Global response needed to meet emerging threats, ministers tell General Assembly

15 September 2002

As the General Assembly continued its high-level debate this afternoon, speakers from across the world highlighted emerging threats to international peace and security, and stressed the need for a resolute global response formulated through the United Nations.

Laszlo Kovacs, Hungary’s Foreign Minister, voiced regret that the Iraqi regime refuses to cooperate with the UN and continues to pose a threat to peace. “The international community cannot disregard and has to respond to this fact in a resolute manner,” he said. Other global challenges include drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption and transnational organized crime. “The role of the United Nations in facing and tackling these phenomena is of paramount importance,” he said, noting that the illegal trade in nuclear, biological and chemical materials also pose grave threats, as do ballistic missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. To address this, Hungary backs negotiations on an international code of conduct against the proliferation of ballistic missiles.

The Foreign Minister of the Bahamas, Frederick A. Mitchell, said small island developing States face a severe threat posed by climate change and other environmental. "We have repeatedly expressed our grave concern to some of our industrialized partners about the transhipment of nuclear waste through the Caribbean and the disastrous effect this might have on the economies of the Bahamas and the Caribbean," he said. "We do not accept that because the risk of accidents is remote that the transhipment of nuclear waste should be allowed to continue," he said, calling for an end to such practices. In addition, he urged all States to ratify the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Masher said his country rejects all forms of terrorism. At the same time, he said there were "some surreptitious tendencies, driven by pernicious and wicked intentions to falsely link terrorism to a specific religion or culture" which must be repudiated. On the Middle East, he said Israel's occupation had created intolerable living conditions for the Palestinian people. The only viable course for addressing the Palestinian-Israeli question lies in the resumption of the peace process. It is necessary to define the obligations of both sides, set up a timetable for establishing a Palestinian State, and agree on the creation of an international supervisory mechanism. Concerning Iraq, he called for immediate and full implementation of the Security Council's resolutions. "If these conditions are met the people of Iraq, who have been suffering for too long, would be saved from military action which will aggravate that suffering."

Kamal Kharrazi, the Foreign Minister of Iran, said terrorism can be contained only through a law-based counter-terrorism strategy that earns the full cooperation of all members of the international community. A genuine and effective fight against terrorism must include an attempt to identify the underlying root causes of the scourge on the one hand, and a concerted effort by the international community to address them on the other. Concerning the Middle East, he stressed the need to guarantee the right of the Palestinians to return to their homeland and their right to self-determination leading to the formation, in a democratic process and under the supervision of the UN, of a Palestinian State with al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital. On Iraq, he said his Government opposed "any unilateral measure or military intervention" in the country, and underlined the UN's central role in addressing the situation.

Angolan Foreign Minister Joao Bernardo De Miranda said his country was finally enjoying a climate of peace, and was making efforts to consolidate recent gains. "The peace process will soon be concluded, with the completion of the political tasks still pending under the Lusaka Protocol." At the same time, it would be difficult for the country's Government to rise to the prevailing economic and social challenges, he noted, voicing gratitude to those countries which had pledged aid to Angola's reconstruction. "Now in peace, Angola is more than ever ready and willing to take up its role as a sister nation of Africa and of the world," he said.

The Assembly also heard addresses by Somsavat Lengsavad, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Laos, Vartan Oskanian, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia, Joe Borg, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malta, George Papandreou, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, and Juli Minoves-Triquell, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Andorra.

 

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