Minister of Foreign Affairs Head of Delegation
of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic
at the General Debate of the 64th Session
of the United Nations General Assembly
New York, 26 September 2009
In recent years, the international situation has undergone swift change filled with various challenges. The United Nations - a unique world body, has been playing an increasingly important role in maintaining international peace and security, promoting peaceful settlement of disputes and international cooperation for development. In this rapidly changing world, it is our common duty and responsibility as members of the United Nations to ensure that the United Nations carry out its mandate effectively. To this end, the UN reform is crucial and should be comprehensive, transparent and balanced while keeping its intergovernmental, universal and democratic character, consistent with the UN Charter.
The ongoing impasse in the multilateral disarmament machinery continues to undermine international peace and security. The existence of nuclear weapons remains a grave threat to the existence of all mankind, and thus, it is vital to reinforce the importance of States to adhere to their nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation obligations. The upcoming 2010 Review Conference will be a great opportunity for the States Parties to the NPT to demonstrate strong political commitments and collective efforts to resolve the current stalemate in the non-proliferation and disarmament agenda.
In conjunction with arms reduction and nuclear disarmament, the issue of explosive remnants of war known as cluster munitions or Unexplored Ordinance (UXO) continues to threaten and pose serious obstacles to the socio-economic development and poverty eradication effort in more than 80 countries across the world. Among these, the Lao PDR is the most affected country, the cluster munitions victims in the Lao PDR accounts for 50% of the global cluster munitions victims which is about 300 victims recorded annually in the course of 30 years after the war ended. That was due to the fact that 37% of the whole country’s territory remains contaminated with UXO. This would require enormous financial resources and time to remove some of UXO from the areas needed the most for development and daily community livelihood. However, there has not yet been a definite estimation on how many hundred years are required to clear all UXO contaminated areas across the country.
Despite the fact that peace, development and cooperation have become the trend of our times, tensions, conflicts, violence, terrorism and security threats still persist in various parts of the world. The Lao PDR is greatly dismayed by the prolonged conflict in the Middle East that continues to inflict immense sufferings on millions of people in the region, particularly, on the Palestinian people, who have been struggling to exercise their legitimate inalienable rights to self-determination and Statehood. Although a number of encouragement and renewed hope in addressing the Middle East problem have been widely expressed in the course of our General Debate, however, this would be realized only if all concerned parties demonstrate their commitments in addressing the impasse with a view to realizing the vision of two states of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. We also remain concerned over the decade long economic, trade and financial embargo imposed on the Republic of Cuba. Now it is time to end this sanction.
The climate change continues to be a pressing concern and imposes enormous challenges to the survival of humankind. Against this backdrop, it requires urgent and global measures in conformity with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. To this end, the integration of three pillars of sustainable development namely economic, social development and environment protection should be enhanced with a view to effective implementation of Bali Action Plan.
The multiple global crises, especially the financial and economic crisis, have had many adverse effects on the developing world, in particular on the most vulnerable groups. This is due primarily to the lack of basic infrastructure, access to markets, lack of resources and modern technology, capacity to provide financing and investment remains low. To address this crisis, various forms of consultation and approaches have been undertaken in an attempt to mitigate the long-term impacts of the crisis. In this regard, we welcome the initiatives of G8, G20 and other international forums to build a mechanism that will help find solutions to the crisis including the recommendations of the High-level Meeting on Economic and Financial Crisis held here in June this year.
As one of the most vulnerable countries in the world, the Lao PDR is of the view that all initiatives and measures undertaken must be effectively and timely implemented. In particular, it is important to address the unpredictability and vulnerability of commodity market, provide preferential treatment to the goods from developing countries, especially from the most vulnerable ones, ensure a smooth solution to debt issue, improve technology transfer mechanism and reform international financial system.
The solid political stability and social order in the Lao PDR have provided favorable conditions for national economic development. Nevertheless, the Lao PDR has also been adversely affected by the recent global economic and financial crisis at a certain level. This has caused a slowdown in economic development. The growth of the main economic sectors such as industry, service and agriculture has decreased by 2-3%. The trade sector was also affected; export has dropped by 28%. Against this backdrop, the Lao Government has undertaken an urgent action by identifying 8 measures and 80 priority areas to address.
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The statment provided to us by the Lao UN Mission.