27 September 2006
"Words Replace Weapons" in Northern Ireland; UN Peacebuilding Commission to Help Heal Legacy of Division, General Assembly Told as Debate Continues
Rethink "Development Cocktail", Create New Global Economic Order, Fair Trade Rules, Belize Says, Stressing Role for Small States in Peace, Security
NEW YORK, 26 September (UN Headquarters) -- In the northern part of Ireland, "the word has finally replaced the weapon as the way to resolve disputes", that country's Foreign Affairs Minister, Dermot Ahern, told the General Assembly today, adding that an Irish Conflict Analysis and Resolution Support Unit would work closely with the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission to share Ireland's experience in dealing with the legacy of division.
Inaugurated in June of this year, the Peacebuilding Commission marshals international resources to advise and propose integrated strategies for post-conflict recovery. It focuses on reconstruction, institution-building and sustainable development in countries emerging from conflict. Among other activities, the Commission develops best practices on issues requiring extensive collaboration among political, military, humanitarian and development actors.
Ireland's Foreign Minister said that the peace process in Northern Ireland was now at an important juncture. Hard work had been done to implement the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, but its capstone of a sustained power-sharing Government had proved elusive for too long. The target date to form that Government was 24 November, and conditions had never been more favourable. The opportunity might not come again for a considerable time if the parties could not reach agreement.
Affirming that Ireland had learned some things about building peace and encouraging reconciliation, he said the national experience reinforced what the country had learned at the United Nations and from its development programme. While Ireland did not overestimate what it could do, or underestimate the difficulty of peacebuilding, its track record indicated it could bring something distinctive to the table.
Belize's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade hoped the Peacebuilding Commission would use an integrated approach to address the transition from conflict to recovery. Regarding the development aspect of peace, too many people remained "under the strangulation of poverty, relegated to the dungeons of destitution and social inequality". He asked whether the "development cocktail prescribed by the Washington Consensus" had benefited poor countries. For Belize, membership in the World Trade Organization had hurt the sugar farmers, and the dismantling of the Doha accord had dashed hopes for development.
He called for a new world economic order in which the rights of all people to jobs, fair wages, and fair commodities prices prevailed over inequitable trade rules. He also highlighted the potential role of small States, like those of the Caribbean and Central America, in the maintenance of international peace and security and in the war on terrorism. Those nations were often seen as less important because they operated in a culture of peace and lacked the great armies to join coalitions. The people of the Caribbean wanted to see the billions being spent on war used instead to spread prosperity and peace.
Also expressing the hope that the new Peacebuilding Commission would help to mobilize the resources necessary to assist countries emerging from conflict, Guinea's Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, Mamady Conde, noted that, 60 years after the creation of the United Nations, its work in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance and the environment remained unfinished. He called for a Secretariat reform that focused, not only on reducing expenses, but also on increasing effectiveness, and that required individual sacrifice.
Reviewing the situations in Africa where countries such as Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and Liberia had recently seen a return to peace, the Foreign Affairs Minister called for continued attention to Côte d'Ivoire, where the peace process had entered a decisive phase with the upcoming elections. Calling for steps to be taken to resolve conflicts in Somalia, Western Sahara and the Middle East, including Lebanon, he also called for increased cooperation between the Secretariat and countries contributing troops to peacekeeping operations.
On peace and security issues beyond the Peacebuilding Commission's mandate, Walid Al-Moualem, Syria's Foreign Affairs Minister, called for a scheduled withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq to help stem the violence there. Those in the Arab world paid the price when decision-makers in Washington provided solutions in a manner that was tailored to their own vision. The "war on terror" had not achieved its aims and had only played into the hands of the terrorists. With Israel the only nuclear arms possessor in the region, the Arab Group had submitted a draft text to the Security Council to rid the region of all weapons of mass destruction, he added.
Also participating in today's debate at the ministerial level were the Republic of Moldova, Tunisia, Saint Lucia, Iceland, Belarus, Peru, Togo, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Estonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Myanmar, Grenada, Kenya, Bahamas, Guyana, Jamaica, Somalia and Dominica.
The representatives of Japan and Turkmenistan also spoke.
Exercising the right of reply were the representatives of Bhutan, Japan and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. tomorrow to conclude its general debate.
The General Assembly met this morning to continue its general debate for its sixty-fourth session, which began on 19 September.
ANDREI STRATAN, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova, began by welcoming the candidacy of Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of Latvia, for Secretary-General, noting that Eastern Europe was the only region that had not been represented in this high position. He also welcomed the accession of Montenegro to membership in the United Nations.
Moldova believed that fighting international terrorism exclusively through military, political and economic actions was not enough, he said. The international community must look for solutions that would resolve and not exacerbate the threat. Only the development of integrated strategies that addressed the underlying causes of conflict and terrorism would bring about long term peace and stability. Moldova fully supported the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted recently by the General Assembly, considering that the specific measures in the plan of action were comprehensive and far-reaching. His country also believed that the recommendations of the Secretary-General in his report on preventing armed conflicts would serve as guiding points for Member States.
The high-level debate on implementing the Global Partnership for Development was highly significant, he said. As long as the world was stricken by hunger, poverty, underdevelopment, inequality and oppression, there would be no solution to the degenerating political, economic and social situation. It was essential to take specific action to implement agreed development goals. The current level of aid was not enough to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, he noted, suggesting that Member States find ways to increase the effectiveness of existing aid, introduce innovative sources of financing, and adhere to the agreed timetable for progressively increasing flows.
Turning to the issue of institutional reform, he noted that, the report of the Secretary-General on "Investing in the United Nations" contained 23 far-reaching proposals on management reform. Moldova supported action leading to revitalization of the General Assembly, reform and expansion of the Security Council, and increased effectiveness of the Economic and Social Council. Comprehensive reform of the Security Council was needed, guided by the principles of equitable geographic representation, democracy, effectiveness, efficiency and transparency. He reiterated Moldova's position that the Security Council should be enlarged, both in permanent and non-permanent categories, and that the Eastern European Group should be given one additional non-permanent seat. Moldova supported the proposal to set up the Human Rights Council. Noting the Council's swift reaction to events in the Middle East, however, he suggested that the body should pursue a balanced approach to human rights without rushed, one-sided decisions. Moldova would present its candidacy for election to the Human Rights Council for the 2010-2013 terms.
No conflict in the world should be left out of the United Nations attention, he asserted, irrespective of whether or not they were on the Security Council agenda. Moldova was delighted that the General Assembly agreed to include in this session a new item on "protracted conflicts in the GUAM [ Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova] area and their implications for regional security and development". He highlighted the ongoing Transdnistrian conflict, noting that his Government believed that the regional security problem should be resolved through negotiations, with the end goal of special legal status for the Transdnistrian region within Moldova. A sound roadmap for settling the conflict exists -- the Ukrainian plan together with the documents passed by the Moldovan Parliament in the summer of 2005. It was important that negotiations restore as soon as possible without preconditions. He condemned the "pseudo-referendum" held by the separatist Transdnistrian regime on 17 September on the region's future. Expressing concern over tensions within the Security Zone, he stated that, the inefficiency of the current peacekeeping mechanism called for its transformation into a multinational peacekeeping mission with an international mandate.
MAMADY CONDE, Minister of State and Foreign Affairs of Guinea, called on the international community to continue its cooperation with Africa and specifically West Africa where several countries, including Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone and Liberia, recently saw a return to peace. He also said that Guinea, while not a country in conflict, had social development indicators similar to countries coming out of a "prolonged conflict" and hoped that within the scope of the United Nations Plan of Action for Development, Guinea could get better provisions to fill funding gaps.
He also said key moments were being faced by other countries in the continent, such as Côte d'Ivoire, where the peace process had entered a decisive phase with the upcoming free elections. He added that the United Nations should maintain its peacekeeping force attached to the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) to help that country re-establish State control of its territory. He also touched on the issue of child trafficking and said Guinea has started discussions to deal with that problem with the Gambia and Mali.
He expressed hope that the new Peacebuilding Commission would help in mobilizing the necessary resources to help countries emerging from conflict. However, 60 years after the creation of the United Nations, its work in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance and the environment remained unfinished. Reform of the United Nations Secretariat, which required individual sacrifice, was not meant to only reduce expenses, but to increase effectiveness. Guinea supported reform that would increase the Organization's efficiency, which was dependent on the will of Member States.
Calling for positive steps to resolve conflicts in Somalia, Western Sahara and the Middle East, including Lebanon, he called for increased cooperation between the Secretariat and countries contributing troops to peacekeeping operations.
DERMOT AHERN, Minister for Foreign Affairs for Ireland, said that the world faced three key challenges: achieving sustainable development and the elimination of poverty and disease; promoting universal human rights and the rule of law; and preventing conflict. In order to contribute to the reduction of these challenges, Ireland had put the Millennium Development Goals at the heart of its aid programme with a special focus on Africa, poverty and hunger reduction and HIV/AIDS. His country had published a white paper, which clearly stated how those development objectives needed to be achieved. Additionally, the threat of climate change and migration must be addressed in the conversation on development.
Ireland remained committed to Africa and supported the efforts of the African Union in their efforts to bring peace. However, he noted, "the suffering of the people in Darfur shakes the world" and there needed to be renewed efforts to deliver humanitarian aid safely and without restriction, installation of a international peace-keeping force with a robust mandate, and full implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement. Last year the World Summit defined the international community's "responsibility to protect". It would be a disgrace if that major advance became an exercise in empty rhetoric. The human rights situation in Burma/Myanmar remained particularly grave and he called on the regime to move towards democracy and release all political prisoners, in particular Aung San Suu Kyi.
The single greatest challenge to international peace and security is the situation in the Middle East, he said. A comprehensive settlement to the inter-related problems was more urgent than at any time in the past 60 years. It was a conflict about shaping space. The only solution was a negotiated outcome. He called for a major new international effort to launch serious negotiation for a settlement -- the establishment of two sovereign democratic States living together in peace and security.
Regarding nuclear disarmament, he said that, the world was right to insist on nuclear non-proliferation. Iran needed to respond positively and rapidly to the wide-ranging proposals that have been put before them, and the six-party talks with North Korea needed to be renewed. Ireland supported the negotiations of an Arms Trade Treaty to reduce the supply of small arms and light weapons.
He said that in Northern Ireland "the world has finally replaced the weapon as the way to resolve disputes". The peace process there was now at an important juncture. Hard work had been done to implement the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, but its capstone, as sustained power-sharing Government, had for too long proved elusive. The British and Irish Governments were demanding that the political parties agree by 24 November to form such a Government. The deadline was real, reflecting the belief that drift and uncertainty could not be sustained. The conditions had never been more favourable and it was what people wanted, but if it did not happen in November the opportunity might not come again for a considerable time.
"We know the pain and difficulty of dealing with the legacy of division", he said. Over the years, Ireland had learned some things about building peace and encouraging reconciliation. The national experience reinforced what the country had learned at the United Nations and from its development programme. For that reason, it had just established an Irish Conflict Analysis and Resolution Support Unit. It would seek to harness Ireland's experience and help share it, working closely with the Peacebuilding Commission. Ireland did not overestimate what it could do or underestimate the difficulty of peacebuilding, but genuinely believed its track record "means we can bring something distinctive to the table".
ABDELWAHEB ABDALLAH, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, noted the important steps achieved since the 2005 World Summit, but highlighted the need to pursue Security Council reform. The Council should be enlarged, in order to ensure an equitable representation of all international parties, and made more transparent. Tunisia called for strengthening the General Assembly, revitalizing its role and improving its efficiency. Tunisia was honoured to be part of the new Human Rights Council and would participate actively to help realize the noble goals for which it was created.
Tunisia, which had supported the Middle East peace process since its inception, stressed the need to find a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict, he said. He called on the international community to provide urgent protection to the Palestinian people, who were undergoing terrible hardships. Tunisia also called on active parties, primarily the Quartet, to revive the peace process on all tracks in accordance with Arab efforts. That would help the Palestinian people regain their legitimate rights, including the establishment of an independent State, and also allow sister States Syria and Lebanon to recover their occupied territories, he said. Tunisia reiterated its solidarity with Lebanon, following the Israeli aggression, which had caused the huge loss of life and property, and renewed its call to the international community to contribute to reconstruction efforts. His country also hoped that the Iraqi people would find appropriate solutions to maintain national unity and guarantee security and stability.
In order to face the challenges of fundamentalism and terrorism, the international community must enhance its efforts and cooperation, he said. Tunisia, which was among the first to warn of the dangers of this phenomenon, renewed its call for an international conference under United Nations auspices to agree on an international code of conduct to combat terrorism. His country also called for tackling all roots of terrorism, mainly injustice, the policy of double standards, and economic and social conditions which generated frustration and marginalization. He recalled that the international community had adopted the Tunisian initiative to set up a World Solidarity Fund to fight poverty and exclusion, urging increased financing for the operationalization of this mechanism.
Achieving the Millennium Development Goals required stronger collective efforts, he said, particularly in the field of financing development and speeding up the transfer of technology to countries of the South. Tunisia reiterated its appeal for further action to relieve the debt burden of least developed countries and to recycle that of middle income countries. Convinced that the digital divide constituted one of the main challenges to development, Tunisia had initiated the call for a World Summit on the Information Society and hosted the second phase of that summit in November 2005. The results of the summit would benefit from appropriate follow-up by the United Nations and key stakeholders. He noted that Tunisia's economic and social achievements had elevated the country to rank among those countries with the highest human development index and that his country would continue to pursue reforms. Tunisia believed that the future of the African continent remained in the hands of Africans and that development could only be achieved by relying on their own capabilities. However, Africa needed more support and assistance from the international community to face its challenges and achieve the people's aspirations, he said.
PETRUS COMPTON, Minister for External Affairs of Saint Lucia, reaffirmed its commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and the notion of the partnership needed to attain those goals. It also expressed its determined support for the programme of reform at the United Nations. He saluted the achievements to date -- the Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission -- as they, even if far from perfect, reflected a determination to translate talk into action.
As it sought partnerships for development, he said Saint Lucia has been working to achieve some of the Millennium Development Goals. It had largely altered universal primary education. It was establishing free health care and addressing HIV/ AIDS through education and early detection. All of those efforts had been bolstered by generous support from developing countries. "South-South partnerships are workable", he said.
Saint Lucia applauded the return of Haiti to democratic Government and called for the promised development resources to be delivered to that country. Saint Lucia joined with other members of the alliance of small island States for the international community to address the issues of rising sea levels, climate changes and greenhouse gases. Additionally, he called for full implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the small island States, and said those who were the largest producers of greenhouse gases must bear the responsibility for the damage they were causing, in particular to vulnerable countries whose very existence was endangered by the unsustainable practices.
Saint Lucia was grievously affected by the rulings of the World Trade Organization on banana exports to preferential markets. Few in the developed world could appreciate the mass social dislocation caused by the decision. In many instances, the implementation of the World Trade Organization obligations created more hardship and poverty than previously existed. He called for the international community to understand that the "one size fits all" approach was inappropriate and impractical, and the concerns of small States must be taken into consideration.
VALGEROUR SVERRISDOTTIR, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, said that setbacks in the Doha Development Round of trade talks constituted a crisis, since trade was the most important vehicle for global development. Indeed, many developing countries, such as in sub-Saharan Africa, had little chance of achieving their development goals and those countries that had committed to increasing their official development assistance (ODA) were to be lauded. Iceland, for its part, would triple its ODA in the next three years with the intention of reaching the targeted 0.7 per cent of gross national income some time after 2009. Also, in building a global partnership, such principles as transparency, accountability, good governance, equity, as well as gender equality should be heeded. Indeed, since disregarding women was tantamount to barring any population of half its capacity, Iceland wanted to see more determined effort by the United Nations and its partners to pursue gender equality.
She noted that half of the eight Millennium Development Goals focused on resource use and environmental conservation, which Iceland also held in great importance. For instance, a billion people in the world depended on fisheries as a main source of protein and so the subject had been made a priority area by the United Nations University in Iceland. To address the lack of electricity of two billion people, an international seminar on hydrogen use for the developing world would be held in Reykjavik, Iceland later in the week. On United Nations reform, Iceland awaited the outcome of the high-level panel on United Nations system-wide coherence with great interest, believing that work already done on internal reform -- such as mandate review -- would affect the Organization's long term credibility for the better. It was the collective duty of all Member States to ensure that the new Peacebuilding Commission and Human Rights Council were similarly credible. Indeed, the fight against terrorism required that human rights must not be compromised -- the use of torture, for instance, could not be justified. Iceland also appealed for support for its candidacy to the 2009-2010 Security Council.
SERGEI N. MARTYNOV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belarus, said international security and global stability were inseparable from the solution of world development problems. The real nature of that connection had been demonstrated by events in the suburbs of Paris. Were delegates at the General Assembly and colleagues in the capitals of the world's richest countries waiting for an even more alarming signal? Were they waiting for the spiralling extremism caused by lack of prospects for the future? Inadequate reflection of the priorities of development assistance in the 2005 World Summit Outcome document had been a serious mistake by the international community. This mistake could be corrected only by earnest, practical efforts to implement the Millennium Development Goals. The problems were too old and deep-rooted to be solved by incremental methods. The time had come for a deep transformation of the Bretton Woods institutions, which should be made to serve the cause of global development.
A special role in making development a success, not a problem, belonged to the Economic and Social Council, he said. He asked Member States to support Belarus' bid for membership in the Economic and Social Council for 2007-2009, noting that Belarus had valuable experience in those issues. Though his country had been left 15 years ago, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, without natural resources and foreign markets, it had achieved its economic and social objectives. Among other hardships, Belarus had to deal on its own with the Chernobyl disaster, which spread radioactive contamination among more than 20 per cent of the population. Belarus, having rejected the formula the International Monetary Fund tried to impose, had succeeded in raising its gross domestic product to 120 per cent of its peak Soviet value. It had created a market economy with a strong social emphasis, preserving free education and health care, reducing unemployment to 1.5 per cent, and successfully curbing inflation. The experience, approaches and knowledge of Belarus would be a useful contribution to the work of the Economic and Social Council on the Millennium Development Goals, he said.
On broader United Nations reform, he noted that, there had been no substantial movement towards enhancing the role of the General Assembly as a principle organ of institution. There also had been no progress in reorganization of the Security Council. He acknowledged some movement in the right direction, including the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council. Those achievements proved that Member States could reach agreement on the most difficult issues, he said. The international community should now take new actions at this session aimed at a true promotion of human rights and protection of the real victims of human rights violations, not at getting even with disagreeable nations by abusing country-specific resolutions. As a step towards promoting human rights, Belarus was presenting before the General Assembly at this session a draft resolution on improving international coordination in fighting human trafficking. Who else but the United Nations should care about dozens, hundreds, perhaps millions of victims of modern slavery, above all women and children? he asked.
WALID AL-MOUALEM, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Syria, said that volatility in the Middle East had been brought on by "protracted and relentless" Israeli occupation of Arab territories, under which the Palestinian people continued to suffer, as did that of those in the occupied Syrian Golan. There was deep-rooted anger in the region, especially after the war against Lebanon and with the continuing logjam in peace efforts. Syria, too, wanted a just and comprehensive peace in the region and had taken part in the peace process that began in Madrid 15 years ago, but the resulting Security Council resolutions (242 and 338) had not born fruit. As for Security Council 1701 dealing with recent events in Lebanon, Syria would cooperate with the United Nations to implement its provisions; for example, it had adopted measures to control its borders with Lebanon, while demanding the withdrawal of Israel from all Lebanese occupied territories, including Shebaa Farms.
Turning to Iraq, he affirmed Syria's support for the Iraqi Government, but said it was essential to draw up a schedule for the withdrawal of foreign troops there since it would assist in curbing violence. Indeed, five years had passed since 11 September, an act which Syria condemned as a heinous terrorist crime. Tragically, however, those in the Arab world ended up paying the price when decision makers in Washington provided solutions in a manner that was tailored to their own vision. What people wanted was an end to Israeli occupation in Palestine, Lebanon and the Golan, and for the flow of American weapons to stop. It was clear that the "war on terror" had not achieved its objectives and that it had played into the hands of terrorists by becoming a cause of terrorism. Israel, as the sole power in possession of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, had refused to adhere to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and to submit to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. As such, Syria had submitted a draft resolution to the Security Council on behalf of the Arab group to rid the region of all weapons of mass destruction.
JOSÉ ANTONIO GARCÍA-BELAÚNDE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Peru, said that, when the Government of President Alan García had taken office last July, the country had a serious social deficit with half of the population living in conditions of poverty and 20 per cent living in extreme poverty. To face that reality, the Government had designed an agenda of social inclusion and had established the fight against poverty as its main priority.
He said his country also sought to promote Latin American integration, to promote development and economic growth policies aimed at social equity and inclusion. Peru was also working with other nations in the consolidation of the Andean Community as well as in the construction of a South American Nations Community. A united Latin America would be more effective in facing the challenges of globalization, confronting common problems and protecting the values of democracy and pluralism.
He also touched on the issues of the Millennium Declaration and acknowledged that advances in the fulfilment of Millennium Goals were modest, and in some cases seemed to be unattainable. His Government had taken steps to reform the political system, create employment, protect labour and social rights and supply civic safety. None of that would be sufficient if the markets of the developed world remained restricted. He urged the prompt resumption of the talks of the Round of Doha.
He said Peru would continue its fight against drug trafficking with an emphasis on multilateralism and shared responsibility. Peru was currently evaluating its international cooperation pacts and was interested in holding an international anti-drug summit to give a new impulse to dialogue and cooperation, in particular an agreed single strategy among the Andean countries, the United States and the European Union. Another scourge to be fought without any concession was terrorism.
ZARIFOU AYEVA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Togo , said that this country reached a critical stage in their history with the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement. Although it was not possible to eliminate all political institutions, the first step in the agreement was to promote policies of openness, peace and national reconciliation. The country established reforms that favoured free and democratic elections and examined the role of army. Those changes allowed for measures to maintain public order and for open social dialogue. Togo would have satisfied all commitments made to the European Union on 14 April in Brussels, which stated that all segments of the Togo people were to be included in politics. He expressed gratitude to the partners that had assisted Togo during the peacebuilding process.
Togo remained concerned about the situation in Côte D'Ivoire and called for the holding of free and democratic elections there, he said. Additionally, the situations in Somali and Darfur and other parts of Africa would not come soon without a robust mandate enacted. Iraq and the Middle East were also a source of concern for Togo. The people of Iraq needed the necessary support from the international community in order to complete their reconciliation process. In order to put an end to violence in Palestine, the United Nations needed to implement a two-State solution. While resolution in these areas remained the height of concerns, the United Nations and the international community also needed to consolidate peace in countries emerging from conflicts and must play a vital role in strengthening democracy in those areas.
Togo supported peaceful negotiations in nuclear disarmament and called for Iran to participate in talks, and the question of the Korean peninsula nuclear situation needed to be resolved by mutual conversation in the international community. Additionally, he said, in order for the United Nations to remain relevant, the Security Council needed to be reformed. Regarding development, the countries of South were asking the countries of North to keep their commitments in efforts to eradicate poverty and stem rampant migration. Further, he called for promises to be kept regarding debt release.
CHOE SU HON, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, said the unilateralism of the super Power was becoming ever more reckless, trampling down on principles concerning respect for the sovereign equality of States -- the fundamental basis for the United Nations Charter. Worse, invasions had been carried out against sovereign States under the pretext of non-proliferation and anti-terrorism. The threats were ever more undisguised when they were directed at his country. United States military exercises and the economic blockage against his country continued to be tolerated, while its own routine missile test-firing has been condemned as a threat to international peace and security.
Critical tension and confrontation persisted on the Korean peninsula and the source was the vicious, hostile policy of the United States towards his country, he continued. That policy has now gone beyond hostility to designating his country a part of the "axis of evil" and a possible target for a pre-emptive nuclear strike. Such a policy had driven his country to possess its own nuclear deterrent. Yet, it still maintained its consistent position that the issue of denuclearizing the peninsula should be done peacefully through negotiations. As the world knew, the core elements stipulated in the joint statement adopted at the six-party talks were the respective commitments of his country and the United States. His country remained committed to implementing the agreed provisions on an equal footing as it stood to get a greater benefit from such implementation. The United States, however, soon after the announcement of the joint statement, had imposed financial sanctions on his country -- a dialogue partner -- eventually scrapping the agreed itinerary for future talks and creating the present impasse.
"In view of these facts, it is crystal that the United States is not in favour of the six-party talks and the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula", he said. The United States was using the aggravated tension on the Korean peninsula as a "pretext for reinforcing its military forces in the Northeast Asian region" and was seeking to impose its supremacy over the region. For these reasons, he said, it was quite preposterous for his country to continue to participate in talks over its own nuclear abandonment.
On the issue of Korean reunification, he said the North-South Joint Declaration of 15 June 2000 offers the elements to complete an independent and peaceful reunification without foreign interference. Regrettably, the South Korean Minister for Foreign Affairs had made distorted remarks here at the United Nations on 21 September on the root causes of tension, without saying a single word about the 15 June declaration. The United States military presence in South Korea, its doctrine of pre-emptive nuclear strike against his country and the mass delivery to South Korea of all sorts of military equipment were the major factors undermining peace and stability. And, the North-South declaration had not been smoothly implemented because of the persistent opposition of the United States, which dislikes improved inter-Korean relations.
He also said that the United Nations should be democratized and the Security Council should be a body accountable to the General Assembly. He said Council reforms should focus on ensuring that non-aligned and developing countries -- the majority of Member States -- were fully represented in the Council. As for expansion of permanent membership, he said a country like Japan -- a war criminal that invaded Asian countries and had been distorting its aggressive history -- should never be allowed to become a member of the Security Council.
SVEN JURGENSON, Under-Secretary for Political Affairs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Estonia, said that the United Nations was the answer to current and future threats to world security, such as recent events in the Middle East that Estonia had been closely following. Also, no country could tackle the complex challenges to development alone -- a global partnership was needed to promote good governance, well-functioning democratic institutions, respect for human rights and sustainable development. Joint action was also needed to deal with disasters and the United Nations should contribute by strengthening its humanitarian response capabilities. Nations must coordinate their activities in favour of environmentally sustainable solutions, while non-governmental organizations and civil society institutions should cooperate with similar bodies in other countries to promote sustainable development, information and communication technology and e-governance.
He voiced an expectation that the Human Rights Council be strengthened, so as to give human rights an equal standing with other major items on the United Nations agenda. Also, because the rights of indigenous peoples were an integral part of overall human rights, he said it was important that the Assembly pass a declaration on the rights of those people within the year. It was essential, too, that a convention on enforced disappearances be adopted. Finally, Estonia supported the role of women in decision-making; as such, he appealed for Member States to support the candidacy of Vaira Vike-Freiberga, the President of Latvia, for the post of United Nations Secretary-General. Indeed, the time had come to have more representatives from central and eastern Europe in high-ranking United Nations posts.
SATO KILMAN, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Vanuatu, said the very values and fabric upon which the United Nations had been founded were being besieged by new ideas and principles that were undermining the Organization's authority in maintaining global peace and security. The clash of ideologies, cultural and religious differences continued to require much reflection and, while the United Nations had the mandate to address those challenges, it remained paralyzed by the actions of today's hegemonic Powers.
He said the schism between the minority rich and majority poor countries continued to grow and the multitudes of the disadvantaged were being further marginalized from the so-called benefits of globalization. The undemocratic practices of such major United Nations organs as the Security Council were causing disarray in the Organization's work. The disparities in the quality of life between the "haves" and "have-nots" had grown to be fertile breeding grounds for new and hostile generations. It was much clearer today than ever before that there were reasons for increased resentment in certain parts of the world.
Condemning terrorism in whatever form or manifestation, he said peace could not be won through injustice, double standards, aggression and war. The adoption of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was a positive step forward, but Vanuatu worried that the fight against terrorism had taken centre stage for some, reducing resources that could have been directed to realizing the Millennium Development Goals and ODA target levels. Access to markets in the affluent nations had also restricted development in many developing countries. Major world players must not lose sight of those goals.
He requested that his country be excluded from the countries to be considered eligible for graduation from the list of least developed countries. Vanuatu's arguments for exclusion were well founded and based on practical realities. While it had been showing positive signs of economic growth, natural disasters as well as market demand and supply price fluctuations had adversely impacted earnings from its major revenue-making sectors.
As a small island State, Vanuatu also urged the international community to reduce emissions. The failure of major emitters to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol was a major disappointment.
KALIOPATE TAVOLA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Fiji, said his country had held democratic and fair general elections in May and rebuilding of the nation was progressing. For the first time in its history, Fiji had a Cabinet that was truly representative of its multi-ethnic communities and that arrangement for good governance had received overwhelming support from all communities. The new form of inclusive Government was also underpinning the country's drive for sustained economic improvement.
On the topic of peace and security, he expressed support for Secretary-General's concept of conflict prevention. Fiji had served in United Nations peacekeeping arrangements, including under the banner of the Pacific Islands Forum. Fiji would host the Forum's October summit meeting, which would focus on the finalization of the Pacific Plan. That Plan provided a framework for co-operation and mutual assistance in development, good governance and long term peace and security.
As a small island developing State with a highly vulnerable economy, Fiji found the multilateral trading rules emanating from the World Trade Organization unfair and inequitable, he said. Proposals that tended towards a "one-size-fits-all" approach had not creatively used the special and differential treatment clauses of the World Trade Organization. Instead, they served the interests of large developed nations that were already established in global trade. Fiji asked Member States to work towards an early resumption of the suspended trade talks.
On the issue of human rights, he said the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was very important for the recognition of the rights of self-determination for indigenous peoples as well as their right to survival. Fiji also strongly supported the International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities and had already enacted relevant legislation. It had subsequently created the Fiji National Council of Disabled Persons. A National Policy on Disability for 2006-2016, a requirement of the Act, was being finalized.
EAMON COURTENAY, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Belize, said that the wall separating the rich and poor States had not yet been torn down. He asked whether the "development cocktail prescribed by the Washington Consensus" had made poor countries better off. Membership in the World Trade Organization had made Belizean sugar farmers worse off, and the dismantlement of the accord at Doha had left hopes for development dashed. He criticized "unknown people sitting in unmarked rooms in Brussels and Geneva", making decisions that essentially determined the economies of States in the Caribbean. He called for a new international economic order, where the rights of people to jobs, fair wages and fair prices for commodities took precedence over unfair and inequitable trade rules.
He believed that a sense of lost hope was pervasive and that security could only be built through the United Nations. He hoped for an integrated approach to addressing the transition from conflict to recovery within the Peacebuilding Commission. But, he pointed to the Security Council's delayed response to the conflict in Lebanon as a failure to discharge its mandate, attributable to its structural imbalances. He called for an expansion of the Security Council's membership, and sought vigilance from the Human Rights Council to stop the victimization of the weak. Violence and death of the innocent must be brought to an end in Darfur, he urged
Turning to the role played by small States in the maintenance of international peace and security and the war on terrorism, he said he feared that the States of the Caribbean and Central America were seen as less important because they operated in a culture of peace and respect for life, and lacked the great armies to join coalitions. Some $900 billion was spent on military expenditure, as compared to only $60 billion on development assistance. Too many people remain "under the strangulation of poverty, relegated to the dungeons of destitution and social inequality". Everyone had spoken of the strong commitment to preserve the dignity of all human beings but when it came right down to it where the agreements counted most, the plight of the poor was sacrificed for the bottom line, personal wealth and political survival.
The Caribbean could not accept that, he asserted. As people at risk, they wanted to see the billions spent to make war used to bring prosperity and hope to those who lived in such despair that they could be enticed into spreading terror. He would not be dissuaded from his belief that violence and destruction begot war. Only hope and sustainable development could bear peace. In Haiti, the world saw the resilience of a people - a people who had refused despair. Their desire to live in a democratic society had prevailed when they recently went to the polls to elect a new Government. "We must not suffer Haiti to irrelevance. We all owe Haiti our commitment to nurture her growth by building those institutions necessary for a sustainable nation State", he said.
U NYAN WIN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Myanmar, said that developing countries struggled to protect and advance the principles and practices of multilateralism against tendencies towards unilateralism within the United Nations. Some strong and powerful States imposed their will on developing countries in pursuit of political agendas. For example, the placing of the situation in Myanmar on the Security Council's agenda was a glaring abuse of the body's mandate. Myanmar had done nothing to undermine regional or international peace and security, and had close and cordial relations with all its five neighbours and other countries in the region. Member States should resist attempts by those powerful States to influence the Security Council to take action against those that posed no threat to international peace and security. The Council's permanent and non-permanent membership should be expanded.
While Myanmar wanted the Human Rights Council to become an effective tool to strengthen the United Nations human rights machinery, he said it must not gain carte blanche and needed to scrupulously observe the principles of impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity. Myanmar pledged full support for international efforts to eliminate terrorism as well as its obligations under Security Council resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1261 (1999).
He then called human trafficking a horrendous crime requiring the entire international community to cooperate. Myanmar had undertaken relentless national efforts against it, in addition to becoming a State party to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its additional protocols. That country had designated HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis as diseases of national concern and had seen reductions in the rates of HIV/AIDS infection. Myanmar was also striving to eradicate the threat of narcotic drugs by 2014 and had achieved an 88 per cent reduction in opium production. There had also been significant progress towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals.
He said his country was steadfastly implementing the August 2003 seven-step road map for transition to democracy, and the National Convention would resume its session on 10 October to discuss the basic principles for the drafting of an enduring constitution. Balancing the interests of the interest of the national races and that of the nation was challenging, but Myanmar was trying to expedite the National Convention process and move ahead systematically in accordance with the road map.
ELVIN NIMROD, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Grenada, said that the theme, "Implementing a Global Partnership for Development", was timely and would enhance the economies of all nations. His region was responding to challenges of integrating more fully, with the creation of the Caribbean Community Single Market and Economy (CSME). The country was still rebuilding an economy shattered by the devastating hurricanes of 2004 and 2005. Despite those challenges, he pledged to continue working towards the achievement of some of the Millennium Development Goals. The suspension of the Doha Round of multilateral trade talks had been a major setback for Grenada. Greater market access for products from developing countries could lead to economic growth and Grenada anticipated the resumptions of the talks.
On the issue of peace and security, Grenada welcomed the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission and looked forward to the nation's continued involvement as a policy-contributing nation with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Regarding the creation of the Human Rights Council, Grenada supported the Secretary-General's sentiments that mainstreaming all human rights, including the right to development, was necessary. He called on the international community to honour its commitment to full implementation of the Mauritius Strategy as well as to support programmes in his region related to early warning systems, and the Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility.
Along with other members of the Caribbean Community, Grenada felt compelled to appeal repeatedly for special attention to the threats facing the Caribbean Sea, he said. Grenada reiterated its concerns over the transhipment of nuclear waste and other hazardous material and its impact on the Caribbean's marine environment. Damage to that environment could create a loss of economic opportunities, which in turn, would create poverty and social unrest and could ultimately threaten democracy. Grenada applauded the Organization for its reform efforts and looked forward to the continuation of that process, including in the areas of development, the Economic and Social Council, the Secretariat and management reform, and the Security Council. He urged Member States to work together to sustain and build on the successes of their past achievements.
RAPHAEL TUJU, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kenya, called attention to the crisis in Somalia and encouraged the community of nations to take deliberate steps to address it. The world could not see Somalia as a faraway problem and hope it would resolve itself. The international community should consider the experience of the Republic of Korea and China, which had had merchant ships hijacked in international waters off the coast of Somalia. Only through the intervention of Kenyan intelligence had their seamen been released safely. The Somali phenomenon with no Government in place was a danger not just to neighbouring countries, but to the whole world. As criminal elements established themselves, neighbouring countries and the international community would soon be forced to intervene, even militarily, to free hostages, hunt terrorists or flush out rebels.
As a frontline State to the Somalia crisis, Kenya continued to work on efforts to bring peace there, he said. The Transitional Federal Government, and the Transitional Charter and Transitional Federal Institutions had been established during a two-year long negotiation process that had brought together in Nairobi 2,000 representatives from a cross-section of Somalia. Their country was almost dying and now was the time to send in life-saving support. Humanitarian intervention now would yield better and faster results than a military intervention and at a much cheaper price than sending troops to pursue criminal elements in a failed State. The Inter Governmental Authority on Development supported the Transitional Federal Government and other legitimate transitional bodies, such as the parliament in Baidoa and the Transitional Charter.
He said his country had opened a window of dialogue with the Union of Islamic Courts and welcomed the Khartoum talks that had brought together the Transitional Federal Government and the Islamic Courts. But Kenya was concerned that after all those meetings, the news from Somalia was not encouraging. The international community must consolidate all efforts and assistance for Somalia and to stop sending discordant messages from different capitals which would only give incentives to some of the actors on the ground. The international community should help the Transitional Federal Government by providing substantive support backed by a well-funded rescue plan -- a sort of "Marshall Plan" for Somalia. Kenya proposed the immediate formation of an international joint committee on Somalia as a first deliberate step to solve the crisis.
The possibility of forming such an international body had been discussed with the Secretary-General of the Arab League, he said, and it should include as members the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), the African Union, the Arab League, the European Union and United Nations organizations, including two permanent members of the Security Council. It had taken 14 years to develop the initiative that had helped form the Transitional Federal Government, and Kenya urged other Member States to proceed by building on the foundations already established by IGAD rather than allowing another proliferation of peace initiatives.
FREDERICK MITCHELL, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Public Service of the Bahamas, said his country stood for democracy, the rule of law and the right to self-determination. It did not support the use of military force to overthrow legitimately elected Governments. The Bahamas also welcomed Security Council efforts to increase transparency in the selection process for the new United Nations Secretary-General.
On reform, he praised the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council, in which all States should participate on equal footing. The Security Council must accurately reflect the balance of power in the twenty-first century by allowing small island developing States to play a greater role in its activities. Counter-terrorism strategies should be informed by policies that protected against drug trafficking, natural disasters and poverty. The Bahamas supported the landmark Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and planned to create legislation that would further empower the disabled during its current session of Parliament. The country also supported the principle of "capacity to pay" in achieving a scale of assessments for the apportionment of United Nations expenses in the next triennium.
He welcomed the recent High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, saying his country had experienced problems with irregular or unauthorized migration, which in turn, had raised social, educational and security problems. In that context, the Bahamas called on the international community to help maintain stability in Haiti as instability could create an immediate ripple effect. It was imperative that the promised international financial assistance be delivered to Haiti in a timely manner.
S.R. INSANALLY, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guyana, said that developing States had become disillusioned when little had been achieved in efforts to produce a development strategy in the past. While there were clear measurements of progress under the first seven of the Millennium Development Goals, the eighth -- a Global Partnership for Development -- lacked well-defined indicators, which limited cooperation.
To strengthen the Global Partnership for Development, Guyana called for greater scrutiny of developed countries, particularly verification of donor pledges and periodic review of partners' performance. A proposal to give developing countries more involvement in decision-making at the recent World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) Meeting in Singapore was a first step towards democratic governance in the management of development.
He described the Millennium Challenge Account, the International Financing Facility, the recently proposed tax on air travel and other efforts as welcome attempts to gain fresh funding for development, which needed serious evaluation by the international community. However, the developed countries were denying small and vulnerable developing States of the prospect of significant participation in the global economy in the absence of a revived Doha Round and of broad assistance in trade that served the purpose of development.
The spread of trans-boundary crime, including arms and drug trafficking were formidable challenges to the development agenda, he said, noting that assistance to fight those problems was woefully inadequate. The unsettled international political climate, in which recourse to conflict was seen as a ready means of settling international issues was an inhibitor of economic growth. Iraq and Lebanon were egregious examples of the use of force to achieve political objectives. The world needed a new global human economic and social order that could deliver true democracy and social justice to all peoples. Guyana also called for the establishment of early warning systems across the globe and for financial resources to be made available to the United Nations so as to facilitate early responses and recovery from major disasters like earthquakes, floods, tropical storms and hurricanes.
ANTHONY HYLTON, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica, said the implementation gap in the development field was greater than that in the areas of peace, security and human rights. Some failures of effort included the lack of support for the development efforts of middle-income developing countries, as well as non-provision of significant debt relief or restructuring and non-implementation of the development dimension of the Doha work programme. While ODA had increased, most additional funding went to a small number of deserving countries. A viable and equitable trade regime must take account of the wide disparities in economic policy among World Trade Organization members. Due to its particular circumstances, Jamaica understood the need for a collaborative and facilitative international environment as well as coherence in policies.
He described women's advancement as a national priority, welcomed the draft convention on the protection of the rights and dignity of disabled persons, and urged full implementation of international efforts to tackle HIV/AIDS. However, the policies of developed countries in the area of migration were selective, particularly in their deliberate targeting of skilled professionals from developing countries while systematically repatriating hardened criminals to countries to which they often had no connection. Reform of the United Nations should strengthen the Organization, and all Member States must retain their right to be fully involved in decision-making processes.
It was logical that the Security Council should reflect equitable geographical representation and increased representation of developing countries, he said. Jamaica had experienced the adverse impact of incoherent international policies and advice, particularly being forced to hold in developed countries a large fund of international reserves, receiving IMF advice to drastically reduce its public service sector when certain Millennium Development Goals were labour-intensive, and being forced to compete with the higher wages offered by developed countries to its teachers and nurses while seeking to reduce its fiscal deficit. Jamaica called on the United Nations to increase coherence in international economic policies and programmes via a strengthened Economic and Social Council.
He said his country sought the total elimination of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. Jamaica called for a legally binding instrument containing stricter controls over the illegal trade in small arms and light weapons as well as ammunition. Regarding Haiti, that country needed a focusing of attention on building its institutions, capacity as well as overall reconstruction. Finally, 2007 would mark the bicentenary of the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the British Empire, which would be the occasion for the tabling of a resolution by the Caribbean Community before the General Assembly in recognition of the event.
CHARLES A. SAVARIN, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Labour of Dominica, recalling the promise to confront the "scourge of poverty", said his country supported the universal application of the United Nations ideals of maintaining international peace, protecting human rights and promoting international cooperation to solve economic, social and humanitarian problems.
On reform, he hailed the Human Rights Council and its adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which had paved the way for a second United Nations Decade on Indigenous People. The Central Emergency Response Fund would make the United Nations more able to respond to the increasing frequency of natural disasters brought about by climate change. Dominica was committed to ratifying the new treaty protecting the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and called for further work to create a counter-terrorism convention.
The collapse of the Doha Round of trade talks had threatened to marginalize small island developing States like Dominica, as trade was central to fostering sustainable economic growth and reducing dependence on declining aid, he said. Developing countries also would need increased development finance for trade. Further, the ruling by the World Trade Organization had led to the virtual dismantling of Dominica's banana industry.
On Caribbean issues, he said his country supported regional integration and had agreed this year to move towards the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. Dominica was also committed to working with Haiti in its development efforts. Regarding the Middle East, Dominica called for the creation of an independent Palestinian State alongside the State of Israel, and considered Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) a good basis for peace between Israel and Lebanon. In addition, Dominica urged the Sudanese Government to reconsider its opposition to the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers in Darfur.
ISMAEL MOHAMOUD HURREH, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Somalia, said that the advance and consolidation of peace and stability in his country required the unwavering commitment of the international community. Because of the international community's failure to act in a timely fashion in support of the new Transitional Federal Government, a window of opportunity had been lost, resulting in continued violence and conflict. The warlords and the Union of Islamic Courts had initially combined their forces as an opposition alliance group against the Transitional Federal Government, at which juncture, the latter had responded positively to the initiative by the League of Arab States to convene peace talks and settle the differences between the parties.
He said two rounds of peace talks had been held successfully in Khartoum, Sudan, where general principles and some preliminary issues had been decided for the next round of talks, scheduled for October. However, the Islamic Courts continued to consolidate their grip and attack districts outside Mogadishu, concluding with the capture of Kismayo. President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed had survived a targeted assassination on 18 September, describing that attempt as an act of terrorism aimed at sabotaging the peace process in Somalia. Despite all those recent violations of the peace agreement, the Transitional Federal Government remained committed to dialogue and negotiation with the Union of Islamic Courts. But that positive gesture would not continue if the Islamic Courts persisted with their aggressive actions.
The economic challenges facing the Transitional Federal Government were formidable, he said, calling for a sustainable reconstruction and development plan. The international community should act in a concerted fashion to meet Somalia's humanitarian needs and avert a catastrophe of major humanitarian proportions. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the African Union had now finalized the details of the Peace Support Mission to Somalia. The International Somalia Contact Group had been established recently to find ways to streamline international engagement and support for Somalia. A process had been started by the Security Council to consider Somalia's security needs and discuss the possibility of lifting the United Nations arms embargo.
He said that, for all those combined activities to work at the regional and international levels, they must be properly coordinated and directed. It was imperative that the international community undertake the following specific measures: favourable review and removal of the United Nations arms embargo; deployment of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development Peace Support Mission, as mandated by the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development; improvement of the training and equipment of Somalia's national security forces; and undertaking the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme throughout Somalia. A solid basis for the Somali public administration must also be established, a modest and lean civil service recruited and trained, and immediate efforts exerted to draft a permanent federal constitution and pave the way for free and fair elections after the completion of the transitional period.
KENZO OSHIMA ( Japan) said that Member States were held responsible, not only for their actions, but for their inactions. Within the United Nations, it was the Security Council that bore the responsibility of delivering swift action in the face of a crisis. This summer, the international community's ability to mount a collective response through the Council was tested on several occasions, including with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's ballistic missile launches, Iran's nuclear issue, and the conflict in Lebanon.
On the missile launches by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, he said that the Council had adopted a resolution that sent a firm message, on behalf of the international community, condemning that "reprehensible act". By that text, Member States were now required to take concrete action and call strongly on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to implement the resolution fully and without delay. In that connection, on 19 September, Japan had introduced a set of measures preventing the transfer of financial resources to that country, in addition to its long-standing strict export control measures. Furthermore, Japan would continue to ensure that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear issue would be resolved comprehensively and in accordance with the 2002 Pyongyang Declaration.
Regarding Iran's nuclear issue, he strongly urged compliance with Council resolution 1696 (2006) by promptly suspending all enrichment-related activities and returning to the negotiating process. Adherence to the text would be an important step towards a peaceful diplomatic solution. Concerning Lebanon, he welcomed the Council's adoption of resolution 1701 (2006), and expressed Japan's support for the efforts under way towards the text's implementation. At the same time, the protracted negotiating process ahead of the Council's action reminded everyone of how important it was for that body to move swiftly and comprehensively in such crisis situations.
He went on to say that, in countries and regions emerging from conflict, the key to realizing sustainable peace and prosperity was in laying the proper foundations for nation-building. Japan was encouraged to see the active engagement of the international community in that regard in a number of countries, including Iraq. Although Iraq was now gripped by great hardships, Japan had every confidence that the country would overcome them and develop as a stable State and responsible member of the international community. The International Compact with Iraq would help accelerate reconstruction. He also noted progress on reconstruction, development and nation-building in both Afghanistan and Timor-Leste.
Turning next to the situation on the African continent, he noted that the number of conflicts there had been steadily decreasing. The ministerial Tokyo International Conference on Trade and African Development (TICAD) had helped to strengthen African nations' will and solidarity for peacebuilding. With that in mind, the newly established Peacebuilding Commission's work must be translated into tangible, practical value added to the efforts of countries recovering from conflict, he said.
After touching on issues, such as regional development and terrorism, he turned to United Nations reform, stressing, among other things, that no one stood to gain from the Security Council's "waning credibility". The 60-year-old formula by which it worked, and on which its permanent membership was based, should be changed. The Council should be more transparent and representative, if it were to address the realities of the new century. Japan believed that Member States should urgently take up the matter of reforming the Council, and it would continue to take the initiative in that critical endeavour. Japan also believed that the United Nations should update the structure of its scale of assessed contributions, so that it was more equitable and fair, taking into account the status and responsibilities of each Member State.
AKSOLTAN ATAEVA (Turkmenistan) said that, during the more than 10 years since the adoption of the Assembly resolution on the permanent neutrality of her country, Turkmenistan had demonstrated the fundamental nature of the peace-loving and humanist principles that had formed the basis of its policy since its independence 15 years ago. It was on the basis of peace, humanism and mutual interests that it approached issues of international cooperation, giving top priority to the interaction with the United Nations. As for reform of the Organization, improvement of the work of the Security Council was undoubtedly one of the most important issues. Council membership should be expanded and there should be a more effective and constructive dialogue between the Council and the Assembly. Turkmenistan also gave priority importance to geographical distribution.
She said her country's economic growth exceeded 20 per cent per year. The State guaranteed its own food independence and provided the population with free natural gas, electricity, water and salt, as well as "symbolical" prices for bread, public transport and gasoline. Under the long-term programme of social and economic reform, over 60 per cent of the State budget was allocated to social spending. The country was a democratic State based on the rule of law and, recently, open and competitive elections had been held for local organs of self-government. That was the basis of an irreversible process of democratization and increasing involvement by citizens and public organizations in managing the country.
Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was one of the most acute problems on today's global agenda, she said, adding that her country supported efforts against the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Recently, together with other States of the region, it had signed the Treaty on the Establishment of a Zone Free from Nuclear Weapons in Central Asia and stood ready to establish a United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia, an initiative of Turkmenistan's President that was supported by the Secretary-General.
She said her country regarded terrorism in all its forms and manifestations as a phenomenon that must be placed outside the framework of human civilization. In order to combat terrorism, the cooperation of all States was needed, including on such important issues as cooperation in the search for and extradition of the participants in terrorist acts, as well as their accomplices. Turkmenistan fully supported efforts to elaborate a global strategy in the fight against terrorism.
Rights of Reply
Exercising the right of reply, the representative of Bhutan, in response to the statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal on 25 September on the issue of refugees in camps in Nepal, said that the Minister's statement that Bhutan was unwilling to resolve the refugee problem was totally false. His country was committed to resolving the problem through the bilateral process and a resolution was within reach. It was untenable to say that Bhutan was unwilling to find a resolution. Nepal had been in a difficult political situation and, as a result, the bilateral process had suffered delays.
He said that, during recent meetings, the Nepalese Government had introduced a new element, stating that the problem was between the refugees and Bhutan and not between Nepal and Bhutan. Bhutan's Government, under no circumstances, however, would conduct negotiations with the people in the camps, as those people had committed seditious acts and the camps were infiltrated with Maoists. The Nepalese Government itself had opened the camps in Nepal and had sought United Nations assistance when there were only some 300 people who claimed to be refugees. Therefore, Nepal had both a moral and legal responsibility with respect to the problem. During a recent meeting in New York with Nepal, his delegation had conveyed to Nepal that Bhutan was firmly committed to the bilateral process and that implementation of agreements reached over the years was the only way forward.
Also exercising the right of reply, the representative of Japan said his delegation firmly believed the qualification for permanent membership on the Security Council should be judged on contributions to the work of the Organization, chiefly, contributions to the maintenance of peace and security.
On the "issues of the past", Japan's position had been stated several times, including in the 2002 Pyongyang Agreement and the Prime Minister's statement on the commemoration of the end of the Second World War. He would refrain from repeating those statements, but he would reassert that Japan was a peace-loving nation and long-time contributor to the maintenance of international peace and security.
In response, the representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea said that the representative of Japan had continued his country's practice of covering up its aggression and its attempts to antagonize his country. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea felt "intrinsic threats" coming from Japan and its official representatives, characterized by its repeated denial of its policy of aggression, and its denial of its war-woven history. Japan's conservative authorities were attempting to turn the entire Japanese society "to the right" and rearm the country. He stressed Japan's rampant antagonism against his country, and its terror and harassment against Korean citizens living in Japan.
As junior ally and servant of the United States, Japan was also executing the United States policy of antagonism and re-aggression of the South-East Asian region, he said. Sill, the United States policy fed into Japan's tricky and cunning intention to dominate the region with the help of its master, the United States. The people of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea held a deep-seeded grudge against Japan, which had to be paid with blood. He recalled that, during Japanese occupation of Korean territories during the war, some 8.4 million Koreans had been abducted and Japan had forced some 200,000 women and girls into military and sexual slavery.
To this day, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea did not know the fate of those victims, he said. Japan had not apologized or compensated honestly for the crimes it had committed in the past. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea was fully conscious of Japan's history and kept a wary eye on its actions. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea reiterated its intention to actively pursue its preparations to resolutely counter any threats from Japan. " Japan is dangerous because, while it was rich in wealth, it was poor in morality and ethics", he said.
In response, the representative of Japan said that the representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea had unfortunately referred to the issues of past. The Japanese delegation was compelled to reiterate to the Assembly that Japan had repeated many times and issued high-level political statements to the effect that the issues of the past had been settled. That should be taken into consideration. He reminded the Assembly that, in the joint statement issued at the conclusion of the six-party talks in 2005, both Japan and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea had committed to taking steps to normalizing their relationship, as well as to "normalizing" talks on outstanding issues of the past.
He stressed the importance of both parties expressing themselves in a constructive and sincere manner in those bilateral talks. On the humanitarian issues of the past, the Japanese Government was sincerely confronting the unfortunate situation of the past and had expressed its deep remorse and heartfelt apology. However, the numbers presented by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea were greatly exaggerated and unacceptable. On all remaining issues between Japan and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, under the Pyongyang Agreement, those issues should be settled bilaterally, he said. Japan had been a peace-loving country and member of the United Nations for more than 50 years and, during that time, it had also promoted international peace and security. That was a fact of which all States were aware.
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