UN Press Release: Ciller, Shehu on Iraq. General Assembly, 96-09-30
30 September 1996
FOREIGN MINISTER OF TURKEY SAYS IRAQ MUST MEET OBLIGATIONS UNDER
INTERNATIONAL LAW FOR AREA TO RETURN TO NORMAL
Regional Tensions also Discussed by Others as General
Debate Continues; Statements by Albania, Rwanda, Australia, Tunisia,
Honduras and Estonia
Iraq must fully comply with its obligations under international law
for the region to return to normal, the Foreign Minister of Turkey,
Tansu Ciller, told the General Assembly this afternoon. As the
Assembly continued its opening debate, other speakers joined the
Minister in addressing regional concerns and ways of reducing regional
While Turkey remained committed to the territorial integrity and
sovereignty of Iraq, Foreign Minister Ciller said the situation in
northern Iraq should not be allowed to threaten the security of
neighbouring countries. Turkey would take all necessary measures to
protect its security interests, and to prevent terrorists in northern
Iraq from launching operations against Turkey.
Calling upon the United Nations to continue peace efforts in the
Balkans, the Foreign Minister of Albania, Tritan Shehu, said the acute
problems in Kosova must be resolved in the spirit of the Dayton peace
accords. The right to self-determination and the will of the people of
Kosova -- 90 per cent of whom were Albanian -- must be respected, he
said. While a just solution could be found through international
mediated dialogue, the authorities in Belgrade must take steps to
implement the Dayton agreement.
Reviewing the tensions in the Great Lakes region of Africa, Gideon
Kayinamura (Rwanda) said the political leadership responsible for the
genocide in Rwanda in 1994, and their army and militia, were still at
large. Those elements, who remained in Zairian refugee camps near
Rwanda's border, had stepped up infiltrations into Rwanda. The
international community must exert pressure on the Government of Zaire
to relocate the refugees away from the border and to end killing and
persecution of Kinyarwanda-speaking Zairians in the North and South
Kivu regions, he said.
Statements were also made this afternoon by the Foreign Ministers of
Australia, Tunisia, Honduras and the representative of Estonia.
The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 1 October, to
continue its general debate.
Assembly Work Programme
The General Assembly met this afternoon to continue its general
debate. Scheduled to speak were the Foreign Ministers of Albania,
Turkey, Australia, Tunisia and Honduras, and the representatives of
Rwanda and Estonia.
TRITAN SHEHU, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Albania,
said his country actively supported Security Council reforms, such as
the inclusion of Germany and Japan as permanent members and allowing
more diverse participation of Member States. Continued reform of the
Economic and Social Council was also vital.
As Albania continued its process towards democracy, the legacies
remained of class struggle, absolute poverty and isolation, he
continued. The prolonged crisis in the former Yugoslavia and the
sanctions imposed on the region had increased difficulties. None the
less, Albania had adopted a multi-party system and experienced
economic growth due to economic reform. Also, Albania's international
prestige had grown. It had, for example, already joined the Council of
Europe and participated in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's
(NATO) Partnership for Peace. Albania had worked to maintain peace and
stability in the Balkans and had actively supported efforts to restore
peace to the former Yugoslavia. The international community, in
particular the United Nations, must continue to attend to the
situation in the Balkans.
The problems in Kosova remained acute, he continued. Populated by more
than 90 per cent Albanians who had lived there for thousands of years,
Kosova was the first to be touched by the danger of Serb nationalism
in the former Yugoslavia. However, few had paid attention to the early
threat and the international community had waited until the crisis
turned bloody in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The issues of Kosova, which
remained explosive, must be solved in the spirit of the Dayton peace
accords. An armed conflict between the Albanians living in Kosova and
the Serbs had been avoided as a result of a peaceful policy pursued by
the legitimate representatives of the people of Kosova and the policy
of Albania. Continuing, he said Kosova deserved a status in line with
the political will of its population and in accordance with
international documents, which acknowledged the right of peoples to
self- determination. Through constructive dialogue, in the presence of
a third international party, a just solution could be found. The
normalization of relations with Serbia and Montenegro depended on
steps being taken by Belgrade to implement the Dayton peace plan,
including concrete measures to end the repression and violation of the
rights of the Kosova people. Also, a serious commitment to a peaceful
solution to the Kosova question must be demonstrated.
Albania and Greece had built good relations, he said. That good
relationship demonstrated that the existence of national minorities in
neighbouring countries could serve as a "bridge of friendship" between
countries. The recognition and equal treatment of national minorities
and the respect of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of each
country were the important elements of such relations. While issues
regarding the Albanians living in the former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia remained to be resolved, Albania was interested in building
relations of mutual interest with that country.
TANSU CILLER, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs
of Turkey, citing the need for international solidarity and concerted
action against the scourge of terrorism, said terrorism posed a lethal
threat to international peace and security. The United Nations had to
play a central role in confronting the problem and it was important
that the international community not condone the countries that were
behind terrorism. Terrorism was one of the main obstacles blocking the
path to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. Turkey stood ready
to take part in enhanced cooperation on the bilateral, regional and
Turning to regional issues, she said Turkey's policy towards Iraq
continued to be a commitment to the territorial integrity, sovereignty
and independence of that country. Iraq's full compliance with its
obligations under international law remained vital for the return to
normalcy in the region. Turkey was closely following recent
developments in northern Iraq, which might further aggravate the
already delicate situation in the region. To bring durable calm to the
area, all segments of the local population, including Kurds,
Turkomans, Arabs, Assyrians, and others should fully participate in
any local administrative arrangement. Northern Iraq should not be
permitted to pose a threat to the security of the neighbouring
countries. Turkey would not tolerate terrorist elements to use
northern Iraq to stage terrorist acts against its territory. Her
country was determined to take all necessary measures to protect its
legitimate security interests and to deny terrorist elements the
possibility of launching terrorist operations from northern Iraq.
She noted that Turkey was now in the forefront of countries that had
been directly and most adversely affected by the sanctions regime. In
fact, the heavy toll her country had paid had long exceeded its
ability to sustain the financial strain on the economy. Although
Council resolution 986 (1995) on the "oil for food" programme would
bring a limited relief for Turkey, it would in no way be commensurate
with the total losses. Consequently, Turkey had applied to the United
Nations Sanctions Committee with a view to obtaining further
appropriate compensation within the framework of the sanctions regime.
Citing several appeals her country had made to Greece to seek an
overall solution to all the existing problems between the two
countries, she said Greece should give those appeals the full
consideration and positive response they deserved. Although Turkey
advocated the peaceful settlement of disputes, it would not accept any
fait accompli. Unfortunately, the 27 September statement of the Greek
Foreign Minister did not bode well. Distortion and misrepresentation
of the facts, as well as unfounded allegations, would not help create
a climate of confidence and friendship. In Cyprus, no noticeable
developments had taken place towards a comprehensive settlement. The
recent regrettable events in and around the buffer zone had been the
result of a lack of dialogue and provocation. The need to reduce
tensions and build up confidence on the island made the resumption of
the direct talks between Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders,
without any preconditions, all the more urgent.
ALEXANDER DOWNER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, said that
the General Assembly made an important promise on the fiftieth
anniversary of the United Nations -- to give to the twenty-first
century an organization which would effectively serve the peoples in
whose name it was established. "We have to keep this promise", he
said. But, to do so the international community needed a clear view of
contemporary circumstances and those which would unfold in the
twenty-first century. The world faced new major problems, such as the
clandestine arms trade, the narcotics trade, HIV/AIDS and threats to
the environment that could not be defeated by weapons. Such problems
crossed State boundaries and could affect whole populations. Action on
such problems must be the subject of international cooperation.
Multilateral cooperation could and did take many forms, but the role
of the United Nations was unique because of its universality and
because of the Charter.
Concerning nuclear weapons, he said that a window of opportunity in
arms control and disarmament was open, but if not taken soon, it would
close. Two tasks were fundamental. First was building and
strengthening international institutions and instruments. Second, new
thinking must be developed in arms control and disarmament, so as to
push the international agenda forward in constructive and realistic
ways. The CTBT, he noted, was the immediate priority, and its adoption
by the General Assembly and its opening on 24 September were major
milestones for the international community.
Mr. Downer stressed that any discussion of arms control and
disarmament which failed to address the question of land-mines would
be "sadly incomplete". The "hideous and diabolically inexpensive
weapons" must be banned, and demining must proceed at a far faster
rate than has been the case in the past. To that end, Australia
recently committed $12 million to practical demining initiatives in
the war-ravaged fields within its own region.
On Security Council reform, he said three issues were to be tackled:
expansion; transparency; and the effectiveness of sanctions regimes.
Australia believed that an expansion up to a total Council membership
of 25 States would be reasonable. Regarding the
permanent/non-permanent membership issue, Australia supported the
claims of Japan and Germany to permanent membership, the least the
United Nations could do to acknowledge their major-Power status and
the financial contributions they were making to the Organization. He
also advocated permanent seats for under-represented regions. His
country was also committed to improving the way in which the Security
Council interacted with non-members, so that its activities became
more responsive to the United Nations as a whole, and to bringing
about improvements in the effectiveness of United Nations sanctions.
Turning to the issue of development, he noted that it was much more
than just an issue of economic growth. Nations also needed internal
stability, sound environmental management, a vigorous civil society
and a lively democracy. In that respect, it is in Africa that the
development challenges were most stark. The world must not allow
disease, poverty, war and underdevelopment to become entrenched in the
53 nations -- almost one third of the United Nations Member States --
in the African continent.
Much work still needed to be done to bring about greater efficiency
and effectiveness in the United Nations and its specialized agencies.
It was also crucial that the financial situation be repaired.
Australia believed that all Member States should pay their
contributions in full and on time, and welcomed recent moves by some
countries to pay their arrears. Australia would like to see the
current minimum contribution reduced or removed, as it was too high
for many countries with small economies.
HABIB BEN YAHIA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, said that
his country supported the renewal of Secretary-General Boutros
Boutros-Ghali's mandate and stressed the importance of continuing the
reform process of the United Nations.
The international community had welcomed with enthusiasm the start of
the peace process in the Middle East, which seemed finally on the
right track, he continued. However, the agenda of the new Israeli
Government "came to dash the hopes of the peoples of the region for
life in peace and security", blocking the peace process on all tracks.
Israeli pressures, harassment and provocations had been aimed at
preventing the Palestinian people from achieving their legitimate
rights to self-determination and to the creation of their own
independent state. The recent bloody events confirmed Tunisia's call
for firm international action to bring the Israeli Government to abide
by the agreements concluded with the Palestinian Authority and to
comply with international legality regarding the settlement of the
His Government was convinced that the time had come to lift the
embargo on Libya, "especially after the numerous positive initiatives"
undertaken by that country, the League of Arab States and the
Organization of African Unity (OAU). The measure would bring an end to
the suffering of the Libyan people. He also supported the endeavours
of the United Arab Emirates to recover through peaceful means the
islands of Big Tomb, Small Tomb and Abou Moussa. He also reiterated
Tunisia's commitment to United Nations peace-keeping operations and
declared its readiness to participate in the United Nations standing
Speaking on globalization, the Foreign Minister stated that the
phenomenon had a negative impact on the economies of numerous
developing countries that had not been able to adapt their structures
to the new realities. He also stressed the need to alleviate the debt
burden of middle income countries, as it constituted the main obstacle
to the achievement of a regular development pattern.
Reform of the United Nations should be implemented on common criteria
based on transparency and democracy in international relations and
excluding all double standard practices. Tunisia also attached the
utmost importance to the restructuring of the Security Council. That
restructuring should take into consideration the need for an equitable
geographical representation which acknowledged the new geopolitical
reality in the world. Tunisia supported Japan and Germany as new
permanent members and reaffirmed Africa's right to at least two
permanent seats in the Security Council, which would rotate among all
African States. In that regard, Tunisia supported the initiatives
taken by Italy.
J. DELMER URBIZO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Honduras, told the
Assembly that international conflict should be resolved through
diplomatic channels. In the Americas, Haiti was an example of the
concerted action and political will of the international community
through the United Nations. Honduras also supported the peace accords
between the Government of Guatemala and the Unidad Revolucionaria
Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG).
Speaking of the role of Honduras in the Security Council, the Foreign
Minister said his country's work there had maintained the necessary
balance and equanimity in the various issues that had come up,
including humanitarian operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and
peace-keeping operations in Haiti, Angola and Liberia. Honduras
re-assumed the presidency tomorrow (1 October) and would work in the
He said Central America today sought to integrate into the world, so
as to accelerate its own development. There had been a series of
summit meetings in the region, on democratization and on economic
issues. The System of Central American Integration (SICA) had been
formed as a result, and had obtained permanent observer status at the
United Nations. The region now pursued an agenda of sustainable
Reform within the United Nations should aim for a further
democratization of the system's main organs, he continued. An increase
in the number of seats on the Security Council, both permanent and
non-permanent, should take place based on the principle of equal State
sovereignty, as well as a more equitable geographical representation.
The General Assembly should take over the roles played by the recent
costly world conferences. At the same time, the Assembly's traditional
agenda should be trimmed and time limits imposed on interventions.
Likewise, the structure of the committees and other auxiliary bodies
should be revised so as to avoid duplication of issues.
He said Honduras had signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
(CTBT), and asked the international community to assist countries
affected by anti-personnel land-mines. Several Central American
countries should be helped in the task of removing those devices.
Honduras called for a total ban on land-mines.
He said his country wished to state once more its interest in Taiwan
being admitted as a member of the United Nations. Taiwan had
consolidated its democracy this year by holding direct elections; the
country respected human rights and had one of the most powerful
economies of the planet. Honduras urged the United Nations to form a
working group to study the question. It also supported the idea of a
special General Assembly session in 1998 to strengthen international
strategy against drug trafficking.
GIDEON KAYINAMURA (Rwanda) said many speakers during the general
debate had, perhaps inadvertently, described the events in Rwanda
during 1994 as a conflict, a crisis or in terms of gross violations of
human rights. What occurred was not a tribal or ethnic conflict, he
said; there was genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Between April and July of
that year, more than 1 million Rwandans were butchered in a systematic
and planned manner. The devastating effects of the aftermath of the
Rwandan genocide were still present, and the perpetrators of the
genocide were still at large in some capitals. The political
leadership responsible for the genocide and their army and militia
were in military and refugee camps, in walking distance to the
Rwanda-Zaire border. Recently, those elements had stepped up
infiltrations into Rwanda with the purpose of killing the witnesses of
the genocide. The international community must exert pressure on Zaire
to relocate the refugees away from the border.
He said the pulling-out of the United Nations peace-keepers in April
1994, at the height of the genocidal executions, had not been helpful.
That event pointed to the need for the United Nations to support
Rwanda in its efforts to rebuild its economy and infrastructure.
Rwanda's Government of National Unity had made strides to return the
country to normalcy, he added. Gradually, but steadily, security had
been restored; the judiciary, legislature and economy were being
rehabilitated. More than 2.2 million refugees had returned to Rwanda,
with all refugees who had fled to Burundi being resettled in their
communes. Those achievements had been made despite Rwanda's crippling
debt burden which had hindered the Government's efforts to reconstruct
its socio-economic infrastructure. Rwanda urged the international
community to immediately cancel Rwanda's debt.
He said regional instability had been exacerbated by the systematic
persecution of the Kinyarwanda-speaking Zairians. In the North Kivu
region, Zairians of Rwandese culture were being massacred and others
forced to flee to Rwanda and Uganda. That persecution was spreading to
the South Kivu region, with people being brutally attacked by Zairian
forces and former Rwanda government soldiers and militia elements
known as the interahamwe. The international community must prevail on
the Zairian Government to stop the systematic ethnic cleansing
occurring in eastern Zaire.
Regional stability was possible; regional leaders had already agreed
to a solemn declaration on the modalities for solving regional
problems, he said. What was lacking was determination to implement the
commitments voluntarily entered into.
TRIVIMI VELLISTE (Estonia) said peace-keeping continued to be one of
the most important activities of the Organization. A new challenge for
United Nations peace-keepers was in dealing with internal conflicts.
In that regard, he reiterated that regional peace-keeping efforts
under the auspices of the United Nations must remain under stringent
United Nations control. Estonia was continuing to take part in
peace-keeping operations. It would increase its contribution to the
United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) by offering a company
He said failure to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms was a
major cause of conflict. Despite the hardships of institutional and
economic transition, his country had been able to make democracy a way
of life. Estonia continued to place particular importance upon the
work of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jose Ayala Lasso, the
Centre for Human Rights and the United Nations human rights machinery
in general. That machinery should rely on impartial reporting and
should disregard politically motivated allegations.
For that reason, he said Estonia listed among its priorities issues
regarding indigenous peoples and human rights. It was essential to
secure adequate financing for the Office of the High Commissioner for
Human Rights and the Centre for Human Rights. Also, in order to avoid
duplication and make effective use of resources, the Organization's
human rights machinery should rely on the extensive expertise of
regional organizations, including the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe.