Press Releases

     

    GA/9965
    15 November 2001

    GLOBAL COOPERATION AFTER 11 SEPTEMBER ATTACKS SEEN AS POSITIVE SIGN BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY SPEAKERS

    Call for Similar Unity in Face of Other Challenges;
    Fourteen More Speakers Heard as Main Debate Continues

    NEW YORK, 14 November (UN Headquarters) -- The new spirit of cooperation following the attacks of 11 September reflected the most positive feature of globalization, the President of Palau, told the General Assembly this morning as it continued its general debate, during which Member States may address any item on the Assembly’s agenda. Although the issue of international terrorism remained predominant, other matters, such as globalization, trade, environment and AIDS, were also touched upon.

    President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. said the new cooperative spirit was the only feature of globalization that Pacific island nations such as Palau could see as truly and inherently positive. That perspective should be applied to respond to another global attack, one that would remain a threat to humanity after the criminals of 11 September were brought to justice, namely the threat to the ecosystem, through desertification, reduction in global bio-diversity, global warming and rising sea levels, all resulting from human activities. Delay on that matter was unacceptable and would only further compromise the well-being of the world.

    The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of another small island State, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, said the World Trade Organization (WTO) seemed bent on widening the gulf between rich and poor. He was not optimistic about the outcome of this week’s summit in Doha, Qatar. A banana farmer working one or two acres of mountain lands could not compete with the giant companies that controlled thousands of acres in the Central American countries.

    The Foreign Minister of Iraq said that in response to the events of 11 September the United States had responded with brute force. Attempts to impose certain cultures on the people of the world, to scorn their beliefs and to preach a clash of civilizations, were escalating. He said President Saddam Hussein had called for the world to rid itself of the dangers of weapons of mass destruction.

    The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Namibia was among those calling for reform of the Security Council. He said the United Nations was the only international body capable of serving the interests of all nations. It was therefore important that its Member States reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen it.

    The Foreign Ministers of El Salvador, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Congo, Chad, Syria and Azerbaijan also addressed the Assembly, as did the Minister for Finance of Nepal and the representatives of Egypt (on behalf of his Foreign Minister), Lithuania and Vanuatu.

    Background

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

    The Assembly expected to be addressed by the President of Palau.

    Statements

    TOMMY E. REMENGESAU, JR., President of Palau: The new spirit of cooperation following the attacks of 11 September reflects the most positive feature of globalization. It is the only feature of globalization that Pacific island countries such as Palau can see as truly and inherently positive –- the acknowledgement that, ultimately, there is only one system in which we exist, and the related understanding that any act or condition within that system affects each of us, although in varying ways and degrees.

    In this spirit of cooperation, the process of decision-making and the implementation of those decisions must be as open and participatory as possible. This is especially true in light of the need to weave together military, financial, law enforcement, trade, intelligence-gathering and foreign aid issues. In these troubled times, it makes no sense to isolate a proven ally in the fight against terrorism. Yet that is what is happening. The Republic of China on Taiwan, which could and should be a very valuable asset in these and other cooperative actions, is significantly restricted in the role it can play because it has been barred from membership in this body.

    Similarly it makes no sense, in this global system, to ignore an entire bloc of nations because of perceptions left over from an earlier, colonial era. Yet the Pacific Island countries are still being marginalized in various United Nations bodies and processes. These countries are unique entities, with distinct traditions, cultures, needs, interests and concerns, not merely the left-overs of colonialism. It is also important, in this new globalization and world order, that the most important organ, that of the United Nations, the Security Council, be reorganized and restructured to reflect true representation of this organization. While we commend the five permanent members of the Security Council for their efforts and contributions to world peace and security, the time has come for this body to consider inclusion of other Member States in that category. Among them, Japan has certainly reached the level and capacity to be one of the permanent members. In this connection, we applaud the recent decision of the Japanese government to send support forces to the United States-led coalition war against international terrorism.

    If it can be said that any good came from the abominations of 11 September, it would be this: countries of the world which gave little thought to engagement and cooperation in a larger, global system are now fully engaged and working side-by-side with countries to which they were formerly antagonistic, or to which they gave only passing thought, at most. This new perspective can and should be applied to respond to another global attack, one that is even more basic than terrorism and will remain a threat to humanity after the criminals of 11 September are brought to justice. This is the threat to our own ecosystem, through desertification, the reduction in global bio-diversity and global warming and sea-level rise, all the result from human activities. Delay on this matter is unacceptable, and will only further compromise the well-being of the world.

    MARIA EUGENIA BRIZUELA DE AVILA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of El Salvador: The terrorist attacks against the United States have made it plain that terrorism is a grave threat to peace and democracy. It is essential to pool our efforts to eradicate this scourge. The attacks were an assault on civilization, affecting not only our sense of safety but the growth of our economies. We should not allow minority groups to crush our people’s spirit. The struggle against terrorism should not be seen as a struggle among civilizations or among nations.

    El Salvador has reaffirmed its resolve to tackle the challenges of building sustainable human development. However this year began with grave national disasters – two earthquakes occurred at the beginning of the year with losses that amounted to 13 percent of the gross domestic product. This was compounded by a drop in the international prices for coffee, our major commodity. We express gratitude for all countries that assisted us, and in particular the World Food Programme.

    It is important to recall a turning point in our history. January 16, 2002, will mark 10 years since the signing of the El Salvador peace agreements. We are committed to continuing the process of modernization and strengthening democratic institutions.

    In a globalized world anything affecting the economies of the industrialized world has an effect in the developing world. It is essential to pay attention to the problems affecting the international economic order, and prevent them from spreading and causing problems that could lead to conflict in developing countries. Given the process of globalization, our country is doing its utmost to take advantage of its benefits and we hope that there will be goodwill on behalf of the developed countries to support us in this process.

    RAM SHARAN MAHAT, Minister for Finance of Nepal: This century begins with a new and uncertain security environment. We now live in a global village where we are all interdependent; a fire in one house may consume the whole village if left unchecked. That is why concerted efforts to secure peace and stability are crucial in the troubled nations of Africa, Asia, Europe and elsewhere. In particular, we will have to end the cycle of violence in the Middle East, and ensure that the people of Afghanistan are saved from starvation and unwarranted hardship and assured of their country’s reconstruction when the struggle is over.

    We have full solidarity with the American people in their hour of grief after the 11 September terrorist attacks, and support the American-led war on terror. While we are preoccupied with the immediate steps against terrorists, we must not overlook or abandon other equally pressing issues central to durable peace such as the need to remove poverty, create jobs and provide education, drinking water, health and other basic services in poor countries.

    The reason is simple: terrorists and anarchists often exploit the vulnerabilities of the impoverished and unemployed, the excluded and disaffected, to carry out their sinister design. Rich countries need to reverse the decline in development assistance and meet aid targets and fully fund and expand the initiative for heavily indebted poor countries. Trade barriers should be dismantled, and markets opened to spur exports and broaden production capacities of developing countries.

    The trauma of deprivation and dispossession is nowhere more staggering than in the least developed countries, virtually all of them in Africa and Asia. Globalization has further marginalized them and the information revolution has barely touched them. Conflicts and chaos, deprivation and disasters continue to spawn humanitarian problems and create situations in which human rights are compromised. Today there are 22 million refugees, including 100,000 in Nepal, and many more internally displaced persons around the world. Responding to such situations is naturally a priority, but humanitarian assistance by no means prevents recurrence of crises. People need to be empowered and to have their vulnerabilities addressed. Nepal is a least developed and land-locked nation, with per capita annual income among the lowest in the world. Despite this, Nepal is left out of the initiative for heavily indebted poor countries. I urge the donor community to include us, to help release our resources from debt servicing obligations, enabling us to implement poverty reduction programmes more effectively.

    SOMSAVAT LENGSAVAD, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic: We condemn the terrorist attacks of 11 September and support the international community in fighting against terrorism in all its forms. The United Nations must play a stronger role in maintaining world peace and promoting the development of all countries, including by addressing issues left over from the last century. This was reaffirmed at last year’s summit of world leaders.

    The Security Council should be reformed by expanding both the permanent and non-permanent memberships, as well as by finding a solution to the question of the veto. The situation in the Middle East should be addressed, with support for an independent Palestinian State while ensuring respect for Israel’s right to exist. In the Caribbean, relevant General Assembly resolutions on lifting the embargo against Cuba should be implemented. In the Korean Peninsula, the wisdom of two leaders should be called upon to continue progress towards peaceful unification of an independent Korea. In South-East Asia and Asia-Pacific, recommendations of the Association of South-East Nations (ASEAN) should be implemented in areas such as preventive diplomacy and confidence-building, or the need to combat terrorism, to overcome economic recession and to promote development cooperation.

    The Conference on the Least Developed Countries adopted a realistic Plan of Action to enable those countries to emerge from abject poverty and integrate into the global economic system. The vulnerability of land-locked developing countries like ours, has long been recognized, primarily related to transport costs that average 14 per cent of export earnings as compared to the 8.8 per cent spent by other developing countries. We support the holding of an international ministerial meeting of land-locked and transit developing countries, and welcome the offer of Kazakhstan to host the meeting.

    The HIV/AIDS epidemic and the problem of narcotic drugs and the associated crimes affecting many social dimensions are other issues of pressing global concern to which the United Nations should turn its attention. In our country last month, a national anti-narcotic campaign was launched, to ensure a drug free country with social order for the next generation.

    LOUIS STRAKER, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: We are a hard working industrious people; we are proud and it is not in our nature to seek alms from the rich. But it is self-evident that an economy such as ours, dependent on agriculture and tourism, needs help if we are to survive and prosper. The influence of the multinational Chiquita and Dole banana companies has been working for years to destroy the industry of our peasant banana farmers. The WTO, of which we are a member, seems bent on widening the gulf between rich and poor. We are not optimistic about the outcome of this week’s summit in Qatar. A farmer working one or two acres of mountain lands and eking out a living cannot compete with the giants who control thousands of acres in the Central American countries. If you take away that which feeds us, you must offer something in return. This is why the upcoming conference in Mexico on financing for development is of seminal importance to the small and developing countries of this world.

    We need the commercial barriers erected by those intent on maintaining their hegemony to be removed. We hate asking for charity, we merely ask that promises be kept and commitments adhered to. As a small island developing State we need relief from the burden of our foreign debt, high interest rates and other unfair international trade constraints.

    We salute the inspirational civic leaders of New York during this problematic time, and offer condolences to those touched by the latest disaster, not least to our neighbours and friends in the Dominican Republic.

    We stand firm with the international community in the fight against terrorism. The recent grave disaster in the United States may have pushed other burning issues of the day off the world agenda. But they are still there. People have not stopped dying of AIDS. The 26 million who have been forecast to succumb to the scourge in the next 10 years will still succumb. In the same way that the United States and the European Union were able to "persuade" drug companies to produce drugs to combat anthrax at a fraction of their normal price, the same drug companies must be "persuaded" to produce affordable treatment for this plague which is causing a national security threat to many poor countries.

    RODOLPHE ADADA, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Francophonie of the Congo: The images of 11 September are still with us, strengthening our determination to fight the scourge of terrorism and violence. The Congo fully supports all relevant United Nations resolutions, particularly Security Council resolutions 1368 and 1373.

    The continent of Africa has seen much violence. It has been plundered and robbed of its riches. It is now regaining its unity, political stability and its aspirations to make progress in fulfilling its potential, despite continuing trouble spots. There are great hopes for the inter-Congolese dialogue to take place in South Africa. Also promising is the situation in Burundi under Nelson Mandela’s mediation. The Congo reaffirms its solidarity with the people of Angola, who deserve every support against the elements causing terrorism and war in the country.

    The parties to the Middle East conflict should negotiate on the basis of the Oslo Accord, until there are two States, Israel and Palestine, both within secure borders. We commend President Bush of the United States for supporting that policy.

    In the Congo, progress has been made in virtually every area since the cessation-of-hostilities agreement was signed in 1999. National reconciliation has been the priority under President Nguesso, and through a national dialogue undertaken with the mediation of President Bongo of Gabon. The dialogue had led to an agreement on peace and reconstruction. That had led to a constitution. There would be a sequence of activities to be carried out under an umbrella of structures to maintain peace and to rebuild the country, while implementing a programme to reduce poverty.

    It seems clear the terrorist attacks have brought us to a new and firm resolution about peace. All excuses for terrorist activity must be eradicated, mainly by taking care of global tension situations. Poverty is a great contributor to such tension. The instrument for keeping control of the globalization process is the United Nations itself. The fight against terrorism must take place in that context, to affirm the Organization as the forum for all progressive activities.

    MAHAMAT SALEH ANNADIF, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chad: The roots of terrorism exist in every continent. Combating it should involve every community. We must denounce the equation being drawn between a certain religion and terrorism, and we must denounce certain elements of the media for perpetuating this idea in world opinion. The struggle does not need to be military, but should go hand in hand with dialogue, and with efforts to resolve poverty and despair which often feed terrorism. The wealthier countries should step up their efforts to help the needy. We don’t want charity but want recognition of the legitimate right to development.

    The debt of the poor countries continues to grow, preventing their development. What meaning does human rights have for people who don’t even have the basic right to feed themselves? It is unthinkable to combat terrorism without generating assistance from the wealthy to the neediest. My country knows that it must, first and foremost, rely on its own capacity. This explains the unrelenting struggle to establish pluralistic democracy in Chad. On the economic level, Chad has had, since 1995, a recovery strategy intended to lay the basis for sustainable economic development.

    Alongside our domestic effort, we will continue to work for subregional and regional integration in Africa. Even if the international environment becomes favourable, it is first and foremost for Africans to build their own continent. African peoples are convinced that only a genuine union will put Africa in a position to extricate itself from the economic destitution and violence that beset it.

    Violent conflicts are fuelled by certain countries that place their interests above peace and security for the world. It is unthinkable to combat terrorism while allowing crises that feed it to persist. We are particularly concerned with the situations in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Angola, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the unfair embargo imposed against the people of Libya. The Palestinian people must have the right to an independent and sovereign State, and the inhuman embargo against Iraq should be lifted. It is also time for the Republic of China on Taiwan to take its legitimate place in our Organization.

    NAJI SABRI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iraq: The state of instability in international relations has widened as a result of unilateral management of international affairs on the basis of brute force. The suffering of the third world has increased because of the widespread tendencies of rich countries to impose their economic hegemony and their blockades under the cover of globalization, as well as attempts to impose certain cultures on the people of the world, to scorn their beliefs and to preach the clash of civilizations.

    It was in these circumstances that the events of 11 September in the United States took place. While Iraq has offered its sincere condolences to the American people, it has also expressed the hope that the United States will deal with this in a spirit of wisdom and responsibility, by undertaking a review of its policies towards other peoples and States. The United States, however, has once again resorted to the logic of brute force; hence its aggression against Afghanistan.

    Then came the use of biological materials whose source, according to American authorities, is most likely to be found in the United States. All this was accompanied by western media campaign intended to kindle feeling of rancour, hatred and chauvinism, and to spread the fires of war and aggression in the world. The world could be set on fire by a spark coming from the West.

    On 29 October, President Saddam Hussein launched an initiative calling for the world to cooperate to rid itself of the burden and danger of weapons of mass destruction, in the forefront of which are the huge arsenals of such weapons stockpiled primarily in the United States and secondarily in the Zionist entity. He said that when the United States begins to divest itself of its weapons of mass destruction, with the rest of the world following, it will find its way to the paths of wisdom.

    Iraq continues to suffer from aggression and terrorism. Its towns and villages have been targeted by many acts of terrorism, at the hands of infiltrators coming from across the border who are sponsored, trained, financed and armed within the framework of State terrorism. The United States openly spends tens of millions of dollars on mercenary bands for the purpose of carrying out terrorist operations in Iraq under the so-called Iraq Liberation Act.

    The practices of the Security Council, especially in the last 11 years, have made it clear that the Council is no longer true to its role as specified in the Charter. It has become a tool for implementing the policies of one single State. It now stands as the glaring model practitioner of double standards. We call for a comprehensive reform of the Security Council, including expansion of its membership and the reform of its methods of work.

    FAROUK AL-SHARA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Syria: The events of last September leave a heavy shadow over our work. The world watched in amazement the horrifying attacks on the United States, which were denounced and condemned in the strongest language. International cooperation under aegis of the United Nations is behind the effort to uproot terrorism, which is not confined to a particular society, culture or religion. It was a hallmark of groups in Germany, Italy, Japan, Ireland, Spain and the United States. Those who link terrorist acts with Islam ignore the facts, but it is hard to eliminate the connection once planted in the mind when publications and films promote the stored hatred of fifty years.

    Syria has stressed the need to combat international terrorism. It called for an international conference to define terrorism and differentiate it from national liberation struggles. Terrorism was unknown in our region until after the creation of Israel in 1948. Israel began inventing new types of terrorist practices to continue its occupation of Arab territories after expelling the Palestinians from their homes and lands. Palestinian refugees living in Syria are described as "terrorists" and their organizations as "terrorist organizations", the country hosting them, a "terrorist country". That completely ignores Israel’s responsibility.

    Israel perpetrated the ugliest crimes when it invaded Lebanon. In face of the arrogance of Israeli power and the world’s failure to stop it from perpetrating crimes, people have no choice but to stand firm. Israel is neither desirous nor serious about achieving a just and comprehensive peace. Syria has the right to restore its entire Golan to the line of 4 June 1967 without compromise, but Israel has kept negotiations in a vicious circle for ten years. If the peace process is to resume, the European Union and the United Nations must make a serious effort to implement the relevant United Nations resolutions. The ongoing initiative for dialogue among civilizations has gained importance in the aftermath of the escalating hostility of attacks on certain cultures, religions and nationalities. As a recently-elected member of the Security council, Syria will be among those who defend international legitimacy and the Charter of the United Nations, as well as make every effort to contribute to preserving international peace and security.

    VILAYAT GULIYEV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan suffered from a series of horrific terrorist attacks that had been part and parcel of the conflict imposed upon us by Armenia. Our warnings concerning the terrorist threat and our appeals to the international community remained unheeded. Response to threats must not be selective. There should be no room for double standards, palliatives and narrow national interests. Terrorism is closely linked to aggressive separatism and other forms of extremism, as well as to organized crime, drugs, arms trafficking and other illegal activities. It gets large-scale outside support from both States and private structures.

    Covering its claims on Azerbaijani territory under the auspices of the struggle of the Armenian population of the Nagorny-Karabakh region for their self-determination, Armenia has occupied this Axerbaijani territory, as well as seven adjacent regions of Azerbaijan. It has conducted ethnic cleansing on the occupied territory, resulting in the expulsion of one million Azerbaijanis from their homes. Armenia continues to violate principles and norms of international law and ignores provisions of the relevant Security Council resolutions and decisions of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

    The right of self-determination cannot be regarded as a right to forcible separation of a part of territory of a State, and must not justify violation of the principle of territorial integrity of States. The international community should not choose the easiest course of action, and should not recognize the right of the powerful. An aggressor and a victim cannot be held equally responsible.

    Free exploitation of national resources and their transportation to the world markets is an inalienable right of a sovereign State. Azerbaijan calls upon all the Caspian Sea States to refrain from the use of threat of force in the Caspian Sea basin. Azerbaijan supports an early agreement on the delimitation of the Caspian Sea on the basis of principles and norms of international law, and the established practice in the use of the Caspian.

    TULIAMENI KALOMOH, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Information and Broadcasting of Namibia: The United Nations is the only international body capable of serving the interests of all nations. It can bring trust among nations, peace to war-torn areas, and relief and development to the people who need it most. It is therefore important that the Member States reaffirm their commitment to strengthen the Organization. In this context, we reiterate our call of reform and democratization of the Security Council.

    Terrorism has assumed an increasingly globalized character. For some time now, the movement of the Non-aligned Countries has been calling for an international conference against terrorism; the time is right for Member States to reach a consensus on such a conference.

    The conference on racism held recently in Durban, South Africa, was the beginning of a process to address the inhuman treatment of the victims during slavery and colonialism. The process for healing will be enhanced if and when those who committed and benefited from slavery and colonialism accept responsibility.

    Namibia, like other countries of the south, expects tangible results from the international Conference on Financing for Development to be held next year in Mexico. The tremendous step taken by African countries, towards greater unity in adopting the New African Initiative, will bring about closer integration of the continent and make it more competitive in an increasingly global market.

    For more than a quarter century the people of Angola have endured a brutal war. The country has acquired the dubious distinction of having the greatest number of amputees and the largest number of landmines. The heinous atrocities committed by the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) as well as that group's consistent record of duplicity had compelled the South African Development Community to declare Savimbi a war criminal. The international community should respond more decisively against repeated UNITA defiance of Security Council resolutions to help end the suffering, tears and agony of the Angolan people. Regarding the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Namibia is encouraged by the progress made in the implementation of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement. A cardinal principle of the United Nations Charter was violated with impunity by some Member States when they committed a naked act of aggression against that country. It is even more deplorable when the aggressor countries are engaged in the ruthless plundering of the country's natural resources.

    History teaches us that no "Administrative Power" has relinquished authority as a gesture of good will and parties to a conflict, naturally, will have differences. This notwithstanding, no amount of difficulties can justify an abandonment of the United Nations Settlement Plan for Western Sahara. Any attempt to legitimize in whatever form the present situation there is a departure from the Declaration on Decolonization and relevant United Nations resolutions. Namibia will disassociate itself with any plan, informal or otherwise, to deny the Saharawi people their legitimate right to express themselves through a free, fair and impartial referendum for their self-determination. The people of Palestine and, indeed, the international community are crying out for the establishment of a Palestinian State. The time to heed this call is now. A Palestinian state will be in the interest of Israel, the entire Middle East and the world at large.

    GEDIMINAS SERKSNYS (Lithuania): I again express my nation’s strong condemnation of the terrorist actions and reconfirm solidarity with the United States. The adoption of Security Council resolution 1373 was an important step in combating and preventing terrorism. Now it is up to Member States to implement it. The international fight against terror should not ignore regional efforts to that end. That includes a number of treaties on terrorism elaborated by the Council of Europe, and a declaration of cooperation signed last week in Warsaw by 17 leaders from Central and Eastern Europe.

    Other challenges of the globalized world, multifarious and interrelated, require diverse actions. Of top priority are the issues of arms control and disarmament, along with poverty eradication and sustainable development. Since history has proven that democratic and prosperous States provide the most favorable environment for human activities, the United Nations should continue efforts to promote democratization and the promotion of human rights.

    The upcoming summit on sustainable development should make a concrete contribution to eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable methods of production and consumption. The conference on financing for development should focus on better mobilization and use of financial resources. It should also find way for more efficient cooperation between all development actors.

    The events of 11 September proved the fragility of international security. It also showed that in defence of common values, including freedom, democracy and openness, no nation can idly stand by or act unilaterally. The focus should be on dialogue and understanding among nations, so that trust and tolerance are fostered among people and there is no room for fanaticism and violence. In pursuit of that aim, Lithuania hosted the International Conference on the Dialogue among Civilizations in April. On 8 November, it assumed chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe; there it will stimulate the dialogue between the Council and the United Nations system.

    ALFRED CARLOT (Vanuatu): If any good has come out of the despicable events of 11 September, it is that nations of the world over are more united than ever in condemning and collectively collaborating to eradicate these terrible acts. My Government has taken steps to tighten security and is working closely with other States in the region towards building and strengthening peace and security.

    Global peace and security cannot be certain in this climate of different viewpoints held by the major nuclear weapons states. The lack of progress in this area has been notable in the Conference on Disarmament. Agreements reached during the review conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) were not realized. The Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty has not entered into force. Global military expenditures continue to rise. Because of their low cost, small arms and light weapons are proliferating at an alarming rate, sustaining conflicts and decriminalizing societies. More committed efforts and innovative strategies are needed to meet the goals of the Assembly’s Millennium Declaration.

    One of the more pressing issues before us is climate change and sea level rise. The communiqué of the Pacific Islands Forums has reflected on climate change in the international community’s awareness of our low lying islands in the Pacific, and it reiterated that the Kyoto Protocol was a significant step forward for global action in combating climate change. Although signed by many of the industrial countries, including the United States, the Kyoto Protocol has as yet been ratified by none of them. We are very concerned that the United States Senate has actually voted against ratification; we urge the United States to reconsider its position and ratify the document as soon as possible.

    AHMED ABOUL GHEIT, speaking for Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher El Sayed of Egypt: There is a consensus to address terrorism in the framework of international legality. The actions that need to be taken include legislation, police action and the dissemination of enlightened thought. They also include a constant search for justice, truth and development. For the battle against terrorism to be successful, it must extend to all aspects of life: political, economic, social, cultural and in the field of security.

    A search for the root causes is not a justification, but a diagnosis. A disease cannot be cured by dealing with the symptoms alone. There is always a need for analysis and a thorough investigation of the germs responsible. Discovering the germ is the path for effective treatment; no germ is more lethal to the future of humanity than that of poverty.

    It is also important to prevent these germs from spreading another disease –- the so-called "clash of civilizations" and religions which could undermine all the progress made by humanity towards constructive interaction and coexistence. We call for a genuine dialogue among civilizations to turn diversity into a constructive force of mutual enrichment and enlightenment.

    It is most regrettable that the Syrian and Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, and the remainder of the Lebanese territory, continue to languish under the heavy yoke of Israeli occupation. The political settlement of the question of Palestine, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, requires several factors; a clear Israeli will to desist from its continued occupation of the Arab land as an alleged means of maintaining its security; realization by Israel that any peaceful settlement requires the return of East Jerusalem to Palestinian sovereignty; and arrangements for the establishment of a noble Palestinian State exercising sovereignty over its land, water, and airspace.

    There must be a just settlement, based on United Nations resolutions and the norms of justice and legitimacy, of the oldest refugee problem in modern history, that of the Palestinian people. Egypt does not accept a situation in which Israel remains the sole nuclear power in the Middle East, which must be a zone free from weapons of mass destruction.

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