On state sovereignty, disarmament, world leaders urge solidarity…

ReliefWeb (press release), Switzerland

Source: United Nations General Assembly Date: 27 Sep 2008

On state sovereignty, disarmament matters, world leaders urge
solidarity over selectivity, as Assembly continues general debate


Sixty-third General Assembly
13th & 14th Meetings (AM & PM)

Questions of national sovereignty, disarmament and nuclear
non-proliferation dominated the debate in the General Assembly today,
with world leaders calling for solidarity and reform of the Security
Council to help diffuse the world’s active and simmering conflicts -`
in the Caucasus, Middle East and Korean Peninsula `- all of which
carried powerful repercussions for neighbouring States and regions.

Capturing the essence of the current international climate, Romania’s
Minister for Foreign Affairs, LazÄ?r ComÄ?nescu said: "a
dormant volcano can still be an active one". Among the 31 speakers to
address the Assembly’s annual general debate today, he observed that
the recent crisis in Georgia spoke to that point, proving that the
global community could not shy from dealing with uncertain situations,
and assume they would just disappear.

"Let us be honest: no conflict stays frozen indefinitely, and without
consequences," he asserted. Deferring solutions was not a suitable
response, and the events in Georgia should serve to refocus attention
on other protracted conflicts in that area, notably in
Nagorno-Karabakh. Full observance of all principles of international
law, including territorial integrity, was "a must" if peace was to
prevail in such situations.

Responding, Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian
Federation, said his country’s recognition of independence for South
Ossetia and Abkhazia was needed to ensure their security. In South
Ossetia, his Government had defended the most essential human right:
the right to live. The existing architecture in Europe had failed the
"strength test"; it had proven incapable of containing an
aggressor. The current Georgian leadership had undermined peacekeeping
negotiating mechanisms by launching a bloody war on 8 August, however,
"this problem is now closed", he said. The future of Abkhazia and
South Ossetia had been secured by treaties between Moscow, and the
respective capital cities of Sukhum and Tskhinval.

As such, he proposed a comprehensive examination of the situation,
saying that the Treaty on European Security proposed by Russian
President Dmitri Medvedev meant to create a reliable security system
and promote integrated management across a vast region. The process
would involve all who reaffirmed a commitment to fundamental
principles of international law, including the non-use of force;
peaceful settlement of disputes; and non-interference in internal
affairs. Calling up the memory of the Cold War era, he urged following
such principles to ensure that truth did not once again become "the
first victim of war".

At the same time, Mohlabi Tsekoa, Minister for Foreign Affairs and
International Relations of Lesotho, said every year, new hotspots and
"designer wars" broke out as some big and powerful States resorted
more and more to the use of force. The illusory goal of imposing their
will on others by force only led to a more unstable and dangerous
world. Further, the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction was being
abused when it was used to target certain African leaders. That
Principle must be impartially and objectively applied so it was not
used for political purposes.

Overall, the Security Council must be an honest arbiter in conflicts,
he said, and not "turn a blind eye" to a situation in one country,
then act in another when a similar situation surfaced. It must also be
reformed in such a way that integrity and credibility enable it to
carry out its lofty mandate more efficiently.

Pak Kil Yon, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea, said denuclearization of the Korean
Peninsula was a goal, and his country had remained consistent in its
position to resolve the nuclear issue peacefully through dialogue and
negotiation. The 1992 north-south joint declaration and the 1994
Agreed Framework demonstrated that position, as did the six-party
talks that had resulted in the joint statement of 19 September 2005.

He said inter-Korean relations had worsened since installation of a
new regime in the south, which denied the joint declarations that had
set out the path to unification based on the principles of
independence, peaceful reunification and national unity. Those
declarations had been agreed and adopted at the highest level of both
north and south. They had received the support of all the people of
the Peninsula and of the international community. It was intolerable
that they were discarded because of a changed regime.

Turning to the Middle East, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem
observed that much had been said about the Iranian nuclear issue. Even
though Iran had, time and again, stressed that it was solely dedicated
to the peaceful uses of nuclear power, deep mistrust between Iran and
its interlocutors had prevented stakeholders from reaching an
understanding. Syria was seeking to arrive at a political
understanding of the Iranian nuclear issue because any other option,
it believed, would inflict "catastrophic losses" on the region and the

"In that context, and in line with our principled position, we call
for declaring the Middle East a zone free from all weapons of mass
destruction," he said, stressing the need for compelling Israel to
dismantle the hundreds of nuclear warheads in possession, to put
nuclear facilities under the safeguard regime of the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and to adhere to the Treaty on the
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, said the
current international approach to dealing with disarmament, arms
control and non-proliferation was marred with defects. He believed
that security and military balance contributed to "laying the
foundations of peace between countries and peoples", and called for
the establishment of "just and parallel" international and regional
mechanisms in those areas.

Also speaking today were the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Peru,
Mali, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Kazakhstan, Algeria, Bahrain, United Arab
Emirates, Niger, Tunisia, Hungary, Zambia, Lesotho, Indonesia,
Uzbekistan, Greece, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, the Czech
Republic and Malaysia.

The Deputy Prime Ministers of Viet Nam and Papua New Guinea also
addressed the Assembly, as did the Secretary-General of the Ministry
for Foreign Affairs of Oman, the Secretary of State for Foreign
Affairs of the Gambia, and the Government Counsellor for External
Relations and International Economic and Financial Affairs of Monaco.

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were representatives of
Iran, Japan, United Arab Emirates and the Democratic People’s Republic
of Korea.

The General Assembly will reconvene Monday, 29 September, at 9 a.m. to
continue its general debate.


The General Assembly met today to continue its general debate.


PHAM GIA KHIEM, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs
of Viet Nam, noted that, while a trend of peace and cooperation
continued to prevail, enduring local conflicts and acts of terrorism
still occurred in many parts of the world, and new tensions had also
emerged in Europe, including in the Balkans and the Caucasus. At the
same time, the world was experiencing the worst economic uncertainty
since the 1997-1998 financial crisis.

More than ever, the current situation compelled States to promote
dialogue and cooperation to surmount common challenges, both man-made
and natural, he said. He supported efforts to end violence in
Afghanistan and Iraq, adding that the global community should also
work to facilitate progress in the search for lasting peaceful
solutions to nuclear issues on the Korean peninsula and in Iran, while
recognizing States’ legitimate rights to develop nuclear energy for
peaceful purposes.

On the follow-up to the Annapolis outcome, he reaffirmed support for
the role of the Quartet, the League of Arab States and the United
Nations, notably the Security Council, in finding a lasting solution
in the Middle East. Such a solution should recognize the inalienable
rights of Palestinians to establish an independent State. On Africa,
he clearly realized the "organic" relationship between peace and
development, and would work with the African Union and United Nations
to find solutions to conflict on the continent.

New uncertainties were also unfolding — climate change, energy and
food shortages among them -` and he called for international
cooperation. Developed countries should take measures to ensure their
financial stability, implement commitments and increase technology
transfer. Given such complex developments, the United Nations had a
role to play in finding solutions. To that end, he called for
strengthening the Organization, notably by democratic and
comprehensive reform of the General Assembly, Security Council,
Economic and Social Council and specialized agencies. Viet Nam would
contribute to such efforts to make the Organization more
responsive. In his own country, the Government was working to carry
out the "One UN" initiative, and he hoped the experience implementing
that pilot reform programme would be useful to other aid recipients.

He said Viet Nam seriously observed its commitments in addressing
global issues, and strongly supported the Bali road map to address
climate change beyond 2012. Despite natural disasters and epidemics,
Viet Nam was honouring its pledge to maintain rice exports of 4
million tons a year. Also, 2008 was the first year Viet Nam had
assumed responsibilities as a non-permanent member of the Security
Council. Desiring to make greater contributions to the maintenance of
peace and security, his country had participated in the Council as a
responsible member, and would continue to uphold the principles
enshrined in the Charter.

Concluding, he said that, with trust in the power of people’s will, he
was strongly confident that the global community would overcome new

PUKA TEMU, Deputy Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, said the world
faced formidable challenges, among them the destructive use of illicit
small arms and light weapons and the food and energy crises, and he
appealed to the General Assembly to respond to the issue of global
warming and rising sea levels, which were security issues for small
island States that threatened their very survival. Also regionally, he
commended the work done so far on the Pacific plan, which could
catalyse the region’s development. It was his strong belief that
Member States from the Pacific region needed to receive a separate
categorization in aggregated data, and in the area of social and
economic classification.

At the midway point for the Millennium Development Goals, he said his
country was cautiously optimistic. Its successful progress towards the
Goals showed a political stability that allowed for long-term
development plans, strong partnerships with other Member States and
foundations, and steady economic growth in recent years. His country
believed that strong partnerships -` the eighth Goal -` was critical
to achieving the other seven Goals, and those partnerships must be
underpinned by mutual respect. To succeed, partnerships must be
significantly scaled up.

Often, he said, the negative was stressed — environmental
degradation, climate change, crippling poverty — rather than
leveraging the positive. His Government’s vision was to transform
societal challenges into a framework for sustainable economic
growth. It was time to shed the policy chains of the past and create a
new paradigm for the future and, on that issue, he wanted to stress
three specific points. First, the environment could not be considered
an "externality" and the natural environment was not free for
society. Second, a broad framework for ecosystem service markets must
be created. Third, the natural environment must be viewed as an engine
for wealth creation. On the issue of deforestation, for example, it
was a complex subject, but put simply "it is driven by the fact the
world values forests more dead than alive". Traditional economic
theory — which considers ecosystem services a common good and thus
free to all — was primarily responsible for the massive loss of the
world’s forests.

Global leaders must redraft economic theory and reinvent global
markets for a more sustainable future, he said. For example, the
latest estimate was that approximately $20 billion a year would be
needed to halve carbon emissions from deforestation, but that would be
a wise investment, even for that one ecosystem service alone. Forests
sequestered some 3.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually. In
effect, rural communities were subsidizing the carbon emissions of the
rich by approximately $100 billion per year — more than that total of
official development assistance annually.

He acknowledged Norway’s great leadership towards the necessary
paradigm shift. Norway had stood up against global climate change and
had targeted carbon neutrality by 2030. Sharing a similar vision,
Papua New Guinea was commitment to reducing their emissions by 50 per
cent before 2025 and being carbon neutral by 2050. Concluding, he said
the global economy values companies in the billions simply for
advertising trinkets while people surfed the Internet. In fact, Google
was worth $150 billion, while the world’s last great tropical forests,
left standing, were worth nothing. "How can this be right?" he
asked. The world’s value frameworks must be reconstructed. At the same
time, there was hope, but bold leadership was required on both sides
of the economic divide to transform "the way we value our environment
and create wealth for rural populations".

Foreign Affairs of Peru, said the struggle against poverty and the
creation of opportunities was a priority for the Government of
President Alan Garcà – a, and the Peruvian Government welcomed the
General Assembly’s recognition of poverty as an issue that required a
comprehensive global response. The increase in food and energy prices
was felt most intensely by the poor. The Government was working to
find an appropriate sustainable solution to enhancing food security
and adopting measures to cater to the needs of the most impacted
sections of society. New and more ambitious formulas were needed to
deal with poverty and increasing food prices.

The new global threats were threatening to overwhelm efforts to battle
poverty and there was a need for a decisive response by the developed
countries to eliminate those crises, he continued. His Government had
a policy of growth and had created jobs and a social policy that
reduced poverty and promoted equal opportunities. Policies also
included using advanced technology and management techniques to
improve production and exports, and create jobs. Thousands of small-
and mid-size entrepreneurs had entered the economy, as a result.

Another priority for the Peruvian Government was expanding health,
education and all basic services, he said. There had been a 5.2 per
cent reduction in poverty and significant achievements in maternal
health, literacy and other indicators. All that demonstrated that Peru
would achieve the Millennium Development Goals before the deadline of
2015. Peru recognized the role of international cooperation in
improving the social fabric of the country.

Turning to migration, he said it was a problem that should be globally
resolved, and migration could generate opportunities and those factors
should be discussed in international forums. The United Nations and
other organizations should insure the human rights of migrant workers
and their families. The matter could be handled with
information-sharing mechanisms.

The issue of global warming required working with the international
community to reduce carbon emissions, he said. Peru believed it was
important to advance the platform adopted in Bali last year and work
together towards a comprehensive, broad-based agreement in Copenhagen
in 2009 to reduce emissions to avoid future natural disasters.

Globalization and fragmentation of the world was leading to increasing
social inequality, he said. Other emerging threats were terrorism, the
degradation of the environment and the flouting of international law
as a means of settling disputes. Those issues jeopardized the
collective security of all. An international law based on peace was
necessary and that called for strengthening the role of the United
Nations to deal with the affairs of the international agenda,
particularly peace and security, sustainable development,
environmental protection and human rights.

AHMED ABOUL GHEIT, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, said that
the General Assembly was meeting against the backdrop of developments
that were closely linked to the peace and security of all humanity —
the food crisis, the increase in energy prices, the financial crisis,
climate change, the diminishing collective ability to achieve the
Millennium Development Goals, HIV/AIDS and combating terrorism. A new
vision, along with new methods, was needed to deal with such global
issues, since existing frameworks had been unsuccessful.

For example, on the food and energy crisis, Egypt believed a serious
dialogue was needed between importers and exporters, as President
Mohamed Hosni Mubarak had called for in the recent African Summit,
since existing channels were quite divergent and could not provide a
good dialogue between the two sides. For that reason, Egypt had been
keenly interested in participating in the emergency summit convened by
the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and strongly supported the
African endeavour to adopt a clear strategy to tackle the phenomenon,
including through the Sharm el-Sheikh declaration.

By the same token, the creation of an "international will" to deal
with climate change was urgently needed, and Egypt "is acutely aware
of its gravity" because of the danger posed to its low-lying
coastlines. A listing of the States most vulnerable was also called
for, so that the United Nations and the international community could
provide, as a priority, the necessary financial and technological

He noted that economic, social and cultural rights were not,
unfortunately, accorded the commensurate attention that civil and
political rights were, and that negatively affected public perceptions
in many societies, particularly those that faced dire and occasionally
abrasive economic and living conditions. To those people, continuous
talk about human rights represented a luxury they could not afford and
neglected their basic requirements for sustenance. Therefore, the
promotion of socio-economic rights must be seen as a vital
reinforcement of the human rights regime. In that regard, he wanted to
shed light on the question of the use of freedom of expression to
incite hatred of religion. He emphasized — with the utmost respect
for the importance of freedom of expression — that he rejected the
idea that a depiction that was a repeated affront to religion was a
legitimate exercise of the freedom of expression. He called upon all
States to consider the issue objectively, with a view to reaching a
balance that protected the freedom of expression of some, and
respected the rights and sentiments of others. He would continue to
pursue that balance, with the aim of a consensus General Assembly

The international approach to dealing with disarmament, arms control
and non-proliferation was marred with defects, he continued. He
believed that security and military balance contributed to "laying the
foundations of peace between countries and peoples". But that called
for the establishment of "just and parallel" international and
regional mechanisms in areas of disarmament, arms control and
non-proliferation. Unfortunately, prominent members of the
international community were unduly permissive with the issue of
Israel’s nuclear capabilities and the extent to which it threatened
Middle East security. For that purpose, Egypt had promoted the
achievement of universality for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of
Nuclear Weapons, in an invitation to rid the Middle East of all
weapons of mass destruction, and the subjection of all nuclear
facilities in the Middle East to IAEA.

Regionally, Egypt was persistently involved in painstaking efforts to
maintain "a window of hope" for an independent State of Palestine, he
said. Although the current situation might suggest to some that there
was some hope for a real settlement, it was an issue that required
genuine political will on the part of Israel and "we are quite
sceptical" about the strength of that will and the conviction of
Israeli decision-makers. Their lax attitudes had resulted in the
widely condemned and politically loaded settlement activity. But,
Egypt would not lose hope and would continue to work with everyone for
the sake of "justice, stability and security for our region".

In regard to Sudan, Mr. Gheit noted that "numerous foreign hands" were
interfering with the security and stability in Sudan, as if their
objective was to drive it towards partition. Egypt had been working
with all Sudanese parties, and its involvement included "significant
participation" in the United Nations peacekeeping force on the ground
in Darfur. Egypt had demanded an international meeting to address the
crisis and agreement on a road map to end it.

MOCTAR OUANE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mali, said the global
food crisis was a concern for Mali, as it was a potential source of
generalized social and political instability.

His Government had "granted pride of place" to combating poverty,
taking measures to temporarily suspend import duties and taxes on
rice, flour, oil and milk, as well as subsidize gas and
hydrocarbons. Indeed, Mali was firmly determined to achieve food
self-sufficiency and, to that end, had made agriculture the principle
axis of an accelerated growth strategy. It had also created an
agricultural law that included, among other things, the launch of a
"rice initiative" — a structural response to the "dizzying" increase
in product prices -` and the establishment of an agricultural fund,
land commission, marshlands programme and high council for

On fighting corruption, he said Mali would seek a comprehensive
understanding of that phenomenon and define a plan of action. The
African Peer Review Mechanism would help Mali take stock of progress
in the field of political governance, among other areas, and draw up
recommendations to address it. On human rights, he said Mali had been
examined by the Human Rights Council, and he reiterated Mali’s
commitment to turn the Council’s recommendations into action.

Mali believed in preventing conflicts though peaceful means, which
guided its decision to find a lasting solution to insecurity that had
existed in the north-east since 2006. In that connection, he said the
2006 Algiers Accord preserved territorial integrity and national
unity, while enabling Malians to fully participate in national
construction efforts. Similarly, security in the Sahelo-Saharan region
was closely linked to the peoples sharing the place. "Conflict in one
country could very rapidly spread throughout the region," he
said. Mali would organize a conference in Bamako focusing on security,
peace and development for the Sahelo-Saharan region, which would
provide Mali with adaptive responses to security, terrorism and the
trafficking of arms, drugs and humans.

It was a global duty to undertake "vigorous" actions to secure peace,
and he welcomed progress in settling conflicts in Côte
d’Ivoire, Sudan, Somalia and the Great Lakes region. He also urged
resuming talks in the Middle East, and the creation of a sovereign
Palestinian State.

On climate change, he called for undertaking measures commensurate
with the nature of the problem, explaining that Mali was a party to
the Kyoto Protocol and eager to make contributions to the 2009 meeting
in Copenhagen. On HIV/AIDS, he urged stepping up efforts to implement
the 2001 declaration on commitments, among others. On the situation of
land-locked developing States, a significant global challenge, he said
Mali would actively participate in the high-level meeting on the
follow-up to the Almaty Programme of Action.

Turning to United Nations reform, he said the expansion of the
Security Council was a "pressing necessity" to restore historic
injustices, including the fact that Africa did not have a permanent
seat in that body. Only a reformed and democratized United Nations
could serve as a "crucible" for a universal collective conscience.

ELMAR MAMMADYAROV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, stated
that the effectiveness of the international security system impacted
on the authority of the United Nations. When agreement among Security
Council members seemed elusive, it generally impacted on the
Organization’s credibility. Member States would respect shared values
and accept the restraints inherent in those values, in order to find
an approach based on a global consensus. Essential reforms to the
Organization would need to enhance the General Assembly policy-making
organs of the United Nations and the Security Council’s responsibility
for threats that transcended national borders.

He observed that the sixty-third General Assembly was taking place
during critical times in the South Caucasus region. Committed to
contributing to the decrease of tensions, he acknowledged that the
worrisome events in Georgia had demonstrated that the protracted
conflicts in the region, including the Armenia-Azerbaijan
Nagorno-Karabakh, remained a major source of instability. The Caucasus
Stability and Cooperation Platform initiated by Turkey promised to be
a starting point for the regional security system. However,
prerequisite to cooperation and good relations would be the withdrawal
of the Armenian troops from occupied lands and restoration of full
sovereignty of Azerbaijan over those territories. The Azerbaijan
Government was committed to a peaceful settlement based on the
principles of international law and United Nations resolutions, and he
reminded the delegations of last year’s agenda and resolution
(document A/62/243) item regarding the situation. He stressed that the
principles laid out in the resolution would be used as a basis for

With one of the highest gross domestic products (GDP) of the world, he
recounted that Azerbaijan had contributed greatly to regional security
and stability by strengthening and promoting energy, communication and
economic cooperation projects, including the production and delivery
of the Caspian Sea hydrocarbon resource to international markets. The
construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway would also link
Azerbaijan with Georgia and Turkey, creating effective communications
and a connection between Europe and Asia. He also recounted that
Azerbaijan was recognized as a top performer in implementing business
regulatory reforms and a country with an investment-friendly economy
and an improved commercial environment that encouraged business

At the same time, his country supported the implementation of the
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, he said, adding that
the adoption without vote by the General Assembly of resolution
A/RES/62/274 on the issue was a sign of global recognition of his
country’s efforts. He concluded by reaffirming Azerbaijan’s commitment
to the work of the United Nations human rights bodies. As a member to
the Human Rights Council, it was the common task and responsibility of
Member States to ensure that it become truly objective, vigorous and

KAREL DE GUCHT, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium, said that, in
the last year, there had been unprecedented challenge, and there was
now a major crisis of confidence undermining financial markets. The
"phantom" of a global recession had added to other challenges of
global food prices, increased energy prices, climate change, terrorism
and danger of nuclear proliferation. Indeed, the world was growing
increasingly multipolar.

Against the backdrop of the Olympic Games in China, the Russian
Federation and Georgia had become involved in conflict, which carried
powerful repercussions for Europe, he continued. The consequences were
far-reaching, and it was only through close cooperation and enhanced
multilateralism that the world could respond to such challenges. "Like
it or not, we’re in a situation of mutual dependence," he said.

On the financial crisis, he said that, if stabilization could be
achieved, that would benefit entrepreneurs, consumers and citizens
alike, including in the least developed countries that were least
equipped to deal with the credit situation. The crisis reached far
beyond any single country’s ability to handle it. The drafting of
discipline standards was needed, notably for short selling.

Belgium believed in globalization and free trade, he said, noting
that, in recent decades, the world had achieved remarkable
development. However, wealth sharing remained unequal, and the
European Union had taken steps to address that situation. In that
context, he appealed for embarking on the task with energy and

He said new economies must take their "due place" in the world, noting
that Brazil, China and South Africa needed exchanges that were open
and equitable, in order to develop at the pace they
deserved. Political will was needed to restart the Doha trade talks,
and solutions must be found to the food crisis, increased energy
prices and climate change.

At the heart of his concern was sustainable development, he said, and
it was crucial to successfully conclude in 2009 the world agreement on
climate change. The Millennium Development Goals should guide States’
efforts, while the follow-up to the Monterrey Consensus should see
developed countries do more. In that context, he reiterated Belgium’s
firm intention to fulfil its pledge to commit 0.7 per cent of its GDP
to development assistance by 2010. That was a shared responsibility,
and he would actively continue to promote good governance.

On use of natural resources, he said illegal exploitation could lead
to conflict, and States must combat that. Belgium had organized a
Security Council debate on that issue. As a Security Council member,
Belgium believed that increased international cooperation was needed,
and he regretted that there had been a "turning inwards"
vis-à-vis sovereignty concerns. Sovereignty must be
respected. However, responsibilities must be taken seriously, notably
with regard to national populations. Sovereignty did not give States a
carte blanche for behaviour contradicting United Nations values. Too
often, sovereignty prevented the global community from acting to
prevent deteriorating situations, for example in Myanmar and
Darfur. There was a responsibility to protect, which could be
undertaken through humanitarian instruments, or peacekeeping missions.

On combating impunity, he actively supported developing international
criminal law for the gravest of crimes, noting that, two years ago,
Belgium had begun its mandate in the Security Council, and was pleased
at the progress made in managing crisis and expanding peacekeeping
operations. He called for a strengthened mandate of the United Nations
Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC),
and welcomed the effort of regional organizations, such as the
European Union’s involvement in Chad.

WALID AL-MOUALEM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Syria, described the
Middle East as one of the world’s most volatile regions, faced with
mounting challenges. Daunting as those challenges might be, they
should not deter the search for ways to improve the situation, and
Syria was an essential part of that effort by virtue of its geographic
location, as well as the aspirations of its people. For that reason,
Syria’s President had called for the Damascus quartet summit attended
by the President of France, the Emir of Qatar and the Prime Minister
of Turkey. By calling for the summit, Syria had stressed that a just
and comprehensive peace was its strategic choice and it was striving
to achieve it with partners who shared its vision.

"We all went to Annapolis, despite the ambiguity of the undertaking,"
he continued. Now, the question was, what had been achieved? Had the
promises to establish a Palestinian State before the end of the year
been fulfilled? Had Israel stopped building settlements? Despite that
lack of progress, Syria had entered into indirect negotiations with
Israel, with mediation by Turkey. The intent was to pave the way for
direct negotiations. That, however, required a genuine Israeli will
capable of accommodating the exigencies of peacemaking. It also
required the will to include Middle East peace on the United States
list of priorities, after years of deliberately ignoring it.

He stressed Syria’s support for the Palestinian people’s rights to
recover their occupied land and establish an independent State with
Jerusalem as its capital, and underlined the need to restore the
Palestinian national unity through national dialogue — a goal his
country was working towards as current Chairman of the Arab Summit.

On Iraq, he said the situation in that country was a matter of
concern, not only because Iraq was an Arab country, but also because,
as a neighbouring country, Syria was affected by developments in Iraq,
whether negative or positive. For that reason, Syria had always
stressed the need to preserve, among other things, the unity of the
Iraqi people, its territorial integrity and independence, and its Arab
and Islamic character, and opposed calls to divide it. Syria had
repeatedly asserted that the solution in Iraq began with national
reconciliation, built on the principle of respect for the will of its
people. In addition to calling for the withdrawal of foreign troops in
agreement with the Iraqi Government, he said his country had also
condemned and continued to condemn all acts of terrorism that had
taken a high toll among innocent civilians.

He believed that the stability the country longed for required an
Iraqi consensus to overcome the obstacles barring its realization. It
was regrettable that the United States invasion in 2003 had prompted
many Iraqis to leave their country to seek safety and security
outside, a great many of whom were now in Syria. He hoped for an
improvement in the crisis that would permit the return of the many
Iraqis forced to leave their country because of insecurity.

On Lebanon, he said that Syria was satisfied the situation there was
in the process of being resolved, following the conclusion of the Doha
Agreement that enabled the Lebanese to elect a consensual President,
establish a Government of national unity and initiate national
dialogue. Despite unfounded claims to the contrary, he went on, Syria
had and continued to support all efforts to assist the Lebanese to
arrive at mutually acceptable solutions based on dialogue and an
affirmation of national unity. During the recent visit of the Lebanese
President to Syria, a joint decision had been taken to establish
diplomatic relations and also agreed to resume to work of the joint
Lebanese-Syria border demarcation commission.

On Sudan, he told the Assembly that his country was supportive of
efforts aimed at guaranteeing the North African country’s unity and
territorial integrity and promoting peace and stability. In that
context, Syria opposed "totally" the decision by the Prosecutor of the
International Criminal Court, and urged the Security Council to
suspend it, with a view to creating the favourable conditions for
pursuing the initiative endorsed by the Arab League Council of
ministers of 9 August. That initiative called for the establishment of
an Arab ministerial committee under the chairmanship of Qatar, and
entrusting it with overseeing comprehensive peace talks between the
Sudanese Government and the armed groups in Darfur. Syria was a member
of that committee.

Turning to the Treaty on Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, he
observed that much had been said about the Iranian nuclear issue. Even
though Iran had time and again stressed that it was solely dedicated
to the peaceful uses of nuclear power, deep mistrust between Iran and
its interlocutors complicated matters and prevented stakeholders from
reaching an understanding. Syria was seeking to arrive at a political
understanding of the Iranian nuclear issue, because it believed any
other option would not be in the interest of anyone and would inflict
"catastrophic losses" on the region and the world.

"In that context, and in line with our principled position, we call
for declaring the Middle East a zone free from all weapons of mass
destruction," he said, stressing the need for compelling Israel to
dismantle the hundreds of nuclear warheads in possession, to put
nuclear facilities under the safeguard regime of International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA) and to adhere to the Treaty on the
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

On the recent crisis in the Caucasus region, he said it was impossible
to ignore its dimensions and repercussions on the international scene
and declared that it was abundantly clear who was responsible for
igniting it, and was aware of the provocative acts associated with it
that had prompted the Russian Federation to go for the option it
did. "We appreciate Russia’s positive response to the efforts made by
France in its capacity as President of the European Union to arrive at
a settlement of this crisis that will guarantee regional stability and
spare the world a replay of an older version of international
relations that were relics of a past era," he added.

Similarly, he said, while much had been said about the war on terror,
years after waging that war, it needed to be asked whether terrorism
was less widespread today than it was before. Accusing countries, for
political motives, of sponsoring terrorism was, in his view, a
desperate attempt to justify the failure of the approach pursued by
those promoting those claims.

Concluding, he stated that the experience of previous years had proved
that unilaterally dictating the world’s political agenda was
wrong. The wars and the financial and food crises raging throughout
the world today required that the international community work
together, with an approach that sought to engage all regional and
international stakeholders and using dialogue as the tool to settle
controversial issues.

SAYYID BADR BIN HAMA AL BUSAIDI, Secretary-General of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs of Oman, said that economic development and trade had
contributed greatly to the creation of bridges of communication for
the mutual benefit of nations. The existing trade system, however, was
in dire need of a vision and systems that would keep pace with
economic transformations and newly emerging economic entities, in
order to capable of maintain the balance of the global economy and
cater to the needs of developing countries.

The industrial countries needed to mitigate trade restrictions on the
exports of developing countries, while the World Trade Organization
should play a more active role towards the removal of such trade
restrictions and the application of appropriate policies so as to
create a free trade environment, he observed. While welcoming the
World Trade Organization’s invitation to hold another round of trade
negotiations in the context of the Doha Development Agenda, he
emphasized that such negotiations should rely on the laws of the World
Trade Organization, which were rooted in equity and justice.

On the situation in Palestine, he criticized the harsh Israeli
policies represented by the closure of crossing points, erection of
checkpoints and the perpetuation of settlements, which, he said, made
the daily lives of Palestinians difficult. He urged the international
community to intensify its efforts to make Israel shoulder its
responsibilities, in view of the importance and the ultimate
inevitability of a peace settlement as the only option for joint and
peaceful coexistence between the region’s peoples. At the same time,
Oman’s commitment to peace was a fundamental and strategic one, in the
realization that peace was a collective responsibility that had to be
shouldered by the international community without weakness, regardless
of the difficulties that might be encountered.

He believed that what had been achievement so far towards Lebanese
conciliation was cause for optimism, and while praising the efforts of
Qatar and all the other Arab States and the Arab league, he urged all
Lebanese parties to commit to and implement the Doha Agreement in
order to safeguard the higher interests of the Lebanese people.

Concerning the situation in Iraq, he expressed Oman’s satisfaction
with the relative improvement in the security situation there and
hoped that such improvement would continue until all parts of the
country became stable. He similarly noted the situation in the
Sudanese region of Darfur, welcomed the steps being taken by the
Sudanese Government, in cooperation with the African Union and the
Arab League, to establish peace and stability in the region, and
called on the international community to support those efforts in a
way that would assist the Sudanese reach a national
consensus. Further, he called for a halt to the fighting in Somalia.

He encouraged the continuation of negotiations between Iran and other
States on the contentious Iranian nuclear issue, in the hope that
those efforts would result in an agreement that maintained Iran’s
right to make use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, while
eliminating the concerns of some States regarding that country’s
nuclear programme.

MARAT TAZHIN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, said that,
while globalization provided new opportunities for the world economy
and human development, it also triggered a new surge in political and
economic competition worldwide. It was imperative to prevent the
interests of peoples and countries from being sacrificed for the sake
of that competition, and it was crucial to preserve the basic
principles of international law, including the one on territorial
integrity. It was crucial to avoid double standards while implementing
that principle.

Despite numerous efforts, the world was not becoming a safe place, he
continued. There was no international consensus on the issues of
disarmament and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction. The nuclear factor’s role in global politics had not
decreased. On the contrary, it had become more important and the world
was on the threshold of another arms race at a higher technological
level. As a country that had voluntarily relinquished the fourth
largest nuclear arsenal, Kazakhstan believed it was imperative to
develop new mechanisms that would allow adapting the Treaty on
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to the new realities. He called
on Member States to quickly finalize necessary the procedures to the
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, so it could enter into force
and its verification mechanisms could be strengthened. That was the
purpose of an integrated field experiment on onsite inspection being
conducted in his country at the former Semipalatinsk nuclear testing

The crisis of non-proliferation regimes had created a real threat of
terrorists obtaining nuclear weapons, he said. Kazakhstan actively
participated in the Global Initiative to Combat the Acts of Nuclear
Terrorism, and this year hosted the atom-anti-terror exercises and an
international conference on the physical protection of nuclear
materials. Combating international terrorism was a global problem that
required unity and determination of the entire international
community. Further, the situation in Afghanistan remained a matter of
grave concern and strengthening international community efforts for
peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan was the way to normalize the
situation. His Government had adopted a special plan on assistance to

Kazakhstan was committed to the timely and effective achievement of
the Millennium Development Goals and had achieved several targets in
several areas including poverty reduction, access to education and
empowerment of women, he said. The country was now embarking on the
Millennium Development Goals Plus, adapted to their national
conditions to set up higher benchmarks and indicators.

Preserving the global energy balance had become more urgent and
Kazakhstan understood its increasing role and responsibility as a
reliable energy supplier, he said. It viewed the problems associated
with climate change and sustainable development as critically
important and expressed appreciation to the international community
and the United Nations and its agencies and programmes for their
support in mitigating the consequences of environmental disasters in
the Aral Sea and Semipalatinsk regions. He also believed the that
special needs of landlocked countries should be fully taken into
account in accordance with the Almaty Programme of Action and hoped
the upcoming mid-term review of that Programme would end with the
adoption of specific ways to assist that group of countries.

MOURAD MEDELCI, Minister for Foreign Affairs for Algeria, said the
central theme of this Assembly session highlighted the current
concerns facing the international community and the current crises
that had demonstrated the vulnerability of people and threatened
political stability in many countries.

The consequences of climate change and the food crisis, sparked by
soaring food prices, had placed millions of poor people into extreme
poverty and threatened the realization of the Millennium Development
Goals by 2015, he continued. It was necessary that the international
financial and economic institutions alerted the international
community about potential risks and made the necessary reforms to
ensure that developing countries, in particular African countries,
could meet their development goals.

Algeria believed in combating terrorism in all ways, he said. On the
issue of reform of the United Nations, it believed it was important to
make the body an instrument of liberty and democracy, and improve its
work procedures. Reform of the Security Council was necessary, so as
to equitably enlarge its composition and democratize its decisions and
work procedures.

The re-launching of the Maghreb Union must be undertaken on a lasting
and solid basis that took into account all the peoples of the region,
he said. Algeria supported all efforts towards finding a just solution
to the Western Sahara conflict that conformed to international law and
let all people exercise their inalienable right to
self-determination. It was necessary that the dynamics created by the
process started in Manhasset, New York, be persevered and encouraged.

On the Middle East, he said he was pleased to note the positive
developments and encouraged all people to persevere in the process of
reconciliation. There could not be peace without the settling of the
Palestinian question. There was need to remind people that a just
accord in the Middle East needed to restore the Palestinian peoples’
historic rights and return all property occupied by Israel. He
appealed to the international community to step up its assistance of
humanitarian aid to ease people’s suffering.

Regarding the African continent, he said Africa was moving towards
peace, and the African Union and subregional organizations were
partners in the prevention and settling of African crises. While
encouraged by the positive trends, more was needed for social and
economic development programmes. Further, it was important to refrain
from any action that would thwart peace efforts or undermine the
sovereignty of the Sudan. The international community needed to
mobilize a political process that gave a voice to the people of the
Sudan. Algeria supported the actions of the Arab League, African Union
and other organizations to ask the Security Council to suspend the
action of the International Criminal Court.

SHAIKH KHALID BIN AHMED AL-KHALIFA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of
Bahrain, called for an urgent and effective response to global
challenges, including natural disasters, which made achieving the
Millennium Development Goals very difficult. Progress to date had been
uneven, and the world was on the verge of a "development
emergency". Welcoming the high-level events on achieving the
Millennium Development Goals and meeting Africa’s development needs,
he cautioned against losing sight of the potential for natural
disasters to reverse progress. States could not afford to delay
attention to such critical development issues.

Continuing, he said climate change was of "utmost importance" and that
global energy demand was rising fast. As populations were increasing
amid economic growth, IAEA had predicted energy needs could increase
by 50 per cent by 2030. Given that, he looked forward to the climate
change meetings, in Poland this year, and in Copenhagen next year. He
hoped all nations would commit to addressing the overriding interests
of the future.

The peaceful use of nuclear energy was a preferred option for Bahrain,
he said, adding that agreements on the use of nuclear energy for
peaceful purposes should be made within a strengthened
non-proliferation regime, with improved safeguards and expanded
verification systems. The Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation
Council meeting last year in Doha had acknowledged States rights to
possess nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, in close cooperation
with IAEA. He suggested the creation of a global energy organization,
which would help determine the role of nuclear energy and consolidate
energy data, among other things.

On the food security crisis, he said high food prices had increased
the number of hungry people by about 50 million people in 2007. In
that context, he called for reducing biofuel production and investing
in sustainable agriculture methods. The fact was that multilateral
cooperation was fundamental to solving such challenges, and no country
could solve them independently.

Turning to reform issues, he said Bahrain supported the reinvigoration
of the United Nations and looked forward to reforming the world body
so that it would be responsive to all challenges. States should do
their utmost to address shortcomings, including threats to the global
security system from terrorism, money-laundering, drug traffickers and
intellectual property pirates. Terrorism had many faces, including the
recent "heinous" crimes in Islamabad.

On the Middle East, he said there were many issues, the most pressing
of which was the need for a just and comprehensive peace settlement of
the Palestinian question. He cited the Arab Peace Initiative in that
respect, and called for the withdrawal from occupied Arab Syrian Golan
and remaining Lebanese territories.

Moreover, the Gulf region would not be able to bear a new war, and he
reiterated his desire for a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear
file to avoid "the scourge of war". The Middle East needed to be free
from weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, while
safeguarding States’ rights to peacefully use nuclear energy. States
had a duty to review the idea of developing new regional frameworks to
overcome long-standing challenges, including an organization of Middle
East countries to discuss issues openly. He accepted peace as a
strategic option for solving conflicts and opening a new chapter for
historical rapprochement.

Reforms in Bahrain sought to strengthen democracy and protect human
rights, he said. The country’s election to the Human Rights Council
was clear recognition of its efforts in that regard. Bahrain would not
hesitate to promote its success stories, and the King had sponsored an
award with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme
(UN-Habitat), among other things. A key pillar for Bahrain was its
investment in modern education, which encouraged "acceptance of the
other". His country had achieved the Millennium Goal on education well
before the 2015 deadline.

OMAR A. TOURAY, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Gambia, said
that, increasingly today, the legitimacy of multilateralism was being
questioned. That principle was at the core of the United Nations
work. To that end, although there had been some progress in
revitalizing the Organization, the only way to ensure that
multilateralism and broad cooperation remained central to its
endeavours was to carry out thoroughgoing reforms, especially towards
equitable geographical representation on the Security Council.

Regarding current global challenges, he noted that the "usual pattern
of convening meetings" and "too many false promises and unfulfilled
commitments" from the international community would not help to end
poverty, the food and energy crises, nor ensure the achievement of the
Millennium Development Goals. The food crisis was attributed to the
international community’s neglect of agriculture sectors in developing
countries, which had, over time, collapsed due to competition from
heavily subsidized farmers in the developed world. More concrete
measures in the form of agricultural inputs like up-to-date machinery
and fertilizers were needed.

On domestic matters, he said that Gambia continued its efforts towards
gender parity and the empowerment of women, in conjunction with the
"Group of 77" developing countries and China. It was also
participating in peace missions, including contributing troops to the
African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur
(UNAMID). "Peace dividends" were in evidence throughout Africa, he
said, as were signs of hope in Sierra Leone and Liberia, among others.

He went on to call for the admission of Taiwan into the United
Nations, the lifting of sanctions against Cuba, especially in the wake
of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, and the humane and tolerant management
of phenomenon of migration from Africa to European
countries. Specifically on that matter, he said that Africa realized
migration was linked to myriad issues, including lagging development
and youth unemployment.

He said that, while the international community worked out a just and
comprehensive solution to that "conundrum", it must also consider ways
to empower youth through ob creation, and skills and vocational
raining. He also called for more attention to be paid to the concept
of compensation for the flight of African-trained professionals to
more advanced countries, which had resulted in serious challenges to
the continent’s efforts to combat the scourges of HIV/AIDS,
tuberculosis, malaria and other infectious diseases.

SHEIKH ABDULLAH BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of
United Arab Emirates, highlighted many of his country’s recent
accomplishments, beginning with the expanded role of women in
governmental bodies and labour forces, the development of human rights
legislations and laws, and the protection of the rights of overseas
labour. He also noted his Government’s active participation in foreign
aid and humanitarian assistance, directly to and indirectly through
United Nations agencies, to Member States and countries impacted by
natural and man-made crises, such the current worldwide food and
energy shortages.

Another achievement had been the collaborative sustainable development
project with the Worldwide Fund for Nature of Masdar City, which would
be the first carbon-free city in the world, completely run on
renewable and clean technologies, such as solar energy, which would be
used for power generation and desalination of water. He said that
great progress had also been made to restructure the country’s
educational system, an essential component to breaking the cycle of
poverty and ignorance and an antidote to the growth of terrorism and

However, he noted that Iran’s occupation since 1971 of the three
United Arab Emirates islands — Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunb
— and called for the full restoration of his country’s sovereignty
over them, their waters, airspace, continental shelf and exclusive
economic zone. He appealed to the international community to urge Iran
to resolve that issue with direct negotiation or through the
International Court of Justice.

Turning to the issue of nuclear proliferation, he called for the
Middle East and Arabian Gulf to become free from weapons of mass
destruction. That would require both Israel’s compliance with relevant
United Nations resolutions, including the recommendations of IAEA. He
called as well for Iran’s continued collaboration with IAEA and the
wider international community. However, the United Arab Emirates still
supported the development of nuclear power for peaceful means,
including its own nuclear programme developed to meet its energy

A dedicated supporter to the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, he
expressed concerns about Israel’s growing lack of interest in
negotiation. Only with pressure from the Security Council, the
international community and the members of the diplomatic Quartet
would relevant resolutions be implemented. Such pressure could thus
end occupation, ensure adherence to the Road Map and the Arab Peace
Initiative, and establish an independent Palestinian State with
Jerusalem as its capital, while, at the same time, ensuring Israel’s

LAZÄ?R COMÄ?NESCU, Minister for Foreign Affairs of
Romania, fully supporting the European Union’s statement, focused his
remarks around two words: "responsibility" and "solidarity", saying
first that global cooperation could provide a solution to achieving
the Millennium Development Goals, provided that responsibilities were

As for climate change, as well as the world energy crisis and food
security, he said solutions could not be found individually and there
was a moral imperative of responsibility for the future. Because of
such interconnected challenges, the United Nations must be better
equipped. He urged reform of the General Assembly, the Security
Council and the Department of Political Affairs, noting that Security
Council reform must take into account the legitimate aspirations of
all regional groups. It was also necessary to provide resources, and
Romania was ready to support institutional consolidation, notably in
the European Regional Bureau. Regional political officers could expand
cooperation with regional and subregional organizations, and he also
noted cooperation with the African Union in Darfur and Zimbabwe.

On democratization, he welcomed the increased cooperation in the
context of the international conference of new democracies. The
international cooperation network should not have anxiety as a common
denominator, rather it should encompass freedom, respect for law and
dignity for the human being. The Assembly had adopted a resolution
outlining the characteristics of democracy, and he praised United
Nations efforts in Kenya, Iraq, Myanmar, the Central African Republic
and Nepal, among others.

On Iraq and Afghanistan, he said, international efforts should be
matched by the renewed commitment of the Iraqi and Afghani political
leadership, and Romania — among the first non-Paris Club countries
that had agreed, in 2005, to the terms of debt relief for Iraq — was
committed to the democratic future of both countries.

On the Human Rights Council, he said that, under Romania’s presidency,
the Council had examined 32 national reports, including one on his
country. States should not weaken their support for the Council or the
Office of the High Commissioner. On internally displaced persons, he
said the suffering of 7 million Sudanese and 5 million internally
displaced persons in Iraq, among situations in other countries, should
catalyse assistance. Romania had established a special evacuation
transit centre for those most in need of protection and resettlement.

On the responsibility to protect, he said that the appalling
humanitarian crises of the last decades should prompt States to react
to such situations. Further efforts should be made to form a common
understanding of the concept, he said, adding that prosecutorial
services were a pillar of the criminal justice system.

Turning to protracted conflicts, he said "let us be honest", the
recent crisis in Georgia proved that the global community could not
shy from dealing with uncertain situations and assume they would just
disappear. "A dormant volcano can still be an active one," he said,
noting that deferring solutions was not a suitable response. The
crisis in South Ossetia and Abkhazia should focus attention on other
conflicts, notably in Nagorno-Karabakh. The Security Council should
play its part, as hesitation was not helping. Territorial integrity
was "a must", if States wanted peace to prevail.

On disarmament and non-proliferation issues, he stressed that
statements, such as that made towards Israel, were
unacceptable. States had a duty to effectively implement commitments
to promote the necessary legal framework, and establish appropriate
mechanisms for verification control. Solidarity at the regional and
multilateral levels was needed. Romania had always been willing to
work with States in that respect, he added, citing work on an
international seminar for how the Black Sea region could improve the
global security situation.

He said the United Nations was the forum for all States "to have their
voices heard and heeded". The question focused on how to make it more
effective in the face of new challenges. If the moral imperative was
not enough, States must pay attention to pragmatism: the Organization
belonged to the world’s people.

AÃ?CHATOU MINDAOUDOU, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Niger,
said that the main debate of the Assembly session, the high price of
food, was crucial, as it impacted people and organizations around the
world. The challenge was to initiate steps to address hunger. Niger
had taken steps to mitigate food prices, but the country faced a
serious drought and needed long-term solutions to deal with hunger and
provide adequate crops.

She said the financial crisis that affected the world was exacerbated
by globalization and required united efforts, initiatives and
solutions from everybody. If a rich country feared an economic
recession, a poor country feared hunger. The poorest countries also
paid the most dearly for the dangers of climate change, and Niger
called on the international community to combat climate change.

If the food, energy and financial crises were at the forefront of
today’s challenges, the threats to international peace and security in
countries shaken by conflict were also a scourge impacting harmonious
development, she continued. International terrorism, drug trafficking
and the illicit trade in light weapons and small arms were also
scourges for many nations. She welcomed efforts and commitments by the
international community were needed to help countries in conflict or
emerging from conflict, such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burundi,
Guinea-Bissau and the Central African Republic. Those countries had
been helped by peacebuilding efforts. She also welcomed the peace and
reconciliation process in Côte d’Ivoire since the accord of
Ouagadougou of 2007. She was also pleased with the resumption of talks
under the Manhasset cycle and its attempts to reach a politically and
mutually acceptable solution on the question of Western Sahara.

Regarding the Sudan, she said Niger welcomed the nomination of the
joint mediator of the United Nations and African Union, Djibril
Yipènè Bassolé, Minister for Foreign Affairs of
Burkina Faso. That provided new momentum to improve the situation in
the country. She also hoped the Palestinian-Israeli talks in Annapolis
would continue the momentum towards peace in the Middle East, where
there would be two States living side by side with mutually recognized

The disarmament and eradication of the trade in light weapons was very
important and the challenges to international peace and security
remained numerous and threatened progress in development, she
said. The current year was crucial for pushing development forward, as
it was marked by the standstill of the Doha Round of the World Trade
Organization talks, and the recent high-Level meeting on the
Millennium Development Goals.

Small, landlocked countries demanded special attention, such as
financial assistance, aid and technical help, and she thanked the
Secretary-General for his recognition of their needs. Niger’s
development priorities included the achievement of the Millennium
Development Goals, she added.

She said the United Nations must be the vehicle for the international
community to look at issues of both certainty and uncertainty. The
United Nations system must be reformed. But change would be incomplete
without a reform of the Security Council that included fair
representation and the Council’s working methods. Other issues under
scrutiny were an assessment of system-wide coherence and
revitalization of the General Assembly.

SERGEY LAVROV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation,
said a "painful blow" had been dealt to the unity of the
anti-terrorist coalition by the war in Iraq, when, as it turned out,
under the false pretext of the fight on terror, international law was
violated. In a wholly artificial way, a deeper crisis was created, and
it had not been resolved. Further, more and more questions were being
raised about what was going on in Afghanistan, he said, and asked if
there was an acceptable price to pay for civilian deaths in the global
campaign against terror.

"Who would determine the criteria of proportionality for the use of
force, and why are the international contingents unwilling to engage
in combating the proliferating dug threat that causes ever-increasing
suffering to the countries of Central Asia and Europe?" he
asked. Those and other factors had led him to believe that the
anti-terror coalition was in crisis. It seemed to lack collective
arrangements, such as equality among members in decision-making.

Mechanisms designed for a unipolar world started to be used, he said,
and the outcome had been a "privatization of the global effort". The
illusion of a unipolar world confused many. In exchange for total
loyalty, some expected a free pass to resolve their problems by any
means. The "all permissive" syndrome that developed had raged out of
control, boiling over on the night before 8 August, when the
aggression was unleashed on South Ossetia. The Russian Federation had
helped South Ossetia repel that aggression, and carried out its duty
to protect its citizens, fulfilling its peacekeeping agreements.

Recognition of independence for South Ossetia and Abkhazia by the
Russian Federation was needed to ensure their security, he explained,
adding that the "chauvinism of Georgian leaders" had begun long ago
with a war driven by the slogan: " Georgia for Georgians". An end was
put to that war, and peacekeeping negotiating mechanisms were put in
place. However, the current Georgian leadership had undermined them by
launching a "new and bloody war" on 8 August.

"This problem is now closed," he said, noting that the future of
Abkhazia and South Ossetia had been secured by treaties between
Moscow, and the respective [capital] cities of Sukhum and
Tskhinval. Moreover, he said implementation of the Medvedev-Sarkozy
plan, to which his Government was strongly committed, would stabilize
the two republics, though he was concerned at attempts to "rewrite"
that plan.

Today, there was a need to analyze the impact of the crisis on the
region, he said. The world had changed yet again, and it was clear
that solidarity expressed by all after 11 September 2001 should be
revived and built on the rejection of "double standards" in the fight
against infringements on international law `- either on the part of
terrorists, belligerent political extremists or others. Attempts to
settle conflict situations by breaking off international agreements
could not be tolerated.

In South Ossetia, his Government had defended the right to life — the
most essential human right. The existing architecture in Europe had
not passed the "strength test"; it had proven incapable of containing
an aggressor, he said, proposing to look at the situation in a
comprehensive way. The Treaty on European Security proposed by
President Medvedev could be "a kind of ‘ Helsinki 2’", in that it
meant to create a reliable security system in a legally binding form,
to promote integrated management across a vast region.

Numerous challenges required the comprehensive strengthening of the
United Nations, and he was, on the whole, satisfied by the reform
process. He welcomed proposals to expand Security Council membership
that did not divide States, but facilitated the search for mutually
acceptable compromises. He reaffirmed a proposal to create a
consultative council of religions, saying also that food, energy and
security problems could be resolved by a new global partnership. The
Russian Federation supported further developing partnerships among the
present Group of Eight members and key States in all developing

In rethinking the responsibility of rendering honestly the events of
August, and calling up the memory of the Cold War era, he warned that
principles of international law urging restraint from wars of
aggression should be followed to ensure that truth did not once again
become "the first victim of war".

ABDELWAHEB ABDALLAH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, said an
increasing pace in international events had disrupted the global
balance and had created new challenges that had weakened the capacity
of some countries to achieve progress in development. The rising price
of oil and basic food prices threatened world food security and
lowered the purchasing power of many nations, thus making it more
difficult for many of them to achieve the Goals set out in the
Millennium Declaration.

Overcoming such challenges would require the efforts of the entire
international community, as well as the adoption of development
strategies based on the "noble humanist dimensions of world
solidarity". He called on international financial institutions to
establish and implement agricultural and production policies that
would guarantee the fundamental right to food security for
all. Meanwhile, it was crucial to intensify efforts to operationalize
the World Solidarity Fund as a mechanism to address the issues of
global poverty and to reduce the disparities among peoples.

Further, United Nations reforms would help the Organization enhance
its ability to alleviate the negative impacts of the current food
crisis and to turn globalization into a process that would help
guarantee peace and development for all. Tunisia supported all efforts
to establish new frameworks and mechanisms that would help the
international community better respond to the many global challenges
it faced, he continued, stressing that, among others, the scourge of
terrorism in all its forms needed to be addressed. He called for an
international conference, organized by the United Nations, to
elaborate a code of conduct for the fight against terrorism.

Turning to climate change, he underlined the close link between the
environment and development and the crucial importance of promoting
cooperation and solidarity to meet the challenge of global warming. It
was necessary to mobilize adequate financial resources to promote
research in the field of climate observation, meteorology and the
development of natural disaster early warning systems. Investments to
help reduce greenhouse gas emissions were also urgently needed. On
other issues, he said the success of national development efforts
depended on the security and stability of the international
environment. The international community should thus increase its
efforts to find solutions to situations of conflict, specifically in
the Middle East and Iraq.

On domestic issues, he said his country, due to its sound development
choices and various development strategies, had already achieved many
of the Millennium Development Goals. Tunisia was now keen on achieving
a higher degree of integration on bilateral and multilateral
levels. For instance, he said the Arab Maghreb Union was a "strategic
and crucial choice for all peoples of the region" and similar efforts
to enhance the capacity for joint Arab action should be
promoted. Tunisia was also keen on strengthening and diversifying its
cooperation with "sisterly African countries" through its contribution
to achieving peace and security on the continent.

He also reaffirmed his country’s support for the African Union and its
role in conflict resolution in Africa. Relations with the European
Union were of equal importance and the building of the
"Euro-Mediterranean cooperation space" remained one of Tunisia’s top
foreign policy priorities.

KINGA GÃ-NCZ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Hungary, said the
daily challenges that existed in an increasingly globalized world
required answers originating from the principle of universally
accepted values and the practice of flexible adaptation to swift
changes in the environment. That necessity was reflected in the new
external relations strategy adopted by his Government at the beginning
of the year.

Skyrocketing energy prices, the food and financial crisis, and
commodity speculation were endangering the results achieved thus far
in implementing the Millennium Development Goals. She said that a
coherent and coordinated response was needed to reverse the
process. As an emerging donor country, Hungary firmly believed that
the international community could not use the difficulties faced by
everyone as an excuse not to do the utmost to implement the Goals.

With the extreme pace of development and attendant increased emission
of greenhouse gases, she continued, the environment was rapidly
deteriorating. Indeed, climate change was an established fact and a
growing concern, and it was necessary to adapt to the new weather
patterns and climate conditions. A more effective institutional
framework was needed to address those problems. Such strategy should
include clear political guidance; adequate, stable and predictable
funding; a strong scientific base; and an improved assessment of
activities and emergency response institutions. However, solutions
could only be achieved by obtaining practical answers and durable
solutions that could be accessed by all.

Turning to the situation in Afghanistan, she said Hungary appreciated
the achievements of the international community and the enormous
amount of work that had been done thus far to bring tangible
improvements to the everyday lives of the Afghan people. Continuing,
she said that Hungary also supported the efforts of the international
community and the various institutions working to implement the peace
agreement in Georgia. The use of military force to settle territorial
disputes represented a dangerous precedent that could have further
implications in the whole region and beyond. Any further steps and
negotiations must be based on full respect of Georgia’s sovereignty,
territorial integrity, internationally recognized borders, and a
democratically elected leadership.

A lasting solution to present-day challenges could not be reached
without the effective involvement of women into all aspects of
international cooperation, she continued. In the areas of genocide,
Hungary had decided to prepare a feasibility study on the
establishment of an international centre for the prevention of
genocide and mass atrocities in Budapest. The independent institution
would aim to contribute to global efforts to prevent such crimes
against humanity.

She went on to say that, in order to address the various challenges of
the twenty-first century, the international community needed a strong,
reformed and well-functioning United Nations. In the past two years,
progress had been made in all areas of reform, and some of the new
bodies had become operational. In other fields, however, further
consideration and negotiations with other Member States were needed to
achieve a lasting solution, and Hungary was ready to contribute to
those negotiations.

KABINGA J. PANDE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Zambia, said that a
global strategy to ensure achievement of the Millennium Development
Goals for all would only be meaningful if it was "all-inclusive" and
empowered women, girls and other vulnerable groups. Indeed, women’s
empowerment and gender equality were key drivers for reducing poverty,
building food security and reducing maternal mortality. To that end,
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member States had
signed a Gender and Development Protocol last month, the first of its
kind in Africa.

While he went on to express appreciation to the international
community and many development partners, including China and the
European Union, for their programme assistance, he also urged those
partners to meet their commitments so Zambia could meet all the
Millennium targets. Such action was crucial because relevant reports
of the Secretary General had noted that many developing countries,
particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, were in danger of falling

To that end, he said specifically that Zambia and most of sub-Saharan
Africa were impacted adversely by lingering drought, higher
temperatures and more erratic rainfall — all of which could be linked
to climate change. Moreover, global warming had deepened the current
food crisis by pressuring water and agricultural systems. Warning that
all this could cause millions more to face malnutrition, and disrupt
clean water and sanitation efforts, he called for urgent action from
the international community to assist in the development of climate
adaptation and mitigation measures.

He also called for stepped-up efforts to reform the United Nations,
specifically through the designation of two permanent and two
non-permanent seats on the Security Council for African nations. Such
a move would be fitting because Africa constituted the second largest
block of United Nations Members. It would also redress "the historical
injustice against Africa".

In closing, he advocated the right of the people of Western Sahara to
self-determination in accordance with the Charter, and welcomed
Zimbabwe’s signing of an inter-party agreement last month, which had
formed a "good basis" for addressing socio-economic problems in the

MOHLABI TSEKOA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International
Relations of Lesotho, said the current energy crisis was now competing
for attention with the even more urgent food shortage crisis. Ensuring
food security was of utmost importance to developing countries, where
abject poverty, malnutrition and the spread of HIV/AIDS had reached
unacceptable levels. "All of humanity has a right to food. Hunger is a
violation of human dignity," he said.

International commitments to fight hunger must now be implemented. The
way forward had been set out this past June at the Food and
Agriculture Organization emergency food security conference, as well
as by the "Group of Eight" statement issued at the Hokkaido Tokyo
Summit. That statement had stressed the importance of stimulating
world food production and increasing investments in
agriculture. Development partners such as the Bretton Woods
institutions must scale up efforts to help farmers in the least
developed countries.

Continuing, he said the world must remember that the United Nations
had been born out of the ashes of the Second World War, and yet, every
year, new hotspots and "designer wars" broke out as some big and
powerful States resorted more and more to the use of force. The
illusory goal of imposing their will on others by force only led to a
more unstable and dangerous world. Further, the Principle of Universal
Jurisdiction was being abused when it was used to target certain
African leaders. That Principle must be impartially and objectively
applied so it was not used for political purposes. With that in mind,
he said that the International Criminal Court must enjoy full support
and trust. The Court must also be immune to external influences.

Finally, he said the Security Council must be an honest arbiter in
conflicts. It should not turn a blind eye to a situation in one
country and then act when a similar situation obtained in another. The
Council must also be reformed in such a way that integrity and
credibility enabled it to carry out its lofty mandate more
efficiently. He went on to say that the international community should
support the people of Zimbabwe in its historic feat of having set
aside political differences for a Government of national unity. The
Council should also intervene more decisively in the Middle East,
Western Sahara and the Balkans, and in ending the unilateral embargo
against Cuba.

HASSAN WIRAJUDA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, said much
discussed "Green Revolution" must embrace the entire developing
world. Democracy meant nothing if part of humankind was well fed but a
larger part went to bed hungry every night. Indeed, equality was a
mirage in any country where half the population struggled against
obesity and the other half wondered where its next meal was coming

The Food and Agriculture Organization had warned that food prices
would remain high for the next three to five years. Food riots had
already erupted in parts of the world. The problem of global food
insecurity must be addressed vigorously because it was putting peace
at risk in the developing world and in pockets of poverty in the
developed world.

Continuing, he said it was not easy to feed a population of some 230
million in Indonesia, but there had been no food riots
there. Exportable surpluses in rice production had been achieved by
providing farmers with micro-financing, better seeds, inexpensive
technology and affordable fertilizers. Addressing the problem of food
insecurity at the global level required the active engagement of all
peoples and States and, to that end, the General Assembly must take
concrete steps.

First, he said, the World Bank and the United Nations must develop
mechanisms to help national Governments spend more on agriculture and
on rural infrastructures to empower small farmers. Next, United
Nations bodies must link with regional mechanisms to develop measures
such as common food reserves and early warning systems on regional
food crises. Finally, a framework for a global partnership on food
security must be established. For example, the World Trade
Organization’s Doha development round of negotiations must support
increased food production, and the Monterey Consensus on development
financing must support opportunities to fund the Green Revolution.

Further, he said that, because agriculture did not always lead to
sufficient harvests, there should not be a rush to produce biofuels at
the price of reducing food supplies. The energy crisis could be
addressed by alternative means in ways that also helped mitigate
climate change. The Bali Road Map adopted last December leading to
Copenhagen in 2009 `- and through PoznaÅ? at the end of the year
— would allow for an ambitious post-2012 global climate regime to be
produced by 2009.

Finally, he said that, even as the challenge of global warming was
addressed, the reality of a global chill in the "politico-security"
field must be faced, along with the possibility of a new arms
race. The Security Council had failed to resolve recent cases
involving infringement of the principle of territorial integrity and
of the political independence of States. External interventions that
had led to secessions had involved major Powers.

Those cases must not set a dangerous precedent that would make
developing countries extremely vulnerable in their nation-building, he
continued. And since true democracy was always home-grown and not
imposed from the outside, the Bali Democracy Forum would be launched
in December as an inclusive and open forum for the countries of Asia
to share experiences and best practices in fostering democracy.

FRANCK BIANCHÃ?RI, Government Counsellor for External Relations
and International Economic and Financial Affairs of Monaco, said that
the international community could not fail in the implementation of
the Millennium Development Goals. Acknowledging that there were food,
energy and environmental crises that seriously affected the entire
planet, he said Member States must redouble their efforts and build on
their concerted action in the only universal forum — the United
Nations — in order to achieve the Goals.

Still, since the road map set out in the Millennium Declaration had
been defined eight years ago, States could not have imagined that
things could worsen. Each country suffered the consequences of the
current crises in a different way, depending on its geographic
location, economy, and commercial and financial market share. Each
country attempted to face the challenges with its own means. Monaco,
for its part, had chosen to fight the food and the climate crises with
resources at hand.

In order to implement the target of 0.7 per cent of its gross national
income by 2015, Monaco’s Government was increasing its official
development assistance (ODA) by 25 per cent every year, and focusing
on the needs of the least developed countries. In 2008, 22 countries
had benefited from a development partnership with Monaco, particularly
those located around the Mediterranean Basin and in sub-Saharan

On the issue of climate change, Monaco would further its commitment to
tackling the impact of the phenomenon by hosting meetings on the
situation in the Arctic region in the coming months. The first
gathering, organized by the French Presidency of the European Union,
would be in November, and the second, organized by the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), would be
convened at the beginning of next year.

Notwithstanding the obstacles encountered on the road to implementing
the Millennium Development Gaols, he continued, it was necessary to
stay on track. Monaco was deeply committed to the United Nations,
which was a truly universal Organization that placed human rights and
dialogue among nations at its core. Without the United Nations, human
rights might not have reached their universality, and that was
indisputable. At the same time, it was necessary to modernize the
world body and adapt its institutions with the democratic principles
of States, and with new geopolitical balances. Monaco also supported
the increase of the members of the Security Council.

Only the combined efforts of all partners would enable real progress
in the fight against poverty, for better health care and education,
and for water access and the protection of the environment. The
primary responsibility for achieving the Goals remained with African
Governments, who had shown tremendous leadership in recent years and
put in place ambitious programmes that could attract the financial
support of partner countries for development.

VLADIMIR NOROV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, lamented
that, in spite of the international community’s — including the
coalition forces’ — enormous efforts in support of peace in
Afghanistan, the situation there had worsened with more loss of
civilian lives. Worse still, that country also faced the problem of a
growing drug trafficking problem -` with a total opium production
accounting for over 90 per cent of the world’s production.

Moreover, he reminded the Assembly that drug trafficking was an
important source of financing for militants as well as a destabilizing
factor for Afghanistan and its neighbours. Noting that war in that
country, which had ensured for some 30 years — had failed to bring a
resolution to the Afghan problem. The fighting had only managed to
destroy Afghan economic and social infrastructures, and had
impoverished the people of the country, and even served as a breeding
ground for recruiting new militants. The unfolding situation therefore
called for new approaches to find a solution.

To that end, Uzbekistan believed that the main priority should be
providing economic aid to Afghanistan so that its ruined economic and
social sectors were restored, thus providing the population with
employment which would help alleviate poverty.

On another issue, he noted with satisfaction important steps towards
ensuring human rights for its citizens. Uzbekistan had adopted key
legislation, including on guaranteeing the rights of the child; and
the ratification of the International Labour Organization’s Convention
on minimum hiring age, and on the elimination of the worst forms of
child labour. Also, realizing the urgency of the problem of
trafficking in persons, both at the international and domestic levels,
Uzbekistan adopted a law on countering trafficking in persons in April
this year, he added.

DORA BAKOYANNIS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, said that the
only way to tackle a threat was to "face it together". It was in
ancient Greece that society had developed the ideals cherished by
people around the world today, including democracy and individual
rights. Greece had not forgotten what fear felt like, and that was why
it continued to work closely with all States, organizations and
institutions to ensure that everyone could prosper. The United Nations
needed increased support from more Member States, especially when it
came to efforts to develop and improve the lives of people.

Gross violations of human rights unfortunately persisted throughout
the world, and Member States must redouble their efforts to reduce
them, she continued. The Human Rights Council could be a powerful
force in that struggle, and Greece had decided to become a candidate
for membership for the term beginning in 2012. The United Nations must
also strengthen efforts to alleviate the bitter poverty that still
gripped many parts of the world.

It was necessary to increase trade for development, and her delegation
regretted the lack of progress in the Doha round talks. The progress
achieved thus far in attaining the Millennium Development Goals was
jeopardized by higher prices -` particularly of food and oil -` and
the global economic slowdown. Success in achieving the Goals would be
judged primarily in Africa, she continued, and one way to help
jump-start development on the continent was to involve women in the
economy more extensively.

Providing women with entrepreneurial opportunities at local, national
and regional levels would allow them to strengthen their role in
society, increase their involvement in education, and ultimately allow
them to play a more active part in decision-making. She went on to say
that another challenge facing the United Nations was climate change,
which, if not addressed, threatened not only the Millennium
Development Goals, but also the world’s economic and social
stability. It was necessary to achieve in 2009 a new, truly global
climate agreement that had binding mitigation targets. A much stronger
effort regarding adaptation was also needed.

Noting challenges, including, among others, migration, human
trafficking, terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she said
such issues would require "the patience of Job to endure and the
strength of Hercules to confront". As individual States, there was no
hope of marshalling the strength to contemplate -` let alone battle -`
the dangers the world faced. But together, through the United Nations,
States could find the resolve not only to confront the challenges, but
also to subdue the threats that they posed for humankind.

KOFI ESAW, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of
Togo, said that the high-level debates and discussions throughout the
past week on Africa’s development and the Millennium Development Goals
had proven the need for immediate and effective international aid to
help eradicate global poverty and help Africa achieve sustainable
development. The failure of the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round
had not helped the current state of affairs and, without a positive
resolution to those talks, the situation would likely continue to

If the developing world was to achieve its development objectives, the
international community `- specifically the most developed countries
`- must finally make good on its Millennium commitments, he
continued. At the same time, however, new challenges had been added to
the long list of those already facing the international community. The
rising cost of oil combined with the increase in food prices would
likely have disastrous consequences if aid was not mobilized
immediately to bolster the agricultural sectors of many developing
countries, particularly in terms of agricultural infrastructure and

For many years, Togo had suffered from an extended political and
economic crisis, he said. However, the recent implementation of
pragmatic political policies based on national reconciliation, poverty
reduction, democracy and the rule of law had helped his country
achieve some important successes. Among the most significant were the
holding of peaceful and transparent legislative elections in October
2007; reform of the judicial system; creation of a Truth, Justice and
Reconciliation Commission to help victims of crimes committed during
the political crisis; and the signing of the African Peer Review
Mechanism in an effort to fight corruption and improve good governance
in Togo.

However, such achievements had been seriously threatened by recent
heavy rains and flooding that had destroyed villages and valuable
infrastructure, he explained. Only with the help of the international
community had Togo been able to respond and rebuild some of that lost
infrastructure. For decades, Togo had worked towards building
friendship and cooperation at both regional and international levels.

International conflicts — such as those in the Middle East,
Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Darfur — could also benefit from
similar efforts towards cooperation and efforts should be made to find
peaceful resolutions built on dialogue and discussion, he said. The
adoption of a legally-binding instrument to prevent the illicit trade
in small arms would also help to reduce conflicts and create global
peace and security. Each country had a responsibility towards building
that global peace since only then would the international community be
able to focus on its other challenges, such as poverty, illiteracy and

PAULA GOPEE-SCOON, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and
Tobago, said the increasing frequency and ferocity of hurricanes and
other natural disasters had exposed the dire need to provide early
warning systems and capacity-building programmes in vulnerable regions
like the Caribbean. Such disasters had also revealed sharply the
imperative of purposeful action on climate change at national,
regional and international levels.

For its part, her Government recognized the need to promote clean
energy alternatives, the development of new and renewable energy
options and the proper protection and management of forest areas in
partnership with the public and private sector at national and
international levels. Moreover, efforts aimed at addressing the
current energy crisis also required international cooperation and
partnership, she added, noting that Trinidad and Tobago sought to
partner with African countries to develop long-term strategies for the
sustainable development and use of their energy resources.

The United Nations must take the lead in the management of the global
food crisis, as the crisis threatened the achievement of some of the
Millennium Development Goals, in particular, eradicating extreme
poverty and hunger. Member States must use all resources at their
disposal to solve the crisis, including a recommitment to the work `-
and recommendations -` of FAO. Regionally, food security must also be
pursued in the context of the Caribbean Community Single Market and
Economy, which provided for the integration of production and
cross-border investment in agriculture.

Like poverty and hunger, terrorism remained a "major scourge" and
members of the international community must embrace multilateral
solutions to the challenge, she continued. The reform of the Security
Council was indispensable to the transformation and further
democratization of the United Nations. Failure to reform it could
serve to undermine its authority in maintaining peace and security and
its ability to discharge its other obligations. Nationally, her
Government had recently reformed its development policy and Trinidad
and Tobago was now on track to meet or exceed all Millennium Goals.

However, there were many States that would not achieve those Goals and
the international community should assist them by honouring previously
agreed-upon commitments. The follow-up conference on the
implementation of the 2002 Monterrey Consensus would also be an
opportunity to further support developing countries and to forge a
global partnership in a spirit of solidarity.

Turning to the "nefarious" narcotics trade, she said drug trafficking
was closely linked to the illegal proliferation of small
arms. Regional efforts to confront those challenges should be
supported by international and multilateral efforts. To that end, she
called for the inclusion of international drug trafficking as one of
the crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal
Court. The Criminal Court specifically, and international law in
general, had contributed to the maintenance of international peace and
security and Member States should show full respect for those

GONZALO FERNÃ?NDEZ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uruguay,
said that, as one of the founding Members of the United Nations,
Uruguay saw the fundamental principles of its foreign policy
completely reflected in the Organization’s Charter. It was important
to emphasize, once again, his country’s traditional position of
unreserved respect for and adherence to international law and its
support of multilateralism; pacific settlement of disputes; sovereign
equality of States; rejection to the use or the threat of the use of
force; free determination of peoples; promotion and protection of
human rights; and international economic and social cooperation.

Uruguay’s commitment to the principles of the Charter was not about
listing good intentions, but rather respecting juridical principles
and fundamental values, whose inclusion in the Charter granted them
rank of international norm. The principles also constituted essential
tools to lead Member States in a world that presented great
challenges. States had the moral and juridical duty to find
sustainable solutions to make peace and development the rule of
coexistence between people.

A serious food crisis was affecting all too many countries in the
world, he continued. To find a sustainable and lasting solution, it
was necessary to understand and respond to the structural factors
present in the origin of the crisis. Correcting the distortions in the
multilateral trade system, particularly in agricultural trade, was a
decisive way to ensure that there was enough food to cover the needs
of the planet.

Apart from dealing with the crisis with urgent measures, it was
indispensable to advance towards a long-term solution. That must
inevitably imply increased efforts to strengthen the multilateral
trading system and to quickly re-launch negotiations in the World
Trade Organization. It was essential to do so, especially in the
agricultural sector, in order to guarantee food security and avoid
returning to protectionist practices that would only worsen the
present situation.

One of the most crucial challenges facing the world economy today was
the energy crisis. In the case of agriculture, Latin America required
technological cooperation from developed countries. Regarding the
development of the production of alternative energies, such as
bioenergy and biofuels, research and technical assistance were
critical to take advantage of opportunities offered by that
production, without affecting food security or the environment. The
United Nations had a crucial role to play in that regard.

Turning to United Nations reform, he reiterated his country’s support
for the Security Council reform process, including the addition of new
permanent and non-permanent members. Uruguay would not support the
creation of new members with veto rights, however, because such a
privilege went against efforts to democratize the Organization. He
also stressed the significance of the United Nations as the governing
body and main multilateral forum to find solutions suitable for the
most important challenges today.

KAREL SCHWARZENBERG, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech
Republic, said that, though agreements reached at the Assembly’s 2005
World Summit had sparked some substantive United Nations reforms, more
were needed. The first step would be to reform the Security Council,
making that 15-nation body more representative, transparent and
legitimate. The Council’s authority had been recently undermined by
its inability to address some acute international issues and it should
reassert its authority in maintaining international peace and

Indeed, the overall authority of the United Nations was currently
being tested, as was the political and moral responsibilities of all
Member States. Recently, a powerful permanent member of the Security
Council had acted in violation of the United Nations Charter through
its "systematic provocations" and military aggression against its
smaller neighbour. He said the Czech Republic had sent substantial
humanitarian aid to Georgia and the international community should do
the same to help those displaced by the conflict. There was also an
urgent need for an "international and impartial mission" to oversee
military withdrawals in Georgia and ceasefire implementation.

Promoting and maintaining international security required concerted
actions, a strengthened United Nations peacekeeping capacity, and
complementary efforts by other organizations, he said. In particular,
he invited the United Nations to take a more active approach to the
situation in Afghanistan and, in the Balkans, encouraged ongoing
cooperation between the United Nations, the European Union and the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The recent arrest and
transfer of Radovan Karadzic to the International Criminal Tribunal
for the Former Yugoslavia had been a promising sign of cooperation
between Serbia and the international community.

Overall, international criminal justice efforts should be fully
supported as they helped put an end to impunity for the most serious
crimes. In the area of weapons of mass destruction and
non-proliferation, it was necessary to "undertake some bold steps" to
reduce the risk of misuse. In particular, he expressed concern over
the situation in Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of
Korea. Though it was the "indispensable right of every country to
exploit nuclear power for civilian purposes", the global community
should act when that nuclear power could be diverted to military
purposes in breach of international commitments.

Security went "hand in hand" with development and human rights, he
said. In recent years, United Nations human rights institutions had
undergone "long-awaited" reforms, but those reforms had only been
partially achieved. The Human Rights Council had been unable to tackle
several serious human rights situations in a timely manner and the
political imbalance in its Universal Periodic Review Mechanism further
diminished reform expectations.

Turning to the Millennium Development Goals and Africa’s development
goals, he said international commitment must not wane. The Follow-up
Conference on Financing for Development and the conclusion of the Doha
trade talks was an opportunity to help developing countries even
further, specifically through greater trade liberalization. The
European Union had shown the flexibility needed for a positive outcome
to negotiations and other key actors had to follow suit in order to
get talks back on track soon. Soaring food and commodity prices, as
well as the negative impact of climate change, were hampering
international development and only with strong political will could
sustainable solutions be found.

RAIS YATIM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, said that the
world was facing "unprecedented" challenges, including skyrocketing
prices of fuel and food, which had caused distress and widespread
hardship. The current financial crisis, as well as the effects of
global warming, was also tearing the social fabric of Member
States. To merely label those issues an overall "economic crisis" was
to understate the severity of what was happening today.

Indeed, the sheer complexity of and connectivity between food, fuel
and global warming, and between finance and climate change, was what
made the task of addressing the convergent crises so bedevilling. All
those issues must be faced and resolved by the United Nations and, if
States failed to address and remedy the calamities, then the role,
authority and responsibility of the world body would be questioned.

Some had called the present situation — particularly regarding global
food shortages and price spikes in commodities — a "silent tsunami",
but he begged to differ. In fact, the rumblings had been heard for
some time, most particularly in Africa. The international community
had gathered in Rome as far back as 1974 to address global food
security, and seven commitments had been adopted. The latest figures,
however, showed that, at present, 850 million people faced hunger on a
daily basis, so States had clearly failed to take heed of the warnings
made 34 years ago.

Liberalization had fundamentally changed the market structure for food
and energy sources, and that allowed for greater market
speculation. In view of the volatility of food prices, he strongly
supported efforts to promote agriculture and food
production. Moreover, the cause of the crises related to fuel and
food, as well as climate change, were due squarely to the unfulfilled
hopes and broken promises of sustainable development.

It was time for the international community, particularly the
developed world, to demonstrate greater political commitment. The
focus of the developed nations should be on fulfilling their
commitments and, in so doing, setting a standard for the entire world,
rather than trying to pass the burden of action on to the developing
world. It was also necessary to find the right mix in balancing the
competing interests of the three pillars of sustainable development:
economic growth, social development and environmental protection. The
optimal mix between governmental and private-sector action must also
be found, and the role of Governments, in particular, was critical to
providing policy integration and balancing the competing interests of
the three pillars.

Government intervention was also required if technologies were to be
made available at concessionary rates, he continued. If energy
security was indeed a global public good, then infrastructure build-up
should also be seen as such. Resolving the problems in the world’s
most volatile regions `- which, coincidentally, were some of the
world’s largest producers and distribution channels of oil -` was also
necessary, and the United Nations must play a more forward role in the
need for peace and security.

PAK KIL YON, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea, said nearly 10 years had passed since the
Millennium Declaration and yet a "vicious circle of aggression and
intervention, conflict and terrorism" persisted in international
relations and presented new challenges to global peace and
security. Cold war military alliances were intensifying and the arms
race was taking new forms. Pretexts such as a "war on terror" were
used to justify violations of the sovereignty of developing
countries. Disparities in wealth and imbalances in development were
deepening. Crises in energy, food and finance were seriously affecting
vulnerable economies.

The worst "peace-breaker" and human rights violator in the world today
was the United States. That was evidenced by the country’s armed
invasion of sovereign States and its willingness to massacre innocent
civilians. Member States must remain highly vigilant. They must not
accept politicization, selectivity and double standards regarding
human rights. Regionally, the reason that relations between the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Japan had remained
unresolved was that Japan had not liquidated its crime-stained
past. It had massacred millions of people and today still attempted to
grab the sacred Tok Islet of Korea.

He went on to say that reckless military manoeuvres in and around the
Korean Peninsula were destabilizing the region. Those included the
strengthening of strategic military alliances, massive shipments of
state-of-the-art war equipment and annual large-scale military
exercises. " Japan must not be allowed to become a permanent member of
the Security Council," he declared.

Moving on, he said denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was a goal
and his country had remained consistent in its position to resolve the
nuclear issue peacefully through dialogue and negotiation. The 1992
north-south joint declaration and the 1994 Agreed Framework
demonstrated that position, as did the six-party talks that had
resulted in the joint statement of 19 September 2005. Agreements and
implementation of phased actions had followed, until the United States
had refused to implement obligations and had held out an unjust demand
concerning verification, which had never been agreed on.

The insistence of the United States on unilateral inspection was a
"brigand’s attempt" to disarm the Democratic People’s Republic of
Korea and discard the commitment to denuclearize the Peninsula, the
core of which was to remove the United States nuclear threat. Now, the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was taking countermeasures on
the basis of the principle of "action for action". It would remain
committed to denuclearizing the Peninsula, but it would not be
indifferent to offences to its dignity and self-respect, nor to
violations of its sovereignty.

He said inter-Korean relations had worsened since installation of a
new regime in the South, which denied the joint declarations that had
set out the path to unification based on the principles of
independence, peaceful reunification and national unity. Those
declarations had been agreed and adopted at the highest level of both
north and south. They had received the support of all the people of
the Peninsula and of the international community. It was intolerable
that they were discarded because of a changed regime.

Rights of Reply

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Iran
responded to the "unacceptable, futile and unfounded claims" made by
the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates,
specifically regarding three Iranian islands of Abu Musa, in the
Persian Gulf. Iran categorically rejected the United Arab Emirate’s
claim to those islands and wished to emphasize that they were "an
eternal part of the Iranian territory" and, as such, were under its

He expressed his Government’s wish to pursue positive diplomatic
relations with the United Arab Emirates and underlined the fact that
all actions and measures in the islands had been taken in exercise of
the sovereign right of Iran. Iran was ready to continue its bilateral
talks with the United Arab Emirates with the view to removing any
misunderstandings that might exist concerning the islands.

Also exercising the right of reply was the representative of Japan,
responding to the statement made by the representative of the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Calling the statement "entirely
groundless", he said Japan could not accept it. Japan had been facing
its past with sincerity and consistency. It had officially expressed
remorse and apologized many times since the end of World War II. Japan
had been consistently dedicating itself for more than 60 years to
promoting international peace and security, and to respecting
democracy and human rights.

Further, Japan had consistently adhered to a position that
international problems had to be resolved not militarily but, always,
peacefully. It must also be noted that Japan had been sincerely
addressing the issue. With regards to Japan’s position on Security
Council reform, it had already been publicly noted and was well
known. Furthermore, Japan stood ready to contribute actively and
constructively to international peace and security at any time.

The representative of the United Arab Emirates, also speaking in right
of reply, responded to the comments made by Iran’s representative
regarding his country’s "unjust legal claims" over the islands of Abu
Musa. Similar statements had been made in years past, and the United
Arab Emirates was disappointed to hear them repeated yet again. The
islands belonged to the United Arab Emirates, which had a "just and
legal right" to the area.

The territory could not be divided and he categorically repudiated all
the "illegal measures" undertaken by Iran, he said. The international
community should urge Iran to enter into negotiations over the
occupation of those islands or to bring the situation to the
International Court of Justice. Stability in the Gulf region required
a respect for the sovereignty of States and non-interference in the
internal affairs of respective countries.

Taking the floor for a second time, the representative of the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said that, in keeping with a
declaration between the two Governments, his Government had made an
investigation into the situation of missing Japanese persons. It had
informed the Japanese Government that five survivors of the abduction
and all of their children were sent to Japan. Furthermore, the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Japan had, in the last
month, agreed to undertake another investigation on the issue. So far,
his Government had done everything it could, and would do its best to
solve the issue.

He said that Japan, however, had not shown any tangible willingness to
properly fulfil its responsibility to redress its past crime. Japan
had refused to honestly repent heinous crimes committed against
humanity, and had persistently evaded its responsibility. In fact, the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was very much concerned about
the remarks distorting the facts regarding the crimes Japan had

He said Japan’s representative had spoken about the Japanese that had
been abducted, but that was the "tip of the iceberg" compared to the
great crimes against humanity committed by Japan. For Japan to become
a member of the international community, it had to discard its wrong
way of thinking and make a political decision to redeem its past.

Responding, Japan’s representative said his Government and the
Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had held
working-level consultations in June and August, during which they had
agreed on what the aim of a comprehensive investigation on the issue
of the abductions should be. However, the Democratic People’s Republic
of Korea had later notified Japan that it would not conduct the
investigation until it ascertained the position of the new
administration of Japan.

He said that Japan strongly hoped that the Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea would establish an investigation committee and would
commence the investigation soon. Japan had been facing up to its past
with sincerity and on a consistent basis. However, the numbers that
the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s representative cited as
those killed and murdered were totally groundless.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in
response, said that, in fact, what the Japanese delegate had just said
was groundless. The exact number was that 7,784,839 Koreans had been
drafted for forced labour, without knowing their destination. In
addition, thousands of teenagers, girls and women had been forced to
serve in the imperial Japanese army. It had taken half a century for
Japan to admit its crimes in the Democratic People’s Republic of
Korea, and no one knew how long it would take for Japan to liquidate
the crime.

He wanted to urge and remind Japan that, without a thorough
illumination of the past crime, "a clear future" for the country could
not be expected. Despite whatever pretext Japan put forward, the fact
remained that it had illegally drafted millions of Korean people to
forced labour, but still refused to redress the crimes of the past.

For information media ¢ not an official record