Press Releases

    28 September 2004

    Speakers Caution against Post-September 11th Stereotyping, Linking Islam with Terrorism, as General Assembly Debate Enters Second Week

    NEW YORK, 27 September (UN Headquarters) -- The General Assembly began the second week of its high-level debate today with Islamic countries cautioning many about falling prey to post-11 September (2001) stereotyping, being seduced by the debate about the incompatibility of Islam and democracy and, as stated by Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Al-Shara, “allowing pessimism to take over the world because of extremist and intolerant policies by think tanks determined to find a new enemy”. 

    There was an urgent need to stop the tarnishing of Muslims by unfair stereotypes, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Malaysia’s Prime Minister said. “We must cease associating Islam with violence, poverty and indignity.” Those troubles had nothing to do with Islam and neither were they exclusively in the domain of Muslims. Most damaging of all was the increasing tendency to link international terrorism and Islam. “The time has indeed arrived for us to debunk, once and for all, the theory that there is a clash of civilizations”, he stated. 

    Mr. Badawi said one of the causes of terrorism was the unaccomplished missions of people struggling for independence and aspiring for sovereign States of their own. “To find answers we must promote genuine dialogue and rid ourselves of the prejudices and bigotry triggered by September 11 ...  One of the most important aspects to be addressed by such a dialogue is the necessity to inculcate a frank appreciation, understanding and acceptance of different civilizations and cultures, including religions”, he said.

    Supporting the point made about typecasting terrorists, Rashid Meredov, Turkmenistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, said that despite the various manifestations of terrorism, its nature was the same. Its root was “doctrinarian egoism” raised by its adherents to extreme levels of evil, intolerance and cruelty. It did not recognize States or nationalities, and had no religious or cultural affiliation.

    Alberto Romulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, told the Assembly that conflicts should be addressed before terrorism could begin to define or exploit them, and that could be done by working together with other nations. In the Philippines, for example, help from the Organization of the Islamic Conference had prevented violent secessionism and given way to peaceful autonomy in the southern part of his country.

    Directly addressing the issue of Islam’s incompatibility with democracy, Indonesian Foreign Minister N. Hassan Wirajuda said the recent election in his country, in which some 125 million people voted, was the climax of a transition from authoritarian rule to a full-fledged democracy. That new democracy had put to rest the debate about whether Islam and democracy could mix. “As the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, Indonesia has proven that Islam can be a bastion of democracy and social justice. Whoever emerged as the new national leaders of Indonesia would have a clear and strong mandate from the people.”

    The issue of improved multilateralism and a revitalized United Nations continued to be raised. A number of speakers emphasized the responsibility of the big Powers to provide leadership and commitment, and thus send a strong signal to all Member States vis-à-vis the role, purpose and principles of the United Nations.

    Related to that, Yousef Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah, Oman’s Foreign Minister, said it was high time that the permanent members of the Security Council reviewed their own attitudes and policies. That body’s adoption of many resolutions on secondary international issues undermined its prestige and reduced the Organization’s ability to deal with priority international peace and security questions. He urged the Council to steer clear of interference in the internal affairs of Member States, in order to preserve international consensus in dealing with more important issues.

    Also speaking today was the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, as well as the Deputy Prime Minster, Minister of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Cambodia.

    The Ministers for Foreign Affairs of China, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Thailand, Guinea, Ukraine, Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya also spoke, as did the Senior Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Jamaica, and the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia.

    Also addressing the Assembly were the Deputy Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Viet Nam.

    The General Assembly will continue its high-level debate tomorrow at 10 a.m.


    The fifty-ninth session of the General Assembly met this morning to continue its high-level general debate.


    ABDULLAH AHMAD BADAWI, Prime Minister of Malaysia, said the current session of the General Assembly must reaffirm the rightful role of the United Nations in the management of the critical issues that affected international peace and security. It should accord high priority to ensuring that the Organization regains its central role on socio-economic and development issues. The United Nations, through an enhanced Economic and Social Council, should provide the impetus for the creation of an international economic system that would better promote the interests of developing countries.  The Organization must do more to realize all internationally agreed targets, particularly the Millennium Development Goals.

    Most importantly, he said, “we must find ways and means to let the United Nations assume its proper role in combating international terrorism”.

    The fight against terrorism could not succeed through the force of arms alone.  Addressing the root causes of terrorism -- one of which was the unaccomplished missions of people struggling for independence and aspiring for sovereign States of their own -- would require genuine efforts and demonstrations of good faith.  “To find answers we must promote genuine dialogue and rid ourselves of the prejudices and bigotry triggered by September 11”, he said.  The United Nations was clearly the best forum where such a dialogue could take place without malice in a shared environment devoted to finding peace among nations and building friendship between peoples.  “One of the most important aspects to be addressed by such a dialogue is the necessity to inculcate a frank appreciation, understanding and acceptance of different civilizations and cultures including religions”, he said.

    There was an urgent need to stop the tarnishing of the Muslim world by unfair stereotypes, he said, adding that “we must cease associating Islam with violence, poverty and indignity”.  Those troubles had nothing to do with Islam.  Neither were those problems exclusively in the domain of Muslims.  Most damaging of all was the increasing tendency to attribute links between international terrorism and Islam.  “The time has indeed arrived for us to debunk, once and for all, the theory that there is a clash of civilizations.”  He also noted with concern increasing tendencies to link the fight against terrorism with the campaign against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  Developing countries suffered as a result of restrictions imposed on access to the peaceful use of technology, equipment and material necessary for their economic development.  While Malaysia was committed to non-proliferation, there must be multilateral negotiations for universal, comprehensive and non-discriminatory agreements, as well as arrangements.  “Above all, nothing should be done at the expense of resources needed for the international development agenda”, he said.

    In the quest for genuine peace and security, the world naturally looked to the big powers for leadership.  A sincere commitment to multilateralism by those big powers would send a strong signal to all nations, that the purposes and principle of the United Nations should form the basis of the conduct of relations between nations.  Urgent steps must be taken to make multilateral processes relevant and effective.  The exercise of the veto by permanent Security Council members should be regulated to stop that power being used at the discretion of its holder.  “It is unjust that any one single country should be allowed the impunity of overruling, at will, the wish of the majority.  This injustice can be rectified, for instance, by making certain types of Assembly resolutions capable of ‘setting aside’ a Security Council veto.”

    FAROUK AL-SHARA, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Syria, said a wave of pessimism had taken over the world because of extremist and intolerant policies by think tanks determined to find a new enemy. Israel had contributed to the making of these flimsy pretexts and hoped to incite the Americans first, and then the West, to wage endless wars in the Middle East.  Sharon was trying to mislead world public opinion into believing he was standing up for Jewish settlers before withdrawing from Gaza.  He had not referred to any withdrawal from the West Bank or to a recommitment to the peace process.  In addition, he said, Israel had transformed its army into gangs bent on systematic killings and war crimes against Palestinian civilians, and it bore a shared responsibility for worsening the American predicament in Iraq by avoiding the resumption of the peace process.

    He said the deteriorating situation in Iraq remained a source of concern for Syria and that this state of affairs should prompt mobilization to win the battle for peace in post-war Iraq.  The Syrian people were concerned with what was happening in Iraq, given its historic and geographic ties and national bonds with the Iraqi people.  Syria was ready to cooperate with all parties concerned to enable the Iraqi people to govern themselves.  Syria called for the withdrawal of Israel from all Arab territories occupied in 1967 and for guaranteeing the rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to establish an independent state.  He said it was offensive that the Foreign Minister of Israel had used the rostrum of international legitimacy to override the facts and selectively commend a resolution adopted by the Security Council on Lebanon, as its airspace, waters and land were violated daily by Israel.

    Regarding weapons of mass destruction, he said Syria was among the first nations to call for declaring the Middle East a zone free from these weapons and had worked hard to attain the objective.  Syria had joined the non-proliferation treaty and had concluded a comprehensive safeguards regime agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

    Turning to terrorism, he said it was a cause for concern, and it was important to eradicate that dangerous phenomenon together by addressing its real root causes. Syria condemned the killing of innocent people, including the killing of innocent children in Beslan, Russia, and continued to support the international community in combating international terrorism. Concluding, he said, Syria followed with great concern developments in the Sudan and believed the League of Arab States and the African Union could play an important role in the settlement of the crisis.

    LI ZHAOXING, Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, said that today, peace and development remained the international community’s dominant objectives because even with globalization, with all its twists and turns, and with science and technology advancing at dizzying speeds, the light of peace was not yet shining in every corner of the world, nor had development reached every town and village.  Even though the forces that could ensure peace and contain conflict were on the rise, the menacing dark cloud of conflict remained. Threats to security, both traditional and non-traditional, were intertwined. Flashpoint issues kept cropping up and terrorist activities were raging, he said, adding that cross-boundary issues like the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, drug trafficking, transnational crime and illegal immigration were also causes for great concern.

    He went on to note that the gap between North and South was widening as developing countries continued to be marginalized by myriad unpredictable challenges in the wake of globalization’s spread.  In light of all that, people all over the world were raising their voices for peace, development and cooperation, and against war, poverty and confrontation.  Peace, he said, was the precondition for human development and prosperity.  Without a peaceful and stable international environment, development was out of the question for any country.

    A chaotic world benefited no one.  So when tackling security issues, it was imperative to foster a new security concept of mutual trust, mutual benefits, equality and cooperation.  Such a new concept called for nations to set aside their differences, respect security, promote greater democracy in international relations, and to seek solutions through dialogue and negotiation.

    He said that terrorism was the common enemy of the world.  China stood firmly opposed to terrorism in all its forms, and believed that to fight that scourge, the international community must intensify international cooperation and address both its causes and its symptoms.  Development was the foundation for human progress, and China believed that in order to promote economic growth worldwide, it was necessary for international community to take effective measures to put in place an open and fair multilateral trading regime and to gradually build on it.  The international financial system also needed reform.  Further, developed countries must honour their commitments to debt reduction, technology transfer and market access.  He added that the world was eagerly looking for a dynamic and action-oriented United Nations, and with the complex challenges facing humanity, it was imperative to strengthen, rather than weaken, the world body.

    Finally, he said that Taiwan was an inalienable part of the Chinese territory.  Safeguarding China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and realizing complete reunification at the earliest possible date was the common and firm resolve of the Chinese people.  The Chinese Government was willing to work under the “one country two systems policy”.  China, more than anyone else, wanted to see a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question, but it would never tolerate Taiwan independence, nor would it allow anyone to separate Taiwan from China in any way.  He hoped the international community would understand the current sensitive situation across the Taiwan Strait, and the serious threat posed by the separatist activities of the Taiwan authorities to the stability of the Strait, as well as the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.

    N. HASSAN WIRAJUDA, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, said that exactly one week ago, some 125 million people went to the polls and chose the President and Vice-President who would govern 230 million Indonesians.  That was the third national political exercise that had been carried out in a period of six months.  All had been peaceful, fair and democratic.  The massive logistic exercise, which covered 6,000 islands in an archipelago as large as Europe, involved millions of electoral workers in some 575,000 polling stations.

    The process had been supported and assisted by the United Nations and friendly countries.  While it would be some time before the official results of the vote would be final, whoever would emerge as the new national leaders of Indonesia would have a clear and strong mandate from the people and not from the elite, party bosses, power brokers or vested interests.

    He said the election was the climax of a transition from authoritarian rule to a full-fledged democracy –- a process that began six years ago during the Asian crisis, which mangled his country’s socio-political system.  Indonesia’s new democracy had put to rest the debate about whether Islam and democracy could mix.  “As the country with the largest Muslim population, Indonesia has proven that Islam can be a bastion of democracy and social justice...our deep sense of spirituality inspired our people to resoundingly reject money politics, corruption, terrorism and all forms of extremism”, he said.  It had also been his country’s beacon of reform that had worked.

    Although the Asian crisis instantly doubled the number of Indonesians below the poverty line, that poverty rate, nevertheless, had since been reduced, he said. “We did this by shifting from a government-driven poverty reduction strategy to one of community empowerment”, he said.  With a funding requirement of more than $1 billion, it was one of the largest such programmes in the world.  Fiscal controls had dramatically lowered inflation and stabilized the prices of essential goods, while social safety net programmes had helped the poor weather the crisis.  “By doing this, we have denied the terrorists what could have been a dangerous mass base”, he said.

    At the global level, democracy could only be promoted through multilateral institutions like the United Nations.  And if, as its detractors said, the Organization was not an effective tool of collective security and development, that was only because it had been denied the support that it deserved from its stronger and more influential members.  Among other things, the Security Council must be made more democratic, and his country was encouraged by Australia’s proposal last year that Indonesia be included as a permanent member of that body.  As the world’s third largest pluralistic democracy, the fourth most populous country, the largest Muslim nation, and a country with tremendous cultural diversity and a good track record of serving in various peace initiatives of the United Nations, his country had an important “global constituency” on the Council.

    ALBERTO ROMULO, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, said that the world had changed many times over since the hopes and aspirations of millions were enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations almost 60 years ago.

    What remained unaltered was the collective desire to build a safe, tolerant and secure world, anchored on justice and social progress. Today’s problems, however, included old threats that lingered, while new ones arose with “unjustified rage and irrational fury”; technologies and discoveries that made the world smaller and that should bring people together, but instead were being used to tear people apart; and newer forms of political, economic and social divisions that directly threatened people.

    He said reform of the United Nations should begin with the structures and relationships that defined powers and responsibilities.  That would mean pursuing earnest reforms in the Security Council, in the General Assembly, its subsidiary organs, and the Secretariat.  Any planned reform, he said, should be backed by the consensus of all Member States, and any reform in the Security Council should give “due consideration” to the views of the five permanent members.  Reform efforts should also recognize that Japan deserved to be considered for a permanent seat on the Security Council, he added.

    Highlighting challenges such as tuberculosis, prostitution, malaria, HIV/AIDS and terrorism, he said people should be placed at the centre of the United Nations, and that it was necessary to protect their lives, ensure their livelihood and promote their dignity. He believed that conflicts should be addressed before terrorism could begin to define or exploit them, and that could be done by working together with other nations.  For example, with the help of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), he said, violent secessionism had given way to peaceful autonomy in southern Philippines, and the potential for terrorists to breed had been drastically reduced.  The Philippines, he added, supported the call for the establishment of a democracy fund, and was prepared to provide technical support and training in the areas of governance, administration of justice, electoral processes and similar subjects.

    NIZAR OBAID MADANI, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, said his nation rejected terrorism and was collaborating with the international community to eliminate that global evil.  Saudi Arabia had affirmed its support for resolutions relating to terrorism and had taken steps to close loopholes in its regulations concerning the collection of donations for charitable activities that might be used for illicit purposes. He said crimes committed by a handful of criminals could not justify incriminating a whole society.

    The setback in the Middle East peace process and the mounting wave of violence in the region were largely attributable to the Israeli Government’s policies, he said.  Therefore, everyone must exert maximum efforts to get the peace process moving towards its desired goals.  The Palestinian question, and the Arab-Israeli conflict, could not be solved through force; peace and security could only prevail when the United Nations resolutions were applied.  If Israel was serious about withdrawing from Gaza and dismantling some settlements, it should proceed in coordination with the Palestinian Authority, in conformity with the requirements of the Road Map, and under the supervision of the Quartet.

    Turning to Iraq, he urged the Iraqi people to work hand-in-hand to support the efforts of their transitional Government towards establishing its security and wellbeing. He called on the United Nations to play a greater role in assisting the Iraqi Government in meeting the requirements of its political process, including its general election that would hopefully lead to a permanent legitimate government.  Saudi Arabia had some ideas regarding the deployment of Islamic troops in Iraq, with the consent of the Iraqi Government and under the supervision of the United Nations, to replace, but not supplement, multilateral forces.

    Those ideas, however, had not materialized, although their premises deserved consideration and follow-up.  Regarding the Sudan, he was profoundly moved by the humanitarian tragedy in Darfur, and was supportive of the efforts of the Sudanese Government to restore stability in the region.  He hoped the efforts of the Government and those of the African Union were given sufficient time to restore security and ensure the wellbeing of the people in Darfur.

    He said that helping developing nations in the Middle East region initiate political and economic reforms should not be imposed or dictated from outside. Rather, help should serve as a catalyst to assist reforms in those countries. Outside interference could only result in disrupting and stalling the processes already underway. Advanced nations could assist in the areas of investments, the liberalization of international trade and the opening of markets.  He believed that removing trade barriers and tariffs, and doing away with preferential assistance that hindered the ability for developing nations to enter markets, could aid in achieving the desired goals of development.  Saudi Arabia had continued to meet its obligations to ensure the stability of oil markets to guarantee the continuity of world economic growth.  It had increased production capacity to ensure supply and control the surge in prices.

    YOUSEF BIN ALAWI BIN ABDULLAH, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Oman, said that the Middle East region was the focus of global attention in view of its potential impact on international stability.  He welcomed, in principle, the position of cooperation adopted by the Group of Eight at their meeting in Sea Island, Georgia, in June, believing that closer cooperation among the Group and the countries of the Middle East towards development and stability was essential.  Declaring that the Palestinian issue and Israel’s continued occupation of Arab territories in Syria and Lebanon could not be put on the backburner indefinitely, he said that the Group had the moral and political weight to enable them to seek fair and just solutions for those issues.

    The Middle East Road Map, which had been well-received by the Arab countries, remained unimplemented.  He called on the sponsors of the Road Map, the Quartet -- the United States, Russian Federation, United Nations and the European Union, to fulfil their commitments on the Middle East.  He was concerned by the unstable security situation in Iraq, despite the handover of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi Government.  He backed the efforts of the Iraqi Government to normalize the situation and unify all Iraqis around a common agenda.

    He also praised the Government of the Sudan for making “commendable efforts” to achieve stability in Darfur, and noted the cooperation between the Sudanese Government and the African Union, as well as the agreement between them on a timetable for the implantation of certain field measures. The United Nations should provide material and technical support to the reconciliation programmes and talks on Darfur. In addition, any action by the Security Council against the Sudan would be harmful and would hamper the efforts of the Government and the Union.

    Turning to reform, he said it was high time that the permanent members of the Security Council reviewed their own attitudes and policies in the Council.  The Council’s adoption of many resolutions on secondary international issues undermined its prestige and reduced the Organization’s ability to deal with priority international peace and security questions.  He urged the Council to steer clear from interference in the internal affairs of Member States, in order to preserve international consensus in dealing with more important issues.

    SODYQ SAFAEV, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, highlighted the central role of the United Nations in coordinating the international community’s efforts to effectively tackle the serious challenges to global stability and sustainable development faced by the world today. It was vital, he noted, to fight the ideology of extremism and fanaticism, and to outlaw militant radical religious groups that nurtured international terrorism. At the same time, he strongly opposed any linkage of international terrorism to Islam, which had made an immense contribution to the history of humanity. Only by promoting and encouraging ideas of enlightened and tolerant Islam, could the militant, politicized extremist factions be effectively resisted and further confrontations averted.

    He pointed out that many issues of regional development were directly linked to what was taking place in Afghanistan. In light of the continuous threat of narcotics proliferation from Afghanistan and being on the frontline of combating “narcoaggression”, Central Asia faced the difficulty of effectively countering that global menace. He hoped the international community would support Uzbekistan’s initiative to establish a Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC) to combat trans-border crime related to illegal drug trafficking.

    Noting that the United Nations had reached a crucial juncture in its history, he said the strengthening of the Security Council was of paramount significance.  He supported the enlargement of the Council’s membership, in both the permanent and elected categories, taking into account the political and economic capabilities of countries, geographical representation and other criteria.  He reiterated his country’s support for permanent seats for Germany and Japan. He was confident that the United Nations would retain its role as the main element of the international security and cooperation architecture, believing that the Organization’s invaluable potential, which had withstood all the upheavals of the previous century, would long serve the cause of consolidating efforts in the face of global challenges.

    KEITH DESMOND KNIGHT, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica, said that a quick review of the events of the past year would reveal that the anticipated growth in the global economy had been dampened by uncertainty as fiscal irregularities and market fluctuations buffeted larger economies, and oil prices continued to surge.  Political instability had reached “critical levels” in some regions, and many developing countries continued to grapple with globalization’s fallout. And while there still might be some glimmers of hope, he said that more was needed to be done to increase the opportunities for all to share in global prosperity and to make sure that developing countries could better tackle formidable challenges.

    Those challenges had taken on grave new proportions for the Caribbean in the wake of the series of deadly hurricanes that had pummelled that region and the southern Atlantic coast of the United States over the past six weeks. For those with any doubts about the vulnerability of small island States, those events should provide compelling evidence.  For Jamaica, as well as for Grenada, the Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the Cayman Islands, the loss of life, and destruction of property and infrastructure had been catastrophic. What had taken generations to build had vanished and would take years to recover.  Here, the case of Grenada -- which had been virtually obliterated by the storms -- had been particularly striking.

    Jamaica was completing its damage estimates following hurricane Ivan, which had struck the island on 10 September, he said, conveying his Government’s thanks to Member States and agencies, as well as other international and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that had given assistance.  Jamaica had launched an international appeal for immediate and long-term assistance to accompany its national efforts.  He added that apart from emergency supplies, affected countries also needed concessionary financing to facilitate medium- and long-term reconstruction.  He also suggested the establishment of a special fund, in that regard, and urged world leaders to look closely at the state of the Caribbean today as final preparations got underway for the ten-year review of the Barbados Platform for Action, set for Mauritius this coming January.

    Addressing wider issues, he said that in the wake of rapid globalization, worldwide economic health required better management of economic arrangements at all levels.  There was a need for special and differential treatment for developing countries, particularly in relation to trade, flow of financial resources, transfer of technologies and the promotion of industrial development.  He went on to say the cycle of violence driven by conflict and terrorism was troubling.  It was clear that the use of force could not be the answer; the international community must embrace multilateralism, and the United Nations must be the instrument of choice.  The Organization must continue to be nourished and strengthened.  For its part, Jamaica continued to call for good sense and wisdom to defuse the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and noted that the war in Iraq had opened further complexities and was becoming a dangerous source of continuing conflict in the region.

    CHOE SU HON, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said Northeast Asia, in particular, the Korean peninsula, was one of the regions where unilateralism and highhandedness were most rampant.  The danger of war was snowballing due to attempts by the United States to isolate and stifle his nation, and its threats of pre-emptive strikes against it. The United States should no longer hamper collaboration efforts between North and South Korea. His country would continue to strive to overcome the challenges of anti-reunification forces.

    His nation had no option but to possess a nuclear deterrent, since the United States had been attempting to eliminate the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by force and by designating it as a part of an “axis of evil”. The people of his country aspired to peace and the denuclearisation of the peninsula through dialogue and negotiations with the United States.  If the United States was willing to renounce its policy toward his country, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would be willing to scrap its nuclear deterrent.

    Regarding the six-party talks last June, he said the process of realizing the proposed “reward for freeze”, by which his country would freeze all nuclear weapon-related facilities and their output on the premise that the United States abandons its hostile policy, would be one of confidence-building between the two countries.  The United States, however, disregarded the common understanding and agreement reached at the third round of the stalks, and had further intensified its hostile policy and openly announced that there would be no reward for the freeze.

    He went on to say that while his country wanted to continue the talks, the intensifying hostile policy and clandestine nuclear-related experiments recently revealed in South Korea were creating stumbling blocks.  The secret experiments had not been clarified, making his country unable to participate in the talks aimed at discussing the nuclear weapons programme. The United Nations should no longer tolerate unilateralism and highhandedness, which constituted a violation of the Charter and international law. He added that the Assembly should be empowered to review and approve resolutions of the Security Council relating to sanctions and the use of force.

    RADNAABAZARYN ALTANGEREL, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, said the persistent instability in some regions and the suffering of people from internal armed conflicts were a setback to the commitments made by world leaders in the Millennium Declaration to “spare no efforts to free our peoples from the scourge of war, whether within or between States”. The violence in Darfur was such a tragic example, he said.  Noting the lack of progress on the path towards peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, he urged both sides to exercise restraint and support the efforts of the Quartet in implementing the Road Map.

    He was concerned with the security situation in Iraq, where the continuing climate of violence and insecurity threatened to undermine the international community’s peace efforts. He supported the political process taking place there, based on Council resolutions 1483 and 1546; the actions of the Interim Government towards convening a national conference; the creation of an Interim Council; and the holding of elections early next year. Also, the continued engagement of the international community remained crucial to maintaining peace and stability in Afghanistan, where the approaching presidential and parliamentary elections were important milestones. Elections were a necessary prerequisite and a litmus test of democracy.

    The nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula and the resulting tensions cast dark clouds over the entire region of northeast Asia, he stated.  Being a Northeast Asian nation with nuclear-weapon-free status, his country stood for a nuclear-weapon-free Korean peninsula, and saw it as an important condition for reconciliation between the two Koreas and, as a result, peace and stability in the region.  Additionally, as a strong advocate of the disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear disarmament, Mongolia believed that the full and effective implementation of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons on the part of both nuclear and non-nuclear countries played a pivotal role in promoting international peace and nuclear security.

    SOMSAVAT LENGSAVAD, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, said the deteriorating security situation in Iraq was a cause for concern, and hoped that a peaceful environment could be attained. He commended the efforts deployed in finding a peaceful solution to the issue on the Korean peninsula, through the convening of three rounds of six-party talks. He hoped all parties concerned would pursue those talks to achieve permanent peace and security. Violence continued unabated in the occupied Palestinian territory, he said, adding that such violence would harm peace efforts in the Middle East and prolong the suffering of people in the region.  He urged serious dialogue, to settle the conflict and realize the vision of two States living side by side in peace.  He said the commercial and financial embargo against Cuba ran counter to the Charter and international law, causing immense losses and economic damage to the people of Cuba.

    As Chairman of the Group of landlocked developing countries, his country had spared no efforts to bring about benefits to those vulnerable developing nations. He conveyed his appreciation to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) XI, which recognized landlocked developing countries as “small and vulnerable economies”. He hoped that that special designation would be granted in other international forums and organizations, especially in the World Trade Organization (WTO), as access to markets would significantly help overcome geographical handicaps.  The illicit drug problem and related crimes remained an issue of concern to the world, and could only be dealt with effectively through international cooperation.  Opium cultivation had significantly declined in his country in 2004, in comparison to 2003. The goal was to eliminate cultivation by 2005. He appealed to the international community to grant financial support to assist his country in addressing the challenges in the treatment of opium addicts, the creation of new and sustainable employment, as well as the provision of infrastructure to prevent former opium growers from replanting opium poppy.

    To address global challenges, he said the international community should work collectively through the United Nations. The United Nations needed to be reformed if the Organization was to become more effective and democratic. The General Assembly should have a more active role in the management of world affairs, and the Security Council should increase the number of its permanent and non-permanent members. He supported permanent membership for Japan, Germany and India in a new expanded Council.

    HOR NAMHONG, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, said that the international community must renew its firm commitment to international peace and security, non-violence and sustainable development everywhere.  In spite of progress in those areas, the world continued to suffer from terrorist attacks. The international community’s response to terrorism had to be more comprehensive and address the real causes of terrorism. Along with the war against terrorism, the world also needed to focus on the issues of globalisation, poverty eradication and the current energy situation, all of which needed to be addressed meaningfully and urgently in the global context.

    He believed the international community must do everything possible to restore peace, security and political stability to Iraq.  Regarding the situation on the Korean peninsula, he continued to support the six-party talks and the ongoing dialogue between North and South Korea. The only choice for a peaceful resolution of the problem was constructive dialogue and consultation. He believed the issue of Taiwan was central not only to China, but for the region and the world as a whole. Cambodia, like other members of the community of nations, had been unequivocal in its support for a genuine one-China policy, as it recognized the fact that Taiwan was an integral part of China. 

    Believing that Security Council reform would help strengthen the Organization, he favoured expansion in both permanent and non-permanent categories of membership. In that regard, he supported permanent membership for Japan, Germany and India.  He also appealed to all Member States to support Cambodia’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the Council for the 2006-2007 period.  Since joining the United Nations in 1955, his country had never held any position within the world body, while it had always been cooperating closely with the United Nations.

    RASHID MEREDOV, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, said that despite the various manifestations of terrorism, its nature was the same. Its root was doctrinarian egoism raised by its adherents to extreme levels of evil, intolerance and cruelty. It did not recognize States or nationalities, and had no religious or cultural affiliation.  That was why fighting terrorism and terrorists should be a collective effort. Through the close coordination of the world community on the basis of international law, an environment could be created where any manifestation of terrorism would be punished. “To counteract international terrorism and defend the rights and freedoms of our own citizens, we have to be able to foresee each of the manifestations and oppose it not only with our unanimous condemnation, but also with high professionalism by law enforcement agencies, as well as the active use of all international legal instruments created within the United framework.”

    He said Turkmenistan saw huge possibilities in close partnerships with the United Nations and its specialized agencies in the realization of joint programmes and projects. The signing in February of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for 2005-2009 was a clear demonstration of strategic cooperation between Turkmenistan and the Organization. The significant feature of the signed document was the fact that the programme was aimed at resolving global tasks within the framework of the Millennium Development Goals, and fully coincided with his country’s national priorities and interests. There were now real guarantees of personal, economic, social and other rights of citizens, including abolition of the death penalty and the prohibition of searches in the homes of citizens. There were no restrictions on travel abroad and there was freedom of registration and for activities of religious groups, irrespective of faith.

    Turning to regional cooperation, he said Central Asia had moved forward to the front line of world attention. The role of the United Nations would be significant in intensifying regional and interregional dialogue to solve brewing problems. In that light, he highlighted an initiative by the President of his country, Saparmurat Niyazov, to initiate the Central Asia Regional Consultative Council of Heads of State. The purpose of that would be to create an inter-State body at the highest level for holding regular consultations and working out joint decisions on topical issues that directly affected the fate of regional countries and addressed the real necessities of their people. The preparation of the Trans-Afghan gas pipeline project -- Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan -- had also become an important part of regional cooperation. The United Nations, using its high international authority, could work out a system of political and legal guarantees that would ensure favourable conditions for the realization of that project.

    BILLIE A. MILLER, Senior Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Barbados, said that despite its valiant efforts to promote development, restore peace and maintain security, the United Nations had been accused of being out of touch, or worse, irrelevant, in today’s rapidly changing world.  It was, therefore, incumbent upon Member States to reaffirm their commitment to, and support for, the multilateral process, with the United Nations as the primary engine. At the same time, the course of action aimed at reform and revitalization must be constant so that the Organization could remain relevant. Member States must also generate the political will to press ahead on the seemingly intractable issue of Security Council reform.  Barbados continued to believe that the Council must be more representative of the wider United Nations membership, as well as more transparent in its working methods and more democratic in its decision-making.

    At the same time, she stressed that reform must not be confined to the United Nations system.  It must be accompanied by renewal of the wider architecture of international governance.  Indeed, it struck developing nations as deeply unjust and hypocritical that calls for democratization and good governance in the developing world were not accompanied by calls that those same values be reflected in the multinational organizations by which so many were governed and on which so many depended.  Increasing the voices and raising the level of participation of developing countries in the international dialogue and decision-making were fundamental prerequisites for improving global economic governance.

    Debate on reforming the international financial architecture should not continue to be restricted to the “hallowed halls and boardrooms” of the Bretton Woods institutions. “We all have a stake in the global economic system and its management”, she said. While Barbados welcomed the Doha Work Programme adopted by the World Trade Organization (WTO) adopted last month, the framework severely limited the ability of small-, middle-income developing countries to realize the reasonable benefits necessary to advance their development interests. She appealed to all WTO members to support the mandate given at Doha to examine issues related to the trade of small economies and to frame relevant, action-oriented responses to that end.

    She went on to spotlight the grave implications for the Caribbean region in the wake of this season’s series of deadly hurricanes and tropical storms. Some countries had been devastated, and for some time to come, their governments would be constantly repairing and replacing ruined infrastructure, and replanting storm-ravaged crops. In Grenada, an entire economy had disappeared, she said, adding, “Terrorists could hardly do a more effective job”, yet those factors were never taken into account when gross domestic product (GDP) was computed.  Such catastrophic events directly affected the ability of small vulnerable countries to fully meet the Millennium Development Goals and should be taken into account during the run-up to next year’s mid-term review.

    MARWAN MUASHER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Jordan, said the most recent Arab Human Development Report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had identified the pressing challenges facing the Arab world both now and in the future. It had subsequently triggered a broad debate on the future of reform in the Middle East. For reform to be meaningful, it had to first emanate from within the society and be sensitive to the particular needs of each country.  His country, therefore, developed an integrated agenda that addressed the primary issues of concern to common Jordanians. Those included: broader political involvement and personal freedoms; wider roles for women and youth; a more efficient judicial system; educational reform; and steady economic growth.  All of those actions were aimed at improving the living conditions of all individuals and helping the evolution of a more progressive, open and tolerant society.

    The series of reforms currently under way in Jordan, however, would remain inadequate without the support of the international community, he noted. Help was needed for development projects, direct assistance to the Jordanian economy and foreign debt relief.  Of special significance was the aid needed and expected from the “Group of Eight” industrialized countries for Jordan’s plans and initiatives, which had been set against promising, realistic and sustainable goals. Also, the long-standing status quo in his region had made all efforts to forge ahead with the overall Middle East reform exercise virtually impossible. The creation of a favourable climate that would help accelerate regional development and progress hinged on the termination of Israel’s occupation of Arab land on the basis of international legality. The time had come to focus on starting the peace process on the basis of the Road Map and the terms of reference reiterated therein, including the Arab peace initiative and implementation by both the Israeli and Palestinian sides of their respective obligations under the Road Map.  The launching of any serious political process required immediate action on the part of all parties to end the violence and all forms of civilian killing.

    He stressed the need to respect and implement what had been declared by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its advisory opinion on the separation wall being built by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory. The ICJ’s announcement was the law and no peaceful settlement of the Palestinian question could be realized unless it was based on respect for the rules of international law and recognition of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination. Of particular note was the ICJ opinion that the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was an occupied territory and, under international law, Israel an occupying Power. Accordingly, the claim that the West bank, including East Jerusalem, was “disputed territory” had been dismissed once and for all.  The advisory opinion also made it incumbent upon the international community to refrain from supporting Israel in its violations.  Further, the construction by Israel of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territory was illegal.  He added that the separation wall also threatened the national security of Jordan.

    SURAKIART SATHIRATHAI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand, said regional and subregional building blocks must bear responsibility for supporting and advancing the Organization’s goals on security and development, reducing poverty, combating terrorism and fighting transnational crime.  In South-East Asia, the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) would create by 2020 a three-pillar community: the ASEAN Economic Community, the ASEAN Security Community and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community. The realization of ASEAN communities required bridging the gap of development, and it was his nation’s initiative to build that bridge by introducing the Economic Cooperation Strategy, known as ACMECS. Creating more jobs and narrowing the income gap, that economic cooperation strategy would serve as a building block for ASEAN’s three communities.

    He went on to say that multilateralism was the best means to achieving both security and development in the world. From Iraq to Saudi Arabia, from Indonesia to Russia, acts of terror had broken out.  The development of human and State security must proceed on parallel tracks. The world could not be a secure place if its population was still suffering from poverty and deprivation. Thailand prescribed to the enhancement of human security as a means to making the nation secure. Landmines were a humanitarian and a development issue. As President of the Fifth Meeting of the States Parties to the Mine-Ban Convention, he had been working with the World Bank to reflect that approach in carrying out mine action. He expressed his appreciation for the Bank’s readiness to mobilize resources for the training of deminers, as well as for capacity-building for survivors, so that they could function as productive members of society.

    United Nations reform was not a question of effectiveness or of number and composition, he said.  It was more important to look at questions, such as, how could the Organization respond to new needs and realities, and equally address the issues of security and development? What would be the mechanism to deal adequately with issues of development and long-term global economic issues?  What would be the mechanism to deal adequately with post-conflict nation-building and reconstruction?  Thailand pledged to apply all of its experiences in forging partnerships to contribute to the Organization’s reform process.

    MAMADY CONDE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guinea, said that while there had been some success in defending the universal values on which the United Nations had been founded, changes in the international arena were under way, which were testing those values. Foremost among those was terrorism, which continued to rear its ugly and deadly head.  And if the international community was to make any headway, it must energetically tackle the underlying causes of the scourge: poverty, underdevelopment and exclusion.

    Turning to the situation in West Africa, he said that there had been some commendable success in Liberia and Sierra Leone. But in both cases, he warned that the international community would need to remain vigilant and live up to its commitments to ensure the reconstruction of Liberia and to ensure peace and stability during the draw down of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL). He also called for continued support for all efforts of the Mano River Union, and stressed that the preservation of unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty in Côte d’Ivoire was important as that country moved out of crisis. Here, he added that Guinea was concerned at the continued transboundary spread of small arms and illicit weapons in the region, and would support effort to expand the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) ban on such proliferation into a more regionally applied instrument.

    He went on to highlight specific situations throughout the African continent, chiefly in the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa.  He also said that there was no alternative to a political settlement of the question of Western Sahara and encouraged all the parties to cooperate more fully with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in that regard. Guinea was also pleased to see some recent forward movement on the situation in the Sudan. On other issues, he urged both the Palestinian and Israeli sides to seek a negotiated settlement to their long-running dispute, in line with the Road Map peace plan.

    Guinea was convinced that the upcoming mid-term review of the Millennium Development Goals would make it possible to boost momentum towards achievement of those globally agreed objectives. In that regard, he believed that only an increase in official development assistance (ODA), supported by debt forgiveness and better market access, could overcome the obstacles blocking the path to sustainable development for so many countries. He went on to urge the international community to increase its support for the aims and goals of the African Union, as it sought to put the continent on the path to development.

    KOSTYANTYN GRYSHCHENKO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, calling for collective international action against terrorism, said the world had to overcome old prejudices and establish a spirit of confidence, as well as a new culture of international cooperation embracing the whole spectrum of political, law enforcement and security instruments. The reason behind terrorism was to create chaos, disrupt the global system of peace and security established and promoted by the United Nations.

    As an active participant in the stabilization forces in Iraq, Ukraine was concerned with the terrorist insurgency and continuing violence there.  Although the situation remained difficult, there were positive trends, and Ukraine welcomed the transition of power to the Iraqi people. It was important to ensure effective implementation of the timetable for a comprehensive political transition process, particularly through the holding of free and fair elections. The Iraqi crisis and the international fight against terrorism revealed the need to strengthen the United Nations as a key instrument for safeguarding international peace and security.

    In backing United Nations reforms, he said Ukraine attached primary importance to the allocation of an additional non-permanent seat to the Group of Eastern European States. Such reforms must go beyond mere structural changes in order to be truly representative and balanced. Universal criteria and common understanding of threats and challenges were necessary to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the Organization in the twenty-first century. Further, as one of the major contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations and the largest in Europe, Ukraine was deeply concerned about the increasing danger to peacekeeping personnel and, in that regard, called for the strengthening of the Organization’s role in the field of non-proliferation and disarmament. Ukraine supported the universal application of the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel and called on all Member States to abide strictly by its provisions.

    BAMBA MAMADOU, Minister of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Côte d’Ivoire, said the national peace and reconciliation initiative in his country had reached a stalemate earlier in the year, following the events of March and the suspension of the activities of the National Reconciliation Government. Finding a solution to the deadlock had required strong action from all parties involved.  Fortunately, the Secretary-General of the United Nations had taken the initiative to convene a high-level meeting on the situation, in conjunction with the Third African Union Summit. The major decision at that meeting was to hold a summit to discuss the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire. During the meeting, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali convened to discuss the need for revitalizing cooperation in the areas of human rights, the economy, security and defence, among others.  Ensuring that no State served as a base to destabilize others in the subregion and that the three countries worked together to ensure the success of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process were also discussed.

    During the Accra Summit, a number of important decisions had been taken concerning the holding of free elections in 2005, he said. Those included that the National Assembly was to meet before the end of August 2004 to analyse and adopt all legislative texts envisaged by the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement. The political forces would commence DDR by 15 October at the latest. The result of reforms included the reintegration of ministers and the signing of a decree delegating certain powers to the Prime Minister. On the legislative level, deputies would convene in a special session in consideration of the final text of the Agreement. The National Assembly would review laws on amnesty, the financing of political parties with public funds, the free movement of individuals, and the establishment of a national commission on human rights, among other topics.

    Regarding the military, the meetings being put together called for the armed forces to fall under the aegis of impartial military forces, he said. The armed forces had also signed an agreement marking the end of war, and that had been respected up until the present. Regarding extension of administration in those zones that had experienced conflict, progress continued to be made, particularly in the west. Turning to human rights issues, he said Côte d’Ivoire had indicated its willingness to open itself to all visitors to assess the situation there.  In January and February 2004, three Special Rapporteurs had visited the country and had received full and total cooperation from authorities.  The international community should assist in finding the violators of human rights.

    Côte d’Ivoire was starting afresh, he said, dropping the burden of the past and beginning from a place of hope.  His nation would pull together efforts for peace and dialogue, and was counting on financial support for DDR. He reiterated his gratitude to the international community, in particular to France, United States, Canada, United Nations, European Union, and the African Union, among others, for their contributions to helping his nation overcome obstacles. He added that the situation in the Congo, Burundi, the Middle East and Iraq were affecting all and required sustained attention by the international community. In conclusion, reform of the United Nations, and in particular the Security Council, was necessary, and he reaffirmed and supported the shared African position in favour of expanding the Council.

    CHIRAU ALI MWAKWERE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kenya, welcomed the ongoing efforts to reorganize and revitalize the United Nations. Those efforts must reaffirm the status of the General Assembly as the pre-eminent policy-making body, and should result in a Security Council that was enlarged, democratized, and more representative of the Organization’s membership in the twenty-first century. Thanking the Secretary-General for his efforts to enhance the capacity of the United Nations Office in Nairobi, the only United Nations headquarters in a developing country, he also requested a significant increase in the regular budget component of funding for the Nairobi Office, to bring it into line with the administrative and financial arrangements of similar United Nations offices at Geneva and Vienna.

    Among other international issues he highlighted the problems caused by the production, stockpiling, transfer, and use of anti-personnel landmines, and urged countries to send high-level delegations to the upcoming “Nairobi Summit 2004 on a Mine-Free World” (the first review conference of the Ottawa Convention), to be held from 29 November to 3 December. Kenya had also been at the forefront of regional initiatives to address the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and welcomed the convening of the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region on Conflict and Development, scheduled for 17-20 November in the United Republic of Tanzania.

    He noted Kenya’s role in working for peaceful solutions to conflict in the region, as chair of the Southern Sudan Peace Process and the Somali Reconciliation Process. Regarding the southern Sudan, he said that prospects for a final peace agreement were within reach, and that he hoped recent events in the western region of Darfur would not subsume positive developments in resolving the two-decades–long conflict. Progress in Somalia could be seen in last month’s inauguration of a Transitional Federal Parliament, he said, adding that Kenya hoped to witness the installation of the Federal Government of Somalia by the end of the year. He appealed to the international community, and the United Nations in particular, to provide necessary support for infrastructure, security, and capacity-building for the new Government. Kenya, which had long been a major troop-contributing country in peacekeeping operations, called on the international community to assist the African Union in establishing a standby African force that could be a key tool for ensuring peace and stability on the continent.

    Turning to the issues of poverty and development, he said that current trends indicated that countries in sub-Saharan Africa would fall short of the Millennium Development Goals. The attainment of those Goals would depend, in part, on how effectively countries in the region deal with the HIV/AIDS pandemic and other related communicable diseases. He added that while Kenya received international assistance to contain a severe famine caused by drought this year, additional aid was needed.

    LE CONG PHUNG, First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, urged the international community to further strengthen cooperation, with a view to eliminating terrorism from the civilized world.  For the fight against terrorism to be effective, it must be pursued in conformity with the Charter, and it must be free from selectivity and double standards. For the second time in two years, last April, in pursuit of their secessionist aim of creating a so-called independent state of Degar, Kok Ksor and the organization he created, the Montagnard Foundation, staged a violent terrorist riot in the central highlands of Viet Nam, seriously threatening the security and territorial integrity of the country.  Still today, they enjoyed unjustified protection by various forces.

    He said he was equally concerned about conflicts and threats mounting in the Middle East and Africa. The Iraqi people were yet to know genuine peace. Non-traditional security threats, such as narcotics, the spread of disease, transnational organized crimes and environmental degradation continued to adversely affect peoples’ lives and the development of their nations. Undeniably, the window of opportunity for the economic development and integration of developing countries had widened. What was discouraging was the proportion of resources for development compared to the military expenditures of the rich countries. Last year, the United States, for example, spent $700 billion, which was 10 times higher than the total amount of their ODA. Instead of receiving a stronger commitment for ODA, developing States had fallen victim to unfair trade practices.

    A case in point had been the application of protectionist measures under the guise of anti-dumping duties imposed on Viet Nam’s catfish and shrimp exports, he said.  The unfair imposition of anti-dumping duties on his country’s shrimp export by the United States had inflicted losses on 3.5 million poor Vietnamese farmers, who earned their living directly or indirectly from the shrimp industry. That not only ran counter to World Trade Organization (WTO) principles, but also undermined the poverty-reduction efforts of his Government, as well as the technical assistance provided by the international financial institutions. As the world’s largest multilateral organization, the United Nations was the sole entity fully capable of creating a more peaceful and fair environment conducive to development and prosperity.  To fulfil that crucial role, the Organization should be reformed in a way that improved its effectiveness and democracy.  In that regard, both the non-permanent and permanent membership of the Security Council should be enlarged, and developing countries should be more adequately represented.

    In its own reform process, Viet Nam pursued a foreign policy of openness, independence, sovereignty, diversification and multilateralism of relations and was willing to be a friend and reliable partner to all countries striving for independence, peace, development and cooperation. Increasing regional and interregional cooperation was a consistent policy and an inseparable component of Viet Nam’s policy towards greater international integration.  As evidence of his Government’s determination to participate more actively in interregional cooperation frameworks, Viet Nam would host the fifth Asia-Europe Summit in Hanoi next month and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2006. It was looking to accelerate negotiations for accession to the WTO, and it was standing for election to a non-permanent seat in the Security Council for the term 2008 to 2009.

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