16 OCTOBER 2002

The Prime Minister made an opening statement in Mongolian, describing his talks with the Secretary-General.
He then invited the Secretary-General to make his comments

SECRETARY-GENERAL: Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am extremely happy to be here in Mongolia. It's a country I have always wanted to visit and here I am.

As the Prime Minister indicated, we've had a very fruitful and constructive discussion covering a wide range of issues. And I must say, I do applaud the efforts that you are making here, efforts to try and diversify your economy, efforts to bring your economy in line with the international trading system in an age of globalization, efforts to improve the lot of your people. And here we discussed the Millennium Development Goals, which all Member States agreed to as a means of reducing poverty and helping the countries around the world develop.

But of course, Mongolia cannot do it alone. It needs the cooperation of the international community. And we, at the UN, are determined to work with you. And I've already been informed by the Prime Minister and my own team here about the wonderful cooperation that exists between the UN and the Mongolian Government, and the people. I, on my side, will do whatever I can and encourage other countries that have capacity to support Mongolia and do it actively and generously.

I also applaud your efforts at democratic governance and I will have the chance of speaking to Parliament later on this afternoon. And I think this is an important development, and we sometimes take these developments for granted. We forget that no one is born a good citizen. No one is born a democrat. It is something that we need to nurture and value and work together to develop.

Let me say that with regard to the Conference on New and Emerging Democracies, I am pleased that Mongolia is going to host that meeting next year. I hope that many countries around the world will participate and we, at the United Nations, will work with the Government and provide whatever support that we can. Thank you very much.

QUESTION (Mongolian TV-MTV, MM news agency): I have two questions to the Secretary-General of the UN.

SECRETARY-GENERAL: The two of them are for me? Please go ahead.

QUESTION: First one, I would like to ask about the main purpose of your visit to Central Asia, including Mongolia. The first one the second one is including about the world situation, I am talking here about the war against terror and the US plan with regard to Iraq. What will be the role of the UN in resolving this problem?. Thank you.

SECRETARY-GENERAL: Could you repeat the last part of the question, please? The role of the United Nations in this conflict?

I came to Central Asia to be able to have discussions with the leaders of the region. A lot has happened in this region during the past ten years. And I thought it was important that I came to find out for myself, to talk to the leaders and get a better sense and a better understanding of the transition that these countries in this region are going through, the difficulties associated with the transition and what more we can do to help.

I know that people think that I only go to places where there is war. This is not always the case. Sometimes I go to places where there are no wars. But leaders and people are struggling very hard to develop, to improve the conditions and to work with there region. I hope during this visit I will learn a lot. I have come to listen, to see what we can do together.

On your second question, the issue of the fight against terrorism and the crisis surrounding Iraq, let me say that sorry, I better let you go here first. (There was interpretation).

On your second question, let me say that the UN was very quick to react to the war on terrorism after 11th September. It was the Security Council and the General Assembly [that] acted very promptly. The Security Council approved the Resolution 1373, which demanded governments to work together in the fight against terrorism, demanding that they should not give them financial support, logistical support: they should not give them sale harbour. And if we all did it and cooperated, I think we can deny the terrorists their opportunities.

And of course given what happened in Indonesia, the Council has condemned it but it underscores the importance for international action. That is the only way we can defeat terrorism. And we are going to intensify our efforts, but of course each Government has to play its role.

On the question of Iraq, the Security Council is seized of the matter and they are discussing what steps they should take. They are reviewing the possibility of approving a new resolution, a resolution that will strengthen the disarmament programme, strengthen the hands of the inspectors and send them back to Iraq with the demand that the Iraqi Government cooperates and complies with Security Council resolutions. And of course if Iraq were to continue to defy, the chief inspector will report back to the Council and the Council would decide what to do. But I think that Iraq must understand that it has to perform. There is a universal message to the Government and the leaders of Iraq-do comply with the UN resolutions. And I hope they heed this appeal that is coming from every corner of the world, including from their friends and neighbours in the region.

QUESTION (Reuters): I am from Reuters and my question is that today the debate starts in the Security Council on the resolution and there is obviously the US and Britain call for one resolution and while other permanent members are for two. Now how will you how do you think that this deadlock can be opened, solved, and would this two step resolution work better or would it show less of a threat on Iraq. Would that be less forceful threat. And then yesterday Iraqis voted Saddam Hussein for another seven-year term. What do you think? Is it valid confirmation that people of Iraq support Saddam and would this election result have some impact on the resolution issue?

SECRETARY-GENERAL: I think the question whether there would be one or two resolutions is something that is being hotly debated and discussed by the Member States in New York. What I firmly believe is that at the end of the day, when those discussions are over, the Council will come up with an optimal decision, an optimal decision that will allow the inspectors to go back with a strengthened hand and continue their work. And it's a decision that would also underscore the determination and the desire of the international community to ensure that the disarmament tasks are carried out.

I think as soon as the Council itself is so seized, and you yourself indicated there is going to be a debate in the Council, and there may well be about 70 speakers, countries who will speak, we should wait and see what happens at the end of debate. But whatever it is, I think the Council will come up with an optimal decision and hopefully a united decision which will send a strong message of the will of international community.

As to the question of the vote in Iraq, I think the Iraqi people did vote, but of course there was only one candidate on the list. I don't think the voting in Iraq will have any impact on the discussions that are going on the Security Council. The Council has work to do and I'm sure they will proceed with it and I think that's it.

Bayarlalaa. [Thank you.]