Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is indeed a pleasure for me and the members of my delegation to extend to you, Mr. President, our sincere congratulations on your election as President of the forty-second session of the General Assembly. Your election to this high office is a tribute to your personal qualities and record of distinction in your career and recognition of your experience. It is also a well deserved tribute to your country with whom Maldives has most cordial relations. I am fully confident that under your wise and able stewardship this Assembly will achieve positive and substantive progress and successful conclusions.

My delegation also joins itself with the previous speakers who have expressed their appreciation to your distinguished predecessor, H.E. Mr. Humayun Rasheed Choudhury for the able and exemplary manner in which he has discharged his duties as the President of the forty-first session of the General Assembly. As a member of south Asian Association for Regional Co-operation we were particularly proud and honoured to be associated with him and with his successes in our deliberations during last year.

Mr. President,

We are meeting at a time when important changes are taking place in the world, and historic trends are shaping up. Some of these changes are to be welcomed, as unprecedented opportunities emerge from them for the advancement of peace, justice and security while others pose new problems and challenges confronting the international community. While recalling the momentous and timely decisions taken by this Assembly to revitalize the functioning of the United Nations and to strengthen its role and its capacity In facing the enormous challenges confronting the international community, we are happy to note that the significant developments which took place in several areas of international relations has resulted in renewed confidence in the vital and irreplaceable role of the United Nations and recognition of the values upheld by this august body. It is with satisfaction that we note the distinct improvement of the international climate and in particular the relations between the East and the West. As a number of speakers did before me, we warmly welcome the agreement in principle reached last month between the United States and the Soviet Union

On the complete elimination of intermediate and shorter-range nuclear forces and we hope that this accord will lead to further agreements on the larger issues of global hope that this significant agreement will enhance a new atmosphere to the multilateral disarmament negotiations aimed at genuine arms limitation and complete disarmament. In this context, we would like to see the conference on disarmament in Geneva progress rapidly in its deliberations on a chemical weapons convention and continue dealing with the vital issues on its agenda, such as comprehensive test ban and the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

We also would like to acknowledge the link between disarmament and development as high-lighted by the recently concluded Conference on Disarmament and Development.

Maldives resolutely continues to support all efforts being made towards the objective of disarmament and demilitarization . Is also our it believes that while bilateral agreements between the super-powers and multilateral negotiations do provide necessary catalyst towards general disarmament, ample opportunities exist for regional and sub-regional arrangements which would eventually contribute towards the ultimate objectives of disarmament. It is for this reason that the Maldives has supported the proposals for establishing nuclear weapon free zones and zones of peace in various parts of the world. We have obviously given a particular importance to the United Nations Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace and proposal for establishing a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in South Asia, where Maldives is located.

While high-lighting the significant events which took place during the past year, I would also like to recall the conclusions of the seventh session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development convened in Geneva this summer and note with satisfaction the positive trends embodied in the Final Act of the conference which we genuinely hope would lead to a resurgence of momentum in North-South dialogue and signal a reversal of the current sceptic and adverse situation in international cooperation for development. While we are encouraged by the positive developments in the overall international climate, we remain deeply concerned of the mounting dangers and problems which, threaten international peace and security, some of which are well within the issues discussed and debated upon again and again in this Assembly for many years.

There is no doubt that the most urgent concern of the international community at the present time is the conflict between Iran and Iraq. Two independent countries, members of the united nations, have been engaged in a senseless war for seven long years, during which hundreds of thousands of people, including civilians lost their lives and enormous material destruction was inflicted. The international community has now recognized the dangerous implications of this conflict to world peace and security. Security Council resolution 598 (1987) reflects the grave concern of the world community over the issue and the need for intensified efforts in halting this bloody conflict. As we did before, Maldives renews its call to the combatant nations to stop the fighting and resolve their dispute by peaceful means. It is our belief that the United Nations has an important role to play in the achievement of a peaceful and just solution to this conflict.

Mr. President,

The aspirations of the Palestinian people to their inalienable national rights remain unfulfilled. Israel retains its unyielding hold on Arab and Palestinian lands including Al-Quds and continues relentlessly ahead with its policy of establishing illegal settlements in Arab lands. We have long acknowledged that the question of Palestine is the very core of the middle east problem and that its just settlement is the only way to peace in the middle east. We have called for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all occupied Palestinian and Arab lands. We firmly believe that there cannot be a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian question and the aggravated crisis in the middle east unless the inalienable right of the Palestinians for self-determination is recognized and fulfilled. Maldives strongly supports the convening of an international peace conference on the middle-east with the participation of all parties concerned including the Palestine Liberation Organization as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, in order to find a comprehensive solution to the problem.

Mr. President,

Maldives has always condemned the odious policy of racial discrimination and resolutely supported measures for its elimination. In particular, we resolutely condemn the policy of racial discrimination and apartheid practiced by the regime in South Africa and consider it a crime against humanity. We view the latest developments in South Africa with utmost gravity and concern. The crisis situation, as it continues to unfold, demonstrates the fact that South Africa's black majority is under virtual siege.

The racist regime has shown itself to possess neither the policy nor the capacity for progressive change. We believe that apartheid cannot be reformed or improved upon by trifle incremental measures. It must be dismantled in its entirety. We are disappointed that agreement has not been reached towards applying comprehensive and effective sanctions against the arrogant regime in Pretoria. However, we welcome the decision made by some multi-national corporations to stop their operations in South Africa.

The racist regime in South Africa continues to occupy Namibia in defiance of international law and world wide condemnation. It is plundering the immense natural resources of Namibia to the benefit of the privileged white minority, and to our deep regret, it is doing so with the help and complicity of some other states, who are members of this organization. We believe that the only basis for a peaceful settlement in Namibia is the security council resolution No. 435 of 1978 and we reject any attempts to link the question of Namibia's freedom with extraneous issues.

The situation in Afghanistan and Kampuchea has remained tense without any significant developments towards a settlement. We reiterate our conviction that only through a comprehensive political solution on the basis of the withdrawal of foreign troops can the sovereignty, territorial integrity of these countries be restored allowing the peoples of these countries to determine their own affairs by themselves. We pledge our full support for the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General in these complex issues.

Mr. President,

Another conflict which needs our attention is the one in Cyprus. This prolonged conflict should be solved urgently with due regard to the national integrity of Cyprus and the inspirations of its people. We appreciate the tireless and sincere efforts of the Secretary-General in finding a settlement to this conflict.

Mr. President,

The world economy still continues to be caught in serious imbalances and dislocations while the majority of developing countries are faced with serious difficulties in adjusting to structural changes implied upon them by reversal factors, such as the debt burden, exorbitantly high real interest rates, fall in commodity prices and the arrogance of protectionism. On the other hand, the significant decrease in the growth rate in the industrial world has caused much disparity to an already aggravated situation. Debate has been going on for many years about the world economic order. A dialogue was initiated between the North and South without any concrete results. My delegation hopes that as I mentioned at the beginning of my statement that with a new positive trend emerging in the international climate, steps would be taken towards the implementation of measures adequate in meeting the needs of global economic reform.

Mr. President,

In a world that is teeming with tension, conflicts and wars, where mankind is still hostage to the awful nuclear arsenals of its own creation, the importance and the indispensability of the United Nations cannot be over exaggerated. Although our organization has its problems and difficulties we feel that there is no better institutional arrangement than the United Nations to deal with problems and grievances among states and of peoples. Our firm belief in the constructive roles the United Nations is playing will not be diminished by its short-comings often caused by deliberate and self-centered acts of a few. We will continue to have full confidence and trust in the United Nations and will support it as best as we can.

Thank you, Mr. President.