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UN2K: Thailand Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan




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Your Excellencies the Co-Presidents of the Millennium Summit,

Your Excellency the Secretary-General of the United Nations,

Distinguished Heads of State and Government,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, allow me to join all the previous speakers in congratulating Her Excellency Tarja Halonen, President of Finland, and His Excellency Sam Nujoma, President of Namibia, on their election as Co-Presidents of this Millennium Assembly. I also wish to commend highly the far-sighted initiative of His Excellency Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, in organizing this historic Millennium Summit and in producing a most insightful report, which serves as an excellent basis for our current deliberations.

As a whole, Thailand is supportive of the principles and recommendations laid out in the Secretary-General's timely report, particularly the emphasis on human-centred development. I am pleased to note that this very objective of human-centred development was the main thrust of Thailand's statement at the Fifty-fourth Session of the General Assembly last year, which focused on human security and underscored the importance of providing our peoples with "freedom from want" in addition to "freedom from fear".

The Secretary-General's report, "We the Peoples", rightly identifies the new challenges confronting us all as we enter a new century. In Thailand's view, Such challenges are of far-reaching magnitude and scope, ranging from a complex phenomenon such as globalization all the way to a straight-forward problem such as high energy and oil prices on the present world market, which threatens to reverse the recovery process in many countries, including Thailand, as well as adversely affect global economic stability. We in Thailand are deeply concerned about the negative repercussions of high oil prices on the global economy. It is our earnest hope that the international community will be able to find a mutually satisfactory resolution to this problem before it gets out of hand and possibly leads to another worldwide economic crisis.

In view of the immense challenges posed by globalization, Thailand believes there is a greater need than ever for a level playing field so that developing countries can compete with the industrialized nations on a more equal footing. At the same time, we look to the indispensable role of the United Nations as a democratic world organization that takes into account the interests of all countries on an equal basis, acting in accordance with Its basic guiding principles and without bias to all.

As we prepare to face the intricate challenges of the Twenty-first Century, each and every one of us must do our part to make this a better world in which to live. As far as Thailand is concerned, we have striven to play a constructive role and to make a meaningful contribution to global peace and prosperity. This has been manifested at the international, regional and national levels.

In the international arena, Thailand has sought to play a pro-active role in achieving a more just and equitable global order. In this quest, our Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce, Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, will be assuming the post of Director- General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in September 2002. We also helped foster the "Spirit of Bangkok" during the successful Tenth Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD X, earlier this year in our common effort to bridge the dangerous gap between the developed and developing countries.

Along the same lines, Thailand also supports the convening of a High-level International Intergovernmental Event on Financing for Development at the highest level possible next year, with the belief that such a conference would help address the national, international and systemic issues relating to financing for development in a holistic manner.

In the political sphere, Thailand has strongly supported and participated in U.N. peacekeeping operations in virtually all regions of the world. We are particularly honoured that a Thai military officer, Lieutenant General Boonsrang Niumpradit, has been appointed Force Commander of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).

Thailand also welcomes the recent release of the report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations headed by His Excellency Lakdar Brahimi. We look forward to the implementation of many of the practical recommendations proposed by the Panel with a view to strengthening the capacity of the U.N. to conduct efficient peacekeeping operations and mount a quick response to potential threats to international security.

As the primary organ responsible for maintaining international peace and stability, the Security Council must also be reformed to enable it to carry out its tasks more effectively. In line with the increased membership of and mounting challenges to this world organization over the decades, Thailand supports the expansion of Security Council membership in both permanent and non-permanent seats, based on the principle of equitable geographical representation and readiness to share the responsibilities.

At the regional level, Thailand has espoused policies aimed at promoting the mutual interests and common prosperity of all the countries in the region. In various international fora, the Thai Government has advocated "the Mekong Agenda" with a view to fulfilling ASEAN's vision of a region in which there is "equitable economic development and reduced poverty and socio-economic disparities." We are gratified that the just concluded session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has adopted a resolution proposed by Thailand to declare this decade "the Decade of Greater Mekong Subregion Development Cooperation, 2000-2009" and we hope the current session of the General Assembly will also endorse it. This should help focus attention on and mobilize necessary resources for the development of this subregion.

Thailand has also placed great emphasis on the promotion of human resource development in the region as an important means of advancing economic and social development as well as alleviating poverty. It is our firm conviction that an investment in human resources constitutes a significant part of holistic and sustainable development, which will yield huge dividends over the long term and create a knowledge-based society capable of meeting the challenges of the new millennium.

At the national level, Thailand has been guided and inspired by the wisdom of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, whose philosophy of a "Sufficiency Economy" serves as the blueprint for the country's economic and social development path. While the main focus in many countries over the past decades has been to achieve faster growth at all costs, His Majesty has cautioned that it should be adequate for the Thai people to achieve an economy that is self-supporting, with the generated wealth equitably shared by the entire nation. In coping with present-day economic pressures, a country and its people should try to live within their means, in moderation and without extravagance. It is therefore Thailand's conviction that such a philosophy could be one of the keys to achieving genuine human development and security by offering us guidance on how to avoid the senseless accumulation of wealth, the degradation of the environment, and the exploitation of women, children and the vulnerable. We place particular emphasis on promoting the welfare of our children, who are our most valuable resource and who constitute our main hope for the future.

In closing, I would like to reiterate Thailand's support for the Secretary-General's millennium report and our pledge to work with the international community in realizing the practical recommendations contained in it. It is our earnest hope that the outcome of the deliberations at this historic Millennium Summit will help chart a new course for closer partnership among all nations, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society groups, parliaments, and private corporations in the quest for a better and brighter future for all of us and for our posterity.

Thank you.

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