Press Releases

    21 September 2005

    Most Developing Countries Unable to Achieve Millennium Goals, Given Current Levels of Economic Growth, International Support, General Assembly Told

    Enhanced Resource Flows, Scientific Applications Needed To Break Out of Poverty, Leaders Say

    (Delayed for technical reasons; issued on 20 September.)

    NEW YORK, 19 September (UN Headquarters) -- While acknowledging the outcome of last week's historic World Summit, which had adopted major decisions on terrorism and United Nations reform, many political leaders from developing countries today told the General Assembly that the event had fallen short of their expectations, particularly on boosting development aid and tearing down trade barriers.

    Though the three-day Summit had been billed as a five-year review of the Millennium Declaration, unfortunately, most developing countries would be unable to achieve the Goals and targets pledged by world leaders in 2000, given the current levels of their growth and levels of international support, Natwar Singh, India's External Affairs Minister, said as the Assembly continued its annual high-level debate.

    "Most of us had much higher expectations from the Summit, particularly in agreeing on definite timetables for the achievement of the 0.7 per cent target for official development assistance (ODA)", he said, adding that that was equally true of innovative sources of financing because developing countries could not break out of the circle of poverty without enhanced resource flows and the application of science and technology to meet their development challenges.

    Calling for strengthening efforts at both national and international levels for reaching agreed development targets, Marc Ravalomanana, Madagascar's President, was among many African leaders stressing that the Summit's results had not fully addressed the troubled continent's concerns.  What was lacking was a clear vision for Africa's future, one which took into account the continent's weaknesses while, at the same time, underscoring its astounding potential and wealth of resources.

    Leaders of the world's richest nations had spoken of a "Marshall Plan" for Africa, and now was the time to act to help ensure the continent was prosperous, stable, hunger-free and much more attractive to foreign investors.  Africa also aimed to take its destiny into its own hands by promoting good governance and the rule of law, and build better, more equitable and enduring institutions, he added.

    Since the adoption of the Millennium Declaration, the burdens and obstacles faced by developing countries had only increased, said Syed Hamid Albar, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia.  On top of that, the world now faced spiralling oil prices, which placed a disproportionate burden on developing countries.  There was something wrong with the current market system, where the poor were expected to absorb the costs of the instabilities of production.

    Globalization had left many in developing countries unable to compete in the open and free market system.  While aid and debt reduction was important, trade needed to be expanded.  If the United Nations was to remain relevant, it must be able to discuss and decide on day-to-day issues, as well as those which had long-term implication, he said.

    Felipe Perez Roque, Cuba's Minister for Foreign Affairs, declared there was not a single reason to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations.  The chaotic, unequal and insecure state of the world was not exactly a tribute to the Organization's founders.  Among other tragedies since the Millennium Summit, more children had died of preventable disease than all the victims of the Second World War combined.

    He said the reason for the currents state of world affairs was that the order enshrined in the United Nations Charter reflected an outdated balance of power.  In a unipolar world, the only super-Power imposed its interests on the Organization and the international community.  That situation would remain unchanged as long as Third World countries failed to work together to fight for their rights. 

    Also addressing the Assembly were the Presidents of Burundi, Lebanon, Malawi and the Gambia.

    The Prime Ministers who spoke were from Mauritius, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tuvalu, and Lesotho.

    The Ministers for Foreign Affairs from Bahrain, China, United Arab Emirates, Gabon, Luxembourg, Ireland, Tunisia, Greece, Portugal, Indonesia, Slovenia, Nicaragua and Venezuela, also spoke.

    The Interim President of from Haiti addressed the Assembly, as did the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs from Qatar.

    Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of the United Kingdom, Iran, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates.

    The Assembly will reconvene its general debate tomorrow, 20 September, at  10 a.m.


    The General Assembly reconvened this morning to continue its annual general debate.


    PIERRE NKURUNZIZA, President of Burundi, said this was a crucial time in his country's history, as the main protagonists in a decade-long conflict had decided to "bury the hatchet" and governmental renewal and revitalization was beginning.  Burundi had just emerged from a round of free, fair and peaceful elections, and had set up institutions that represented a broad spectrum of society.  Importantly, the new head of the National Assembly was, for the first time, a woman.  Many women could also be found holding offices at the provincial level.  All those profound changes had been made possible by the help and support of the international community, as well as the will and cooperation shown by all political factions.  Burundi was now preparing for the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region.

    The world had become a single village and all States must work together to deal with new and ongoing threats and challenges, he said.  To that end, all efforts must be taken to ensure the elaboration of appropriate laws and conventions to combat terrorism.  The media, faith-based programmes and youth organizations should also be brought into the global effort to end that scourge.  Curbing drug trafficking and ensuring the protection and promotion of human rights for all were also essential.

    In the wake of its recent elections, he said, Burundi was actively engaged in efforts to address the return home of persons displaced by war and the reconstruction of schools, which would require the purchase of education tools and equipment.  Indeed, the country hoped over the coming year to be able to build regular and technical schools throughout all the provinces.  The international community was urged to help with the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission.  Its help was also needed in starting the country's economic development and poverty eradication programmes.

    MARC RAVALOMANANA, President of Madagascar, said that while his country welcomed the decisions taken at last week's World Summit, the results of that historic meeting had not fully addressed Africa's concerns.  Importantly, no decision had been taken that would address a central issue:  better and more equitable representation in United Nations organs such as the Security Council.  Africa wanted to make real and genuine suggestions and proposals about decisions taken that affected the entire world.  The General Assembly also needed to be strengthened.

    The United Nations must devise and implement measures that would establish a more equitable world, he said.  People wanted to be treated fairly and they needed an international environment that promoted and encourage participation.  As for Africa, what was lacking was a clear vision of the continent's future.  While it was generally portrayed as poor, in reality, it was very rich.  Leaders of the world's richest nations had spoken of a "Marshall Plan" for Africa and stressed that such a renewal plan should go hand in hand with home-grown development initiatives, focusing on more than debt cancellation and poverty eradication.  Above all, it should take into account Africa's potential and the role it could play in global affairs.

    He said that Africa's future also depended on its children, so any plan for the continent's renewal should focus on the transfer of knowledge and technology, eradicating illiteracy, promoting education and closing the digital divide.  Saving Africa' children also meant providing proper nutrition.  To that end, the Assembly should act urgently to address the situation of malnutrition throughout Africa, but particularly in and around the sub-Saharan region.  The international community would also support Africa's efforts to improve water use and management, as well as sanitation, which would have the added advantage of enhancing the situation of women.

    Any so-called Marshall Plan should also make it clear that Africa could prosper by shouldering its responsibilities, he said.  It should, at the same time, speak more of Africa's potential than its weaknesses.  Now was the time to create a new, clear image of Africa, particularly one which was attractive to investors.  Africa would also aim to take its destiny into its own hands, particularly by promoting good governance and the rule of law, and build better, more equitable and enduring institutions.

    EMILE LAHOUD, President of Lebanon, said the recent Summit demonstrated the world's faith that the United Nations could preserve peace.  The way out of current crises would be a return to a multipolar world order based on the rule of international law and respect for every nation's sovereignty.  Technological advances had eroded geographical boundaries while strengthening multinational corporations, creating a need for a new approach in tackling the world's problems.  "The crumbs from the rich nations have become insufficient in quenching the needs of a Third World seeking to extract itself from backwardness, and to eradicate poverty and disease."  A serious and urgent dialogue between North and South was crucial, as was cooperation between developing States.

    He said the fight against terrorism remained superficial and incapable of addressing its root causes.  An effective anti-terror campaign required an environment of constructive cooperation, free from political motivations.  It also required a clear definition of terrorism as distinct from the inalienable right of peoples to fight occupation.  The core of unresolved disputes and terrorism in the Middle East was the fact that despite numerous international resolutions, Arab lands remained under occupation.  The immediate implementation of those resolutions remained the only way to defuse the causes of extremism.  Israel's violation of the Blue Line, its occupation of parts of Lebanon and imprisonment of scores of Lebanese citizens marked a clear violation of international law.

    The recent assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri constituted the hardest blow in Lebanon's modern history, he said, promising full cooperation with the International Inquiry Commission.  Lebanon looked forward to the timely and prompt disclosure of its results.  Following parliamentary elections and the formation of a new Government, exhaustive reforms were planned, as well as the creation of a new electoral law that would live up to the recommendations of the European Union's delegated commission. 

    NAVINCHANDRA RAMGOOLAM, Prime Minister of Mauritius, said the very first words of the United Nations Charter implied that people should be the primary beneficiaries of every resolution adopted and every programme launched.  As the Assembly engaged in the present debate, it should ask, "Have we put the peoples at the centre of all of our deliberations and activities?"  Last Friday, the leaders of the world had renewed their pledge to save humanity from the scourges of war, fear, disease, famine and poverty by adopting the outcome document.  They were, therefore, required to muster the collective political will to mobilize the necessary resources to fulfil those pledges.  The wealthy and powerful North should assist the less fortunate countries. The South must devote energy and show creativity to engage in a common effort to attain social development and human security.

    Poverty and its eradication must remain at the core of all development efforts, he said.  Mauritius considered that assisting developing countries through increased official development assistance (ODA) was crucial, but aid without trade would not only be unsustainable, but also self-defeating.  Tariff and non-tariff barriers further aggravated the situation.   Mauritius welcomed the particular attention given by the Summit to Africa, which continued to suffer from violence and humanitarian crises.  Mauritius also welcomed Israel's disengagement from Gaza and the northern West Bank, and urged the Israeli and Palestinian peoples to continue their confidence-building measures.  Also, it was imperative that necessary support be provided in Iraq.  In addition, it was a matter of the greatest regret that the 2005 Review Conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) had failed to achieve a conclusive outcome, and the opportunity to reform the Security Council must not be squandered.

    Mauritius reiterated the need to continue assistance to the small island developing States in their sustainable development efforts through the proper and effective implementation of the Mauritius Strategy, he said.  Mauritius had made encouraging progress in regional cooperation.  It reiterated its legitimate sovereignty claim over the Chagos Archipelago, including the island of Diego Garcia.  Mauritius also appealed to the French Government to expedite the resolution of the question of sovereignty over Tromelin through dialogue.  Mauritius had made a commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting to organize an International Conference on Poverty and Development.

    RALPH GONSALVES, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, said that while the goals and aims of the sixtieth General Assembly were lofty, they fell far short of what was required in the twenty-first Century.  Out of unreasonable fear, the most powerful nations were not reasonably fair.  Meanwhile, less developed countries were disingenuously self-righteous, which led to a standoff between rich and poor.  Disillusionment, in turn, had led to religious extremism.

    Economic, cultural and military imperialism ultimately brought about their own demise, he said.  There were discordant, contradictory trends occurring -- the extremes of poverty and wealth were increasing at the same time that the world was becoming effectively smaller because of information technology, leading to greater resentment among the have-nots.  If nations did not speed up their efforts to provide more development aid, an educated population worldwide, a fairer trade system, a reformed United Nations and international peace, "apocalypse now" would ensue.

    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines had many special needs, he said.  The Mauritius Strategy to review the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, the Barbados Programme of Action and other measures were encouraging.  The just-concluded High-level Plenary had enunciated important goals that must be transformed into action.  One particular issue of importance was the fair resolution of the banana trade impasse in Europe without hurting the banana farmers of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

    The Indian Ocean tsunami and the hurricanes that had devastated parts of the United States called attention for the need for international mechanisms to address problems of climate change and disaster preparedness and relief, he said.  There had to be coordinated, sustained, international efforts to disasters.  Otherwise, the world's attention would shift from one disaster to the next as they occurred and not provide sustained help.  That had occurred in Grenada as a result of Hurricane Ivan and in the man-made disaster in Darfur.

    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was distressed by the continuing calamity in Haiti and supported the work of the United Nations Stabilization Mission there, he said.  United Nations forces and resources were inadequate to improve the situation.  And, on the issue of the Republic of China (Taiwan), he said that country had ally to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and should be represented in the United Nations.  The Organization should work to promote communication between the People's Republic of China and Taiwan.

    MOHAMMED BIN MUBARAK AL-KHALIFA, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, said the dangerous escalation in the nature of terrorism and a culture derived from hatred and stubbornness were the most serious dangers threatening the international community everywhere.  A comprehensive strategy must be developed to interrupt the cycle of terrorism and violence and re-emphasize the common responsibility of States and societies to address the root causes of terrorism.

    He said his country was involved in fighting money laundering and the financing of terrorism at the national, regional, and international levels.  In regional actions with both the Middle East and North Africa, Bahrain's cooperation with others against terrorism took practical, as well as political, forms.  The country had submitted its instruments of accession to many of the United Nations instruments on terrorism, and it supported the Saudi initiative to establish an international centre to fight terrorism.

    Another security challenge was the absence of a just and comprehensive peace to the Arab-Israeli conflict, he continued.  The recent Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip would hopefully lead to peace and become part of the Road Map.  The next steps in Iraq should be the attainment of a strong and unanimous national consensus on Iraq's territorial integrity and ethnic diversity; a comprehensive political plan; and participation by the Iraqi people in shaping their country's future.  Also in the Middle East, the long dispute between Iran and the United Arab Emirates over three disputed islands should be settled either through negotiations or international arbitration.

    On the fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals, he said Bahrain had taken significant steps to enable women to assume positions of leadership in a new national strategy.  A Bahraini woman with the appropriate experience, wisdom and diplomatic skill would be nominated for the presidency of the sixty-first session of the General Assembly.  Economic and investment projects had also been launched to strengthen and enhance Bahrain's economic and trade positions at the global level.  The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) had not achieved its goals despite the accession by all Arab countries along with most countries of the world.  The Middle East and the Gulf should be designated a nuclear-weapon-free area.

    Finally, he called for reform of the United Nations and its organs, including an expansion of the Security Council that took into account the interests and expectations of Arab nations, the features of which deeply affected the world's politics, economy and security.  A post-cold-war world not yet free of the scourge of war urgently needed a more modern, stronger, and more credible Organization to bring nations together and balance their interests, build peace and security, implement justice and law, oblige all to abide by the Charter and successfully meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.

    LI ZHAOXING, Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, noting that 2005 marked the sixtieth anniversary of the anti-fascist world war and the founding of the United Nations, said it fell upon world leaders to fulfil the important task of working towards a harmonious world of lasting peace, as adopted in the Declaration of the Summit.  The session should serve to promote peace, harmony and common development.  Stability could not be built on crisis.  Only a new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation would work.  China wanted common development, and no model that benefited only a few countries was acceptable.  Countries should cooperate to bring about economic globalization.  The United Nations needed multifaceted and multidimensional reforms.

    The position of the United Nations as the core of world collective security mechanism needed strengthening, he said.  China supported efforts to enhance the Organization's capacity on conflict prevention, mediation and good offices.  It also welcomed a greater role for the Secretary-General, supported United Nations peacekeeping efforts and favoured setting up a Peacebuilding Commission.  China opposed the use or threat of force in international relations, and the international community should continue pressing ahead with arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. The United Nations should cope more effectively with non-traditional security threats, and China welcomed the comprehensive strategy on counter-terrorism. The international community should strictly observe the United Nations Charter in the endeavour to reduce and prevent large-scale humanitarian crises. Development should be the main form of United Nations reform.

    He said the United Nations should put in place a fair and rational review of the Millennium Development Goals framework.  China supported the coordinating role of the Economic and Social Council in development-related areas.  The Doha Round should embody development and pay more attention to and take actions to address the concerns of developing countries.  China favoured incorporating the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.  The international community should take substantive steps to help developing countries break the vicious cycle of debt.  The current Security Council session should focus on Africa; if there was no stability in that region, the world would have no peace.  The international community should reach global consensus on African development and implement the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).  The twenty-first century would bring peace and development to Africa, and the Chinese people would stand side by side with their African brothers and sisters on that journey.

    FELIPE PEREZ ROQUE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, said there was not a single reason to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations.  The chaotic, unequal and insecure state of the world was not exactly a tribute to the Organization's founders.  Since the Millennium Summit, more children had died of preventable disease than all the victims of the Second World War combined.  Aggression against Iraq had been launched despite the opposition of the international community, and in the end, the Security Council had meekly accepted a war that had been opposed by most of its members.

    He said the reason for that state of affairs was that the order enshrined in the United Nations Charter reflected an outdated balance of power.  In a unipolar world, the only super-Power imposed its interests on the Organization and the international community.  That situation would remain unchanged as long as Third World countries failed to work together to fight for their rights.  The United States Government should comply with Security Council resolution 1373 and extradite terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela, as well as release five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters who had been unjustly imprisoned for seven years.  If the United States had allowed the Organization to act in accordance with its Charter, Iraq would not have been invaded for its oil, the Palestinian people would exercise sovereignty over their rightful territory, and Cuba would not continue to be blockaded.

    All those issues explained the failure of last week's Summit, which was a complete farce, he said.  The Plenary was of no interest to the powerful, whose selfish and hegemonic interests were opposed to a more just and better world for all.  The attempts by the United States to impose 750 amendments would go down in history as the clearest evidence that a new United Nations was needed.  The powerful were trying to find efficient ways to control the Organization while attempting to legitimize the so-called "responsibility to protect", which could one day be used to justify aggression.  "Let us spell it out:  there is currently no right to peace for the small."  However, Cubans were not pessimistic, but revolutionaries who would not surrender or become complacent.

    SYED HAMID ALBAR, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, said his country subscribed fully to the centrality of the United Nations and with it the principles of multilateralism.  Without multilateralism, small and weak States could not hope for a democratic international order.  But multilateralism had come under increasing threat.  The challenge confronting humankind was to address peace and security, poverty and development, human rights and democracy.  Every country must be committed to strengthening the General Assembly, which must operationalize the commitments undertaken at major United Nations conferences and summits.  Countries must focus their energies in order to keep the issues alive until consensus was achieved.

    Malaysia was disappointed by the absence of reference to disarmament and non-proliferation in the outcome document, he said.  It was regrettable that the 2005 NPT Review Conference had failed.  Since the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals, the burdens and obstacles faced by developing countries had increased.  Now the world was faced with a prolonged and sustained increase in oil prices, which placed a disproportionate burden on developing countries.  There was something wrong with the current market system, where the poor were expected to absorb the costs of the instabilities of production.  If the United Nations was to remain relevant, it must be able to discuss and decide on day-to-day issues, as well as those which had long-term implications.

    Globalization had left many in developing countries unable to compete in the open and free market system, he said.  While aid and debt reduction was important, trade needed to be expanded.  The world was also faced with the threat of terrorism, which demanded effective international action.  The portrayal of any particular group of people as fanatics was irresponsible and would derail a united front.  The interests of minority groups must not be sidelined in favour of the majority.  The ideas of good governance, democracy and accountability to God were not anti-thetical to Islam.  The Assembly must not lose sight of the urgent need to address and resolve one of the most important issues confronting the Organization -- the question of Palestine.  Sixty years ago, the Organization had proclaimed that humanity should live in peace, harmony and common respect.  Malaysia wanted to return to those hopes and ideals.

    RASHID ABDULLAH AL-NOAIMI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, said his country welcomed the outcome document from the High-level Plenary Meeting as a positive step towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, but United Nations reforms to increase the permanent and non-permanent membership of the Security Council was imperative in order to ensure transparency in its action.

    Focusing on current questions that threatened all nations, he said poverty, illiteracy, epidemics, environmental issues, terrorism and weapons proliferation were "transboundary issues that pose grave threats to all of humanity".  Beyond the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission, an international conference on combating terrorism and its causes should be held to provide a clear definition of terrorism.  Also, support should be given to the Saudi Arabian proposal to establish an international centre for combating terror.

    Turning to the issue of illegal occupations, he called upon Iran to respond to his country's peaceful initiatives to end the occupation of three United Arab Emirates islands through bilateral negotiations, or by referral to the International Court of Justice.  Israel's withdrawal from Gaza was a welcome step, and it was to be hoped that the international community would urge Israel to complete its withdrawal from the Arab and Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.

    Regarding proliferation, he said Israel should accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and open up its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

    And on the gap between rich and poor nations, he said that despite great advances in science and technology, the economic gap between the North and the South continued to widen.  International efforts to address that imbalance could happen through the inclusion of developing countries in the economic and trade decision-making processes.

    JEAN-FRANÇOIS NDONGOU, Deputy Minister to the Minister of State, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Francophonie of Gabon, said his country favoured the reinvigoration and restoration of the United Nations, as well as the General Assembly.  To that end, Gabon welcomed the important outcome document adopted last week at the conclusion of the 2005 World Summit.  Still, all must be clear that reform was not just an end in itself.  The Organization must be strengthened so that it could play its central role in ensuring democracy and peace throughout the world.  At the same time, its programmes dealing with such emerging issues as the HIV/AIDS epidemic and environmental degradation must also be enhanced.

    Indeed HIV/AIDS, environmental degradation, climate change and the increasing prevalence and force of natural disasters were key challenges to sustainable development in developing countries, he said.  That was particularly true for sparsely populated countries like Gabon.  Facing those threats required cooperation by all members of the international community.  Further, terrorism also posed a severe threat to international peace and security, and, despite the Summit's adoption of a clear and unambiguous condemnation of the scourge, the Assembly must endeavour to take more concrete action against terrorism during its current session.

    Turning to the situation in Africa, he stressed that Gabon had played an important role, along with its African Union peers, in ensuring peace throughout the continent.  Gabon called on all parties in the Sudan to complete the peace processes now under way.  Gabon welcomed the completion of the peace process in Burundi and encouraged its new leaders to continue to display cooperation and flexibility.

    He went on to address the continuing crushing debt burden inhibiting the implementation of global development initiatives in Gabon and other countries.  The spiralling price of oil certainly did not help matters for the world's poorest countries.  Gabon hoped that the work of the sixtieth session of the Assembly would strive to make the world a place of peace, security and stability for all.

    BINGU WA MUTHARIKA, President of Malawi, said the follow-up and implementation of the outcome of the High-level Plenary Meeting, with the theme "For a Stronger and More Effective United Nations", was very important to proposals for reform of the Organization.  Malawi appreciated efforts by the United Nations to eradicate poverty and promote development and prosperity.  But, many times a lot was said, but very little was delivered.  Malawi faced serious problems with instituting an effective system of political and economic governance.  It still faced extreme poverty.  HIV/AIDS continued to claim lives, malaria killed millions each year and it faced mounting domestic and external debt, an unfair global trading system, conflict and political instability.  In order for United Nations reforms to be meaningful, Malawi needed assistance in good governance.

    He said Malawi was pursuing sound macroeconomic policies, a reduction in public expenditure, and was fighting corruption at all levels.  It had also instituted effective reforms in the private sector.  Malawi faced severe constraints in implementing the Millennium Development Goals.  It, therefore, supported the proposal to find comprehensive solutions to the external debt problem.  Malawi found it hard to be integrated into the global trading system.  It appealed for the completion of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations.  There was also the need to provide duty-free and quota-free market access for all exports from the least developed countries.  He believed the United Nations' role in Africa could be enhanced by encouraging Africa's representation in the Security Council.

    He said his Government welcomed assistance for HIV/AIDS prevention.  Malawi faced severe food shortages and appealed to the world for assistance.  Malawi had established a Feed the Nation Fund and adopted policies to reduce its dependence on rain-fed agriculture.  An important aspect of reform in the United Nations involved the determination of eligibility for membership.  Malawi called for the admission of Republic of China (Taiwan) as a Member.  How could the United Nations stand for equality and justice, when it denied membership to more than 23 million people, while former communist countries in Eastern Europe, and the former Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia were admitted?  Why was Taiwan being discriminated against?  The United Nations was applying double standards.  The admission of Taiwan in the United Nations would bring credibility to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    AL HADJI YAHYA JAMMEH, President of the Gambia, said it was time to take stock of the United Nations' strengths and weaknesses in responding to global challenges, with a view towards rendering the Organization more effective.  A new vision was needed that captured the realities of the twenty-first century.  Reform of the Organization was necessary, and its objectives over the next decade should include eradicating poverty and its attendant woes, conserving the world's ecosystems, and halting the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, among other things.  Specifically, a total ban should be placed on nuclear weapons.  It was also important to put a high priority on resolving current conflicts, beginning with the Middle East.  A two-State solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was required.  Stability was also needed in Iraq. 

    He also called for the prompt convening of a donors' conference to show solidarity with Guinea-Bissau.  The proliferation of small arms and light weapons also had to be addressed, with the aim of denying non-State actors, terrorists and organized criminal networks access to weapons of mass terror.  The International Criminal Court deserved all possible support, and States that had not yet ratified the Rome Statute should do so.  The use of unilateral coercive measures to settle disputes should be condemned, and sanctions against Cuba lifted.  Taiwan should be allowed to become a full Member of the United Nations.

    He supported the proposed reform of the Economic and Social Council and the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission.  The Commission on Human Rights should also be reformed, but its replacement should not be a small organization subject to the enforcement of a select few.  Africa must also be given full representation on the Security Council.  Veto power in the Council should be abolished, since it no longer served a purpose in today's world.  Instead, veto power should be given to a majority vote by the General Assembly.  If the Council could not be reformed, it should be abolished and its mandate assigned to the General Assembly, which would make decisions by a majority vote.

    BONIFACE ALEXANDRE, Interim President of Haiti, said the United Nations had been deploying a stabilization force in Haiti, which was improving the security climate.  The mission was requested because international solidarity was essential.  Haiti intended to achieve the Goals set by United Nations for 2015.  It intended to support those efforts designed to increase development and aid.  It attached importance to the project of finding stable and sustainable financing by using innovative mechanisms to cure major pandemics.  Haiti had been looking very closely at a project presented by the United Kingdom to borrow from financial markets to increase assistance to the poorest countries.  But those efforts could fail if a global solution to the problem of indebtedness was not found.  The solution would make a positive contribution to international security by contemplating total forgiveness.  Haiti supported effective, global, sustainable solutions reached in the Organization, in order to resolve the serious problems of debt in poor countries.

    He said Haiti was at a crossroads.  In a few weeks, a general election would be organized throughout the country.  At times, it had been awkward, difficult and violent.  The country lived in a climate bordering on chaos, with armed groups holding parts of the capital hostage. Calm was returning.  He was convinced the actual campaign would take place in a peaceful climate.  The Haitian people and their Government were grateful to the United Nations.  Nothing could stop Haiti's progress towards a pluralistic and democratic elections.

    The chronic political stability and serious socio-economic problems had prompted a large number of compatriots to flee to neighbouring shores and certain tensions had occurred.  Haiti was open to any negotiations.  Haiti reiterated its appeal to the international community to come and observe the holding of the ballot.  It reiterated an appeal made a year ago asking that Haiti no longer be left alone and isolated.  For Haiti, to emerge from extreme poverty and squalor, which was the bedrock of all dictatorships, the country needed to recover its unity and soul.

    MAATIA TOAFA, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tuvalu, said international cooperation had to increase for the full implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for Small Island Developing States and the Brussels Programme of Action, particularly with respect to financing, capacity-building, and technology development and its transfer to support poverty reduction and sustainable development efforts of least developed countries and small island developing States like Tuvalu.  Channels of connectivity must be established between international commitments and national strategies, plans and actions on the ground.  In that regard, the Tuvalu National Sustainable Development Strategies 2005-2015 had been launched last Friday in New York.  It was a commitment of action between the Government and all stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and island communities.

    He said his country was fully committed to joining the fight against terrorism, but needed the help of the United Nations and the international community in fulfilling the requirements of Security Council resolutions and anti-terrorism conventions.  Further, the threat of climate change impacts, including the rise in sea level and the variability of the global environment, was a matter of serious security concern to all.  For small islands like his, the effects were already manifesting, were devastating, and were a threat to human life.  The destruction of Hurricane Katrina in the United States three weeks ago ought to be taken as a serious warning.  Actions must be taken to mitigate the effects of climate change, including by reducing greenhouse gasses and advancing the development and use of renewable energy sources.

    All industrialized countries that had not yet done so should ratify the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible, he stressed.  "Not to do so will be to sign Tuvalu's death warrant", he added.

    Unless serious action was taken, he went on, efforts for development, security and human rights for those most vulnerable to the impact of climate change would be severely compromised.  For all those with the capacity to do so, he appealed to "have a heart" for islands like Tuvalu and the rest of mankind.

    He said he supported United Nations reform and the expansion of the Security Council to include Japan, Germany, India and Brazil as permanent members.  Also, the representation of developing countries in he non-permanent seats was long overdue.  The present momentum on the issue must be seized to resolve the reforms by the end of December at the latest.

    Further, he said Tuvalu needed technical and financial assistance for its efforts on HIV/AIDS.  In terms of natural resources, Tuvalu was a big-ocean small island country becoming concerned with the real threats of illicit fishing and toxic pollutants in the oceans.  It was also dependent on its migrant workers' remittances.  International attention should be given to questions of migrant workers' rights, including the maintenance of competency on international standards and the security of such workers.  Finally, the question of representation in the United Nations itself was of concern.  The Organization could not be universal without the rightful representation of Taiwan.

    PAKALITHA BETHUEL MOSISILI, Prime Minister and Minister for Defence and Public Service of Lesotho, urged the world's nations to strive to simultaneously advance the global development, human rights and security agendas, as well as to combat HIV/AIDS and poverty.  International cooperation was also necessary to bring an end to conflicts, particularly in Africa. On development aid, he welcomed recent initiatives of donor countries to meet the agreed 0.7 ODA target and appealed to all developed countries not only to increase ODA flows, but ensure that they were predictable.  He also called for more action to promote foreign direct investment in Africa.

    Turning to disarmament issues, he said Lesotho hoped that the Assembly would soon initiate negotiations on an international instrument to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to non-State actors.  There was also an urgent need to conclude a comprehensive anti-terrorism convention, and he called for further action to curb the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.  Further, Lesotho considered it the international community's responsibility to put into place measures to protect populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing and war crimes, particularly all atrocities committed against women and children trapped in conflict.

    Noting that the United Nations lacked a true mechanism to help States avoid collapse or to assist with the transition form war to peace, he said Lesotho supported the proposed establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission.  In the area of human rights, Lesotho also supported enhancing the Commission on Human Rights.  Finally, stressing that the right to self-determination and respect for all human rights should be guaranteed for all, he called for complete withdrawal from the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the independence of the Saharawi people, the lifting of the unilateral embargo against Cuba, and an end to armed conflicts, particularly in Africa.

    JEAN ASSELBORN, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Luxembourg, said the outcome document was a road map for the future that should give direction to the international community.  If all expectations had not been met, particularly in the areas of disarmament and non-proliferation, at least a new international agenda had emerged around the Organization's central pillars of peace, development and human rights.   The Assembly must not go back to business as usual once the world's attention had turned away.  Luxembourg was ready to subscribe to the Accountability Pact.

    He said the most important items to address in the coming months were creating a Human Rights Council and Peacebuilding Commission, giving concrete form to the "responsibility to protect", increasing the number of permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council, and reforming the administrative and financial management of the Organization.

    Development remained the principal political and moral issue of the time, he continued.  Progress towards the Millennium Goals remained uneven, and some areas had slid backwards, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.  A partnership for development based on the Monterrey goals and shared between donor and recipient countries remained a matter of priority.  The countries of the South needed to outline detailed national strategies for their own development, aimed at promoting good government and battling corruption.  The countries of the North needed to fulfil their obligations in matters of trade and debt reduction, and financial aid for development needed to be increased.  A Central Emergency Revolving Fund, capable of acting as quickly as possible, should take shape within the coming months and be made fully operational by early 2006.

    Among the numerous conflict areas that required attention, the Middle East was in the forefront, he said.  Iran needed to respect the Paris Agreement and completely suspend its nuclear activities.  The Organization also had a leading role to play in creating a stable, democratic and prosperous Iraq.  Violence between Israelis and Palestinians needed to cease, and peace negotiations needed to move forward based on the Road Map, which remained the only point of reference.

    DERMOT AHERN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland, said the Secretary-General had asked Member States to sincerely follow up and implement the decisions that were taken at last week's World Summit.  Ireland would do its part, and, among other things, was committed to reaching the agreed 0.7 per cent official development assistance (ODA) target by 2012.  The country's aid would be untied and directed to the very poorest, particularly in Africa.

    With the frequency and deadly impact of natural disasters increasing, Ireland would also place an even stronger emphasis on emergency and humanitarian relief, he said, adding that his country would chiefly focus on how to deliver effective civil protection in such situations.  He also welcomed decisions taken at the Summit to double the budget of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and improve the Geneva-based Commission on Human Rights.  Ireland also backed the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission.

    He went on to urge the Assembly to agree on a comprehensive convention to combat terrorism as quickly as possible during the current session.  It should also take up matters related to nuclear disarmament and the non-proliferation of deadly weapons. To that end, he welcomed what appeared to be positive developments regarding the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear programme.  Turning to United Nations reform, he urged the Assembly to fulfil its commitment to revitalize its own working methods, to align the Security Council with modern realities, and to take a serious look at how the Economic and Social Council could fulfil its role.

    Touching next on several critical international issues, he said that lasting peace in the Middle East was of great importance to the entire world.  And while he welcomed the first phase of Israel's disengagement from Gaza, he stressed that much remained to be done, with the assistance of the international community, to ensure full implementation of the Quartet-backed Road Map peace plan.

    On Iraq, he praised the determination of the Iraqi people struggle to secure peace and democracy in the face of "appalling challenges" from terrorism.  And with the adoption of the country's new constitution fast-approaching, he urged the international community to ensure that the ballot was peaceful.  On Myanmar, he called for the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.  He also expressed concern about the situation in Darfur, western Sudan.  It was also a time for renewed leadership in the Northern Ireland peace process, he said, noting the IRA's major and courageous step forward in July.  When the IRA's commitments were fully delivered and verified, the way would be clear for renewed political discussions by all parties on the reactivation of Northern Ireland institutions.

    ABDELWAHEB ABBDALLAH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, said there was a need to intensify consultation and coordination on the question of United Nations reform because the world was witnessing an increase of tensions and a widening gap between rich and poor countries.

    On issues of concern to the international community, he said that the Middle East issue ranked first.  Negotiations should be resumed on the peace process in light of recent positive developments there, in order to provide security, stability, and prosperity for the entire region.  It was also necessary for Syria and Lebanon to recover all of their occupied territories, and he expressed hope that Iraq could complete its political process and strengthen its constitutional institution.

    The African continent still suffered from persistent tensions and conflicts in many regions, he said.  The completion of the basic structures of the African Union would enable African countries to further promote cooperation in the areas of security and stability, and help to facilitate their integration into the world economy.

    Focusing on terrorism, he said that unified actions between nations were the strongest way to eradicate the roots of terrorism, and that the Tunisian President had called for an international conference, under UN auspices, to establish a uniform anti-terrorism code of conduct. 

    Referring to the Tunisian proposal for the establishment of the World Solidarity Fund, he said that his country wanted the United Nations to reinforce calls for this Fund so that it could achieve its objectives to reduce poverty and famine, especially in heavily afflicted African regions.

    PETROS MOLYVIATIS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, said that terrorism had emerged as the single most important challenge of the times, and it had created an environment of intolerance and a never-ending cycle of violence.  It was high time that a collective effort was made to put an end to terrorism.  Another urgent issue requiring international cooperation was the effort to respond to natural disasters like the tsunami in Asia.

    Turning to the issue of economic development, he said that it was only a matter of time before extreme poverty, hunger and the terrible impact of pandemics led to external and internal strife.  Collective commitment and effort were needed to correct current world disparities, such as those in Africa, including those related to HIV/AIDS, poverty and conflict.  Multilateral cooperation was the only way to a better world.

    Focusing on the issue of European integration and areas of conflict, he said that European regional cooperation must be strengthened to address the problems in areas like Kosovo which faced recurring violence.  In light of the outcome of last year's referendum on Cyprus, any new initiative would have to be carefully prepared to ensure a chance for success, and Greece would work towards building the necessary common ground to relaunch negotiations.  Bilateral relations with Turkey had improved, and Turkey's European Union perspective would deepen the scope of relation, he added.

    Referring to current conflicts in the Middle East, he said that Israel's withdrawal from Gaza opened the door for the revitalization of the peace process, and that both parties should now focus on fulfilling their commitments to the Road Map.

    Shifting his focus to the conflict in Iraq, he said Greece felt it was essential that Iraq maintain its territorial integrity in the framework of a federal system.  There was particular concern over the ongoing violence in Iraq, and it was imperative to follow the timetable of the political process that would lead the country to normalcy, peace and stability.

    DIOGO FREITAS DO AMARAL, Minister of State and Foreign Affairs of Portugal said good reform for the United Nations had five requisites:  maintenance of UN Charter principles; improved conditions for peace and sustainable security; better support for development aid to bridge the gap between rich and poor nations; the promotion of democracy, human rights and the rule of law; and a dialogue of civilizations in the spirit of tolerance and friendship between nations.  The Secretariat also required reorganization, as it was such a large organization always in need of constant modernization.

    Focusing on the next essential steps for the United Nations, he said that putting the Peacebuilding Commission to work immediately to implement the approved concept of "the responsibility to protect" and the establishment of the new Human Rights Council should be completed in the next several months.

    On development, he said that developed nations needed to pay active attention to the special needs of Africa through the commitments undertaken in the New Partnership for Africa's Development, and with regional and subregional organizations.  The eighth Millennium objective, a global partnership for development, was imperative in the struggle to achieve a more balanced and just world.

    Speaking about environmental issues, he said that Portugal considered issues such as climate change, limiting the greenhouse effect and reducing related gas emissions vital to preserving the environment.  The goal was to launch a negotiation process on the climate regime at the next conference in Montreal in 2012.

    Noting that terrorism must be fought with "energy within the rule of law and in observance of human rights", he said that in fighting terrorism there would be no ambiguities, and that actions destined to cause death or serious harm to civilians were terrorist acts.  He added that the United Nations needed to conclude the Global Convention on Terror.

    NATWAR SINGH, Minister of External Affairs of India, said his country was the world's largest democracy, succeeding because the voters ensured that India remained secular, democratic and pluralistic.  As a victim of terrorism and an initiator of the draft comprehensive convention on the matter, his country was wholly committed to finalizing negotiations on the instrument during the Assembly's sixtieth session.

    He said the purpose of last week's Summit was to review implementation of the Millennium Declaration.  Most had harboured higher expectations in the area of development, particularly with regard to agreeing on timetables for achieving the 0.7 per cent target for ODA and for innovative sources of financing since developing countries could not break out of the circle of poverty without enhanced resource flows and the application of science and technology to meet their developmental challenges.  As India's economy developed and its technological advancement came of age, the country was expanding its economic and technical cooperation with developing countries and reinforcing its political solidarity.  It had set up extensive programmes in Africa and had contributed to the South Fund for Development and Humanitarian Assistance.  The India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Facility for Alleviating Poverty and Hunger was a good example of South-South cooperation.  Also, the debts of highly indebted poor countries had been forgiven.

    One area needing attention, he said, was that of the intellectual property regimes that sought to deny technologies, rather than facilitate their transfer to the developing countries, including in environment and public health.  Both the Millennium Declaration and the Summit Outcome document had spoken of exploiting the benefits of globalization, yet there was no implementation of modalities for such a process, nor even agreement on them.  Regrettably, the Summit had given no direction for the WTO Doha Round of trade negotiations in December.  Formulas were not ends in themselves, but were designed to achieve poverty reduction and more employment.  Special and differential treatment remained an integral component in all trade negotiations, including agricultural and non-agricultural market access.

    In the WTO and elsewhere, he said India would continue to promote the interests of all developing countries, particularly in the "Group of 77" developing countries' hard-fought and relatively successful struggle for progress on systemic issues critical for good international economic governance.  The Bretton Woods institutions must be reformed in line with that progress to restore the central role of the United Nations in setting the international economic agenda.

    In addition, he said a change in the Security Council's composition was imperative.  The Group of 4 framework resolution had made United Nations reform a central issue that could no longer be ignored or dismissed.  Negotiations on the Summit Outcome document showed that more could not be achieved on the developmental aspects of trade because the Council was not representative.  The faltering of institutional reform was also due to the fact that the Council did not reflect today's world.  Unsatisfactory progress on other issues, however, showed that critics of Council expansion were profoundly mistaken.  Far from hindering progress, Council reform was helping since, in its absence, fears of intervention had prevented agreement on a Human Rights Council and other issues.  The reform should take place before the end of the year.  The Economic and Social Council should also be strengthened, the Secretariat restructured and the Peacebuilding Commission set up.

    N. HASSAN WIRAJUDA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, said it was an age of unpredictable threats against which there might be no airtight security members.  Tragedy could strike in the form of a terrorist attack, a tsunami or a hurricane.  Over 130,000 people had been killed in the December tsunami in Aceh, and 100,000 were still missing.  After the tragedy, Indonesia had hosted the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) special summit, and world leaders there had worked out a system of coordination and division of labour in attending to stricken countries.  However, rehabilitation and development would not run smoothly without peace, and for many years, there had been no peace.  Aceh had been embroiled in armed conflict, which had taken a heavy toll on human life.  It helped when there was international support for a peace process.  Peace and development in Aceh were the fruits of reform and democratization.

    He said that since 1998, political institutions had been enhanced through constitutional amendments.  Indonesia had overhauled its legal system and was adopting standards of good governance.  It was now pursuing an economic strategy that was pro-growth and pro-poor.  Indonesia was striving hard to become an ASEAN community at peace with itself and others, one which would play an pivotal role of a new equilibrium in the Asia-Pacific region.  The world was faced with formidable challenges of development, security and human rights.  It needed a more effective United Nations, one more accountable to its Members.

    The world could not afford to ignore global disarmament and non-proliferation, as it was not out of danger of nuclear annihilation, he said.  At the same time, developing countries must be allowed the peaceful use of nuclear energy to hasten their development.  Indonesia hoped a comprehensive convention could be concluded on terrorism soon.

    His country believed inter-faith dialogue and cooperation empowered the moderates and could significantly reduce violent radicalism, he said.  His country advocated the empowerment of the Economic and Social Council and believed the projected Human Rights Council must uphold human rights as universal, and the General Assembly must be the main, deliberative body of the United Nations.  Indonesia hoped the moment of truth for the United Nations would not come in a crisis, but in the dawning of a more enlightened time.  The world must not lose hope in its capacity to reform.

    DIMITRIJ RUPEL, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, said the outcome document contained a number of very good ideas.  The reform of the United Nations was very timely when other bodies were also undergoing reorganization, such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  However, the outcome document also showed hesitation with regard to two important areas, the definition of terrorism and the Human Rights Commission, which was all the more disappointing because the document had explicitly stated that development and the rule of law went together.  As one of the 10 new European Union members, Slovenia recognized its responsibility to achieve the Millennium Development Goals according to its own means.

    He said the question of security had many sides, and all were important to consider.  Security required the addressing of all kinds of threats, from disarmament to the control of trade in illicit small weapons.  The outcome document should have addressed those issues in greater detail and with more specificity.  An important issue was to realize that terrorism was a negation of modernity.  By definition, modern societies were complex and paradoxical in nature, and terrorists could not deal with such complexity.  Quite simply, human rights would be protected if terrorism was not:  respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms would guarantee the survival of the values terrorists attacked.

    In calling for the establishment of the Human Rights Council, he said the outcome document had acknowledged the national and collective responsibilities in relation to crimes against humanity and war crimes.  The Democracy Fund was welcomed; the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights needed strengthening; and the veto needed to be dropped since it was undemocratic.  The Human Rights Council should be a standing body able to address human rights issues anywhere in the world.  The protection of human rights should be a priority.

    The dialogue of civilization called for in the outcome document should be premised on the common and fundamental universal values all civilizations shared, he concluded.  Education and learning about human rights was a prerequisite to being able to exercise them and to respect them.  Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations was an important area that should be pursued even more fully, particularly with the OSCE celebrating its thirtieth anniversary in bringing together East and West. 

    NORMAN CALDERA CARDENAL, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua, said the struggle for democracy being waged in Nicaragua had transcended its borders and aroused feelings of solidarity in other parts of the world.  The Nicaraguan people had raised their voices which reverberated far and wide and reached the United Nations in various forms and resolutions.  Thousands of Nicaraguans had fought and died for their freedom.  In the past four years, Nicaragua had been striving to bring about a national rebirth and an institutional overhaul.  But to carry out this massive task, Nicaragua must overcome the errors of the past, and win the battle against corruption and impunity.

    His country was attempting to restore independence and integrity to institutions, but the opposition attempted to execute a new type of coup d'état, by tainting the institutions of the State.  He said that in response to that threat, Nicaragua had harnessed all the resources available to it.  In an attempt to address the situation, President Enrique Bolanos had expressed his willingness to launch a broad national dialogue with all sectors.  That was not, as claimed, a dialogue aimed at surrendering democracy.  Nicaragua deplored the murder of journalists.  Attacking freedom of expression harmed the democratic process.  Freedom of expression protected all other fundamental rights, and Nicaragua would continue to break up networks of terror and intimidation.  The country had asked the Secretary-General for technical assistance for the elections.

    He said Nicaragua made major strides towards fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals, despite destabilizing actions.  The best medium-term strategy for sustainable poverty reduction was to acquire access to new markets and make international trade the driving force of growth, combining economic growth with social development.  Nicaragua was for the ratification of the Central American Free Trade Agreement.  Poverty was a multidimensional phenomenon associated with economic and structural problems.

    Nicaragua reaffirmed its commitment to promoting respect for the dignity of all migrants, he said, adding that at a time of reform of the Organization, Nicaragua was grateful for the support it had received.  Nicaragua hoped to share its experience in areas such as peacekeeping and peacebuilding and supported the aspirations of developing countries.

    ALI RODRIGUEZ ARAQUE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, said there were many internal and external challenges facing the United Nations, which needed to find effective ways to address them.  Two examples were the need for democratization within the Organization and poverty, which posed the greatest challenge of the times. 

    He said democracy was the highest form of political organization for individual countries, and the United Nations should be the best example of the equal exercise of democratic rights.  Was it a democratic institution?  Regrettably, it clearly was not.  There was a dangerous process in which a small group of countries were usurping the right to make decisions without taking into account the vast majority of countries, which represented a broad majority of the world's population.  Reform should only be aimed at democratizing the Organization.  That meant giving decisive power over fundamental issues to the General Assembly.  The Organization's very existence depended upon confronting its frequently autocratic practices, which weakened its authority in the eyes of the world. 

    Poverty was the result of an unjust system of distribution, he continued.  The profit motive was a ruthless force, creating wealth on the basis of the expansion of poverty.  That process was seen every day, not only in those countries considered poor, but also in those where opulence was on obscene display.  Such countries preached movement of capital, but only tolerated the movement of human beings when they needed the extra labour to become even richer.  That painful truth had been revealed by the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.

    He said many parts of the world were experiencing a time of suffering but also anger, which generated instability.  If the world wanted stability, it must apply social justice, a new system of distribution among regions and within nations, one not limited to alms or assistance that was often delivered with humiliating conditions.  For the moment, the essential thing to remember was man's difficulty in realizing his democratic dreams when unable to satisfy his basic needs.

    MOHAMMED ABDULLAH MIT-AG AL-RUMAIHI, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar, said extremely difficult economic conditions posed a real threat to social and economic development in developing countries.  The international community was experiencing a critical phase in negotiations related to the Doha Development Agenda.  Hopefully, solid and ambitious progress would be made at the upcoming Sixth Conference of the World Trade Organization in Hong Kong.  Developed countries needed to honour their promises to achieve the Millennium Goals, by increasing development aid to 0.7 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) and accelerating the forgiveness of the external debt of all poor countries.

    Peace in the Middle East would only be achieved by implementing existing resolutions of the Security Council and General Assembly, which recognized the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination.  Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip was a first step, which would hopefully be followed by similar ones in all of the Palestinian and other Occupied Territories.  He hoped that the new Iraqi constitution would take into account the interests of all segments of Iraqi society.  He also called on all States to accede to the NPT, transforming the Middle East into a region completely free from all weapons of mass destruction.  The underlying causes of terrorism needed to be addressed, and an international conference on terrorism convened.  Terrorism needed to be defined in such a way that it was clearly distinguished from legitimate struggles waged for freedom and self-determination.

    He said the proposal to establish a standing Council for Human Rights merited further study regarding its mandate, as well as which organ it would be a subsidiary of - hopefully, that would be the General Assembly.  Expansion of the Security Council and the concept of collective security required further study and negotiations.  Secretariat reform was important, but any proposals in that area must be the subject of careful study and negotiations undertaken by the General Assembly.

    Statements in Exercise of Right of Reply

    The representative of the United Kingdom said he would like to reply to the statement made yesterday by Argentina's Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.  He said his country had last set out its position on the matter in the high-level plenary on 14 September in a written statement in right of reply.  The United Kingdom had no doubt about its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.  There could be no negotiation about the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless and until such time as the islanders so wished.

    Iran's representative said the United Arab Emirates this morning had made unacceptable claims against the integrity of his country.  His country's position had been repeatedly made clear.  Iran respected its international obligations as set out in a 1971 memorandum of understanding, and there was no need to go into detail.  Any misunderstandings or ambiguities arising from the memorandum should be addressed with goodwill through mutually agreed mechanisms.  Meanwhile, Iran believed the dialogue was enough to suffice, since the good relations between the Emirates and Iran were sufficient to clear up misunderstandings.

    Argentina's representative reaffirmed the statement of his Foreign Minister.  As determined repeatedly by the United Nations, the only mechanism for determining the question of the sovereignty of the Malvinas was through bilateral discussions between Argentina and Great Britain.  Argentina reiterated its willingness to undertake such negotiations.

    A representative of the United Arab Emirates said Iran's statement about its occupation of the three Arab Emirates islands position was extremely disappointing since its illegitimate position ignored the historical, legal and demographic facts that proved that the three islands in question fell under the sovereignty of the Emirates.  To reiterate, Iran's presence in the islands since 1971 was an illegal military occupation that violated all its contracts and the United Nations Charter.  Iran should reconsider its policy of occupying the islands and should respond seriously to the peace initiatives that had been proposed by the Emirates to settle the matter peacefully, either through bilateral negotiations that would remedy the causes of the crisis, or by referral to the International Court of Justice and abiding by its decision.

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