Press Releases

     

    GA/9966
    15 November 2001

    AFGHANISTAN DEVELOPMENTS VICTORY FOR ITS PEOPLE, GLOBAL COMMUNITY, AFGHANISTAN’S REPRESENTATIVE TELLS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

    Assembly Hears 14 More Speakers in General Debate;
    Refugees, Persistent Poverty, HIV/AIDS among Other Issues Addressed

    NEW YORK, 14 November (UN Headquarters) -- Afghanistan "rejoices" in the new developments in the country as a victory not only for its people, but also for the international community in the shared campaign against terrorism, said Afghanistan’s representative this afternoon, as the General Assembly continued its general debate.

    He assured the Assembly that the recent gaining of ground by the forces of Afghanistan's United Front in Kabul would in no way reflect an intention to monopolize power. A broad-based government must be established. Further, Afghanistan must be recognized as a sovereign nation in the truest sense. A stable Afghanistan meant a stable Pakistan and a stable Central Asia. An ignored and ruined Afghanistan would be a calamity for the entire region and the whole world.

    The Secretary of State of Kyrgyzstan told the Assembly that the refugees coming from the region of conflict were a serious problem. His country had thousands of Afghan refugees on its soil, which required active assistance of international organizations. For three years, Kyrgyzstan had been defending itself from incursions by terrorist bands and, had it not been for his country’s firm determination, the serious destabilization of the entire region would have been the inevitable result.

    While terrorism was a matter of urgency, the United Nations must not underestimate the continuing need to address other global issues also threatening human security, said Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare of the Solomon Islands. More focus and action was required in dealing with persistent poverty, environmental degradation, internal conflicts and wars, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as small arms, trade in illicit drugs, violations of human rights and HIV/AIDS.

    The Foreign Minister of Botswana stressed that a major challenge presenting an extraordinary danger to humanity was the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Out of the 36.1 million people living with HIV globally, 25.3 million lived in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, out of the 3 million people who died of HIV/AIDS in 2000, 2.4 million were from sub-Saharan Africa. These statistics presented an extremely grim picture of the HIV/AIDS situation, and his country was one of the worst affected.

    HIV/AIDS presented one of the most devastating challenges to the development of human security, said the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Education of Saint Kitts and Nevis. His people were at great risk and there was a real risk of losing decades of development and talented people to the illness. He saluted the United States Government, the World Bank, and others for their recent and important initiative to help fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the Caribbean, and he urged others to adopt similar initiatives.

    Also speaking were the Foreign Ministers of Armenia, Togo, San Marino, Myanmar, Benin, Liberia, Malawi and Bhutan, as well as the representative of Somalia.

    The representatives of Turkey, Armenia and Cyprus had exercised their right of reply.

    The Assembly was informed that the General Committee would meet at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, 15 November, in Conference Room 4.

    The Assembly will meet again at 9 a.m., Thursday, 15 November, to continue its general debate.

    Background

    The General Assembly met this afternoon to continue its general debate.

    Statements

    MANASSEH SOGAVARE, Prime Minister of Solomon Islands: The war against international terrorism must have far-reaching solutions, rather than be reactionary. Effective international cooperation is critical to the global implementation of anti-terrorism measures. Countries such as mine need support to implement those measures. While the war against terrorism is a matter of urgency, the United Nations should not underestimate the continuing need to address other global issues also threatening human security, such as persistent poverty, environmental degradation, internal conflicts and wars, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as small arms, trade in illicit drugs, HIV/AIDS, and violations of human rights.

    The inter-ethnic crisis Solomon Islands experienced between 1998 and 2000 is a sobering reminder that peace and development are intrinsically linked. My Government has worked resolutely to bring the warring factions to the table and signed the Townsville Peace Agreement and the Marau Peace Agreement. However, progress in the implementation of disarmament provisions has been slow. The challenge is far from over. With a shattered economy and a delicate peace process, the task of rebuilding the country and ensuring lasting peace is formidable. My Government has adopted a National Peace Plan and Programme of Action aimed at addressing the root causes of the conflict. Development assistance could be a means of conflict prevention and an instrument for peace-building.

    Many of today’s problems, especially in the least developed countries, are rooted in underdevelopment and poverty. The timely implementation of the outcomes of the third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries is, therefore, imperative. Donor countries and agencies must ensure that they do not give with one hand, only to take away with the other. In a globalizing world, donor partners’ policies on virtually every sector, including trade and investment, must help promote development for the poorest. Development partners must also continue to consider positively measures such as writing off debts, for even the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and Paris Club initiative.

    The ocean and its bounty continue to be a principal resource for Solomon Islands. Our priorities include sustainable fisheries management, habitat protection and avoidance of marine pollution. The unique circumstances of small island developing countries must be fully understood by the international community as we strive to address the serious threats of natural disasters, climate change and rising sea levels. The Kyoto Protocol remains a significant first step on the path to ensuring effective global action to combat climate change.

    In what is surely one of the bitter ironies of our times, free and democratic Taiwan -- home to 23 million people, and a peace-loving country -- has been excluded not only from the United Nations, but also from nearly every other intergovernmental organization in the world. Although the Republic of China on Taiwan willingly abides by international norms, standards and obligations, it is not able to enjoy the same normal privileges and treatment accorded to others. Solomon Islands’ appeal for Taiwan’s representation and participation in the United Nations system is premised on the principles of justice, dignity and the right of the people of Taiwan to be heard and represented in the international arena.

    IBRAIMOV OSMONAKUN, Secretary of State of Kyrgyzstan: The work of this session is taking place in a complex period. Terrorism has laid down a very dangerous challenge to mankind, to democracy and to freedom. We will continue to support the actions of the United States and other countries in the terrorist coalition, and we consider the military action to be justified. We are at the centre of international terrorism and the illegal traffic in drugs and weapons. Our country has, for three years, been defending itself from incursions by terrorist bands and, had it not been for our firm determination, the serious destabilization of the entire region would have been the inevitable result.

    A serious problem for us is refugees coming from the region of conflict. We have 2,000 Afghan refugees on our soil creating a very serious problem, which requires active participation by international organizations. We have all seen that, over the past few years, Afghanistan has become sanctuary for various terrorist organizations. We need to deal with the question of an acceptable solution to untie the Afghan knot. We need to create a representative, multi-ethnic government which would meet the interests and aspirations of the Afghan people. We are of the view that it is the United Nations which should play the key role in bringing together the international community to combat terrorism and recommend the establishment of United Nations committee aimed at re-establishing peace in Afghanistan.

    I recall one well-known initiative of our President on the forum for dialogue on security matters between the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. It is urgent that we have practical dialogue between these two bodies. There will be a conference held in December to discuss security and stability in Central Asia. It is our view that the participation of the United Nations in this event would facilitate solutions and help assuage the threat to security in Central Asia.

    As we know, the United Nations has proclaimed next year as the Year of Mountains. This initiative is very important on a global level. Mountains are a symbol of the lofty ideals of mankind, but they are also important on a practical level, and often create problems for the people living in mountainous regions. The acuity of the ecological problems of mountain areas and their connection to economic problems should be recognized.

    M.S. MERAFHE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Botswana: The HIV/AIDS pandemic is a major challenge that presents extraordinary danger to humanity, and its devastating impact on our societies and our economies, particularly in Africa, is well documented. According to recent estimates, of the 36.1 million people living with HIV globally, 25.3 million are in sub-Saharan Africa. Of the 5.3 million people infected with the virus during 2000, 3.8 million were in Africa. Of the 3 million people who died of HIV/AIDS in 2000, 2.4 million were in sub-Saharan Africa. These statistics present an extremely grim picture of the HIV/AIDS situation, and my country is one of the worst affected.

    Unless we join forces to tackle this pandemic, it will continue to have a devastating impact on our societies and economies. The funding for the HIV/AIDS programme is grossly inadequate and has to be increased in order to mitigate the impact of the scourge. I also wish to highlight another scourge, that of "conflict diamonds" versus "development diamonds". Botswana deplores the fact that diamond resources in a number of countries in Africa are being plundered by rebels to purchase weapons that are used to cause enormous suffering to innocent people. I underscore the fact that "conflict diamonds" constitute only 4 per cent or less of the world trade in diamonds. Legitimate, conflict-free diamonds, such as those produced in my country, are used to generate socio-economic growth and development. I am glad that the contribution of conflict-free diamonds to the economic growth of countries such as mine, and indeed other countries in southern Africa, is being appreciated.

    We are convinced that the determination of many in Africa to consolidate democracy will go a long way in ensuring that conditions of security and stability are instituted throughout the continent. The establishment of the African Union, which will be launched next year in South Africa, is the most positive expression of a new solidarity, which is based on an urgent search for collective economic security and political partnership. Without underestimating the hurdles we still face as we move our continent towards integration, it is our fervent belief that an era of hope has been ushered in on our continent.

    The most talked about undertaking by Africa in recent weeks has been the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), which is aimed at achieving socio-economic development by alleviating poverty, as well as promoting peace, security, democracy and good governance. Unlike other initiatives that came before it, this initiative challenges African countries to take primary responsibility for their own development by ushering in a political environmental guaranteeing peace, security and stability, respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law. We believe the initiative will usher in a new concept of technical cooperation between Africa and our development partners. The United Nations will have to play a critical role in its implementation.

    VARTAN OSKANIAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia: My country has offered unreserved assistance to the global coalition against terrorism. It has signed anti-terrorism conventions of both the Council of Europe and the United Nations, and it has offered military and strategic assistance. It still insists, however, that the fundamental development issues, both short and long term, be addressed. That is of particular concern to the region, because its stability is undermined because it lacks the universal guarantees of the basic freedoms that are the hallmarks of modern society, and which decrease the likelihood of violent social and political solutions.

    Security and peace in the world depends on each region being responsible for addressing outstanding issues and maintaining stability. Leaders must abandon the expedience of "realpolitik" for the efficacy of "just-politik". Armenia’s contribution to the peace and stability of the Caucasus is intertwined with issues that involve two neighbours. One condition is the absence of relations with Turkey to the west; and the other is the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that affects relations with Azerbaijan. In the latter situation, the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh’s people has been affirmed for over 10 years now. Justice for those people has been at the core of Armenia’s policies, not just because it is right, but because lasting peace, economic cooperation and political development for the region depend on resolving the problem fairly and fully. Azerbaijan’s empty calls for a military solution based on old clichés, rather than new realities, are unacceptable to those who want peace.

    As for relations with Turkey, in the post-11 September world, when the cold war has finally ended and old enemies put aside differences, perhaps Turkey will put aside preconditions in the interests of regional and world peace. Armenia would like to have normal relations with Turkey and hopes Turkey will establish diplomatic relations with Armenia, opening the borders and engaging in constructive cooperation. The obvious, however, must be said. The memory of Armenian genocide continues to haunt and obstruct relations. The issues, however, can be addressed through dialogues, in the aftermath of events that have reminded us that humans are capable of indescribable evils and that mass violence is not a thing of the past.

    The United Nations is the overarching umbrella for the conditions that will make States and peoples prefer peace to war. It did not need 11 September to acknowledge economic development and poverty eradication as strategic battlefields in the war against terrorism. Donor countries can contribute to success not only by providing military forces, but also greater financial and technical assistance coordinated by the United Nations. Modern life has changed static societies. Salvation lies not in any particular faith, but in healthy, democratic institutions and viable economic systems.

    KOFFI PANOU, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Togo: Hatred and intolerance were seen on 11 September. The devious attacks were a declaration of war. It is to be hoped that, through our collective efforts, we will be able to defeat the evil. Combating international terrorism together is a task of great importance for the entire international community. It should not be seen as a confrontation between civilizations. The challenge is to identify the root causes of the phenomenon. Cooperation must also take place at the regional and subregional levels. In the West African subregion, non-aggression and mutual assistance agreements between Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria have set up functional structures to combat terrorism.

    There cannot be economic progress without an environment of peace, security and stability. Our President has worked to consolidate peace, which requires participation of all citizens and a genuine state of law. Today, with the support of our development partners, the democratization process is making progress. Elections in 2002 are aimed at furthering these ambitions and will certainly contribute to boosting our economy. Progress in democratization and rule of law can be protected only if a betterment of living conditions is achieved. We are astonished at the unjustified continuation of the sanctions imposed on my country. I appeal for normalization of relations with our development partners.

    The social and economic situation of developing countries is still a matter of concern. There is continuing marginalization and deterioration of the economic situation in sub-Saharan countries. More resources need to be devoted to the areas. In addition, there is the problem of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Africa expects from the international community that the commitments made during the Millennium Summit will be implemented. We also hope that substantial support will be granted to Africa to implement its development plan as outlined in NEPAD.

    GABRIELE GATTI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of San Marino: Large and small countries alike have joined forces to combat terrorism and have expressed their full solidarity with the United States. Almost all countries have seen the attack on the United States as an attack of each of them. Facing such tragedies, even small nations like San Marino cannot remain neutral by simply offering solidarity or making statements of principle. San Marino will spare no efforts in the global fight against terrorism, as in actions already taken to prevent and combat money-laundering. It has adopted the necessary domestic measures and participated in the activities carried out in this field by major international organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Council of Europe and the OSCE.

    The phenomenon of globalization deserves careful consideration. Market expansion and the progressive abolition of customs barriers have unquestionably contributed to job opportunities in the exporting field, and, eventually, to economic well-being. On the other hand, however, the gap between the living conditions and standards of the North and the South of the world, of the industrialized countries vis-à-vis the developing and least developed ones, also burdened by huge foreign debt, has widened dramatically. Such a gap must be immediately bridged in order to guarantee globalization of opportunities along with globalization of markets.

    Poverty alleviation is one of the major challenges the international community is called to face. Future projects should address not only the lack of access to consumer goods, but also the lack of education, liberty and decision-making. San Marino has fully supported the initiatives sponsored by creditor countries and international financial institutions to reduce or cancel foreign debts of highly indebted nations. By addressing and solving the problems of hunger, poverty and the disproportionate social, economic and cultural gap between a tiny minority living in the North and an overwhelming, poor and despaired majority living in the South of the world, terrorism may eventually be wiped out. Poverty and ideological extremism serve as fertile ground for terrorism, with its destructive potential and toll of human lives.

    U WIN AUNG, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Myanmar: In the aftermath of the economic crisis of 1997, Asian countries are still striving to bring themselves back into a path of sustained growth. However, the current slowdown in major economies of the world is threatening to negate whatever progress they have made. Factors such as indebtedness, declining official development assistance (ODA) and low levels of domestic and foreign investment continue to undermine the programmes of the most vulnerable States. There are also other factors to hinder Myanmar’s economic development, such as denial of ODA and unilateral and coercive economic measures. However, our sustained national efforts have resulted in an 8.4 per cent average annual growth in the last Five-Year Plan.

    The United Nations must play a central role to help developing countries help themselves, and we recognize the important role of its funds and programmes in international cooperation for development. However, their important role should not be undermined by practices not in conformity with the principles underpinning the operation of these programmes. We regret that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), a principal instrument for capacity-building in developing countries, is not allowed to have a country programme for Myanmar. The prohibition is for reasons other than those for which the UNDP has been created.

    Myanmar is in the process of establishing a multi-party democracy with a sound economy. Learning from our bitter experience in the past, as well as from lessons of other countries with similar experiences, we take great care to ensure that the transition to a new system is peaceful, smooth and effective. We have taken effective measures for national reconciliation, and have reached arrangements with 17 out of 18 armed groups. We are also making national reconciliation efforts with the political parties. The efforts are homegrown; our goal of building a peaceful and democratic society can be successfully achieved only by the people of Myanmar.

    We continue our relentless efforts to combat the scourge of narcotic drugs. Opium production has declined by 38 per cent. We have strengthened our legislation, enhanced our enforcement capacity, and combined this with a development programme to find alternative livelihoods so that people living in remote areas do not have to resort to growing opium. We have also enhanced our cooperation with the United Nations system. Determined to resolve the issue of forced labour, Myanmar is fully cooperating with the International Labour Organization (ILO).

    KOLAWOLE IDJI, Minister for Foreign Affairs and African Integration of Benin: Terrorism blemishes all religions and all causes, however just. That is why all must fight it. Terrorists decide to speak for us without asking our opinion. But something worse is that once terrorists rise up, they cannot be silenced without eliminating the conditions they can use to justify their actions. Those include poverty, injustice, marginalization and exclusion, all of which are causes of rage and extremism.

    The Fourth International Conference on New or Restored Democracies was held in Cotonou in December 2000 and was aptly focused on the theme of peace, security, democracy and development. The outcome is the Cotonou Declaration containing bold measures to make democracy the foundation for peace, security and respect for cultural diversity. In short, the Conference made clear that democracy is the way to stability and poverty is a major factor in destabilization. The decisions in the Declaration are not dead words, but a means to organize the cooperation and solidarity of the whole world.

    All this comes at a time when public development assistance is on the decline and debt is on the rise. Bold solutions are needed. Some creditor countries have adopted bold measures and others must follow suit, because the peace and stability of the world is at stake. A follow-up mechanism to the Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries needs to be implemented. Further, creating a zone peace in the South Atlantic would protect the area from atomic weapons and would help development. Benin has offered to organize the sixth ministerial meeting of peace and cooperation in the zone, inviting people to come to Benin as to a marketplace and to a meeting place, a land of democracy and peace.

    The result of the difficult discussion on the thorny subject of racism during the recent international conference was the finalization of two documents, one a plan of action and another a Durban Declaration. Those represented the international will to eradicate racism and racial discrimination. The two documents laid a foundation; now it was time for action. The objective was not to open wounds, but to staunch the wounds of the past. The Millennium Summit set out the aim of responding to the special needs of Africa. Africans won’t wait to have their promises met. They’ve spelled out the new partnership plan for African development, which can move the continent beyond being the land of disease, poverty, misery and endless conflict.

    TIMOTHY HARRIS, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Education of Saint Kitts and Nevis: Partnership and understanding will prove essential in our efforts to tackle common problems, such as drug trafficking and the pandemic of HIV/AIDS. The special session on HIV/AIDS came at an important juncture and we urge Member States to support the decisions that were made. In small States, like Saint Kitts and Nevis, the pandemic of HIV/AIDS presents one of the most devastating challenges to the development of human security, because such a disease threatens to unravel the delicately woven balance of social growth and economic potential.

    Our people are at great risk and the real prospect exists that decades of development and talented people will be lost to this illness. Aside from losing our young and most productive people, governments, in turn, are expected to reallocate significant amounts of already meagre resources from critical development programmes to provide costly care and treatment. We salute the United States Government, the World Bank, and others for their recent and important initiative to help fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the Caribbean and we urge others to adopt similar initiatives.

    We see what an important role dialogue is playing in the hemispheric approach at the Organization of American States (OAS) through the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism. This allows member governments to collaborate in the fight against drug trafficking, in supply and demand reduction and in implementing national or shared strategies. We believe this approach is useful, because it raises the currency on common approaches, weakens unilateral actions and allows member States to share experiences on interdiction, epidemiology of drug abuse and other trends. The fight against drug trafficking is a transnational one. We cannot point fingers or apportion blame. We need to take action.

    Saint Kitts and Nevis welcomes the approach of the OAS, which permits us in the Caribbean not only to come to terms with the reality that our islands have become conduits for this destructive trade, but also to work in a multilateral framework to find common solutions. Equally, such a mechanism focuses attention on the root problems and encourages hemispheric partnership. We hope that these kinds of approaches will become integral components of problem-solving at the United Nations.

    MONIE R. CAPTAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Liberia: In bringing about any positive changes to United Nations institutions, a "level playing field" must exist in which the interest of the whole will freely manifest itself in the change. A "level playing field" should consist of the following conditions: transparency; freedom; fairness; and democratic practices. Reform will not occur in the United Nations until structural changes take place in the distribution of power.

    Africa cannot continue to stand by and accept the condemnation as the least developed continent. African culture, heritage and value systems stand the risk of being lost in the sea of normative ethics based on Western values. Africans should not lose the opportunity of the new African Union to achieve meaningful integration and cooperation, within the context of building a powerful African capability that will allow Africans a say in our common world. The United Nations can work for Africa; we should learn from the success of the power brokers who have made the United Nations an important instrument of their foreign policy.

    Our country, a victim of war, poverty and disease, is today also the victim of a regime of punitive sanctions imposed by the Security Council in its resolution 1343 (2001). Since the imposition of the sanctions, and despite the claim by the Council that the sanctions would not have any adverse effect on ordinary people, socio-economic indicators show that the living conditions of the Liberian people have declined dramatically. The Security Council has also imposed a global travel ban on over 100 Liberians without any rationalization. I stand impatient waiting for each and every member of the Security Council to respect the human rights of my people, and for the day when the United Nations will no longer be an instrument that is used to cause the suffering of innocent people.

    Allow me to allay the anxieties of all those who are preoccupied with the situation subsisting between the members of the Mano River Union. The leaders of the three Mano River Union States have resolved to put all of their differences aside without returning to the destructive process of apportioning blame. We are a common people bound by blood, language and culture. We are bound by a common destiny that is inextricably linked and capable of withstanding ephemeral differences.

    LILIAN E. PATEL, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malawi: It is saddening that at the height of a global integration drive, a shockingly large number of countries remain outside the globalization loop, while a handful of economically powerful countries of the North control the pace and terms of participation in the global economy, not least the skewed distribution of its benefits. It was equally disheartening that the African continent is nowhere near attaining even half as much benefit as it has strenuously strived for in the global economy.

    What the developing countries need is a chance for a fresh start, which can only come about through a comprehensive package of total debt forgiveness that cuts across the existing initiatives for debt relief, including the enhanced HIPC Initiative. We also need increased technical assistance, enhanced ODA, and much greater flows of capital resources and foreign direct investment. We would also like to insist on a genuine commitment by the North to full integration of our economies into globalized markets, through the removal of technical obstacles placed in the way of our exports.

    The United Nations needs to deal decisively with the problems of the illicit trade and trafficking in small arms and light weapons. Their easy availability, transfer and proliferation remain at the centre of the intractability of violent conflicts, and the rising insecurity and instability in some parts of Africa. My delegation is thankful for the recent conference on the illicit trade in small arms and, in spite of the spirited bid by others to water down the agreed programme of action, Africa takes heart that the conference is a good starting point for putting mechanisms into place to curb the damage caused by these deadly weapons.

    The birth of the African Union has ushered in the New African Initiative, which seeks to pull Africa out of stagnation and put the continent on a new footing for economic recovery and prosperity. As a developing region with limited financial resources, we shall rely on our cooperating partners to ensure that our dream for a new Africa is realized. I, therefore, wish to appeal for global support for this noble initiative, so that the African continent may see a real social, economic and political transformation.

    LYONPO JIGMI THINLEY, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bhutan: Our hearts and minds are with the city of New York, which has not only been a gracious host to the United Nations, but unparalleled in its generosity in giving shelter, livelihood and hope to people of all races and creeds. It was no surprise that the scale of the tragic event should be felt not just in the devastatingly high number of victims, but in the more than 80 countries counting their dead in the aftermath.

    The threat of terrorism was not fully appreciated before 11 September, when those who had not felt it directly tolerated it as another manifestation of social or political discontent. The current environment throughout the globalized world has removed such misconceptions. People are losing their freedom in a multitude of ways and there is a pervasive sense of fear. Freedom is a heavy price to pay. Civilized society ought to provide more liberty, not be cowed into affording less. Bhutan is committed to fighting terrorism. Today it signed the Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. Legislation will continue to clear the way for acceding to the others.

    The reign of terrorists in Afghanistan is coming to an end. The international community is urged to provide sustained support to the Afghan people in a way that is sympathetic and responsive to their immediate and long-term needs, while fully respecting their dignity as a proud people. And while calling for the sustained and adequate assistance to Afghanistan, it must be remembered that we haven’t seen the cumulative impact of the 11 September attack on a world economy that was already on a downward trend. Further, there are other disturbing uncertainties as well.

    We need to define and understand the scope and limits of the war on terrorism, so as to calm fears about a broader clash. We need to create a climate that prevents further diversion of resources to defence. We need to consider whether the onslaught will be protracted and consumptive of combined energies and resources. Amid such concerns, it is natural to worry whether other aims of the Millennium Declaration can be achieved, such as the fight against HIV/AIDS and poverty. Against that backdrop, the growing challenge is to decide how to share and give in difficult times. From the point of view of a developing country, this is said without undermining the greater importance of raising and devoting domestic revenues to meet set targets, for which the defining moment will be next conference on financing for development.

    RAVAN A.G FARHADI (Afghanistan): The appalling events 11 September and the somewhat lesser known events of 9 September, the assassination of Ahmad Shah Masood, have changed the world. His Government had denounced terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We ourselves have been captives and hostages of terrorism longer than most. Today the people of Afghanistan have been vindicated in their righteous struggle against terrorism and extremism. That struggle was pursued single handedly, but valiantly over the past seven years against terrorist forces of the Taliban mercenaries and their cross-border and international allies, chief among them, the Osama bin Laden Al Qaeda terrorist organization.

    We deeply regret any ill-treatment of individuals that may have occurred in isolated cases. Afghanistan rejoices in the new developments as a victory not only for the people of Afghanistan, but also for the international community in our shared campaign against terrorism. Let me assure you that the recent gaining of ground by the forces of Afghanistan's United Front in Kabul will in no way reflect an intention on the part of the government to monopolize power. Rather, it is our sincere hope that the people of Afghanistan will democratically decide in the near future what form of political system they desire. We fully honour our agreement in Rome with the former King of Afghanistan, Mohammed Zahir Shah, and remain committed to its implementation.

    Today we are tasked with finding a solution for Afghanistan even as problems continue to increase and change on a day to day basis. A broad-based government through a loya jirga (Grand Assembly) must be established. In this broad-based government all ethnic groups must be equally represented and given a voice. The future government of Afghanistan must no longer be subjected to the unilateralism that had blanketed it for so long. The nation of Afghanistan must have, as any nation must have, the respect and sincere cooperation of its neighbours.

    I need not remind you that a stable Afghanistan means a stable Pakistan and a stable Central Asia. The meaning of an ignored and ruined Afghanistan is a calamity for the entire region and the whole world. Rehabilitation must begin by addressing humanitarian problems and the immediate internally displaced persons and refugee crisis. The longer-term Afghan Reconstruction Programme must be comprehensive and address all aspects. Roads, bridges, hospitals, schools and universities for boys and girls must be constructed. A massive education effort must be undertaken. The 20 million landmines must be cleared.

    I appeal to the United Nations and the international community to adopt a new vision for Afghanistan. That vision will leave behind the death and destruction that has seized her people for so many years and adopt instead a vision that embraces tolerance and unity, to rebuild its spirit and give each and every person of our land the hope of peace.

    AHMED ABDI HASHI (Somalia): Terrorists will exploit situations of injustice and imbalances, as well as conflicts in fragile and unstable States. The international community is under a moral obligation to come to the aid of these States in the form of post-conflict peace-building and national reconstruction, so that they do not become vulnerable to the evil forces of terrorism. He welcomed the statement by President George Bush in which he expressed the readiness of the United States Government to help those countries who lack adequate resources to combat terrorism.

    Regarding reports in the media alleging the existence of terrorist camps in Somalia, I firmly state that the Somali Government hosts no terrorists, nor will it offer them any sanctuary. We challenge the veracity of these reports. It is also important to evaluate the integrity of the sources of this kind of information. We are a transparent and open society and more than willing to cooperate fully with the United Nations, and bilaterally, in this regard. We propose an international committee of inquiry, under the auspices of the Security Council, to investigate them. We also propose that this committee identify Somalia’s needs in regard to the implementation of Council resolution 1373 (2001).

    The Somali Government has been in office for a year and three months. During this time we have succeeded in demobilizing 25,000 militias, established police stations and deployed 3,000 police in the capital. A judiciary system has been put in place and courts are functioning properly. The Government is collecting taxes for the first time. My Government continues to search for a lasting peace through dialogue with those outside the Arta process. Let me once again emphasize that Somalia is a struggling country, in need of massive reconstruction and rehabilitation of its infrastructure and institutions. We urgently need the assistance and goodwill of the international community.

    Rights of Reply

    ALTAY CENGIZER (Turkey): Armenia’s statement showed the country as stuck in history. The language of the statement was deplorable. Armenia had a distorted view of history, as it continued to paint a partial view of suffering. The Armenian judgements about Turkey showed that that country didn’t understand the suffering of Turkey or understand the context of what had happened. Turkey was quite aware of the meaning of dialogue and cooperation. Those elements were missing from Armenia’s statement today.

    Mr. KAZHOYAN (Armenia): The issue of the Armenian genocide was not something that needed to be proven. When 2 million people suddenly disappear from their historic homeland, that can only be a result of planned and well-executed genocide. This was absolutely clear to Armenia and to many Member States, who have condemned the crime of genocide committed against the Armenian people. With regard to occupation, the country that was occupying half of Cyprus had no right to use the term occupation in the United Nations. Turkey was using the issue of genocide to sabotage efforts to normalize our relations with them. Armenia was ready to engage in a constructive dialogue with Turkey. We hope that our calls will not go unanswered.

    Mr. CENGIZER (Turkey): We understand that Armenia would take this viewpoint. We’ll state that the Armenians want to benefit from both worlds. Armenians speak with pride of their struggle, but compare their tragedy with the Jewish one. That is what has taken place. We would like to underline that Turkey has never negated the suffering of the Armenians.

    Mr. KAZHOYAN (Armenia): I was not the one that had used the term holocaust in relation to what happened to my people. I was quoting a source. There is no comparing the degree of suffering between the Armenian and Turkish people.

    CONSTANTINE MOUSHOUTAS (Cyprus): He could not sit by and listen to his country’s name being mentioned as a victim of occupation. It is indeed occupation. Resolution 37/253 was adopted in this very Hall and calls for withdrawal of occupation from Cyprus. It also calls upon all Member States to help the Rpublic of Cyprus so it can exercise it sovereign rights over all of its territory.

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