From the podium

From the podium

His Excellency Abdelrahman Mohamed Shalgam (Minister for foreign Affairs of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) (Original language Arabic)

I would like to thank you very much indeed, Mr Chairman, and congratulate you on your election to the Chairmanship to this Conference, as well as the adoption of the Declaration of Rome on Food Security. The Plan of Action for 1996, in fact, stressed the importance of political will in ensuring efforts to eliminate hunger in all countries, especially developing countries, and particularly in giving the right to every human being to have stable and safe nourishment. In fact, those who suffer from poverty live mostly in rural areas, which is very bad for their daily lives. I would also like to mention all the efforts that are being made at the present moment by my Government to try to achieve the objectives of the Millennium Declaration.

Mr Chairman, the world community established among its priorities the question of the elimination of poverty. It is trying its best to put an end to all the economic, social and political problems which come from poverty and which lead to threats of violence, conflict and social and economic underdevelopment. I would like to say that the Small Island Developing States have had many problems. We have seen many conflicts and civil wars, and we have seen the First and Second World Wars with all their negative effects. The mines which have been left behind, for example, in my country, are a permanent menace for our citizens. We must not forget this fact and our attempt to find adequate solutions for these problems.

Trying to achieve true development, a permanent state of development means that the international community will have to make great efforts to find the means by which its citizens can live decently. We ought to ensure that all rights must be respected: the right to development, the right to security, the right to peace and the equality of gender, politics and religion. We must establish mechanisms in order to ensure that we find a solution to these international problems.

Mr Chairman, the international partnerships which have been forged can count on my country. We would like to say to all international organizations, the Specialized Agencies, the Bretton Woods funding organizations and the international banks that we must all help in establishing necessary mechanisms to achieve price stability for developing country products in the world market. We must ensure development, especially within the agricultural sector. We must also ensure that the products of these developing countries have fair access to international markets. The world must see an end to protectionist policies against developing countries especially with regard to agricultural produce. I should like to allow these countries to have free access to international commodity markets to ensure their food security, their standard of living and their sustainable development.

I should like to mention that the Doha meeting was also very important in that regard and now as in 1996, Libya is absolutely ready to accept that peace and international stability are absolutely essential factors for world food security. This is absolutely true, and we have tried to bring the best possible standard of living to our citizens within the framework of a true and lasting socialist means of government. A large portion of our national budget has been appropriated to maintain the prices of agricultural products stable. We have also done a great deal to improve education, teaching and health for our population.

I should now like to speak about desertification. We have carried out a number of important projects, but I should specifically like to discuss the Great Man-Made River (GMMR) project which has helped to transport fresh water toLibyan cities and agricultural areas along the Mediterranean coast. We can see, therefore, that a great deal has been done through this project. We have 200 000 hectares that have now been irrigated and we, in fact, have 35 000 people tilling the ground in these previously arid areas.

We have carried out other efforts in other areas. We have also established a plan which is very important for development, but unfortunately have met with some drawbacks that have prevented us from moving forward. For example, the mines which were buried during the last world war in our country and are just one of these drawbacks. We would like to ask those countries responsible for them, Germany and Italy, to shoulder their responsibilities and do everything within their power to remove them. We would also like to ask to receive financial retribution for all the suffering that these mines have caused.

I wish to speak also about the human aspects of all these problems. We have tried to struggle against terrorism and against poverty. I would like to appeal here to India and Pakistan to try to avoid conflict and war. This war cannot achieve anything. It can only lead to suffering in this whole region.

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