Ahmed Hilmy Didi PR MaldivesMr. President,

I am indeed happy to be able on behalf of my delegation, to associate myself with the other representatives, in extending our warm congratulations to you, Mr. President, on your being unanimously elected as the President of this Assembly at its twenty-first session.

We trust that your experience and wisdom will greatly facilitate the fulfillment of your heavy responsibilities in the conduct of the meetings and also in maintaining the high prestige and reputation of the United Nations.

Although we are meeting at a time when there are manifestations of dissatisfaction throughout the world, my delegation confidently hopes that you will be in a position to steer us through to a successful conclusion of this session. We wish you every success.

We offer our sincere congratulations to the outgoing President, Mr. Amintore Fanfani, the Foreign Minister of Italy, for the excellent manner in which he conducted the proceedings of the twentieth session

My delegation regrets Secretary-General U Thant's decision not to make himself available for re-election particularly in view of the fact that his term of office expires at a time when his impartial services are most needed to continue to demonstrate to the world the usefulness of this great world Organization. During his term of office as the Secretary-General, U Thant has proved his exceptional wisdom and ability in handling delicate international problems and that has brought confidence and credit not only to the great Organization which he has the privilege and honour to serve but also to himself. We are, indeed, conscious of the untiring and exhausting services being rendered by U Thant for the cause of world peace and the preservation of the ideals of the Charter of the United Nations.

My delegation has full confidence in him and I am, indeed, happy to take this opportunity to join the world chorus in appealing to U Thant to reconsider his decision and to make his services available for a further term. It is, indeed, my special privilege and pleasure to convey to the Secretary-General the warm felicitations of my Government for his excellent achievements over the past years and our best wishes for his continued success.

This year again marks the happy addition of new Members to this great Organization. On behalf of my delegation, I extend our sincere congratulations to the Governments and peoples of Guyana, Botswana and Lesotho on their admission to the United Nations.

We hope that, as free and independent young nations, but fully matured in their experience, Guyana, Botswana and Lesotho can now be free to devote all their time and resources to the important tasks of the economic and technical development of their country.

It is, indeed, a matter of great satisfaction to my delegation to note the reconciliation and resumption of friendly relations between the two great Asian countries, Malaysia and Indonesia. On behalf of my delegation, I convey our sincere congratulations to the Governments of Malaysia and Indonesia on their remarkable achievements. These two countries have clearly demonstrated to the world the true spirit in which the settlement of disputes can be achieved through cooperation and understanding.

The cessation of hostilities between the two great sister countries, India and Pakistan, has given my delegation special satisfaction. Although, the long-outstanding problems between them remain unsolved, my delegation earnestly hopes and trusts that these two countries will never again have occasion to resort to arms. We pray for their continued friendship, happiness and prosperity.

May I be permitted to make a brief reference to the untold human sufferings in Vietnam. It is, indeed, the strong belief of my delegation that this conflict can not easily be brought to an end by the supremacy of arms. An amicable solution to this most grave and urgent problem, in our opinion, can be found only by the immediate application of the most effective weapon, yes, the weapon of negotiation. We believe negotiation is the best instrument for settling disputes. My delegation therefore appeals to the Members of this Organization to explore every possible avenue to persuade the nations involved in this conflict to come to the conference table. This, we believe, can be the only solution to this most urgent problem.

The urgent question of South West Africa demands the immediate attention of the Members, for the very ideals enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations are being violated by the Government of South Africa. Utter disregard, by that Government, of the continued appeals and numerous resolutions adopted by the General Assembly over the past years is indeed surprising. What is more surprising is the series of inhuman and oppressive acts being committed by the South Africa in the face of all these genuine appeals. This should indeed be a matter of grave concern to all Members.

My delegation is in complete agreement with Members who have expressed the view that the time has come for practical action, if we are to honour the principles of the Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. South Africa cannot, and must not, be allowed to continue its inhuman activities directed against the people of South West Africa. It is our strong belief that South Africa will ultimately have to yield to the united efforts of the Members of the United Nations, and give way to the emergence of a new nation. We whole-heartedly support all the delegations which have expressed the view that this question should be effectively dealt with as quickly as possible.

With regard to the situation in Rhodesia, my delegation would support the early removal of the illegal Smith regime and the granting of independence with majority rule on the basis of one man, one vote. Any resolution to this effect would receive our full support.

My delegation regrets that, despite the considerable efforts being made by the United Nations for the maintenance of peace, disputes among nations continue to cloud the atmosphere and are a serious menace to world peace. It is, indeed, of paramount importance that, at this critical juncture, the efforts of the United Nations to settle disputes by peaceful means be redoubled.

We have already witnessed the bitter experience of a major conflagration within our lifetime, which engulfed practically the whole world and involved enormous expenditure and, more especially, the loss of millions of human lives. We must remember that great wars were fought before science and technology, advancing with tremendous and uninterrupted speed, had reached today's level of perfection.

Today, we all know that modern science and technology have done wonders, enabling almost incredible technical advancement in all practical fields of human life, but at the same time, dragging with them inexpressible danger to the very existence of the world. We hear of relentless research work being carried out in space, underground, and in the ocean, in quest of valuable information - happily, for the continued progress of mankind in general and, at the same time, pitifully, for the destruction of the world.

Humanity is in desperate need of protection and security if it is to survive: and the world looks to the United Nations as the only flickering light of hope to pave the way to sparing the world from complete destruction. The danger of war must be checked in time - from whichever direction it may come - checked, not by force, but by every peaceful means. We believe that it is only through the concerted efforts of this great world Organization that we can hope to gain any substantial measure of success in achieving this aim.

We therefore humbly appeal to every individual Member to extend every possible cooperation in achieving this noble aim. We humbly appeal to the United Nations for timely intervention in all national disputes threatening world peace, and for peaceful settlement.

The guiding principle of our external policy is based on non-alignment and peaceful coexistence. The Maldives, perhaps the only country in the world with a hundred percent Muslim population, takes pride in strict adherence to the principles of Islam. The religion of Islam calls for brotherhood, unity, discipline and cooperation. The Holy Koran, the Sacred Book of Islam, says: "Oh mankind, verily we have created you out of a male and a female, and made you into tribes, communities and nations so that you may know one another and live in peace, understanding and harmony". These are the noble words of God. No human endeavors could excel these words in illustrating a better example of brotherhood and unity. These words, indeed, reelect the high degree of social structure which dominates the religion of Islam. In complete conformity with the principles and teachings of Islam, we want to make contact with the nations of the world and establish friendly relations based on a solid foundation of mutual understanding, in due conformity with the Constitutions of the respective countries. We would welcome all those who respect our independence and integrity, for we believe in universality and peaceful coexistence.

It is our firm conviction that, with careful handling of the delicate world problems which are in the balance, the United Nations could as has been proved on more than one occasion in the past, calm and control the tense world situation through international understanding and cooperation. May peace and security prevail throughout the world, and may God bless us all with perpetual happiness and prosperity.