Fight against terrorism must encompass other factors, ministers tell Assembly

Fight against terrorism must encompass other factors, ministers tell Assembly

The international fight against terrorism won ringing support from ministers addressing the General Assembly this morning, but several cautioned that other factors must be taken into account while combating the scourge.

The international fight against terrorism won ringing support from ministers addressing the General Assembly this morning, but several cautioned that other factors must be taken into account while combating the scourge.

Serge Vohor Rialuth, Vanuatu's Foreign Minister, voiced strong support for the international fight against terrorism, but cautioned that it must not deflect attention from critical development concerns affecting the developing world. "The environment and the adverse impact of climate change are of extreme concern and we urge those countries that have not yet done so to ratify as soon as possible the Kyoto Protocol," he said, referring to the treaty which obliges countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. He also expressed firm opposition to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and condemned the shipment of radioactive materials through the Pacific Ocean. "The blatant disregard for national and regional opposition is a clear demonstration of power politics manifested in the foreign policies of powerful nations," he said.

Sudan's Foreign Minister, Mustafa Osman Ismail, reiterated his country's support for the war on terrorism, but stressed the need for international attention to "anxiety about the exploitation of the campaign by the forces of extremism and advocates of confrontation among civilizations and cultures." Concerning the Sudan's situation, he said the Government was working for peace, but after signing an accord in July with the rebels, "soon the rebel movement has spoiled that positive progress through the escalation of its military activities." That had forced the Government to suspend the negotiations so as to be able to stop and abort the rebel military agenda.

Mozambique's Foreign Minister, Leonardo Santos Simao, said his country had worked to ratify a number of anti-terrorism treaties which, taken together, constitute a valuable tool for fighting the scourge. "However, for an effective implementation of these legal instruments, Mozambique needs support from the international community to strengthen its institutions," he said. The country will soon celebrate the tenth anniversary of the accord which marked the end of war. "Mozambicans are today enjoying the dividends of peace, which was achieved with the invaluable contribution of the United Nations in what became a success story of peacekeeping operations," he said. "To consolidate this hard won peace, we are implementing homegrown development plans, with a view to promoting the welfare of our people."

Shimon Peres, the Foreign Minister of Israel, said his country had offered the Palestinians a comprehensive solution that was close to their national aspirations. "We agreed that they would have their land in accordance with United Nations resolutions," he said. "Terror postponed their destiny." Israel accepts United States President George Bush's vision, which is supported by the diplomatic "Quartet" and endorsed by Arab countries. "It outlines a political goal and a timetable," he said. "What is needed now are wheels to ignite and propel the vehicle of peace."

Young Israelis and young Palestinians "are entitled to a new life of their own," he added. "The people of the Middle East should let bygones be bygones."

Mahmoud Hammoud, the Foreign Minister of Lebanon, said Israel refuses to honour Security Council resolutions, but enjoys total impunity. That left the impression that Israel is allowed to remain above the law. The Israeli Prime Minister directly threatened to attack Lebanon under the pretext that it was diverting the course of the Hasbani River, when Lebanon was only trying to draw limited amounts of water for deprived villages that have suffered from the Israeli occupation for many years, he said. He also stressed the need to find a just settlement to the problem of Palestinian refugees particularly those residing in Lebanon. "Such a settlement should be based on their right to return and rejecting their implantation in Lebanon," he said.

Also taking part in this morning's debate were Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Hassan Wirajuda, Cambodia's Foreign Minister, Hor Namhong, San Marino's Foreign Minister, Augusto Casali, Guinea's Foreign Minister, François Lonsény Fall, Viet Nam's Foreign Minister, Nguyen Dy Nien, Benin's Foreign Minister, Kolawole Idji, and Stafford Neil, Chairman of Jamaica's delegation.