Press Releases

    GA/10391
    21 September 2005

    Sustainable Development, UN Reform, Enabling Environment for Developing Countries Among Issues Highlighted, as General Assembly Debate Continues

    NEW YORK, 20 September (UN Headquarters) -- The link between development and security, the need to work towards sustainable development, the creation of an enabling environment for developing countries and United Nations reform were among the issues highlighted today, as the General Assembly continued the general debate of its sixtieth session.

    Addressing the Assembly this morning, Kiribati's President, Anote Tong Beretitenti, said individual nations could not achieve sustainable development targets by themselves, especially small island developing States.  Fishery resources could provide the basis for a sustainable future, but incentives were needed, such as credit for investors in onshore facilities.  At the same time, climate change and the rising sea level raised the possibility of having to relocate people.  The United Nations was well suited to undertake such planning, and reform should further enhance the Organization's capacity to meet such challenges.

    Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah called for resolutions on sustainable development to be the basis for new partnerships to boost economic relations and promote a fair global trading system.  Also, countries of the North should honour their pledges for debt relief and financial assistance, as well as facilitate access to technology.

    While Guatemala's entry into the Central American Free Trade Agreement would bring employment, investment and legal opportunities, noted its Foreign Minister, Jorge Briz Abularach, the country would still be operating under a handicap.  Guatemala had less-than-desirable risk ratings from developed country credit assessment agencies, which made credit more expensive.  He stressed the need for developing countries to have a level playing field with regard to trade and wider access to dynamic markets.  The December meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) should place development at the centre of its negotiations.

    On the recurring issue of United Nations reform, Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey stressed the importance of creating a Human Rights Council; reforming the Security Council; the Peacebuilding Commission; and reform of the Organization's management.  She suggested the Peacebuilding Commission be composed of members of the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), plus financial donors and troop contributors.  Also, management reform should extend the Secretary-General's competencies and strengthen internal auditing bodies.

    Aïchatou Mindaoudou, Foreign Minister of Niger, emphasized the link between security and development, as recognized in the proposed Peacebuilding Commission.  She called for the United Nations to carry out its work along the principles of universality and non-exclusion.  Council reform should be transparent so States could coordinate and draft strategies accessible even to the poorest countries. 

    Tajikistan's Foreign Minister, Talbak Nazarov, added that the Peacebuilding Commission should develop the capacity to respond and to ensure the direct link between security and development through the involvement of the ECOSOC.  Coming from a country that had seen conflict, he said that overcoming conflicts, preventing them, rehabilitating post-conflict societies and promoting development must all received high priority from the Organization.

    Also today, acting on the recommendation of its General Committee, the Assembly adopted its work plan for the sixtieth session (document A/60/250).  By doing so, it decided that the current session would recess on Tuesday, 13 December, and close on Monday, 11 September 2006.

    The agenda sets out the work schedule of the Assembly's substantive Committees during the main part of the sixtieth session.  The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) is to complete its work by Tuesday,

    1 November; the Second Committee (Economic and Financial), by Tuesday, 6 December; the Third (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural), by Wednesday, 23 November; the Fourth (Special Political and Decolonization), by Thursday, 10 November; the Fifth (Administrative and Budgetary), by Friday, 9 December; and the Sixth (Legal), by Wednesday, 9 November.

    Approving the allocation of over 150 agenda items to its Main Committees, the Assembly took up new issues related to observer status for the Latin American Integration Association and the Common Fund for Commodities.  Both would be taken up by the Sixth Committee (Legal) during the main deliberations.

    During the adoption of the agenda, the representative of the Solomon Islands said countries had been denied debate on the inclusion of certain agenda items.  Gambia's representative said that the limitation on the number of speakers and the time allowed for statements in the General Committee meeting on 13 September should not set a precedent for future debates on issues like Taiwan.  The representative of the United States called for the Assembly to take up the issue of the International Criminal Court through its Legal Committee, as it had in the past 15 years.  Costa Rica's representative held that the agenda items on the Law of Sea and on criminal justice should have been allocated to the Sixth Committee.

    Also delivering statements in the general debate were the Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Lao People's Democratic Republic.  High-level Government officials from Israel, Algeria, Spain, Andorra, Togo, Austria, Morocco, Iceland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mauritania, Denmark, Central African Republic, San Marino, Comoros, Netherlands, Guinea, Timor-Leste, Solomon Islands, Georgia, Germany and Lithuania also spoke.

    Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of the United Kingdom, Iran and Israel.

    The Assembly will continue its general debate at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, 21 September.

    Background

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

    Statements

    ANOTE TONG BERETITENTI, President of Kiribati, said that shortcomings in promoting sustainable development were due to the inability to deliver on commitments previously made.  With globalization and the increasing interdependency in the world, individual nations could not achieve sustainable development acting alone, particularly small island developing States.

    Population issues were a major challenge to development efforts in Kiribati, which was categorized as a least developed country, he said.  Effective family planning had been given greater focus in the national development strategy.  Growing numbers of unemployed youth brought with them new social issues.  In that regard, he welcomed the New Zealand Pacific Access Category scheme as a welcome model that merited closer scrutiny by other countries.  The spiralling cost of fuel was another issue of grave concern and accelerated the need to develop alternative sources of energy.

    Kiribati believed that its fishery resources could provide a basis for a sustainable future but it needed development assistance to provide the necessary incentives, such as the provision of credit, to investors who were willing and able to develop onshore facilities.

    Citing the danger to Kiribati from climate change and sea level rise, he said it was necessary to seriously consider the option of having to relocate its people when necessary -- an option that could only be meaningfully addressed with the United Nations.  He concluded by endorsing the reform efforts at the United Nations and added that it was time to consider the issue of Taiwan.

    CARLOS GOMES, Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau, said that his country was committed to meeting the challenges brought about by increased global interdependence, and would contribute towards the Organization's efforts in the areas of economic development, combating terrorism, and encouraging respect for human rights.  Support would also be given to institutional reform of the United Nations, including that of the Security Council, where it was believed that Africa had a legitimate right to two permanent seats.

    He said that the policies of Member States must not only take into account the needs of their own citizens, but also that of other States.  As members of the human family, there was an obligation to share and protect the planet.  He expressed concern with the effects of globalization, saying that, if well managed, there was an enormous potential to be reaped in the areas of the economy, finance, technology and communications. However, it was important to recognize that the process of globalization was not sufficiently inclusive.  Marginalization was its major negative effect, contributing to problems that would require a properly coordinated global response.  The framework for such a response must involve multilateral dialogue and interaction on issues such as organized crime, the illicit drug trade, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and light weapons.  In the same vein, such a framework would also be necessary to discuss solutions to poverty, as well as ways of dealing with pandemics and natural disasters.

    The link between security and development was proof, he said, that a gesture of solidarity on the question of financing for development was needed now more than ever.  His country desired the establishment of a partnership for development among States to help dispel any doubts that arose prior to the completion of the World Summit outcome document.  The declaration adopted at the Summit was still insufficient but forward-looking, he said.  It underscored the need for negotiations to be conducted in a transparent fashion.  He was pleased with the decision adopted by the Group of Eight countries to cancel the debt of some African countries, and raised the possibility of extending the gesture to other countries such as Guinea-Bissau. 

    He reported that his country would conclude the process of complete return to constitutional normalcy through presidential elections, to be achieved by October of this year.  The process, which began in September 2003, had led to the separation of powers between the branches of government, bringing about good governance.  He noted that the path was not easy, and situations arose which were beyond national capacity to resolve.  Several members of the international community -- in particular the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union, the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries, and the Economic and Social Council's ad hoc group -- contributed to the internal political process.

    He said that decisive action was required to reconstruct and rebuild the infrastructure within his country, in order to create the conditions of governability and to strengthen democracy, which were essential for peace and stability there.  He called for the support of members of the round table to be held in November, in line with the United Nations goal of providing effective support to countries in post-conflict situations.  He expressed a commitment to constitutional law in creating an atmosphere of national reconciliation and to consolidate friendship with neighbouring countries, so that a climate of trust and credibility would be restored.

    SOMSAVAT LENGSAVAD, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, said the United Nations was at a crossroads.  When the Organization was established, its main objectives were the promotion of peace and security, and economic and social development.  Today the world was still filled with conflicts, violence, poverty, insecurity, hunger and despair.  The United Nations must be reformed.  The General Assembly should continue playing a central role as the chief deliberative, policy-making and representative organ.  Member States needed to respect and restore the balance between the principal organs of the United Nations.  During the 2000 Summit, Member States had resolved to strive for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction.  He regretted that States parties of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) failed to reach consensus on the substantive questions.  All States' parties should remain committed to the NPT.

    He said the world economy was characterized by slow and lopsided growth and instability.  Globalization offered a great deal of opportunities, but it also presented challenges and risks for the developing world, particularly the least developed countries and the landlocked developing countries.  Globalization had not produced equal benefits.  The gap between the developed and the developing world was widening.  In order for developing countries to reap benefits from globalization, an enabling external economic environment for development was required.  The Doha Declaration and Plan of Action, adopted by the Second South Summit held in Qatar in June, called for a more energetic effort to revitalize South-South cooperation.  The Second South Summit also called upon the Government of the United States to put an end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba.

    He said the recent resumption of the six-party talks on the Korean peninsula was welcomed, and he hoped for the establishment of a nuclear weapon-free Korean peninsula.  In order to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East, the question of Palestine should be resolved.  The situation in Iraq also continued to concern the international community.  The national economy of his country continued to grow, foreign investment had increased and political stability and safety were secured.  In addition, his country had participated in multi-faceted regional and international activities for peace, stability, friendship and the promotion of development cooperation.  Development gaps had been narrowed within member countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).  Peace could not be achieved without development.  Development could be realized through cooperation among nations, and the United Nations played a catalytic role.  But the Organization must embrace the concerns of all, including the vulnerable and the weak.

    SILVAN SHALOM, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Israel, said Israel welcomed a new readiness for contact with the Arab and Muslim world, and encouraged its neighbours to build on the foundations his country was now laying.  Calling on his Arab and Muslim colleagues to bring their contacts out into the light of day, he also asked those leaders to join Israel in speaking to the public of peace rather than conflict, and of reasons to cooperate instead of reasons to boycott.  He also called upon the international community -- and his Arab and Muslim counterparts -- to work together with Israel to ensure that meetings resulted in concrete projects that would help reinforce Israel's peace efforts on the ground.

    It was also the time, he said, for the international community to renew its investment in the future of the Middle East by reviving the multilateral track of the region's peace talks.  The evacuation of all Israeli communities in the Gaza Strip had opened the door to a new future, and he said such action provided the Palestinian side with a chance to take their fate into their own hands.  He hoped that Gaza would serve as a model of how the Palestinian Authority was able to build a functioning, democratic and peaceful society.  The international community's priority must be ensuring that the Palestinian Authority and its institutions could deliver the services and outcomes that its people and Israel's expected and deserved.  The Palestinian Authority must also deliver on its commitment to end the campaign of terror against Israel, he added.

    It was now essential for the Security Council to take actions to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, as that was the central threat to global security, he said.  The security and stability of the entire world was at stake, and the international community must rally as one and use all the means at its disposal to stop Iran.  He added that while Israel's relations with the United Nations were better today than they had ever been, they were still far from what they should be.  He called on all States to examine how they could contribute to promoting a more balanced and constructive United Nations approach to Israel, and added that Israel joined Member States in the desire to see the United Nations fulfil the vision of its founders.  For that reason, he said he was presenting, for the first time, Israel's candidacy for membership to the Security Council.

    MOHAMMAD SABAH AL-SALEM AL-SABAH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, said that terrorism was directly threatening international peace and security, as it spread to numerous countries in different regions of the world.  As attacks in the United States, Iraq and London had shown, terrorism did not target a particular race, faith or culture, and the responsibility to combat it was collective.  He supported the proposal by Saudi Arabia to establish an international centre to combat terrorism, which would put in place an effective mechanism for collecting and exchanging data on the phenomenon.

    He noted that Iraq continued to endure instability due to almost daily terrorist attacks, including the vanquished fleeing remnants of the former regime, which impeded the Government's efforts to reconstruct the country.  Stability in Iraq was in the interest of the entire region, and would have positive implications on its security and progress.  Kuwait looked forward to establishing solid fraternal relations with the new Iraq on the basis of mutual respect, good neighbourliness, and adherence to bilateral agreements and United Nations resolutions.

    Reiterating Kuwait's support for the Palestinian struggle, he demanded that Israel fulfil its commitments under United Nations resolutions, the land-for-peace principle and the Arab peace initiative, as well as bilateral accords with the Palestinian Authority.  It should also stop oppressing the Palestinian people, dismantle the separation wall and release all Palestinian detainees.  Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip should be followed by measures to end the occupation, in preparation for an independent Palestinian State.

    Turning to development, he expressed the hope that resolutions on sustainable development adopted at numerous international meetings would lay the ground for new partnerships between developed and developing nations, which would boost economic relations among them, as well as promote a fair and balanced international trading system.  In building such a partnership, the economic structures of Southern countries must be bolstered, and nations of the North should fulfil their pledges to provide financial and technical assistance, as well as debt relief; lift customs restrictions on products from poor countries; and facilitate access to technology that would help them integrate into the new economic system.

    M. MOHAMMED BEDJAOUI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Algeria, said that the world had been radically transformed since the cold war.  It was now important to extend the definition of security to include not just military threats but also threats arising from refugee problems, famine, HIV/AIDS, malaria and other adverse conditions exacerbated by underdevelopment.

    He said that Member States should not limit themselves to denouncing international terrorism, which was occurring regularly in some parts of the world and bordered on a human rights abuse, but should oppose it with seamless determination.  In doing so, a collective response involving the entire international community was the only alternative.  Towards that end, a convention for combating terrorism should be concluded, but he pointed out that the convention's definition of terrorism should not provide an excuse to oppress people who were pursuing legitimate rights.  Nor should terrorism be attributed to specific religions or cultures.  Definitions of terrorism should reflect the common understanding of all civilizations represented at the United Nations, where terrorism was a phenomenon to be rejected.  "Pseudo theories" and "mock analyses", now lessening in frequency, had a compunction of incorrectly blaming Islam directly.  With more than 1 billion believers, Islam was a religion calling for fraternity, solidarity and tolerance.

    He was also concerned with the ability of the people of Iraq to return to a condition of peace and stability.  Iraqi sovereignty should accompany territorial integrity and provide a theatre for economic prosperity and democracy to flourish.  Towards that end, commitments made by Arab leaders at the March summit at Algiers must be implemented.  He added, however, that the move towards peace and sustainable economic development in the Middle East would not have the momentum it needed unless the Palestinian people recovered its complete sovereignty, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as the capital of its independent State.

    Regarding the risk of nuclear proliferation, he said that the seventh NPT Review Conference last May should have been an occasion for adopting appropriate measures for complete disarmament and elimination of weapons of mass destruction.  He said he could not conceal a concern regarding an exception to the Treaty for certain countries, amounting to what could be called "discrimination".

    He said that the final process of decolonization had not yet been achieved in the Western Sahara.  He noted the peace plan approved by the Security Council in that regard, and was pleased with the appointment of a Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General to the region, noting that it would give the momentum needed to establish a "Greater Maghreb", which Algeria had always called for. 

    Adapting to the new global realities obliged Member States to bring about deep and balanced reform, he said.  But any amendments made should not reflect the ambitions of a minority.  In considering Security Council expansion, Member States should not lose sight of the legitimate demands of Africa for maintaining balance within that body.

    MIGUEL ÁNGEL MORATINOS, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, said that there could be no doubt that the United Nations had taken a step forward since the Summit, and progress had been achieved in essential areas.  Spain was satisfied with the outcome, as the importance of assisting the victims of terrorism had been highlighted; the initiative of an Alliance of Civilizations had been welcomed; and the Summit had recalled the need to continue aiding middle-income countries, while supporting innovative sources of financing for the implementation of the Initiative against Hunger and Poverty.

    The fight against terrorism was an absolute priority for Spain, he continued. The General Assembly must adopt a global strategy that would include the objective of creating an International Fund for the Assistance of Victims.  Furthermore, Spain had just signed the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, and in the framework of the Sixth Committee, it was determined to facilitate the conclusion of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism before the end of the sixtieth General Assembly. The Summit must also give a new impetus to the fight against poverty, and his country was firmly committed to the Millennium Development Goals.

    Spain also firmly supported the reform process that would allow for the strengthening of the effectiveness of United Nations bodies, and which would ensure the effective implementation of its resolutions.  Reform, particularly that of the Security Council, must be the result of the broadest agreement among all Member States. A reformed structure with greater representation, democratization, effectiveness and transparency called for a Secretariat strengthened in its operation and management.  He also said he agreed with the Secretary-General that the greatest failure of the Summit had to do with non-proliferation and disarmament.  While the outcome document constituted a good starting point to continue working toward achieving the agreements that still eluded Member States, members could not allow inaction, lack of ambition or short-sightedness to prevent the successful conclusion of the task ahead.

    MICHELINE CALMY-REY, Federal Councillor, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, stressed the importance of four United Nations reforms - creating a Human Rights Council; reforming the Security Council; the Peacebuilding Commission; and reform of the Organization's management.  The present Commission on Human Rights was weak in responding to grave human rights violations, and applied double standards, which undermined its authority.  The new Human Rights Council should be a principle organ of the United Nations directly linked to the General Assembly, should convene periodically in Geneva, and work in close cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

    As for the Security Council, it should be enlarged to better reflect today's geopolitical realities, and its authority strengthened.  Its working methods should be reformed with new and more detailed rules to strengthen participation by non-member States, ensure Council responsibility, and improve transparency.  Further, the veto should not be used in cases of genocide, ethnic cleansing and other serious and large-scale violations of international humanitarian law or human rights.  In addition, the Council should refrain from codifying and developing international law, which should be the responsibility of the General Assembly, and improve procedures for establishing and revising the list of targeted individuals and entities for sanctions.

    Regarding the Peacebuilding Commission, he said that body would bring together institutions, States and civil society in rebuilding nations and defining joint strategies for future action.  The Commission would include representatives from the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), as well as principle financial donors and troop contributors.  Adding that peacekeeping, humanitarian action and development were parallel activities, he said the Commission should give advice at any stage of the process to all institutional actors.

    On United Nations management, she said that the General Assembly should decide the budget; that management competencies of the Secretary-General should be extended; and that internal auditing bodies must be strengthened.  Affairs which had stained the United Nations image in recent months underscored the urgent need to strengthen the means, as well as financial and operational independence, of the Office of Internal Oversight Services.  She invited States to support enlarging the mandate of that Office, which should be allowed to assist specialized agencies.

    AÏCHATOU MINDAOUDOU, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Niger, said that combating the scourge of terrorism must be a long-term effort of Member States, to be carried out within the framework of international law.  A comprehensive convention on terrorism should be concluded speedily, with terrorism clearly defined to avoid any confusion.  Combating terrorism would only be effective with international cooperation, which had helped to improve the capacity of security forces in her country. 

    Achieving peace and security would require a moratorium on the manufacture, import and export of weapons through a legally binding instrument, she said.  The Economic Community of West African States, chaired by Niger, was pursuing such an initiative, and regretted the failure of the recent NPT Review Conference to achieve a similar aim.

    Although numerous conflicts and seemingly never-ending quagmires in West Africa were extinguished, for example in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea-Bissau, the region was not completely free of insecurity.  She reiterated her support of the Secretary-General in his efforts to arrive at a settlement of disputes in that region, including in Côte d'Ivoire.  She welcomed the outcome of the peace process in Burundi, which culminated in legislative and presidential elections there.  A Peacebuilding Commission was of capital importance in consolidating peace, she added. 

    She said the Millennium Declaration and the events of the recent High-Level Plenary stressed the interdependence of States, and underscored the need for greater solidarity.  But international cooperation must go beyond professions of faith to be effective.  A reassessment of solidarity was needed, and would go a long way towards meeting various challenges, such as food security in her country.  Noting that many African countries might not reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, she called for an increase in both qualitative and quantitative official development assistance.  She welcomed the establishment of a timetable by some countries to reach the targeted level of 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2015.  Rethinking solidarity also meant finding innovative sources of financing that would not be an excessive burden to developing countries. 

    She paid tribute to the Secretary-General's insight in identifying areas for reform within the United Nations, and the resulting recommendations.  The United Nations was the only world body with a mandate to promote human rights within the context of providing greater security.  In conducting its work, the General Assembly must embody an attitude of fairness, be representative and democratic, and conduct itself with a spirit of multilateralism.  Also, reform of the Security Council must be pursued in a transparent manner, so that Member States could coordinate and draft strategies that were accessible even to the poorest countries. 

    JULI MINOVES-TRIQUELL, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Culture and Cooperation of Andorra, said:  "We have to ensure that even with the feeling of heightened risk that we live in at the beginning of the 21st century -- whether this be due to natural phenomena, advances in technology, the threat of terrorism or the frittering away of resources -- our will to act is not in any way diminished.  The bar is set very high but our capacity to act together as a whole can be just as great."

    Even as the explosion in technology seemed to link all countries in the embrace of a globalized media culture, it fed old parochialisms, nationalism and ethnic strife.  The gap between rich and poor seemed ever wider.  "But with visions of first-world excess beamed into every corner of the globe, can anyone be surprised that anger toward the West increases?  Poverty, discrimination, war, hunger and disease -- this is the daily lot for a great part of humanity.  We cannot ignore nor can we fear these realities -- we have to face them with real development policies, coupled with good governance and a just system for trade and dialogue. The Millennium Development Goals are our collective responsibility", he said.

    In questioning how it would be possible to overcome the fundamental paradox of the Organization -- to link the pride of national statehood, which was the source of material, cultural and ethnic differences, to the idea of unity, he said the answer lay in part in the potential for rebalancing the global economy but also required a reawakening of dulled sensibilities that separated rich from poor, advantaged from disadvantaged, free from oppressed.

    Recounting his country's history in past centuries as a safe haven during European wars and conflicts, he said that, in recognizing the imperfections of the Organization, the world must not forget to acknowledge the wisdom of its guiding principles:  peace between all nations, universal human rights, and the development of States.

    TALBAK NAZAROV, Foreign Minister of Tajikistan, said that world leaders had clearly stated at the Summit that there was no alternative to the United Nations as the international organization that could unite efforts to address challenges faced by humanity.  There was no doubt that the United Nations must play the key role in mobilization and coordination of those efforts.  His Government shared the view that it was necessary to strengthen the Organization and its specialized agencies, including through the urgent reform of the Secretariat and other United Nations divisions.

    The focus of further efforts, he continued, must remain the Millennium Development Goals.  Attaining progress in the achievement of the Goals was of special significance to Tajikistan, since it had lived through civil conflict.  In that regard, his country felt that overcoming conflicts must be the focus of the attention of the United Nations.  Also important was the prevention of conflicts, post-conflict rehabilitation and development.  He said he expected that the modalities of the future Peacebuilding Commission would expand the capacity of the international community to respond to the needs of post-conflict countries, and would ensure a direct link between security and development.  He hoped that the Economic and Social Council would play a role in that process.

    The United Nations should remain the key centre for regulating international relations in the new millennium, he said.  The consolidating function of the United Nations should be enhanced, and the reform of the Organization should be rational.  A renewed Organization should be strong, as well as capable of responding to world events in a quick and adequate manner, in order to effectively counteract the numerous global challenges and risks of a new generation.

    JORGE BRIZ ABULARACH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, said his country supported strengthening and revitalizing the General Assembly, and restoring the Economic and Social Council's main role in sustainable development.  Reform of the Security Council should include revising its methods of work, as well as procedures by which decisions were taken.  Guatemala supported the aspirations of Brazil, Germany, India and Japan to become permanent members of the Security Council, and also felt that Africa should be represented.

    Turning to events in his country, he said the army had been reduced by 43 per cent, and that steps had been taken to make it more modern and professional.  Public expenditure was focused on infrastructure and social programmes, and a secretariat for food and nutritional security had been created.  Significant activities were being carried out at the national and regional levels to combat common and transnational organized crime.  The fight against poverty and social exclusion had continued to occupy a central position in all Government activities, which fully respected ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity.

    Despite such advances, the country was suffering from the inordinate increase in oil costs, which were absorbing an increased proportion of foreign exchange generated by the export of goods and services.  The country was also coping with increased transportation and electricity costs, and their consequent effects on productive sectors, as well as on the prices of consumer goods.  Stressing that such costs threatened to slow down economic expansion, he appealed to the international community to assist the country in easing their impact.

    He added that Guatemala was entering the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which should bring it valuable employment, investment and legal opportunities.  However, the country was operating under a handicap, since its risk rating from developed country credit assessment agencies and export promotion institutions was less favourable than it felt entitled to, unjustly making credit more expensive.  Guatemala had one of the best debt servicing records of any Latin American country, one of the world's best external debt indicators, well-established working relations with multilateral agencies, sustained economic growth, a stable currency, and a one-digit rate of inflation.

    Turning to trade, he stressed the importance of the Doha Round of trade negotiations at the World Trade Organization, which should place development at the centre of its negotiations.  Developing countries needed a level playing field for agricultural commodities, and wider access to the markets of the most dynamic countries for goods and services, as well as to expand and diversify their product bases.

    ZARIFOU AYEVA, Minister of State and Minister for Foreign Affairs and African Integration of Togo, said that the United Nations was now at a crossroads, and faced the challenges that continued to afflict the world.  Those challenges included, among others, ongoing conflicts; pandemics; floods and natural disasters; the enormous dangers that threatened the environment and ecosystem; famine, particularly on the African continent as a result of drought and climate problems; and the problems of those afflicted by underdevelopment.  They all required great solidarity, as well as a reform of the Organization, in order for it to be able to adapt its bodies to the new international context.  Member States must reaffirm certain principles and fundamental ideals, which had guided the founding fathers of the United Nations, and invent strategies and methods that were bolder and more adapted to the seriousness of the world's problems.  States needed to persevere and intensify efforts to resolve such issues as poverty and hunger, lack of education, gender inequality, environmental degradation, and lethal conflicts.

    In spite of tensions and violence that had characterized Togo's electoral process, he said his country had continued to make tangible progress in peacefully reorganizing social and political life.  With the will to have openness and dialogue, Togo had worked to safeguard human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as to strengthen the rule of law and governance.  Building a State on the rule of law required great stamina, and he called on all of Togo's development partners to support the country in its steadfast and irreversible march towards democracy.

    Emphasizing the merit of international solidarity, particularly between prosperous and developing countries, he said today's world was more and more interdependent.  It faced many threats and challenges, which required concerted and unified action from all States.  Africa, in particular, remained an area of conflict and instability, and he was pleased with the support from the international community, particularly regarding Côte d'Ivoire.  He also called on the United Nations and the international community to remain vigilant in helping the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  He believed it would be wise to act in a timely manner on the causes of conflict, rather than having to intervene later, when there were devastating consequences.

    URSULA PLASSNIK, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Austria, said that as a member of the United Nations since 1955, Austria has received much help and it felt obligated to return that assistance to those in need.  The United Nations had been a promoter of peace, and a beacon of hope on hunger, terrorism and in facing environmental disasters.  There was a need for the United Nations to be relevant, reliable and responsive.  The World Summit would further enhance that potential.  While member States might not have achieved all they sought to, the progress made should not be disregarded.  Promoting peace was the raison d'être of the United Nations.  Currently, Austria had 1,200 peacekeepers in the Sudan, Afghanistan and elsewhere.  Creating confidence in post-conflict societies required the participation of women.  They must be partners in peacekeeping efforts.  The European Union would substantially contribute to the Peacebuilding Commission's work, and so it should have a place on the Commission.

    The most serious failure of the Summit was the lack of agreement on disarmament and non-proliferation.  The International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) verification measures must be strengthened.  Common ground must be found on those tasks.  Stating that Austria supported all forms of dialogue, she said there was a particular need to reach out to the Islamic world.  As a concrete contribution, Austria would host a conference on "Islam in a Pluralistic World" in November.

    In support of the Millennium Development Goals, her country was raising its commitment of assistance to 0.51 per cent by 2010, she said.  Promoting human security was an ever more demanding task.  In the words of Simon Wiesenthal:  "What connects 2,000 years of genocide is too much power in too few hands." Austria's commitment to multilateralism was at the heart of its participation in the United Nations.  It was in that spirit that Austria put forward its candidacy for the Security Council for 2009-2010.

    The main achievement of the Summit, she said, was the establishment of the Human Rights Council, which should be a standing body with the ability to address human rights abuses swiftly.  As human rights education was also important, Austria had developed a human rights manual for training programmes worldwide.  Strengthening human rights and the rule of law would improve security for the world at large, as well as for individuals.  In particular, full respect for the rights of women and children was also indispensable.  Austria supported the preparation of Secretary-General's report on victims of violence.  She also expressed the need to reduce greenhouse gases, finalize the anti-terrorism convention, and implement a counter-terrorism strategy.

    MOHAMED BENAISSA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco, said the success of the United Nations reform process required strong political will, targeted follow-up and real implementation of agreements reached at last week's World Summit.  To that end, he called for regional and subregional strategies to be developed to ensure the attainment of the Summit goals by all.

    For its part, Morocco was committed to implementing those goals, as well as those adopted five years ago by the Millennium Summit.  By example, he said that Morocco had put in place national initiatives dealing with respect for human rights and ensuring that women played an active role in the country's development.  The National Initiative for Human Development, decreed by the King this past spring, reflected Morocco's willingness to create and promote a socio-economic development model based on democracy and economic openness.

    Turning to the threats facing the international community today, he said Morocco was engaged in the national, regional and global effort to combat terrorism and would contribute during the Assembly's current session to efforts to elaborate an international convention on the scourge.  As for development challenges, without the full support of the international community, Africa was currently the only region not on track to attain the Millennium Goals by 2015.  And while Africa acknowledged the need to take its destiny in its own hands, it was also aware that boosting the continent's economy and overall development could only come about with the help of international partners.

    Reactivation of the Maghreb Arab Union was a political imperative and economic necessity to boost development in his immediate region, he said.  On the situation in Western Sahara, he pledged Morocco's firm commitment to work closely with the Secretary-General, and United Nations envoys on the ground, as well as with all concerned parties in order to break the current stalemate and reach a political solution to the "artificial conflict" in that region.  The conflict, between Morocco and brotherly neighbour Algeria, required Algeria to participate in serious and constructive dialogue to bring the matter to an end.  In the meantime, he stressed the urgent need to follow up on the fate of missing persons and prisoners.  The Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees should be allowed to carry out a free census, he added.

    DAVID ODDSSON, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, said that human rights and the accountability of States to their citizens were insufficiently dealt with.  The Security Council must live up to the task of the mandate it was given to act where crimes against humanity were committed.  Suggesting concrete measures to achieve the goal of improving human rights, he said that Iceland supported the establishment of a United Nations Democracy Fund and the reform of the Commission on Human Rights, so the United Nations would have a credible organ to "promote universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms".  The new Human Rights Council must not include major human rights abusers.

    Turning to efforts to conclude a comprehensive convention on international terrorism, he said that the convention must condemn terrorism unconditionally and needed to include a legal definition of terrorism.  The Summit document unfortunately did not deal with the issue of proliferation and, therefore, failed to address the profoundly dangerous issue of terrorism combined with weapons of mass destruction.

    Expressing his country's disappointment in the failure to enact Security Council reform, he said that while the suggestions in the G-4 proposal were not perfect, they provided an important framework for reshaping the Council to reflect the world in its current form.  The Summit document had serious shortcomings, which could further weaken the United Nations.  Member States must continue to work very hard to deal with fundamental issues of peace and prosperity to prevent that from happening.

    ILINKA MITREVA, Foreign Affairs Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, said the High-Level Plenary and its outcome reaffirmed the commitment of Member States to the core principles of the United Nations Charter.  Renewed efforts were needed to achieve the founders' vision of creating a more secure, democratic and developed world.  While there were already so many documents, agreed positions, political commitments and adopted declarations, what was still lagging was implementation and visibility.  The sooner the effects of the decisions became visible, the sooner international public support would increase.  To that end, responsibility should be shared with other actors, such as regional organizations, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. 

    Human rights, the rule of law and democracy should occupy a prominent place in reform proposals, she said.  A Peacebuilding Commission should be up and running as soon as possible, and would function better if it had a balanced gender representation.  A Human Rights Council would also be a powerful tool to help regain the values and principles of the United Nations.  Also, the concept of the "responsibility to protect" and the Democracy Fund deserved full support.  Current efforts to create an international convention for persons with disabilities were also welcomed.  The Organization must play a leading role in implementing existing standards, though the main responsibility for that rested with Member States.

    She said terrorism had turned into the plague of modern times, requiring more joint actions based on full respect for human rights.  Further consolidation of the global anti-terrorism coalition and closer cooperation with regional organizations were also required.  Member States should agree on a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.  Peace and democracy building in Iraq and Afghanistan were among the key challenges facing the international community.  Disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness should also be given special attention.  Regional cooperation had turned into a major characteristic of the foreign policies of all countries in South-Eastern Europe.  That new spirit of cooperation must be employed in dealing with all outstanding regional issues.

    MOHAMED VALL OULD BELLAL, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mauritania, said obtaining the objectives of peace, stability and security hinged on the effectiveness with which the combat against terror was waged.  That combat required global cooperation, he added, stressing that Mauritania rejected the scourge and that terrorism had absolutely nothing to do with the peaceful religion of Islam.  On the Middle East peace process, he called for further efforts to ensure the rights of the Palestinian people in the wake of Israel's withdrawal from parts of the Gaza Strip.  Mauritania was also following closely the situations in Iraq, Sudan and the Western Sahara.

    Highlighting the political changes currently underway in his country, he noted that three ministerial committees had been established to guarantee fair elections and an equitable judicial system, in addition to other initiatives aimed at ensuring a stable society, access to employment and the promotion of human rights for all.  He reiterated an earlier call to the United Nations to provide technical assistance for the elections set for next year.  Such assistance would provide the appropriate conditions to ensure a thoroughly democratic process.

    On regional development, Mauritania supported the Arab Maghreb Union, he said, adding that his country also welcomed and reaffirmed its brotherly relations with African nations.  Turning to United Nations reform, he called for rapid and thorough reform of the Assembly and strengthening of the Security Council.  Both important organs needed to be made more representative in order to give weight and authority to their respective work and decisions.

    PER STIG MØLLER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark, said the Summit gave the international community an ambitious agenda, and Denmark intended to roll up its sleeves and get to work on it.  The Secretary-General's impressive report gave the world community a basis for profound changes in the Organization.  He also identified the three pillars to the United Nations in this century; security, development and human rights.

    The Security Council was the custodian of peace and security, he continued.  The Council must demonstrate the will to enforce its decisions.  If not, it would lose its credibility, and the international community lose its only forceful multilateral instrument.  Targeted sanctions were an important instrument for achieving compliance with the Council and international law in general.  An intensive dialogue must continue on implementing sanctions and any approach must include using both carrots and sticks -- incentive and punishment.

    His Government supported a United Nations entity to fight terrorism and would take an active part.  He welcomed the new resolution on terrorism.  Denmark, as chair of the Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee, had a special responsibility and had given priority to enhancing cooperation between Council subsidiary bodies.  It was also talking with members of the United Nations family not previously engaged in anti-terrorism measures.  Anti-terrorism measures must be taken while respecting human rights.  It is imperative to strike the right balance between swift action against terrorism and adequate safeguards for individuals.  The Summit had sent an important message about the need to fight terrorism, even if it was not as strong as his Government would have liked.  Agreement must be reached on a comprehensive convention against terrorism.  Weapons of mass destruction in the hands of non-State actors remained the most frightening scenario today.

    A concerted effort in disarmament and non-proliferation was needed, he said.  The failure of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) conference this spring must not lead to resignation, but a redoubling of efforts.  Also, the trade in illicit arms and light weapons must be stopped.  Arms transfers must be transparent, and an arms trade treaty was needed which was United Nations based and included all weapons.  He actively supported the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission, and it should be operational by the end of this year.  Conflicts in Africa loom large still.  African solutions to African problems must not lead to indifference by donors.  His Government was sponsoring major capacity-building efforts in Africa, and remained committed to contributing well above the 0.7 per cent target goal of the Millennium Development Goals.  He urged others to do so, as well.  The responsibility for development rested not only with donor countries, but with developing countries, as well.  Poorer countries must give priority to human development, respect for human rights, tackle national inequalities and curb corruption.

    Prosperity and security would only occur when human rights were protected, he said.  The international community must act on violations whenever they occurred and all members' performances must be measured against universal standards.  Denmark supported the Human Rights Council as a permanent entity of the United Nations.  Sixty years after creation of the United Nations, human rights should be given priority.  The grave crimes of Darfur served as a reminder that impunity is unacceptable.  Peace and justice were not contradictory, but complementary.  The referral of the Darfur situation to the International Criminal Court was a major step forward in the fight against impunity.

    JEAN-PAUL NGOUPANDE, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and Francophonie for the Central African Republic, said that, a few days ago, the 2005 World Summit had adopted a compromise document that had been acceptable even though it did not take into account all the courageous proposals the Secretary-General had made concerning United Nations reform.  With that in mind, he believed that the debate on Security Council expansion and other open issues was far from over, regardless of the agreed outcome.  Indeed, for Africa, which had only begun to make itself more widely known on the international scene over the past few decades, a strengthened and more representative United Nations was critical.

    As for the situation in his country, he thanked all those international and regional partners that had supported the transitional and electoral processes there.  And while the will of the people had been crucial in that process, international solidarity had been a major element of its success.  The second phase of the return to peace and security was underway, and in the face of the enormity of the reconstruction challenges, such solidarity remained a necessity.

    In all its efforts, the Central African Republic was aware that the people must see and feel the "peace dividend" before true stability could take hold.  The creation of the Peacebuilding Commission would be critical to helping countries such as his.  Each time a country that had plunged into the abyss began to raise its head again, it was a victory for all humanity.  No country could stand by without assisting in the reconstruction process.  No country should be allowed to slip back into a state of chaos.  While overcoming the after-effects of years-long conflict was his country's long-term goal, in the short term, it needed to address serious health care deficits.  That could not be achieved without real efforts to strengthen national capacities and the help of the United Nations.

    FABIO BERARDI, Minister for Foreign and Political Affairs and Justice of San Marino, said the United Nations faced an extremely critical time.  Reform was necessary and the Organization's structure needed to be modified.  The reform, which would cause tension and require sacrifices, needed to be based on democracy and efficiency.  Procedures needed to be streamlined.  The proposed creation of a Human Rights Council might not solve the basic problem of the Human Rights Commission, which was politicization.  The Human Rights Council should report directly to the General Assembly.  The proposed Peacebuilding Commission was an excellent institutional response to post-conflict situations.  It should also play a role in the prevention of conflicts and be composed of members of both the Security Council and the ECOSOC, as well as of countries involved in specific situations.

    He said that, over the last five years, development assistance activities had fallen short of expectations.  San Marino wished the outcome document, as well as the Secretary-General's report "In Larger Freedom", had more incisive and comprehensive proposals in that regard.  In the twenty-first century, more than one billion people lived on less than one dollar a day and 30,000 died every day from hunger.  Only by eradicating poverty, underdevelopment and epidemics and forgiving the debt of developing countries, would collective well-being be achieved.  Peace and security were vital.  They could not be separated from terrorism concerns.  The fight against terrorism must be a responsibility of all States.  He added that the "responsibility to protect" could only be accepted if it was understood not as a violation of national sovereignty, but as a duty of all States in relation to countries plagued by massacres, genocides and humanitarian crises.

    He said Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had shown great courage and determination by removing settlers from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  San Marino welcomed the elections held in Afghanistan, as well as the approval of the new constitution in Iraq.  Noting that many women were victims of poverty, hunger, injustice and discrimination, he said the international community's incapacity to free those women was a scandal.  San Marino also hoped the international community would strengthen its efforts to protect the environment.  Mankind had the necessary resources and instruments to tackle global challenges, and the United Nations was a major tool at its disposal.  San Marino was confident the Organization would be up to the task.

    ABOUDOU SOEFO, Minister of State, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Cooperation and Francophonie of Comoros, said the victims of violence, human injustice and natural disasters had only one recourse -- the United Nations, created to ensure and promote human dignity and security.  But the Organization needed "new breath", particularly in a new century.  Foremost, the United Nations membership must be as representative as possible in order to address the concerns of all States.

    He went on to call for greater efforts to ensure peace in the Middle East, and stressed that concrete efforts needed to be taken to guarantee the necessary stability for peace and development in Iraq.  He welcomed the untangling of some crises in Africa, particularly the slow but steady progress being made in the Sudan.  Efforts at peace could not be undertaken without efforts to address disease and pandemics, debt, famine and poverty.  He also called on the Assembly to urgently address environmental threats, which seemed to go unnoticed or ignored by the wider international community.

    Turning to development issues, he said the socio-economic inequalities between the North and South were striking, and the developing world would suffer the effects of its economic marginalization, as well as those of the digital divide, for years to come.  That situation must be dealt with urgently so that developing countries could avail themselves of the benefits of globalization.  International actors should also work to insure an equitable global trading system that would assist developing countries in joining the World Trade Organization (WTO).  For its part, Comoros was committed to achieving the Millennium Goals and had instituted programmes to boost development.  Turning to the island of Mayotte, he said that a new process of dialogue had been started between his country and France, and he believed that the French Government would be willing to work towards a solution.

    BERNARD R. BOT, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, said the Summit achieved numerous important goals, including the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission, the agreement to establish a Human Rights Council, positive language on development and the Millennium Development Goals, and advancements on the fight against terrorism and United Nations reform.

    Turning to the disappointments of the Summit, he said that the Netherlands was disturbed by the failure to address proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, one of the greatest threats to mankind.  There was also a need for more specific modalities on the Human Rights Council, as well as more definitive language on the International Criminal Court.

    Turning to pressing issues, such as the fight against terror, he said that Member States needed to enforce United Nations Resolution 1624, which prohibited incitement to commit a terrorist act.  To fight an effective battle against terrorism, a careful balance between judicial and police measures had to be maintained, and a peer review in the Human Rights Council would help to achieve that.

    Focusing on recent events related to tolerance in his own country, he said that the best way for societies to protect tolerance was by treasuring one's identity, while simultaneously daring to reassess the prevailing norms and standards.  The process of reflection was an on-going one and part of the answer was to remember that it was wrong to hold an entire community accountable for the deeds of individuals.  Radical ideologies that caused people to isolate themselves from the rest of society attacked the spirit of democracy and should not be given an inch in any society, he added.

    FOUMATA KABA-SIDIBE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guinea, said the Summit outcome had been reason for hope, but the necessary reform of the United Nations must continue.  She called for renewed attention to the situation in her region, particularly concerning developments in Côte d'Ivoire, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sudan's western Darfur region, and Somalia.  Turning to other issues of international concern, she appealed to both the Palestinian and Israeli sides to exert all efforts to follow through on implementation of the Quartet-backed Road Map peace plan.

    On modern threats and challenges, she called on the international community to exert the political will to eradicate the scourge of terrorism.  Turning to the situation in her own country, she said the Government's attempts to implement its national poverty reduction strategy had been hampered by regional instability, a recent influx of refugees and other external factors. 

    She welcomed the decision of the leaders and finance ministers of the Group of Eight to increase development aid and alleviate the debt of some highly indebted poor countries in Africa.  The time for promises had past, she said in conclusion, urging the international community to live up to the commitments that had been agreed at both the Millennium Summit and at last week's 2005 World Summit.

    JOSÉ RAMOS-HORTA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste, said that, ever since power was handed over to the country's elected President, Timor-Leste had made real progress in nation-building, the consolidation of peace, economic development, national reconciliation and enhanced relations with its neighbours.  But malaria and tuberculosis were widespread and food insecurity continued to be problematic.  Timor-Leste was a new member of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum.  The Governments of Timor-Leste and Indonesia had established a joint commission on truth and friendship.  The Commission was mandated to examine the violence that took place before the United Nations-sponsored popular consultation.  Timor-Leste was mindful of the need to accord dignity and respect to victims of past abuses.  For Timor-Leste, justice and accountability did not fall exclusively within its national jurisdiction.  The first obligation was to build a peaceful, stable, democratic and prosperous society.

    He said Timor-Leste was disappointed that the United Nations was tainted by corruption, with regard to the "oil-for-food" scandal.  While the United Nations had failed at times at the highest levels, it had also brought hope to millions.  The United Nations would be more effective if regional bodies did their share in addressing the challenges in their respective regions.  The calls for Security Council reform had overshadowed all other issues, including much needed reform of the General Assembly.  Timor-Leste endorsed the establishment of a Human Rights Council and strongly supported the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission.  Also, the ECOSOC needed to be reformed.  He added that, Asia was grossly underrepresented in the United Nations system.  In that connection, Indonesia was uniquely suited for permanent membership in the Security Council.

    He said Timor-Leste understood the reservations of some countries that did not wish to see a Security Council that was too large.  Countries that had been invaded and colonized during the Second World War were not receptive to their former aggressors.  Today, Japan was a peaceful and vibrant democracy that had made enormous contributions to developing countries.  He commended Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for his disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, and hoped it was the first step toward the implementation of the Road Map peace plan.  The international community had a duty to provide necessary support in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Timor-Leste was concerned by the deadlock over the conflict in western Sahara.  Member States must not by inaction condemn the people there to languish in refugee camps.  Timor-Leste also commended the leaders of the Polisario Front for releasing all remaining Moroccan prisoners.

    LAURIE CHAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Solomon Islands, said that while the world continued to spend more and more on military programmes and equipment, the lack of progress on disarmament and non-proliferation, with the continuing threat of terrorism, begged the question whether the world had become a safer and more stable place, as the founders of the United Nations had envisioned.  Supporting the Summit's outcome as a starting point for reform, he said measures to rejuvenate the multilateral system must occur at the international, the regional and national levels.  The December WTO meeting focusing on the Doha agenda must provide stable and predictable market access for all least developed countries products.  His country lagged in meeting the Millennium Goals and sought international support in that endeavour.

    Expressing support for the proposed establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission, he said the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) was a shining example of how, with courage and determination, the principles and institutions of democracy and human rights could be safeguarded.  The Commission could draw a lesson from that.  If his country was to progress beyond its initial law and order crises, it had to rebuild the economy.  Per capita income was low and debt levels remained crippling at more than 100 per cent of the GDP.  The innovative Philippine approach of converting debt for equity to finance Millennium Goals-related projects was worth looking into. 

    The world continued to experience changing weather patterns and an increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, he said.  Small island developing States such as Solomon Islands, were more vulnerable to natural disasters.  Therefore, he called on the international community for a renewed focus on the issue and concrete commitments.  He also called on those countries that had not yet done so to sign the Kyoto Protocol at their earliest convenience.  Sadly, the G-8 Summit on climate change had not taken decisive action.  He supported expansion of the Security Council that would accord a permanent seat to such countries as Japan.  In conclusion he said that the time had come to allow Taiwan, a major player in the international economic system, to take its rightful place within the United Nations.

    SALOME ZOURABICHVILI, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, said the United Nations was at a turning point and must reform itself.  International terrorism, conflict, development and environmental global challenges had to be addressed.  Georgia considered the Summit outcome as a substantial step in the right direction, as it dealt with the issues that would define the future.  Those issues included the eradication of poverty, consolidation of peace and security, protection of human rights, protection of refugees, the need for an effective system of peacekeeping, the need to protect citizens from ethnic cleansing, and the need for dialogue among cultures and civilizations, all of which were of direct relevance to Georgia.  Her country's vital interests were at stake.

    She said Georgia was experiencing "frozen conflicts" on its own soil.  Those conflicts led to the freezing of economic and democratic development, which led to trafficking, criminal activities, and possible terrorist activities.  Frozen conflicts called for the effective involvement of the United Nations.  For years, the United Nations had dealt with the Abkhazian conflict, but had not gotten effective results.  Georgia needed a mechanism through which the international community would effectively support initiatives and policies directed towards the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

    She said Georgia was taking very seriously the outlines of the Summit document and wanted to see it fully developed and implemented.  She welcomed creation of an initial operating capability for a standing police capacity; the creation of a Human Rights Council, which should avoid double standards, as well as omissions or silences; and the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission that would develop integrated strategies for post-conflict rehabilitation and recovery.  She also supported the reform and revitalization of the Security Council.

    KLAUS SCHARIOTH, State Secretary of the Foreign Office of Germany, said last week's Summit debate highlighted the inseparable link between peace, development, security and human rights, and the need for achieving the Millennium Goals.  One could not address human rights and security without addressing development.  Fair trade conditions were needed for poorer States, as was extensive debt cancellation, which must be shared between all creditors.  At the same time, those States must also create the conditions for development, including democracy, good governance, respect for human rights and measures against corruption.  States must also do their part to prevent climate change.  The tsunami and hurricane Katrina clearly demonstrated how vulnerable societies were to natural disasters. 

    He said the international community needed to stand by Afghanistan.  Major progress was also still required in the western Balkans, including full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.  In addition, the international community needed to do all it could to lay the foundations for political and economic stability in the Gaza Strip, focusing on a two-State solution with secure and recognized borders.  Tehran's continued disregard of the International Atomic Energy Agency's decisions put the gains made to date at risk for no good reason.  He appealed to Iran to return to the negotiating table.  It was regrettable that no consensus could be reached on including non-proliferation and disarmament in the outcome document.  Following the death of John Garang, the peace process in the Sudan required even greater commitment from all parties to implement the peace agreement.  Other crisis areas, such as Darfur, must not be neglected. 

    Reform of the United Nations was needed to prepare the Organisation to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century, he said.  The new General Assembly session must adopt a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.  It should also work on creating a Peacebuilding Commission and define the mandate and structures of the Human Rights Council.  The composition of the Security Council still reflected the world of 1945, not 2005.  The Council was in danger of losing its legitimacy if entire continents were not adequately represented.  Permanent and non-permanent members needed to be added.  The proposal submitted by Germany, Brazil, India and Japan was the only one that included a comprehensive reform of the Council and its working methods.  It was the only one capable of obtaining the necessary two-third majority in the General Assembly, and was an indispensable part of the overhaul of the United Nations. 

    OSKARAS JUSYS, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, said his country welcomed the most extensive and ambitious effort ever made to renew the United Nations.  Member States must ensure that the Summit commitments were implemented in order to attain real and tangible results to improve the Organization's capacity to act effectively and expeditiously in the best interests of all.  Lithuania welcomed the affirmation by the outcome document of the inextricable link between development, security and human rights, which, in its view, was a sine qua non for all future actions.  It also welcomed the reaffirmation of the Millennium Development Goals.  As a Member State of the European Union, Lithuania was proud of the Union's commitment to double its overall aid level by the year 2010, including a considerable increase of aid to Africa.  He emphasised the role of international trade in promoting economic growth and development, and in fighting poverty, and called for a rapid, ambitious and development-oriented completion of the Doha development round.

    Furthermore, Lithuania was convinced that all development strategies should have an inbuilt element of environmental sustainability.  Consequently, he welcomed the language of the outcome document to that effect, but urged States to go further.  Lithuania fully supported proposals on the Organization's management reform, and called for rapid progress in making the proposed Peacebuilding Commission fully operational before the end of the year.

    Security Council reform could not be delayed any further.  The Council's working methods must be improved, and its membership expanded, with due consideration of equitable geographical representation and the recent emergence of new major international actors and contributors.

    He said the lack of agreement in the outcome document on non-proliferation and disarmament was a major failure of the Summit.  Earlier agreements and obligations must be honoured.  States must restore consensus and invest efforts in the search for agreement on that crucial issue.  All States must rally around the Norwegian initiative on the issue, which could become the basis for viable consensus and future cooperative actions.

    Statements in Right of Reply

    The representative of United Kingdom said he was responding to a morning statement by Spain concerning the island of Gibraltar.  The United Kingdom approach on Gibraltar was constructive and based on dialogue in the trilateral forum, through which all could express their views.  His country stood by the people of Gibraltar in respect of their wishes.

    Iran's representative said he would respond to allegations made in the morning against his country by Israel, a country that had always suffered from lack of legitimacy.  Israel's nuclear capability and its "satanic intentions" demanded that the international community adopt a united front to stop Israel from carrying out its plans.  It was widely known that the only obstacle to making the Middle East a nuclear-free zone was the Israeli regime's refusal to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Israel had never been party to the relevant instruments, whereas Iran had acceded to a number of them and was in line with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  The baseless allegations made by the Zionist regime indicated that those putting Iran under pressure were actually supporting the actions of the illegitimate regime.

    Israel's representative said he was sure he spoke for others as well when he said he appreciated the lecture in human rights and non-proliferation from one of the greatest experts in the field.

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