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At UN, Pakistani leader warns of using war on terror to spread hatred against Islam

At UN, Pakistani leader warns of using war on terror to spread hatred against Islam

President Musharraf addressing the Assembly
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly's annual debate among world leaders, the President of Pakistan, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, today warned against misusing the war against terrorism to spread hatred against Islam and Muslims.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly's annual debate among world leaders, the President of Pakistan, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, today warned against misusing the war against terrorism to spread hatred against Islam and Muslims.

"In our globalizing world, religious and cultural diversity should be a vehicle for complementary creativity and dynamism, not the rationale for a new ideological or political confrontation," General Musharraf said, calling on the Assembly to adopt a declaration on religious and cultural understanding, harmony and cooperation. "A sustained dialogue between the Islamic and Western nations is essential to remove the veil of ignorance and prejudice and to promote harmony and cooperation."

The Pakistani leader also cautioned India against using the battle against terrorism as a pretext for delegitimizing the "Kashmiri struggle for freedom," tarnishing Pakistan with the brush of terrorism and driving a wedge between Islamabad and its coalition partners. Outlining the steps to avoid conflict and advance peace, General Musharraf called for a resumption of dialogue between the two countries, as agreed to in Agra, accompanied by measures for restraint in the use of nuclear and conventional arms.

In other statements, Bulgaria's President, Georgi Parvanov, voiced his optimism that the legacy of conflicts and confrontation in southeastern Europe could be surmounted and that stability, peace and security would finally be established. He noted that European and Euro-Atlantic integration were proven instruments for achieving these goals and that all countries in the region now shared the same perspective in this respect.

"We have to overcome the conventional ethno-nationalistic approach to security and proceed promptly to regional cooperation in all directions," he stressed. "Rather than trying to resolve each crisis as it occurs, our endeavours should be directed towards early prevention of conflicts through strengthening democratic institutions and human rights protection and through economic development."

President Vaira Vike-Freiberga of Latvia voiced concern at one Member State's continued disregard for calls by the Security Council and the international community to allow UN weapons inspectors on its territory. "This lack of good will and manifest atmosphere of seclusion only serves to reinforce credible suspicions that this country is clandestinely seeking to produce nuclear, chemical, bacteriological and other weapons of mass destruction," she said.

Besides international terrorism and arms proliferation, President Vike-Freiberga said other threats such as organized crime, the abuse of women and children, endemic poverty and environmental pollution also posed serious challenges to the human race, and could only be addressed through concerted and long-term international cooperation.

Meanwhile, President Valdas Adamkus of Lithuania stressed that in the face of common threats, solidarity must emerge as a consolidating driving force in global diplomacy: "It should give us the courage and determination to work together as an international community - in addressing the roots of terrorism; in responding decisively to non-compliance with Security Council resolutions and gross violations of internationally recognized norms of behaviour; in fighting terror worldwide and keeping the weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists."

Saying it was regrettable that a Member State was not upholding its obligations to the UN, President Adamkus called for Iraq to allow unrestricted access for the UN inspectors to resume their work. "We should exert all the pressure to ensure this," he said. "Indeed, this is a test case of our solidarity and unity as an international community."

For his part, Nauru's President, Rene Harris, focused his comments on the global environment, saying that the continued degradation of the earth's ecosystems could not be ignored in the light of the natural disasters - flooding, earthquakes, droughts - that have been occurring in different parts of the world.

Although the recently concluded World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, was an "earnest attempt" to remedy the situation, President Harris said, "All of us in the Pacific were disappointed by the lack of meaningful targets in the Plan of Implementation. However, we believe that the commitments for significant new resources and partnerships reached at the Summit will go a long way in helping to accelerate implementation of sustainable development."

The President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, drew the attention of the Assembly to the humanitarian crisis in his country and throughout other parts of southern Africa brought about by drought and other factors. He commended the efforts of the international organizations and the donor community to provide urgent food and supplies and welcomed any additional assistance to mitigate the effects of future dry spells.

As for the series of global conferences on financing for development and preserving the environment, President Mugabe voiced hope that the decisions taken at the meetings would translate into meaningful cooperation among development partners. He welcomed the pledges made for increased development assistance, and the commitment to sustainable development, "which are the quintessence for future generations."

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark, which currently chairs the European Union (EU), stressed that alliance's commitment to fully support the initiatives of the UN Counter-terrorism Committee and to actively help other nations implement Security Council resolution 1373, which was adopted in the wake of the 11 September attacks against the United States. He urged all countries to join and implement the 12 UN treaties against terrorism.

Turning to the plight of people around the world, Mr. Rasmussen stressed that human rights were also fundamental for prosperity and development, and declared the EU's strong support for the efforts of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to incorporate such liberties into all UN activities. "Human rights are fundamental for the life and dignity of all human beings," he said. "The primary, fundamental and essential accomplishment of the UN will one day be the full enjoyment of all human rights for everyone everywhere."