From the podium

From the podium

His Excellency Omer H.A. El Beshir (President of the Republic of Sudan) (Original language Arabic)

In the Name of Allah the Merciful, the Compassionate, it is my pleasure to address you on behalf of the people and Government of Sudan and to congratulate you, my dear brother the Chairman, on his well-deserved election as Chairman of this Conference which constitutes a turning point in our contemporary history. I should also like to express our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to FAO and to its Director-General Dr Jacques Diouf for this humanitarian effort to address progress achieved to date in complying with the Plan of Action of the World Food Summit in eliminating poverty, hunger and malnutrition and in securing food for everyone in this world. Our appreciation is also directed to the people and Government of Italy for having patronized this Summit of ours and in having devoted every possible means to make it a success.

Dear Brother, distinguished participants, we meet again today to reaffirm our joint commitment to secure food for everyone as a high priority on the world political agenda. This is one of the major challenges for those who are leading people and who are making history at this particular crucial junction of our existence. The liberation of about 800 million people from hunger, from malnutrition and poverty is indeed the greatest goal and responsibility of mankind. It can only be achieved through sincere commitment and implemented through concrete action.

From this rostrum, I should like to welcome the Millenium Declaration of the United Nations which had adopted the objective of the World Food Summit of 1996 to reduce the number of hungry people by half by the year 2015.

Mr Chairman, distinguished participants, poverty and malnutrition is normally not the result of insufficient resources. Indeed, we have abundant resources in the world. But it is not possible to rationalize our investment in our existing resources, particularly in the developing countries, given the insufficient water resources necessary for food production, the absence of modern technology, our external debt and services, as well as the absence of an economic vision that seeks to take advantage of all potentials for development. This, of course, is in addition to the civil and political instabilities in our countries, the recurring droughts and desertification, as well as floods, particularly in Africa. Hence, it is necessary for the international community to establish an effective partnership and to adopt all necessary measures to promote political security and stability throughout the world, to attempt to resolve all internal and regional disputes peacefully, and to seek to implement the objectives of the World Food Summit of 1996 before the year 2015. This is only feasible if we adhere to the decisions, the policies and measures reflected in the Rome Declaration of 1996, as well as those emanating from the Plan of Action. The commitment by the International Conference in Brussels in May 2002 to establish a special fund for food security for the least developed countries, the commitment of the G-8 in Genova last year, the commitments of the Monterrey Summit to finance development and the partnership concluded between the European Union and the ACP within the context of the Cotonou Agreement, as well as the NEPAD, constitute some very important initiatives which would make these objectives possible.

Mr Chairman, distinguished participants, Sudan has created political stability which has also made it possible to have a propitious atmosphere to move to the market economy. We have been able to liberalize our economy, especially regarding our agricultural sector. This has served to enhance our self-reliance and to increase our GDP. We have, therefore, been able to achieve self-reliance in most of the crops despite the desertification, droughts, and the occasional floods, and we have been able to do this under very difficult circumstances. However, we have to rely on our own resources and enhance our self-reliance. This has made it all the more important for our people to maintain human dignity and to empower themselves through a federal system based on pluralism and democracy. This has only been feasible through the maintenance of dialogue, justice and equality among all our people and has resulted in the conclusion of the NUBA Mountains Peace Agreement. We have allocated more than US $ 35 million from petroleum earnings to combat poverty and provide assistance programmes, particularly in the south and in certain areas in the west and east, and now we are about to implement the last stages of our strategy to counter poverty.

Dear Brothers, the radical changes that have taken place in recent years throughout the world makes it all the more imperative that we should implement our previous joint agreements to eradicate poverty and malnutrition. This Summit of ours should serve to renew our commitments and to focus on the following: provision of assistance to developing countries in order to facilitate their transition to market economies, without social costs, to get them away from any implicit or explicit politcal situations, to provide extra financial resources, for agricultural development in the developing countries and to set up all relevant international mechanisms in order to coordinate efforts in this respect. In addition, it will be necessary to take some bold steps to remove burdens from the shoulders of the developing countries, to provide agricultural technology to them, to encourage regional agricultural investment projects and to remove sanctions under all guises as they impeded development and food security endeavours and discourage people from working together to arrive at a specific definition of terrorism and to contain its root causes. Our regional grouping the IGAD had agreed through the Declaration of Khartoum on the need to control terrorism.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, the New Partnership for Africa, in addition to the initiative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations towards a long-term strategy to control poverty and hunger in the Horn of Africa, could indeed serve to provide the necessary food to Africa, particularly in the sub-Saharan countries.

The International Convention on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is one of the measures that should be adopted, and all international fora have to raise their voices high for peace and justice in order to implement the lofty objectives of all humanity. We have to enquire where all these efforts, all these great expressions will subsist if civil wars and strife continue to destroy whatever we construct and continue to defeat the aspirations of future generations.

Here we should like to raise our voice to ask for a decisive solution to all these man-made problems, particularly with regard to achieving cooperation in attaining food security. We, therefore, wish to propose a practical solution to secure enough food for all. We should like to propose to them, that Sudan, thanks to its great natural and human resources, coupled with its propitious climate, increase agricultural production to meet the food needs for all people today and tomorrow once we receive the necessary international and regional assistance, and with the full participation of the private sector.

Finally, we should like to reaffirm our commitment and may Allah guide our steps. Peace be upon you.

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