Global ills threaten future generations Indian leader tells UN General Assembly

Addressing the second day of the United Nations General Assembly high-level debate, Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India said global ills such as poverty, environmental degradation and economic imbalances were threatening future generations and urged the international community to take up the legitimate needs of developing countries.”The result of this imbalance between our material and non-material needs can never be happy for mankind,” Mr. Vajpayee said. “On the contrary, by placing compassion, care, fellow feeling, cooperation and other human values in the driver’s seat, we are bound to get the right solutions to every problem on our planet.”Turning to the conflict in Kashmir, the Prime Minister said that nuclear blackmail had emerged in the South Asia region over the last few months, with threats that “actions by India to stamp out cross-border terrorism” could provoke a nuclear war. He stressed that India has repeatedly clarified that it did not want war – conventional or otherwise – and that it was not seeking any territory.In his statement Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan called on Iraq to comply with UN Security Council resolutions, allow “immediate and unconditional” inspections and dispose of all weapons of mass destruction. He stressed the importance of the international community working together and engaging in more diplomatic efforts through the UN. “In doing so, we must pursue the adoption of necessary and appropriate Security Council resolutions as soon as possible,” he said.Japan, Mr. Koizumi said, also attached great importance to helping countries recovering from war to consolidate peace and nation-building efforts. He pointed to examples of Japanese participation in the rebuilding of societies in East Timor and Afghanistan, and pledged Tokyo’s continued commitment to helping the reform efforts of the Palestinian Authority.Italy’s Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, told the Assembly that in order to defeat terrorism, the international community must globalize freedom and democracy, and promote lasting economic development. The African continent was crucial to this effort to help countries participate in a “true development without borders.”The Group of Eight’s action plan for Africa, launched by Italy and approved earlier this year in Canada, responded to the need for a new form of solidarity between the most industrialized countries and those that intend to become the owners of their future by aiming to achieve common standards for good governance, Mr. Berlusconi said.In the fight against terror, President Alvaro Uribe Velez said Colombia was confronted daily by violence and death, in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Recalling the thousands of people who have been kidnapped, killed, threatened or abducted over the past decades, he said violence made the Colombian people poorer every day, discouraged investments, hampered economic growth, diverted valuable resources and prevented the country from overcoming its economic and social backwardness.The central objective of the country’s democratic security policy was to restore the rule of law, the President said. “The purpose of security is not to persecute real or imagined ideological enemies or to maintain a one-party regime,” he stressed. “Democratic security is to protect every citizen in a pluralist nation, open to fraternal and creative debate. Democratic security is for all Colombians and intended to ensure that peasant farmers are not driven from their land, businessmen are not kidnapped, journalists are not threatened, and missions of bishops, priests, nuns, preachers and educators are respected.”President Milan Kucan of Slovenia noted that international terrorism had unveiled the negative aspects of the interdependence between societies and urged the international community to do more to strengthen the positive connections and create new ones. He said the environmental, economic and ethical challenges humanity was facing today required a radical rethinking of global governance and the establishment of global responsibility.”This is so much more [essential] since we are faced with the breakdown of regulation and control in globalize trade, with an inequitable set-up for global development that generates misery and humiliation, and with a relentless preference for economic and financial logic over ecological, social and human demands,” he said. “A positive alternative must be found to these negative aspects of interdependence.”Also addressing the Assembly was Foreign Minister Alexander Downer of Australia and Joseph Deiss, the Foreign Minister of Switzerland.