THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA
HIS EXCELLENCY MR. LEWIS G. BROWN, II
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF
THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA
FIFTY-EIGHTH REGULAR SESSION OF THE UNITED
NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK, OCTOBER 2, 2003
Mr. Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honored to participate, on behalf of His Excellency
Moses Zeh Blah, President of the Republic of Liberia, in the debate
of the 58th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and,
congratulate His Excellency, Mr. Julian Robert Hunte of St. Lucia,
on his election to the presidency of the 58th session of the General
Assembly; expressing the confidence of the Government of Liberia
that you will faithfully honor the responsibilities to which you
have been assigned.
I also wish to commend His Excellency Mr. Jan Kavan
of the Czech Republic for the able manner in which he steered the
activities of the 57th session of the General Assembly.
Undoubtedly, His Excellency Dr. Kofi Annan deserves
the commendation of this Assembly for his stewardship of our global
organization and the excellent leadership which he exudes in the
resolution of international questions, ranging from terrorism to
the deadly AIDS pandemic and, from poverty to the imbalance in global
trade and commerce.
TERRORISM AND GLOBAL PEACE
Terrorism, the menace to international peace and
security has brought immeasurable grief to the world. Acts of terrorism
have persuaded neither the understanding nor the empathy of the
world for causes to which terrorists may aspire. Contrarily, acts
of terrorism have rightly ignited widespread disdain and revulsion
for their perpetrators. Today, terrorism seeks to undermine our
collective freedom and must therefore require our collective will
and efforts to combat this common enemy.
However, this objective is being undermined by the
lack of international consensus. The unwillingness to garner and
work along lines of international consensus have exposed cracks
in our efforts to fight terrorism, bringing into scrutiny, the structure
of this world body and the continued relevance of the Security Council.
When the Security Council appears divided on fundamental questions
of international security, the world becomes vulnerable. A divided
Security Council fertilizes the grounds for the germination of international
terror and insecurity. If the Security Council is to serve as the
guarantor of international peace and security, then that organ must,
of necessity, be guided by mechanisms that insure the judicious
development of consensus and,
the respect for and adherence to international law.
Additionally, our united condemnation of and fight
against terrorism must never denigrate to the employment of methods
not far removed from those used by terrorists themselves. To fight
fire with fire will leave our global village without a single hut.
We must muster the will to tackle the issues that are exploited
by terrorists and terrorist organizations.
THE CONFLICT IN THE MIDDLE EAST
The conflict in the Middle East has inescapably attracted
the attention of the world posing the greatest challenge to international
peace and security. We are saddened by and deeply concerned about
the recent turn of events which has occasioned the virtual debunking
of the Road Map for Peace and ensured a classic return to violence.
Admittedly, there are serious difficulties presented in the search
for peace for our brothers and sisters of that troubled region.
However, these difficulties should neither beset us with a sense
of hopelessness nor obscure the agonies and the fears that have
come to characterize the way of life in the Middle East.
We therefore call on the Governments of Israel and
the Palestinian State to recognize the right to existence of each
other within recognized international borders, foster pragmatic
approaches to dialogue, peace, security and the virtues of good
neighborliness. At the same time, we urge the United Nations Security
Council to develop, strengthen and maintain international consensus
on the way forward.
THE LIBERIAN CRISIS
Since our last address to this august Assembly, Liberia
has been and continues to wrestle with serious political and security
challenges. An insurgency, which began four years ago, reached the
Liberian capital, Monrovia. Unsurprisingly, an already deteriorating
humanitarian situation worsened accompanied by the widespread breakdown
of law and order. Regrettably, while recognizing the intensification
of the war in Liberia and the right of the Liberian people to self-defense,
the Security Council maintained an arms embargo on the Government.
This situation catalyzed the rapid advance of the insurgents and
bestowed their cause with a false sense of international approbation.
The Liberian State teetered on the verge of disintegration.
But, for the resilience of the people of Liberia
and the timely intervention of the Economic Community of West African
States (ECOWAS), and the International Contact Group on Liberia
(ICGL), Liberia would have slipped into the abyss of unbridled anarchy.
We will therefore remain eternally grateful to ECOWAS, particularly,
the Governments and peoples of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and
Ghana for their leadership in the quest to stabilize the situation
in my country. In similar manner, the Government of Liberia expresses
immense gratitude to the Government of the United States of America,
the United Nations, the European Union and the African Union for
their respective roles and continued support to the ongoing efforts
to restore lasting peace, security and democracy to Liberia. We
must also pay special tribute to the support of the Governments
of South Africa and Mozambique.
On August 11, 2003, with the deployment of a vanguard
force from the friendly Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
the promise of a smooth transfer of power was remarkably fulfilled.
This development energized the signing, on August 18, of a Comprehensive
Peace Agreement, in Accra, the Republic of Ghana. The Agreement
establishes a framework for the formation and installation of a
transitional government, the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration
of combatants and the restructuring of the national security apparatus.
It also provides for the repatriation and resettlement of refugees
and internally displaced persons, the rebuilding of the nation's
productive capacity and the creation of democratic space for the
conduct of free, fair and credible elections in 2005. These goals
can not be achieved without concerted multinational collaboration
The Government of Liberia welcomes the passage of
Security Council Resolution 1509 which establishes the United Nations
Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). We pledge our cooperation and support
to the realization of the objectives set-out in the Resolution.
Comprehensive disarmament, demobilization and a sustained program
of reintegration and resettlement are sine qua non to peace, security
and stability in Liberia and the West African Sub-region. The Government
of Liberia is therefore beholden to the international community,
with Gratefulness, for the continuous assistance and support toward
the search for peace and security in Liberia and the West African
Sub-region. However, unless democratic expressions and aspirations
are allowed to flourish through strengthened democratic institutions,
and an alternative source of livelihood is provided the disarmed
combatants, the gains obtained through the support of the international
community could be grievously undermined.
In this respect, Resolution 1509 which engenders
a new hope for Liberia appears to be contradicted by the demands
of Resolution 1343. This resolution imposes and maintains a regime
of sanctions and other restrictions on Liberia. Unarguably, economic
sanctions imposed under Resolution 1343 becloud Liberia with an
undeserved stigma which, in effect, discourages the flow of much-needed
international investment into the private sector to support Liberia's
post-conflict reconstruction and development programs and, restricts
the essential flow of energy needed to revive Liberia's economic
infrastructure. A vibrant private sector is the key to Liberia's
recovery and the cure to problems of unemployment, which provides
stimulus to social unrest and political instability. If sanctions,
smart or targeted are tools to accomplish political objectives,
then they must respond affirmatively to the realization of the objectives.
One does not administer medication to a dead person nor does one
take medication to cure the illness of another. The Government of
Liberia therefore calls on the Security Council to lift its regime
of economic sanctions imposed on the country.
In situations such as ours, international goodwill
and assistance are often accompanied by the temptation to ignore
indigenous expertise largely in favor of expatriates. The net effect
of adherence to such temptation is the development of structures
and institutions that are neither manageable nor sustainable by
the beneficiaries after the departure of the expatriates. Even so,
Liberia is blessed with its share of endowments in human and natural
resources. As can be expected, years of political turmoil, conflicts
and mismanagement have resulted into the massive exodus of Liberia's
resources. Welcoming a new opportunity to rebuild a more democratic,
accountable and coherent society, Liberians are desperate to return
home and contribute. As such, it is the desire and expectation of
the Government and people of Liberia that, as much as is possible,
Liberians will be employed at all levels in the post-conflict reconstruction
and rehabilitation of their country.
Liberia, is a founding member of this world body.
Irrespective of the current problems we face and our need for international
assistance, Liberia will remain a respectable member of the international
community. We intend to uphold our sovereign dignity in the conduct
of international affairs. Liberia can not, and will not, be a subject
Like most third world nations, Liberia is deeply
indebted to several international financial institutions and organizations.
We are grateful to our creditors for their patience and understanding.
Determined as we are to survive, we count on the empathy of the
international community to entreat our indebtedness with the uniqueness
that it deserves and pledge our commitment to work along with those
institutions in developing appropriate mechanisms to deal with Liberia's
debt. Servicing these debts remains a priority for the Government
of Liberia. However, our capacity to make payment is limited due
to manifold problems occasioned by several years of continuous warfare.
THE CASE OF ROC
The United Nations General Assembly must confront
the moral and legal challenges presented in the exclusion of more
than 23 million people from representation in this world body. How
else are we to explain the denial of the rights of a progressive
and industrious people from representation at the level of the United
Nations General Assembly? The fact remains, that the Government
and people of the Republic of China on Taiwan have, and continue
to engage in responsible self-governance. It is incontestable that
the people of the Republic of China on Taiwan continue to significantly
contribute to the improvement of the human family. Their achievements
in the spheres of science and technology; commerce and trade; and,
the arts and culture cannot be ignored.
The undaunted spirit of the great people of the Republic
of China aspires to participate in the United Nations. Liberia is
convinced that the participation of both sides of the Taiwan Strait
in the activities of international organizations will encourage
greater understanding and mutual trust between the two sides. This
is consistent with the spirit of preventive diplomacy advocated
by the United Nations. Liberia therefore reiterates its call for
the admission of the Republic of China on Taiwan to the United Nations
and its specialized agencies as well as the assumption of its rightful
place in the discourse and transaction of world affairs.
In conclusion, Mr. President, today, Liberia stands
in urgent need of international assistance and support. While our
situation appears to be grim, it is certainly not hopeless. While
many of our compatriots may have lost lives and limbs, we are still
a forgiving people. While our national infrastructure may have been
destroyed, we are still a resilient people. While our dignity may
have been impinged upon, we are still a proud people. We, Liberians,
are unified in our determination to work for a better and brighter
future. We are united in fostering the faith of our founding fathers
to build a nation dedicated to freedom, liberty and justice for
GOD BLESS YOU, I THANK YOU.