Saudi Arabia Deputy PM Prince Abdullah UN2K Speech
His Royal Highness
Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and
Commander of the National Guard
(6 September 2000)
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Mr. President: Distinguished Heads of State: Members of Delegations:
I greet you with the greeting of Islam, the greeting of peace, in the name of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd bin Abdulaziz. A large number of leaders of member states have come from diverse locations to participate in this historic Summit convened at the beginning of the third millennium.
In the name of my country, I would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to His Excellency the Secretary‑General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, for his efforts and diligence in preparing for the convening of this significant global gathering. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by virtue of its belief in the United Nations Charter is committed to contribute to the success of this historic meeting, which holds so much promise for humanity.
This occasion is a great opportunity to evaluate the progress of our organization, to learn from our past failures and be attuned to present realities in order to better prepare for the challenges of the future.
It was in December 1998 that the General Assembly resolved that this Summit be dedicated to a fundamental review of the role of the United Nations, including the challenges that it will face in the new century. We all know the circumstances that led to the establishment of this organization, as well as the principles and foundations of its Charter. We are aware of the accomplishments it has achieved and the difficulties it has faced, which have been impediments to achieving the objectives of its Charter in the political, economic, cultural, and social fields.
The major question facing this distinguished gathering of world leaders and Heads of State is this: where are we today with respect to the noble objectives behind the establishment of the United Nations? The U.N. Charter speaks of the hope "to save succeeding generations from the. scourge of war." If we examine the report of the Secretary‑General to the Security Council dated June 20th of this year, we will realize that we are indeed far from transforming this dream into reality. The last ten years alone have witnessed the demise of five million people, most of them innocent and unarmed civilians, in armed conflicts. UN forces are
now deployed in seventeen areas of conflict across the world. The report attested to the fact that in 1998 alone thirty‑six wars were raging.
At a time when the Charter calls for us "to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors" there are those us who speak of an inevitable clash of civilizations. While our Charter calls on us "to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person" we find three billion people living on two dollars a day or less; there are one billion people, adults as well as children, who are ignorant of the basics of reading and writing; and there are one billion people who are suffering from partial or total unemployment. A starving human being who can not find a morsel to eat, or potable water to drink, or a roof to provide shelter, much less medical treatment, will find in discussions of human fights nothing but an attempt to put slogans in place of painful reality ‑ and slogans can never feed the hungry.
These facts and realities make us truly question the reasons for our inability, until
now, to address these vital issues and matters. The growing call to introduce
reform in the performance and structure of the U N bodies that has been adopted
by a major segment of the international community reflects an increasing feeling
of the need to rectify matters within as well as outside the United Nations with a
view to nearing the objectives provided for under the Charter.
The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia notes the efforts currently being made to modernize and enhance the agencies of the United Nations to enable it to perform its expected role and keep abreast of evolving developments affecting international relations at the present time. In this regard, we should make sure that these reforms should not undermine the efficacy and performance of the U.N. agencies, particularly the Security Council, as it is the body concerned directly with maintaining international peace and security.
Allow me, Mr. President, to present to you certain pertinent ideas and concepts related to this vital topic.
First: when considering effecting changes in the structure of the Security Council, care should be taken that any ideas espoused will not infringe on the fundamental role of this body. For example, the proposal to expand the membership of the Security Council on the assumption of equitable geographic representation may not necessarily lead to the desired results geographically or politically. Reconsidering the right of veto that is available to the permanent members, while acknowledging that it may be impossible to achieve, will not benefit us as much as striving to limit its use against previous resolutions adopted by the Assembly and with the approval of the permanent member states themselves.
Second: greater effort must be made to emphasize the role of the United Nations as a maker, and not only a preserver, of peace. It has been proven beyond doubt that an endeavor to prevent the occurrence of conflict is more viable and less costly than exerting efforts and dissipating energies to preserve peace following the explosion of the situation. Many of the conflicts now raging could have been avoided or mitigated had we exerted greater effort to prevent the escalation of the crisis that preceded them.
Third: the reasons for the lack of stability and security, even in regions where peace has been made, are attributable to the fact that peace in certain instances and under particular circumstances is incomplete because it is based on elements of oppression and coercion instead of right and justice. Force and oppression cannot establish justice or cement peace.
Fourth: the adoption by the United Nations of the topic of human rights, which was enshrined in the Human Rights Conference held in Vienna in April 1993, is appreciated and commended by us. It is unfortunate that the issue of human rights is often used as a means of pressure and a tool of extortion, with the aim of achieving 'certain political and economic interests. We regard human rights as a gift to mankind from the Creator, and not one gratuitously granted by one human being to another. Such human rights exist in the roots of every human civilization,
and are not a monopoly of one culture. It is absurd to impose on an individual or a society rights that are alien to its bel iefs or principles.
Fifth: the trend towards globalization that we support and endorse is one that helps foster links between cultures and promotes closeness among all peoples and nations, and expands the prospects for cooperation. We hope that the United Nations will support us in standing against a globalization that results in the hegemony of the strong over the weak, increases the causes of oppression and exploitation of nations, and fosters injustice and inequality in international relations. We particularly warn of the ramifications of unbridled globalization and its use as an umbrella to violate the sovereignty of states and interfere with their internal affairs under a variety of pretexts, especially from the angle of human rights issues as stated earlier.
Sixth: it is fitting for the United Nations to adopt the call for establishing cultural dialogue among nations and to dedicate part of its time and effort to examining
what each culture has to offer by way of contributions and ideas related to the concept of human rights. We are in dire need of a formula that can bring together the universality of such concepts and the importance of respecting those things that are sacred, that no culture can dispense with or bargain over.
The introduction of certain structural and organizational reforms to enhance the performance of the United Nations and increase its efficacy may be necessary in the current era. There is, however, a firm reality that cannot be ignored or avoided. It has to do with the ability of this organization to carry out its mission and shoulder its established and evolving responsibilities, will always remain dependent on the political will to actually implement the principles enshrined in its Charter, including adherence to the organization's resolutions and recommendations in the political arena. The reason, why many issues remain unresolved is because of lack of adherence on the part of one or both parties in a dispute to the principles and resolutions of the United Nations. For example, Security Council Resolution 425 regarding Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon, although adopted unanimously, had to wait more than twenty‑four years for Israel to abide by and implement. The Palestinian and Syrian tracks in the Middle East peace process pass through numerous obstacles and difficulties as a result of the lack of seriousness on the part of the Israeli government in adhering to the requirements of the peace process based on the UN resolutions and the principles of the Madrid Conference, especially the principle of land for peace, in addition to Israel's failure to abide by the agreements it has signed. This comes at a time when the Arab countries continue to regard the goal of peace as a strategic and irreversible option, demonstrate flexibility, take initiatives, participate in all
activities, and exert every effort that emanates from the peace process. The cause of the failure of Camp David is attributable to the attempts of Israel to overlook two basic facts related to the core and essence of the peace process: First, the Holy City of Jerusalem, Al‑Quds, which is part and parcel of the Arab territories occupied in 1967, and is subject to Security Council Resolution 242. Second, the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland, an issue that this Organization has addressed in many resolutions, in particular Resolution 194.
With respect to the Syrian track, we can find no explanation for its faltering, except for the continued intransigence of the Israeli government, and its lack of interest in meeting the requirements of the peace process that necessitate Israel's withdrawal to the June 4 lines, in accordance with the principle of land for peace.
In the Arabian Gulf region, the Iraq‑Iran war continued to rage for an extended period after the adoption of a Security Council resolution calling for cessation of hostilities. War between the two neighboring countries only stopped after the two parties responded and submitted to the provisions of the aforementioned resolution. We in the Arabian Gulf region, however, are still suffering from problems resulting from the Iraqi government's lack of full adherence to its commitments to the Security Council resolutions that were issued following Iraq's invasion of the State of Kuwait in 1990. This lack of adherence has caused continued suffering for the brotherly people of Iraq as a result of the economic
blockade and the continued uncertainty of Iraq's intentions towards its neighbors, which is reaffirmed by the threatening language used at the highest levels of the Iraqi leadership.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, wishing to help the people of Iraq obtain their basic needs, has supported the development of the program of oil for food. My country earlier brought forward specific ideas, within the framework of an integrated initiative, that would allow Iraq to import all its needs of materials and goods with the exception of those that fall within the context of military items, especially those related to the production and development of weapons of mass destruction. It is unfortunate that all efforts exerted in this respect have always foundered against Iraq's wall of rejection, and its disregard for all regional and international initiatives that have been put forward. Our empathy for the pains of the continued suffering of our brothers in Iraq as a result of the policies of their government is equal only to‑our continued concern for the need to uphold Iraq's independence, and the unity and integrity of its territories.
Mr. President: Members of delegations:
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, like its sister members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, exerts the utmost effort to strengthen peace and stability in the Arabian
Gulf region, and to create an environment conducive to economic development and fruitful cooperation among neighboring states. From this basis, the GCC states have been desirous that their relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran be based on good neighborliness, mutual respect, and non‑interference in each other's internal affairs, and on adopting peaceful means as an approach to resolving disputes between two parties. The continued problem of the three islands located between Iran and the United Arab Emirates still constitutes an impediment to developing relations in the required manner.
The establishment of the tripartite panel to clear the atmosphere between the two parties, and prepare for direct negotiation between Iran and the UAE, embodies our desire to reach a solution to this problem. We hope the panel is accorded support to enable it to reach its desired objective.
On the other hand, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is very much concerned with f
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