"SUFFERING OF 11 SEPTEMBER WAS INFLICTED ON PEOPLE OF MANY FAITHS AND MANY NATIONS", US PRESIDENT TELLS GENERAL ASSEMBLY’S HIGH-LEVEL DEBATE
Also Says Governments Must Crack Down on Terrorist
NEW YORK, 10 November (UN Headquarters) -- The suffering of 11 September was inflicted on people of many faiths and many nations, the President of the host country told the General Assembly this morning, as it opened its general debate seven weeks after terrorist attacks on the host country and city. "If we were to read the names of every person who died, it would take more than three hours", he stated.
The General Assembly and the Security Council had met in emergency meetings the day after the attack, United States President George W. Bush recalled. Some governments turned a blind eye to terrorists, but Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) required every United Nations Member to crack down on terrorist financing, to share intelligence and to deny sanctuary, safe haven, transit or weapons to terrorists.
The war against terror must not be an excuse to persecute minorities, but there must be avenues to express dissent peacefully to discourage speaking through violence, he said. The creation of two States in the Middle East in line with Security Council resolutions would be supported as soon as all parties swore off violence.
Reaffirming that the United Nations was "the indispensable common house of the human family", Secretary-General Kofi Annan said all shared the host country’s repugnance and sorrow at the loss of human life. Yet to focus all energies on the struggle against terrorism would give the terrorists a kind of victory, because the United Nations agenda of peace, development and human rights was no less pressing.
Facing a choice between a mutually destructive clash of civilizations or a global community, he said rich and poor nations must agree on international trading. The United Nations must place people at the centre of all it does and ensure that resources and expertise were applied to common needs by reaching out to the widest range of partners. Priority issues included poverty eradication, humanity’s work against HIV/AIDS, prevention of deadly conflict and placing sustainability at the centre of policy.
The General Assembly President, Han Seung-soo, also the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea, affirmed that the terrorist attacks of 11 September were an unspeakable tragedy for the entire international community. The delayed opening of the general debate carried a special meaning and a renewed sense of responsibility. The United Nations had moved quickly and decisively to address the issue, including by its work on a comprehensive convention on terrorism. The Nobel Prize awarded to the United Nations since the attack both recognized achievement and summoned up greater effort.
Noting that the common effort to find and punish the 11 September terrorists was an important element in a response, South Africa’s President, Thabo Mbeki, said the same unity indicated the way forward in confronting terrorism over the longer term. The socio-economic deprivation that bred social alienation must be resolved. He called for cooperation to resolve conflict situations everywhere, particularly in the Middle East, saying the sacrifice of the Palestinian people should not drag on any longer. Some in the world justified their destructive rage by claiming to be frontline fighters for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
Iran’s President, Sayed Mohammed Khatami, said the threat of terrorism should not be underestimated and its consequences not measured only in the visible realm of politics. Terrorism could not be attributed to any religion or nationality, nor eradicated through rage and violence. The disaster in the United States was so tragic and grave that it gave pause for thought. Even the most marginalized sections could inflict blows on the biggest Powers. He called for a definition of terrorism, making a distinction between it and the legitimate defence against occupation, violence and suppression, and for a coalition of peace instead of hostility. The Dialogue among Civilizations offered a new paradigm of interaction among nations and cultures.
No grounds justified the resorting to violence, Mexico’s President, Vicente Fox, said. The new threats must be fought on three fronts: accepting the supremacy of the United Nations, strengthening international cooperation to solve global problems and shaping an international order based on universal standards in line with the needs and aspirations of the community of nations.
Brazil’s President, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, called for eradicating the evils that were associated with terrorism, perhaps through a worldwide public awareness campaign to make drug users realize they were helping finance terrorism. Drug use in societies must be curtailed to stem the flow of resources to the terrorist networks spreading death and destruction.
The military response to the attacks on the United States in conformity with the United Nations Charter and resolutions was the best, if not the only, means out of the crisis, the European Union said through the representative of Belgium. However, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan was every bit as compelling as the political, diplomatic, military and economic situations. Emergency humanitarian aid was an absolute priority. An aid package of over €320 million needed the United Nations agencies for gaining access and convoying the aid. The United Nations was also vital for finding a peace plan and rebuilding Afghanistan.
Also speaking this morning were the Presidents of Qatar, Uruguay, Argentina, Venezuela and Chile.
The Prime Ministers of India and the Republic of Korea also spoke, as did the representative of Ukraine.
The Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. today to continue its general debate.
The General Assembly met this morning began its general debate, which will run from today through Friday, 15 November, with two meetings daily from 9 a.m. through 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. through 7 p.m.
Usually, at the beginning of its session, the Assembly devotes two weeks to the general debate, during which heads of delegations may state the views of their governments on any item before the Assembly. During the general debate, heads of delegations often are the heads of State or government, ministers of foreign affairs or other high-level government officials.
Because of the terrorist attacks against the host country and host city on 11 September, the general debate, scheduled for 25 September to 5 October, was postponed. As the debate is shorter than usual, the Assembly’s President, Han Seung-soo (Republic of Korea) has requested speakers to observe a limit of 15 minutes.
This morning, the Assembly is expected to hear from, among others, the heads of State of Brazil, United States, South Africa, Qatar, Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile and Iran, and the heads of Government of India and the Republic of Korea. The Secretary-General of the United Nations will also address the Assembly.
HAN SEUNG-SOO (Republic of Korea), President of the General Assembly: The heinous terrorist attacks of 11 September were an unspeakable tragedy not just for the United States, but for the entire international community. They deeply affected the work of the United Nations, forcing us to postpone and reschedule various events, including the general debate. Thus, the opening of the general debate today carries with it both a special meaning and a renewed sense of responsibility.
The actions of the United Nations over the past two months give proof of our united response to the challenge. Beginning with the unanimous resolution by the General Assembly on 12 September and the two important resolutions of the Security Council, we have moved quickly and decisively to address the overriding issue of terrorism. Progress has also been made by the Sixth Committee toward finalizing a comprehensive convention on terrorism.
For the United Nations, the last two months were also marked by a uniquely reassuring and encouraging development. We were all delighted and honoured to learn that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2001 had been awarded to the United Nations as such, jointly with its Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. I believe the award should be seen as both recognition of past achievements and a summons to even greater efforts in the future. It is this heavy responsibility that will be uppermost in my mind when I travel to Oslo in December along with our Secretary-General to accept the prize on behalf of the United Nations.
KOFI ANNAN, Secretary-General of the United Nations: We meet seven weeks later than intended and we all know why. No words can express our revulsion and sorrow at the senseless loss of life on 11 September. We share in the pain and grief of our host country and host city. Like them, we are determined to overcome the forces that inflicted the ordeal upon us.
The United Nations is indeed "the indispensable common house of the human family", as heads of State and government declared last year. When a family is under attack, its members gather in the common house to make decisions. Your representatives have been at work here, first expressing their condemnation and resolve, then working out in detail how the world can protect itself and bring relief to the people of Afghanistan, including by reaching agreement on a broad-based government. Yet to focus all our energies on the struggle against terrorism would be give the terrorists victory.
None of the issues facing us on 10 September has become less urgent. The number of people living on less than a dollar a day has not decreased, nor the number dying of preventable diseases. The factors causing the Earth’s atmosphere to warm have not decreased, and in areas afflicted by war, innocent people are murdered or driven from their homes. In short, the agenda of peace, development and human rights set in the Millennium Declaration has taken on new urgency. The temptation for divisiveness is great and the need to resist it urgent. There are two possible futures: a mutually destructive clash between civilizations or a global community. The current World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting must help rich and poor nations reach agreement on rules of international trading. In the years ahead, some fundamental principles must guide us.
First, the United Nations must always stand for the rule of law. Second, we must cherish and use our multilateral institutions and procedures. Third, the United Nations must place people at the centre of all it does. Fourth, all actors in the international system must work together towards common goals. The United Nations must ensure that expertise and resources are applied to humanity’s common needs by reaching out to the widest range of partners. Finally, what the United Nations does do, it must do well.
There are four burning issues on which heads of State and government agreed last year. One is to eradicate extreme poverty. Another is to work against HIV/AIDS. Third is to prevent deadly conflict, and fourth, to put sustainability at the centre of the policy-making process. The common thread connecting all these issues is the need to respect human rights. Two events next year will forward those aims, the Conference on Financing for Development in March and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in September. If properly prepared and managed, those meetings can mark a turning point.
We’ve improved our efficiency and coordination. We are more effective than five years ago. Our financial situation has improved thanks to payment of dues. We must sit together and make good decisions about where to devote our resources and how to organize contributions better, including that of civil society.
FERNANDO HENRIQUE CARDOSO, President of Brazil: Only fanatics fail to acknowledge the great mission undertaken by the United Nations and by Kofi Annan. This September, in New York and Washington, was marked by the very denial of dialogue and understanding between peoples: the senseless violence resulting from an odious and treacherous attack against the United States and against all peace and freedom-loving peoples. Terrorism negates all that the United Nations stands for. It undermines the very principles of civilized behaviour.
The victims of terrorism will not be forgotten, nor will those responsible for those acts go unpunished, be they individuals, groups or States that give them support. The march of folly will be vigorously resisted by the solid alliance of all free peoples. The struggle against terrorism is not, and must never become, a clash between civilizations, much less between religions.
Around the world, problems related to crime, drug abuse and trafficking, and money laundering are evils related to terrorism which must be eradicated. I wish to call for a worldwide public awareness campaign to make drug users realize that, even if inadvertently, they are helping finance terrorism. If we are to stem the flow of resources to the terrorist networks spreading death and destruction, it is crucial that drug use in our societies be drastically curtailed.
Just as it supported the creation of the State of Israel, Brazil today calls for concrete measures towards the setting up of a Palestinian State that is democratic, united and economically viable. The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the respect for the existence of Israel as a sovereign, free and secure State are essential if the Middle East is to rebuild its future in peace. This is a moral debt owed by the United Nations. It is a task that must not be postponed.
GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States: We meet in a hall devoted to peace; in a city scarred by violence; in a nation awakened to danger. Every civilized nation here today is resolved to keep the most basic commitment of civilization. We will defend ourselves and our future against terror and lawless violence. The United Nations was founded in this cause. Evil has returned, and that cause is renewed. The suffering of 11 September was inflicted on people of many faiths and nations. All victims, including Muslims, were killed with equal indifference by the terrorist leaders. The terrorists are violating the tenets of every religion, including the one they invoke. However long it takes, their hour of justice will come.
The civilized world is now responding. The United Nations has risen to this responsibility. On 12 September, the Assembly and the Security Council met in emergency meetings. I want to thank you for this strong and principled stand. I also thank the Arab and Islamic countries that have condemned terrorist murder. The conspiracies of terror are being answered by an expanding global coalition. The leaders of all nations must now carefully consider their responsibilities and their future. Some governments still turn a blind eye to the terrorists, hoping the threat will pass them by. They are mistaken. The allies of terror are equally guilty of murder, and equally accountable to justice.
The United States, supported by many nations, is bringing justice to terrorists in Afghanistan. The Afghan people do not deserve their present rulers. I make this promise to all the victims of that regime: the Taliban’s days of harbouring terrorists, and dealing in heroin, and brutalizing women are drawing to a close. I can promise too, that the United States will join the world in helping the people of Afghanistan rebuild their country and work with the United Nations to support a post-Taliban government that represents all of the Afghan people.
Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) requires that every United Nations Member crack down on terrorist financing, share intelligence and deny any sanctuary, safe haven, transit or weapons to terrorists. Beyond resolution 1373, more is required. We are asking for a comprehensive commitment to this fight. We must unite in opposing all terrorists, not just some of them. The war against terror must not serve as an excuse to persecute ethnic and religious minorities in any country. And every nation must have avenues for the peaceful expression of opinion and dissent. When these avenues are closed, the temptation to speak through violence grows.
We must press on with our agenda for peace and prosperity in every land. My country is pledged to encouraging development and expanding trade, to investing in education and combating AIDS. The United States Government also stands by its commitment to a just peace in the Middle East. We are working toward a day when two states –- Israel and Palestine –- live peacefully together, within secure and recognized borders, as called for by Security Council resolutions. We will do all in our power to bring both parties back into negotiations. But peace will only come when all have sworn off -– forever –- incitement, violence and terror.
THABO MBEKI, President of South Africa: There can be no hesitation among any of us in the resolve to work together to ensure that those responsible for the heinous actions of 11 September are brought to justice. This is not only because many nations lost their citizens on that terrible day, important as this is. It is so because terrorism has demonstrated that it has no respect for borders. It has shown in a very graphic, tragic and painful manner, as it did also in Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania, that our very humanity renders all of us, without exception, into potential targets of cold-blooded murder. The events of 11 September emphasized the point that even as the democratic system of government is being consolidated throughout the world, there are some who are prepared to resort to force in pursuit of their goals.
Immediately, it is correct that we must achieve global security cooperation, so that the perpetrators of the 11 September attacks are apprehended and punished. Correctly, the Government of the United States has emphasized that all action that is carried out must be clearly targeted against the terrorists. It has stated that such actions, including military actions, should not degenerate into collective punishment against any people on any grounds whatsoever, including those of religion, race or ethnicity. The call has gone out that all governments should contribute whatever they can to ensure the success of the common effort to find and punish the terrorists responsible for 11 September.
All of these are important elements of what has to be done to respond to those who committed the mass murders of 11 September. But they also indicate the way forward as we consider the rules that should guide us as we confront the threat of terrorism over the longer term. They put the matter firmly on our common agenda that we must also achieve global cooperation for the speedy resolution of conflict situations everywhere in the world. In this regard, it is clear that the situation in the Middle East cries out for an urgent and lasting solution. The sacrifice of the Palestinian people should not be allowed to drag on any longer. Whatever these long-suffering people might themselves think and feel, it is clear that there are some in the world who will justify their destructive rage by claiming to be frontline fighters for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
It would seem obvious that the fundamental source of conflict in the world today is the socio-economic deprivation of billions of people across the globe, co-existing side-by-side with islands of enormous wealth and prosperity. This necessarily breeds a deep sense of injustice, social alienation, despair and a willingness to sacrifice their lives among those who feel they have nothing to lose and everything to gain, regardless of the form of action to which they resort. As the Durban world conference concluded, racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance remain a critical part of the practices that serve to alienate billions of people and contribute to mutual antagonisms among human beings. The international community should spare no effort to ensure that this affront to human dignity is totally eradicated.
HAMAD BIN KHALIFA AL-THANI, Emir of Qatar: Dealing with the repercussions of the events of 11 September should not just be a matter of punishing those whose guilt in masterminding and carrying out this criminal act is proved. Inflicting punishment, though imperative, will not prevent the repetition of similar or even graver acts in the future.
We need to have a clear definition of terrorism and distinguish between this phenomenon, which is based on criminal practices and attacks against civilians and innocent people, and legitimate struggles to get rid of the yoke of illegitimate occupation and subjugation. Terrorism has taken root not only because of our inability to tackle world tension hotspots but also because we have tolerated for too long those who pursue policies of repression.
In this context, it is extremely urgent to put an end to the tragedy of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces. We call on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities in providing the necessary international protection for these people against the unjustified and unacceptable daily aggressions to which they are exposed. We would also urge everyone to support their political leaders when they call for restraint to avoid the loss of innocent civilian lives, so that the right climate can be created for a just peace to be brought to this troubled region.
Further, we appeal to the international community to provide assistance to save the lives of millions of Afghans who are facing a bleak future. There is an immediate need for relief as the Afghan winter approaches. We would urge the Taliban authorities to cooperate fully with relief organizations to ensure that essential food and medicines reach all their people. We would also urge the United States Government to designate a safe corridor for these supplies to travel through before winter sets in and before the start of the holy month of Ramadan.
VICENTE FOX, President of Mexico: I address the General Assembly on behalf of a people in the process of a profound transformation, determined to strengthen democracy and development and to take greater responsibility in shaping the new international system fostering prosperity and security in the world. This organization is the global forum where voices of all men and women can merge into a harmonious whole. Mexico hereby renews its commitment to the United Nations Charter, to international law and to developing the new rules and standards of universal validity to regulate international relations.
Mexico has initiated talks with political parties to create conditions for the constitutional reform allowing ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court it has already signed. It is updating international obligations in human rights and is accepting 11 more legal instruments in areas such as women’s and children’s rights. State security agency files have been opened to create transparency when threats to peace and security do not derive solely from acts of aggression between States but also from internal conflicts with cross-border effects and from worldwide phenomena such as transnational organized crime and of course, terrorism.
There is no doubt the magnitude and cruelty of the 11 September attacks underscored the vulnerability of States and the fragility of world peace. International terrorism not only flaunts international law, but endangers the stability of the community of nations. Neither the justness of a cause nor the inequality between antagonists -- or any grounds -- could justify resorting to violence. The new threats must be fought on three fronts: accepting the supremacy of the United Nations, strengthening international cooperation to solve global problems and shaping an international order based on universal standards in line with the needs and aspirations of the community of nations.
To work toward those goals, Mexico is honored to have been elected as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for 2002-2003. The search for lasting solutions to the new threats must include addressing the situations contributing to their emergence, such as the lack of economic development. The fight against poverty and social exclusion must be a priority with multilateral institutions helping to fulfil the Millennium Declaration commitments. Mexico will host the International Conference on Financing for Development next year in Monterrey. "We are living in a time of definitions." Our fundamental values and the United Nations are being tested. We must meet the challenge.
JORGE BATLLE IBANEZ, President of Uruguay: We must fight every form of terrorism at every level, domestic and international, and on every front, be it legal, military, security and intelligence, administrative and management. This attitude demands from us a high degree of conviction. Terrorism is by definition a blind and iniquitous phenomenon. Blind because it does not visualize or transmit goals that have been accepted by the others, thus sinking into irrationality. Iniquitous because it attacks with no measure people and property and introduces fear and anxiety.
Nevertheless, to fight against it, it is also necessary to act on other enemies of peace, such as poverty and underdevelopment, to give every human being good reasons to live and turn each one of us into active defenders of humanity as a common value from which no one can feel alien.
The United Nations, and the former League of Nations, were born as an answer to worlds that no longer exist. The instruments and institutions created by them were the answer to those realities, replaced today by another reality in the political, demographic, cultural and religious world. We created, at that time, international financial institutions as well as other organizations dealing with monetary and trade matters. All of them rule our conduct and determine what we have to do. But they never act together. While the world is becoming global, the decisions taken are fragmented and singular. We are not duly prepared for the world we have created.
FERNANDO DE LA RUA, President of Argentina: The events of 11 September have shown that terrorism can hit any State, and that no country can fight against it on its own. It is an international threat that must be confronted by the only existing institution with global reach, the United Nations. The resolutions recently adopted by the Security Council and the General Assembly have been complemented by other instruments that reflect the increasing will of the majority of States to define, without exceptions, any terrorist act as criminal and unjustifiable, whatever the goal of the perpetrators. It is particularly important to note that, in the latest United Nations conventions, it is established that under no circumstances those crimes might be considered political crimes.
We must be aware that the approach to this problem will be incomplete if we do not recognize the existence of elements that nourish the subsistence of terrorism. In the framework of the increasing interdependence of this stage of international economic life, the benefits of development only touch a few States. The increasing marginalization of countries who live in extreme poverty and the tragedy of neglected or undernourished children become more evident. This uneven economic distribution, made tangible by modern communications, is a cause of frustration and even desperation in wide sectors of the dispossessed, and creates conditions for the outbreak of conflicts, in which fundamentalist movements of different kinds are at work.
Other elements, such as the fulfilment of international commitments related to assistance for development and the creation of fairer conditions for international trade, are also essential for the economic take-off of developing nations and other vulnerable countries. It is wrong to minimize the importance of international cooperation, and to leave on their own those who have problems surviving in global economic competition. The launching of a new round of negotiations at the WTO could be an important signal to control increasingly protectionist tendencies, and might facilitate the world economic recovery in the short term and growth in the long term.
In this context, the search for sustainable development through the opening of markets is crucial, and will lead to increased world output of benefit to both developing and industrialized countries. This economic momentum will also have direct consequences on social aspects, such as the reduction of unemployment and, consequently, on the levels of poverty and marginality. The increase of exports could also contribute to the solvency of vulnerable economies, reducing their weakness against the mobility of foreign financial capital flows and enhancing their debt situation.
The persistence of conflicts, such as the one in the Middle East, is an element of tension with a wide range of repercussions on that region. Argentina wishes to renew its support for a stable and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on respect for the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to an independent Sate, as well as the right of Israel to live within safe and internationally recognized borders. The parties should urgently agree on a ceasefire and begin negotiations on a final agreement that until a short time ago seemed unreachable.
HUGO CHAVEZ FRIAS, President of Venezuela: Today, in the new century, we have suffered the abominable attacks of 11 September, attacks which are counter to the culture of peace and the dialogue among civilizations. The year 2001 ran counter to the good will of the peoples of the world. Suddenly the drums of war are sounding again, and more than ever, with greater determination, we say our struggle for peace must be a priority. Venezuela has joined in the chorus that rejected those abominable events. The fight against terrorism should be transformed into a war against war.
At the Millennium Summit we called for truth. Precisely on the basis of the tragic truth experienced nowadays, let us call for a new world pact in the United Nations. Poverty, marginality and hunger are affecting the peoples of the world. The United Nations should concentrate on the moral order and the intellectual, scientific, cultural, economic and financial order in the fight against hunger and extreme poverty. The Millennium Declaration set forth concrete goals such as halving by 2015 the number of people living on less than one dollar a day; access to education for all children; and access to potable water. Today, one year later, we have to ask how to achieve those lofty goals -- by justice. Justice is the only path to true peace.
We want truth. Without it, it will be difficult to find proper solutions for the horrendous tragedies in this world. Truth today is an open wound. It is our ultimate challenge to heal this wound. We feel that the world has to be reviewed completely. The world has been suffering from mistake to mistake. We need to look at ourselves and review the political orders. In America we speak of democracy, but in Venezuela we ask which type of democracy. The democracy of the past in Venezuela had ended up in tyranny. We need to review economic models that were established by neo-capitalism, which is the path to hell, the results of which can be seen in the streets of Latin America.
Venezuela had made a peaceful, democratic revolution, based on respect and plurality. The voice of Venezuela condemns terrorism. Any action against that crime has to be legitimate, based on respect for human rights and international law. In the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) we have proposed and achieved consensus for balance between consumers and producers. In the G15, where Venezuela occupies the presidency, we promote the North-South dialogue and South-South cooperation, as well as in the "Group of 77" developing countries.
This is a time to move towards concrete action. We want to see a Palestinian state, and years should not go by with statements towards that end. We want to see the transformation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, not tomorrow, but right away. The book of Ecclesiastes says that everything that happens under the sun has its time. Let this become the time of the people, the time of justice, the only path to real peace. Let us save the world.
RICARDO LAGOS ESCOBAR, President of Chile: New York is the city that best represents the values which the twentieth century defended at a cost of much suffering: its welcome to those who were persecuted; its respect for all nationalities, races and religions; opportunities for all; and its protection of individual rights through democracy. The terrorist attack on New York was therefore an attack on the unity of our nations. We salute the Government of the United States and President Bush, who has managed to contain passions and to act in a reasoned manner. The holding of this General Assembly marks a sound defeat for the terrorist cause, which seeks to replace the value of dialogue by the cult of violence.
At the dawn of the twenty-first century, we are confronting a new conflict of global proportions, and our first objective must be to put an end to fanaticism and intolerance. We must envision the new world that must emerge from this tragic period, a world better organized and one that shows more solidarity. Because the terrorists will have achieved their objective if, as a result of their attacks, globalization changes direction and moves towards less freedom and less international trade. Alongside growing wealth, the number of poor has not declined and the gap between rich and poor is becoming increasingly difficult to bridge. The balance of our world is precarious and the concepts and institutions that we have developed to govern it are clearly inadequate.
To stop terrorism, there is need for broad, continuing and resolute cooperation. Chile is actively implementing Security Council resolution 1373 and is party to 12 global conventions against terrorism. We cannot hide our frustration at the difficulties in the way of progress towards the restriction of the manufacture and illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. We view with horror the worsening situation in the Middle East. Our hope is that a peace agreement will be achieved that recognizes the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to establish an independent State, as well as the right of Israel to live within secure and internationally recognized borders.
We view with concern how international terrorism has affected our economies. The Bretton Woods institutions must address the concerns of the international political organizations and provide for the additional costs required by the response to terrorism. In order to create a safer world, we need more and better globalization. At the same time, more and better democracy is required. We must act preventively to protect our democracies and to ensure respect for human rights. Neither lack of development nor cultural particularities can be used as a pretext to justify curtailment of the rights recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments. Human rights require institutions that ensure respect for them. The International Criminal Court should be an essential instrument for the universal protection of fundamental human rights, whatever the rank of the violators.
SEYED MOHAMMAD KHATAMI, President of Iran: The threat of terrorism should not be underestimated, nor should its devastating consequences be measured only in the visible realm of politics. Terrorism cannot be attributed to any religion or nationality; nor can it be eradicated through rage and violence. The disaster in the United States is so tragic and grave that it implores all thinkers to engage in deep reflection. We should reach an appropriate definition for terrorism and make distinction between blind criminal terrorism and the legitimate defence against occupation, violence and suppression.
Acquiescing to any act of terrorism anywhere in the world is inconsistent with any religious or ethical principle. Likewise, resorting to violence and revenge to counter such acts could hardly be justified under ethical and humane considerations. Lacing the sacred realm of religions with violence and terror is a grave disservice to all religions and their followers.
The events of 11 September indicated that division between centre and periphery can no longer define the security order of today’s world, for even the most marginalized sections might be able to inflict blows on the biggest Powers. This development has taken all the more threatening dimensions in the light of the emergence of the dangerous phenomenon of bio-terrorism.
Let us build a coalition for peace instead of war and hostility. Let us uproot violence by fostering justice and respect for human dignity. The initiative of "Dialogue among Civilizations", which has been embraced by the international community, particularly by thinkers and intellectuals, and enjoyed the unanimous support of this august body is a step in this direction. Dialogue among civilizations is not and has never been solely a conceptual discourse. Rather, it offers a new paradigm of interaction among nations and cultures in a world that longs for peace and security.
ATAL BIHARI VAJPAYEE, Prime Minister of India: We in India know from our own bitter experience that terrorists develop global networks driven by religious extremism. Their operations are supported by drug trafficking, money laundering and arms smuggling. Some States follow a policy of sponsoring and sheltering them. They can only be countered through closely coordinated efforts of the international community. We must firmly rebuff any ideological, political or religious justification for terrorism. We should reject self-serving arguments seeking to classify terrorism according to its root causes and, therefore, justifying terrorist action somewhere while condemning it elsewhere.
India supports the current campaign against the terrorist networks in Afghanistan and hopes that it reaches an early and successful conclusion. That country’s current travails can only end with the establishment of a broad-based, representative and neutral government, which would stop the export of terrorism and extremism. The international community should work towards this even while the military campaign continues, so that we avoid a political vacuum at the end of the campaign.
For current regimes of globalization and sustainable development to be strengthened –- or even to survive –- they must be re-engineered to generate large-scale finances for poverty alleviation. The passion for globalization has to be tempered by compassion for its victims. Sadly, this thought has not penetrated into the thinking of the developed economies. Their actions also do not reflect the realization that there cannot be a sustainable revival of their own sluggish economies unless the globalization and sustainable development priorities are re-oriented and anchored in the developmental needs of two thirds of the global population.
A year ago, I had suggested, in my speech to the United States Congress, a comprehensive global dialogue on development, which would address the highly unstable situation in which one third of the world’s population lives in luxury and condemns the remaining two thirds to poverty. India would be happy to coordinate this dialogue, with the immediate objective of mobilizing resources for poverty alleviation programmes in developing countries. A preliminary agenda for the dialogue could include, among other things, the accelerated liquidation of external debts of low income and highly indebted countries and the stabilization of international prices of primary commodity exports.
LEE HAN-DONG, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea: The work required of the United Nations in the twenty-first century is no less than daunting. Numerous tasks lie ahead of us, such as fostering international peace and security, promoting common prosperity in the global village, advancing democracy and human rights, eradicating poverty, combating transnational crime, protecting the environment and enhancing human well-being. The Millennium Declaration aims to materialize a new United Nations that can effectively meet the many challenges faced by the international community.
Much progress has been made in inter-Korean relations. The goal of our sunshine policy of promoting engagement between South and North Korea is for the two sides to live together in peace and cooperation, in preparation for peaceful unification. With the end of the cold war and the passing of the twentieth century, reconciliation and cooperation has come to define the tenor of the evolving global order. However, genuine world peace has yet to be obtained. In many corners of the globe, the threat of terrorism looms large, and conflicts and confrontations caused by ethnic, religious and economic reasons still persist. Far worse, the greatest victims are often the most vulnerable people, such as children, women and ethnic minorities.
To narrow the information gap between nations, international assistance is required, particularly in building the infrastructures and human resources of developing countries. Furthermore, the effective management of the global economy and poverty eradication in underdeveloped countries should be placed high on the agenda of global consultations. The stability and transparency of global financial markets should be enhanced by reinforcing the functions of the IMF and other financial organizations. The next round of WTO talks should be launched as soon as possible to strengthen free trade and the multilateral trading system.
In recent decades, democracy and human rights have claimed many victories around the world. But they have also suffered setbacks. Human rights continue to be abused in many parts of the world, in the form of kidnapping and torture, illegal executions, discrimination and other violations. It is particularly distressing that large-scale and systematic violations of human rights persist in some regions under conflict. Such deplorable acts cannot be tolerated. I sincerely hope that the Second Conference of the Community of Democracies, to be held in Seoul in October of next year, will prove to be a milestone in this regard.
LOUIS MICHEL, President of the Council of the European Union as well as Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium, speaking on behalf of the European Union: The European Union has most categorically condemned the 11 September attacks and has declared total solidarity with the United States. The fight against terrorism is a priority. On 21 September, an Extraordinary European Council adopted an action plan for an unprecedented campaign against terrorism. The United Nations has a naturally central role in developing a strategy based on steps already taken. The Union would provide technical assistance to countries having technical difficulties meeting the measures called for by Security Council resolution 1373. States must ratify and implement the convention on terrorism, and the general convention must be finalized quickly. States must also accede to the Rome Statute calling for an International Criminal Court, so as to sanction violations of humanitarian law and contribute to peace and security in the world.
The military action undertaken in response to the attacks on the United States in the name of legitimate defence and in conformity with the United Nations Charter and resolutions is the best, if not the only, means out of the crisis. It is the first time the international community has adopted a global approach in an armed conflict. The terrible humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, however, is every bit as compelling as the political, diplomatic, military and economic aspects of the situation. The United Nations must coordinate aid efforts as part of the range of actions it is undertaking there.
Emergency humanitarian aid to Afghanistan is an absolute priority for the Union. An aid package of over €320 million has been mobilized. The support of United Nations agencies was vital for gaining access and convoying the aid. Its role is also vital in finding a peace plan for Afghanistan and rebuilding the country. Contributions towards that end must be adequate.
More than ever, disarmament and non-proliferation are the cornerstones to a peace and security structure. They must be subject to binding multilateral norms. But to resolve differences of opinion to consolidate peace and prevent resurgence of conflicts, a long-term approach requires cooperation with the United Nations, particularly in areas still fragile. The situations in the Middle East, Cyprus and in many areas of Africa must be addressed. Partnerships between rich and poor countries must be strengthened to achieve the development objectives of the Millennium Declaration. At the highest level, all should participate in the Financing for Development Conference to be held next March in Monterrey and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg next year.
The Kyoto Protocol must be ratified quickly. The Union will contribute to a new global fund to combat diseases. The Second World Assembly on Ageing to be held in Madrid in 2002 is an opportunity to work together in addressing demographic challenges. Finally, we must carry out the prime objective of the Millennium Summit, which is to strengthen and give new impetus to the United Nations in order to tackle at the highest level the major challenges facing the global community. The United Nations must continue to be reformed with an intensified effort, including by strengthening the Security Council’s responsiveness and strengthening cohesion in promoting human rights, eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development.
ANATOLIY ZLENKO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine: The terrorist acts in the United States demonstrated that the philosophy of hatred, which has no religious, ethnic or linguistic affiliation, became one of the key challenges of the contemporary world. Ukraine fully supports the resolve of the United States to give an effective rebuff to perpetrators, patrons and instigators of the terrorist acts. At the same time, it is evident that the Afghan people became hostages of terrorists. As a result, this crisis cannot be brought to an end without consistent political and diplomatic efforts. Speedy conclusion of the work on the draft comprehensive convention on terrorism gains special importance. I propose to declare 11 September a United Nations Day to Combat International Terrorism.
The essence of the United Nations leadership lies in ensuring an effective response to the new challenges to security. This role cannot be played effectively without improving decision-making at the international level. That is why my country actively supports the reform of the Security Council. Special attention should also be paid to the philosophy of the United Nations peacekeeping activities and to the problem of sanctions. Ukraine, among the largest troop contributors, has been consistently supporting the development of effective United Nations preventive mechanisms. As for sanctions, we stand for the elaboration of a well-balanced methodology of their imposition, implementation and lifting. We hope that the Conference on the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty will result in the extension of the number of participants of this Treaty.
Ukraine stands for further elaboration by the United Nations of a universal approach to ensuring sustainable development and eradication of poverty in the world. We hope the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development will be a practical step in mobilizing national and international resources to solve these problems. We also intend to take practical steps in resolving environment protection issues. Still suffering the pain of the Chernobyl tragedy, Ukraine counts on further active involvement of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other bodies of the Organization in the process of eliminating the long-term consequences of this disaster.
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