Compiled by DAVID MONTERO
As world leaders convened at the 56th Session of the General Assembly of the UN in early November, the main topic of discussion was the fight against terrorism. But many emphasized that this fight cannot consist solely of military action. Problems such as human rights violations, economic instability, poverty and conflict in the Middle East must also be addressed. Here are excerpts from some of the leaders’ remarks:
President DANIEL T. ARAP MOI
Poverty is a fertile breeding ground for conflict and instability and even terrorism. It is therefore regrettable that very little progress, if any, has been made since the world summit on social development in Copenhagen in 1995. I remind you that the main outcome of that summit was the resolve to eradicate poverty as an obstacle to human development.
We cannot succeed in improving the lives of our people without the wholehearted engagement of the international community. The global target of reducing poverty in half by the year 2015 cannot be achieved without tangible availability of resources.
The effect of marginalization on developing countries posed by the accelerated process of globalization must be addressed as a matter of priority. The issue of meaningful market access, particularly for agricultural products, must be resolved quickly. Protectionist policies are in no country’s interest and definitely contradict the principles of free trade and the process of liberalization. In addition, resources must be made available to the World Trade Organization by our partners to enable it to provide technical assistance and capacity building to developing countries.
Solutions in the form of better terms of trade and market access must go hand-in-hand with the flow of foreign direct investment to developing countries. Many African countries have taken bold initiatives to provide a conducive environment for investors. These efforts need to be supported by clear policies by developed countries to encourage private-sector investment in Africa.
We urgently need to be freed from the burdens that are diverting vital resources from our economic development. Debt relief is necessary. It is in our common interest that our economies are restored to health in a meaningful time frame.
Minister of Foreign Affairs JOSCHKA FISCHER
The Middle East conflict is a top priority. Our hearts go out to the many innocent victims on all sides. Both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples have a right to live free of fear, in dignity and in peace. This is indivisible not only from Israel’s right of statehood as recognized in Madrid, which is in our view inviolable, but also from its security. Germany bears Israel a special responsibility stemming from its past. Any policy that aims at destroying Israel by means of terrorism or otherwise will face determined opposition from Germany. However, we equally advocate the Palestinians’ right of self-determination and their right to their own state, Palestine. In the EU Berlin Declaration of March 1999 we stated, “The creation of a democratic, viable and peaceful sovereign Palestinian State on the basis of existing agreements and through negotiations would be the best guarantee of Israel’s security.” Today this is truer than ever.