and developing worlds. They have spawned new situations of conflict which threaten the social fabric of communities while undermining sustainable development. The United Nations must assume a greater role in international affairs, cooperating and coordinating with regional organizations while reforming itself with the goal of greater transparency and effectiveness. Peacekeeping forces play an important and constructive role in containing hotbeds of conflict and dispute. Peaceful dialogue and negotiations, however, are the ideal way to resolve disputes.

    Hopefully, Iran will respond to an invitation to seek a solution to its occupation of three United Arab Emirates islands, either through direct negotiations or by submitting the dispute to the International Court of Justice, which has helped Qatar and Bahrain resolve a dispute. A political formula should be worked out in Iraq to lift sanctions and yet maintain the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, while efforts are made to reestablish ties between Iraq and Kuwait. The Security Council should lift sanctions on Libya just as it has done with Sudan.

    In support of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the establishment of its own independent State, with Al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital, the flagrant violations committed against the Palestinian people must cease. The Security Council and States with influence should assume their political and legal responsibilities and move away from a policy of alignment and double standards. They should, instead, take the necessary actions to force the occupying power to immediately halt its actions. An international mechanism should be developed immediately to protect the Palestinian people, while Israel is pressured to give up the prohibited weapons that are a direct threat to regional and international peace and security.

    Finally, to enable countries to take advantage of economic and technological aspects of globalization, beyond the assistance that States like the United Arab Emirates extend, the World Trade Organization should reinforce the developmental dimension of multilateral trade agreements. It should activate clauses related to preferential treatment in favour of developing countries. It should also rectify flaws affecting the development policies of the developing countries and their export earnings.

    * *** *