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Egypt says UN should adopt anti-terror plan

Egypt’s Foreign Minister says UN should convene session to adopt anti-terror plan

The United Nations should convene a meeting of senior officials from across the globe to formulate a plan to deal with terrorism effectively, the Foreign Minister of Egypt told the General Assembly this morning as it continued its annual debate.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the recent terrorist attacks which struck many countries, including Egypt, “made it now clear that terrorism is a danger that does not distinguish between peoples or cultures or religions, it is rather a threat to human civilization without any distinction.”

Response strategies must include measures to combat terrorism as well as attention to the underlying causes of this scourge, he said. Egypt has proposed convening a high-level meeting of the General Assembly to “a comprehensive action plan that includes the necessary legal and practical procedures to deal effectively with terrorism until it is completely eradicated, without affecting the ability of people under occupation to acquire their independence consistent with international law.”

Uganda’s Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa said the conclusion of a peace accord for Sudan had led to increased optimism for settling the conflict in northern Uganda. With cooperation of the Sudanese Government, terrorists from the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) are being flushed out from southern Sudan. “Uganda's strategy of peace negotiations combined with maximum military pressure has significantly reduced the LRA's capacity to commit evil,” he said, while also appealing to the international community to provide assistance to support the Government’s efforts.

“There should be no self-serving questions or quibbling about Pakistan's commitment and contribution to peace and security in Afghanistan,” said Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmud Kasuri. He added that his country is actively engaged in halting illegal cross-border movement and containing the threat posed by the Taliban and Al-Qaida. Pakistan's military presence along the border far exceeds the combined strength of the national and international military presence in Afghanistan, he added.

Chile’s Foreign Minister Ignacio Walker praised the Summit’s establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission and recommended that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund contribute to its work. He also suggested that Haiti “can be the first trial run for the Peacebuilding Commission.”

Abdullah Gül, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, said the Summit’s Outcome document “has encouraged us all to focus on the global problems we face and the way to achieve positive change.” He called for action to implement what has already been agreed on. “We welcome the Secretary-General's proposal to start with an accountability pact,” he said, hailing also the Assembly President’s proposal to outline the Summit-related follow-up work that remains for the coming year.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer of Australia welcomed the Summit's progress in several areas, including the agreement to establish a Peacebuilding Commission, agreement on the responsibility to act to protect populations from gross and systematic violations of human rights, the call for an early conclusion of a comprehensive terrorism convention and support for development financing. “But alongside these welcome outcomes, many questions and, in some cases, vast disappointments remain,” he added, citing the absence of agreement on non-proliferation, a terrorism definition and Security Council reform. He called for action in these areas, declaring that the world public “expects nothing less.”

Canada’s Foreign Minister Pierre Stewart Pettigrew said the Summit marked a beginning, not an ending. “We have a mandate to continue with our efforts and to make this 60th anniversary year a true year of reform.” He called for more specific terms for the Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission as well as urgent action to tackle health issues, combat terrorism and protect the environment. In addition, he said the Summit should have confronted the issues of disarmament and non-proliferation, gender equality, and the International Criminal Court.

Cyril Svobuda, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, said that the Summit took positive steps “in shaping our visions and sharpening our tools.” He questioned whether the Member States really want the UN to grow stronger and more efficient. “The answer depends on us,” he said, stressing that work on reform must continue.

The Secretary of State for Global Affairs of Romania Teodor Baconschi said that in times when there are voices calling into question the Organization’s relevance amid a succession of recent mismanagement revelations, “we – the Secretariat and Member States together – need to act resolutely to ensure UN's efficiency and credibility by improving administration performance, establishing viable mechanisms for responsibility and accountability of the Secretariat, strengthening the audit and oversight functions and endowing the Secretary General with the authority and flexibility needed to effectively manage the mandates entrusted by the membership.”

The Foreign Minister of the Maldives, Ahmed Shaheed, said small, low-lying islands are no longer the frontline when it comes to natural catastrophes; climate change can cause destruction anytime and anywhere. “Prevention is the only option where there is no cure,” he warned, calling on all countries to adopt the Kyoto Protocol, which contains legally binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and implement international agreements on helping small island developing States.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guyana Rudolph Insanally said the recent revision of Europe's proposal to drastically reduce the price of sugar exports of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States would “plunge many of our people who depend on it into extreme poverty.” Guyana stood to lose some $40 million dollars annually – “a sum that nullifies the $8 million dollars which we will have received from the recent G8 decisions on debt relief.” He called this an example of the “skewed and often incoherent policies pursued by some developed countries.”

Mongolia’s Foreign Minister Tsend Munkh-Orgil said his country spends 7 to 8 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on transportation and related costs – double that paid by other developing countries and triple the costs of developed States. “Last week the world leaders have once again reaffirmed their commitment to address the special needs of the land-locked countries and their special difficulties in integrating into multilateral trading systems,” he said, calling for full implementation of international agreements aimed at addressing these concerns.

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