STATEMENT
BY H.E. MR. L.ERDENECHULUUN,
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN
AFFAIRS OF MONGOLIA
IN THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE 55TH SESSION
OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

21 September 2000


Mr. President,

Allow me at the outset to join preceding speakers in congratulating you on your election as President of the Millennium Assembly of the United Nations and express my confidence that under your skillful stewardship this session of the General Assembly will successfully accomplish its mandate. I also wish to commend our outgoing President Mr.Theo-Ben Gurirab for his eminent leadership over the previous session of the General Assembly.

1. My delegation extends its warm welcome to the Government and people of Tuvalu, whose membership has brought the United Nations yet another step closer to its universality.

2. This General Assembly is entrusted with an honorable mission to follow up on what has been agreed by the Millennium Summit of world leaders. For me personally this session is also very special. 26 years or most of my diplomatic career has been associated with the United Nations and I feel particularly privileged to deliver from this high rostrum a policy statement of my Government as Foreign Minister.

3. A few days ago Member States reaffirmed at the highest level their commitment to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, their unequivocal support for a more efficient and reinvigorated United Nations and firm resolve to collectively work towards a healthier and cleaner world free from fear and free from want. The Millennium Declaration underscored the collective responsibility of world leaders to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level. This sense of solidarity and shared responsibility is, in our view, crucial for the international community so that it can effectively address the formidable challenges at the dawn of the new millennium. And the challenges the world faces today are, indeed, multifold and complex, both in scope and nature. The central challenge, as identified in the Secretary-General's Millennium Report, is how to make globalization more inclusive with its benefits equitably enjoyed by all nations.

4. As recently as mid 80s notion of "globality" was virtually unknown in the international vocabulary, let alone the concepts of "global governance" or "global climate change" etc. Yet now, just a little more than a decade later, ideas of globality not only blend with our day-to-day life, globalization per se has turned into a powerful and inevitable process. Globalization has been generously showered lately with both praise and criticism. Along with greater opportunities it can also lead to situations of heightened insecurity and all the more so for the weak and poor nations. As my President N.Bagabandi has noted in his Millennium address, "Mongolia believes that with its impartiality and universal legitimacy as well as its Charter-based prevalence over any other international agreement, the United Nations is uniquely placed to provide an overarching general guidance to the process of globalization so that it incorporates human dimension in its seemingly unruly trends".

5. As we draw lessons from the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis, it has become more evident that the process of globalization ought to be managed so as to make the best of its opportunities and diminish its negative effects, that internal policies, how righteous they might be, are not sufficient to ensure sustained economic growth in this era of growing interdependence. And it is even truer for developing, structurally disadvantaged countries. In a globally liberalized trade and financial system these countries need to be assisted to withstand powerful external forces that so often are utterly destructive. Yet again it necessitates a genuine display of solidarity and shared responsibility on the part of the international community.

6. The global fight against abject poverty, inequality and disparity, violence, HIV/AIDS, organized crime and other acute problems is being impeded by, inter alia, swelling external debt burden, depleting official development assistance, growing digital and development divides between haves and have nots. The affluent countries could exhibit their solidarity and shared responsibility by further opening their markets, providing deeper and faster debt relief and giving more and better-focused development assistance and incentives for FDI flows to their less fortunate partners. In this context, Mongolia looks forward to the forthcoming high-level international conference on financing for development and the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries as well as the new multilateral trade negotiations to produce specific, time-bound commitments.

7. Mongolia welcomes the South Summit Declaration and the Havana Programme of Action and the outcome of the meeting between the G-77 and the G-8 in Okinawa as important junctures providing inspiring vision for more action-oriented South-South cooperation and meaningful North-South partnership.

8. My delegation attaches great importance to the decisions adopted at the UNCTAD- X that underscored the necessity of creating the legal environment to facilitate transit traffic for landlocked developing countries, improve transit infrastructure and increase efficiency of trade by eliminating transport and bureaucratic bottlenecks. Here, I am pleased to inform that a first specific step to enhance and facilitate multilateral transit transport cooperation is being taken in the Northeast Asian region. As a result of a tripartite meeting held in Ulaanbaatar under the auspices of UNCTAD earlier this year, Mongolia, Russia and China have agreed to conclude a transit traffic framework agreement. Negotiations to draft the said agreement are underway.

9. My delegation further believes that the upcoming Fifth meeting of Governmental experts of landlocked and transit developing countries, representatives of donor countries and financial and development institutions as well as a Ministerial meeting on transit transport issues expected to be held in 2003 will play a critical role in strengthening a common framework of action to ease the burden faced by landlocked developing countries.

10. We support the proposals put forward in the Millennium Report by the Secretary-General on the improvement of provision of health services and communication in areas stricken by natural disasters. As some might be aware, the heavy snowstorms and the extreme cold winter of 1999/2000 in Mongolia have caused the loss of nearly 3 million heads of livestock or about 10 per cent of the nation's entire livestock population. Besides the direct loss of livestock, the so-called "dzud" had other gravely devastating economic and social consequences, including loss of precious human lives. I would like to take this opportunity to express on behalf of my Government and the people of Mongolia our sincere gratitude to those Governments, international organizations and individuals that have rendered timely assistance and support in our efforts to overcome the consequences of "dzud".

11. As the world leaders have solemnly reaffirmed in their Millennium Declaration, "the United Nations is the indispensable common house of the entire human family, through which we will seek to realize our universal aspirations for peace, cooperation and development". If the United Nations is to adequately respond to the challenges of today's increasingly interdependent and rapidly changing world, a great deal will depend on its ability to adapt itself to an environment that is markedly different from the one in which it was conceived by its founders 55 years ago.

12. The demands on the Organization have increased manifold, especially in the area of peacekeeping. Lessons of Srebrenica, Rwanda and Sierra Leone made it abundantly clear that a thorough and critical review is needed to make the peacekeeping operations succeed in meeting our commitment under the Charter. We are deeply indebted to the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations chaired by Ambassador Brahimi, which, in its report, presented a frank analysis of the prevailing situation and forthright recommendations for change. The report deserves serious consideration and specific action already at this session of the General Assembly. Mongolia stands committed to making practical contribution to UN peacekeeping operations. As part of its efforts to adequately equip its military officers and units for participation in PKOs, Mongolia took part for the first time in recent training exercises held in Kazakhstan for Central Asian countries.

13. Reform effort of the Security Council has so far not brought us closer to resolving some of the fundamental issues on the agenda of the Open-ended Working Group. As many others, we continue to believe that the expansion of the Security Council should be made in both categories, permanent and non-permanent. In the former category along with major industrialized powers, like Japan and Germany, developing countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America, that are able to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security, should occupy their rightful place in the Council. A reasonable increase in the non-permanent seats will reflect the representative character of the Council and enable a growing number of member States to contribute to its work. An essential part of the reform process should be dealt with the veto power, the use of which should be considerably curtailed.

14. Mongolia's vision of the future of the United Nations has been elaborated in the Memorandum of its Government on enhancing the role of the United Nations in promoting the security interests of small states that has been circulated at the United Nations as document A/55/310.

15. Northeast Asia is a region where the interests of the big and powerful intersect, where the leftovers of cold war era are discernible, and territorial issues await their positive solution. Nonetheless groundbreaking developments are taking place, which give rise to optimism and hope. I have in mind the historic inter-Korean summit that has played a crucial role for building trust and confidence between them. This and other recent developments may well positively impact on the situation in Northeast Asia as a whole.

16. Due to its historical and geopolitical realities, Northeast Asia is probably the only sub-region that lacks a mechanism at the governmental level where security issues of concern could be discussed collectively. Various ideas and proposals to this effect have been floating around for some time, but no serious discussion of this issue has taken place so far at Track I level.  The time may have come to start thinking about the possibility of engaging in a dialogue starting from a free exchange of views on the framework of these discussions.

17. As we review the progress in the area of arms limitation, disarmament and non-proliferation, our reaction can at best be termed as mixed. While there has been certain movement forward in some areas, there has been little or no progress in others.

18. The 2000 NPT Review Conference in its Final Document included a number of agreed conclusions and recommendations related to nuclear disarmament. For the first time ever all the nuclear-weapon States made "an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to total nuclear disarmament to which all States parties are committed under Article VI". The Conference also agreed on the necessity of establishing in the Conference on Disarmament an appropriate subsidiary body with a mandate to deal with nuclear disarmament. It called for an immediate establishment of such a body. The Conference also called for further efforts by the nuclear-weapon States to reduce their nuclear arsenals unilaterally and for further reductions of non-strategic nuclear weapons based on unilateral initiatives as an integral part of the nuclear disarmament process. A call has been made for the engagement, as soon as appropriate, of all the nuclear-weapon States in the process leading to the total elimination of their nuclear arsenal. These constitute an important statement of purpose and, if translated into practice, will open the way to practical nuclear disarmament measures.

19. Mongolia welcomes the ratification by the Russian Federation of the CTBT and START II treaties. And we look forward to the United States' ratification of the CTBT at an early date. We urge the Russian Federation and the United States to follow-up on their earlier announcement regarding the discussions on START III.

20. Mongolia joins the international appeal to the key States to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty so that it could be brought into force as soon as possible. The urgency of this call becomes even more compelling in the light of the activities that could seriously undermine the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

21. My delegation also believes that it is important for the Conference on Disarmament which for several years has been unable to agree on a program of work, to end its stalemate and to engage in earnest negotiations on an early conclusion of a universal and verifiable Fissile Materials Cut-Off Treaty. Pending the negotiation of that treaty we would welcome a moratorium by the nuclear-weapon-States on the production of weapons grade fissile materials and for greater transparency through disclosure of their present stocks. Better still, we would urge the United Nations to establish a Register for all stocks of weapons grade fissile material. This would help establish an important balance with the UN Register of Conventional Arms.

22. We welcome the decision taken by the United States to postpone the deployment of a National Missile Defense System.  The ABM Treaty, a cornerstone of strategic stability, if undermined, could trigger an uncontrollable nuclear arms race.

23. A growing emphasis placed of late on nuclear weapons in military doctrines is a cause of increasing concern. It is, therefore, only natural that countries like Mongolia favour the adoption of such steps as de-alerting of nuclear weapons, removal of nuclear warheads from delivery vehicles, joint undertakings by the nuclear-weapon powers of a pledge not to be the first to use nuclear weapons. These are essential safety measures that would reduce the risk of unauthorized or miscalculated use of nuclear weapons. In addition, provision should be made for legally binding negative security assurances to non-nuclear States-parties to the NPT as has become customary for NWS in signing Protocols to nuclear-weapon free zone treaties. In this context, Mongolia welcomes the proposal by the Secretary-General to convene a major international conference aimed at identifying ways of eliminating nuclear dangers. We hope that this timely proposal will be given serious consideration at this session of the General Assembly followed by the adoption of a relevant resolution to this effect.

24. Mongolia shares the legitimate concern of the world community over the global proliferation of small arms and light weapons which are the principal instruments of death wherever conflicts and wars occur. We hope that the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, scheduled for 2001 will result in practical measures designed to tighten control, curb the spread and destroy surplus weapons.

25. As is known, Mongolia declared in 1992 its territory a nuclear-weapon-free zone that was widely supported by the international community. Since then we have come a long way. The General Assembly at its 53rd session adopted a resolution (53/77D) entitled "Mongolia's international security and nuclear-weapon-free status". As a follow-up to its declaration the Parliament of Mongolia adopted last February a law on Mongolia's nuclear-weapon-free status thus institutionalizing it at the national level. At this session we expect a joint statement by the nuclear-weapon States providing security assurances to Mongolia in connection with its nuclear-weapon-free status, which would represent an important step along the road to institutionalizing that status at the international level. I wish to put on record my Government's appreciation to the P5 for their constructive cooperation and support.

25 bis. We believe that the security assurances mentioned above would be more credible if Mongolia's other external security issues are duly addressed. In that case not only the status would be more credible, but it would also allow Mongolia to serve as a positive factor of stability and predictability in the region. In this connection, we certainly share the view of the Secretary-General, expressed in his report on this item (A/55/166), that the consultation with the relevant United Nations bodies will "produce concrete and action-oriented approaches to addressing the non-nuclear aspects of security".

26. In line with the broader approach to security and on the basis of relevant provisions of the above resolution, an international Conference on Human Security in a Globalized World in the context of Mongolia has been held this year with the participation of the United Nations and international experts, which produced detailed recommendations on a wide range of human security-related areas. In many respects the recommendations of our Conference parallel the spirit and concepts of the Millennium Declaration.

27. In July this year parliamentary elections were held in Mongolia, the fourth elections since the onset of democratic reforms a decade ago. The elections were recognized as free and fair by all political forces as well as international observers and served as a testimony of further consolidation of democratic norms and institutions in my country. They proved once again that the embrace of democracy and respect for human rights are an irreversible choice made by the Mongolian people.

28. As a result of the elections, the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party won an overwhelming majority of seats in the Parliament. From this high rostrum I wish to reiterate my Government's robust commitment to consolidation of democracy and continuity of reforms. The task of ensuring human security and promoting human-centered development is high on the agenda of the new Government, as envisaged in its Action Program. The Government is resolved to ensure sustained economic growth through reinvigorating and encouraging the development of domestic industry, upgrading the living standards of the people by reducing poverty and unemployment, and ensuring equitable social and educational opportunities.

29. The Government of Mongolia will intensify the structural reforms and encourage an export-oriented, private sector-led economy. Mining, processing of raw materials of animal origin, tourism and other export-oriented sectors are the priority areas of development. Privatization of state assets, including the most valued state enterprises, will continue. Creation of a favorable environment for the attraction of foreign investment is also a priority objective.

30. I fully share the view expressed in the Millennium Report that success depends to a considerable degree on the quality of governance the country enjoys. Hence, my Government attaches particular importance to enhancing the effectiveness, transparency and accountability of public offices, and fighting corruption in both corporate and public areas. The Government of Mongolia is determined to closely cooperate with NGOs and other representatives of the civil society in enhancing the rule of law throughout the country.

31. In its endeavours to carry out simultaneous economic and political reforms Mongolia encounters a multitude of challenges. The 8th meeting of the Mongolia Assistance group will be held later this year in Paris and my Government is confident that our foreign partners will continue to extend their generous support and cooperation so as to ease the transition challenges faced by my country.

32. In pursuing its foreign policy based on the continuity of a multi-pillar, open and pro-active policy, Mongolia will continue to develop and expand its friendly relations with the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China on the principles of good-neighborliness, mutual benefit and equality. My Government will accord high importance to the further development of bilateral relations with the industrialized nations, including the United States of America, Japan, other Asian and Pacific countries, and members of the European Union. Their political, moral and financial support will continue to play an important role in facilitating our reform efforts. The Government will actively strive to strengthen our traditional, long-standing relations with Eastern and Central European countries as well as with the developing countries of Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and Africa.

33. Mongolia will continue its active participation in multilateral processes and international organizations such as the United Nations and will spare no effort to ensure that the world Organization remains a focal point for coordination of the effort of the community of nations toward peace and development in the years to come.