INDEPENDENT NEWS

UN2K: Cambodia PM Samdech Hun Sen

Published: Sun 10 Sep 2000 11:49 PM
ADDRESS OF HIS EXCELLENCY
SAMDECH HUN SEN
PRIME MINISTER
OF THE ROYAL GOVEWN-MENT OF CAMBODIA
TO THE MILLENNIUM SUMMIT OF THE UNITED NATIONS
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Madame and Mr. Co-Presidents
Mr. Secretary-General
Distinguished Delegates
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have prepared a long speech for this summit with the intention to apprise this distinguished forum of our aspirations, needs and concerns with regard to the challenges to the development of the humanity and the creation of a new world order in the age of globalization. I have asked for the distribution of the whole text for your information.
Overall, there is a common view that humanity has witnessed unimaginable, enormous and immeasurable changes and progress in the last one thousand years, in particular during the last century. Yet, our achievements also mask many continuing failings and seem to expose more future dangers. Many leaders used to highlight these issues at important international fora. May I pick up for comments just a number of main concepts, which I think could make a contribution to the discussions at this august Millennium Summit.
First, our biggest concerns at this time are to rapidly reduce poverty and the gaps between the rich and poor, and-the huge economic divide resulted from the negative impacts of globalization, which is underway and continue to spread in the regions and the world. The most important challenge is to provide opportunity and create conditions for poor countries to benefit appropriately from globalization. This requires more transfer of financial, technical and technological resources, provide opportunity to developing countries to participate fully and equally in free trade by providing them with favorable access to developed markets without hidden conditionalities and domestic subsidies. We must consider a new partnership between developed and developing countries to put forth measures allowing the latter to meet effectively the challenges of globalization. At the same time, special care should be taken to design policies and establish favorable environment to promote increased flows of investment, technology and new knowledge to developing countries in particular the LDCs.
Second, as one of the poorest countries in the world we are concerned about the overall decreasing trends of Official Development Assistance (ODA). We think that in providing financing facilities, more grant funds should be provided to poor countries to boost the development till they reach a minimum threshold . In this sense, we fully support the strides to fulfill the yet to be attained internationally agreed upon target of 0.7% of GNP of developed countries for overall ODA as soon as possible.
Third, excessive external debt is a heavy burden for poor countries and constitutes - a major Impediment to economic growth and investment in human resource development of these countries. The G8 countries have agreed to write-off the heavy burden of outstanding debts of the poorest countries. This initiative has been warmly welcomed by the people of all walks of life and should be further developed by providing extra funds to help the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPQ and expanding its coverage to many other poor countries. In this regard, a number of countries, including Cambodia, have made utmost efforts to reschedule old debts, especially those contracted in the 1970s. It is however regrettable that these debts were contracted during the cold war to finance the hot wars in the country and the region. Under those circumstances, most of the loans were not utilized for development. Therefore, there should be political will to write-off these debts. Some countries appear to have shared this vision and adopted this approach by not requiring the payback. At the same time, we highly appreciate the generosity of donor countries and international financial institutions in granting new concessional loans to poor countries, such as Cambodia, to promote development and the reduce poverty.
Fourth, human resource development is the most important and decisive factor for development and social progress. Thus, priority should be given to the enhancement of the capacities of LDCs, such as Cambodia, for them to achieve the ultimate goals of social and economic development and participate effectively and equally in regional and world affairs.
Fifth, Cambodia agrees with the initiative to push for the creation of a new world order by establishing a new institution and putting forward a new agenda or by improving and redirecting the existing one in order to ensure that all developing countries can benefit fairly and equitably from globalization. This also includes the necessity to reform the United Nations. The reform of the Security Council should be conducted within the spirit which allows the UN to discharge its responsibilities in determining the destiny of the world with more efficiency and full legitimacy in the eyes of nations and people in all regions and of all levels of development. In this sense, Cambodia welcomes the initiative of expanding the membership of the UN Security Council and expresses a full support for Japan and India as candidates to occupy the permanent seats at the Security Council.
Excellencies
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am confident that this Millennium Summit will reaffirm the commitments of all United Nations member states in respect of the common visions for the world in the new millennium. We all will show our strong determination about this commitment through follow-up actions to be taken after this summit.
I thank you all for your kind attention.
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