by H. E. MURARI RAJ SHARMA
Vice President, United Nations General Assembly
These excerpts are from the address given on Oct. 24, 2001, United Nations Day, at the University of Bridgeport by Ambassador Murari Raj Sharma, Vice President of the General Assembly and permanent representative of Nepal to the United Nations.
The horrendous terrorist attacks on New York and Washington were a nerve-racking wake-up call informing us in no uncertain terms that no one, even the most powerful nation on earth, is immune from the scourge of terrorism. The onslaught killed nearly 5,000 people from more than 60 countries, affecting the entire humanity. It also destroyed 100 billion dollars worth of property and business, hurling an already slumping U.S. economy into recession. Its tumultuous ripples have sent the global economy into a downward spiral, its gravest blow falling on poor countries, where it will result in the death of an additional 40,000 children and in increased poverty for 10 million people.
None of us had ever imagined that terrorist atrocities could be so catastrophic, and civilian jetliners could turn into the most disastrous missiles ever fired. Now we shudder to think that next time it could be weapons of mass destruction devouring human civilization, something we thought was behind us with the end of the Cold War. Let us hope that the on-going anthrax scare is not yet another act of terrorism. Before it unleashes an Armegeddon, we must destroy the entire tree of terrorism: the leaves, twigs, trunk and root. But we must water the tree here on the university grounds dedicated to the United Nations.
Although terrorism is an old as human civilization itself, it could neither be justified nor condoned on any grounds….
Every country has the right to defend itself and I unequivocally support the U.S. campaign against the Al-Quaeda network and its main sponsor, the Talibans in Afghanistan….
Severing the network’s financial umbilical chord, disrupting its communications, and destroying its assets and isolating its other benefactors ought to proceed simultaneously….
Winston Churchill has said the price of greatness is responsibility. It is the judicious use of power to fulfill its global responsibility that has made America great and what has earned it more respect than fear….
Amidst the unprecedented plenty the world enjoys today, abject poverty for one-fifth of humanity and hunger for 800 million is morally unacceptable. The widening gap between the rich and poor only fuels a sense of injustice and resentment in the global power and wealth hierarchy. In the developing world, conflict and poverty reinforce each other in a vicious circle, creating political instability, economic dislocation, and social disharmony. Indigence, ignorance, illness, and lack of opportunities make people susceptible to the sophistry of the forces of tyranny, repression and terrorism. We must change it collectively.
A more prosperous and peaceful world will be in America’s advantage and the reverse can be just as true. The United States will have created new and expanded markets for its goods and services as well as an enormously enhanced wealth of goodwill by helping poor countries develop. And developing countries will witness better standards of living and improved quality of life for their people, with increased choices. Stakes are tremendously high both for the United States and for poor countries and yet the investment that is necessary to ensure them is surprisingly affordable….
Developing countries need better access to markets in the North, a favorable external economic environment, a development round of trade negotiations and more voice in the international financial architecture. These measures are critical to reduce the untenable dependency of poor countries on development aid to enhance global justice, and to mainstream them into the global economy….
We now live in a global village where the fire of discontent in one corner of the hamlet may engulf quickly the entire village….
The U.N. system is the principal source of unconditional development funding, a key advocate of sustainable and just development, the primary dispenser of humanitarian assistance, and the foremost promoter of human rights and orderly international relations.
It is but a truism that the United Nations needs the United States as much as the other way around is true. For the United Nations, America is the foremost contributor and moral force in the pursuit of its goals. For America, the United Nations has been one of the principal instruments of promoting its foreign policy objectives at a much less cost and with much more legitimacy than otherwise it would be able to do….