Speaker address question of sanctions in Assembly's General Debate

from UN General Assembly
Published on 30 Sep 1999

The Secretary-General's report to the Security Council on Libya's compliance with the provisions of relevant Council resolutions, presented three months after the suspension of sanctions, had led to only one conclusion -- that Libya had fulfilled all its obligations under the Council resolutions, the Permanent Representative of Libya told the General Assembly this afternoon as it continued it general debate.

Yet, after consideration of the report, the Council had been unable to lift the sanctions against his country because of the intransigence of the United States, a country which was party to the dispute, he went on to say. That country has threatened to use the veto and that could only be considered as reneging on previous commitments. He demanded that the Council adopt a resolution immediately that would completely lift the sanctions imposed on Libya.

While several speakers emphasized the need to stop the suffering of the Iraqi people by lifting economic sanctions against that country, Nizar Obaid Madani, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, said that the Iraqi Government had not responded to Arab and international proposals in a way which would help to move matters in the right direction. The Council itself was unable to take action on the matter due to the lack of common vision among the permanent members. Iraq should fully implement all international resolutions and cooperate seriously with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for the release of all prisoners and detainees and restoration of Kuwaiti properties. It should also refrain from all provocative and aggressive acts against Kuwait and other neighbouring countries.

Also addressing the issue of sanctions, George W. Odlum, Foreign Minister of Saint Lucia, noted that the emergence of Cuba as a vital and creative force in the integration and development of the Caribbean was frustrated by the inability of the United Nations to muster the political will to remove the inhuman sanctions imposed by the United States on the Cuban people. "The totally callous disregard for the cumulative will of this Assembly is the touchstone which characterizes the relationship between the super-Power leviathan and the 187 Lilliputian nations that talk and vote in this forum", he said.

Sama S. Banya, the Foreign Minister of Sierra Leone, said that since the signing of the Lomé Agreement, the delay in implementing the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Programme could be a factor in the restlessness observed in some elements from time to time. It was a dangerous void. Unfortunately, the anxiety and enthusiasm of his people had yet to be matched by those of the international community. The speed and the extent of interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, and East Timor clearly demonstrated the capacity of the international community to stop human suffering when it was willing to do so. Sierra Leoneans had been baffled at the delay in implementing the Sierra Leone Programme. The peace agreement had been a bitter pill for the average person to swallow, but essential to end the atrocities.

Also speaking this afternoon were the President of Mozambique; the Prime Ministers of Solomon Islands, Niger and Nepal; the Deputy Foreign Minister of Yemen, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Sudan.

Statements in right of reply were made by the representatives of the United Kingdom, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Israel and Syria.

The Assembly will continue its general debate at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this afternoon to continue its general debate. It was expected to hear addresses by the President of Mozambique, the Prime Ministers of the Solomon Islands, Niger and Nepal, the Deputy Prime Minister of Yemen, and the Foreign Ministers of Libya, Saint Lucia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Sierra Leone.


JOAQUIM ALBERTO CHISSANO, President of Mozambique, said the process of voter registration undertaken throughout his country in preparation for the second multi- party presidential and parliamentary elections to be held from 3 to 4 December, had just been concluded. However, the implementation of democracy did not end with a single vote, but rather was made possible through the implementation of all- inclusive, accountable and responsive government. Taking advantage of its diversity and plurality, Mozambique's Parliament had held fruitful interactions, which had resulted in the adoption of new laws that were contributing positively to the revitalization of political, economic and social institutions, as well as to the consolidation of peace and democracy. The Mozambican economy had grown at encouraging rates resulting in the allocation of an increased share of the national budget to the social sectors. The whole network of schools and health facilities, destroyed during the years of destabilization, had been rebuilt while most roads and bridges were under rehabilitation.

He said his Government had succeeded in creating a more enabling environment for private investment by redefining its role as facilitator. The streamlining of investment procedures coupled with political stability had contributed to the attraction of large investments, such as the Maputo Development Corridor. The concept of development corridors, an initiative regarded as the cornerstone of the regional integration strategy, involved the countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). In that regard, among the trans-frontier and national programmes in partnership with other regional countries, he cited a projected $2 billion Maputo iron and steel plant, a $1.3 billion Mozal aluminum plant to be completed within one year, and the construction of a $600 million iron and steel plant. The plan for the development of integrated programmes and projects in the Zambezi River basin included the construction of a big hydroelectric dam at M'panda M'kua.

Last month, Mozambique had hosted the Nineteenth Summit of Heads of State and Government of SADC under the theme "SADC in the Next Millennium -- Working together for peace, progress and prosperity". In reviewing progress made over the last 12 months, the Summit had noted that the economies of the Community continued to grow at an average rate of 3 per cent, thanks to the sound macroeconomic policies implemented by its member States and the harmonization and coordination of activities towards economic integration. However, in order to eradicate poverty, the region needed to grow at an average rate of 6 per cent per year. To achieve that objective, there was need to mobilize regional resources as well as to consolidate an enabling environment in order to increase the share of foreign direct investment.

He said the resolution on cooperation between the SADC and the United Nations, to be adopted this year, must reflect the positive progress that had taken place within the SADC, and stressed the importance of greater interaction with the Organization in all fields of common interest. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the signing of the agreement by all parties had opened a new era for the region and beyond. The international community must now meet its responsibilities by sending out, as expeditiously as possible, peacekeeping forces with an appropriate mandate and adequate resources. The international community also had a moral and political obligation to assist Angolans in reversing the humanitarian tragedy which was unfolding in vast areas of their territory. Jonas Savimbi, the leader of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), must be called on to abandon his aggressive and irresponsible action. The recent Organization of African Unity (OAU) Summit, held in Algeria in April, had adopted a resolution calling for the elaboration of an international convention outlawing the use of children under 18 years of age in armed conflict.

He said that in southern Africa, lack of adequate funding had contributed to poor realization of the goals set by the major global conferences including the Cairo Programme of Action on population and development. "We believe it is high time for the international community to start writing off the external debt of those countries that have made visible and sustainable progress in the implementation of tough, structural adjustment measures and political reforms", he said. Such a course of action would provide more incentives for other countries to undertake those measures and to redirect resources to the social sectors. Mozambique had also given its modest contribution to the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) and had contributed police officers to Kosovo. He hoped that the forthcoming historic gatherings in the year 2000 would result in meaningful strategies, actions and policies that would guide the United Nations of tomorrow.

BARTHOLOMEW ULUFA’ALU, Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, said "In a small island developing country like mine, investment in human resources development is not only vital but a critical prerequisite to embrace national peace, stability and economic prosperity." In that connection, he reiterated his Government’s position that the 1994 Barbados Programme of Action remained a valid blueprint for the sustainable development of small island developing States. He said that climate change, sea-level rise and increasing incidence of natural disasters were matters of survival for island States. Overall decline in official development assistance (ODA) contributions, the erosion of trade preferences and falling commodity prices could also hurt the fragile economies of such States. All those factors pointed to a need for greater international support of the successful implementation of the Barbados Programme.

He said that one of the steps that the Government of Solomon Islands had taken to advance the development of its human resources was in response to the 1997 Asian financial crisis. When that crisis had virtually frozen public service and private business sectors, the Government had introduced the Policy and Structural Reform Programme. The overall goals of that programme were to foster financial and macroeconomic security, to establish a more effective and efficient public service and to create an environment for the private sector that was conducive to viable growth and sustainability.

"Peace and development are mutually interdependent", he said. In that regard, he expressed concern over the current conflict on the neighbouring island of Guadalcanal. In the context of the size, limited resources and ethnic diversity of Solomon Islands, if the insurgency on Guadalcanal were left to escalate, it could seriously threaten national peace and security. He said that the conflict had already affected various sectors of the economy and caused the displacement of more than 30,000 people. It had been a big setback in his Government’s development efforts. His Government was firmly committed to an early resolution of the conflict and believed that the engagement of a Commonwealth special envoy would help bring about reconciliation between the concerned parties. He acknowledged the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretary in that regard. He also expressed gratitude for the prompt response of the Secretary-General to his request for a United Nations mission to assess the humanitarian aspects of the crisis.

"The most profound challenge for the next century is how to deal with the imperatives of globalization", he said. The challenge was not to halt the expansion of global markets but to find rules and institutions for stronger governance. To that end, the least developed countries needed international support to build capacities that would enable them to become more effectively and beneficially integrated into the global economy. "Only the United Nations and other international institutions", he said, "have the scope and legitimacy to generate the principles, norms and rules that are essential if globalization is to benefit everyone."

IBRAHIM ASSANE MAYAKI, Prime Minister of Niger, said that the adoption of the Constitution of the Fifth Republic on 18 July would lead to the establishment of lasting democratic institutions. He hoped that Niger's traditional partners would help and support it to establish true democracy, and stressed the need for a solid legal basis and a change of mentalities. He called upon States to participate in a workshop "Army and Democracy in Africa: the case of Niger", to be held in December.

Turning to the issue of post-conflict instability, he said that Niger supported programmes for collecting and destroying small arms and light weapons. To this end, Niger had submitted to the Secretary-General a plan to stop the illegal circulation of small arms. He welcomed the international conference on small arms scheduled for the year 2001. He also expressed support for peace efforts in Algeria, the Middle East, Asia and the Balkans.

He stated that, more than ever, it was essential to reverse the decline in ODA. To reach this goal, the international community must examine the possibilities of mobilizing additional resources. Niger had taken steps and called on the international community to do the same, especially with regard to the crucial problem of the debt of African countries. The initiatives of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Group of Seven must be extended to include all the less developed countries, he added.

He said that Niger was among the poorest countries in the world. Its difficulties had exacerbated political instability and kept the country at the bottom of the human development index. To fight the crisis, Niger had launched a vast programme of economic and financial reform to restore a macroeconomic balance, to reduce poverty and to stimulate growth. Turning to the question of Security Council reform, he stressed the importance of Africa's participation in a reformed Council, and asserted that there were African countries capable of playing an important role.

KRISHNA PRASAD BHATTARAI, Prime Minister of Nepal, said that after a multi- party political system had been restored, a democratic Constitution had been formulated in his country and general elections had been held. The Constitution of Nepal guaranteed fundamental human rights and the independence of the judiciary; it also identified the principles of the United Nations Charter as the fundamental basis of the country's foreign policy. As a small landlocked and least developed country, Nepal was facing many unique and onerous challenges, including poverty. For that reason, poverty eradication through employment, income generation and social mobilization were among Nepal's priorities.

He said the country had almost unlimited potential for the development of hydroelectric power and tourism, and it had elaborated legislation for the participation of foreign investors in those and other sectors. Measures aimed at preservation of the environment and ecological balance included development of wildlife parks and nature reserves. Nepal was committed to developing Lumbini -- the birthplace of Buddha -- as a peace monument and a place of pilgrimage. It was also taking steps towards empowerment of women and increasing their participation in national policy.

The country had before it a large nation-building agenda, he continued. Among major difficulties was the problem of 100,000 refugees from Bhutan. Nepal hoped to resolve that problem through bilateral negotiations. To provide for the refugees until repatriation, the country was seeking continued support and understanding of the international community. As Chairman of the South Asian Poverty Alleviation Commission a few years ago, he had come to an inescapable conclusion that poverty eradication required, among other things, sustained political will and commitment of the highest order. However, dwindling flows of ODA and ever-increasing resource constraints of United Nations development agencies made the task of poverty eradication and development ever harder with each passing year. The idea of reallocation of the ODA in favour of the less developed countries deserved attention.

Reform of the United Nations would be neither meaningful, nor complete, unless a ratifiable global consensus could be reached on the functioning and composition of a reformed Security Council, he said. The statement of the Permanent Members’ Foreign Ministers that any attempt to restrict or curtail their veto rights would not be conducive to the reform process, had come as a matter of deep disappointment. No reform measure should curtail the authority of the General Assembly, which was the nearest to a world parliament. It was also disappointing that, for three years in a row, the Conference on Disarmament had not been able to agree on an agenda of work. Some important arms control and disarmament measures had been taken without reference to the Conference on Disarmament.

Last summer's flare-up of hostilities between two of Nepal's close friends had exposed the myth that countries possessing nuclear weapons would not engage in conventional war against each other, he continued. The risk of an accidental nuclear war was magnified by the close proximity of the two countries. He appealed to the Prime Ministers to resume their dialogue begun in Lahore last February. In conclusion, he said that in two months his country would host the next Summit Meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the South Asian region in Kathmandu. The agenda of the meeting would deal with the issues of free trade and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) social charter.

ABUZED OMAR DORDA (Libya) questioned the "boycott" of his country -- since a sanction was a form of punishment for a strictly proven action that had been committed. The Council had not been presented with any proof or evidence that could prove that either Libya or even the two Libyan suspects had actually committed any action which led to the Pan Am 103 crash over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. The sanctions resolutions had been passed merely on the suspicious grounds of two Libyan citizens. That was a form of collective punishment against an entire people for a mere suspicion, uninvestigated, without a trial.

He said the summary of the scenario on the suspicion had been refuted at that time. Malta had conducted an official investigation whose findings demonstrated that no unaccompanied suitcase had been loaded in the flight from Malta to Frankfurt. The Frankfurt authorities had also investigated the matter and reached the conclusion that no unaccompanied suitcase had reached its airport from Malta, nor left it for London. From the very first moment that the accusation had been transmitted by the media, and before the matter was presented to the Council, Libya had asked the other party to provide the judiciary authorities in Libya with the findings they had, so that investigations could be commenced accordingly; or, alternatively, to send an investigator to Libya to participate in the investigation; or, further, to send Libyan judges to review the case file. The other offered option was allowing a neutral party or parties, or the United Nations, to conduct an investigation.

All of those requests had been refused, he said. His country had also requested the application of article 14 of the Montreal Convention of 1971 or resort to the International Court of Justice. In addition, the Non-Aligned Movement had recommended lifting of the sanctions if the other party to the dispute did not agree to the suspension of the sanctions during review by the Council in July 1999.

Also, he said that in June 1998 the OAU had decided that its member States would no longer comply with the sanctions if the other party continued to reject any of the options proposed by the international organizations to resolve the conflict. Faced with two rulings of the International Court of Justice and the steadfast positions of regional and international organizations, the other party had only two options left: either accept trial in a third country or allow the international community to lift the sanctions without reverting to the Council. Such a situation would pose real threats that might undermine that body, and subsequently undermine the grip of that party over it. The other party had therefore had no option but to accept unwillingly and had declared its acceptance of a trial in a third country. On 5 April, the two suspects in the Lockerbie incident had arrived of their own free will in the Netherlands.

Had the other party fulfilled its obligations and shown respect for the resolutions made in the name of the Council? he asked. No. In fact, the other party had prevented the adoption of a resolution by the Council to suspend the sanctions, and had instead unwillingly agreed to a statement by the Security Council President to the Press.

He said that three months after the sanctions had been suspended, the Secretary-General had presented a report to the Council (document S/1999/726) on Libya's compliance with the provisions of Council resolutions 748 (1992) and 883 (1993). After consideration of the report, the Council had been unable to lift the sanctions against his country because of the intransigence of the United States, a country which was party to the dispute. That could only be considered as reneging on previous commitments. Moreover, it was ignoring the Secretary-General's report, whose contents led to only one conclusion -- that Libya had fulfilled all its obligations under Council resolutions. What justification then, if any, did the United States have for using the veto to prevent the Council from adopting a resolution to lift sanctions on Libya. First, that country reiterated the accusations it had made since the fabrication of the Lockerbie case, namely that Libya supported terrorism.

The Secretary-General's report had categorically refuted that claim, he continued. Paragraphs 29 to 34 and other pages ascertained the baseless nature of that accusation. Reports made by the American State Department and statements made by present and ex-officials of United States administrations also all pointed to the fact that such claims could no longer be sustained. On the contrary, Libya was a victim of American terrorism. It was the United States which sheltered, financed, trained and armed terrorists and transported them to his country in 1984 and later on to commit acts of terrorism. Those who give shelter to terrorists wanted by several other countries were not in a position to refer to others with a description which only applied to them. Second, the United States said that Libya had to cooperate with the Scottish Court in the Netherlands. That was meaningless because his country had undertaken to cooperate with the Court, as the Secretary- General's report had shown. Council resolution 1192 (1998) called on all parties to cooperate with the Court. How then could that be used as an excuse to prevent the Council from acting in accordance with its obligations by lifting the sanctions on Libya.

The third reason, he continued, was the demand that Libya pay compensation to the families of the victims. Demanding compensation from his country presupposed that the suspects were guilty, and made a mockery of the principle of international law that the accused was presumed innocent until proven guilty. Such a demand ruled out any possibility for the Scottish Court to find the suspects not guilty, and deprived Libya of the right to $70 million of compensation for the damages and losses which the Libyan people had experienced for over seven years. His country demanded that the Council adopt a resolution immediately that would completely lift the sanctions imposed on it. It also demanded that politicization of the case should not be allowed after it had taken its legal course. The case should be left totally to the Scottish Court without interference from any political entity, including the Council. If the Council continued to be prevented from adopting such a decision, Libya would take all the steps which it deemed necessary to guarantee fairness, including raising a constitutional dilemma between the highest and most judiciary organ -- the International Court of Justice, and the Council and the Assembly.

ABDULKADER BAJAMMAL, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Yemen, calling for continued efforts towards achieving security and stability in the Arabian Peninsula, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean, said his country had accepted unconditionally the arbitral tribunal's decision regarding Yemen's dispute with Eritrea concerning sovereignty over the Red Sea island of Hanish al-Kubra. It was Yemen's hope that a similar dispute between the United Arab Emirates and Iran would be settled peacefully in accordance with the internationally recognized principles and rules.

He said there was an urgent need to review the use of embargoes and sanctions. Experience had demonstrated their ineffectiveness in achieving the purposes for which they were adopted and the tremendous harm they had caused peoples, especially the middle and lower segments of the population and such vulnerable social classes as children, women and the elderly. The situation in Iraq attested to that. The definitive lifting of sanctions against Libya had also become self-evident after the Libyan leadership's compliance with Security Council resolutions concerning the Lockerbie affair. Yemen also called for the lifting of sanctions imposed on the Sudan.

Societies hosting refugees bore heavy burdens and their peoples faced serious environmental and health hazards, he said. Those societies also faced considerable economic and financial hardships, and it was regrettable that the humanitarian work done for refugees by some countries should turn into disaster and real tragedy for those countries. That was the situation of Yemen today as a result of the steadily increasing daily influx of refugees from the Horn of Africa. He added that the time had come for renewed solidarity by the United Nations, the international community and all concerned parties to find practical solutions that would help restore the unity and territorial integrity of Somalia and bring security and stability to the region.

He said that a comprehensive, just and lasting Middle East peace must be based on the restoration to the Palestinian people of all their legitimate rights, primarily their right to establish an independent state on their national territory with Jerusalem/Al Quds as its capital. The Israeli-occupied territories of the Syrian and Lebanese peoples must also be restored. At a time when the Middle East peace process was viewed with renewed optimism, Israel must realize that a just, comprehensive and lasting peace was a genuine goal of the region's peoples as well as an international and humanitarian goal.

GEORGE W.ODLUM, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Saint Lucia, noting the underdevelopment that plagued the African continent, said that disunity among the countries of Africa had much to do with that condition. The OAU had to go further than just making declarations for unity. "Pan-Africanism must not continue to remain stunted at the threshold of the sixties", he said. He also called for more unity of action and purpose among the developing countries. The developing world could not depend only on the goodwill of the countries of the developed world.

He noted that the emergence of Cuba as a vital and creative force in the integration and development of the Caribbean was frustrated by the inability of the United Nations to muster the political will to remove the inhuman sanctions imposed by the United States on the Cuban people. "The totally callous disregard for the cumulative will of this Assembly is the touchstone which characterizes the relationship between the Super-Power Leviathan and the 187 Lilliputian nations that talk and vote in this forum", Mr.Odlum said.

Saint Lucia was concerned about the exclusion of transnational corporations from the rules of engagement the World Trade Organization set for trade. The dispute over the arrangements for the marketing of bananas had been distasteful. People in member countries of the European Union were punished through sanctions by the United States for the support of their governments for the banana marketing regime. A continuation of the tariff rate quota was essential for ensuring that the market continued to generate adequate prices, he stressed.

The developing world could not be swayed by the rhetoric of partnership when the relentless logic of globalization was geared to decimate, to marginalize and to eliminate. If the dogmatism and inflexibility of powerful States threatened the survival of developing countries, then they must band together in a trade union of the poor to seek justice and humanity. "No poison is a necessary drink, and we cannot be expected to drink globalization’s cup of hemlock for the greater glory of the shapers of the new millennium", he said.

MUSTAFA OSMAN ISMAIL, Minister for External Relations of the Sudan, called the United States bombing of Al-shifa Pharmaceutical Factory in Khartoum last year unjustified. He said that the United States had made baseless accusations against the Sudan of involvement in international terrorism. Furthermore, the American Administration had imposed unilateral economic sanctions on the Sudan despite the international community's clear and declared position on such economic coercive measures. He expressed his concern about the inability of the Security Council to take a decision on the Sudan's request to send a mission to investigate the American allegations concerning the factory. Therefore, he called upon the United Nations to ask the United States not to object to the sending of such mission, since it was confident of the information and the causes that led it to bomb the factory.

Recently, he went on, the American Administration had appointed a special envoy for the Sudan with specific objectives. The Sudan had not been a party to the choice of that envoy nor to the determination of his mandate and the terms of reference of his mission, he said. The way in which the United States administration had chosen that envoy was an act of a cultural arrogance, inconsistent with the spirit of the United Nations. He called upon the United Nations and the international community to urge the United States administration to take a positive attitude towards the normalization of relations with the Sudan, and to desist from interference in its internal affairs.

He said that, for humanitarian reasons and to facilitate peace talks, his Government wished to announce its full commitment to the general and comprehensive ceasefire in the Sudan. He hoped that the other party would respond positively so that the Sudan might initiate the practical steps for a disengagement of forces and monitoring of the ceasefire. The Government would allocate part of the revenues from oil for humanitarian and development needs in the South. It would also allocate part of this year's grain harvest to be distributed by the United Nations agencies to the needy population in the South.

He said the conflicts in Africa had brought untold sufferings and difficulties for the peoples of the continent. Foremost among those was the problem of refugees, whose numbers exceeded 8 million living in extremely difficult circumstances. He called upon the international community and relevant organizations to continue to provide support for the States affected by the problems of refugees and displaced persons in order to make possible the prompt and effective implementation of the Khartoum Declaration of last December.

NIZAR OBAID MADANI, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, said that the Organization's ability to resolve global problems and fulfil its regular responsibilities relied on the political will of Member States to implement the principles of its Charter. The Security Council remained at the centre of reform efforts. Any restructuring of the Council must endeavour to improve its capability to effectively perform its role in accordance with the Charter; to make it more active in implementing its own resolutions in dealing with international crises; and to meet the will of the General Assembly to achieve the required harmony and desired objectives.

Turning to the situation in the Middle East, he said that the Treaty of Sharm El-Sheikh could be a good step if followed by similar steps to move the process towards the implementation of principles established at the Madrid Conference, principally the land for peace formula. On the Palestinian track, withdrawal from the Occupied Territories and the restoration of all legitimate national rights of the Palestinians were required, including the right to establish an independent State with Al-Quds as its capital. Israel should refrain from undertaking any unilateral measures to prejudice the status of that sacred city. It was imperative to address the issue of the return of Palestenian refugees and release of prisoners, as well as the issues of settlements and water resources.

Regarding Syria, negotiations should resume from the point at which they had been frozen by the decision of the previous Israeli Government, he continued. The Lebanese track was subject to Security Council resolution 425 (1978), which called for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Israeli forces from Western Bekaa and southern Lebanon. In spite of all Arab and international initiatives and proposals aimed at lifting economic sanctions against Iraq, the Government of that country had not responded in a manner that would help to move matters in the right direction. The Iraqi Government was encouraged by the fact that the Security Council itself was unable to take actions due to the inability of the permanent members to agree on a common vision. Iraq should be required to fully implement all international resolutions and to cooperate seriously with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for the release of all prisoners and detainees and restoration of Kuwaiti properties. It should also refrain from all provocative and aggressive acts against Kuwait and other neighbouring countries.

Encouraging signs had been witnessed in relations between Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council member States, he said, but some outstanding issues still needed to be resolved, particularly regarding the three United Arab Emirates islands -- Greater Tumb, Lesser Tumb and Abu Musa. The Gulf Cooperation Council Foreign Ministers had decided to refer the matter to a tripartite committee entrusted with creating a climate conducive to direct negotiations between the parties.

The current situation in Afghanistan had been exploited by some to turn that country into a terrorist haven and training base, he said. Saudi Arabia supported efforts of the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to restore peace and security in that country. He also supported the initiative aimed at turning the Arabian Gulf region into a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction, whether nuclear, chemical or biological. Israel's continued refusal to join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was a source of concern. Violence and terrorism were universal phenomena, rather than the characteristic of a certain people, race or religion. Precisely because of the universality of terrorism, the only way to combat it was to undertake international action within the framework of the United Nations.

SAMA S. BANYA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Sierra Leone, said that the peace was generally holding since the signing of the Lomé Agreement, although there had been a few setbacks. The war had gone on for a long time and the rebels were used to obtaining all their needs by the use of force. Since the Agreement, they had simply been waiting for the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Programme to commence. The delay in implementing that could be a factor in the restlessness observed in some elements from time to time. It was a dangerous void. Unfortunately, the anxiety and enthusiasm of his people had yet to be matched by those of the international community. The speed and the extent of interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo, and more recently in East Timor, clearly demonstrated the capacity of the international community to stop human suffering when it was willing to do so. The people of Sierra Leone had been baffled at the delay in implementing the Sierra Leone Programme. For the average Sierra Leonean, the peace agreement had been a bitter pill to swallow, but essential to end the atrocities.

The problems facing Sierra Leone, and many developing countries, at the dawn of a new millenium were multiple, he said. Not least among them was finding a consistent set of policies and institutions that would enable sustainable economic growth. Coupled with that was that newly elected democratic governments like his were facing a paradox -- how to sustain democracy in an environment where hard economic decisions were needed. In an increasingly shrinking world, the problems of developing countries, and indeed Sierra Leone, ought to be seen as global problems. The impact of those problems was felt by all in the form of environmental devastations, global warming, economic migrations and conflict, both local and regional. The problems affected the developed world in the form of increased immigration, greater welfare bills, slower economic growth, increased defence budgets due to greater instability in the third world and in the increased need for conflict resolution and prevention.

The continuing decline in the levels of ODA had not helped the African situation, he continued. Globalization could not be effected as a "one-way street", where all the vehicles travel North, leaving only exhaust fumes in the South. A level playing field was required and that could not be achieved with Africa’s heavy debt burden. Sierra Leone welcomed the 1999 Cologne Debt Initiative, which enhanced the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) framework for debt relief. Further efforts were needed for greater focus on the priority objective of poverty reduction. At the same time, he hoped that agreement would soon be reached to shorten the period during which countries could qualify to be part of the HIPC framework.

He said that the proliferation of trade in light weapons, financed by cash from the sale of precious minerals like diamonds and gold, was at the core of Africa’s conflicts and their prolongation. He called on the international community to support the recent Security Council decision so as to effectively prevent the availability and flow of arms to conflict areas. The decision should not be left to the merchants of death whose only interest was money.

Right of Reply

KATHERINE SMITH (United Kingdom) replied to remarks made this morning by the Deputy Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Mauritius about the Chagos Archipelago. The British Government maintained that the British Indian Ocean Territory, of which the Chagos Archipelago was part, was British and had been since 1814. It did not recognize the sovereignty claim of the Mauritius Government. However, the British Government had recognized the Government of Mauritius as the only State which had the right to assert a claim of sovereignty when the United Kingdom relinquished its own sovereignty.

Successive British governments had given undertakings to the Government of Mauritius that the Territory would be ceded when no longer required for defence purposes. The British Government remained open to discussions regarding arrangements governing the British Indian Ocean Territory or the future of the Territory. The British Governments had stated that when the time came for the Territory to be ceded it would liaise closely with the Government of Mauritius. The question of access to the British Indian Ocean Territory was before the courts in the United Kingdom. The Government of the United Kingdom had the matter under careful consideration, and could not comment further.

CHOE MYONG NAM (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that the statement by the South Korean Foreign Minister about a "sunshine policy" had been made with a view to misleading the international community. That statement was full of fabrications and distortion, aimed at confrontation with the North. He wanted to make clear the essence of the "sunshine policy". The trend for reconciliation and rapprochement was yet to prevail on the Korean Peninsula due mainly to the United States’ strategic intention and the consistent reliance of South Korean authorities on outside forces. Against that backdrop, the north-south relations were now at their worst.

The South Korean authorities were now pursuing the unprecedentedly tricky policy of antagonizing the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, he said. They were claiming engagement and generosity, as though the "sunshine policy" were intended for the improvement of north-south relations. However, that policy was anti-reunification and anti-Democratic People's Republic of Korea. It was a confrontational policy, aimed at changing the ideas and the social system existing in the north. The current chief executive of South Korea had openly acknowledged that the essence of the "sunshine policy" was based on the same principle as the one utilized by the United States when the former Soviet Union was disintegrating The South Korean authorities were also engaged in the plot and military alliance with such countries as the United States and Japan almost every day under the pretext of a "sunshine policy". Any attempt on their part to do away with the ideas and social system in the north would inevitably lead to the conflict and war.

South Korean authorities were now talking about reconciliation, while implementing the "sunshine policy", but it was, in essence, a preposterous hypocrisy and deceit. It was a mockery of the international community. The draconian "National Security Law" defining the north as a permanent enemy to be exterminated and criminalizing minor contacts, praise, sympathy and even exchange of letters with the north was still in place. Under those circumstances, was it possible to realize reconciliation and cooperation? he asked.

South Korea was now saying that the north had benefited from the "sunshine policy" in the economic field, but that was also a lie. South Korea had mobilized mass media for the purpose of advertizing the "economic and humanitarian assistance" to the north, but it was playing dirty games behind the scenes. They were pretending to show their sympathy for the humanitarian situation in the north, but in fact they were slandering the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and obstructing humanitarian assistance one way or another. Recently, his country had experienced economic difficulties due to natural disasters and the collapse of the socialist market. Nevertheless, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea would build a strong and rich economy despite the current economic difficulties.

The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization had been described as a gift made out of generosity, but in fact the construction of a lightwater reactor power plant was an essential obligation that the United States had assumed under the Agreed Framework Agreement of 1994. South Korea, Japan and other countries had become members of that organization at the request of the United States. The power plant had just been inaugurated, but there was suspicion as to its completion by the year 2003, as envisaged in the Agreed Framework. There had also been recent reports that the construction of the reactor was only a lip-service based on the prediction that his country would soon collapse. That made the prospect of its construction even more suspicious.

As for tourism, which his country had allowed as an expression of genuine love for those compatriots who wanted to visit Mt. Kumgansan, he said that South Korea was inserting some indecent people into the tourist groups in order to create artificial obstacles to the development of tourism and to damage the prestige of his country. As for his country’s implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement, South Korea had no right to intervene. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea- United States Framework clearly provided for all the obligations of both his country and the United States. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea was now faithfully fulfilling its obligation. The responsibility for failure to denuclearize the peninsula lay with the United States, which was still maintaining the nuclear umbrella for South Korea.

The "sunshine policy" could be clearly seen as an anti-Democratic People's Republic of Korea and anti-reunification policy camouflaged as a unification and cooperation policy. If the South Korean authorities were truly interested in peace and reunification of the Korean peninsula, they should abandon the "sunshine policy"

and the policy of relying on foreign forces, take the position of national independence to demand the withdrawal of United States troops from South Korea, abolish the "National Security Law" and respond to the proposal for confederate reunification on the basis of the three principles of independence, peaceful reunification and great national unity.

DORE GOLD (Israel) said that the representative of Syria had asserted that the commitment by the parties during negotiations constituted internationally binding obligations. That statement did not accurately reflect the facts, and clarification by Israel was required. Israel had not made any commitment to withdraw to the line of 1967. The only basis for future action were the relevant Security Council resolutions. As stated at Madrid, the withdrawal should be implemented to secure and recognized boundaries, but not to the lines of June 1967.

MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria) said that the allegations contained in the statement by the representative of Israel required a precise response. Efforts were under way to resume peace negotiations, and due to the lateness of the hour, his delegation reserved the right to reply at the end of tomorrow's meeting.