23 October 1995

Press Release


19951023 Beginning the second day of its three-day series of commemorative meetings marking the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations, the General Assembly was urged by world leaders to stress the promotion of international cooperation to meet universal human needs that transcended national boundaries. In a new international climate focusing on the needs of people rather than nations, the United Nations must continue to address such problems as environment, development, human rights and population.

Speakers, this morning, also underscored the importance of taking into account the needs of small States, to continue United Nations efforts to promote peace and stability in Africa, and to support the continent's economic and social development.

Statements were made this morning by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda; President Ketumile Masire of Botswana; President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire; President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela of South Africa; President Jacques Chirac of France; President Thomas Klestil of Austria; President Constantinos Stephanopoulos of Greece; President Mircea Ion Snegur of Moldova; President Ion Iliescu of Romania; and Captain Valentine E.M. Strasser, Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council of Sierra Leone.

Statements were also made by President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil; President Le Duc Anh of Viet Nam; President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea; Vice-President General Maung Aye of Myanmar, Prime Minister John Major of the United Kingdom; Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba of Nepal; Prime Minister Hubert A. Ingraham of the Bahamas; Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia of Bangladesh; and the Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister of Germany, Klaus Kinkel.

Also addressing the Assembly were the Minister of State for Coordination of Government Action of Benin, Desire Vieyra; the Foreign Minister of Malaysia, Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi; the Foreign Minister of Egypt, Amre Moussa; and the Foreign Minister of Nicaragua, Ernesto Leal.

The special commemorative meeting will resume at 3 p.m. today.

Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly meets this morning to continue its special meeting in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations.


YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI, President of Uganda: Does Africa matter? Of course Africa matters. It will develop, whether Europe forgets it or not. But it is crucial to make sure that the internal factors responsible for lack of growth be addressed so Africa may develop, even without aid from the West. Aid is an obligation, to compensate for the plunder of Africa in the past. However, the largest problem in many countries is the lack of a skilled middle class. In Uganda, 92 per cent of the people are peasants.

The medicine for this structural distortion lies in democratic governance: a liberal economic policy framework that gives maximum freedom to the entrepreneurs; universal education; infrastructure (especially roads, power, water and health units); and regional integration of markets, to stimulate our economies.

Many of the tragedies in Africa are a confluence of foreign meddling and local opportunism. I commend the United Nations for keeping the peace, despite the shortage of resources. In future peace-keeping efforts, it is best to support the forces of democracy and legitimacy.

KETUMILE MASIRE, President of Botswana: The presence of so many world leaders in New York bears testimony to the success of the United Nations during its half century of existence. When the Organization was born, only four African countries were independent; the rest of the continent was still under colonial domination. Today, there are 53 African States among the United Nations 185 members.

Small States have found in the United Nations a vital forum for collective bargaining. The Organization has helped advance international cooperation in solving economic, social, cultural and other humanitarian problems and has been a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. In that effort, there is a need for a more balanced, but effective and efficient Security Council.

Recently, the international community, through the United Nations, has scored major successes in peace-keeping and peacemaking in Africa. In Botswana's subregion, Mozambique has been rescued from a monstrous war, South Africa has been delivered from apartheid, Namibia is independent, and the peace process in Angola has entered a promising phase. In West Africa,

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Liberia is slowly moving back to peace. However, genocide was visited last year on Rwanda, Somalia is still bleeding, and Sierra Leone is being consumed by a bitter civil war.

While it is obvious that Africa needs to strengthen its capacity to predict, prevent and contain conflict situations, the United Nations has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. The Organization of African Unity (OAU) stands ready to play its part in that effort, under the terms envisaged by the United Nations Charter.

MOBUTU SESE SEKO, President of Zaire: For the African States, the United Nations is above all a symbol of rediscovered dignity and liberty. The United Nations flag represents the universal emblem of decolonization.

To restore peace and stability in Africa, the United Nations should endorse the option chosen in 1963 by the founding fathers of the Organization of African Unity: the inviolability of the frontiers inherited from colonialism. This implies the preservation of multi-ethnic States, within which the rights of minorities are guaranteed.

The Security Council must be reformed; the current geopolitical situation no longer justifies leaving on the sidelines Africa and certain major Powers. The United Nations should pay attention to a dangerous phenomenon: the right of intervention. There should also be a global conference on refugees.

NELSON ROLIHLAHLA MANDELA, President of South Africa: The challenge facing statespersons today is "to dare to think that what we are about is people -- the proverbial man and woman in the street. These -- the poor, the hungry, the victims of petty tyrants, the objectives of policy -- demand change." The challenge is also to ensure that none should enjoy lesser rights and none should be tormented because they are born different, hold contrary political views, or pray to God in a different manner. No one, in the North or the South, can escape the cold fact that we are a single humanity.

At the end of the cold war, the poor had hoped that all humanity would earn a peace dividend. "They challenge us today to ensure their security not only in peace, but also in prosperity." The changed world situation cannot allow the continued uneven distribution of resources or of decision-making power within the United Nations itself.

The United Nations has to reassess its role, redefine its profile and reshape its structures. It should reflect diversity and ensure equality among nations, particularly within the Security Council. The agenda and programme of action for the next century can be true to the purposes of the Organization only if they are set by all.

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"We must, without delay, constitute a new leadership for the new age, and bring sunshine into the hearts of billions, including women, the disabled and children." That leadership must ensure that words and deeds converge, in order to facilitate the birth of a new world order of peace, democracy and prosperity for all.

JACQUES CHIRAC, President of France: So that no one doubts France's determination to ensure the success of the negotiations on the definitive, complete and verifiable ban on nuclear tests in 1996, it was the first to speak in favour of the zero option. "I today confirm the decision of France to sign, as soon as it finishes its last series of tests this spring, the protocols of the Treaty of Rarotonga establishing a denuclearized zone in the South Pacific."

"Let's help the United Nations adapt to the new world and to effectively play its role in it." Member States should make the Security Council more representative by making Germany, Japan and several large Southern States permanent members. The United Nations should learn from its successes and failures by developing preventative diplomacy at the regional level and also a rapid-reaction capacity for humanitarian and military action.

Member States should dedicate to the least-developed countries, especially those in Africa, an increasing share of bilateral and multilateral aid. The United Nations should do better in confronting the most-serious problems of population movements, environmental degradation, major endemic diseases and drugs.

"We must today concentrate our efforts on the adaptation of our Organization, on its renovation. And first, we must give it the resources to function. . . . It is not acceptable that many countries, and notably the first among them, in allowing their arrears to accumulate, lead the Organization toward bankruptcy."

THOMAS KLESTIL, President of Austria: More people than ever before are convinced that the United Nations is indispensable for mankind's survival. Since its founding, the Organization has been torn between idealism and power politics, between solidarity and egoism. It has always mirrored the state of the world, while remaining much more than the sum total of national interests.

The most fateful contradiction in what was to be a community of nations appears in the Charter's opening words: "We, the peoples". There was now a growing sense of the need to transcend the confines of the nation State. "The experience of the first half century of our Organization has shown time and again that people are ahead of their governments." Today's burning problems -- environment, development, human rights and population -- make it necessary to overcome traditional methods of international cooperation and crisis management. The time has come for a new beginning.

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As the only instrument for global action, the United Nations has to accomplish a swift transition. Primarily, it must be open to new realities, new social and cultural aspirations, and to a dramatic change in paradigms. "The profound transformations of our time, the rapidly growing importance and power of non-State actors ,such as the media, religious groups or business communities, and the growing role of civil society, demand a new dimension of international cooperation." As the creation of the United Nations was an act of faith, so must be its renewal.

Today's faith is based not only on shared values, but on a half century of remarkable achievements, as well as on numerous shortcomings. It is necessary to learn from the tragedies that have occurred and continue to occur in many parts of the world. No country or individual can be allowed to hide behind a wall of sovereignty when human rights are violated, and no offense against humanity must remain unpunished. "The more we are ready to pool our sovereignty" -- as in the European Union -- "the better we achieve these goals." To be lasting, growing unity requires the eradication of misery, poverty and social injustice, and equal opportunities for all.

Reform requires political will, a universal and competitive United Nations system, and the necessary financial means. All Member States must shoulder their obligation to contribute to the expenses of the Organization. "The money we devote to peace-keeping, preventive diplomacy, resettlement of refugees and the monitoring of human rights helps to prevent future catastrophes whose cost would be far greater."

CONSTANTINOS STEPHANOPOULOS, President of Greece: Concerning regional conflicts, it could be said that the United Nations has lacked conviction in its application of the just decisions it has made. Cyprus is a striking example of the inability of the Organization to firmly and decisively condemn an act of military aggression. The Security Council's and the General Assembly's initial resolutions have not been applied, and thus there is being tolerated a military occupation that has lasted more than 20 years.

"One must firmly and absolutely condemn not only the use of force but also the threat of its use, which constitutes a flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter." This regards one Member State threatening to make war on Greece if it were to apply certain provisions of the Convention on the Law of the Sea. What was completely surprising and inadmissible here was that this threat was not designed to stop an illegal act, but to prevent a perfectly legitimate one.

Through its commitment to human rights, the United Nations has led those rights to be recognized and respected in countries where they had previously been flagrantly violated. Reinforcing the effectiveness of the United Nations would be to the benefit of all members of the international community, who

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would thereby act under a system in which international law was fully respected, and in which might did not make right.

MIRCEA SNEGUR, President of Moldova: The United Nations has achieved remarkable results since its founding. Its 185 Member States have a new historical opportunity today to fulfil the aspirations of its founders. During the last few years its remarkable achievements included a peaceful environment introduced in Cambodia, Namibia, El Salvador and Mozambique, and the indefinite extension of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The Republic of Moldova supports reform of the Security Council and an increase of its membership. It also supports revitalization of the work of the Organization in the economic and social fields.

It is also necessary to consolidate international law and to establish a new international legal order. The need for a new legal framework for the post-cold war period is becoming more and more evident. It should be useful to deepen some existing concepts of international law such as in the areas of sovereignty and statehood. The international law of the twenty-first century will become the language of international relations. It will also contribute to overcoming explosive situations around minority problems, which are sometimes created artificially and inspired from abroad.

ION ILIESCU, President of Romania: Millions of people asked themselves central questions every day. Do we live in a world of peace, or does war hang over us? Do we live in prosperity, or does the abyss of poverty threaten us? Were we all contemporaries entering into the next century, or would humankind splinter into different factions? No one had answered those questions. That was why the international community should continually recall the principles of the founding fathers of the United Nations -- men and women dedicated to an Organization with universal values.

Universal prosperity and universal moral and legal values have been the goals of the Organization, which embraced humanity in all its diversity. The Organization's universal legal order, even if administered by a privileged club of permanent Security Council members, embodies reason and the hope that the world will never again fall victim to the demons of despair. Fifty years on, the same challenges linger. It is worth recalling how much the Organization still means for emerging States.

On the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations, the Organization's most important duty is to bring to fruition a new beginning. Released from the fetters of bipolarity and the cold war, the international community has regained its freedom of movement. History is not ending; it is beginning again.

The resurgence of violence based upon sectarian thinking and the destruction of the environment still threatens the world. Clearly, the United

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Nations has a full agenda for the next century. The Member States should re- examine its structures bearing that in mind. Next year, the General Assembly should meet in special session to consider those challenges as it enters the next millennium.

CAPTAIN VALENTINE E.M. STRASSER, Chairman of the National Provisional Ruling Council of Sierra Leone: The United Nations now embraces almost every State and has influenced many changes in the world. Giant nations are no longer confronting each other, and the threat of nuclear annihilation has receded. Considerable success has been achieved in the field of decolonization, but the task remains unfinished. Further determination is required to enable the remaining non-self-governing territories to win their freedom.

In spite of the Organization's remarkable achievements, "the ripples are yet to make significant impact on poorer, small nations". The wealthier North enjoys stability, democracy and economic prosperity, while the underdeveloped poor wallow in debt, famine, instability, disease and death. Developing countries continue to face a plethora of problems which are compounded by a decrease in overseas development cooperation. These imbalances are creating new tensions and divisions in Africa -- from Kigali to Monrovia. It is a continent beleaguered by armed conflicts and coup d'etats, which topple democratic governments. Those developments are also the result of acute poverty in the continent.

Today, armed guerrillas are a threat to democracy in Sierra Leone and may disrupt elections scheduled for the first half of next year. My Government welcomes the appointment of the Secretary-General's special envoy to Sierra Leone to assist in the peace process. The conflict has had an adverse effect on the country: 500,000 people are displaced and over 200,000 have fled their homeland; disease and hunger kill many daily in refugee camps; and others are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. The dislocation of rural communities has left the entire electoral process with technical complexities, which will make elections more expensive. The guerilla campaign is destructive to an International Monetary Fund/World Bank adjusted economy. If that situation continues, a shortage of substantial donor funding will be detrimental to democracy in Sierra Leone. Guerillas must be isolated; they remain a threat to Africa's democratization and must be urged to disarm and make peace.

FERNANDO HENRIQUE CARDOSO, President of Brazil: The United Nations has witnessed both success and failure, but through it all hope has been preserved. Now is the time to renew the Organization. The international agenda today is free from the tensions of ideological confrontation, and is characterized by a growing convergence of values with democracy, economic freedom and social justice at centre stage.

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The extraordinary progress of science and technology must be disseminated to the benefit of all peoples. The United Nations will always play an irreplaceable role in international peace and security. All countries should contribute to make sure that the Organization has the means to carry out the tasks entrusted to it. It is inadmissible that the United Nations is undergoing its most serious financial crisis precisely when the leaders of the world are gathered to reaffirm their commitment to its Charter. The international community is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary with an underlying feeling of ambiguity as the Organization has to resort to expediency in order to cover its huge deficits. Brazil is committed to fighting for a stronger, more active United Nations.

LE DUC ANH, President of Viet Nam: The purposes and principles of the United Nations constitute the common values of all mankind. Today, when international exchanges are taking place with an ever-growing intensity, adherence to such fundamentals is all the more important. Paradoxically, just when mankind has acquired the technology to reduce the distance between Earth and other celestial bodies, the gap between the rich and the poor has widened. As a nation that experienced the famine of 1945 and several decades of war and embargo, Viet Nam empathizes with the sufferings and losses of other peoples. It joins the call for the international community to strive for the enjoyment by all of their fundamental rights to peace, equality and development.

The United Nations achievement in the fields of maintenance of international peace and security, assistance in decolonization, promotion of friendly relations and development cooperation among nations, and the promotion of environmental, cultural, educational and humanitarian activities is remarkable. To successfully discharge its mission, the United Nations itself should be revitalized. The General Assembly must be the highest authority of the United Nations, responsible for all questions related to international peace and security, cooperation for development and other global issues. United Nations-affiliated agencies also need renovating and should be made to operate more effectively with greater dynamism and transparency, within the framework of the Charter and General Assembly resolutions.

Viet Nam is also celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam. Over the last fifty years, the Vietnamese people have brought to bear their tradition of unity, self-reliance and resilience, enduring untold sufferings and overcoming countless hardships and sacrifices to defend their independence and gradually build a life of well-being.

OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO, President of Equatorial Guinea: The creation of the United Nations 50 years ago was an act of conscience and an attempt to reform on the part of nations which had renounced the idea that might makes right in order to build a new world based on friendship, understanding, liberty, justice tolerance, cooperation and love. The United Nations is the

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reflection of human integrity. It has been inspired by the humanitarian spirit and the dignity of man, and by the goals of prosperity, security, justice and peace among nations.

The question to be asked is what man had done to his own work. What have States done with respect to their post-war commitments? What is the attitude of man toward implementing the spirit of the United Nations? Mankind must look itself in the mirror to answer those questions.

The success or failure of the United Nations is entirely the responsibility of its Member States. All States should ask themselves the following questions. Can we guarantee that we have ended wars between nations? Can we affirm that we have done away with colonialism? Have we been able to ensure the freedom of man and the respect of his rights? Do we respect the independence, sovereignty and equality of all nations?

Globally speaking, the answer has to be in the negative since so many people still live in poverty. Class and racial discrimination prevail and drugs and alcohol still degrade mankind. There are unequal relations among States, economic blockades, an inability to impose reforms on an unjust economic order and interference in the internal affairs of States. The voices of the third world can barely be heard. Human rights and democracy must result from natural evolution. They should not be used to legalize interference in the internal policies of States.

GENERAL MAUNG AYE, Vice-President of Myanmar: There is an urgent need to strengthen the United Nations to meet evolving challenges and problems. Although the international community has changed considerably in the past fifty years, the Charter continues to be valid. Any attempt to weaken the time-honoured and universally accepted principles of sovereignty, of non- interference in the internal affairs of States, and of self-determination would be cause for serious concern. The Organization must not be allowed to be used by a few to impose their agenda on the international community.

The security of each Member State is important. It is synonymous with the basic right to freely choose one's own political, economic and social systems, and to determine one's future at one's own pace in accordance with cherished values and ideals.

The gap and rising inequities between the developed and developing countries is now greater than ever before. Member States have recognized the right to development as a fundamental human right. Without development there will be no prospects for lasting peace.

The United Nations needs strong support and understanding if it is to weather the political and economic storms that batter and erode its foundations. There is no better alternative. In an increasingly

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interdependent world, the Organization is the only forum for increased multilateral cooperation. Member States must reaffirm their commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter and the theme and spirit of the fiftieth anniversary.

JOHN MAJOR, Prime Minister, United Kingdom: The United Kingdom is the largest contributor of peace-keeping troops, with "blue berets" serving from Angola to Georgia. Over 8,000 British forces are serving in Bosnia alone. The United Nations has grappled with aggression, helped make and keep the peace, and has worked for arms control. Only days ago, the United Kingdom, France and United States agreed to sign the protocols of the Treaty of Raratonga. An end to nuclear testing was in sight as the United Nations moved toward a comprehensive test-ban treaty in 1996.

The United Nations needs to look ahead to confront challenges to peace and deal more effectively with the roots of crises. It needs to encourage democratic and accountable government, reduce poverty and protect the environment, and tackle the evils of international crime, drug-trafficking and terrorism. That is a demanding agenda which demands a properly financed and efficient United Nations.

To succeed in that effort, the United Nations must change. Future threats will come more from inertia than from change. The United Nations is spread too wide; there is too much waste and duplication between its different bodies; its priorities for the 1990s are not right. As the Organization forms new bodies for new problems, unneeded agencies should be scrapped. The Organization should improve planning, manning and financing of peace-keeping and its machinery for pre-empting conflicts should be improved.

The Security Council should be enlarged. That raises difficult questions, but the issues are clear. The United Nations should be better managed, with funding directed to the most efficient programmes. Clearly, too much time and energy is spent on verbal battles brilliantly interpreted into six languages and printed on the world's highest paper mountain. The United Nations is in financial crisis. Member States should not enjoy representation without taxation; contributions should be paid promptly and in full, with arrears cleared. That action should be accompanied by a new focus on efficiency, and by modernizing assessments to reflect the changing capacity of countries to pay. The General Assembly should hold a special session next year to address those issues.

SHER BAHADUR DEUBA, Prime Minister of Nepal: For a country which is the birthplace of Buddha, the ideals of peace, justice and progress, together with the concept of tolerance, understanding and equality are values which are rooted deep in Nepal's national psyche and culture. The seminal ideas which have guided the United Nations in its first half century should also prepare it for the second half.

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While the Organization can list many great achievements, much more needs to be done. Its mechanisms need to be reinforced to cope with demanding times, mechanisms which relate to expansion of the Security Council, a more efficient management of the Secretariat and greater democratization through the expansion of the authority of the General Assembly. The activities of the Organization and its programmes, funds, specialized agencies and other international development institutions must be better coordinated. Movements focusing on social, gender, population, environment and human rights issues have become a strong international force, which is justified in expecting more from the global institution.

Ever since it became a Member State, Nepal has participated in the peace-keeping and peace-building efforts of the Organization. It would continue to do so as it looked forward to participating in the new initiative for a stand-by force designed to enable the United Nations to respond to any call for assistance. There is no substitute for a robust United Nations, that is responsive to the needs of global security and to the progress of its individual Member nations. It would be unfortunate if things were left in their present state, especially when the developing countries with their weak economic bases have to cater to the dictates of market mechanisms alone. It is not enough for governments to pay lip service to the principles of political freedom and justice; they have to uplift the people in dire economic conditions and provide them with political stability.

HUBERT A. INGRAHAM, Prime Minister of the Bahamas: The Bahamas is an integral, contributing and well-served Member of the United Nations. It wishes that all states enjoyed, as it had been privileged to do, a strong commitment to parliamentary democracy and freedom from strife, tyranny and genocide. It further wishes for all Members States, freedom from the social ills of abject poverty, disease and unemployment, which feed distress.

Today the world is threatened more by regional conflict than by global confrontation. Frequently the threats come from religious and racial intolerance, ethnic hatred, international criminal cartels, natural disasters and development gone awry. The Organization must face the threat of a new great war in which all are engaged, and that war is the defence of the environment. This is of particular concern to small island developing States such as the Bahamas, a fragile, service-based, archipelagic ecosystem of global environmental significance.

Today, increasing numbers of people are being displaced by famine, natural disasters and economic hardship, straining the resources of receiving States, such as the Bahamas. The United Nations should revisit the mandate of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) with a view to providing assistance to those affected by the agents of displacement and misery. The Bahamas reiterates its commitment to the further strengthening of the Organization and hopes for a better world that is free from the scourge of

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illicit drug traffic, relieved of the burdens of uncontrolled migration, protected by greater environmental consciousness and enhanced through increased literacy and health standards everywhere. It also hopes that the Organization will be strengthened by its Member States who honour their financial obligations.

BEGUM KHALEDA ZIA, Prime Minister of Bangladesh: Bangladesh supports the reforms and restructuring of the main organs of the United Nations. It is ironic that when so many world leaders are here to pledge their commitment to the Charter, crucial decisions on mankind's destiny are made by a handful of countries. Since strengthening the rule of law is critical to preserving the security of smaller and weaker States, an enhanced role for the International Court of Justice assumes greater relevance. Measures for compulsory jurisdiction or arbitration through the Court or third party mediation are important.

As world leaders are assembled today, more than 40 million people of Bangladesh are facing poverty and destruction due to the deprivation of the country's share of the Ganges waters because of India's unilateral withdrawal at Farakka. While the withdrawal of water in the dry season causes drought, its release in excessive amounts in the rainy season creates severe floods in vast parts of Bangladesh. "The Farakka Barrage has become an issue of life and death for us. . . . As the whole world voices concern for the protection of the environment and human rights, at that very moment a big part of Bangladesh's population is being pushed to the threshold of poverty and destruction."

Despite the drawbacks of the Organization, mankind has not been able to evolve a more effective forum than the United Nations. It should be strengthened, restructured and democratized to meet the challenges of the next millenium.

KLAUS KINKEL, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany: History does not always follow the straight path of reason, but it does give us opportunities for progress which sometimes border on the miraculous. One such unique gift was the removal of the wall and the barbed wire in Berlin, in Germany and, throughout Europe. The ending of the East-West conflict freed the world from the fear of a nuclear inferno. It gave all nations new opportunities for self-determination, peaceful cooperation and a sustainable global economic development. However, many of those opportunities remained unfulfilled because the gap between the North and the South, and the rich and the poor, has not been bridged.

The challenge today is to keep the Earth habitable. "Never was it so abundantly clear that the only choice open to mankind is to succeed together or fail together." For the world, the United Nations is without alternative.

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To overcome its financial and structural crisis, the United Nations needs the support of nations and not their criticism.

Conflicts should be resolved peacefully, weapons should be destroyed, children immunized against diseases and the Earth protected from pollution. Nations should pay their contributions to the United Nations. Since the Second World War, Germany has pursued the cause of peace and human rights. The United Nations can continue to count on Germany.

DESIRE VIEYRA, Minister of State for Coordination of Government Action of Benin: Democracy and political pluralism have prevailed since 1990 in Benin, a country that attaches great importance to the anniversary of the United Nations. The Organization must commit itself to fighting poverty. The World Summit for Social Development emphasized the need to make the social sphere the foundation of economies and the proclamation of 1996 as the international year for the elimination of poverty is welcome. Benin is doing its best to fight poverty and provide health, education and other benefits to its people.

The United Nations should continue efforts to maintain peace, but it should be given the necessary resources. The Organization's role in mobilizing assistance for the well-being of mankind should be emphasized and the United Nations should help with the development of countries, in particular those of Africa. That continent was being undermined and ruined by diverse ills. The Organization of African Unity (OAU) adopted a resolution in Abuja, Nigeria, to create an African Economic Community to help countries integrate their fragile economies. The United Nations can help them better implement that resolution. A sort of Marshall Plan should be undertaken by the international community to fulfil its commitment to Africa and to help implement an Agenda for Development. The Charter of the United Nations is still timely and should be used to realize the aspirations of all people of the world.

ABDULLAH AHMAD BADAWI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia: Restoring confidence in the United Nations and rebuilding its image must be priority tasks. The United Nations, besides combating genocide and aggression, must continue humanity's struggle against nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. "We must reject in no uncertain terms nuclear testing." In pursuing development and the eradication of poverty, the United Nations must not become the instrument to discipline developing countries while allowing for global domination by a few powerful States.

A comprehensive agenda for reform is needed to forge a new framework for multilateralism in the twenty-first century. This agenda should encompass the principal organs of the United Nations as well as the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization. It must also acknowledge the important role played by science and technology, the business sector and non- governmental organizations. Given developments along the information superhighway, the United Nations must be at the forefront of cooperation in cyberspace to ensure the full involvement of the international community.

The idea of convening a special session of the General Assembly to address the financial situation of the Organization is welcome, but in the meantime it is essential that all countries pay their dues in full and on

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time. Institutional changes required by the Organization include democratizing the Security Council, through the expansion of its membership and the review of the veto with a view to its elimination; strengthening the role of the General Assembly, including enabling it to provide policy guidance to the Security Council; disbanding the Trusteeship Council; restoring the Bretton Woods institutions to their original mandates; and revitalizing the International Court of Justice.

AMRE MOUSSA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt: Much has been achieved in the past 50 years. Within the framework of the United Nations, decolonization has been brought about and apartheid ended. New theories of economic and social development have been promoted and specialized work in agriculture, industry, science, health and the environment carried out. Despite those successes, hegemony, policies of aggression, racial discrimination and religious intolerance beset the world. The widening gap between the North and the South portends a division of the world between the rich and the poor. That would entail migrations, discrimination, terrorism, social ills and many other political effects. The world still suffers from the existence of nuclear weapons and the continuation of nuclear practices on the one hand, as well as the lack of resolve when dealing with human rights, on the other. It is in these two areas that serious double standards in the present and emerging world orders appear.

As the world gets closer to the twenty-first century, humanity is poised on a powder keg that is about to explode. Therefore, the international community should build the credibility of the international order in a manner that will instill confidence among peoples everywhere and encourage respect for the principles of the international order. "When we talk about peace, let us truly mean it; when we talk about development, let us put it into effect; when we talk about human rights, let us refrain from resorting to double standards; and when we talk about disarmament, let us include all under the present binding international regimes, without exception."

ERNESTO LEAL, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua: "Anniversaries can be nothing more than commemorative dates unless we undertake concrete actions that measure up to our aspirations." This forum should be the beginning of the consolidation of peace. A new era of peace demands the development of a United Nations plan of action with the full participation of the Secretary-General, oriented to resolving long-standing or persistent conflicts which can threaten international peace and security.

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The best homage to the United Nations Decade for International Law is to arrive at the centennial of the 1899 Hague Peace Conference with a humanity free of conflict. This will mean that dialogue has prevailed over differences. A peace conference should be held, such as that proposed yesterday by the President of the Russian Federation. The United Nations largest peace-keeping operation, placing the human being at the centre of economic and social development, should be initiated and development should look towards the South, which is still poor and without resources.

As the United Nations did, Nicaragua is emerging from the ashes of war. It has requested United Nations observation for the elections scheduled to take place next year. Nations should work towards making the United Nations a place of true universal representation, without exclusions of any kind. In addition, a global peace-keeping operation against terrorism and drug trafficking should be launched.

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For information media. Not an official record.