Statement by H.E. Mr. Shukheriin ALTANGEREL,
Minister forExternal Relations of Mongolia in the
General debate of the 52nd session of the
United Nations General Assembly
/New York, 6 October 1997/
The disintegration of the bipolar world structure and the end of the Cold War are creating favorable conditions for realizing the goals and principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter. Globalization, vigorous economic integration and interdependence are becoming a prevailing tendency throughout the world. The fundamental changes undergoing in international relations, the new challenges and global agendas demand on the part of the United Nations, its specialized agencies and the member-states new visions, collective efforts and actions commensurate to these realities. I wish to underline that the overwhelming majority of the international community recognizes these changes, adjusts accordingly and is contributing to this process. It is hardly possible to foresee our common future without jointly solving the socio- economic problems, the questions of underdevelopment, unemployment, hunger, poverty, diseases, crimes and fighting natural disasters.
Mongolia stands for making the United Nations an effective and efficient Organization able to meet the challenges of the new millennium, a political, economic and legal instrument capable of safeguarding the interests of all nations, specially of small ones, on the basis of equality and justice.
United Nations reform has been a subject of substantive debates in recent years. It is therefore natural that the reform agenda, in particular the report submitted by the Secretary General on a reform program, is in the center of this session's attention.
Mongolia duly commends the constructive efforts of the Secretary General to reform the United Nations and overcome its present financial crisis. It thus welcomes his reform program submitted to the General Assembly. We believe that thorough consideration and effect should be given to the specific proposals such as reasonable reduction of the staff of the United Nations Secretariat, allocation of the resulting savings for acceleration of development, establishment of the post of the Deputy-Secretary- General, creation of the United Nations Development Group so as to improve coordination and management. It is clear that the United Nations reform is not an event, but rather a process. We share the view that it is a continuos process, the end result of which should be measured by the increase in the efficiency and effectiveness of the United Nations.
Mongolia supports the view that the expansion of the Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent membership should provide equal regional representation, and that the Council's activities should be democratized and made more transparent. Despite the enlargement of the Security Council membership, the overwhelming majority of the United Nations member-states will still remain unrepresented directly on the Council. Therefore, Mongolia’s proposal to institutionalize the fuller participation of member-states of the United Nations in the proceedings of the Security Council, including in its formal meetings, finds increasing support within the Organization.
Mongolia appreciates and supports the Secretary- General’s efforts aimed to give priority to socio-economic questions, to invigorate United Nations developmental activities and enhance international cooperation for development. To this end it is vital that the United Nations, its specialized agencies as well as international trade and financial institutions intensify their activities, in this field, and better coordinate their interaction.
Today it is universally accepted that sustainable development could be attained provided that it is comprehensively approached, that the question of sustained economic growth is closely linked with those of social development and environmental protection. It is gratifying to note that the "Agenda for Development", adopted this year, has been drawn up precisely in this spirit. We consider it an important document that defines the strategy of international cooperation for development and believe that implementation of its provisions is vitally important.
The Special session of the United Nations General Assembly, held last June, reviewed and assessed the implementation of the Rio Summit decisions and outlined future actions. Since Agenda-21 adopted five years ago in Rio de Janeiro has not been fully realized, the international community should accord greater attention to its complete implementation.
Mongolia believes that the fulfillment of the important decisions and recommendations of the summit conferences held under United Nations auspices in early 1990's is of crucial importance for consolidating the positive trends in world social development, redoubling international cooperation towards poverty alleviation, human rights protection, food security, environment, advancement of women, protection of rights of the child and sustainable human settlement.
While fostering international cooperation for development, it is important to accord high priority to addressing the problems of the most disadvantaged developing countries that have unfavorable geographical location, severe climate and underdeveloped infrastructure.
Land-locked developing countries, handicapped by geographical location and remoteness from world markets, face tremendous obstacles and hardships in their efforts for development and advancement. As reality demonstrates, such a situation creates risks for these countries to be marginalized from the on-going globalization process in world economy and international trade. Therefore, it is imperative to increase the support to and cooperation of the international community with them, as envisaged in the "Agenda for Development".
It is gratifying to note that land-locked developing countries are undertaking concrete steps to develop transit transport cooperation with their transit neighbors. In this respect my Government believes that the first ever North-East Asia Sub- regional Consultative Meeting on Transit Transportation, held in Ulaanbaatar this year, has laid the ground for the development of such regional cooperation in the future.
The notion and criteria of defining international peace and security are undergoing changes. With the improvement of the international political climate, the danger of nuclear war and arms race is receding, while prospects for making concrete steps in practical disarmament are increasing. The very concept of security, based primarily on the size of armed forces and the military alliances or associations, has also undergone changes. It now includes the level of development and progress, wealth and well-being of peoples, as well as extent of ensurance of human rights and fundamental freedoms. All this must find due reflection in United Nations activities.
It gives me pleasure to inform the General Assembly that Mongolia has ratified last July the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test- Ban Treaty. Given the paramount significance of the Treaty, Mongolia believes that there is an urgent need to have it enter into force as soon as possible, to strictly implement its provisions and make operational its international verification system.
It is necessary for the international community to take specific measures designed to act on the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the "obligation to undertake negotiations and bring to a fruitful completion of nuclear disarmament under international strict verification and control".
The Government of Mongolia is pleased with the entry into force of the Convention on the Prohibition of Use, Production, Destruction and Stockpiling of Chemical Weapons. Ratification by the USA and the pledge by the Russian Federation to ratify the said Convention, the two major powers possessing substantial arsenals of these weapons of mass destruction, are important prerequisites for its subsequent successful enforcement.
In the past few years the trend to establish nuclear-weapon- free zones is gaining momentum. Mongolia is pursuing the policy of maintaining the size of its armed forces and its defense expenditures at the lowest possible level and ensuring its independence and national security primarily by political and diplomatic means. In 1992 Mongolia has declared its territory a nuclear-weapon-free zone and is now seeking to institutionalize this status internationally. Within this framework, we have presented to the last session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission a working paper on the basic principles and elements of the concept of single state nuclear-weapon-free zones. I take this opportunity to express our principle support for the proposal to establish nuclear -weapon free zones in other regions, particularly in Central Asia, and our readiness to work actively for the realization of the latter.
It is regrettable that sources of tension and conflict persist in some regions of the world. International peace and security would be strengthened if the parties concerned display political will and utmost restraint in resolving their differences by negotiation and other peaceful means.
Bearing in mind the importance of strengthening the rule of law in international relations, the international community has declared United Nations Decade of International Law and has undertaken a series of measures. It is gratifying to note that on the initiative of Mongolia the current session is to consider the question of drafting guiding principles for international negotiations. Mongolia believes that the adoption of a document defining the guiding principles for international negotiations would not only meet the purposes and principles of the Decade, but it would also promote defining an international criteria for conducting international negotiations on the basis of justice and sovereign equality of states, irrespective of their actual power.
Mongolia continues to support the convening in 1998 of a Diplomatic Conference on the Establishment of the International Criminal Court. We believe that the jurisdiction of the Court should cover, inter alia, the crimes of aggression and grave environmental crimes.
The Government of Mongolia is consistently pursuing the policy of democratization, embracing market economy and opening up to the world. The new Government has undertaken in the past year a series of very important measures to accelerate the political and economic reforms, stabilize the country's economy and ensure economic growth. To cite an example, we have introduced a "zero" percent import tariff and accelerated the pace of privatization. These represent important steps to attract foreign direct investment and expand trade with our major partners and the world at large.
Accession to and full membership in the World Trade Organization /WTO/ early this year have greatly contributed to the forward-looking development of Mongolia. We seek to constructively cooperate with the WTO as the main multilateral trade rule-setting mechanism.
Within its policy of actively joining the world and regional economic integration, Mongolia is striving to pursue a policy aimed at strengthening peace, security and developing cooperation in Asia and the Pacific. Especially we are focusing our attention on North-East Asia and are committed to increasing our cooperation with the countries of the region, both on bilateral and multilateral basis.
I would like to underline the hope that Mongolia's interaction with the United Nations, its agencies and other international organizations, as well as our bilateral cooperation with the member-states have and continue to play a valuable role in overcoming underdevelopment, the hardships inherent to transitional period as well as meeting the pressing socio- economic challenges. In this connection, I wish to express the gratitude of my Government to the donor countries, the United Nations and other international institutions for their support and assistance extended to my country.
Mongolia has always viewed and supported the United Nations as an important instrument for safeguarding international peace and security and promoting social and economic development. We remain committed to strengthening the United Nations and enhancing its efficiency and effectiveness collectively with all member-states.