24 October 1995

Press Release


19951024 Assembly Marks World Week of Peace, Beginning Today

Beginning the final day of its three days of meetings to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations, world leaders urged the Organization, as the it moves towards its next half century, to promote peace by ensuring the human rights of nations and fighting poverty and other forces that threaten peace and security. Peace, it was declared, involved economic and social progress, not just the absence of war.

Against the background of these commemorative meetings, the United Nations began observance of the World Week of Peace, proclaimed earlier this year by the General Assembly to coincide with the commemoration of the Organization's fiftieth anniversary. The Week, which begins today, 24 October, was proclaimed to be an opportunity for governments and organizations to take part in new initiatives concerning conflict resolution, cease-fires and truces.

Speakers stated that while the globalization of the economy could create advantages for all, the struggle between economic power blocs had increased the injustices between nations. A call was made for a "new global human order", involving a system of global governance based on the principle of representative and participatory government, as well as a global development facility funded by global taxes on pollution and speculative currency movements.

Others speakers said that democratization, transparency, accountability and respect for the positions of all should be at the heart of the reforms of the United Nations system, particularly in the Security Council.

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Statements were made this morning by President Runaldo Ronald Venetiaan of Suriname; President Ramiro de Leon Carpio of Guatemala; President Jose Maria Figueres of Costa Rica; President Ernesto Perez Balladares of Panama; President Rafael Caldera of Venezuela; President Albert Zafy of Madagascar; President Punsalmaagiin Ochirbat of Mongolia; President Jiang Zemin of China; Prince Rainier III of Monaco; President Cheddi Jagan of Guyana; President Alija Izetbegovic of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Wilton S. Sankawulo, Chairman of the Council of State of the Liberian National Transitional Government; President Kuniwo Nakamura of Palau; President Pasteur Bizimungu of Rwanda; and President Zhelyu Zhelev of Bulgaria.

The commemorative meeting also heard statements from Vice-President Jacinto Peynado Garrigosa of the Dominican Republic; Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene of Belgium; Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-Archa of Thailand; Prime Minister Edison C. James of Dominica; Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan; Prime Minister Percival James Patterson of Jamaica; Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel; and Deputy Prime Minister Kahmphoai Keoboualapha of the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

Also among those this morning's speakers Foreign Minister Mohamed Salem Ould Lekhal of Mauritania, Foreign Minister Baboucarr Blaise Jagne of Gambia; and Foreign Minister Susanna Agnelli of Italy. The President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Mario Enrique Villarroel Lander, also addressed the Assembly.

The General Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. today to conclude the special commemorative meeting.

Assembly Work Programme

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


RUNALDO R. VENETIAAN, President of Suriname: There are still formidable obstacles to overcome in the political, economic and social spheres in the quest for a more just, equitable, peaceful and democratic world. The eruption of extreme nationalism, ethnic strife and excessive religious zeal tears societies and States apart. Agreed strategies, such as those aimed at curbing the population or protecting the environment, are sometimes affected by hidden agendas, which seek to control the political and economic progress of developing countries. The achievements of those countries remain far behind their aspirations, because of an unfavorable economic environment. Within the framework of peace, the international community must strive for constructive dialogue and cooperation between the North and South.

Through multilateral cooperation, the United Nations has proven able to implement a common vision and approach. The international community must now cooperate in implementing the new role of the United Nations, which is aimed at protecting and preserving life on our planet and raising the living standards of peoples. The international community must reinvigorate, restructure and democratize the United Nations and give it the financial basis for fulfilment of old and new tasks.

RAMIRO de LEON CARPIO, President of Guatemala: Universal representation should prevail at the United Nations, without any kind of exclusion. Peace is not just the absence of war, it is also economic and social, and, in this sense, the least developed nations have merely asked to compete under fair conditions. Their products should have access to the various markets, without being subject to unjustifiable objections or classifications not based on genuinely economic considerations. Development is the new name for peace. It will never be possible to bring peace unless the national policies of the most powerful countries are promptly transformed to allow poor countries to attain true independence and the sovereign equality to which they are fully entitled.

The people of Guatemala will freely elect a new chief executive to whom I shall hand over the presidency with the satisfaction of having headed a transitional Government that fulfilled the mandate the people had entrusted to it. That mandate has been to strengthen institutional legality as well as democracy. Through the democratic process corrupt members of Congress and the Supreme Court have been removed from office. I shall leave office having fought poverty, corruption, drug-related activities, terrorism and impunity. Guatemalans have suffered from an internal conflict that raged for 35 years.

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This has entitled me to appeal to the international community to support the ongoing peace process in Guatemala with the open hand of international solidarity in the political and economic fields. The guns must fall silent.

JOSE MARIA FIGUERES, President of Costa Rica: When Costa Rica was thinking about how to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary, it proposed the idea of an international week of peace. It thanks all those countries that have supported and joined in this initiative that began today.

Central America is today building its future through the regional alliance for sustainable development. Its objectives include the greater well-being of the people, the preservation of the cultural identity of indigenous peoples, the incorporation of women in the development process, and the preservation of biodiversity, the ozone layer and the seas.

The globalization of the economy could create advantages for all, but the struggle between economic power blocs has increased the injustices between nations. A great deal is said about free trade, but, in practice, the countries that have less not only have to struggle to maintain the prices of their products, but also face trade barriers.

Among the new challenges facing the United Nations is the need to take greater responsibility for protecting global assets. Costa Rica dreams of a United Nations that protects biodiversity and the clean-up of the seas, thus ensuring greater well being for present and future generations. "Let us renew our commitment to work in the United Nations, to move towards a world of peace, equity and solidarity, and on the road to sustainable development."

ERNESTO PEREZ BALLADARES, President of Panama began by thanking the United Nations for helping to shape the world we live in. Despite persisting injustices, rampant poverty, lack of respect for human rights and war -- which has not completely disappeared from the face of the planet -- we would still have to ask ourselves what kind of world it would be without the United Nations.

Many will say, on the occasion of this fiftieth anniversary, that it is a forum of sterile discussions. But it is preferable that the world have a place where conflicts can be resolved with words, rather than on battlefields; it is better for the world to have an organization awash with words than battlefields strewn with dead.

Panama is one of the countries that signed the Charter and it has the rare privilege of having been the host of a Security Council meeting. Effectively, when all the diplomatic channels appeared to be closed to my country, the mere fact that a meeting of the Security Council was celebrated there gave Panama's claims a level of world attention unachieved until then. A few years later, negotiations concluded and put an end to the so-called

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"canal zone" and now, at the end of the century, we are about to operate and administer this oceanic waterway. We wonder whether our future would be as promising today if this world stage had not existed, where discussions are carried out by governments equal in law, however unequal in riches or military power.

Our commitment is to ease the task of the United Nations in the next 50 years. If the Organization helped to close the wounds of a war, now it must help to close the technological and educational gap between nations. Poor nations, which are the majority, do not aspire to raise their armies to the level of the military powers, but they have more than enough reasons to wish that that gap does not turn into an abyss of impossible proportions.

RAFAEL CALDERA, President of Venezuela: Another half century is beginning for the United Nations and the international community must prepare for the new era and find ways to ensure peace. There is a need to protect the human rights of nations. Pre-eminence should be given to rights derived from international social justice, which recognizes the right of every nation to promote its development in its own terms and to request that the international community remove such obstacles as the burden of external debt and make available the necessary tools to contribute to universal well-being.

It is naive to think that the free interplay of economic forces would be sufficient to eradicate poverty. This has been recognized by the United Nations. Many are willing to fight for the poor, even at the risk of being called populists. "We must fight against both the effects and the causes of poverty. We cannot put aside the belief that justice is the basis of peace. And social justice constitutes an important aspect of justice."

Experience shows that corruption is another danger that brings about the denial of justice. Repressing it requires not only the decision of every State but also international solidarity. It also must be prevented. Antagonisms of all sorts such as poverty, selfishness and corruption represent the most serious threats to peace. Those antagonisms, injustice and corruption are the greatest enemies that we must fight against in the new half century that begins for the United Nations.

ALBERT ZAFY, President of Madagascar: Youth has passed but old age has not yet arrived. This is the age of maturity, full of the rich experience collected over a half century.

Madagascar fully supports the reform of the United Nations, consistent with its true vocation. This means giving the General Assembly adequate power and expanding the Security Council on the basis of geographical distribution. The veto is an anti-democratic practice that should be abolished.

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Poverty, debt, drugs, xenophobia, regional conflicts and unemployment are the evils of this end of the century, the fruits of social injustice and economic disequilibrium. It is deplorable to note that sometimes nations' special interests prevail over the solidarity required in an increasingly interdependent world. The United Nations must be equipped with sufficient resources to carry out its essential mission of ensuring peace, promoting development and serving democracy.

Economic embargoes have had the perverse effect of harming civilian populations more than those who should be the targets of the embargoes. It is clear that changes are necessary to adapt the United Nations to the current political and economic situation, and, in particular, to respond to the worries of the developing world about the North's commitment to solving the problems of development.

PUNSALMAAGIIN 0CHIRBAT, President of Mongolia: "The second half of this century will go down in the annals of history as a time of great victories of human genius, of triumphant struggle of peoples for freedom, independence and democracy, of the dawning realization of humanistic ideals of equity, justice and human rights." Having done away with the cold war, the world has now entered a rapidly changing new stage in its development, a stage that offers a unique opportunity for the realization of the lofty objectives and ideals conceived by the founders of the United Nations.

Democratization, transparency, accountability, due regard for positions of all should be at the heart of reform of the United Nations system, particularly the Security Council. "This soul-searching undertaking should, in our view, lead us to an Organization that is more sensitive to and protective of the needs and interests of the smaller and weaker majority."

The United Nations is not only a rostrum for the Member States to express their thoughts, but should also furnish the model criteria for constructive negotiations. It is imperative to make the mechanism of pacific settlement of disputes work. This could include the development and implementation of ground rules that would help ensure that negotiations are conducted solely and exclusively on the basis of goodwill and respect for the sovereign and equal rights of all participants, unimpeded by any actions designed to disrupt them, poison their atmosphere, or attain unilateral concessions through pressure.

JIANG ZEMIN, President of China: By relying on the efforts of its Member States, the United Nations has done much useful work in and contributed to mitigating regional conflicts, eradicating colonialism, expediting arms reduction and promoting peace, cooperation and development in the world. Given its role in the world no other international organization or country bloc can substitute for it. As history moves forward, any country that worships force and seeks hegemony is doomed to failure. There should be no

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attempts to make up excuses to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations. Countries should be allowed to pursue the social systems that they choose for themselves. A secure and reliable international environment for lasting peace and stability should be created. The principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and non-aggression should be observed.

As a member of the international community, China cannot stand separate from the rest of the world as its reforms and modernization all call for lasting peace. Even as it becomes stronger and more developed it will not seek hegemony or pose a threat to anyone. It will help to maintain international peace and stability. There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory. The Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government and its sole representative in the United Nations. The peaceful reunification of the two sides of the Taiwan straits is the unshakable will and determination of the entire Chinese people, including the Taiwan compatriots. The Chinese people have the ability, the resourcefulness and confidence to overcome any interference and make the reunification of their motherland a reality.

PRINCE RAINIER III, of Monaco: The major challenges facing the world at the end of the second millennium include population explosion, AIDS, and serious attacks on nature and the environment by industry and technology.

Monaco is regularly involved in the humanitarian work of the Organization, and it is always willing to be involved in initiatives to strengthen support for civilian populations and to protect the seas and the environment in general. It is working to implement the Rio Summit commitments. It realizes that natural resources are not inexhaustible. Only a careful use of those resources can ensure a peaceful and fruitful life for future generations.

It is hoped that the experience of the last 50 years will encourage Member States to continue their efforts so that the world can make better use of the ideals of the Organization.

CHEDDI JAGAN, President of Guyana: The international community faces conditions of increasing poverty and a widening gap between the rich and the poor. Other conditions include chronic budget deficits and the dismantling of the welfare state; social disintegration, including the disintegration of the family; increasing social conflicts that involve race, tribe and religion; and the rise of political demagoguery of confusion. Such factors pose a grave threat to international peace and security.

A new global human order is required, involving a system of global governance based on representative and participatory government. It must guarantee that self-governing countries remain free from external diktat.

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Also required is a global development facility funded by global taxes on pollution and speculative currency movements.

Third world debt is strangling the efforts of the developing countries; measures necessary to achieve development include the rescheduling of third world debt. There has been a net outflow of funds from the developing countries equal to six Marshall Plans, the programme which provided aid to Europe following the Second World War. At the same time, the developing countries lose some $500 billion per year due to unfair conditions of trade. Economic growth must be linked with social justice and environmental stability.

ALIJA IZETBEGOVIC, President of Bosnia and Herzegovina: The supreme goal of the United Nations is the maintenance of peace. While preventing global wars, it has not succeeded in stopping local ones. While it stopped the Gulf crisis, this efficacy has not repeated itself in the case of the aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina. The price of the hesitation has been enormous for the people of my country.

In a few days, talks on peace in Bosnia will commence. Its Government approaches this initiative, undertaken by the United States and its President, with hope and the best of faith. Bosnia wants peace to create a society based on political and ethnic pluralism, respect for human rights and private enterprise. The Bosnian army and Government will not accept the division and disintegration of their country, no matter under what packaging it may be served. A division will lead to the continuation of war, immediately or later.

Genuine democratic elections in Bosnia are a big, real chance to remove the war criminals and nationalist fanatics who have caused this war from their commanding political and military functions. If peace negotiations are concluded successfully, the renovation of war-stricken areas will follow. When the international community tries to help with that effort, it should attach and observe some conditions. One of them should prevent the party that does not respect freedoms and human rights from receiving assistance. Do not hope that criminals and tyrants could be bought or improved by new concessions. Isolate the criminals and tyrants. Those who have led their people along the path of crime must be removed to ensure peace and security.

The Bosniak-Croat Federation is an important step towards integrating Bosnia, an effort that should be supported. A balance of weaponry should be established and the Serbs' heavy weapons reduced. If the Serbs reject this, the Bosnian army should be armed. The Serb artillery must be removed or destroyed as Bosnia cannot agree to continue to live under permanent threat.

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WILTON SANKAWULO, Chairman of the Council of State of the Liberian National Transitional Government, Liberia: It is hoped that the nations of the world, especially those enjoying economic affluence, will take positive steps soon to establish a new economic order that will improve the quality of life for all peoples. Not doing so would be an act of non-compliance with the United Nations Charter's mandate to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all nations.

The Secretary-General's Agenda for Peace and Agenda for Development provide a framework for implementing the principles contained in the Charter as it adapts to the new realities of the post-cold war era. Liberia supports the international call for reform in the restructuring of the United Nations. "This vital institution must continue evolving and growing in an enlightened fashion, but always within the limits of the principles enshrined in the Charter."

Liberia appeals to Member States for assistance to bring its conflict to an end by providing the needed support for the disarmament and demobilization of fighters, for the repatriation of the people in displaced centres in Liberia and in refugee camps abroad, and for the social and economic reconstruction of the nation. It also hopes that all Member States will make substantial contributions to the pledging conference on Liberia to be conducted on Friday, 27 October.

KUNIWO NAKAMURA, President of Palau: The remarkable geopolitical events of this decade and accelerating technological developments are changing our world, tying large and small countries together. While we have the ability to feed, educate and provide health care to every human being, we may be letting these great opportunities slip away. We are alarmed at continued degradation of the environment. Every day brings news of the extinction of species, irrefutable evidence of global warming and other environmental problems. Continued testing of nuclear weapons poses potential environmental problems, particularly when tested in the Pacific Ocean.

"Many problems we now face can be traced to limited perspective." Large-scale conflicts often come from focusing on the small differences between groups. Warfare also is often a function of economic disparity. To help prevent conflict, the nations of the world must work through the United Nations, the World Bank and other appropriate bodies to enhance economic cooperation. Our planet has been compared to a spaceship flying through the universe. As the President of a maritime nation, I prefer to think of it as a sailing vessel. We must all learn to sail together if our voyage is to be a successful one.

PASTEUR BIZIMUNGU, President of Rwanda: The United Nations was founded to save mankind from wars and similar calamities resulting from social injustices by providing moral tenets for peoples and nations. To that end, it

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formulated significant basic principles for the protection of human and other fundamental rights, the equality of nations and peoples and the promotion of social and economic progress for all humanity. Although much has been achieved, the proclamation of those noble objectives and their implementation has reflected double standards on many occasions. Even though the Charter stipulated the self-determination and sovereignty of nations, colonized peoples often had to resort to armed struggle to restore their freedom. After independence, the dominant Powers maintained their influence on many new States. Such independence was a sham, where the strategy of divide and rule is still applied and the traditional relationship is still that between the dominator and dominated.

Last year's horrendous genocide that took place in Rwanda and which resulted in the loss of over a million lives was a direct consequence of such factors. Colonialism introduced racist theories and ideologies and initiated discrimination in Rwanda. The first ethnic massacre engineered by the authorities in the history of Rwanda occurred in 1959 while Rwanda was still under colonial rule. While under Trusteeship, the country had about 2 million of its nationals living as refugees in exile. For over three decades their plight received no attention by the international community. The existence of those refugees is a vivid testimony of the discriminatory policy that was pursued inside the country. The present Government welcomes the return of its nationals in exile.

Were it not for the external influences intended to divide our compatriots, Rwandan peoples would easily find solutions to the consequences of genocide and national reconciliation. However, the planners of genocide are welcomed in some capitals as heroes deserving leadership roles. They are being re-armed while they prevent refugees from returning home. "This is not only a violation of international conventions, but also reflects moral decay." In that context, the Kenyan President pretends to serve a good cause by associating with the criminals and protecting them.

The domination of the weaker nations also characterizes their relationship with the international financial organizations, which impose projects on them but do not share the consequences when those projects fail. Mechanisms should be worked out to ensure that the Organization fulfils the expectations of all peoples. In that connection, the Security Council should be reformed and the General Assembly strengthened. Moreover, "mankind should never again witness the horrors of genocide that took place in Rwanda, and the current ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia must be brought to an end". The United Nations must create a better world.

ZHELYU ZHELEV, President of Bulgaria: For Bulgaria, the end of the cold war means a new foreign policy conforming to the norms of international law and its own national interests. Bulgaria participates in United Nations peacemaking operations and local conflict prevention efforts such as in

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Cambodia and Angola. It values the stupendous United Nations activities promoting sustainable development and the possibilities for a full-fledged involvement of the individual in the political and economic life of society.

Modern Bulgaria is gradually resuming its traditional place in the European family, developing the full range of relations with the countries and bodies of the European Union of which it is an associate member. Bulgaria is steering a steady course to the West while building bridges to the East and the South. It has been giving its unwavering support to the international effort to restore peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and build regional security. It has been doing so at a high economic and moral cost. Bulgaria knows from experience that the democratic option is the key to the reconciliation of interests and the rights of various ethnic and religious groups in a rule of law.

A long-term strategy for a lasting settlement of the conflicts in south- eastern Europe should be founded in a modern communications and transport infrastructure linking the Balkan countries with the rest of Europe. There is an urgent need for specific programmes in support of a stable regional development.

JACINTO PEYNADO GARRIGOSA, Vice-President of the Dominican Republic: Since 1945, the United Nations has been one of the most precious assets of mankind. The Organization's ongoing efforts on behalf of human rights and justice have fostered democratic elections and free institutions. Its leadership in protecting the environment promises a sustainable way of life for the twenty-first century. In the new millennium, the Organization must face up to the challenges of a permanently changing world. In the new world situation, peace means economic stability, social justice and human rights. Governments must dedicate themselves to sustainable human progress.

Economic changes in the absence of social reform could not strengthen democracy. Poverty alleviation must allow the poorest sectors to benefit from society. The international community should dedicate itself to address the root causes of poverty so that a better, more sustainable standard of living can be enjoyed. Many heads of State at the commemorative session have noted the globalization of the world economy and the new pressures on smaller States. The United Nations must acknowledge that all nations -- large and small -- possess equal rights and obligations. The Organization should strive for a more just humanity in pursuit of a civilization in which people all over the world are equally respected.

JEAN-LUC DEHAENE, Prime Minister of Belgium: The United Nations remains the best instrument for international solidarity. The Organization's priority must be in the economic and social domain. Globalization of those activities requires an integrated and universal approach. The recent international conferences have reinforced the conviction of Member States for solidarity to

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enable them to cope successfully with the major obstacles to development. Their momentum should be translated into action to create a progressively new, equitable world order, including the fight against terrorism, drugs, transborder crime and arms trafficking.

The effective promotion of human rights and values must be actively pursued by Member States and the entire international community. The setting up of an international criminal court would contribute to the attainment of those goals. Economic and social development would ensure the maintenance of peace. Certain conditions must be met if United Nations peace operations are to be credible; there was need for flexible mandates adapted to specific circumstances in association with troop contributors and the Security Council, as well as diplomatic initiatives. The availability of sufficient financial means was also important.

Member States must avoid generating conflicts. Cooperation between States, the United Nations, regional organizations and specialized agencies must be deepened. Reform of the Organization is necessary, but it must be pragmatic and be on a solid financial base. The Organization remains impotent if Member States do not confirm their political commitment and respect their financial obligations. Unilateral actions in that regard will only worsen the Organization's crisis.

BANHARN SILPA-ARCHA, Prime Minister of Thailand: Fifty years ago today, a tree was planted to shelter mankind from war and want. This tree, the United Nations, was an expression of the faith and hope that through international cooperation, peace will prevail, and people everywhere will enjoy the fruits of progress. The end of the cold war created the widespread expectation that peace and prosperity were finally within reach. But peace has yet to prevail. Peace is not merely an absence of hostilities. Peace must be a positive state of welfare and must include freedom and justice, leading to prosperity. We call it "santisukh", which means "happiness in tranquillity." To achieve this ideal peace, Thai culture emphasizes tolerance and compromise, virtues which have stood the test of time. Throughout history, Thai rulers have recognized the importance of those virtues in fostering harmony and progress. Tolerance and compromise are deeply ingrained in the Thai character, forming the cement which holds its society together.

Those core Thai values resonate in the United Nations Charter. Over the past decades the affinity between Thai values and United Nations goals has been reflected in south-east Asia. In Cambodia, both Thailand and the United Nations played key roles in ending the conflict and bringing peace to the region. Peace is one crucial facet of "santisukh". The other involves the creation of better life for people everywhere. The United Nations record spoke for itself. The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has worked quietly but effectively to improve the lives of millions of Asians.

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Today, when sustainable development poses a challenge, the United Nations is more important than ever. Its role in south- east Asia has shown that, with the right kind of support, it is capable of promoting "happiness in tranquillity". The Organization should concentrate on the things which it can do better than any other international body: to stop people from killing each other; to help people live in an environment of their own choosing. Those are the most valuable contributions that the United Nations can make to mankind. Thailand reaffirms its faith in the principles and purposes of the United Nations and pledges full support for the Organization in its efforts to promote lasting peace and global prosperity.

EDISON C. JAMES: Prime Minister of Dominica: As we enter the second half-century of the United Nations, there is talk of modernization, revitalization and restructuring. Every organization must for its survival apply those concepts to its modus operandi. The United Nations system was designed to deal with the problems of the post-war period, problems mainly related to the disruption of international peace through recourse to arms. Today's threat to peace has to do primarily with development. The cost- cutting measures and streamlining proposed for restructuring should take into account the legitimate aspirations of people of small and vulnerable States, such as the Commonwealth of Dominica.

In the name of justice for all, powerful and prosperous countries must refrain from trade and economic measures that will lead to the lowering of the standard of life of the small and vulnerable States. Every human being has a right to be clothed with dignity, and that at the very heart of the cosmos stands that same human being, that irreducible kernel of development. Dominica pledges its support to and will seek to collaborate with all United Nations efforts to provide leadership to the world. Guidance, fairness, justice, peace and security are for many still distant ideals. "Let us reaffirm our belief in the principles enshrined in our Charter. Let us rededicate ourselves to bequeathing a healthy planet, a peaceful world to succeeding generations. We cannot and shall not let them down."

BENAZIR BHUTTO, Prime Minister of Pakistan: The principles of equal rights and self-determination lay at the heart of the United Nations Charter. Millions in Asia owe their freedom to the pursuit of those noble ideals. In the last 50 years there has been no global conflict and today this noble achievement is celebrated. Pakistan applauds the United Nations humanitarian work and peace-keeping interventions to which the brave sons of Pakistan had contributed with their blood. It welcomes United Nations effort to focus on social issues on population, social development and women.

The threat of global conflict has receded but the images of suffering in Kashmir and Bosnia and other regions have saddened everyone. Although the

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foreign occupation of Afghanistan was over, Pakistan has been left to carry the burden of 1.5 million refugees. The United Nations needs to share this burden and strengthen its efforts for peace in Afghanistan.

The Secretary-General has described the Kashmir dispute as one of the oldest items on the United Nations agenda. Forty-eight years of occupation had not crushed the spirit of a noble people committed to the right to self- determination and the ideals of the United Nations. Those people were placing their hopes on the pledge and promise of the United Nations to hold a plebiscite to determine their future. "Do not close your hearts, your minds and your ears to the torment of Kashmir."

Survival today means a common effort to reduce poverty, hunger and disease; to save the environment; address human needs; prevent social disintegration; and restore moral values as the foundation for the action of individuals and nations. Survival means greater democratization within nations and within the international system. The Security Council needs enlargement but not in its permanent membership. An Under-Secretary-General should be appointed to give greater impetus to poverty alleviation. Peace- keeping and conflict resolution mechanisms need strengthening. Pakistan invites Member States to Islamabad for a conference on the topic next year.

It is insufficient to denounce atrocities in Rwanda, Bosnia and Kashmir. The perpetrators must be punished. An international criminal court for this purpose must be created. In the age of information technology, the world needs to distinguish between freedom of expression and action, and the freedom to pervert and to pollute. The United Nations is needed to meet these challenges. The Organization needs an independent financial base. A tax on international financial transactions, international travel and on the exploitation of space or the oceans could be considered.

PERCIVAL JAMES PATTERSON, Prime Minister of Jamaica: Proof of the resilience of the United Nations was its survival during prolonged periods of super-Power rivalry and international tension. It has effectively contributed to resolving regional conflicts and to tackling international problems which threatened international peace and security. Those achievements constitute a deserved source of pride.

The decolonization process over which the United Nations presided has resulted in profound geo-political changes. It fostered a significant broadening of international programmes embracing many fields of cooperation. The Organization has become an indispensable instrument in the search for dialogue and the peaceful resolution of disputes. The United Nations is the creature of its members. Member States have a solemn obligation to build an effective system which generates lasting peace and social justice.

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United Nations reform should bring the Organization into line with current political realities. It should be driven by the legitimate yearning of all States for democratic participation on the basis of sovereign equality without regard to size, wealth or power. The right of veto must be reviewed. One billion people still languished in poverty. The eradication of that poverty and the attendant evils of hunger, malnutrition and homelessness must engage the entire international community.

YITZHAK RABIN, the Prime Minister of Israel: In the past 50 years this podium has seen empires fall and borders erased. But it has seen people awakened to their freedom and nations display their flags side by side. It has become possible to fulfill the words of the prophet Isaiah, a son of the Jewish people: "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." This is the dream I bring to you from Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the State of Israel and the heart of the Jewish people.

I come here in the name of six million whose lives were turned into ashes, whose souls ascended to heaven in burning flames. We will never let them be forgotten. But we will also never forget our benefactors who, 48 years ago, gave us the chance for independence. We still hear the echoes of the roll-call vote and the two-thirds of the Member States, who voted in support of their moral responsibility. There were also many years that hurtful and unjust decisions were taken against us. There were absurd resolutions which have been rescinded, such as the resolution equating Zionism with racism. Many ideologies have failed and faded away. But Zionism brought the Jewish people to its historical homeland. Zionism won.

We are grateful to the international community for its encouragement: the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, with Egypt and Jordan, and the significant changes in Israel's relationship with the entire Middle East. We now come to praise the change in the relationship between Israel and the international community and the United Nations. However, we cannot be complacent. The United Nations must continue to give expression to the new reality in the Middle East and ensure the fulfillment of its resolutions and its responsibilities. We must all be at the forefront of the fight against the forces which threaten peace and security.

We call upon the international community to assist us in locating those missing in action, and in enabling our prisoners of war to return to their homes. As long as children die of hunger, our job is not finished. The United Nations must support those who are working for peace and intensify the struggle against terrorism and its supporters. Terrorism is the world's cancer. Don't fool yourselves, even if you ignore terror it can enter any of your homes. Terror must be defeated. Peace must win. This is a fight we cannot afford to lose.

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KHAMPHOUI KEOBOUALAPHA, Deputy Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic: The fiftieth anniversary celebration was an opportunity to learn lessons from the past. For five decades, the Organization has been sorely tried in upheavals all over the world. Despite difficulties encountered, it has survived and has been able to strengthen its role. As part of its multi-faceted activities, it had made tremendous achievements in decolonization, self-determination, averting nuclear holocaust, and furthering the socio-economic development of peoples.

The world today was entering an era of cooperation for development. Yet it did not know true peace. Prospects for settlement in some political conflicts seemed remote. Poverty, disease, ignorance and illiteracy linger in many countries. To remedy that situation, the United Nations must be reformed. True peace could not be established without development. Those two concepts deserved equal consideration.

MOHAMED SALEM OULD LEKHAL, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mauritania: Fifty years is long enough to judge the Organization's achievements, especially in redressing injustices and protecting the weak. Some of the Organization's successes included its work in decolonization and in combating epidemics. In that regard, tribute must also be paid to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Greater dialogue had been achieved between States and much progress has been made in areas such as the elimination of apartheid. However, the majority of the world's population still suffered from poverty and underdevelopment. They continued to face fundamental social and economic problems and the developing countries remained powerless in the face of numerous crises. Poverty and destitution are an offence to the world's conscience and a threat to international peace and security. They must be eliminated. In that connection, Member States must be committed to implement the programmes of action of recent international conferences. The wisdom of the elders which is embodied in the Charter compels the international community to pursue and advance the Organization's ideals.

BABOUCARR-BLAISE JAGNE, Foreign Minister of Gambia: Fifty years after the signing of the Charter, the United Nations was still a universal symbol for people all over the world. Any country that fulfils its membership obligations should be allowed to take its rightful place. That is why the Republic of China on Taiwan should be readmitted to the Organization. My Government recently celebrated a successful year in office. It was committed to the successful implementation of its programme of rectification, the timetable for transition to democratic civilian rule and the programme for socioeconomic development. It is disheartening that Gambia's traditional partners in development, rather than joining hands with the Government, are looking for the slightest signs of derailment in the transition process.

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Nations should not be guided in their relations by the law of the jungle or the rule of "might makes right". The greatness of a country did not depend on its size, but on the quality of its leadership and the character of its people. What happened to Kuwait should not be allowed to happen again.

Unilateral actions were generally counterproductive. Gambia believes that the position of the Organization of African Unity with regard to the conflict between Libya and some Western countries offers a starting point for resolution of the impasse. Gambia reiterates that the three decade-long blockade imposed on Cuba should be lifted.

The United Nations should be reformed to reflect current international realities. Fifty years after the founding of the Organization, it bears no resemblance to its composition at the end of the Second World War. The Security Council, especially, should be expanded to take account of the views and aspirations of the great majority of the membership of the United Nations.

SUSANNA AGNELLI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Italy: The United Nations arises from a common dream for lasting peace which united all countries and peoples around common ideals and values. As a result, another major war has been avoided. Preserving peace takes good will, untiring efforts and constant support from all Member States. Changes in the last 50 years have meant that international conflicts have been replaced by internal ones, characterized by political, ethnic and religious tensions that often imply humanitarian crisis and human rights violations. New formulas and instruments must be created to face the new crises. In that regard, Italy is working together with the United Nations to establish a staff college in Turin to train personnel in various fields.

Respect for international law is of fundamental importance but must be adapted to new situations, as exemplified in the creation of the International Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Ad hoc solutions are not enough. The setting up of an international criminal court is a step in the right direction. In the hope that the court will soon become a reality, Italy has offered to host the conference for the adoption of its statute. Italy is proposing the reform of the Security Council which would benefit the Organization as a whole by making it more democratic, representative, transparent and more accountable to the General Assembly. Serious efforts have to be made by the international community to ensure the realization of the goals of peace and development. Both developed and developing countries must strive to identify the priorities and tools needed to bring increased and more fairly distributed prosperity to all peoples.

MARIO VILLARROEL LANDER, President, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies: Both the United Nations and the International Federation were founded by idealists who sought to bring works of enduring peace to the world. Both organizations are directly and

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continuously affected by daily events of all kinds. Both are multinational and cross-cultural in all their ways and habits, embracing members from every religion, culture and ethnic heritage. As the International Federation seeks to cooperate with the United Nations specialized agencies as well as with the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, it sought and received permanent observer status with the General Assembly, which enabled it to share its views on issues impacting humanitarian work worldwide.

Both organizations are seeking to maintain their neutrality and impartiality. Land-mines remaining after conflicts continued to kill and maim years after conflicts ended. Sanctions bring undeserved suffering to civilian populations. Refugees and displaced persons often are not settled for decades -- even generations. Thousands of persons cross borders in search of better living conditions, sometimes encountering vindictive revenge.

Sustainable human development must be instituted everywhere if the international community did not want to face the steady recurrence of humanitarian disasters. New ways to prevent disasters need to be found, but the amount of money that donors now provide for development was diminishing. A new vision of development and a universal commitment to it were indispensable for world progress.

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For information media. Not an official record.