Statement by the Honourable Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Independent State of Samoa To the 58th session of the United Nations General Assembly General Debate New York
Samoa warmly welcomes your well-deserved election, given your leadership in your region and among our community of small States. Let me also pay tribute to President Jan Kavan of the Czech Republic for his effective guidance during the fifty-seventh session.
International cooperation/multilateralism Mr President,
Unprecedented events since we met last year tested the very foundation of our Organisation. There is therefore great urgency for our membership to declare anew our faith in the purpose and principles of the United Nations. We need to assert, both in commitment and action, our support for fundamental human rights and the peaceful coexistence of Nations.
The range of challenges that now confront the international community in our globalised and interdependent world, require that Nations be united in common endeavour. Only through cooperation and multilateral joint effort can we hope to effectively guarantee human rights, achieve peace and security, and social and economic justice for all. Samoa therefore believes that the United Nations remains uniquely suited to the pursuit and coordination of global initiatives to attain these objectives.
To this end, Samoa firmly supports ongoing efforts to reform and modernize the United Nations. Substantive changes are required both in the General Assembly and Security Council and in other bodies of the UN system. We certainly support the enlargement of permanent members of the Security Council to include nations like Germany and Japan.
Terrorism Mr President,
Samoa adds its voice to the condemnation of the atrocious terrorist attack on United Nations offices in Baghdad last month, which took the lives of many UN personnel including the esteemed Human Rights Commissioner Mr Sergio Vieira de Mello. On behalf of my Government and people of Samoa, I reiterate to the United Nations Secretary-General and the families of those who lost their lives or injured in this terrible event, our very sincere condolences.
Terrorism is an offence to humanity and against the core values of the United Nations. Terrorist activities around the world demand continued and concerted international responses. States must be determined in their national and collective efforts to combat terrorism in all its forms. For Samoa, I reaffirm our strong support for the relevant Security Council resolutions against terrorism. These resolutions provide clear signal of our determination to suppress terrorist activities, including training, international movement and financing. In this area, Samoa continues to align its domestic policies and legislation with the work of the Counter Terrorism Committee, as well as participate actively in the regional security measures undertaken in the Pacific region.
Iraq We commend Secretary-General Kofi Annan for his determination and efforts for the reconstruction of Iraq. We recognize the enormous complexities and obstacles of this task. But substantive commitment and work must continue in providing humanitarian assistance as well as to restore law and order. We also firmly believe that continued engagement in Iraq must be made with the full endorsement of the United Nations Security Council. We pray for peace and security for Iraq and for sovereignty to be restored to its people as soon as possible.
Weapons of mass destruction Mr President,
Samoa is most seriously concerned about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction – chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. The determination of some countries to seek to bring such weapons into existence - particularly nuclear weapons – is cause for alarm and a serious threat to international peace and security. The internationally agreed instruments to control the manufacturing, transportation and deployment of weapons of mass destruction must be strengthened and implemented. Above all, State parties must adhere and honour their obligations to these treaties. Samoa joins the call for effective disarmament and total elimination of weapons of mass destruction.
Peace and Security Mr President,
We are appalled at the continuing suffering of families and communities in all parts of the world, especially in the Middle East and Africa. We can only hope that the work to bring about stability in these areas will succeed, and communities can finally live in peace.
In support of the United Nations’ efforts for peace and security, Samoa contributes to the UN peacekeeping mission in Timor Leste. Together with members of the Pacific Islands Forum and with the leadership of Australia and New Zealand, Samoa also contributes to the Regional Assistance Mission to help Solomon Islands, to restore law and order and recover their economy. This regional initiative, RAMSI, was endorsed at our Forum Leaders’ meeting last month. Its implementation conforms to regional responsibilities under the United Nations Charter, and recognizes the sovereignty of the Solomon Islands.
International Criminal Court Mr President,
Samoa warmly welcomes the full institutionalisation of the International Criminal Court and the election of its judges and officers. The Court is a major achievement in upholding international humanitarian standards and protection of human rights. However to achieve its full purpose, every effort must be made to ensure its impartiality in bringing to justice, those who commit genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Court therefore deserves every support to allow it the strength of universality and the rule of law. We look forward to its service to humanity.
Millennium Development Goals Mr President,
Samoa reaffirms its commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and targets pledged three years ago in this very hall. While much has been done, it is clear from the Secretary-General’s report that more work remains to be carried out. The goals to halve poverty, halt the spread of HIV/AIDS, provide universal primary education, reduce environmental degradation, all by 2015, can still be achieved in the remaining 12 years. To do this, States must improve the political momentum showed in the last three years, and make good on their promises.
Small Island Developing States Mr President,
Samoa recently hosted the Pacific regional meeting as part of the preparatory work for the International Meeting that will be held next year in Mauritius to review the implementation of the Program of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. This ongoing preparatory work in the regions of small island States is critical to a comprehensive review.
The International Meeting next year will be a unique opportunity for the international community to assess progress to date and to focus attention on areas where the expected results did not materialize. More importantly, it should identify remedial strategies and the required resources to assist small island developing States achieve sustainable development.
While we accept the primary responsibility for achieving the goals of the Program of Action, the reality is that the support of the international community is indispensable to success. We therefore urge the fullest support of development partners in the review process and the implementation of the outcomes of the Mauritius International Meeting.
Looking to 2004 and the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development, the agenda for CSD-12 is an extremely important one. The Commission’s work will incorporate preparations for the International Meeting, but very importantly, it will also focus on the key issues of Water and Sanitation. The significance of these issues to basic needs and healthy communities cannot be overemphasized.
WTO and Trade Mr President,
We note with concern the collapse of negotiations at the recent WTO ministerial conference in Cancun earlier this month. Certainly from the perspective of a small island developing country like my own, trade is both a vital and unavoidable component of sustainable development. We therefore continue to urge that the vulnerabilities of small states are taken into full account in the negotiations, particularly in regard to special and differential treatment, implementation issues, services, agriculture and non-agricultural market access.
I would like to record our appreciation to the Secretary-General for his steadfast and astute leadership particularly through the dramatic events that have tested our Organisation in recent years.
Finally Mr President, the 58th session of the General Assembly has a heavy and difficult agenda and you have the full support of Samoa in the discharge of your important duties.