ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. FATHULLA JAMEEL, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, TO THE THIRTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
I should like, first of all, to take this opportunity to congratulate you on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Maldives and on behalf of my delegation on your election to the high office of President of the thirty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly.
We see in you a man of distinction and remarkable experience attained through long association and involvement in the work of the United Nations. And we see in you the representative of one of the leading and prominent members of the Non-aligned Movement and the organization of the Islamic Conference, with whom the Maldives has fraternal and close relations.
May I express at the same time my country's heartfelt gratitude to the outgoing President Baron Rudiger von Wechmar, who had discharged the duties of his office in an outstanding manner.
I also wish to thank you, Mr. Secretary-General, for your continued dedication to the cause of the United Nations and your commitment to international peace and stability. My delegation wishes you well in carrying out your important task.
It gives me great pleasure to welcome, on behalf of my delegation, the admission of Vanuatu and Belize to membership of our organization, thus marking a further achievement towards complete decolonization and the realization of the universality of the United Nations.
The world is again passing through a disturbing state in which tension is prevailing and deepening everywhere in alarming proportions. At this time one could simply say that the daring trend of interference in internal affairs of sovereign and independent countries and the irresponsible return to the arms race are the major causes for the deterioration of the international climate, while the world community was suffering from the long standing ailments of mistrust, fear and deliberate injustice. A few years ago we were heartened by the spirit of détente, by the development of a positive dialogue between the super powers and by the trend of a general consensus to avoid the disaster of another world war. But now we see that instead of consideration for mutual interest and respect for shared opinion, naked aggression has fearfully become frequent. The right of people to self-determination and freedom is being denied by those who continue to defy the cause of justice and human dignity. The recent acts by South Africa against the people of Namibia and the neighbouring independent African States, and the escalation of military action by Israel against the Palestinian people and the neighbouring Arab countries could be seen as symptoms of an added malignancy in the international atmosphere. The aggressors appear to be protected for the interest of the mighty and the powerful. Similarly, we see foreign troops which intervened to change the course of events in Afghanistan, Kampuchea and in many other places in Africa and Asia, stubbornly remaining in those countries despite the repeated calls by the world community to withdraw and to let the peoples of those countries determine their destinies.
Then comes a round of arms race in which the super powers are engaged not only in developing new types of destructive weapons, but also in a dangerous effort to use outer space for their military advantages. For the world community, even the thought of a nuclear war how limited it may sound is a nightmare. We feel that serious and immediate efforts must be made to decrease the continually rising international tension, which is driving the promoters of the arms race to a devastating craze. There is no justification at all for the technologically developed powers to enter into an arms production process in which enormous financial resources are deployed, while the world economy and even the domestic economies of individual countries are suffering from the difficulties of the current economic crisis. Unless all these developments are presumed to be a game where the players are only the super powers and the spectators are the rest of the human race there is no meaning for this irrational and inhuman trend.
The international community has had enough bitter experiences in the past when the logic of supremacy, domination and colonization did prevail. We would like to believe that the world community which includes the big and small, the rich and the poor, is now mature enough to appreciate the dangers of war and the virtues of peace and peaceful co-existence. It is the responsibility of all nations to contribute to world peace and stability. The principles of peace, justice and equality are clearly prescribed in the charter of this organization. It is our solemn duty to uphold these principles and to fulfill our commitments to the human race.
Maldives continue to be guided by the policy of non-alignment and has always endeavoured to humbly contribute its modest share in order to strengthen the effectiveness of the United Nations which remain the most prominent forum for solving international issues and consolidating the efforts of the world community towards justice and equality. It is our firm belief that the capabilities of the United Nations to move effectively in to the areas of its sacred mandate should be increased. This will only be possible when the member states fully recognize and appreciate the role of the United Nations in global issues and accept the virtues of common interest and the facts of universal partnership.
The question of Namibia has reached a stage where vigorous efforts has to be made and effective measures has to be taken to compel South Africa to accept the world opinion and yield to the legitimate will of the Namibian People. We should by no means remain as mere spectators, while the Pretoria Regime escalate its oppression of the Namibian People and even cross international borders at will. Maldives remain committed to support the Namibian People in whatever way it could in their struggle for self-determination and freedom under the leadership of their National Liberation Movement SWAPO, and will support any measure taken by the world community, collectively or individually, towards the achievement of independence of Namibia. It is our hope that we will be celebrating the end of this complex episode as we did, not long ago in the case of Rhodesia, and other colonial territories in Africa.
The situation in the Middle East has deteriorated during the last one and half years with the continuation of Israeli occupation of the Arab territories and its persistent aggressive policies against the Palestinian People, who are fighting for their legitimate right for a fully sovereign and independent nation of their own, which cannot be denied under any decent human consideration. The recent indiscriminative bombing of Lebanon by Israel and the newly organized terrorist activities aimed at the liquidation of the Palestinian struggle are further evidence of a policy of callous disregard to the norms of international behaviour. The events which continue to occur in the area make us believe that unless firm measures are taken towards bringing an end to the Israeli occupation and towards the solution of the Palestinian issue, Middle East will remain as a dangerous hot bed of tension, which affects not only that region, but also the whole world. I would like to make a special reference to the totally unprovoked attack by the Israeli forces on the Iraqi Nuclear Plant which clearly demonstrated the dangerous strategic policies adopted by Israel, with absolute disregard to the principles accepted by the world community, including the closest friends of Israel. During this session we are coming back to discuss the outstanding issue of Palestine. And I presume that we are going to reiterate again our firm belief in the legitimate right of the Palestinians for their self-determination, without any further progress in solving the real issue of the Palestinian People. My delegation shares the view with many other delegations that the Middle East is the most potentially dangerous region in the world. And if we are concerned about the preservation and maintenance of world peace, it is imperative that we make still greater efforts to solve the question of Palestine without any further delay. A solution to the issue cannot be reached unless Palestinians are given the full right to express heir free will through their legitimate representatives, the Palestine Liberation Organization, in all deliberations concerning this serious and complex issue. We will not believe that there is a partial solution to the problem which can be worked out unilaterally or bilaterally without their participation. Maldives remain fully committed to support the Palestinians in their struggle to return to their homeland and establish their own nation.
I referred at the beginning of my statement to the new trend of intervention in internal affairs of independent nations. We can count many incidents of this unacceptable behaviour during the past few years which range from covert plotting to overthrow governments, to blatant military interventions to change the political status and history of countries. As far as my Government is concerned we perceive these acts of interventions with very grave concern whether they are committed by a country in the west or in the east, and under any pretext. We feel that while the idea itself is bad enough, the prevailing international atmosphere demonstrate a lack of confidence in each other among the countries, thus confusing an already difficult situation, where no steps could be taken to determine if such an intervention took place for helping the Government of a country or for domination. I do not want to repeat the views of my country concerning the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan and in Kampuchea which was made clear in previous occasions and are reflected in our stand at this Assembly and within the Non-aligned Movement and in the organization of the Islamic Conference. I will only stress again our firm belief in the principles of the UN Charter which deplore interference or interventions in the internal affairs of sovereign states and guide us to solve conflicts and issues through peaceful means.
While talking about the solution of conflicts by peaceful means, I wish to refer to the yet unsolved question of Korea. My Government feels that all efforts must be made collectively and individually to facilitate the continuation of the dialogue between North and South Korea for the purpose of achieving a peaceful reunification as envisaged by the Korean People themselves without any foreign interference.
Similarly, Mr. President, I wish to reiterate our support to the people of Cyprus in their efforts to consolidate their independence within the framework of national unity with equal rights for all its citizens.
My delegation believes that the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones are a rational and an effective measure towards world peace. In this context we supported the proposal to establish a nuclear free zone in South Asia which we hope will eventually cover a wider region or at least will pave the way for creating more sub-regional nuclear free zones in Asia and the Pacific.
As far as the Indian Ocean is concerned, Maldives is committed to continue its policies of non-alignment and it is determined to keep its territories free from nuclear weapons and not to permit any foreign military bases within its territories. Furthermore, Maldives will continue to work with the littoral and hinterland states of the Indian Ocean towards the achievement of the objective of making the Indian Ocean a Zone of Peace. It is our earnest hope that through the co-operation between the countries of the Indian Ocean and the other concerned powers, we will be able to find practical ways of fulfilling the aspiration of our peoples regarding this important issue.
Coming to the international economic situation, we feel that the commencement of the North-South dialogue is essential and that we should not spare any efforts within the frame-work of the United Nations and with the regional organizations to overcome the disparities of the present economic situation. Reasons clearly make us believe that no single nation, whatever its economic capacity or technological advancement may be, can build its economy in isolation from the rest of the world. The United Nations is now fully aware of all the dimensions of the problem of the gap between the rich and poor nations. We could only be wrong if we consider that it is the responsibility of the developing countries to rectify the faults in the current economic situation. The painstaking efforts of the developing countries in the south and the very survival of the Least Developed Countries depend heavily on the establishment of the new international economic order based on equality and justice. Hence, it is only fair to expect an early resolution of the remaining difficulties that impede the launching of the Global Negotiations under the auspices and within the framework of the United Nations.
Despite the adverse attitudes shown by a few developed countries, the deliberations which took place under the auspices of the United Nations since the inception of the idea of the new international economic order has led us to positive results and we look forward for greater progress. We hope that the forthcoming summit conference in Cancun will be a further step towards the realization of the new international economic order based on mutual benefit and co-operation.
We are also pleased to note that the UN Conference on Least Developed Countries, which was recently held in Paris was able to project the magnitude of the problems faced by the Least Developed among the developing countries. The Least Developed Countries are resolute in their efforts to improve social and economic conditions of their peoples and have already embarked upon ambitious development projects in their countries. However, as we all agree, their efforts and resources alone will not be sufficient for the implementation of these projects. To meet the immediate requirements for assistance to Least Developed Countries for the first half of the decade and greater requirements later in the decade, the international community and particularly the developed countries should increase their concessional assistance at least four fold by 1990 as compared to the level reached in the late 1970s. At the same time we feel that there is a need to look back at the criteria on which aid-flow is decided. Maldives being one of the smallest and poorest among the least developed countries faces the difficulties arising from the existing criteria, which are sometimes ineffective and often do not look after the needs of the smaller countries. Donors including the international agencies may decide on the quantity of aid purely on per capita basis as a result of which the countries who cannot count their populations in millions are left in the cold Maldives does not want to remain forever as a Least Developed Country. However, because of the limited resources, on the one hand, and the difficult geographic and demographic conditions of the country on the other, we face a dilemma in our efforts to come out of the present situation, without depending considerably on external assistance. We are indeed grateful to all the countries and to the international agencies which are assisting us in the development process and we hope their support will continue.
Before the conclusion of my remarks, l wish to reiterate my country's commitment to uphold the principles and the objectives of the United Nations with their inborn feelings of responsibility towards peace and justice and international co-operation. The Maldivian people will continue to work with the United Nations and the world community as a whole for the fulfillment of these lofty objectives.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish you a successful session.