For information only - not an official document.
    14 September 2000
 Issues Related to Sanctions and Security Council Reform
Taken Up During General Assembly Debate

 NEW YORK, 13 September (UN Headquarters) -- If applied by the Security Council in adherence with the provisions of the United Nations Charter, sanctions -- specifically economic sanctions -- could produce the envisaged results when their use was well-targeted and limited in time, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium, Louis Michel, told the fifty-fifth regular session of the General Assembly this afternoon as it continued its general debate.  

 When sanctions were applied without discrimination, however, they might produce results wholly opposed to the ones envisaged, he stressed.  Too often, they only penalized the population without reaching the targeted rulers.  

 Nguyen Dzy Nien, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, said his country and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) supported the resolution of disputes by peaceful means, without interference and imposition, so as to improve and consolidate regional peace. Embargoes that had imposed untold sufferings on the people of Cuba and Iraq should end.

 On the question of Security Council reform, he stressed the need to ensure increased representation, democracy and equitable geographical distribution, in which developing countries would be represented appropriately. Developing countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America should be included in the permanent membership.

 Also addressing Security Council reform, Niels Helveg Petersen, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark, said a permanent member of the Council should apply the right of veto only for matters of vital importance.  He reiterated his proposal to establish a procedural rule, according to which a permanent member would have to state the reasons why it had decided to exercise its right of veto in a given situation.  Furthermore, that Member should state on which grounds it considered that matters of vital importance were at stake.

 Miracles were expected of the United Nations in ending the bloodshed in the most troubled corners of the world, but the Organization was seldom provided with the tools, the financing and the appropriate mandate to allow for timely and decisive action, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Barbados, Billie Miller, said.  Without that support, United Nations peacekeeping efforts would remain reactive, not preventive. 

 Statements were also made by Tonino Picula, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Croatia, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa, Yohei Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Amre Moussa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, Rosario Green, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Youssouf Ouedraogo, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso, Ahmed Ould Sid’Ahmed, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mauritania and Iaia Djalo, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guinea-Bissau.

 The representatives of Iraq, Spain and Kuwait spoke in exercise of the right of reply.  

 The General Assembly will reconvene tomorrow, Thursday, 14 September, at 10 a.m., to continue its general debate.

Assembly Work Programme

The fifty-fifth regular session of the General Assembly met this afternoon to continue its general debate.

Statements were expected to be made by representatives of Croatia, Belgium, South Africa, Japan, Egypt, Viet Nam, Barbados, Mexico, Denmark, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.


TONINO PICULA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Croatia, said that his country was ready to expand its role in peacekeeping and to actively participate in its conceptual development.  He noted that the return of refugees represented a necessary prerequisite for lasting stability in south-east Europe.  He stressed that the number of returns to Croatia far exceeded the return of Croats to Bosnia and Herzegovina.  All refugees had the right to return, but they also had the right to stay in the areas where they presently resided. 

 He said the Croatian Government believed the necessary preconditions had been met for excluding Croatia from the omnibus resolution on the Situation on Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which had been continuously adopted by both the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights.  Importantly, recognition for the progress Croatia had made in respecting fundamental values of democracy and human rights had come recently from the Council of Europe.  The Monitoring Committee of its Parliamentary Assembly had concluded last Friday that Croatia had honoured its obligations and most of its commitments undertaken at the time of its accession to the Council of Europe in 1996.  It was expected that the monitoring procedure would be formally closed at the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly at the end of this month. 

It was Croatia’s firm position that guilt for crimes committed must be individualized, he said.  No nation could be held collectively responsible for the crimes war criminals committed while claiming to act in its name.

He said that promotion of good relations with its neighbours was Croatia’s high priority goal. An issue which stood out in regard to the stability of the region was the question of succession of States created after the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia, in particular the question of membership in the United Nations and other international organizations.  The four successor States were of the opinion that this must be resolved in line with the already existing Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.  This meant that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia could not automatically continue the membership of the former State in the United Nations.  It must do as other States had done and apply for membership as the fifth successor. 

 He said that world peace did not depend solely on peace and security in Europe.  Croatia was concerned by the ongoing threat of new crises on the African continent, and the situation in the Middle East.  Croatia was highly affected by antipersonnel landmines, and called for further international assistance so as to enable unimpeded development of the country at large. Moreover, the present structure of the Security Council did not reflect the reality in international relations in the twenty-first Century.  Croatia supported the enlargement of the number of permanent and non-permanent seats in the Council, taking into account equitable geographical distribution as well as contributions to the United Nations budget.

LOUIS MICHEL, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium, associating himself with France’s previous statement on behalf of the European Union, said world peace was the primary responsibility of the Security Council.  Ongoing reforms must be brought to a successful conclusion and the Council’s legitimacy as well as its representative character must be improved.  Attribution of 10 new seats, five permanent and five non-permanent, with equitable geographical distribution, seemed to be a path worth exploring.  He also sought a voluntary and partial limitation of the veto right.

He said United Nations forces must be prepared to confront the worst case scenario and the “Blue Helmets” must be trained, equipped and commanded for such an eventuality.  They must have at their disposal all relevant information as well as the capacity to analyze such information in terms of strategy and tactics.  Troop contributing countries must be closely associated with the preparation of the mandates and the management of the operations.  The conclusions of the Brahimi report on peace operations could not be dissociated from other discussions, specifically those on the revision of the scale of assessment for peacekeeping.  He supported the creation of regional rapid reaction forces.

Sanctions, specifically economic sanctions, if applied by the Security Council in adherence to the Charter, could indeed produce the results envisaged when their use was well targeted and limited in time, he said.  But when they were applied without discrimination they might produce results wholly opposed to the ones envisaged.  Too often, they only penalized the population without reaching the targeted rulers, who frequently understood the “boomerang” use they could make of such sanctions.

Well intentioned efforts to serve peace could sometimes be voided by greed and feuds fueled by illegal exploitation of local resources, which were financing conflicts that themselves became a source of conflict, he said.  War diamonds represented only a fraction of international trade, but those illegal revenues contributed to destabilization, encouraging the logic of war and spreading corruption and anarchy.  His country was active in the efforts to create a global system of verification.  It was high time to put in place a realistic legal framework, efficient for all, in order to regulate the trade of diamonds.

Regarding non-proliferation and disarmament, he said his country was not opposed in principle to the notion of anti-missile defence, but the perception, the analysis of the threat and the means to counter it varied greatly from region to region.  He welcomed the decision by the United States administration to postpone the decision to launch an anti-missile programme and hoped that that decision would encourage negotiation of a Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START) III agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation.  His Government followed very closely the evolution of international law and jurisprudence aimed at condemning persons convicted of crimes against humanity.  It had just ratified the status of the International Criminal Court and he called on other States to do the same.

 NKOSAZANA DLAMINI ZUMA, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa, said that, subsequent to the inspiring Millennium Summit, a global consensus had emerged in which all must work together for the good of humanity.  It was recognized by all that hunger and poverty must be eradicated.  Mobilizing material and human resources to combat diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS was a collective responsibility.

 She urged the United Nations, in partnership with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and regional organizations, to accelerate the work towards peace and stability in Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and Burundi, so that those countries could take their rightful place in the continent and not be areas of perpetual suffering and war.  The United Nations, particularly the Security Council, was humanity’s principal agent for collective security, and it needed urgent reform so as to be able to live up to that solemn responsibility.

 The Bretton Woods institutions were equally in need of urgent reform in order to discharge their mandate and respond to the new development challenge, she said.  The World Trade Organization (WTO) had to adapt international trade rules so that they were equitable and fair and take account of the global development challenge.  She was concerned that, increasingly, decisions were taken outside the United Nations and other international organizations.  That was why a partnership between poor and rich countries and dialogue between North and South was critical.

 “The self-determination of the people of East Timor, Western Sahara and Palestine must be a concern to all of us”, she said.  To that end, she urged the United Nations to do all it could to expedite the processes in East Timor and Western Sahara and commended the peace efforts in the Middle East.  Regarding the equality of men and women, she observed that the feminization of poverty was growing.  The marginalization of women in States and in multilateral forums meant that countries and organizations including the United Nations were functioning at half capacity.  

Unfortunately, racism and xenophobia, were on the rise all over the world, she said.  South Africa, a country that had once represented the most brutal and most inhumane form of racism, had agreed to host the World Racism Conference next year, she noted.  She hoped that the Conference would come up with a programme of action against racism, xenophobia and other forms of discrimination.

 YOHEI KONO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, said that Hiroshima and Nagasaki had shaped Japan’s efforts to realize a world free of nuclear weapons.  The new signs of proliferation of nuclear weapons and missiles were arousing concern.  Japan had maintained the three non-nuclear principles as its fundamental national policy and had mobilized all its available resources for the prosperity of its people.  Japan hoped to utilize this experience to make a further contribution to the economic development and enhancement of the welfare of developing countries.  The final document adopted at the 2000 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) review conference was appreciated as it included provisions on steps to be taken in the future fields of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.  Japan would submit to this session of the General Assembly a draft resolution on the elimination of nuclear weapons.  

 On the issue of small arms and light weapons, he noted that the Group of Eight industrialized countries had made it clear that they would not authorize the export of small arms if there was a risk that these might be used for repression or aggression against another country.  In recent years, United Nations peacekeeping operations had needed to be deployed more rapidly.  Such operations must carry out diverse mandates that included humanitarian assistance, emergency rehabilitation and even civil administration.  Measures had to be taken to ensure the safety of United Nations personnel through close cooperation between the United Nations, the country concerned, and its neighboring countries.  Japan intended to continue to do its best in supporting the United Nations through financial contributions, assistance for rehabilitation, democratization and the establishment of legal frameworks.

 Poverty reduction was a priority for the leader of every country and Japan would continue to make active efforts on development issues in cooperation with developing countries, he said.  On the problem of Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative, Japan had decided to contribute up to a total of $200 million to the HIPC Trust Fund of the World Bank.  Communities should be built in which the rights of women, children, and various vulnerable members of society were protected and in which all people could live together.  Infectious diseases were not only a threat to life, but were also a serious obstacle to development and nation-building.  Further endeavors were required in combating transnational organized crime, protecting the environment, and solving the problems confronting women, children, and vulnerable members of society.  

 Today, issues requiring international actions were becoming more diverse and complex, he said.  The United Nations had to be strengthened to deal with such issues.  This required, as a matter of urgency, that the Security Council be recreated as a body that reflected the tremendous changes in the international community.  In particular, reform was needed in a way that reflected the views of developing countries.  Furthermore, both the representation and effectiveness of the Council could be enhanced through an expansion of both the permanent and non-permanent membership, and the inclusion of both developed and developing countries in the new permanent membership.  The maintenance of international peace and security required action, not only in political and security areas, but also in economic, social and other areas.

AMRE MOUSSA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, said the permanent and non-permanent membership of the Security Council should be expanded, and its methods of work reformed.. Egypt was eminently eligible and qualified to shoulder the responsibilities of permanent membership in an expanded Security Council.  There was also a need to restore the role of the General Assembly in the maintenance of peace and to further develop United Nations peacekeeping operations.  New ideas such as humanitarian intervention, however, impinged on the concept of sovereignty.  The sanctions regime also needed a thorough review.  Sanctions must not lead to the creation of generations who would continue to be embittered even after the measures were lifted.

With accelerated globalization and trade liberalization, the gap between the rich and poor was widening dangerously, he said.  United Nations literature was replete with studies on the problems of development and elimination of poverty, but implementation had not been at the level of the commitment contained in those documents.  The attempt to place the responsibility for the achievement of development and eradication of poverty on the shoulders of the developing countries alone was dangerous and short-sighted.  Furthermore, the success of development efforts would depend on the efficient use of the tools of the new age, particularly information technology.

At stake in the Middle East peace process was the security of the region and the security of coming generations, not the short-term political considerations, he said.  Peace and security in the region would not be complete without the establishment of a comprehensive regional security system.  A zone free from weapons of mass destruction should also be established.

 He said that the stability of the Sudan was vital for the security and stability of the Horn of Africa, the Red Sea and the Nile Basin.  Many efforts had been made to achieve peace in the Sudan, but they had dealt with the situation from a narrow perspective -- that of southern Sudan versus the North.  Egypt and Libya saw the need to complement those efforts with a comprehensive perspective, aimed at achieving a wide national reconciliation encompassing all the factions and parties to the question.  He finished by stressing that the establishment of peace in the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and in the continents of Asia and Africa as a whole was a necessary condition for achieving world stability.

 NGUYEN DZY NIEN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, said poverty eradication must be accorded primary priority so that the targets set by the Millennium Summit, including halving the current proportion of the world’s poor by 2015, could be achieved.  The right to development was of paramount importance.  With poverty and without development, there could be no peace and stability, not to say human rights.

 The United Nations should strengthen its capacity, and direct the necessary resources to support poverty eradication efforts, he said.  Developed and industrialized countries needed to further enhance their assistance to developing countries, including increasing official development assistance (ODA) to 0.7 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product.  Human resources and cultural development were two aspects closely related to each other in the overall programme of development and poverty eradication.  The Association of South-East Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) vision included the expansion of cooperation in South-East Asia and East Asia and the building of triangles and quadrangles for development in poor regions.

 Viet Nam and ASEAN supported the resolution of disputes by peaceful means, without interference and imposition, so as to improve and consolidate regional peace, and not to complicate the situation further.  Embargoes that had imposed untold sufferings on the people of Cuba and Iraq, among others, should end.  Greater efforts should be made to further enhance disarmament, and to prevent the growing dangers of a new arms race, including attempts to deploy new missile systems.

 He said in order to implement the new, major directions of the Millennium Summit, the General Assembly should at this session further enhance the process to reform, revitalize and democratize the United Nations.  Reform of the Security Council should be based on the principles of the United Nations Charter, and should ensure increased representation, democracy and equitable geographical distribution.  He supported the expansion of both permanent and non-permanent membership.  Developing countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America should be included in the permanent membership.

 BILLIE MILLER, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, said that on balance, humankind had not done well over the past century.  Rather than live up to the expectations of far-reaching technological innovation, it had unleashed unprecedented violence and suffering on civilians with increasingly deadly weaponry.  The end of the ideological divide had not been followed by an era of peace and development but by a horrendous upsurge in genocidal religious and ethnic conflicts.  While a few thousand souls lived in obscene luxury, half of the world's population subsisted on less than two dollars a day, and millions remained desperately poor, with no prospects of bequeathing a better life to their children.  AIDS, the new plague of the twentieth century, continued its decimation, with disproportionate effects upon the poor in the developing world. 

“We continue to expect miracles of the United Nations in ending the bloodshed in the most troubled corners of the world, but seldom provide it with the tools, the financing and the appropriate mandate to allow for timely and decisive action”, she said.  She added that without that support, United Nations peacekeeping efforts would remain reactive, not preventive.  The clash between opposing tenets of sovereignty and humanitarian intervention was of fundamental importance, and required in-depth discussion and the elaboration of clear new rules under international law. 

Decisions must be based on clearly defined criteria, informed by an objective verification of the facts, she continued.  Action must be confined to the saving of lives, not the overthrowing of governments.  Humanitarian intervention, however compelling the circumstances, must never be used as a guise for unwarranted interference in internal State governance.

Turning to the issue of AIDS, which she said could not be tackled solely on the basis of current strategies and financial flows, she said a major conference under the auspices of several United Nations agencies and financial institutions had just been convened in Barbados to map out a new crisis strategy for the region.  The United Nations must make AIDS education and research a priority for the coming century. 

 The functions of the Caribbean Sea were many and multilayered, she said.  “It is the source of our food, it is the main attraction which drives our tourism markets and it is our primary and most reliable link with the outside world.”  She noted that the destruction that would be caused if there were an accident involving nuclear waste or oil in the waters would be beyond catastrophic, and it would take centuries for the environment to fully recover. 

ROSARIO GREEN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mexico, said that to respond to the challenges posed to the United Nations and its members, an international architecture must be created that encouraged democracy, not concentration of power, and one that rests on respect for international law and not on unilateral decisions.  In order to further democratization, her government had advocated, on various occasions, the strengthening of the General Assembly as the international community's most representative universal forum.  

Mexico had also repeatedly proposed profound reform of the Security Council, which went beyond modification of its composition to considering its working and decision-making methods, and allowing it to reflect the plurality and diversity of the United Nations.  Such reform should not lead to the creation of new centres of power and privilege, but should limit the scope of the veto and should guarantee that the Council's decisions had the legitimacy that could only come from the universal assent of the General Assembly.

Because it believed in democratic values, Mexico had always opposed the legitimization, in practice, of any kind of intervention, especially when it was based on unilateral decisions or the decisions of a small group of countries.  For that reason, it had called for a broad process of consultation to begin as soon as possible.  As shown by recent humanitarian crises, it was imperative to find a balance between the urgent need to respond to such crises and the need to respect the sovereign integrity of all States.  

As regarded international law, she said Mexico had always been ready to participate in its codification, but had continually insisted that progress along that path must involve consensus among all the countries that make up the community of nations.  Mexico's trust in international law had been demonstrated by its willingness to modify its legislature to comply with international commitments, by its willingness to sign and ratify recent statutes and conventions for the benefit of vulnerable persons, and by its fight to achieve the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  She enumerated Mexico's other priorities:  curbing uncontrolled conventional arms, landmines, pandemics and organized crime; protecting the environment; and aiding least developed countries.

 NIELS HELVEG PETERSEN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark, said the global conferences of the last decade bore witness to the value of the United Nations as a unique norm-setting forum.  The follow-up conferences to the Social Summit in Copenhagen and the Beijing Conference on women had advanced understanding of the interaction between peace, development and human rights.  The best preventive action against conflict was to ensure sound economic and social development, based on good government, respect for human rights and protection of minorities.

 The international community must shoulder its responsibility in relation to the AIDS epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa, he said.  The epidemic had undermined decades of development efforts and dissolved the social texture of nations.  The AIDS epidemic was a security matter of global importance.  Africa had enormous potential, but the growing transfer of private capital rarely flowed to the countries of that continent.  Trade opportunities must be improved and free access given to the markets of industrialized countries.

 Peace operations were now comprehensive and complex undertakings, involving disarmament, demobilization of combatants, supervision of elections, monitoring of human rights and training of local police forces, among other things, he said.  He fully supported the Secretary-General’s call to pursue more effective policies to stop organized mass murder and violations of human rights.  Large groups of people could not be left unaided where national authorities did not live up to their responsibilities.  No legal principle -– including sovereignty -– could be used as a shield to commit crimes against humanity and other serious violations of human rights.  The Security Council had a moral obligation to act on behalf of the international community.

 The permanent members of the Security Council should apply the right of veto only in matters of vital importance.  He reiterated his proposal to establish a procedural rule, according to which a permanent member would have to state the reasons why it had decided to exercise its right of veto in a given situation.  Furthermore, that member should state on which grounds it considered that matters of vital importance were at stake.

 YOUSSOUF OUEDRAOGO, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso, said that the conclusions arrived at during the Millenium Summit went to the very substance of the varied problems facing humanity, and framed the agenda of the items of the Assembly.  The challenge now was to embark immediately on the implementation of these conclusions.  The past millennium would forever be etched in the memory of humankind, unfortunately it would be etched in blood due to the occurrence of slavery, colonialization, racial discrimination, world wars, the degradation of the environment and the deterioration of the terms of trade.  The past millennium would also be etched in gold due to economic, technological and industrial progress.  However, the African continent had yet to experience the benefits of the latter.  It was vital to take on board the collective memory of common history in order to approach today’s problems with more wisdom and justice.  

 He said it was time to undertake national, regional and international level reforms for a new world order.  He stressed the need to move forward calmly in an era of globalization while maintaining dignity as free people.  The United Nations had to become more democratic through a thorough reform of the decision-making mechanism.  Greater attention needed to be given to development issues, perhaps through the setting up of a development council. 

 Throughout its history, particularly since the 1990s, Burkina Faso had learned from its own experience, which was grounded in a culture of dialogue and cooperation, he said.  He therefore stressed the need for dialogue and cooperation as the means of achieving lasting peace.  He stressed that Burkina Faso had always been willing to cooperate with the United Nations and the international community.  This was why on the question of Angola and Sierra Leone they had set up an inter-ministerial council to monitor the sanctions.  In fact, two United Nations delegations had recently visited Burkina Faso and returned with positive reports.  

With regard to the assertions made by Guinea, he assured the Assembly that Burkina Faso had taken no part in the recent events.  They were resolutely continuing to consolidate the democratic process through the strengthening of public and private freedoms, the financing and support of unions and freedom of the press, the reform of the judiciary and through the consolidation of good governance. 

 Burkina Faso had always supported good neighbourly relations and regional peace and no effort had been spared to help to create the African Union, he said.  His country was strongly committed to the ideals of the United Nations and, together, a better future for the whole of humankind could be forged.

 AHMED OULD SID’AHMED, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mauritania, said the reform process of the United Nations was of extreme urgency and in the interest of all Member States.  The international conditions reigning during the foundation of the United Nations had dramatically changed and required a reform of the Organization at all levels.  In that context, Mauritania supported the expansion of the Security Council along democratic, transparent and egalitarian lines with a realistic geographical representation reflecting the universality of the United Nations.  

He said that despite the progress of the past decades, the general trend was still one of an enlargement of the gap between developed and developing nations, due to the heavy burden of foreign debts, unfair trade barriers, the lack of access to international markets and the low levels of investment in developing countries.  Those challenges demanded social and economic assistance from the United Nations in order to achieve an international economic order based on cooperation and solidarity between States.  

 The world faced problems of a transnational nature, threatening national, regional and international security, he said.  The spread of terrorism, extreme poverty and the violation of human rights were of particular concern.  In that respect, his country wished to condemn terrorism in all shapes and forms and called for increased international cooperation in the fight against it.  The fight against poverty was a prerequisite to any sustainable development strategy, he went on.  His Government had recently established a national department in charge of the fight against poverty and the promotion of collective and individual rights.  His Government had high hopes that the latest initiatives taken concerning the foreign debt of the highly indebted countries would lead to a solution to one of the major obstacles currently preventing sustainable development.  

 Mauritania’s foreign policy was based on peaceful coexistence and cooperation on a regional and international level, he said.  Following this policy, his country paid close attention to situations which could threaten international peace and security.  There was concern as to the situation of tension in the region.  The progress in the Middle East peace process was welcome, but there could be no meaningful peace without the total withdrawal of Israeli forces from Palestinian territories and the Syrian Golan.  He expressed concern and interest regarding the situations in Western Sahara, Somalia, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Ethiopia and Eritrea.  His Government believed that Kuwaiti territorial integrity had to be protected but totally rejected the sanctions against Iraq.  The suspension of the embargo imposed on Libya was welcomed and it was hoped that the embargo would be permanently lifted.  

 IAIA DJALÓ, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Communities of Guinea-Bissau, said that the end of bipolarism, which had dominated international relations for many years, had meant the decline of ideological antagonisms and the promotion of democratic impulses.  However, nationalist sentiments had come to the fore, triggering an exponential growth of old conflicts and tensions.  That phenomenon had given origin to an exponential growth of conflicts that menaced the internal cohesion of States as well as international peace and security.

 The forecast that the end of the arms race would stimulate the international economy to invest more resources in the poorest countries had not been realized, he said.  He also noted that rules and practices to reflect the new international order remained to be defined.  His country placed great emphasis on revitalization of the General Assembly and reform of the Security Council.  Expectations without precedent fell upon the United Nations.

 Guinea-Bissau had endured a disastrous war in which it was made more impoverished and vulnerable, he said.  Since democratic legality has been restored, the Guinean people had set as a priority the building of a new society.  Guinea-Bissau had undertaken initiatives to advance the cause of peace and international cooperation.  In particular, the solidarity of lusophonic (Portuguese-speaking) countries was cited as an expression of shared cultural heritage.  Guinea-Bissau had sought to assist the improvement of relations in the West Africa sub-region, while working to promote peace in Angola, Senegal, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Besides its strong support for the Lusaka Agreements, Guinea-Bissau advocated full independence for the people of East Timor.

 He observed that the human being must not be ignored in the age of globalization.  Economic growth with social equity was the right course of action because the lack of development often resulted in conflicts.  The North-South dialogue needed to proceed based on equality and a view to true partnership for development.  While the majority of African countries had implemented the structural adjustment policies, their development partners had failed to respond in like manner to the sacrifices demanded.  What had to be done was the identification of mechanisms promoting true social adjustment.  International solidarity was the solution to that collective challenge. 

Right of Reply

MOHAMMED AL-HUMAIMIDI (Iraq), speaking in right of reply, said the address delivered previously by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait contained a distortion of facts.  Concerning the matter of those missing in action, the Kuwaiti Minister had attempted to politicize the issue and to confine it to the missing Kuwaitis only, claiming the Iraqi Government didn’t want to participate in the tripartite committee.  The matter was a humanitarian issue which should not be exploited for political ends such as maintaining the embargo against Iraq.  Kuwait had less than 600 persons missing in action, whereas Iraq had over 1,000.  The Kuwaiti Government was expected to submit information concerning those missing persons.  He called on Kuwait to make an end to the suffering of their families.

 The work of the tripartite committee had been hampered by the United States and the United Kingdom, who insisted on participating in the meetings of that committee although they had no missing persons in action.  Iraq wanted the tripartite committee to meet as soon as possible with the parties who had missing persons -- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq -- under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

 Iraq had complied with Security Council resolutions, but Kuwait’s Government was violating those resolutions.  All United Nations resolutions called for the respect of the integrity of Iraq.  Yet, American and British planes were taking off from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia daily, bombarding Iraqis in blatant disregard of United Nations regulations and international law.  He called on Kuwait to put a stop to such an aggressive attitude.  He added that the “masters of the Kuwait”, the American and British Governments, had prevented an end to the sanctions against Iraq.

 JUAN LUIS FLORES (Spain), speaking in right of reply, responded to the statement made by Morocco earlier in the day concerning the Spanish villages of Ceuta and Melilla and other parts of Spanish territory.  Morocco was a country with which Spain maintained excellent relations and a sincere friendship based on respect and richly shared history.  In underlining those important relations, he repeated that the relevant cities were an integral part of Spanish territory, and were represented in the Spanish Parliament in the same manner as the rest of their compatriots.

 MASSOUR AYYAD AL-OTAIBI (Kuwait), in right of reply, said Iraq had boycotted the tripartite committee.  Regarding the participation of the United States, the United Kingdom and France, he said that those countries had participated in the committee before with agreement of all parties.  Iraq had tried to denounce that agreement.  According to Security Council resolutions 686, 687 and 1284, Iraq was required to resume its participation in the tripartite committee and to cooperate with the High-level Coordinator appointed by the Secretary-General.

 Regarding the missing Iraqi persons, he said Kuwait had expressed its readiness to receive any committee to visit the prisoners inside Kuwait.  There was a mechanism approved to get access to the files.  If Iraq was so keen to know their fate, it should attend the meetings of the committee.  Kuwait was not responsible for the Iraq embargo, he added.  The Security Council was the sole organ which could lift the sanctions.

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