Press Releases

    GA/9992
    7 December 2001

    UN COOPERATION WITH ISLAMIC CONFERENCE CRUCIAL
    FOR BREAKING AFGHANISTAN’S VICIOUS CYCLE OF WAR,
    GENERAL ASSEMBLY TOLD

    Hears 20 More Speakers on Cooperation with Council of Europe,
    Inter-Parliamentary Union, Organization of la Francophonie, among Others

    NEW YORK, 6 December (UN Headquarters) -- Cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was crucial in breaking the vicious cycle of war, terror and misery in Afghanistan, the representative of Norway told the General Assembly this afternoon, as it heard 20 more speakers in its continuing debate on cooperation with regional and other organizations.

    It was vital that the OIC itself support the political solution of a broad-based government with representatives from all major groups, he said. A common vision was needed to reconstruct Afghanistan, and its neighbouring countries must be consulted in reaching that.

    Malaysia’s representative told the Assembly that the OIC had amply shown it served peace, development and solidarity among the world’s peoples. Its members firmly believed the United Nations was well placed to bridge the gap between Islamic countries and the rest of the international community.

    Other speakers at the debate stressed the importance of cooperation between the United Nations and such organizations as the International Organization of la Francophonie, the Council of Europe, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and the Pacific Islands Forum.

    The representative of Germany said the Organization should forge closer ties with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the world’s only organization of parliaments. Parliaments were the voice of nations and made international decision-making democratic, he said. He would like to see consensus reached on granting the Union observer status in the General Assembly.

    The representative of Canada said the Union highlighted the role of parliaments in developing multilateral cooperation through the United Nations system, in such emerging issues as terrorism and HIV/AIDS, as well as such long-standing issues as disarmament, human rights, gender issues and the protection of civilians in armed conflict. He agreed that the Union should be granted observer status, and looked forward to an early decision on that at the fifty-seventh session of the General Assembly.

    The representative of Mali introduced a draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC.

    The representatives of Belarus, Monaco, Philippines, United Kingdom, South Africa, Ukraine, Austria, Sweden, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Australia, Mauritius, Azerbaijan, Fiji and Croatia also spoke.

    The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m., Friday, 7 December to continue its consideration of the item.

    Background

    The General Assembly met this afternoon to continue its consideration of cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations, including cooperation with: the Latin Economic System; the International Organization of la Francophonie; Council of Europe; Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC); League of Arab States; Inter-Parliamentary Union; Economic Community of Central African States; Economic Cooperation Organization; Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); Organization of African Unity (OAU); Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty (CTBT) Organization; Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons; and the Pacific Islands Forum.

    By its resolution 55/285 of 7 September, the Assembly had decided that "a joint debate shall be held on the cooperation item, during which all or some aspects of cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations may be addressed".

    (For background, including summaries of related draft resolutions, see Press Release GA/9991 of 6 December.)

    Statements

    MOCTAR OUANE (Mali), introducing draft resolution A/56/L.36 on cooperation with the OIC thanked, as President of the Islamic Group in the United Nations, the Secretary-General for his report and saluted the ongoing cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC. He said the draft gave details of the advantages of the enhanced cooperation between the two organizations. He was convinced that the Assembly would, as in the past, support the draft unanimously.

    ARNE HONNINGSTAD (Norway) said that tighter cooperation between the United Nations and the OAU should enhance high ambitions for conflict prevention and resolution, good governance and democracy, as well as economic and social development in Africa. Many conflicts in Africa were unresolved and could benefit greatly from such a joint effort. The New Partnership for African Development initiative envisaged African leaders taking responsibility for peace and conflict prevention. The United Nations should support that strong commitment to peace.

    Through its broad regional influence, the OIC was a vital partner for the United Nations, he continued. That cooperation was vital in breaking the vicious cycle of war, terror and misery in Afghanistan. It was vital that the OIC support efforts to find a political solution through a broad-based government that included representatives from all major groups. A common vision was needed for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, and steps must be taken in consultation with Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries.

    In recent years, the OSCE had established offices in all five republics of Central Asia, and several United Nations agencies had well-established programmes in those countries. The United Nations should look for ways of enhancing coordination and identifying areas of possible synergy with that organization. He also noted that cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union had expanded substantially during the past few years, with emphasis on such core issues as peace and security, international law and human rights, democracy, gender issues and economic and social development.

    YAHAYA ABDUL JABAR (Malaysia) said that the OIC had amply demonstrated that is was an instrument in the service of peace, development and solidarity among the world’s peoples. The member States of the OIC firmly believed that the United Nations was well placed to bridge the gap between the Islamic countries and the rest of the international community. It noted with satisfaction the increasing number of cooperative arrangements between the United Nations system and the OIC and its specialized and affiliated institutions.

    The Inter-Parliamentary Union, he continued, was a unique inter-state organization of national parliaments. The current non-governmental organization (NGO) status accorded them had very limited privilege, denying them the opportunity to contribute more effectively and systematically to the United Nations. It was only befitting that the Inter-Parliamentary Union be allowed to participate in the work and activities of the General Assembly and its subsidiary bodies. The Inter-Parliamentary Union should be granted observer status in the General Assembly in order to have a more meaningful and productive relationship with the United Nations.

    He also supported the establishment of cooperation between the United Nations and the Pacific Islands Forum, given the latter’s commitment to establishing global partnership in the interest of world peace and prosperity for all peoples. Malaysia would continue to extend its technical assistance to the Forum through the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme.

    ANATOLY MALOFEEV (Belarus) said under today’s special international circumstances, the consolidation of efforts by the United Nations at the global and regional levels had taken on an extremely important meaning. The events of 11 September had made it more important than ever for regional arrangements to provide assistance to the United Nations in resolving matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security.

    He turned next to address the growing relationship between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union. As a national representative of the Union, he said that last fall that the final Declaration adopted by the Conference of Heads of National Parliaments had stressed the need for strengthening cooperation between the United Nations and national parliaments in various areas. Today’s discussion would further contribute to developing cooperation between the Union and the United Nations. He was convinced that granting the Union observer status in the General Assembly -- as the Secretary-General had recommended in his 26 June report -– would be an important landmark. He also attached significance to establishing stable relations with the parliamentary structures of the OSCE.

    He said the National Assembly of Belarus had never relaxed its efforts at setting up a reliable domestic legislative shield for countering terrorism. Consideration of draft legislation on fighting terrorism submitted by the country’s President had highlighted its determinations to combat all manifestations of terrorist activity. As a country that had suffered terribly from the horrors and deprivations of the last world war, Belarus supported the view that transferring blame and responsibility from individual persons and groups to entire peoples and States was unacceptable. In whatever way military actions developed, thousands of poor people would be the first victims. For that reason, politicians should make extremely balanced and sober decisions on using military force.

    JACQUES LOUIS BOISSON (Monaco) spoke about the report on cooperation between the United Nations and the International Organization of la Francophonie. He said cooperative initiatives between the two organizations had increased in number and quality. Both organizations had similar aims and collaborated on such issues as preventive diplomacy and the promotion of human rights and development. There was dynamism to the work jointly undertaken. Actions were taken with exceptional determination, particularly in Africa, where the emphasis had been on support for democracy and assistance with elections. The cooperation should be strengthened.

    In the economic, social and cultural spheres, he enumerated partnerships in such areas as education, training and combating violence, ignorance and poverty. Partners had included the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). With the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), joint projects had included exploring the use of electronic equipment for advancing knowledge, such as through distance learning. The pragmatic approach that inspired both organizations was more pertinent today than ever. The text should receive the broadest support, because it spoke to issues beyond language. It could be used as a model for inter-institutional cooperation.

    NIDA NATALIE P. GARCIA (Philippines) said the relationship between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union had been an important element in promoting multilateral diplomacy. The Union could channel more diverse views to the United Nations, as expressed in parliamentary debates and discussions at the Union. It could also promote parliamentary awareness and action in support of work at the Organization, as well as provide support for parliaments, with the aim of improving their legislative functions concerning matters subject to international cooperation at the United Nations.

    She said that through its close cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Union could also continue to contribute to the promotion and development of representative institutions of democracy, as well as a parliamentary perspective on development matters. The importance of the continued and strengthened relationship between the two organizations had been recognized last year at the conclusion of the first ever Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments, held immediately prior to the Millennium Summit. In their Declaration, the parliamentarians had pledged their commitment to international cooperation with the United Nations.

    The Union Council report of April 2001 suggested that the relationship between the Union and the Organization should bring a parliamentary dimension to the United Nations and permit the Organization to cooperate with parliaments through the Union. She welcomed the Secretary-General’s recommendations on modalities for strengthening the relationship between the two organizations.

    TERRY DAVIS (United Kingdom) started by stressing his support for the Secretary-General’s recommendation that the Inter-Parliamentary Union be granted observer status at the United Nations. He went on to say that, following the monstrous events of 11 September, the Council of Europe had shown its determination to fully contribute to the international action against terrorism. The United Nations, of course, had a pivotal role, but the Council of Europe’s contribution would support and sustain the international strategy to combat terrorism.

    The Council of Europe had also contributed to United Nations activities in Kosovo and had continued to help the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo in matters of legislation and reform. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, too, the Council of Europe had worked with the United Nations to play an important practical role, in particular on human rights issues. Close cooperation had also developed between the Council of Europe and the Economic Commission for Europe.

    During the past year, the Council of Europe was also active in preparations for the recent World Conference against racism and was entrusted with the European preparation, which included a successful European Conference against Racism. The Council recognized that it was part of one world and was not only interested in developments in neighboring regions, but in the world as a whole.

    JEANETTE NDHLOVU (South Africa) said a new dawn was breaking over Africa. Africans had decided "to spark the light of prosperity on themselves" with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. New development goals had been set with clear objectives, and with a roadmap and review mechanisms to ensure effective implementation and follow-up strategies for sustainable development programmes. The new era of hope had been anticipated since the Constitutive Act of the African Union (successor to the OAU) had entered into force.

    She called for both international support and assistance in setting up the African Union’s important organs. She said those would include the Pan-African Parliament; the Court of Justice; the Economic, Social and Technical Council; the African Commission on People and Human Rights, and finally the Special Organ for Peace, Stability and Security. Further, the Constitutive Act contained objectives to coincide with the goals of the New Partnership, the General Assembly’s Millennium Declaration and the United Nations Charter. The most important objectives of the African Union would be to promote peace, security and stability; democratic principles and institutions; sustainable development and integration of African economies.

    She said this was a call for a new relationship between Africa and the international community. It was especially a call to the highly industrialized nations. There was nothing inherent in the process of globalization to guarantee reduction of poverty and inequality. Africa was looking for partnership that would enable it to play a role in shaping the form, content and course of globalization. Africa was calling for help to achieve such goals as halving poverty by 2015, improving cross-border capital flows through market integration, increasing access of African projects to developed-country markets, strengthening infrastructure management in such areas as planning, and setting up coordinated mechanisms to combat corruption.

    Welcoming initiatives to help meet these goals, she noted the special task force of the G8 developed nations that would work with the steering committee and the African Union Secretariat. She said the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa would continue to help coordinate and facilitate cooperation between relevant bodies at the economic level.

    ANDRÁS VÁMOS-GOLDMAN (Canada) said during the historic Millennium Summit, the Inter-Parliamentary Union had worked closely with the United Nations to convene a Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments at Headquarters, to provide a forum for debating major challenges on the global agenda through the lens of the parliamentary perspective. The Speakers of the House of Commons and of the Senate of Canada had emphasized the importance of a dynamic and strengthened relationship between the Inter-Parliamentary Union -– the longest lasting international organization, since it held its first Conference in Paris in 1889 -– and the United Nations, the preeminent international organization.

    In its Declaration the Conference had underlined the support that the Inter-Parliamentary Union could bring to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. Also, it highlighted the role of the parliamentary community in developing multilateral cooperation by governments through the United Nations system, both in emerging issues, such as terrorism and HIV/AIDS, as well as such long-standing matters as disarmament, human rights, gender issues, democracy, rule of law, protection of civilians in armed conflict, sustainable development and poverty eradication. He shared the Secretary-General’s view that the Union should be granted observer status and looked forward to an early, positive decision on that matter at the fifty-seventh session.

    WOLFGANG BEHRENDT (Germany) stressed the importance of forging closer cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the world’s only organization of parliaments. He said parliaments expressed the voices of nations and contributed towards the democratization of international decision-making. The common struggle for the development of all nations, as well as human rights and democracy, could succeed only if resolutions adopted by national governments at the United Nations level were implemented by national parliaments as specific legislation. Germany would be pleased if a consensus could be reached in the fifty-seventh General Assembly on granting observer status to the Union.

    The Inter-Parliamentary Union had concluded important cooperation agreements with specialized agencies of the United Nations. It had cooperated in compiling manuals to increase awareness among parliamentarians of obligations deriving from international humanitarian and refugee law with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Labor Organization(ILO). Member States, after all, were the ones who implemented those international obligations on the basis of corresponding national legislation and budget allocations.

    The Council of Europe had had observer status for more than 10 years, he said, and had used that to engage in cooperation in numerous areas. He was pleased that parliamentarians from the Council continued to shape the cooperation that took place between the two organizations, such as monitoring elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo. The Council had also made a substantial contribution towards preventing conflicts. It would be worthwhile to expand cooperation between the Council and the United Nations to better use existing resources and avoid overlap in activities.

    VOLODYMYR KROKHMAL (Ukraine) said that close ties with regional structures that reflected the political, economic and cultural diversity of the planet were a tool of vital importance, which could help to preserve and promote the unique status of the United Nations. The Ukraine supported the activities of the Secretary-General aimed at ensuring greater policy coherence and cooperation between the United Nations and the World Trade Organization (WTO). It had also followed carefully the development of cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

    The cooperation between the United Nations and Euro-Atlantic structures was another crucial issue. Cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE could be strengthened through their joint endeavours to elaborate a comprehensive strategy for conflict prevention, on the basis of wide use of preventive diplomacy and peace building.

    The Council of Europe also played an important role in promoting democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe. Without imposing its views and values on wider United Nations membership, it could comprehensively furnish the United Nations with European experiences, thus further enhancing the capacity of the United Nations in resolving a number of the most pressing global challenges of the new century.

    ALEXANDER MARSCHIK (Austria) said that the OSCE was an excellent example of the multitude of ways in which a regional organization could cooperate with the United Nations –- with very impressive results. That was particularly true in the field missions of both organizations, which were becoming increasingly efficient and successful in cooperating with each other on the ground.

    As a host country for the Preparatory Commission for the CTBT Organization, Austria assumed a special responsibility for successful preparation for the entry into force of the Treaty. In the past few years, much progress had been achieved but some obstacles had emerged. Despite the fact that 164 States had signed and 89 States had deposited their instrument of ratification, the Treaty had not entered into force. That was because 13 of the 44 States whose ratification was required had not, unfortunately, ratified it.

    Austria also appreciated the excellent cooperation of the United Nations with the Council of Europe. In recent years, cooperation had been witnessed on a number of issues, such as the protection of children, the monitoring of elections, the fight against terrorism, and the International Criminal Court (ICC). Austria was confident that Member States would continue to support the Secretaries-General of both organizations in their efforts to intensify dialogue.

    JAN BERGQVIST (Sweden), member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said that on Saturday next week it would be exactly 50 years since the conclusion of the Agreement between the secretariats of the United Nations and the Council of Europe to facilitate cooperation by exchange of information, mutual consultation, attendance at relevant meetings and technical cooperation. That Agreement was still valid, even if the two organizations had changed since then.

    The Council of Europe had become a truly pan-European organization, with one-fourth of United Nations Member States as members or observers. It was important at this stage to expand the practical framework for cooperative activities and to develop the relationship through pragmatic identification of areas for collaboration. At Headquarters, the Council had many fruitful contacts with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). Relations between the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Council were close both at the practical and political levels. In Kosovo, the Council had assumed responsibility for the observation of the municipal electoral process as well as the Assembly elections, and had been active in fields such as reforming the judiciary, protection of minorities, education policies and children and youth programmes.

    He said stronger bonds would benefit both organizations. A central field of increased cooperation was the work to maintain and fortify the international system of norms. He also highlighted conflict prevention. As a regional organization, the Council had proved that it could make a difference by consolidating democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Europe. It could also contribute to the global efforts of peace-building as well as enhancing democratic security against the threat of terrorism. The Council’s Parliamentary Assembly was the first of its kind to be established in an international organization, and had developed a lively interaction with the body of the governments of the Council.

    ARTHUR C.I. MBANEFO (Nigeria) said that the relationship and cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union had been particularly evident in the past year in the efforts to resolve the conflicts in the African region. The persistence of those conflicts, in spite of Africa’s best efforts, highlighted the urgent need for the United Nations to strengthen its cooperation with Africa to find durable solutions to the debilitating distractions from meaningful development.

    The promotion of a culture of peace, tolerance and harmony within and between States was a sine qua non, if stability and security were to be achieved in Africa, he continued. In the past year, the full weight of African Union political support had been brought to bear on conflict areas. As a result, confidence and trust had been regenerated among and between groups in such countries as Burundi, Eritrea/Ethiopia and Sierra Leone. That had been done through the active involvement of the United Nations through the Secretary-General’s special envoys and representatives.

    He said United Nations cooperation had proved invaluable in recent months with regard to the challenge of HIV/AIDS. He commended the Secretary-General for his positive engagement with African leaders, as well as in his energetic efforts in the search for solutions through the building of a global partnership.

    SUN JOUN-YUNG (Republic of Korea) said the clustering of 13 sub-agenda items into one would undoubtedly enhance the efficiency of debate and streamline the agenda, however unfamiliar the new modality of joint debate. A number of the cooperation schemes under consideration were particularly important to his country.

    The first of those was cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Founded in 1889, the Union had been the focal point for worldwide parliamentary dialogue. It engaged in virtually every important agenda item of global significance, including peace and security and economic and social development. Cooperation between the United Nations and the Union was not just mutually beneficial but indispensable. The Union could help enhance United Nations transparency and accountability to the world public. It could also help translate United Nations commitments into concrete actions by filling the policy gap between the global and national level by urging parliaments to legislate conference outcomes and recommendations. The deferral of a decision on granting observer status to the Union was dismaying.

    Turning to United Nations cooperation with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), he welcomed the Agreement between the two bodies. He said it was particularly important that the United Nations was kept informed of the OPCW’s activities at this critical time when the threat of chemical and biological warfare was heightened. As an OPCW Executive Council member, his country believed the Agreement would help implement the nuclear weapons Convention by adding momentum to OPCW’s efforts to improve its verification regime. The Relationship Agreement concluded between the United Nations and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization would similarly add momentum to the strengthening of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. The importance of universalizing the Treaty could not be overstated.

    Finally, he turned to cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE, by noting the OSCE’s increasing role in conflict prevention and peace-building. He said much of the OSCE’s work in preventive diplomacy, post-conflict rehabilitation and humanitarian areas was carried out in close cooperation with the United Nations. The relationship should be further strengthened in recognition of the value of regional arrangements. As a partner for cooperation of the OSCE, his country also encouraged greater cooperation between the United Nations and the Regional Forum of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

    ROSEMARY CROWLEY (Australia) said that it was pleasing to note the Secretary-General’s strong reminder of the importance of women’s adequate representation in parliaments, as well as in the Inter-Parliamentary Union, as well as the need for legislation to protect their rights and promote their advancement. The Secretary-General had also recommended that the Union be granted observer status in the General Assembly. Having attended a number of Union meetings, one of the things that was very clear was that the Union did not speak with one voice. Rather, it was a forum for debate and deliberation. Since the Union did not speak with one voice, there were consequences for any role it would play once it attained observer status.

    While Australia had argued in the past in favour of retaining and strengthening the links between the Union and the United Nations, and indeed reinforced that position today, it was important to examine exactly how those links would be developed. The costs involved must be clear and any increase in costs to one or on other organization had to be documented before any progress could be made. The Union was confronting difficulties with regard to costs. In the past her Government had made it clear that it could not support the issue while doubt remained as to the ongoing ability of the organization to meet those costs.

    There was no doubt that anything that enabled or encouraged parliamentarians to reflect the ideals of the United Nations in their parliaments was only to the good, she said. It might have been possible to argue in the past that the issues of the United Nations were not relevant to any particular country, but it was now beyond dispute that more and more issues raised in parliaments were of international dimension and concern. Closer ties would help ensure that parliamentarians continued to reflect the ideals of the United Nations in their parliaments.

    JAGDISH KOONJUL (Mauritius) said the cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in the implementation of the principles and the fulfillment of the objectives of the Organization’s Charter could never be overemphasized. Without regional organizations, the task of the United Nations would be extremely difficult. The cooperation between the United Nations and the OAU, dating back to 1965, had grown steadily over time. At a time when the Pan-African Organization was in a transitional phase leading to the African Union, the need for the United Nations to closely work with the OAU was stronger than ever.

    The OAU could play an extremely important role in preventing conflicts and in contributing to the resolution of those conflicts in close cooperation with the United Nations, he said. It was, however, important that the OAU be equipped with the necessary facilities to address conflict situations promptly. The United Nations could help the OAU in improvement of its early warning system. The OAU could also play an important role in coordinating the efforts and in identifying the needs of African countries for the proper implementation of the Organization’s resolutions against terrorism. On the economic front, the OAU had been very active regarding the challenges of globalization. The OAU had adopted the New African Initiative, now called the New Partnership for African Development.

    Regarding the International Organization of la Francophonie, of which Mauritius was a member, he said, in the search for solutions to national and regional political problems, organizations could also establish partnerships among themselves. The joint efforts of both organizations in favour of reconciliation in Comoros had had a positive outcome -– the OAU and la Francophonie. Nonetheless, the area of development should be the priority area of cooperation between the two organizations. Regional organizations counted on cooperation with the United Nations and some had already decided to invest in the functioning of the Organization. La Francophonie had financed over 20 experts from developing countries for United Nations activities. He, thus, supported strengthening the bonds between la Francophonie and the United Nations.

    YASHAR ALIYEV (Azerbaijan) said cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe had been longstanding. However, since the adoption of last year’s General Assembly resolution 55/3, interaction between the two organizations had continued to improve. They continued to have shared interest which led to cooperation in areas such as conflict prevention, post-conflict peace-building and confidence–building measures aimed at increasing tolerance and understanding between people belonging to different ethnic groups.

    January 2002 would mark be the first year of Azerbaijan's accession to the Council of Europe, which was beneficial both for Azerbaijan and for the Organization. Strengthening of democracy was one of the priorities, and was to be one of the main objectives of cooperation between the United Nations and the Council.

    He said Azerbaijan paid great attention to the development of democracy in its region. He believed that it would serve as a guarantee for regional security and stability. Democracy could not be developed in a society inflamed with the ideology of aggressive nationalism, national superiority, and territorial claims on neighbouring States.

    Today, conflicts were being roused, territories of sovereign States were being occupied, ethnic cleansing was being conducted, and a peaceful population was being expelled from their homes. He said acceptance of aggression with recognition of the results of illegal actions, and the lack of timely adequate reaction from the international community led to tragic consequences, undermining the foundations of sovereign States and causing humanitarian disaster. Through the promotion of democratic stability, protection of human rights and the monitoring of its member States' commitments, the Council of Europe made a substantial contribution to the activities of the United Nations by "rendering its high level of expertise".

    AMRAIYA NAIDU (Fiji) said that the island State members of the Pacific Islands Forum essentially subscribe to the "Pacific Way". As it evolved over three decades, the Pacific Way braced the members as they emerged from colonialism to independence. In the process, members had also shifted from a culture of "dependency" –- a legacy of a colonial past -– to greater economic independence. Lessons of the past had also strengthened the resolve of the Pacific Islands Forum to determine future directions and strategies that would keep its members afloat in the face of the momentous challenges ahead.

    It was recognized that effective leadership and cooperation were critical assets for Forum members today, as they engaged in globalization, a development reality that they did not control, but were drawn into as a matter of course. Holding an observer status for the Forum Secretariat had merits, yet actual cooperation had evaded the Forum and greater burdens again had to be carried by individual member States. Logistically and logically, cooperation would greater enhance the Forum’s ability to achieve development goals, with better-focused coordination to avoid duplication and unnecessary waste, which member States could ill afford.

    It was high time to forge such closer cooperation, especially from regional groups and organizations of members predominantly from developing and least developed countries (LDCs). That would allow for a greater voice, equitable representation and better recognition of assessed needs, which, upon close scrutiny, were well within the scope of the United Nations various mandates.

    IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said enormous benefit could be derived from a study of the OSCE's role in peacekeeping. It had evolved into a respectable regional organization, capable of handling challenges that posed a threat to peace and security in Europe. South-East Europe had been a successful testing ground for its actions. It worked well with the human-rights-related initiatives put forward by the Council of Europe, and with the recourse offered by the European Court of Human Rights. Even more could be done with better coordination between those bodies and the United Nations.

    He said his country had just marked its fifth anniversary as a Council of Europe member. The rule of law and the protection of human rights had both been strengthened as a result of the membership. Croatia's legal system had greatly benefited from overall legal reform, in line with United Nations and European standards. Membership of Bosnia and Herzegovina would encourage good governance there, and would have a positive impact on furthering democratic development. In fact, he said, cooperation between the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the OSCE could be enhanced in a number of ways by taking into account the mandate of each.

    He said an International Conference on Human Rights and Democratization in Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus had been held in Dubrovnik during October. The High Commissioner for Human Rights had presented a draft Framework of Regional Cooperation. It was the start of enhanced cooperation between the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the United Nations in such activities as developing national plans of action, building national human rights institutions, educating in human rights and following up on recommendations by treaty bodies and mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights.

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