GENERAL ASSEMBLY WELCOMES RESULTS OF RECENT INTER-KOREAN SUMMIT IN PYONGYANG, CALLS FOR SUPPORT OF EMERGING DIALOGUE, RECONCILIATION, REUNIFICATION
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
Sixty-second General Assembly
40th & 41st Meetings (AM & PM)
GENERAL ASSEMBLY WELCOMES RESULTS OF RECENT INTER-KOREAN SUMMIT IN PYONGYANG,
CALLS FOR SUPPORT OF EMERGING DIALOGUE, RECONCILIATION, REUNIFICATION
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea Jointly Table Text;
Resolution on Building Peaceful World through Sport, Olympic Ideal Also Adopted
Building on momentum generated by the landmark summit between the leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea earlier this month, the General Assembly today called on Member States to “continue supporting the inter-Korean dialogue, reconciliation and reunification”, to foster peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and, more broadly, in north-east Asia and the world.
The Assembly adopted by consensus a resolution which welcomed the 2 to 4 October summit in Pyongyang, and backed the leaders’ adoption of the summit’s eight-point Declaration to bolster economic cooperation between the two countries and promote peace and security in the region. Further to the text, negotiated by both countries, the Assembly encouraged both countries to implement the Declaration fully and in good faith, and thereby lay a solid foundation for peaceful reunification.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon immediately welcomed the resolution, calling it a sign of the global community’s aspiration for peace and stability in the region. He said today’s date coincided exactly with the date seven years ago when the Assembly adopted resolution 55/11, following the inter-Korean summit of June 2000. He welcomed that coincidence, adding that it was an ancient Korean custom to choose an auspicious day for any celebration.
Mr. Ban, a former Vice-Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea, said he felt a personal obligation to do all he could to facilitate the work for peace, security and reunification. “I am convinced that the historic inter-Korean summit will pave the way for a permanent peace regime and eventual reunification on the Korean Peninsula,” he declared. The summit would also act as a catalyst for continued progress in the six-party talks on denuclearizing the peninsula.
Commending the “wisdom and courage” of Chairman Kim Jong Il and President Roh Moo-hyun in taking a significant step forward, he said it was now critical to fully implement the summit’s outcome, as every step in carrying out the agreed elements of the Declaration would be an important measure of confidence building. He encouraged the leaders of both Koreas to maintain momentum, and called on Member States to help sustain a favourable atmosphere for the implementation of the outcome.
Leading off the joint introduction of the text, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said the summit and its Declaration on the Advancement of North-South Korean Relations had opened a new phase for peace, common prosperity and reunification on the Korean Peninsula. It had moved inter-Korean relations to a higher stage that was based on the Joint Declaration of June 2000 and the spirit of “by our nation itself”. Adoption of the draft resolution would help bring durable peace and reunification to the Korean Peninsula and peace and stability to the rest of the world.
Adding to that, the representative of the Republic of Korea said the recent Declaration had set forth a paradigm that would have a salutary effect on the future of inter-Korean relations. It had called for both Koreas to work towards establishing a peace regime on the peninsula. More specifically, it called for creating a peace zone in the West Sea and exploring the feasibility of designating the area as a common fishery zone. In tandem with the summit, the most recent round of six-party talks had reaffirmed the commitment to denuclearize the peninsula. The dynamics of the two meetings had shown that relations were progressing in a mutually reinforcing manner.
China’s delegate said the summit and the outcome Declaration proved that both countries were ready to seize the current opportunity to push ahead with efforts to ensure peace on the Korean Peninsula. The international community must help ensure a supportive environment for the dialogue to continue and expand. His Government attached importance to, and had always worked towards, maintaining peace on the peninsula.
For his part, Japan’s representative also welcomed the commitment made by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which had resulted from the six-party talks, to declare all nuclear programmes and disable the three facilities at Yongbyon by year-end. He further looked forward to resolving all outstanding issues, such as abduction, nuclear and missile questions, and the establishment of normal relations between Tokyo and Pyongyang based on the Japan-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Pyongyang Declaration.
The United States representative said his Government had always encouraged dialogue between the two countries, and was particularly pleased at progress in the ongoing negotiations. The summit should be viewed as complementary to the six-party talks. The goal to achieve a “permanent peace regime” could only begin once the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had fully disclosed and abandoned its nuclear-weapons programme. In addition, full implementation of the 2005 Joint Statement would transform the lives of people living on the peninsula.
Dovetailing the afternoon discussion on the value of dialogue, the Assembly in the morning adopted by consensus a resolution on “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal”.
Introducing the text, Liu Qu, President of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad and representative of China, which would host the Beijing Games next August, said a pledge to safeguard world peace and promote common development was at the heart of the Olympic Movement. Indeed, the United Nations and the Movement were natural allies, and the Assembly had adopted seven resolutions since 1993 urging States to observe the Olympic Truce.
He said the resolution featured three concepts that were at the core of the Beijing Games: “Green Olympics, High-Tech Olympics and People’s Olympics”. It also recognized the important role of sport in the implementation of internationally agreed development goals. The Games’ theme of “One World, One Dream” gave full expression to the common desire for friendly relations.
Echoing that thought, Nawal El Moutawakil, Minister for Youth and Sports of Morocco and first Arab woman to win an Olympic gold medal, stressed the importance of sport to promoting peace, dialogue, and reconciliation. Indeed, sport entailed the will to overcome oneself -- rather than one’s adversary -- and encouraged civilized behaviour with strict respect for the rules. It was “an initiation into life” which reinforced an individual’s capacity to contribute to the sustainable development of his country. Its humanistic values also made it indispensable for promoting peace on the international scene.
Taking up that issue, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim in his opening remarks said that international efforts to promote the benefits of sport should be stepped up, particularly in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. “If we are going to build a better world, sport must be used to channel energy away from violence and self destruction and into learning and self respect,” he declared.
Nonetheless, Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who addressed the Assembly in an informal session, added that the United Nations’ endorsement of the Olympic Truce and the Olympic Ideal sent an important message. “Like the Olympic games themselves, this resolution goes beyond borders, beyond religion, beyond cultures languages and politics.” Through sport and the values it represented, all could inspire a peaceful society.
In other business, the Assembly adopted by consensus a text on the “Participation of children and non-governmental organizations in the round tables of the Commemorative High-level Plenary Meeting Devoted to the Follow-up to the Outcome of the special session on Children” (document A/62/L.8), which invited 20 children and 20 non-governmental organizations to participate in two round tables at that meeting to be held 11 to 12 December 2007.
Before wrapping up the day’s work, Assembly President Kerim said today marked the final plenary meeting to be supervised by Conference Officer Gail Grossman, who had been with the United Nations for some 34 years. Most of those years had been spent servicing meetings in the Assembly Hall. Ms. Grossman’s contribution to the smooth running of the Assembly’s work had been “truly exceptional,” he said, calling on delegations to give her a round of applause.
Also speaking on sport for peace and development were the representatives of the Republic of Korea (on behalf of the Asian States), Peru (on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean States), Benin (on behalf of the African States), Switzerland, the United States, Guatemala, Chile, India, Cyprus, Monaco, Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Greece, Tunisia, Israel, and South Africa, as did the Observer for the Holy See.
On the draft resolution for peace, security and reunification on the Korean Peninsula, the representatives of Portugal (on behalf of the European Union), China, Viet Nam, Japan, New Zealand, Yemen, Germany, Indonesia, Thailand, Belarus, Russian Federation, Canada, Guatemala, Poland, Mongolia, Myanmar, Benin, Brazil, Italy, Bangladesh, Egypt and Cuba also addressed the Assembly.
The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m., Thursday, 1 November, to consider the reports of the International Court of Justice and of the International Criminal Court.
The General Assembly today had before it the report of the Secretary-General on Sport for development and peace: progress and prospects [A/62/325] which describes progress made in implementing initiatives at national, international, governmental, and non-governmental levels.
The report says that Member States are proving their commitment to a three-year action plan to better integrate sport into the development agenda, which was born out of momentum created by the 2005 International Year for Sport and Physical Education. National initiatives include, among others, sport programmes to combat racism, promote gender equality and address other social problems.
At the United Nations level, states the report, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace continues to lead system-wide efforts to mainstream sport for development, as well as mobilizing resources and encouraging partnerships on the issue. The peacekeeping missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Liberia launched sport for peace projects, with the support of the International Olympic Committee.
The Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group is proving instrumental in mainstreaming sport for development into national and international strategies, says the report. Non-governmental organizations have an impressive track record of activities and are acting as implementing partners of aid agencies. At the same time, sports federations and private enterprises are increasingly using sport for development to fulfil corporate social responsibility objectives.
Lessons learned point to overall progress, though that progress is uneven, the report concludes. A lack of resources and trained personnel continues to be a key constraint in many countries. For future success, sport should be positioned within aid agency frameworks, so that countries receiving aid can choose to use funds for sport programming. A better overall framework of sport for development and peace will lead to more effective implementation of the Action Plan and will help incorporate sport for development into national and international development strategies.
Also before the Assembly is the draft resolution on Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal [A/62/L.2] by which it would invite the Secretary-General to promote the observance of the Olympic Truce and to support human development initiatives through sport. It would also have the Assembly cooperate with the International Olympic Committee in its efforts to use sport as an instrument to promote peace, dialogue and reconciliation in areas of conflict during and beyond the Olympic Games period and would have it include the item entitled “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal” in the provisional agenda of its sixty-fourth session.
The Assembly also had before it a resolution on “Peace, Security and Reunification on the Korean Peninsula” (document A/62/L.4), jointly presented by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea. The draft would have the Assembly recognize that the summit meeting, held from 2 to 4 October, and the Declaration, signed by the two sides, on the Advancement of North-South Korean Relations, Peace and Prosperity “represented a major milestone in improving inter-Korean relations and in advancing peace and common prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in the wider region”.
Introduction of Draft Resolution
LIU QI (China), President of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, introduced the draft resolution entitled “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal” (document A/62/L.2), saying that at the heart of the modern Olympic Movement was a pledge to safeguard world peace and promote common development. The United Nations and the Movement were natural allies. Since 1993, the General Assembly had adopted seven resolutions calling on States to observe the Olympic Truce, a sign that the Organization attached great importance to the role of sport in promoting peace.
The draft featured three concepts that were at the core of the Beijing Olympic Games: “Green Olympics, High-Tech Olympics and People’s Olympics”, he continued. The draft recognized the increasingly important role of sport in the implementation of internationally agreed development goals, and urged States to observe the Olympic Truce during the Beijing Games next August. It also welcomed the International Olympic Committee and the National Olympic Committees of States to take actions that would promote a culture of peace and harmony. He hoped the draft resolution, which had 182 co-sponsors, would be adopted by consensus.
The Games’ theme of “One World, One Dream” gave full expression to the common desire for friendly relations, he said. To that end, the Committee had organized a campaign to solicit songs for the Games, named the Olympic Torch Relay the “Journey of Harmony” and launched a “heart-to-heart” partnership programme, among other efforts. Unfortunately, regional conflicts still occurred, which made the quest for world peace an uphill journey. He called on States to adhere to United Nations principles and observe the Olympic Truce. After discussing all preparations underway for the Games, he said he remained convinced that, with support from all Member States, the Games would be a complete success.
Opening the debate, General Assembly President SRGJAN KERIM, of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, said that the United Nations and Olympic Movement were natural allies in promoting peace, tolerance and mutual understanding. Sport could change lives by building bridges across cultural and political divides. Indeed, through sport, everyday differences disappeared. Competition remained, but the goal was to achieve excellence on the field of fair play. He added that sport had also often played a decisive role in diplomatic life and in re-establishing good relations between countries. That was the embodiment of the ancient Greek tradition of the Olympic Truce.
The fact that more than 180 sponsors had signed on to the draft resolution just introduced by the Chinese delegation was a testament to the importance of sport in society. He congratulated China on it efforts in the run-up to the 2008 Games in August, and welcomed the main themes Beijing had chosen to promote the event -- “Green Olympics, High-Tech Olympics and Peoples Olympics” –- which he said were “strongly supported by this House.” He had recently visited several of the sites around Beijing where Olympic venues were under construction and had noted the “enthusiasm and pride” on the faces of the workers.
He went on to say that sport improved heath and growth and provided real alternatives to violence and crime. The United Nations worked with the international community to develop sports programmes around the world. The relevant report of the Secretary-General highlighted many examples of efforts of Member States and United Nations programmes and funds had put in place in that regard, including through addressing gender equality and women’s empowerment. Among other examples, he noted that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was using sports events and programmes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to bring previously warring parties together. Other United Nations Departments were actively integrating sport into post-conflict and humanitarian programmes.
At the same time, he agreed with the Secretary-General that efforts to promote the benefits of sport should be stepped up, particularly towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The international community should also work to ensure that there was a greater recognition of the way sport could be used to promote peace. “If we are going to build a better world, sport must be used to channel energy away from violence and self-destruction and into learning and self respect,” he declared.
NAWAL EL MOUTAWAKIL, Minister for Youth and Sports of Morocco, said she was honoured to address the Assembly not only as her country’s Minister, but also as an Olympic champion and a member of the International Olympic Committee. Since the Olympic Games began in ancient Greece, a truce allowing athletes, artists and ordinary pilgrims to travel safely to and from the Games had been established. In 1993, in a world where armed conflict was on the rise, the General Assembly adopted a resolution to respect the Olympic truce from then on.
It was evident that the objectives of the Olympic Charter had a direct link to those of the Charter of the United Nations, she said. Sport could promote peace, dialogue, reconciliation, solidarity and the search for diplomatic and peaceful solutions. It also entailed competition, the will to overcome oneself, rather than one’s adversary, and civilized behaviour with a strict respect for rules. The United Nations worked successfully with the Olympic Movement and also promoted sport in the service of peace and development. Numerous United Nations documents emphasized the importance of access to sport for all as a basic right.
The International Olympic Committee, as concerned with environmental protection as everyone, had all National Olympic Committees and sports federations be the first to sign the Earth Covenant that emerged from the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, so that sport could be practised in an unpolluted environment, she said. While sport could not permanently improve the world, it did promote physical health, and allowed children to discover victory, excellence and team spirit. She saw herself as an ambassador for sport to promote its true values and comfort those suffering from prejudice and inequality of opportunity.
Numerous initiatives had been undertaken in Morocco to allow sport to enhance the lives of urban and rural young people, of women and the handicapped and to give sport a role in the country’s overall development, she said. As a result, in 2006, more than 77,000 people, of whom more than 26,000 were women, benefited from sports activities. Morocco remained convinced that sport was an initiation into life, ensuring the blossoming of the individual and the reinforcement of his capacity to contribute to the sustainable development of his community and his country. In addition, due to its humanistic values, sport was an indispensable element in promoting tolerance and understanding among peoples and, peace and solidarity on the international scene.
ENNA PARK (Republic of Korea), speaking on behalf of the Asian States, expressed her support for the draft resolution before the Assembly and her conviction that the XXIX Olympic Games would be crowned with success. His country had hosted the Games in the past and the Beijing Games would mark the third time that the Olympics would be held in the Asian region. In the past, the Games had inspired a spirit of peace and reconciliation in the region and across the world. She said the upcoming Games would do the same, both on a regional level and on an international level. In closing, she reiterated her delegation’s support for building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal and for the Olympic Games that Beijing would host in 2008.
JORGE VOTO-BERNALES ( Peru), speaking on behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States, said the Olympic Games would be an opportunity to remind the world of the Olympic ideal and the possibility of using sport as a means to promote peace and understanding among human beings. It would also be an opportunity to promote peace through the observance of the Olympic truce, so that “the noise of the arms and the tragedy of war could be detained during the celebration of the Olympic Games”. That truce would also be an opportunity to give dialogue, peace and reconciliation a chance where conflicts and violence currently exist.
The practice of sport was an opportunity to stimulate the development of human beings, he said. It was necessary to remember the importance sport had in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. The United Nations should continue to support initiatives to ensure that the benefits of sport are within the reach of all human beings. In closing, he expressed his region’s support for the resolution to build a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal and its commitment overall to the Olympic ideal.
JEAN-MARIE EHOUZOU ( Benin) said the Secretary-General’s report detailed the invaluable potential of sport as a tool for strengthening international peace and security, as well as understanding among the people of the United Nations. Benin welcomed the peacebuilding initiatives launched in countries emerging from conflicts and especially the assistance provided to them in restoring their full participation in world sports and in the Olympic movement. The report also showed that sport had been a powerful lever in the pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals, by placing a high value in social integration efforts and targeting different categories of people with special needs.
Continuing, he commended the Special Adviser for his endeavours to establish a close cooperation between the African Union and the European Union to develop sporting activities in African countries. Benin also thanked China for staging the next Olympic Games under the significant motto “One World, One Dream”. Africa would certainly observe the Olympic truce called for in the draft resolution -- no other continent needed to harness the positive energy generated by sport for mutual understanding and reconciliation more than Africa.
PETER MAURER ( Switzerland) said sport was an effective and efficient tool to advance many of humanity’s challenges, ranging from racism to gender equality and the plight of street children. The 2005 International Year for Sport and Physical Education and previous General Assembly resolutions were having a lasting effect in shifting the perception of sport as a luxury to sport as a cost-effective development tool. The Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace and his support team had achieved significant success over the past year, though their work was not yet done. The Special Adviser played an important role as a global advocate, a facilitator to build partnerships across different sectors of society, and as a representative of the Secretary-General and the United Nations system.
Since its inception, Switzerland had been one of the main supporters of the Office of the Special Adviser, he said. His Government was currently trying to identify more feasible options for a more stable arrangement for the Office since, to date, its status was temporary and still somewhat uncertain. He welcomed the Secretariat’s plans to establish a Trust Fund on Sport for Development and Peace based in Geneva. The formal establishment of an Office of the Special Adviser would be a strong signal that the United Nations intended to continue to promote the use of sport as a tool to advance development and peace and would ease the way for Member States to provide financial support. There was urgent need for such support and Member States should follow his delegation’s lead and provide additional resources for the Special Adviser’s work. Finally, he said a resolution on the use of sport for peace and development should create a more stable structure and confirm the strategic orientation of work in the field.
GEORGE PATAKI (United States), former Governor of New York, which had hosted two Winter Olympic Games, said that for several Olympiads, the United Nations had advocated the Olympic Truce with a view to protecting, as far as possible, the interests of the athletes and sport in general, and to contributing to the quest for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to conflicts. The practice of heralding the Truce during the Games to enable safe passage and participation of attendees through areas of conflict was among the oldest of accords -– dating from 776 B.C. History revealed that the Olympic Truce had transcended differences whenever people met on the fields of fair play. He added that the United States, as it had been since 1993, was honoured to again be among the co-sponsors of the Assembly’s traditional draft resolution on the Olympic Ideal.
At the same time, the Assembly’s action today was not so much “proclaiming” the Truce, but essentially “validating” the natural, truce-like atmosphere that prevailed throughout the world community whenever countries met on Olympic fields. In that sense, he said the Olympic Truce was revived not only by the Assembly in 1993, rather it had been revived upon the convening of the modern Olympic Games themselves in 1896. He said that today, Member States would adopt the Olympic Truce at the United Nations. Next August, competitors would swear the Athletes’ Oath of Fair Play at the opening ceremonies. “Let those solemn practices inspire all others to make their own truces with conflicts in their lives that keep them from pursuing their own goals and ideals,” he said, calling for the implementation of the resolution at all levels -– intergovernmental, national, community, household and personal.
JOSE ALBERTO BRIZ GUTIERREZ ( Guatemala) said all people should have the right to practice physical activity for health. In Guatemala, after the signing of the Peace Agreements in 1996, his Government had guided all its programmes towards a “peace culture” based on social and cultural exchanges, creativity, and long-term action in support of peace and sustainable development. The Ministry of Culture and Sport had implemented numerous programmes that used sport as a tool for development. Among those initiatives was a particularly successful sport programme for detainees in detention centres to promote their rehabilitation.
There were also sport programmes for street children, child labourers, refugees and handicapped children, which included activities such as chess schools, sports competitions, and multicultural games and events, she continued. Those programmes targeted children, youth and the elderly, particularly vulnerable groups within those communities and women and girls. With those programmes, children had the opportunity to use their free time in a healthy way and the Government had the opportunity to promote social values to those hard to reach groups. He added that youth leaders were strengthened through those programmes, with an aim for them to promote sport in their turn.
He welcomed the International Convention against Doping in Sport that was currently awaiting approval by his Congress. There was a need to strengthen efforts to incorporate sport in development initiatives. In particular, more resources should be allocated to developing countries to help them establish sport infrastructure and develop national programmes. He applauded the work that had been done in partnership with the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations to use sport to bring divergent communities together and he expressed his hope that the partnership would continue in the future, in particular in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Finally, he welcomed the recent initiative taken by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to use young people more effectively in the promotion of peace.
HERALDO MUNOZ ( Chile) said that his delegation firmly believed that sport was essential to promoting an atmosphere of tolerance, respect and dialogue. The link between sport and peace was not just theoretical. By example, he said that the MINUSTAH had held several popular sporting events, drawing participants from around the Latin American and Caribbean regions, which had shown the Haitian people what peace could mean through sport. Such activities should be expanded to other countries and regions in the future.
He said that Chile was particularly concerned about the world health situation and firmly supported the role of physical education in improving health and livelihoods. He called for the creation of a worldwide culture of sport and physical education that included, young and old, rich and poor, athletes and the disabled, participating together to contribute to a world that was less violent, healthier and more tolerant, within the Olympic ideal.
He said that, while national structures were largely responsible for providing sports facilities and physical education frameworks for their citizens, there was also a need for permanent structures with sufficient funds and adequate representation to coordinate or facilitate national efforts. To that end, the mandates of the relevant United Nations Office should have stable budgets and permanent status. It was also necessary to establish strategic alliances to mobilize resources and to promote partnerships between the United Nations and civil society groups, like the International Olympic Committee and the International Federation of Football Associations, he concluded.
SHRIPAD YASSO NAIK ( India) said sport generated tolerance of spirit, action and respect for opponents and inculcated discipline through observance of game rules. Sport also developed camaraderie and good-fellowship that enhanced the ability of communities to co-exist peacefully, bringing people together in an enjoyable format, despite sometimes propagating difficult social messages. India had a long tradition of sport and physical education, with several initiatives in place to improve the standard of sports in the country.
Continuing, he said India agreed with the Secretary-General’s report recommending the enhancement of sports to help reverse disease and obesity, especially among young people. While sports might play only a limited role in reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, it had a critical role in reducing the cases of juvenile diabetes in urban areas, as well as lowering anxiety and high blood-pressure caused by the pressures of modern living among the younger generation of today.
Despite uneven progress, he said there was evidence that indicated a better integration of sports across all geographic regions. However, the report highlighted that a lack of adequate resources, facilities and trained personnel for sports continued to constitute a key constraint in many countries, especially developing ones. The pursuit of sports today required modern equipment, infrastructure and training. India agreed with the report’s recommendation that the United Nations needed to help make sport and physical education more accessible to larger segments of the world’s population by promoting investment for expanding sports infrastructure. His country also hoped the United Nations system would focus its efforts on promoting sports through sports, rather than through conferences and meetings.
ANDREAS D. MAVROYIANNIS ( Cyprus) said that sport was an integral part of human development, both individual and collective. It contributed to development, capacity-building, unity and bringing people closer together. It also could be used as a tool for ethos building among the youth of all countries. Sport related to the core human instinct for peace and security. Taking the Olympic truce as an example, he asked why, if the ancients, with their limited means of disseminating knowledge and information, were able to observe that difficult endeavour, today’s world could not achieve as much by establishing an equivalent institution today? The creation of a peaceful environment for the Games, with the hope for more lasting duration, had always been part of the Olympic ideal.
The Olympic Truce had always had three key messages, he said: the futility of war, the denunciation of violence and the superiority of pursuits that brought people together; the quest for freedom, shared values and the intrinsically noble character of fairness and synergy; and the recognition of the Games’ contribution to the prosperity of all and to the further development of culture and civilization. The resolution under consideration, however, had never been fully implemented, despite its biannual adoption and unanimous support, he noted. He expressed the hope that its letter and spirit would gradually embed itself into international human customs and that its observance would be an instance where history repeated itself.
GILLES NOGHES ( Monaco) said the Olympic Games would unite and inspire people from all backgrounds and cultures, as they watched the best athletes in the world compete peacefully against each other. The Olympic ideal could and should serve as an example to promote global peace. In general, sport should be practiced with due respect for the effort and work of all athletes and without the use of stimulants or illegal drugs. One of the outcomes from a recent regional conference on the subject hosted by Monaco, was a declaration stating that doping should never be allowed in sport, whether it was in high level sporting competitions or at an individual level. Since 2003, Monaco’s anti-doping committee had worked to establish international mechanisms to control the use of illegal drugs in sport and his delegation welcomed the International Convention against Doping in Sport that took effect in early 2007.
Sport created a brotherhood among players, he said, whether among street children, refugees or schoolchildren. The recognition of the humanity of sport had resulted in the innovative programme “humanistic sport for the development of youth in cities” that used sport as a tool to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The programme, created in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, would help to reintegrate and rehabilitate vulnerable children and would not only teach them sport, but also reading, writing, and other trades. Cape Town, South Africa had been chosen as the pilot city for the project and his Government looked forward to positive results.
Turning to the environment, he said the “greening” of the upcoming Olympic Games should be applauded. His Government understood the major logistical task that would be, as Monaco had recently hosted the 12th Games for Small European States, which had also aimed to be ecologically efficient. The organizing committee had adopted an official declaration for those Games that recognized the use of sport as a tool for sustainable development, recognized the link between sport and the environment, recognized the need to minimize the impact of those Games on the environment, and committed to reducing the size of the carbon footprint from those Games through the planting of new trees.
ILYA ROGACHEV ( Russian Federation) said that sport, peace and development were interrelated. A pre-condition for sport was the absence of war. Sport called for competition among partners jointly striving for development, rather than capture of the enemy. The Russian Federation was convinced that, at a time when globalization brought forth new challenges and threats and there was need for dialogue between civilizations, international athletic cooperation played an important role in overcoming ethnic and religious hostility. The Olympic Truce could help to inculcate Olympic ideals in today’s youth, he said, and show them their relevance. He called on all to observe the Olympic Truce. The Olympic torch should light the way forward to the third millennium and a world free of hostility and force.
Next year that torch would light the ancient city of Beijing, he said, and he wished China well in organizing that global event. The 2014 winter Games would take place in Sochi, Russian Federation, where preparations were underway. He expressed appreciation for United Nations activity to strengthen cooperation in international sport and uphold its ideals and welcomed the Organization’s initiatives with the International Olympic Committee for sports development, education and health programmes. Further, political support for sport could help countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Sport, as an international language, had the potential, through sports diplomacy, to promote the culture of peace and dialogue between civilizations.
BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said that sport had great potential for making a substantive contribution in reaching internationally-agreed development objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals. She said that her delegation appreciated the efforts of the Secretary-General and various United Nations agencies to promote sport for peace and development, one of the key development objectives highlighted by political leaders in the outcome of the Assembly’s 2005 World Summit.
She said that sport and physical education were an important way to teach tolerance and peace and to bring people closer together. Her delegation supported the current draft resolution on the Olympic Ideal and her country was pleased to be participating in the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, where it hoped to win a fair number of medals. She said that her Government had set out a national programme to ensure that physical education and sport would be available to the widest portion of the population, particularly younger people. There had also been broad efforts to bring disabled people into sport in all regions. Just this year, Kazakhstan had held thousands of events on building healthy lifestyles. She added that Kazakhstan was set to host in 2011 the seventh Winter Asian games and preparations were well underway.
JOHN MOURIKIS ( Greece) said the wide support for the draft resolution before the Assembly showed the international community’s recognition for the principles embodied in the Olympic Games and the common goal of celebrating the Games in peace, harmony and friendship. Bringing the idea of the Olympic Truce to the forefront would also draw attention to the notion that it was possible to create lasting peace from a pause in hostilities. In the past, the implementation of the Truce entailed a cessation of all hostilities, in order to allow the athletes and spectators to travel to and from Olympia and attend that sacred celebration of human achievement. In today’s world, that message could not be more relevant. Dialogue among civilizations and cooperation among the rich and the poor was a common goal, but not one always achieved. The Olympic Truce could be a constructive new approach to help resolve conflicts, as the Olympic ideal spoke the universal language of peace.
The United Nations and the Olympic Movement were natural allies, he said. They shared the same goals and observed the same principles and were useful tools for the international community. It was now up to Member States to seize the opportunity presented by the current draft resolution and observe the Truce for the benefit of all people. By adopting that resolution, the international community would be taking a positive step towards “life and reality, without illusions”. He added, “if we can have peace in the world for just 16 days, then maybe we can have it for much longer”.
SAHBI KHALFALLAH ( Tunisia) said that his delegation was determined to continue its work in the area of sport and supported the idea that sporting events could bridge gaps and bring people together. Indeed, promoting tolerance, peace and partnership was essential in an era of globalization. He said that the international community must continue to promote sport and physical education and governments must ensure that such efforts received the necessary funding, particularly since sport had been identified as one of the roads to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Tunisia welcomed the Secretary-General’s intention to set up a fund for sport and peace and development, and looked forward to seeing that soon finalized.
DANIEL CARMON ( Israel) said that sport offered a common language that spoke of international friendship and harmony, and could bridge the global seams of friction. The spirit of healthy competition provided a channel through which people of different religious, cultural, racial and political backgrounds could interact and enhance their respect for one another. In its region, Israel had tried to harness the spirit of sport to “forge relationships and build bridges across dark waters of conflict”.
Indeed, Israel had a visibly active network of organizations, sponsoring sport for peace and development days, and bringing children –- Jews, Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians -– together under the umbrella of sport. A number of sports for peace and development programmes occurred regularly, notably among them, those sponsored by the [Shimon] Peres Centre for Peace. He said that Israel’s legendary Sons of Sakhnin United, a multi-ethnic Israeli soccer team made up of Jews, Arabs and others, and their quest to win the Premier League in Israel, continued to inspire hopes and confidence in the capacity for sport and competition to inculcate respect and mutual understanding. He said that the team played in a venue widely knows as “Doha Stadium,” which had been built with public funds largely from Israel and the Qatari National Olympic Committee.
That joint venture was a sign of the quest for peaceful and neighbourly relations within the region and the willingness to cross boundaries to achieve peace and harmony through sport, he continued. At the same time, not all sporting events were carried out in the same positive spirit, he said, recalling the terrorist strike carried out against the 1972 Munich Games by the Black September Group. That attack had left 11 Israeli athletes, coaches and referees dead and the reverberations of that “abhorrent and monstrous act of terrorism” were still felt in Israel, and beyond. Israel hoped that the upcoming 2008 Games would adhere to the values of sport as an ideal means of stimulating body, mind, and spirit and in turn, overcome barriers of language, politics and religion. The abuse of sport and international competitions for political means was an affront to the very ethos and virtues of the Olympic tradition.
CELESTINO MIGLIORE, Observer of the Holy See, said that sport had become a mass phenomenon, breaking geographic, racial, social, economic, political and cultural barriers. World preparations for the 29th modern games in Beijing, were a reminder of the role sport could play in the life of every individual and society. Citius, Altius, Fortius -- Latin for swifter, higher, stronger -- aptly described the goals of great athletes the world over. Sport brought people of different cultures together. Using sport for dialogue and encounter could make the Greek tradition of Olympic truce a genuine and long-lasting peace.
While the rule of law remained the foundation of durable peace, sport enabled warring factions to come together for a common purpose as a reminder that many more things bind people together than tear them apart, he said, commending the United Nations Office of Sport for Development and Peace for its work to foster dialogue in conflict-ridden areas. Further, those participating in sports developed their creativity, overcame personal challenges, acquired a sense of belonging, and learned discipline and sacrifice, all of which contributed to the development of community. The Holy See’s Office for Church and Sports promoted a healthy approach to sport and young people’s understanding of the positive impact of sport values. “The Olympic Creed reminds us that the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle,” he said.
DUMISANI S KUMALO ( South Africa) said the Office of the Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace had made significant strides in using sport as a tool for development and peace and had contributed to advancing advocacy work within the United Nations system and beyond. The report before the Assembly highlighted the role sport played in the peacebuilding process and national efforts aimed at implementing sport for development and peace initiatives. South Africa was committed to the overall objectives laid out in the report and had already begun to work with other Member States to integrate sport into international cooperation and development policies through the implementation of relevant United Nations resolutions.
Sport was a forum in which skills, discipline, confidence and leadership could be built, he said. Through it, the core principles of tolerance, cooperation and respect were taught. It also had the potential to build social cohesion and national reconstruction and unity, which is what had happened through South Africa’s recent wins in the Rugby World Cup and the Soccer African Cup of Nations. His Government had adopted numerous measures, in partnership with other countries, in the area of sport for development and peace. In 2010, it would host the FIFA World Cup, which was an important milestone for the continent and an opportunity to boost sport and tourism industries and thus advance economic development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
The African Union had declared 2007 the International Year of African Football and he expressed his appreciation for the positive, ongoing collaboration among the African Union, the South African Government and the New York Office of the Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace. He also thanked the Office for its active participation in regional meetings. That participation had been instrumental in enhancing the momentum of using sport as a tool for development and peace. The increased efforts of the Office to use sport in peacebuilding activities were particularly welcome and such programmes should be strengthened in the future. Overall, it was important to build on past successes to establish more sustainable progress and the international community should continue to provide support in promoting sport as a tool for achieving peace and development.
Action on Draft
The Assembly then adopted by consensus the draft resolution “Sport for peace and development: building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal”.
Introduction of Korean Peninsula draft resolution
PAK GIL YON (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) introduced the draft resolution entitled “Peace, security and reunification on the Korean Peninsula” which was being tabled jointly with the Republic of Korea. The inter-Korean summit held in Pyongyang in early October 2007 had adopted the Declaration on the Development of North-South Relations, Peace and Prosperity and had opened up a new phase for peace, common prosperity and reunification on the Korean Peninsula, he said. It had moved inter-Korean relations to a higher stage that was based on the Joint Declaration of June 15, 2000 and the spirit of “by our nation itself”. The draft resolution welcomed and supported the inter-Korean summit and the Declaration and encouraged both sides to implement the Declaration faithfully, while asking Member States to support and assist the positive process. The adoption of the draft resolution would help bring durable peace and reunification to the Korean Peninsula and peace and stability to the rest of the world. In closing, he expressed his hope that the draft resolution would be adopted by consensus.
KIM HYUN CHONG ( Republic of Korea) said the inter-Korean summit in early October 2007 reconfirmed the commitment to peace and prosperity and resulted in a Declaration that set forth a paradigm that was intended to have a salutary effect on future inter-Korean relations. The Declaration called for both Koreas to work towards establishing a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula and, more specifically, set up a peace zone in the West Sea and explored the feasibility of designating the area as a common fishery zone. Leaders of both countries expressed their commitment to the denuclearization of the Peninsula at the summit and that commitment was unequivocally reflected in the Declaration. In tandem with the summit, the most recent round of the six-party talks also reaffirmed that commitment. The dynamics of the two meetings indicated that relations were progressing in a mutually reinforcing manner.
He said significant progress was also made in the economic and trade area. The Gaesong Industrial Complex in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea employed 18,000 local workers and would be upgraded to accommodate further investments. Additional industrial and economic projects were also being considered. Through its various provisions, the Declaration pointed the way forward for common prosperity, the eventual peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula, and the resolution of longstanding regional concerns. The inter-Korean summit and the resulting Declaration were positive developments for both Koreas and for the international community as well. The adoption of the draft resolution before the Assembly would once again demonstrate the international community’s support for the advancement of inter-Korean relations and peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.
JOAO SALGUEIRO (Portugal), on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union followed all efforts to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula and supported any initiative fostering peace, stability and cooperation there, including the adoption of the draft resolution currently under consideration. The Union supported the Summit between President Roh Moo-hyun and General Secretary Kim Jong-il, held in Pyongyang on 2 to 4 October, as well as its outcome, the Declaration on the Advancement of North-South Korean Relations, Peace and Prosperity, and considered that it contributed to the growing atmosphere of confidence and trust on the Korean Peninsula.
That atmosphere would contribute to efforts within the framework of the six-party talks, also supported by the European Union, to achieve the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, he said. He also looked to the follow-up to the current initiative between the prime ministers of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea in November and said that the Union was prepared to contribute to inter-Korean dialogue, reconciliation and reunification as called for in the resolution.
LIU ZEHNMIN ( China) welcomed the Inter-Korean Summit and its outcome Declaration signed by the leaders of the two sides. It proved that both the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were ready to seize the current opportunity to push ahead with efforts to ensure peace on the Korean Peninsula. The international community must work to ensure the proper supportive environment for the dialogue to continue and expand. China attached importance to, and had always worked towards, maintaining peace on the Korean Peninsula. It had always maintained that the two sides should maintain dialogue towards reunification. China supported the inclusion of the item on the agenda of the Assembly and hoped that the joint resolution could be adopted as soon as possible.
HOANG CHI TRUNG ( Viet Nam) said that his delegation was pleased to take part in today’s important debate and thanked the two countries for having introduced the joint draft text before the Assembly. “We are all very delighted to see the two Koreas working together in the interest of peace on the peninsula and in the wider region,” he said. The Declaration adopted by the two leaders at the summit was truly a landmark event that represented a milestone in the development of relations between the two Koreas. Viet Nam believed that implementation of the outcome would promote reunification and bring the Koreans closer to their long-held dream of national reconciliation and reunification. Vie Nam supported all efforts to settle the issues between the North and South of the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and negotiations. It also urged the United Nations to support the two Koreas in their efforts to improve relations and launch the peace process.
YUKIO TAKASU ( Japan) said that he supported the draft resolution on peace, security and reunification on the Korean Peninsula and welcomed the recent inter-Korean summit, as it further advanced inter-Korean relations and the easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The Declaration on the Advancement of South-North Korean Relations, Peace and Prosperity, which resulted from that summit, was also welcomed.
He also welcomed the commitment made by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea resulting from the six-party talks to declare all nuclear programmes and disable the three facilities at Yongbyon by the end of this year. The denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was essential for the peace and stability of north-east Asia and the entire international community. He further looked forward to resolving all outstanding issues, such as abduction, nuclear and missile questions, and establishing normal relations between Japan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea based on the Japan-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Pyongyang Declaration.
ZALMAY KHALILZAD ( United States) said the draft resolution before the Assembly recognized that dialogue and cooperation between the two Koreas was essential for better relations on the peninsula and for peace and stability in the region and beyond. His Government had always encouraged that cooperation and dialogue and, as such, it was particularly pleased to see progress in the ongoing talks. The inter-Korean summit should be viewed as supportive and complementary to the six-party talks on the denuclearization of the peninsula. A “permanent peace regime” was a goal that had been affirmed at the summit and through the resulting Declaration. The United States believed that discussions on that peace regime could only begin once the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was clearly on the road to complete denuclearization and had fully disclosed and abandoned its nuclear weapons programme. He said his Government would continue to support positive progress in the region through the six-party talks. He added, in closing, that the full implementation of 2005 Joint Statement would lead to better relations between the two Koreas, would transform the region, and would improve the lives of people living on the peninsula.
ROSEMARY BANKS (New Zealand) welcomed the joint draft resolution before the Assembly and said that it was an important record of the inter-Korean summit and the outcome Declaration adopted by the leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea. The draft also expressed support for that Declaration, which, among other things laid the foundation for eventual reunification of the Korean peninsula. She said that the security situation on the Korean peninsula affected the entire region, including New Zealand.
To that end, her country welcomed the outcome of the recent Inter-Korean Summit during which the leaders set out a framework for future discussions on important issues of cooperation in the areas of security and development. The recently concluded round of the six-party talks had also added to the emerging atmosphere of reconciliation and open dialogue in the region. New Zealand, along with the rest of the region, took great interest in the inter-Korean dialogue, in the hope that it would serve to reinforce the growing environment of confidence and trust between the two countries, she added.
ABDULLAH ALSAIDI ( Yemen) said that the recent Inter-Korean summit had culminated in an agreement to build a permanent peace regime, declare an end to the Korean War and work for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula. Most importantly, the leaders of the two sides had committed to the denuclearization of the peninsula. He underscored Yemen’s sympathy with the Korean peoples’ aspirations. Yemen itself had been a divided country for more that 130 years.
Constant conflict and turbulent relations –- exacerbated by regional and global rivalries -– prevailed between the two parts of Yemen, akin to the situation of other divided countries, including the Koreas. Yemen had been reunified in 1990. With all that in mind, Yemen wholeheartedly supported the draft resolution and encouraged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea to implement “fully and unreservedly” the Declaration on the advancement of North-South relations.
MARTIN NEY (Germany) said that, speaking from the perspective of a reunified country itself, Germany was pleased with the course taken at the inter-Korean summit held in Pyongyang on 2 to 4 October of this year. During that summit, the two sides had crafted a perspective for a lasting and peaceful solution on the Korean Peninsula. Germany attentively followed all efforts to decrease tensions on the Korean Peninsula and had special sympathy for developments in the region. It was now up to the parties, he said, to create the necessary conditions for substantive negotiations on a peace treaty and to chart the course to follow.
R. M. MARTY M. NATALEGAWA ( Indonesia) said, as a country with close ties to both the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea, Indonesia had consistently supported the process of inter-Korean dialogue, reconciliation and reunification. His Government recognized the tremendous contribution that peace and stability on the peninsula could offer to the wider East Asian region. The inter-Korean summit and its Declaration was a major milestone in inter-Korean relations. Progress in those relations had a positive impact on the wider region and, as such, his Government was fully supportive of the inclusion of the additional item “Peace, security and reunification on the Korean Peninsula” in the current session of the Assembly’s agenda.
He expressed his support for the joint initiative to table the draft resolution before the Assembly and called on Member States to encourage the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea to implement the Declaration fully and in good faith. He added that Member States should continue to support and assist, as appropriate, the process of inter-Korean dialogue, reconciliation and reunification.
CHIRACHAI PUNKRASIN ( Thailand) congratulated the fruitful outcome of the inter-Korean summit in early October and said it contributed to the consolidation of peace on the Korean peninsula. The leaders of the two Koreas had explored ways to increase mutual trust through political and military confidence-building measures and had laid the groundwork for an eventual inter-Korean economic community. The Declaration that came out of the summit represented a solemn commitment to improving inter-Korean relations and should be fully implemented. The adoption by consensus of the resolution under item 87 “the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency” had highlighted the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s cooperation with the Agency’s verification and monitoring process. That historical resolution called for many countries to readjust their attitudes and policies towards the situation in the Korean Peninsula.
The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula would strengthen the NPT regime and would serve as a useful example of a negotiated solution for similar problems in other parts of the world, he said. For a long time, the Korean Peninsula had been a hot spot in north-east Asia and, since 1950, the tense situation of confrontation between the North and the South had been a cause of great concern. Recent developments in relations between the two Koreas created a favourable environment for peace and stability on the peninsula and deserved universal praise from the global community at large.
YURY G. YAROSHEVICH ( Belarus) welcomed the resolution on peace, security and reunification on the Korean Peninsula, as well as the Declaration on the Advancement of North-South Korean Relations, Peace and Prosperity signed at the inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang in October of this year. The agreement not only served as the basis for the resolution under consideration, but was a milestone for consolidating peace on the Peninsula and throughout north-east Asia. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea had eloquently demonstrated that the most complex issues could be resolved at the negotiating table, he said. Good will and the readiness to hear another’s perspective were key to that success. He called on all delegations to support the draft resolution.
KONSTANTIN K. DOLGOV ( Russian Federation) supported adoption of the draft resolution on peace, security and reunification on the Korean Peninsula. As a close neighbour, enjoying good relations with both countries, Russia had always called for dialogue and welcomed the second inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang, which culminated in a declaration on peace and prosperity. He expressed best wishes for the realization of agreements signed in Pyongyang and was prepared to lend support to all initiatives to expedite peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and throughout north-east Asia.
JOHN MCNEE ( Canada) said that his delegation welcomed the joint draft before the Assembly and commended both the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for their recent efforts towards peace, security and reunification on the Peninsula. Canada had been encouraged by the summit and considered it a welcome step that could only enhance understanding between North and South Korea. Canada expected that the summit would contribute towards greater inter-Korean economic cooperation and the reduction of military tension, as well as to the realization of the Korean peoples’ desire for peaceful reunification of the peninsula and greater stability in the wider region.
Canada encouraged both countries to continue those efforts in good faith, in order to fully implement the Declaration. It was only through continued mutual effort that the common goals of peace and prosperity could be reached and that the foundation for a peaceful reunification could be properly laid. He said that Canada also hoped that the summit would reinforce the positive developments in the six-party talks and help advance efforts towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
JOSE ALBERTO BRIZ GUTIERREZ ( Guatemala) said that his delegation supported the draft and would reiterate its support for joint efforts to advance peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula. The Declaration signed by the two leaders had been a milestone. Guatemala hoped that, as process got underway, both sides would work to achieve a situation that reflected the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. The peninsula had been a source of tension for the wider international community and Guatemala would encourage the two Governments to press ahead with application of the Declaration in good faith, as well as with all initiatives that would lead to a reunification of the peninsula.
HERALDO MUNOZ ( Chile) said that the two countries had “one language, one past and one destiny,” and the outcome of the October inter-Korean summit was a promise made to the people of the peninsula to achieve peace and reconciliation. The text before the Assembly provided a political context to the ongoing negotiations. Chile had “deep” relations with the Korean people and it had recently signed its first free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea. Chile would vote in favour of the resolution and hoped that other Member States would as well.
ANDRZJ TOWPIK ( Poland) said, since 1953, his country had been engaged in stabilization efforts in the region, as well as in the process of reconciliation between the two Koreas. As such, his Government sincerely welcomed and supported the draft resolution before the Assembly. The fact that the resolution had been tabled jointly had a particular and unprecedented significance. Recent developments such as the agreement recently reached in the six-party talks, the inter-Korean summit and its resulting Declaration raised the prospects for real progress on the Korean peninsula. He strongly encouraged the two Korean States to keep that unique momentum and to implement fully the recent multilateral and bilateral Korean agreements. After more than half a century of division, conflicts and tension, the two sides could now establish mutual trust and strong inter-Korean relations to ensure peace and stability in the region.
ENKHTSETSEG OCHIR ( Mongolia) was heartened at the outcome of the inter-Korean summit held in early October and its resulting Declaration. Full and faithful implementation of the Declaration would be crucial in improving inter-Korean relations, consolidating peace on the peninsula and laying a solid foundation for peaceful reunification. As a north-east Asian nation with a nuclear-weapon-free status, Mongolia was particularly pleased with the recent progress in the six-party talks and the denuclearization of the peninsula. She welcomed the agreement for the implementation of the second-phase steps, which would include the disablement of all existing nuclear facilities in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Her country had hosted a bilateral working group session on the normalization of relations between Japan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and stood ready to continue such efforts in the future. In light of the promising political dynamic in the subregion, Mongolia was optimistic that its early call for a multilateral security cooperation mechanism in north-east Asia would gain ground for support in the subregion and beyond.
LI MAUNG WAI ( Myanmar) supported the draft resolution on peace, security and reunification on the Korean Peninsula and congratulated the two sides on their joint efforts. The Declaration on the Advancement of North-South Korean Relations, Peace and Prosperity was a milestone. Those developments would contribute to peace in north-east Asia and beyond. Myanmar enjoyed cordial relations with both countries and fully supported their endeavours for peaceful reunification. Myanmar supported all endeavours towards world peace. He hoped the draft resolution would be adopted by consensus.
JEAN-MARIE EHOUZOU ( Benin) said that his country had friendly relations with the two sister republics on the Korean Peninsula and had been working for several decades for reunification there, as that would lead to improvements in the political, economic and social situation in the region. He supported the draft resolution, as it would help put an end to one of most painful relics of cold war.
He further welcomed the success of the summit in Pyongyang earlier this month and welcomed the opportunities for continued dialogue provided by the Declaration signed 4 October. He encouraged both countries to show good will in overcoming obstacles to their common goal. Adoption of the resolution would give new impetus to help the Korean people overcome their painful division. He called on the General Assembly to adopt the draft resolution.
PIRAGIBE DOS SANTOS TARRAGO ( Brazil) said the draft resolution before the Assembly was a most welcome initiative and followed the inter-Korean summit in early October, during which the two Koreas expressed their commitment to dialogue, reconciliation and peace on the Korean peninsula. The summit was a major step forward in the reunification of the peninsula and was evidence that the ongoing process of normalization on the peninsula should be led, first and foremost, by the Korean people themselves. In that spirit, he expressed his Government’s belief that the adoption of the draft resolution would demonstrate the international community’s keen interest in a peaceful and reunified Korean Peninsula. It would also provide renewed momentum to the ongoing dialogue on the peninsula and efforts to build peace on the peninsula, in north-east Asia and beyond.
ALDO MONTOVANI ( Italy) said that his Government had hailed the recent summit as a positive step towards peace and reunification on the Korean peninsula. He said that all regional and inter-governmental organizations should support the emerging dialogue between the two countries. He stressed that by adding this item to its agenda and subsequently holding a debate, the Assembly had reaffirmed its significance and proved it had the ability to react in a timely manner to international developments.
TAREQ M. D. ARIFUL ISLAM ( Bangladesh) said that his delegation welcomed the introduction of the draft currently before the Assembly and strongly believed that dialogue was the best way to address outstanding issues on the Korean Peninsula. That was not only the long-held dream of the Korean people, but also of the wider international community. Bangladesh, as a friend of both countries, was ready and willing to contribute to the ongoing peace processes and hoped that the resolution before the Assembly would be adopted without a vote.
MOHAMED ELGHITANY ( Egypt) expressed his support for the content and thrust of the draft resolution before the Assembly, which underlined the importance of dialogue and mutual trust between the two Koreas. The draft resolution embodied the efforts to implement the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter in the maintenance of international peace and security. There was no doubt that dialogue among all parties concerned was the best means to address the nuclear issue and, as such, he welcomed the Declaration issued after the inter-Korean summit. He expressed support for the goals of the Declaration in order to achieve further rapprochement between the two Koreas so that, eventually, they could be reunified. Reunification would help build regional peace and would contribute to global peace as well, which was the common goal of the entire international community.
RODRIGO MALMIERCA DIZA ( Cuba) said inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation were paramount to consolidate peace and security on the Korean peninsula and contributed to peace and stability in both the region and throughout the world. Cuba had always supported and would continue to support the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula and, as such, welcomed the Declaration that came out of the inter-Korean summit in early October. He said he was satisfied with the determination of both parties to fully implement the Declaration as part of the process towards a peaceful reunification.
During the summit conference of the Non-Aligned Movement in the previous year, he said the heads of State or Government stressed the importance of guaranteeing a durable peace and security on the peninsula for the sake of the common prosperity of the Korean people and the rest of the world. During the summit, participants had expressed their support towards efforts to reunify the peninsula through the genuine aspirations and concerted efforts of the Korean people themselves and in line with the Joint Declaration issued in 2000. In conclusion, he reaffirmed his Government’s support for inter-Korean dialogue, reconciliation and reunification.
Action on the draft resolution
The Assembly adopted the draft resolution “Peace, security and reunification on the Korean peninsula” (document A/62/L.2) without a vote.
Statement by the Secretary-General
Welcoming the Assembly’s adoption of the resolution by consensus, Secretary-General BAN KI-MOON said today’s date coincided exactly with the date seven years ago when the Assembly adopted resolution 55/11, following the June 2000 summit of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea. He welcomed that coincidence, adding that, in his homeland of Korea, it was an ancient custom to choose an auspicious day for any celebration or new endeavour. He inevitably looked back on preparations for that summit and its follow-up, which he personally celebrated as Vice-Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea.
He said he felt a personal obligation to do all he could to encourage and facilitate the work for peace, security and reunification. “I am convinced that the historic inter-Korean summit will pave the way for a permanent peace regime and eventual reunification on the Korean peninsula,” he said. Moreover, the summit would lead to increased inter-Korean reconciliation, cooperation and shared prosperity, and act as a catalyst for continued progress in the six-party talks on denuclearization issues. He commended the “wisdom and courage” of Chairman Kim Jong Il and President Roh Moo-hyun in “seizing the momentum” and taking this significant step forward. He also thanked the Assembly for its unanimous support for the resolution.
It would now be of utmost importance to implement fully the outcome of the summit, he explained, as every step in carrying out the agreed elements of the Declaration would be an important measure of confidence-building. He encouraged the leaders of both Koreas to maintain the momentum created by this “historic turn of history”, and called on Member States to help sustain a favourable atmosphere for the implementation of the outcome. “I stand ready to provide every assistance required, in close cooperation with the international community,” he said.
The Assembly then adopted by consensus a text on the participation of children and non-governmental organizations in the round tables of the commemorative high-level plenary meeting devoted to the follow-up to the outcome of the special session on children” (document A/62/L.8), which invited 20 children and 20 non-governmental organizations to participate in two round tables at that meeting, to be held 11 to 12 December 2007.
* *** *For information media • not an official record