ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. FATHULLA JAMEEL, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, TO THE THIRTY-NINTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is indeed a great honour for me and to my delegation to felicitate you on your election to the esteemed Presidency of the General Assembly of our Organization. We endorse the confidence placed in you by this august body.
Your election not only represents a well deserved tribute to your reputation as a distinguished diplomat with a long association with the United Nations but also to your country, Zambia, which contributes in its vital role in the promotion of the true aspirations of Africa in particular and third world in general. We are confident that your formidable knowledge and diplomatic skills, will enable you to steer the work of this current session to a fruitful conclusion .
My delegation, Mr. President, joins with the previous speakers who have more eloquently expressed their sincere appreciation for the excellent manner in which your predecessor carried out the enormous task, despite his new responsibilities as head of his Government. We salute His Excellency
Mr. Jorge E. Illueca, the President of Panama, on his wise and able manner of conducting the business of our Assembly. Mr. President, Maldives is proud and happy to welcome our newest member Brunei Dharussalam, which has many things in common with our history and culture. Its admission has been a strengthening link to the universality of chain of nations that bind the noble Charter objectives.
We are meeting at a time when our organization is entering into the mature age of forty years of its existence. My country is fortunate to have shared the last twenty years of its varied but rewarding experience. The Secretary-General in his annual report has most aptly and wisely cautioned us of the enormous importance of the existence of our organization. We are of the opinion that the United Nations cannot and must not be replaced for the important institutional responsibilities that come into its foundation. We believe that the great problems that we confront as a world community such as deterrence to Economic Development, Nuclear Arms Race and Disarmament, cannot be solved only through bilateral or regional efforts. My country is happy to record its appreciation and admiration for the diagnostic manner in which the Secretary-General has enlightened through his annual report on the work of our organization. He has spared no effort in carrying
out his diverse and complex responsibilities as the executive head of our organization. We endorse his submission that, our prime objective at this crucial moment should be to reconstruct the concept of collect action for peace and security, to render the United Nations more capable of carrying out its primary mission of maintaining international peace and security.
We are gathered here at a time of increasing tension and anxiety The problems and challenges which face us today are so pressing that we need more than ever before, shared responsibility and a high level of political will. All available means must be utilized to stem the growth of forces which undermine the United Nations and peaceful international relations. The imbalances in the state of affairs we are currently experiencing are leading the world to an intolerable situation and unless we all sincerely join our hands to eliminate its causes, the future generations of mankind will have no choice but to suffer the consequences of our failure, for which they will rightly condemn us.
We should assert the principles of peace, justice and equality. These and other noble principles which humanity has evolved from its sufferings and experiences, are clearly inscribed in the Charter of this great Organization. It is our solemn duty to uphold these principles and to fulfill our commitments to our peoples.
Maldives, as a true Non-aligned developing country believes, that amongst the major issues confronting our universal body, special emphasis should be given to the problem of disarmament and the escalating nuclear arms race. We cannot help expressing our anxiety over the lack of a viable solution to that end 'for countries such as my own, must admit that the contribution we can make to take the situation close to solution is rather limited. However, Mr. President, we humbly share our concern and pledge our support to any endeavor that will eliminate the over-shadowing threat and the perils of a nuclear confrontation.
We urge all Member States of the United Nations, particularly nuclear weapon States to co-operate and enter into relevant international agreements and arrangements which are instrumental in limiting the production and stock-piling of nuclear and other destructive weapons, to ensure the world from a global suicide.
We live today in the presence of a chilling and unprecedented phenomenon. It is very unfortunate that at the pinnacle of world power there exist enough nuclear weapons to destroy the entire life on our planet. At the intermediate level of world power, there exist vast quantities of sophisticated, so-called conventional weapons. These weapons are by comparison with those of former times, immensely destructive, as their use has so horrifically demonstrated. They are also the objects of a highly profitable international trade.
Yet at another level, we have the poverty of a vast proportion of the world's population. We must not be deterred from continuing to emphasize the immorality of mankind's precious resources being used in the production of weapons of destruction, at a time when so much of humanity has a dire need. for those same resources to be used in the war against poverty and disease. It is not only a political objective but also a moral one which we must never relinquish.
We strongly support nuclear-weapon-free-zones in Asia, in the Pacific, and in other regions. Our support of the resolutions calling for the establishment of such zones, and to all actions at fulfilling that objective, is based on a strong conviction that, they will contribute towards the reduction of arms and armed conflicts. We strongly oppose the continued testing of nuclear weapons, not only because of the direct dangers they pose, but also because of the destruction it could finally cause to man and his environment. Maldives firmly supports the initiatives and efforts of the United Nations in search of a general and complete disarmament, including the banning of Nuclear testing and prevention of an arms-race in outer space.
The Question of Palestine continues to remain as one of the outstanding major international concerns. The situation in the Middle East in all its aspects including the tragedy of Lebanon continues to be in an uncertain state of frustration The Israeli invasion of Lebanon and their continued presence in Lebanese territory have aggravated further the already explosive situation created by their refusal to withdraw from the Palestinian and other occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem.
The legitimate rights of the Palestinian people for self-determination and freedom remain at the heart of the issue. The key to any lasting solution, and for peace in that crucial area is, as evidently seen through the sequence of events, the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to have their own independent homeland .
The world has witnessed with anger and dismay, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon while it continues its illegal occupation of Palestine including the Gaza Strip, West Bank, the city of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Israel continues to perpetuate its policies of expansionism through the establishment of illegal settlements, ignoring and rejecting numerous United Nations resolutions and violating all norms of international behavior. Maldives joins the international community in its repeated condemnation of the Israeli aggression on Arab territories and their atrocities in the occupied land.
The invasion of Lebanon under the cruel pretext of liquidating the Palestine Liberation Organization, which symbolizes the legitimate will of the Palestinians, has clearly revealed the true nature of Israeli policies in that area.
Every Member State of the United Nations has pledged its commitment to the provisions of the Charter. Therefore, action should not be delayed any further, regarding the delicate Situation in the Middle East. The Security Council should invoke the relevant provisions of the Charter with regard to the arrogance and defiance with which Israel is trampling under foot, the inalienable rights of the Palestinians.
The Palestine Liberation Organization, which is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, must have the full right to participate in any step that may be taken to achieve a lasting solution. The Geneva Declaration adopted last year, in the opinion of my delegation represents, a sound frame-work for the international community and the parties concerned to work for a durable solution.
My country associates itself with other nations to express its deep regret at the continued bitter, armed conflict between Iran and Iraq. We urge the parties concerned to bring about a cease-fire and to find a solution to their dispute by peaceful means. Maldives pledges its support to the United Nations mediation efforts and to the Secretary-General's recent personal appeals to spare civilians. Both Iran and Iraq must heed to the appeals of the United Nations, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Countries, and halt this purposeless conflict. These bodies are trying to bring about an honourable settlement of the dispute, and we wish them every success.
The Question of Namibia and the tragic plight of the people of South Africa have remained to be a matter of grave concern to the world community. The task of seeking a negotiated settlement by the United Nations on the Question of Namibia remains to be a special responsibility. The continuation by the racist regime of South Africa, of its illegal occupation of Namibia, despite the vigorous efforts to grant independence to this deprived people, constitutes a flagrant violation of international law, and endangers the security of the Southern African region. Here again, like Israel, the racist minority regime in Pretoria has acted with scorn, towards the numerous resolutions adopted by this august body in full accord with the provisions of the United Nations Charter .
It is our binding duty to maintain and enforce political and economic pressure on South Africa, with a view to forcing her to concede to the logic of humane relationship, We must continue our support for the people of Namibia under the leadership of the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) .
The hope for a peaceful future in Southern Africa lies in political change and the creation of greater trust through regional co-operation and international support.. We believe that it can be achieved, peacefully. My delegation is part of that unanimous insistence on an early implementation of the plan embodied in Security Council resolution 435. This would enable the people of Namibia to decide their destiny in a free, fair and democratic manner. The delay in the realization of the plan is a cause for great disappointment. It is most unfortunate if, at this late stage, the process leading to the independence of Namibia were to be impeded by issues extraneous to the question itself. My delegation fully recognizes the continued efforts of the Secretary-General for an early solution to this vital issue.
Apartheid is a crime against humanity itself. Maldives is firmly convinced that peace and stability in Southern Africa require total eradication of Apartheid and the exercise of the right to self-determination by the people of South Africa, irrespective of their race, colour or creed.
My delegation wishes to express its concern over the situation in Afghanistan and Kampuchea. These are two countries which, in the view of my Government, have been victims of foreign military intervention and invasions.. We express our deepest concern and fully endorse, the United Nations resolutions which condemn foreign interventions, and call for the withdrawal of foreign forces from those countries. This will enable the people of Afghanistan and Kampuchea to freely decide their own destiny. The people of Afghanistan and Kampuchea must be given the opportunity to exercise their rights without outside interference, including the rights of the refugees to return to their homes with security and honour. My delegation notes with deep appreciation and commendation, the unceasing efforts of the Secretary-General and his Special Representatives to find political solutions to these two major issues.
It is with alarm, dismay and frustration that we witness the increasing instances of foreign interventions in Africa and Latin America.. We recall here, the Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention and Non-Interference in the internal affairs of states.. There is no difference in my opinion, between intervention and interference.. The final result in either case is tragically the same: tension, unrest, internal strike, conflict and even bloodshed.
We view such developments with the utmost concern because they destroy the very fabric of not only international peace and security, but also of the concept of peaceful co-existence.. Never for a moment should we forget that we are a family of inter-related and inter-dependent nations, with diverse political ideologies, economies and social systems, who must live together in an atmosphere devoid of suspicion, envy and animosity.
In Cyprus the United Nations has been tirelessly trying to promote a settlement, and the Secretary-General continues to maintain his personal involvement. My Government welcomes these unceasing efforts. Despite some limited progress in inter-communal talks held under United Nations auspices, a peaceful and lasting settlement regrettably still appears to be distant. My delegation would like to reiterate its support for the people of Cyprus in their efforts to consolidate their independence within the frame work of national unity and equal rights for all Cypriots.
While making reference to the solution of conflicts by peaceful means, may I refer also to the yet unsolved question of Korea. Their peaceful reunification has been, and continues to be, a matter of great concern to us. My Government feels that all efforts must be made, collectively and individually, to facilitate a dialogue between the divided North and South.. The international community should extend every possible support, opportunity and encouragement, to the people of Korea to achieve their objective of peaceful unification .
With regard to our part of the world - the Indian Ocean, Maldives is committed to the policy of non-alignment, and is determined to keep its territory free from nuclear weapons, or establishment of any foreign military base over it. Furthermore, Maldives will continue to work with the littoral and hinterland States of the Indian Ocean toward making the Indian Ocean a zone of peace.. We are concerned over the escalating tension created by the great-power rivalry for military superiority in the Indian Ocean, and induction of nuclear weapons there. We reaffirm our full support on the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a zone of Peace and support the efforts of the United Nations to implement it.
It is our earnest hope that through co-operation amongst the countries of the Indian Ocean and other concerned parties, we will be able to find practical ways to fulfill the aspirations of our peoples of our region. The proposed Colombo Conference on the Indian Ocean which is to be held early 1985, we believe, will form a corner stone in the path to realize our cherished objective. We appeal to the world community to support in achieving that objective.
The world economy has experienced increasing difficulties during the last decade.. The period has been characterized by a generally unsatisfactory and erratic growth of output and trade, high rates of inflation and fluctuating exchange rates. While the crises has affected all countries, it has inevitably had the most serious impact on the developing countries whose economies are particularly vulnerable. The developed countries have experienced unprecedented rates of unemployment and idle industrial capacity accompanied by high interest rates. The developing countries have faced increasing balance of payments deficits, mounting debt burden and deteriorating terms of trade..
The economic gap between the developed and developing countries is widening and the latter are being denied effective and equitable participation in the benefits of international development..
The recent meeting which was held in my country, where Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives, member countries of the South Asian Regional Co-operation - SARC - expressed their concern over the conditions in the developing countries. In the Final Communiqué, the Ministers reviewed the current world economic situation and expressed their concern over the deteriorating economic and social conditions in the developing countries. In the past three years, sharply falling commodity prices, deterioration in the terms of trade, intensification of projectionist measures, excessive debt burden and a decline in the flow of financial resources had caused unprecedented balance of payment problems and serious loss of development momentum in the developing countries.. It was agreed that without redoubling of efforts b international community including immediate measures, the goals and targets of the international development strategy under the Third United Nations Development Decade and the Substantial New Programme of Action - SNPA - for the Least Developed Countries, could not be attained.. They expressed their deep disappointment at the lack of progress in putting into place international support measures and the continued stalemate in the negotiations on international cooperation. In this connection they noted with deep regret that, no appreciable progress was made in meeting the concerns of the developing countries at the London Summit Meeting of the Industrialized Countries in early June, 1984, despite urgent actions suggested by various leaders from the Non-Aligned and developing countries.
This important meeting endorsed the desire to communicate with leaders of industrialized countries, the immediate concern of the States of South Asia, that the financing of IDA VII has not been augmented to a degree whereby, in real terms an increase is achieved over the level of IDA VI.. This timely request has already been conveyed by my Government as the Foreign Ministers desired. This cooperative endeavor in our part of the region aims at harnessing support and cooperation in economic development cultural and social exchange. The Foreign Ministers at the Male meeting recorded their satisfaction with the progress that was made in the relatively. short period of time in the identified areas of cooperation.
I am happy to inform this august body, on behalf of my country as the current Chairman, of the important leverage that the recent meeting provided to the eventual holding of a Summit Meeting of the SARC countries by late 1985.
H.E. Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the President of Maldives, in his opening address at the Ministerial Meeting, said of the member countries:
Quote - Our societies are quite diverse but their hopes and expectations do not vary. Together our peoples are sure of themselves, confident of their identities and confident too of their ability to control their own destinies. He further said that the moving spirit and the objective, the very principles which gave birth to our association is that of working together which has its basic foundation, promotion of the interests of our region, an essential aspect of which is the maintenance and indeed the strengthening of our people's political, social and economic independence.. From these words of wisdom, we are confident that the outcome of the forthcoming Summit will further strengthen the global aspirations and efforts made at this United Nations of ours. - Unquote.
The Government of Maldives whole-heartedly supports nonaligned countries and the Group of 77's call for the removal of structural imbalances and inequalities of the present plural economic system, and the restructuring of the world economy through the establishment of the New International Economic Order (NIEO). This should be done through North South dialogue and Global Negotiations amongst developed and developing countries. Maldives also considers vital the cooperation amongst developing countries themselves, both for economic and social development and for removing their dependence on developed countries. Maldives welcomes the establishment of the South Bank as a practical step in the right direction and hopes that it will prove very useful to developing countries..
The Delegation of Maldives notes with satisfaction the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982 and its historic achievement in the progressive development of the law of the sea. This Convention has been adopted by an overwhelming majority of 130 States and has already been signed by 136 States including my own and ratified by a number of States. My Government is now in the process of ratifying it. This Convention has established a new legal order for the rational use of the seas as an instrument of justice, peace, development and international co-operation. It is a rare accommodation of global interests and ideologies striking in numerable practical bargains. This is the most comprehensive international Convention, consisting of 320 articles, nine annexes and four associated resolutions.
The Delegation of Maldives appeals to all States which have signed the Convention to expedite the process of ratification so as to enable the Convention to become effective and operative. The continent of Antarctica has considerable environmental, climatic, scientific and potential economic significance to the world. The delegation of Maldives firmly believes that, in the interest of all mankind, Antarctica should continue forever to be used exclusively, for peaceful purposes, should not become the scene or object of international disputes and should be accessible to all nations.. The exploration of the area and the exploitation of its resources should be carried out for the benefit of all mankind, and in a manner consistent with the protection of the environment of Antarctica.
Maldives supported the proposal for a comprehensive study on Antarctica by the United Nations taking into account all relevant factors, with a view to widening international cooperation in the area.
Like Antarctica, outer space should also be used for peaceful purposes only. Recent proposals for an intensified militarization of outer space is a cause for grave concern, and urgent measures should be undertaken for the termination of such proposals..
My delegation also notes that the distribution of benefits from outer space amongst the countries of the world has been to date uneven.. To remove such an imbalance the principle of guaranteed and equitable access should be the essence of any new regulatory mechanism and it should take into account the particular needs of the developing countries, especially those of an equatorial nature. We firmly believe and sincerely hope that the benefits resulting from peaceful uses of outer space are shared evenly for the benefit of mankind as a whole.
My delegation is fully convinced that the United Nations is indispensable in a world fraught with tensions and peril.. Institutions such as this are not built in a day. They require constant constructive work and fidelity to the principles on which they are based.. We must seriously consider the practical ways in which it should develop its capacity and be used as an essential institution in a stormy and explosive world..
Primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security has been bestowed upon the Security Council. We believe it is still the best device for diffusing tensions, solving problems and maintaining peace and security. While it tends not to have much of a pre-empting capacity, it is our duty, as Members of the United Nations, to strengthen its role by resisting the attempts of individual countries to assume the primary responsibility of the Security Council. If the Security Council fails to act or react in a given situation it is not the institution that is at fault but the countries that constitute it.. It is for us to convince ourselves and to the generation we are responsible for, that the world is inter-dependent, and act accordingly, and be guided by such a reality..
The United Nations system should play a catalytic role in creating mutual understanding and co-operation. We should not allow it to be a coliseum for battling out our differences. Rather it should, and must be, a place where hatred and animosity towards other are avoided. The UN's agencies came into existence not only because the prominent men who created them were wise, but because they are directly related to the aspirations of mankind, irrespective of race or region.
We are concerned by the trend that has emerged more recently as a result of certain member countries which have repeatedly expressed their pessimism in the viable functioning of important specialized bodies of the UN system.. We hold the view that their evolution have envisioned the wisdom under which they were created and need to be strengthened ever more now than before. My Government does not believe in any endeavor to politicize these specialized bodies whose executive functions are purely technical in nature. It is the fore, essential to maintain a high degree of professionalism and to orient programmes executed under these bodies towards achieving more tangible results.
We in Maldives are happy to be associated in the noble tasks prescribed under the "Health for All by the Year 2000" strategy of the World Health Organization, which would ensure humanity of a better world to live. We are confident that the work of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), whose primary responsibility lies on the care and welfare of the children of the world, would strengthen the future of our humanity through its dynamic programme that was launched in 1983 on the child survival revolution .
Amid the various perils that now threaten the orderly progress of humanity, my delegation still believes that we can rally once again to support the standards of the UN Charter, beginning with the peaceful settlement of disputes and steadily branching out towards the other objectives of that prophetic document.
Maldives pledges its fullest co-operation and support to the United Nations system in all sincerity.
Thank you, Mr. President.