For information only - not an official document.
Press Release No: UNIS/GA/1682
Release Date:  8 September 2000
 Forty Speakers, Including 31 Heads of State/Government, Address Issues
Of Corruption, Sanctions on Millennium Summit’s Second Day

NEW YORK, 7 September (UN Headquarters) –  The President of Ghana, Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings, delivered an indictment of global corruption this morning, telling the Millennium Summit that there would be less of that practice in Africa if the proceeds could not be hidden -- or if those proceeds, once uncovered, were returned to their real owners, the African people.

 He encouraged the world leaders to question where the proceeds of corruption ended up.  The answer, he said, was in the financial and banking institutions of the Western world.  For every dollar of corrupt money that was kept in Western banks, he stressed, one African child died, two starved and three suffered from disease and ignorance.  For every politician whose corrupt money was uncovered, there were five whose money went untouched.  While developing countries had to check corruption, “we are also entitled to demand that the developed world does not thrust corruption upon us”, he said. 

 During this morning’s session, the Summit heard from 22 heads of State, 9 heads of government, 1 Crown Prince, 2 deputy heads of government, 5 foreign ministers and the chairman of a delegation.

Tariq Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, said that the United Nations, whose Charter provided for the protection of human rights, had become a tool in the fundamental violation of human rights through the comprehensive and unrestricted use of sanctions that inflicted suffering on targeted peoples.  More than one million children, women and elderly people had been the victims of those unjust and unrestricted measures in his country during the past 10 years.

He said it was, therefore, not enough to only admit that sanctions were inactive tools that led to counterproductive results, and to dubiously call for directing them in a better way.  Rather, their use should be restricted and they should not trespass on the scope of the Charter.

The President of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, while stressing that the Organization must adapt and re-equip itself to deal with new manifestations of perennial problems, such as human rights, said his own country had tested the United Nations ability to deal with some new challenges.  In the areas of human rights protection and the administration of justice, the United Nations had been called upon to adapt itself to a unique situation.  In devising an innovative process to deal with impunity, it had established a special court to prosecute gross violators of human rights and international humanitarian and domestic criminal law.

Several smaller countries also warned of the potential risks posed by globalization.  The Prime Minister of Andorra, Marc Molne, told the gathering that political globalization could come into being at the cost of small countries.  The peace of nations could not be built on the supremacy of empire, whether political or economic.  Small communities, such as Andorra, must be able to maintain their presence without losing their identity.  “If political globalization does not include the small States, we shall be less in all possible meanings of the word”, he said.

Also addressing the concerns of smaller States, the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Kenny Anthony, asked whether the United Nations had demonstrated in any way that it was a sanctuary for small island developing States.  In that respect, he pointed to the orchestration by the World Trade Organization (WTO) of the destruction of the economies of some small Caribbean countries, through a ruling that condemned the preferential marketing arrangements for their bananas in Europe as anti-free trade.  How could that be just when those arrangements were a life force of those countries? He asked.

Statements during this morning’s session were also made by the Presidents and Heads of State of Qatar, Poland, Lithuania, Finland, Mali, Zambia, Croatia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, Norway, South Africa, Moldova, Togo, Botswana, Tajikistan, Nauru, Hungary, Slovenia and Cameroon. 

The Prime Ministers of Singapore, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Italy, Trinidad and Tobago, Slovakia, and Greece also made statements.

A member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates and the Crown Prince of Monaco also made addresses this morning.

Statements were made, as well, by the Deputy Prime Minister of Kuwait and the Foreign Ministers of Myanmar, Malaysia, Egypt, Turkmenistan, Central African Republic and the Chairman of the delegation of Mauritius.

The Summit will meet again at 3 p.m. today.

Work Programme

 The General Assembly’s Millennium Summit met this morning in its second day of deliberations.  Some 30 Heads of State or Government, as well as other high-level government representatives, are scheduled to speak.


 SHEIKH HAMAD BIN KHALIFA AL THANI, Emir of Qatar:  The United Nations is qualified to formulate an international system that spreads the blessings of globalization on all humanity, while putting checks on its negative effects.  Some of the ways to ensure the success of such a strategy include the establishment of a comprehensive educational plan based on eliminating illiteracy, promulgating compulsory education and providing opportunities for harnessing information technology to achieve development goals.  The third millennium man is not satisfied with knowing only how to write, but should be able to master the use of modern communication and be able to freely express his ideas and discuss those of others. 

 To improve the economic situation of developing countries, efforts to write off the debts of poor states should be taken seriously.  It is useful to have these debts transformed into capital invested in development projects that revive the production process and generate employment opportunities which will, in turn, reduce, if not eliminate, the flow of emigration to developed countries.  It is regrettable that donor countries’ development assistance is not proportionate with their gross domestic product (GDP).  It is in the interest of developed countries to be mindful of the great damage that will, by reason of their economic policies, befall the developing countries. 

Developed countries turn a deaf ear to the high prices of their own products, but raise objections when the prices of raw materials, such as petroleum, rise in international markets, even though these price-rises are the result of high taxes imposed by the developed countries.  Industrialized countries resort to various excuses with the aim of weakening the competitive power of some developing countries. They and their giant corporations place increasing restrictions on utilizing the vast progress in the different spheres of human knowledge and technology development, under the pretext of protecting intellectual property.

ALEKSANDER KWASNIEWSKI, President of Poland:  Twenty years ago, the phenomenon of Polish Solidarity gave rise to a surge, which eventually melted the ice of the cold war.  Today, democracy, reforms, reconciliation and development have become part and parcel of my country’s everyday life.  Moreover, the whole of Central Europe has emerged as a factor of stability.  Let us ask ourselves, however, have we really been able to develop and apply procedures and instruments to effectively protect human rights?  Have we found a way to overcome divisions between South and North?  Can we protect the natural environment?  Do we know how to ensure that the progress in information and communication really favours the development of culture and education and will not become an era of information chaos instead?

We should remember that there is a dark side to globalization.  The disparity between rich and poor countries continues to grow.  We can succeed in this endeavour, however, only if we accept that the world’s development must be founded on universal values.  In this respect, the principle of solidarity –- a shared responsibility -- will have an important role to play.  Solidarity is sensitivity to the needs and anxieties of the weak.  It is a willingness to cooperate and to offer support.  It is a priority of concerted efforts over unilateral action.  It is respect for diversity and dialogue.  But, above all, solidarity is about the freedom, dignity and welfare of the individual as they are brought into focus in all global political action campaigns.

 What the world needs today is a synthesis of the strengths demonstrated by the free market, combined with realistic and people-oriented solutions, which have to be introduced into political practice.  The international order is changing -- hence the imperative for reform of the Organization.  Within the United Nations we need efficient organs, a flexible programme and the effective use of resources.  Our role as heads of Sate or government should be to provide clear guidelines, political support and adequate resources for the Organization.  In an ever-changing world, the Organization should also offer us a sense of stability and predictability.

VALDAS ADAMKUS, President of Lithuania:  We cannot anticipate that the process of renewal of the United Nations and the increasing role of the Organization will proceed on an easy and fast track.  Whether we succeed in re-adapting ourselves to the new reality will largely depend on the involvement of States and regions.  The United Nations will enhance its influence only when Member States take on greater shared responsibilities through increased contributions to the Organization.  Lithuania is increasing its contribution to United Nations peacekeeping operations. 

I believe that in the face of the globalized world of tomorrow, the United Nations will increase the scope of its human dimension activities.  Human rights should become a cornerstone of the emerging world structure.

Good relations with neighbours has become a hallmark of Lithuania’s region.  Despite serious disagreements in the past, the strategic partnership that has evolved between Lithuania and its neighbour, Poland, is a remarkable example of such good relations.  The countries of Central and Eastern Europe have shown that integration works.  Yet, those countries still must solve numerous issues, which I refer to as ‘divorce legacies’.  In the process of the disintegration of one dominant power and one ideology, thousands, if not millions, of people are waiting to be compensated for lost lives, health and property.  The United Nations could play a more important role in addressing the expectations of those people. 

TARJA HALONEN, President of Finland:  The United Nations needs to be relevant to its Member States, but specially to their people.  It is important that all individuals sense the relevance of the Organization and support its mission.  The United Nations has done, and needs to continue to do, good work for those most in need:  women, children, minorities and the disabled.  The United Nations must be significant in the maintenance of international peace and security.  Peace is not only absence of war.  Democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law and good governance are essential for comprehensive security and development.  They are also effective means of crisis prevention.

The United Nations must make a serious effort to ensure that all countries and all people can enjoy the fruits of globalization.  Another challenge to the United Nations is to determine how to use the revolution in information and communication technology to advance development.  At the same time the United Nations must continue its work in improving basic education.  Closing the digital divide helps narrow the gap between developed and developing countries and makes them more equal partners in world affairs. 

However, there is no magic formula for development.  New and old remedies must complement each other.  Increased assistance must focus on individuals and their needs.  We must forgive the debts of the poorest countries and remove obstacles from their trade.  The participation of the civil society is very important for the relevance of the United Nations.  Its input is needed in all United Nations activities.  Their representatives could be included in official United Nations delegations, as Finland does.  Wide international cooperation among all actors brings the United Nations closer to “We the Peoples”.  Faced with multi-faceted tasks the United Nations needs a strong commitment to multilateralism from all its Members. 

ALPHA OUMAR KONARÉ, President of Mali:  Children are our future, and as such they come first.  Their future should not be one of trafficking, child soldiers and exploitation of child labour.  The picture for the people of Mali is one of great poverty, the result of crushing debt, increasing oil bills, meager compensation for our goods and poor economic decisions.  One of the ways to change that reality is faster and more sustained growth.  The fight against poverty should be carried out taking into account the unique features of each country.  We have to free up initiatives, particularly private initiatives, increase official development aid and make greater use of the technological revolution and new information technologies.  We have to pay attention to the World Summit on the Information Society, to be organized in 2003 by the International Telecommunications Union. 

We need a climate of freedom and rights to create a context conducive to good governance.  We must have a clear common position, condemning brutal interruptions of the democratic process and military coups both in Africa and elsewhere.  We must condemn genocide and other flagrant violations of humanitarian law.  We must fight for greater human security by fighting the proliferation and trafficking of arms.  We have to condemn the physical mutilation of human beings and refuse the culture of impunity by rejecting amnesty following killings.  We welcome the emergence in Warsaw last June of the Community of Democracies.  The African Union, established at Lomé, Togo, last July, will create the conditions for true partnerships in a world of globalization. 

Despite its negative media image of war and violence, Africa is still a continent with formidable assets and looking to the future with confidence.  Nine out of 10 people with AIDS are in Africa.  Education must move us forward in the new millennium.  The duty of our generation must be accompanied by solidarity.  Reforms are needed within the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, in order to better represent the peoples of the world.  None of this can be achieved if people are not placed at the heart of concerns and a true dialogue among civilizations is begun. 

FREDERICK CHILUBA, President of Zambia:  It is regrettable that so many years after the establishment of this body, global peace is still far from being achieved, while the vast majority of the world's population continues to live in abject poverty.  Poverty is not an accident, but a result of inequitable economic and political interaction in which the weak continue to be deprived of the resources necessary for development.  It is totally unacceptable that in this age of modern technology and the information superhighway, squalor, misery and disease continue to ravage millions, including women and children who bear the brunt of poverty.

 Measures to address this situation include improved market access, deeper and broader debt relief, foreign direct investment and other capital inflows, and financial and technical support in the multilateral trading system.  The enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative by the “Group of Eight” countries has had little impact on debt and poverty.  Eligibility and access to the HIPC Initiative must benefit many more countries that are in desperate need of support.  The United Nations must give poverty eradication the priority it deserves.  It is futile to claim a common global humanity while perpetuating structures of injustice and inequality.

 As we commemorate the millennium, we should give hope to the war-afflicted peoples in many regions of the world by finding lasting solutions to the causes of conflict.  Africa has been hardest hit by these conflicts.  We must speed up our reaction to crises.  Our slow response has cost many lives.  We in Africa have recognized that military and other unconstitutional upheavals are the major causes of political instability.  As a result, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) has adopted the "Red Card Principle", by which any OAU member State whose government comes to power unconstitutionally will immediately be suspended until democratic rule is restored.

 STJEPAN MESIC, President of Croatia:  We must provide full support to the United Nations and endeavour to make it, through common efforts, the most relevant and efficient factor in the current world -- an Organization that every nation will truly experience as its own.  I have in mind a regenerated and –- in every respect –- revitalized United Nations capable of responding to the challenges of the new century and providing the much needed framework for efforts focused on strengthening security and achieving progress and prosperity for all.  Croatia needs, urges and counts on the assistance of the international community in overcoming the consequences of war, and strengthening the institutions of civil society and democracy.

 Today, I urge you again to pool efforts and actions, lest we disappoint the millions who in the twentieth century gave their lives for a better tomorrow, as well as those who will spend the greater part of their lives in the twenty-first.  Let us help the young in both the poor and rich countries to overcome the frustrations currently facing them.  Time is running short -- let us set off before it is too late.  The path ahead is clear.  Let us follow the signpost offered by the Secretary-General in his report and breathe life into it.  Let us also secure the recognition of freedom, equality and the fundamental rights of States, peoples and individuals.

 Let us further secure the recognition of principles, and strengthen the instruments and standards in the fight against discrimination, intolerance, supremacy and dependence of any kind.  Let us harness our forces to curb the arms race, which is wasteful and lethal in every respect.  Let us also espouse the positive achievement and promises of globalization and attenuate its negative implications by favouring economic relations that will help poor countries emerge from their predicament.  In conclusion, let me call on you to confirm our dedication to peace and to protecting all human rights everywhere in this world.

 LEONID KUCHMA, President of Ukraine:  Disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons remain essential tasks to be addressed by the United Nations and the world community.  Not so long ago, Ukraine took an unprecedented step by renouncing its nuclear arsenal –- the third largest in the world.  Nuclear weapons are useless and unpromising as an instrument of State policy.  It is necessary to do everything possible to ensure that mankind gets rid once and for all the fear of nuclear disaster.  We support the idea of convening a global conference to work out ways and means of eliminating such a threat. 

 Today there is an acute need for the United Nations to develop a comprehensive strategy for conflict prevention based on the use of preventive diplomacy and peace-building.  It is upon this premise that the peacekeeping philosophy of the United Nations and its Member States in the next millennium should be built.  The best and most reliable weapon of peace is steady economic development.  For developing countries and countries with economies in transition, success in economic reforms and poverty eradication programmes lie in obtaining free access to world markets, in liberalizing trade and resolving external debt problems. 

It is in this domain that both the United Nations and the international financial institutions can launch their initiatives.  Prospects for the safe future of humankind depends on our readiness and ability to make long-term investments in the development of democracy and protection of human rights.  Ensuring proper living conditions for future generations from the environmental standpoint is another urgent task that requires our concerted efforts.  We made the decision to shut down the Chernobyl nuclear power plant by 15 December.  This decision gives us an opportunity to work out a mechanism to resolve the social, economic and environmental problems that affect the peace and security of individual countries and all humankind. 

Flight Lieutenant JERRY RAWLINGS, President of Ghana:  The absence of strong and resilient institutions in regions like Africa has encouraged corruption from within and without.  Corruption is a global phenomenon.  Africa in particular, however, has suffered severe damage, both materially, morally, and now appears to be seen, as the only -- if not the most -- corrupt continent in the world.  Admittedly, it may have had some notably corrupt leaders and governments.  It may also be true that our continent is not yet free from the blight which has drained some of our companies of resources which should have been used to improve the quality of life of the poor and disadvantaged.  While developing countries have to check corruption, we are also entitled to demand that the developed world does not thrust corruption upon us. 

Let us ask ourselves:  where do the proceeds of this corruption end up?  The answer:  in the vaults of the financial and banking institutions of the Western world.  For every dollar of corrupt money that is kept in Western banks, one African child dies, two starve and three suffer from disease and ignorance resulting from lack of health care and education.  There will be less corruption in Africa if there is no place to hide the proceeds of corruption, or if those proceeds, once uncovered, are returned to their real owners, the people of Africa.  Apparently reputable companies and multinationals are known to engage in underhand deals with high officials in order to gain advantages over their competitors or to carry out unethical operations.  A World Bank report recently blacklisted 29 companies for corruption in contract-awarding procedures in an African country -- Nigeria.  The overwhelming majority of these companies were from developed countries in the Western world.

Even worse is the corruption of the domestic front-men of such companies, whose corrupt monies continue to be retained in Western banking and financial institutions and about whom there is a dead stony silence.  Yet for every politician whose alleged corrupt money is uncovered, there could be five corrupt African collaborators whose monies remain untouched in Western banks.  Only last week, in an unprecedented diplomatic faux pas, a high-ranking Western diplomat in my country openly declared at a public forum that leading Western companies, including those from his own country, offer bribes to Government officials in order to influence the award of contracts.  In other words, Western Governments know about the corruption of their countries’ companies operating in Africa and keep quiet about it.  That is not good enough.

I am convinced that Africa’s political independence will continue to remain meaningless unless it is reflected in an Africa that is transparent, corruption-free, accountable and trusted.  The temptation held out by the developed world must stop, however, if this vision is to be achieved.

 HUGO CHAVEZ FRIAS, President of Venezuela:  Fifty-five years ago, the United Nations was created to fight for security, equality and the happiness of people.  From the Last Supper to the Millennium Summit, how many summits have men held?  It seems that we hop from summit to summit while our people keep moaning from abyss to abyss.  Today’s world is marked by misery, inequality, hunger and death.  Today, let’s tell man the truth and let us give meaning to the word truth.  There are two interpretations on truth.  The first is that truth is not an abstraction or a dream.  The second is that truth is the only thing that links us to the whole, that connects us to humankind.  An Indian philosopher once said that truth is not static but changes and moves.

The United Nations was created when we were emerging from World War II.  At that time humankind rallied around the truth in order to put an end to human butchery.  That truth has disappeared with time.  Now truth is a creative hope, a colossal challenge.  We cannot remain stubborn and cling to a truth which is no longer valid today. 

 Millions continue to die in the world today, not as a result of war but of hunger, inequality, exploitation and poverty.  Venezuela joins the clamour of the wretched of the earth to ask for a radical change in the United Nations.  The Security Council in particular needs to be democratized and expanded.  Truth cannot be imposed by a few.  We need a new cry for democracy in the United Nations, and Venezuela joins that cry.  Every three seconds, a child dies of hunger in the world today.  That is our truth.  Let us build our new truth and act accordingly.  The time of the people has come.

 HEYDAR ALIYEV, President of Azerbaijan:  The main trend at the current stage of the world’s development is globalization.  Such a trend should help ensure sustainable development, integrity and the stability of systems to govern nations; overcome discrimination in economic relations; and improve the welfare of peoples.  The determining vectors of the process should be supremacy of the principles and norms of international law, evolutionary changes, partnership and support by the more advanced nations for less developed States, and mutual trust and recognition of national distinctions.  The strength of democratic development is in diversity.

 However, external threats and internal problems, pressures and involvement in the struggle for spheres of influence did not allow young and fragile democracies an opportunity to freely carry out the policies that would meet the interests and expectations of their people, to strengthen and develop their statehood, and to be involved in peaceful development.  Since the first days of their existence, they have been forced to fight a hard battle for independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.  States, which have suffered from acts of aggression, seizure of territories and ethnic cleansing, aggressive separatism and terrorism, rightly expect maximum effective action from the United Nations in establishing a just and secure world.

 Unfortunately, the main destabilizing factor in the situation in the South Caucasus has been aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan, which has brought incalculable tragedies to millions of people.  Without a settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan and other conflicts, without removal of external pressure, including the foreign military presence, it is impossible to achieve peace and security in the region.  If the South Caucasus were to acquire political integrity and neutral status, it would permit establishing normal mutual relations among the States of the South Caucasus, and ensure their harmonic integration to the world economic system.  The United Nations has a great responsibility for peace in the world.  We pin our hopes on the United Nations.  Serious and rational reforms should increase the effectiveness of the Organization, in particular the Security Council.

 King HARALD V of Norway:  We must invest in the United Nations.  We must give it the strength and resources it needs to accomplish the tasks we have assigned it.  The United Nations should be empowered to deal effectively with the changing nature of conflict, to detect the seeds of conflict at an early stage, to manage conflict where it cannot be prevented and to conduct peace operations.  The United Nations should be empowered to provide post-conflict rehabilitation, to alleviate the suffering and protect the rights of innocent civilians, to punish genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

 It is essential to eliminate the causes of armed conflict, most of which are closely linked with poverty, underdevelopment and violation of human rights.  The Norwegian Nobel Committee has long recognized these linkages by awarding the Nobel Peace Prize not only to the United Nations peacekeeping forces, but also to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and twice to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

 The fight to eliminate poverty is the overriding challenge of the international community at the turn of the millennium.  The Secretary-General is advancing not only the cause of development, education and health, not only the cause of peace, not only the cause of human rights and empowerment, but all three.  They are inextricably linked and mutually reinforcing.  We have all agreed on the goals for international development.  We have the knowledge and the resources to achieve them.  We will not be forgiven, and we should not be forgiven, if we fail to fulfil our promise, if we fail to share our prosperity with the neediest among us.

 ALHAJI AHMAD TEJAN KABBAH, President of Sierra Leone:  We urge the United Nations to pursue further measures to make the voices of the peoples of the world more directly heard by increasing their participation in the decision-making processes of the Organization.  The tasks ahead have become more difficult.  This is because the problems and issues that the United Nations was created to tackle have taken on different forms and dimensions.  They are becoming more complex and challenging.  Many of them seem to have become immune to the prescriptions and remedies developed over the years to tackle, resolve or eradicate them.  With the end of the cold war, for example, we are confronted by widespread “hot wars” that continue to take the lives of millions.

 How do we then act on the challenges of the new century?  How can the United Nations meet these and other challenges identified by the Secretary-General in his Millennium report?  The Organization must adapt and re-equip itself to deal with the new manifestations of perennial problems such as human security and under-development.  Sierra Leone has itself tested the United Nations ability to deal with some of the challenges of the new century.  For example, in the areas of human rights protection and the administration of justice, the Organization has been called upon to adapt itself to a unique situation, by devising an innovative process to deal with impunity.  The people of Sierra Leone have called for assistance, and the United Nations has responded accordingly by establishing a special court to bring to justice those who have committed gross violations of human rights, international humanitarian and domestic criminal law.

 In the area of conflict management, my Government recently endorsed a Security Council ban -- albeit a temporary one -- on the export of diamonds.  Although this has resulted in the loss of much needed revenue, we did so in order to strengthen the Organization’s capacity to deal with the new menace to international peace and security –- conflict diamonds.  In the area of conflict management, Sierra Leone expects to host some 16,000 United Nations peacekeepers in one of the largest operations ever undertaken by the Organization in its history.  In a sense, the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone has been designed especially for my country.  Meeting the challenges of the new millennium therefore requires us to accept the fact that governments alone cannot solve all our problems.  Partnership in one form or another is required.

 THABO MBEKI, President of South Africa:  The poor of the world stand at the gates of the comfortable mansions occupied by each and every King and Queen, President, Prime Minister and Minister privileged to attend this unique meeting.  The question these billions ask is,  “What are you doing, you in whom we have placed our trust?  What are you doing to end the deliberate and savage violence against us that, everyday, sentences many of us to a degrading and unnecessary death?”  These are the victims of the systemic violence against human beings that we accept as normal, but for which we judge the second millennium adversely.  And yet, that millennium created the conditions for us to end this modern tragedy. 

 Part of the naked truth is that the second millennium provided humanity with the capital, technology and human skills to end poverty and underdevelopment throughout the world.  Another part of that truth is that we have refused to use this enormous capacity to end the contemporary, deliberate and savage violence of poverty and underdevelopment.  Our collective rhetoric conveys promise.  The offence is that our actions communicate the message that, in reality, we do not care.  We are indifferent.  Our actions say the poor must bury the poor. 

 The fundamental challenge that faces this Millennium Summit is that, in a credible way, we must demonstrate the will to end poverty and underdevelopment.  We have to ensure that the poor play their role, not as recipients of largesse and goodwill, but as co-determinants of what happens to the common universe of which they are an important part.  The essential question we have to answer at this Summit is whether we have the courage and the conscience to demonstrate that we have the will to ensure that we permit no situation that will deny any human community its dignity.

 PETRU LUCINSCHI, President of Moldova:  Only a strong United Nations can offer equal chances for development by diminishing the gap between prosperity and poverty by encouraging the new democratic processes.  In this regard, there is need for more rigorous observance of and adherence to international rules of conduct. 

All United Nations Member States have a key role to play in meeting the challenges of environmental degradation; climate change; industrial disasters and the nuclear threat.  But realistically, the security of this century depends on how the big States understand and cooperate with each other and the degree to which their interests are harmonized -- while respecting small States' legitimate interests. 

 Moldova supports the reform of the United Nations.  The number of permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council should be moderately increased, with both developed and developing countries.  Moldova also welcomes the process of revitalizing the General Assembly and restoring its central role as the United Nations main representative body, so all States can express themselves equally.  As a small State facing the problems of transition and threats to its territorial integrity, Moldova sees in the United Nations hope, support and the guarantee of every country's development. 

 GNASSINGBE EYADEMA, President of Togo:  This Millennium Summit is taking place at a time when the world is entering an era of far-reaching change with the end of the cold war and the dazzling development of information technology.  These transformations command our attention and invite us to review how we work.  The institution we created has stood the test of time despite the tempests it has had to brave.  It has held firm because its foundation was solid, but that doesn’t mean it does not need to renew itself.  Two areas in which the United Nations should transform its image are peacekeeping and development. 

For years, many have condemned the fact that the composition of the Security Council no longer reflects current global power relations.  At the time it was created, two-thirds of today’s Member States were not independent.  Africa represents 53 out of the 189 Member States of the United Nations.  More than one-third of Security Council debates deal with Africa.  We therefore believe that it is time to review the composition of the Council to allow new permanent members, chosen among the new economic powers which have emerged since World War II and among the regional powers from the developing countries. 

The emergence of new types of conflicts over the past several years requires better designed peacekeeping operations.  We strongly support the third recommendation of the Brahimi Panel Report on Peacekeeping, which states that once deployed, United Nations peacekeeping forces must be able to fulfil their mandate professionally.  We also support recommendation number four, which requests that mandates of United Nations peacekeeping forces be clear, credible and achievable.  We also wish that these operations could be adequately financed.  We hope that the Security Council and Member States will positively examine the recommendations of the Report and implement them rapidly. 

 FESTUS MOGAE, President of Botswana:  I will confine myself to the scourge of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Southern Africa.  I stand before you to claim the dubious distinction of being leader of the country most seriously affected by HIV/AIDS in the whole world.  The fight against HIV/AIDS is for us the challenge of the millennium.  We daily witness elderly mothers mourning the untimely deaths of their children and a growing population of orphans.  These are the traumatizing realities with which we have to contend.

Having enjoyed peace and security and steady economic growth, we suddenly find our social gains reversed by this scourge.  The economically active in our society are being decimated, life expectancy is calculated to have fallen by 20 years, from 67 to 47, and half of those who become infected are under the age of 25.  One of our major strategies to fight this rampant scourge has been the establishment of a multisectoral National Council that I personally chair.  The thrust of our strategy is information, education and communication, combined with concerted efforts to destigmatize HIV/AIDS.

One more day of delayed action is a day too late for thousands of our people.  As developing countries, we cannot deal on our own with the whole spectrum of requisites for education and sensitization; testing and counselling; adolescent reproductive health; prevention of mother-to-child transmission; acquisition of retroviral drugs; and medication and care for affected populations.

 EMOMALI RAKHMONOV, President of Tajikistan:  Tajikistan wholeheartedly supports the Millennium Assembly's determination to strengthen the key role of the United Nations as a universal mechanism for maintaining international peace and security, and for developing multilateral cooperation based on an acceptable balance of interests for all nations.  The United Nations is called upon to encourage processes aimed at reducing the gap in the development level between the rich and poor nations.  This should be done, in particular, through encouraging investments in those countries with economies in transition that do not possess oil and gas resources. 

 Tajikistan shares the view of many that forgiving the accumulated debts of the countries that have gone through large-scale conflicts or natural disasters would provide a powerful impetus to sustainable peace-building in those countries.  Tajikistan is also striving to do whatever it can to contribute to the solution of pressing ecological issues.  We call on the international community to support the known initiative of our country to proclaim the year 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater. 

The experience gained and the lessons drawn from the resolution of the inter-Tajik conflict demonstrate that the United Nations will only be able to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan with the active support of the world's leaders, first and foremost Russia and the United States, and the good will of the Afghan parties to the conflict.  Tajikistan is in favor of further strengthening the peacekeeping potential of the United Nations.  Only the Security Council is vested with an exclusive right to allow, on behalf of the international community, the use of force for the purpose of maintaining peace or restoring international peace and security.  Our sacred duty is not only to preserve the United Nations, but to make the world better and more secure.

 BERNARD DOWIYOGO, President of Nauru:  Despite having only joined the United Nations last year, Nauru values highly the work of this august body and also holds the highest expectations for its success in the new century.  It was through the support of the United Nations some 35 years ago that the people of Nauru secured the support of the international community for a vote on self-determination.  Nauru is greatly encouraged that, through the assistance of the United Nations, our brothers and sisters of East Timor have secured a path towards independence.  On this occasion, we join in prayer with the families of the three United Nations personnel killed yesterday on duty in East Timor. 

 On the other hand, our Melanesian brothers and sisters in West Papua are still striving to break the imposition of colonial domination and foreign control.  It is imperative that West Papua be given the rightful opportunity of a democratic referendum.  Nauru would, therefore, support a United Nations resolution that permits the people of West Papua the choice of self-determination.  My Government is also concerned that the area constituted by the Pacific States does not receive sufficient attention from the United Nations.  Oceania is a distinct area with unique characteristics and challenges.  The Pacific should be recognized on its own by the United Nations as a separate regional group.  Together with our brothers and sisters of the Pacific, the people of Nauru are threatened with genocide through global warming and the rise in the sea level.

 If the small island developing States are to be sustainably developed, they will need a massive cooperation effort from the developed States and a genuine appreciation for their unique challenges.  One of the developed States that has extended a hand of cooperation has been the Republic of China.  Along with a number of other Member States, Nauru supports the inclusion of a supplementary item on the agenda of the General Assembly to examine the international situation of the Republic of China.  I am hopeful that, as the United Nations strides into a new century, reform of the United Nations Charter will assume greater prominence. 

 FERENC MADL, President of Hungary:  Global challenges require global responses.  Only by concerted action can nations fight poverty, transnational organized crime, corruption, money-laundering, terrorism, drug trafficking and, most critically, environmental pollution.  Hungary will act regionally, as well as globally, in protecting the environment.  The principle of “polluter pays” should be included in all relevant international documents.

 With regard to human rights, the rights of minorities must be protected at the international level, with the responsibility and accountability of concerned States incorporated into a legally binding comprehensive instrument.  To reflect today's new economic and political realities, the Security Council needs to be enlarged with new permanent members, including Germany and Japan.

 The anniversary of Hungary's 1,000 years of Statehood coincides with the new millennium.  Its foreign policy is based on the universal values historically close to its own heart, including respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, democracy, the rule of law and social justice.  Those values are the message of celebration Hungary can send to the Millennium Summit, which represent a commitment to the purposes and principles demanding United Nations action.

 MILAN KUCAN, President of Slovenia:  Experience tells us that recognizing, promoting and protecting human rights is as important as recognizing and protecting sovereignty of States.  The internal wars of today engender violence, genocide and ethnic cleansing.  In such conditions a people's fate is determined by its race, nationality or religion.  Regional security and global peace are increasingly dependent on the United Nations capacity to efficiently intervene when States perpetrate violence against their own citizens.

 The Security Council must act in line with its responsibility to preserve peace and security in the world.  It must recognize circumstances demanding authorized action, including the use of force.  It must respect State sovereignty, but not by remaining paralysed in the face of crimes against humanity.  Led by the United Nations, the world community has an obligation to protect innocent populations against genocide, ethnic cleansing and systematic mass violence.  The right to veto represents the special responsibility borne by permanent members of the Security Council.  It must not be allowed to paralyse the Council's work under the guise that national internal affairs are at stake.

The international community must react and not stand helplessly when the principle of State sovereignty is abused.  A humanitarian intervention is an active response to a crisis and a continuation of preventive diplomacy.  A new chapter of international law must be written, based on contemporary international morality.  Norms now are vague and either unknown or deliberately violated.  The doctrine for humanitarian intervention must be based on a modern interpretation of the Charter in line with new norms, with an emphasis on protecting human rights. 

 PAUL BIYA, President of Cameroon:  The North and South co-Presidency of this Summit is a sign of the efforts to forge ahead jointly.  The present Summit amplifies and extends the goals of the fiftieth anniversary and calls for reiteration of the ideals and objectives of the United Nations and consolidation of all gains so far.  The Organization can take pride in its striking attainments in peace, security, human rights and international cooperation.  Nevertheless, many scourges remain -- war, conflict, violations of human rights, gaps between North and South and new crises such as HIV/AIDS.  They all seem to augur for difficult times ahead.  The United Nations thus needs our support to meet the legitimate aspirations of the people of the world. 

 Today it is up to us to give the Organization the means to pursue its objectives.  This includes finding a just and equitable solution to the problem of debt.  Research is also needed to prevent armed conflict.  In addition, if globalization is not accompanied by a new moral order, peace, which is so cherished in our time, will be put in jeopardy.  Ethics constitutes an essential expectation of the entire human community.  How can we speak of human rights without the right to development?  What is democracy and good governance without the ethic of management for the common good?  I therefore call for the establishment of a committee or international observatory, which will be entrusted with promoting, both between and within nations, fundamental and universal human values.

The Summit provides the opportunity for fruitful thought on the future.  Let us conduct it with an optimism that is based on the granite foundation of solidarity.  We also need to demonstrate courage to build a future free from war and poverty.

 KENNY D. ANTHONY, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs and Information of Saint Lucia:  Why should my country, an island with a population of 155,000, be interested in the will and conscience of the United Nations?  Has this body demonstrated in any way that it is a sanctuary for small island developing States?  Where is the hope when the World Trade Organization (WTO) has orchestrated the destruction of the economies of some small Caribbean countries, through a ruling that condemns the preferential marketing arrangements for their bananas in Europe as anti-free trade?  How can this be just when these arrangements are a life force of the economies of these countries?  How can this be defensible  when the Caribbean banana trade represents only 2 per cent of world trade in this product?  Where is equity, justice and fairness when other developing countries participate in this attack on our livelihood?

 Where is the promise when the member countries of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) arrogate to themselves the right to pronounce on the efficacy of the international financial services industries of a number of Caribbean countries; and when they imperiously seek to determine the nature of our tax regimes by blacklisting those industries as harmful tax havens?  Harmful to whom?  I ask.  In this new age we are exhorted to be competitive.  Yet, whenever we manage to succeed in those endeavours, our developed world shouts foul and accuses us of being harmful and discriminatory.  If the United Nations truly wishes to embrace small States and the developing world and gives us the promise of its birth, it must redefine global governance so that it embodies the principles of inclusiveness, equality, transparency and participatory action.

 The Organization must take the leading role in refashioning multilateral economic governance so as to establish a new regime that is legitimate and effective, and so that States like Saint Lucia are not further victimized, marginalized or ostracized.  What is therefore needed is a paradigm shift; one that will place the all-encompassing issue of human security at the heart of the United Nations agenda.  The Organization is the only universal forum capable of institutionalizing development cooperation.  Yet some of its rich and powerful members seek to denature it and strip it of its developmental role and focus.  The Organization must become the eternal symbol of the world community for equality in rights and unity of action, and an institution where weakness can be ameliorated by justice and fairness.

GOH CHOK TONG, Prime Minister of Singapore:  Our world is becoming more globalized, yet at the same time more fragmented.  While technological advances have brought the world closer, they have also opened up divides between those who are able to cope with the resultant challenges and those who lack the capacity to do so.  We need to update and strengthen the United Nations to deal with these new problems, as well as the stubborn old ones.  We need to do so because no nation can tackle these challenges alone.  There are three areas of concern in this regard.  First, the nation State is being redefined.  The power within States is flowing downwards and being localized in provinces and cities.  At the same time, State sovereignty is being circumscribed by regional and multilateral organizations. 

Second, there is growing empowerment of the market in recent years.  The financial industry holds more assets than the central banks of the world combined.  The value of our national currencies is determined every day by the market, rather than by our central banks.  Third, globalization and the knowledge revolution will widen the income gap between countries, and hence create new tensions.  What can the United Nations do to help minimize these new inequalities?

The United Nations should provide the leadership within the community of multilateral organizations to help the poorer nations develop the capacity to profit from globalization and the knowledge revolution.  The United Nations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and several other international organizations were created in a different era to deal with different challenges, and they must be updated.  Also, today there is an imperative for them to coordinate their efforts.  They need to get together to assess what competencies the poorer nations need to develop in this new era.  I call on the Secretary-General to institute regular dialogues among the multilateral organizations to bring about such coordination.  As the United Nations cannot by itself solve the problems of the world, the onus is also on us, acting collectively within our regional groupings, to help lift our own capabilities. 

DENZIL L. DOUGLAS, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis:  The cause of the people -- the preservation of peace and human security -- is a work in progress.  In this context, my country credits the United Nations as having tremendous relevance in our lives.  To us, the Millennium Summit is a call for collective action to create a more effective United Nations.  St. Kitts and Nevis encourages democracy among States by calling for the long overdue reform of the Security Council, and brotherhood and inclusion in the case of Taiwan.

We, furthermore, would like to see the United Nations intensify and further coordinate international approaches to the pandemic of HIV/AIDS, and to become more involved in the debate on technology transfer, as well as becoming the genuine partner of small island developing States in the context of globalization.  Time and time again, our small island States have swallowed the bitter medicine prescribed to us in order to participate fully in this global economy.  Whenever we appear to reach a milestone however, the post is arbitrarily moved.  The question of a vulnerability index must be considered in planning programmes of assistance by the multilateral development, financial and State institutions. 

We commend the areas of the Secretary-General's report that speak to human security and expect the United Nations to continue to play a proactive role in this endeavour.  The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries should realize that unilateral "blacklisting" of countries is counterproductive.  Debates affecting small countries should be held in multilateral forums where all our voices can be heard.  Finally, the United Nations must play a greater role in forging better understanding on trade-related issues.  The government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis pray for the continue viability of the United Nations and hope that it will become the mechanism that best translates our dreams into realities.

 GIULIANO AMATO, Prime Minister of Italy:  What we have been hearing here is not just rhetoric, but a wide response to the needs presented by the new century.  The sharp distinction between the part of humanity that enjoys essential rights, and the most vulnerable part that does not, demands that the United Nations face new challenges.  The credibility of the United Nations will depend on its ability to bridge this divide.  As Prime Minister of a country that has heavily invested her energies and her resources in the United Nations, I must stress that Italy stands ready to fulfil her responsibilities.  Italy, for example, is now the third provider of military manpower in peace missions.

 No action should be taken without the consent of the government involved.  There are a number of priority issues that we will have to address; the first and the main priority must be to make substantive progress in poverty reduction.  Our second priority task consists in improving the Untied Nations capability to handle crises.  We must also mobilize the international community against international organized crime.  On the issue of poverty reduction, the goal that we have set, halving poverty by 2015, requires radical efforts.  We need a new compact between the affluent world and the world of the poor.  My country intends to contribute directly to the Health InterNetwork suggested by the Secretary-General in his report to the Assembly.

 On the ability of the United Nations to handle crises, I will not say much more except that Italy shares in the conclusions of the Brahimi Panel Report on peacekeeping operations.  Italy intends to participate in the training of civilian and police personnel for United Nations missions.  Responsibility and priorities are keywords.  A necessary condition for these two concepts to coincide is the existence of multilateral institutions that are strong and that are perceived as legitimate.  Legitimacy means democratization of the decision-making process.  Comprehensive reform of the Security Council will have to include improving its efficiency, democratic legitimacy and power of decision.  I am not sure that the words pronounced here today will last.  But, I hope that our commitment will remain and will inspire our future actions. 

BASDEO PANDAY, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago:  Notwithstanding our achievements, small and developing countries such as Trinidad and Tobago and our sister Caribbean States face additional challenges and threats, among them the danger of marginalization in the now evident realities of globalization and technological advance.  We also face the paradox that while our small economies continue to be genuinely vulnerable to external factors and our fragile ecosystems are imperilled by developments not of our making, our graduation to per capita middle income status effectively denies us adequate consideration for the developmental support we urgently need.

The 37 small island developing States have special development needs which this summit and the United Nations must not overlook.  Over the years, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) States have petitioned the international community for recognition of the Caribbean as a special area for sustainable development, and for the protection of the Caribbean Sea as an environmental treasure for the world.  Now, we recognize the threat of new marginalization by the new disparities that come with the digital divide.  We urge the United Nations to ensure equitable coordination in the field of science and technology, particularly information technology.

We also propose a resolution from the Financing Development Forum to give borrowing countries a substantial role in determining economic and social development objectives.  It is also our firm conviction that the crime of illicit drug trafficking should be included in the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.  Finally, it is our sincere hope that this Millennium Summit will in some small measure determine a persuasion among the decision makers of the world that the kind of human concerns which most of us are preoccupied with in our own countries deserve to be an important factor in future planning.

 MARC FORNÉ MOLNÉ, Prime Minister of Andorra:  The peace of nations cannot be built, as in the year 0, on the supremacy of empire, whether political or economic.  Governments of the world must lead globalization to areas of true cooperation between North and South, between large and small, because political globalization cannot come into being at the cost of small countries.  Small sized human communities, such as Andorra, must be able to maintain their presence without losing their identity.  If political globalization does not include the small States, we shall be less in all possible meanings of the word.

 We must have the courage to speak out frankly in the coming years.  We must have the courage to condemn dictators even if they run countries that are important to our economies.  We must have the courage to opt jointly for policies of solidarity rather than reasons of State.  This must be the year of ethics and courage and the beginning of a century of valour.

 Andorra supports the Secretary-General’s Millennium Report.  There must be fair globalization, reduction of the abject poverty that grinds down one half of humankind, and a safer world which acts to prevent conflicts rather than to react to them.  There must be much less military spending and much more on AIDS research.  We will accept the Secretary-General’s invitation and sign two optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child concerning children’s participation in armed conflicts and the sale and prostitution of children and their use in pornography. 

 MIKULAS DZURINDA, Prime Minister of Slovakia:  The United Nations plays an irreplaceable role in tackling a whole range of global issues whose solution by States, on an individual or regional basis, has proven to be practically impossible.  We are aware of the necessity for the United Nations to undertake overall reform.  This becomes particularly apparent in light of the recent conflicts in the Balkans or the protracted conflicts in Africa.  The reform of the United Nations cannot be complete without reforming the Security Council.  The increase in the number of Council members, efficiency of its decision-making and transparency of its activities should foster the authority and credibility of the Council in the future.

Standing on the threshold of a new century, the international community must focus its endeavours on ensuring full respect for international law and, in particular, human rights, whose violations have recently been grave and numerous.  Hence, we fully support the expeditious constitution of an International Criminal Court and subscribe to the Secretary-General’s appeal to put an end to the culture of impunity.  Global developments reiterate the universal validity of the need to respect human rights and personal freedoms of individuals as basic prerequisites to the freedom of nations, to their dynamic social and economic development, and to harmonious coexistence worldwide.  We are firmly determined to take an active part in defending and ensuring that respect.  This Organization faces many challenges, and with the process of internal reforms accomplished, it will be able to react to each and every one of these challenges with the utmost tact and efficiency. 

 COSTAS SIMITIS, Prime Minister of Greece:  The United Nations has contributed heavily to the maintenance of international peace and security, to the creation of a new balance of relations between States, and to the redistribution of wealth between rich and poor countries.  Yet neither the United Nations nor the international community as a whole has succeeded in eradicating such scourges as poverty and malnutrition, social exclusion, deadly diseases and international and internal conflicts of extreme violence.  Our task must therefore be to find new avenues through which to control and gradually eradicate the causes of such plights.  This task requires cooperation at all levels, but mainly at the global level.  We strongly believe that the United Nations has a serious role to play in this respect.

 It goes without saying that in order to cope with this heavy burden, the United Nations system must be duly empowered both institutionally and materially.  Greece believes that it is necessary  to strengthen the position and the role of the main organs of the United Nations.  The Security Council, in particular, needs a comprehensive reform to become more representative and more effective.  Its long history has demonstrated that its inability to solve problems of magnitude is due both to its structural deficiencies and to the unwillingness of Member States to give it room to become effectively involved in matters where the sovereignty and vital interests of States are considered to override international concerns. 

We are all aware of the dangers surrounding us, but also of the potential that the United Nations has to deal properly with these matters.  It would be unimaginable and unreasonable for us to waste such a comprehensive system and fail to make full use of its precious services in securing peace and fighting the deficiencies of the world order.

SHEIKH HAMAD BIN MOHAMMAD AL-SHARQI, member of the United Arab Emirates Supreme Council and ruler of the Emirate of Al-Fujairah:  While we emphasize our true desire to work seriously with all the nations and peoples of the world in attaining the goals and objectives of the Charter and for the prevalence of security, peace and stability in our region and in the world at large, we call for the renunciation of violence, non-use of force and the resolution of disputes through dialogue and by peaceful means.  Hence the United Arab Emirates is still persisting in its quest for a peaceful solution to the dispute with the Islamic Republic of Iran arising from Iran’s occupation in 1971 of the three islands pertaining to the United Arab Emirates -- Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu-Moussa.  We call upon Iran to respond to our declared initiative to peacefully resolve this dispute in accordance with the principles and rules of international law, either through direct negotiations, or by resort to the International Court of Justice.  In this context we also call upon the international community, including Iraq, to exert further political and diplomatic efforts to alleviate the human suffering of the fraternal Iraqi people.  The Iraqi Government needs to complete the implementation of Security Council resolutions regarding the prisoners of war and other detainees of Kuwait and other countries and the restitution of Kuwaiti property.

Achieving a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East requires a commitment on the part of the Israeli Government to implement the relevant United Nations resolutions which call for the end of the illegal occupation of Palestinian and other Arab occupied territories, particularly Al-Quds al-Sharif (Jerusalem) and the Syrian Golan.  Efforts need to be sustained, as should the resumption of negotiations on the Syrian track, so that the countries and peoples of the region can enjoy security, stability and prosperity. 

Despite the multi-dimensional economic growth that has characterized developments in international economic relations, we are concerned about the challenges and problems the developing countries have to endure.  International economic stability requires the participation of both the developing and developed nations.

The United Nations still represents the most appropriate international forum for the dealing with contemporary regional and international issues such as limiting the proliferation of prohibited weapons, situations of foreign occupation, poverty and debt.  Therefore we call for the reform of the Organization, especially the General Assembly and the Security Council, in order to enable them to effectively deal with those challenges.

 Crown Prince ALBERT of Monaco:  The rules of the planetary game are changing.  Peoples are confused, and nations, even the most powerful, are in doubt.  They see that they can no longer build history by themselves.  The only recourse remains the San Francisco Charter, which represents the need for collective security.  In order to be capable of assuming its responsibilities, it must adapt.  It must do so and it is doing so at its own pace.  In terms of international security, the United Nations must obtain the means to more effectively prevent conflicts, for example by devoting more resources to the research of peace.  It must also combat threats other than military ones.  It is in the field of disarmament that progress runs slowly.

In terms of human rights and humanitarian law, the United Nations has gained a number of remarkable instruments.  It is necessary for the Organization to ensure the smooth functioning of bodies entrusted with their implementation.  It should also examine how new economic and financial powers are behaving with regard to human rights.  In terms of development, it will be essential for the United Nations, in the process of globalization, to respect cultural diversity.  In terms of the environment, the Organization has been able to single out the true priorities and elaborate ecological standards. 

Our duty is to place the Organization in a position to ever better carry out its lofty missions.  We must thank it for its efforts and support and encourage it.  We need, more than ever, a universal Organization.  We hope for an Organization which will be a moral reference point and which will conduct the affairs of the world with integrity.  We hope the Organization will be able to continue to carry out its noble mandate with more authority.

 SHEIKH SABAH AL-AHMAD AL-JABER AL-SABAH, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait:  Our world today is hallmarked by globalization, colossal economic blocks and fast advancing technology.  Nonetheless, we continue to be challenged by intense racial and sectoral violence, persistent outbreaks of disease and natural disasters, as well as a whole array of problems outlined in the report of the Secretary-General.  In order to achieve better living conditions in the new century, those challenges must be faced squarely by drawing on human resolve, ingenuity and innovation. 

At this landmark session the international community, represented by the United Nations, should collectively reject any attempt to resolve differences among nations outside the parameters of the principles of the United Nations and the overarching concepts of peace.  The United Nations system must remain the primary resort for the resolution of international disputes and its rulings should be respected and honoured by all its members.

 We must reaffirm our commitment to the rejection of any form of human slavery or denial of human rights, regardless of the excuses or circumstances cited to justify it by any political system or regime.  Within this context, we cannot tolerate the abduction of innocent hostages by a totalitarian regime, which continues to hold them for political bargaining.  The sense of loss and frustration runs deep in the souls of those families who continue to hope the international community will hold that regime accountable and coerce it into releasing those innocent victims or account for their whereabouts. 

 TARIQ AZIZ, Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq:  To be successful in countering future challenges, the United Nations should reflect the will of all its peoples.  The Charter was drafted on this basis.  Yet during recent years its ability to implement its decisions has been hampered by the influence of powerful States dominating international relations for their own interests.  The situation was aggravated during the 1990s as a result of United States hegemony and domination of the Organization for the benefit of imperialist objectives.  Ironically, the United Nations -- whose Charter provides for the protection of human rights -– has agreed to be an instrument of fundamental violations of human rights through the comprehensive and unrestricted use of sanctions against targeted peoples.

In the case of Iraq, the victims of these unjust and unrestricted measures amount to more than one million children, women and elderly people over the past 10 years.  It is therefore not enough to admit that sanctions are impersonal tools that lead to counterproductive results, and then to call for directing them in a more efficient way.  Rather, their use should be restricted, and they should not trespass on the scope of the Charter.  Nor should they be held hostage by the will of the United States, which, in the service of its own interests and hostile policies, hijacked the Security Council resolution on the lifting of sanctions on Iraq.

The United Nations cannot escape its moral responsibility for the consequences of sanctions.  This responsibility starts once the sanctions are imposed, rather than following their catastrophic consequences.  We also approach so-called humanitarian intervention with great caution, since the concept may be used by influential Powers, such as the United States, to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.  We disagree with the assumption that we must choose between the principles of sovereignty and those of humanitarian international law.

 U WIN AUNG, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar:  Each in its own way, the Member countries of the United Nations, are trying to bring development to their respective countries.  In order to succeed they must choose the path that suits their need and is compatible with present-day realities, with their history, culture and national ethos.  It would be wrong for powerful countries to impose their system on others and mould developing countries in their own image.  Myanmar is building a genuine and durable democratic system in our own way.  In our country, the flames of conflict have been extinguished, the guns silenced.  The Government harms no one and commits no atrocities.  And yet there are some who would stir up the tranquil waters. 

 With the advent of globalization, many new opportunities are opened to us.  The world is now experiencing another technological revolution –- the information technology revolution.  The industrial revolution resulted in the colonialization of the peoples of developing countries.  We must make doubly sure that the information technology revolution does not bring along with it a new form of colonialism.  The fruits of the new revolution must benefit all mankind.  But, there is a very real possibility that globalization will result in the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming even more impoverished.  Here, we rightfully look to the United Nations to play a leading role.

 That role is of paramount importance.  We must reform the Organization so that it will be equal to the task.  New changes are required, but the cardinal principles of the Organization and its Charter are sacrosanct.  The principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, sovereign equality and non-interference in internal affairs are cardinal principles that are as valid in the new century as they were in the old.

DATO' SERI SYED HAMID ALBAR, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia:  We are gathered here to reaffirm our faith in the United Nations which has served the international community for over half a century.  The Organization must continue, through its development programmes and activities, to be an important vehicle and catalyst for the transformation of societies in the developing world.  The United Nations must be a more democratic body.  Reform is imperative for an organization that was fashioned more than a half a century ago in the prevailing circumstances of the 1940s.  It has to recognize that it now serves the interests of 189 members, not just those of the original 40 plus members. 

The vast majority of the members of the United Nations today are developing countries. Consequently, any meaningful reform of the Organization must place the interests of the majority of its members at the core of such an exercise. There is a need to reform other organs of the United Nations, particularly the Security Council. The Council should be enlarged and restructured to reflect the new realities and be made more democratic.

As the most universal organization in the world, the United Nations cannot but be compelled to play the leading role in the process of globalization.  There is also a need for a greater international cooperation to deal with the risks and challenges of the new and dynamic international environment.  We commend the Secretary-General for initiating dialogues and interactions with the Bretton Woods institutions.  We hope this could be further developed as an integral mechanism in the Organization's efforts to influence the deliberations of important international institutions, including those of the WTO. The United Nations has an enormous task ahead in the twenty-first century.  Let us all work together in a true spirit of mutual understanding and full cooperation to achieve our goals. 

AMRE MOUSSA, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt:  The world has reached the threshold of turning dreams into reality and imagination into a living existence in many walks of life.  However, challenges are also great and hazardous.  It is incumbent upon us at this historical juncture to lay down together joint intellectual bases for tackling the inputs of this new era with its aspirations and challenges, represented in the wide gaps in the levels of development.  International action within the coming years is necessary in many fields.  First, in addition to wars, the scars of terrorism and challenges of drugs, a lacerated environment, ethnic discrimination, religious intolerance and intellectual extremism, there are new contemporary ailments, most notable the overwhelming desire for hegemony, domination and the alienation from democracy.  Second, the expansion of the available information base and opening up of the free market should not mean the spreading of a culture that challenges or wrestles other civilizations.

Third, Egypt calls for a general extensive discussion, within the framework of the United Nations General Assembly, on a new international contract to be discussed by representatives of legislative bodies and assemblies, as well as by civil society.  Emphasis is required on the need to narrow the digital divide as well as matters related to women, children, population, health and social development.  Fourth, Egypt calls for the enhancement of the role and efficacy of the United Nations in maintaining international peace and security, including the conclusion to the ongoing dialogue on the restructuring of the Security Council allowing further equality, transparency and democracy in the Council's actions and decisions. 

Finally, Egypt has closely followed the millenium forum of non-governmental organizations and welcomes the ambitious plan of action highlighting the need to respect the national sovereignty of States, the right of people to self-determination, calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons and the end of sanctions.  Egypt desires peace and development in Africa, fair and comprehensive peace in the Middle East and the establishment of a state of Palestine, in order to crown the peace process launched by Egypt 20 years ago.

BATYR BERDYEV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan: Globalization is one of the main trends of modern times.  However, we cannot ignore the potential threat of social upheavals that are fraught with attempts to homogenize political systems and reduce historically established diversity of world views and systems of cultural values to only one political philosophy that leaves no other alternative open.  We share in the view that the United Nations system needs to be radically reformed towards strengthening and expanding its role in the world.  We are against dispersal of United Nations functions to individual States or groups of States or other organizations.  This is fully applicable to such serious problems as that of Afghanistan.

As regards ensuring stable social development and progress, regional cooperation acquires special significance in today's world.  In addition, globalization of international economic relations calls for the elaboration of an international convention on the regime and guarantees for the functioning of interstate pipelines.  It is also highly important to ensure that the United Nations undertake monitoring of the situation with regard to the establishment of a new legal status of the Caspian Sea.

Interconnections and interdependence of the processes that are underway in today's world are evident.  Their dialectics are built along the following line:  human being - state - region - continent - whole world - humankind.  Therefore we believe that by understanding the entire degree of its responsibility any state and any nation -- be it a large or a small one -- is capable today of influencing the entire course of the world's development precisely in accordance with this sequence.

 MARCEL METEFARA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and for la Francophonie of the Central African Republic:  The Millennium Summit provides an opportunity to take stock and consider the role the Organization will be called on to play in the twenty-first century.  The United Nations is the ideal focus  upon which all the energies of the universe should converge to address the challenges of the coming century. 

We want to commend the Secretary-General and the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for the seriousness with which they are preparing for the Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries, to be held in May 2001 in Brussels.  The Central African Republic is actively participating in those preparations.  We hope that on the threshold of the third millennium, the outcome of the Conference will be commensurate with the challenges faced.  We want to thank the United Nations for the actions taken to consolidate peace and democracy in the Central African Republic.  May the Millennium Summit herald a new age of cooperation that will bring about progress and peace for the international community as a whole. 

 ANUND PRIYAY NEEWOOR (Mauritius):  We remain faced today with old issues such as poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy, which continue to afflict vast populations across the world.  While large-scale wars have been averted under the existing world order, which is based largely on the United Nations Charter, low-level conflicts continue to occur, affecting the lives of millions, particularly in Africa.  The spectre of a nuclear holocaust continues to haunt humanity.

 We must acknowledge that the present world order has proved glaringly inadequate in addressing the old issues, let alone the new ones arising from globalization of the world economy, the rapid growth of information technology and the resulting digital divide, the consequences of environmental degradation, HIV/AIDS, gender issues and many more.  Most regrettably, the gap between the haves and the have-nots is widening dramatically, rather than narrowing.  A large number of countries cannot provide even the basic necessities of life to their peoples.

 From Seattle to Washington, D.C., Davos to London, people have signalled in no uncertain terms that the present world order must be reformed for the benefit of humanity at large.  All 189 United Nations Member States recognize that it is time to reform the Charter so that it better reflects the realities and dynamism of the world today.  In particular, Security Council reform is long overdue, as it can hardly be regarded as representative of the United Nations membership.

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