Statement by H.E. Mr. Rinchinnyamiin AMARJARGAL,
Acting Minister for
External Relations of
Mongolia in the General debate of the 53rd

session of the United Nations General Assembly

/New York, 25 September 1998/

Mr. President,

One of the pressing issues that mankind is facing today is globalization and growing interdependence of states and their effects on international relations. These objective processes will to a great extent determine the nature of international relations at the outset of the coming millenium. They open up enormous opportunities and at the same time are fraught with grave challenges. So far the future does not seem to be bright for some, especially for the least developed, the weak and vulnerable, which could result in even wider gap between the rich and the poor among nations and within them. The increasing interdependence of states and its effects is clearly demonstrated by the Asian financial crisis which spilled over to some other parts of the world, adversely affecting the world economy, exacting already high economic and social costs and raising serious concerns about the operations of financial markets. We believe that the present financial crisis calls for the international community to create a crisis early warning system. Therefore, naturally, these issues are on the minds of peoples and on the agenda of this Assembly. We believe that the high level meeting held last week in this Assembly would provide a good basis for serious, constructive and fruitful debate and decisions on these issues.

After decades of virtual isolation from world development, Mongolia is taking active measures to integrate itself into the global economy basing on whatever comparative advantage it has. Though concrete steps have been taken in the past few years, including opening up its economy to the outside world, joining the WTO, etc, the negative consequences of globalization, which is felt especially by the weak and vulnerable, including by the land-locked developing countries, are fraught with marginalizing it economically, if not politically. Therefore we believe that the world community, when searching for adequate responses to globalization, should take into account the challenges that the vulnerable states and those in transition are facing and take measures to facilitate their adaptation to the changing realities.

Mr. President,

We believe that the international community should pay increasing attention to the situation of land-locked developing states. They are handicapped by their geographical location and remoteness from world markets, which, as experts point out, constraining at the very least 1 to 3 % of their annual growth. It is no wonder that of the 30 land-locked developing countries, 16 are among the least developed, whose per capita GDP is less than $ 400. The progressive marginalization of these countries is evident from the fact that the 300 million people that live in these countries share 0.5% of world trade, with the trend towards further decrease. Like other land-locked developing countries, Mongolia is taking measures to overcome the difficulties inherent to land-locked countries by closely cooperating with its transit neighbors. In this regard Mongolia is looking forward to concluding a sub-regional agreement with Russia and China that would facilitate transit transportation for all the three countries and the sub-region in general.

Bearing in mind the state of world’s economy and the role that the United Nations could play, Mongolia supports the efforts to increase UN role in economic and social development, especially of weak and vulnerable states and creating an effective mechanism of international cooperation for development. Likewise, it is in favor of convening international conferences for development financing and on partnership for development.

Mongolia believes that the notion "development" should not be limited to economic growth only. In this regard we fully agree with the wider notion that is reflected in the human development reports.

Mr. President,

Economic development, like other human activities, is directly connected with the state of the world’s environment, in fact with the future of mankind. In many countries, especially in environmentally vulnerable ones, the question of protecting the environment is directly linked to their security and even ultimate survival. The changes in the world climate, its caprices, that we see and feel, lead us to believe that greater attention and efforts are needed to cope with this ever growing and creeping danger, the effects of which are incalculable. Therefore we believe that the First Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction should be followed by a second decade with greater focus on reaching the targets set forth as well as strengthening the existing and creating, where necessary, new international mechanisms.

Mongolia, following its centuries-old tradition of living in harmony with the nature and the environment, declared 15% of its territory ( an area larger than Central Europe ) a protected natural reserve. In the near future the area of the natural reserve would make up one third of its vast territory.

Mr. President,

Political stability is essential for economic development and fruitful cooperation. The end of the Cold War is an important milestone in international relations that raises hopes for further strengthening peace and developing cooperation among nations. However, the post Cold War years have vividly demonstrated that peace and stability need constant efforts of states to deepen mutual trust and settle disputes by political means. Though some political flashpoints have been eliminated and problems solved, still new ones are arising. The situation in the Middle East, in the Balkans, in Southern Africa are raising concerns of the international community, as reflected in this general debate. Mongolia is for of solving them on the basis of negotiation, in the spirit of cooperation, without the use or threat of force. In this connection we would like to reiterate that the Korean peninsula should be turned into a zone of peace, stability and prosperity in the interests of the korean people as well as the peace and security of North East Asia.

In another part of the Asian continent, in South Asia, the international community was struck by nuclear tests that could exacerbate tensions and undermine the existing nuclear non-proliferation regime and the test ban. Mongolia, situated between two nuclear powers, stands strongly against any nuclear tests, and, as others, expressed its deep concern and regret over recent tests. Therefore we welcome the declaration of the People’s Republic of China not to resume nuclear tests and express the hope that the latest encouraging signals from Pakistan and India would lead to strengthening the non-proliferation regime and moving closer to objectives of nuclear disarmament. In this respect Mongolia supports the 8 power Declaration "Towards a Nuclear Weapons Free World - A New Agenda". Likewise, we express the hope that the negotiations on banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices would soon lead to the conclusion of a verifiable international treaty.

Mongolia believes that non-nuclear weapon states can, in their own way, contribute to strengthening nuclear security and enhance stability. In this context it welcomes and supports the efforts of the Central Asian states to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in their region. On its part, Mongolia is working to institutionalize its nuclear-weapon-free status, which would turn its territory into an area of peace, stability and predictability. The fact that all nuclear weapon states as well as the entire Non-aligned movement fully support Mongolia’s efforts to institutionalize its nuclear-weapon-free status is encouraging.

Mongolia is in favor of strengthening the arms control and verification regimes set up by the conventions on chemical and biological weapons. They will, in our view, given a genuine will to enforce them, strengthen international security. Likewise, Mongolia supports the international efforts to curb the spread of conventional weapons, especially of small arms and light weapons.

Mr. President,

International peace and security will be strengthened when and if international law is strictly observed. We believe that international law should be strengthened as the core of security relations. In this connection Mongolia welcomes the recent adoption by the Rome conference of the Statute of the International Criminal Court. We are in favor of a truly independent Court and look forward to its early establishment and coming into operation. This would constitute an important milestone in strengthening international law and justice.

Mongolia condemns all acts of international terrorism. Therefore it resolutely condemns the recent terrorist bombings in Kenya, Tanzania, Northern Ireland and believes that international terrorism should be fought by joint efforts, and in full accordance with the norms and principles of international law. It believes that acts of terrorism should be condemned wherever, by whomever and against whomever they are carried out.

The 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an event of special significance. It is connected with the tremendous changes that have taken place over the last half a century in the concept and practice of ensuring human rights.

Thanks to the Declaration, unprecedented high standards have been set for protecting human dignity. Since the adoption of the Declaration in 1948, those standards have been strengthened and further developed by numerous international treaties and conventions and have become truly universal.

The legal foundations reflecting the world standard of protection and promotion of human rights were laid down in Mongolia in its 1992 Constitution. Since then it has been further developed and concretized by relevant legislation and the establishment of the necessary administrative and legal machinery based on the United Nations treaties and conventions on human rights that Mongolia has acceded to. At present preparations are underway for the establishment of a national human rights commission. A draft law to that effect has been submitted to the Parliament for its consideration and adoption.

Mr. President,

Confronting with many global problems and approaching the new millenium, the world community places great hopes on the activities of a strong and well equipped United Nations. From this view, Mongolia firmly supports the Secretary-General’s reform package. In implementation of decisions and recommendations of UN summit conferences on major global social and economic problems and in support of the "silent revolution", my Government adopted the National action program for the 21st century and is launching, in close partnership with the UN family bodies operating in Mongolia, and the NGOs an ambitious project "One World Conference Series" aimed at ensuring an integrated follow-up to the world conferences and summits held in the early 1990s.

The reform of the United Nations cannot be complete without the reform and expansion of the Security Council. In this connection I would like to reiterate my Government’s conviction that the Council should reflect the political realities and, besides becoming more effective, its membership should be enlarged to reflect a more equitable representation.

It is our hope that the relevant General Assembly debates on this important issue would soon be capped by concrete decisions. We believe that energetic efforts should be undertaken to make for the Millenium Assembly an occasion for reforming and revitalizing the Security Council.

The General Assembly, on the proposal of Mongolia, is drafting a set of guiding principles for conducting international negotiations. We believe that development and adoption of such a set of principles would contribute to enhancing the effectiveness of negotiations as the most universal instrument for international cooperation.

Mr. President,

My Government is continuing to pursue its political and economic reforms. Mongolia’s commitment to irrevocable materialization of the principles of democracy, liberalism and market economy is irreversible despite the great difficulties of the transition period. The future major policy priorities would continue to include, inter alia, the strengthening of democratic institutions, enhancement of the basis of political stability, acceleration of privatization in the economic field and social protection of the population, especially its vulnerable groups.

Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Mongolian people and its Government, I would like to express our deep gratitude to the international community, especially the donor countries and international financial institutions for their assistance to Mongolia since it joined the community of open societies and democratic nations.

Mr. President,

A century, that was full of dramatic and consequential events, is drawing to a close. This was a century of great social upheavals and experimentation as well as of unprecedented social progress and technological advances. We believe that a more promising millenium is in store for all humankind and that the world community would be able to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Mongolia stands poised, at this historic juncture, to make its contribution to the efforts of the United Nations to bring about brighter and more secure future.

Thank you.