Address by H.E. Mr Alfred B. Nzo, Minister for Foreign Affairs, to the Meeting Of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, 25 September 1997
Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
South Africa welcomes this opportunity to address the Ministerial Meeting of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries. We express our congratulations and appreciation to President Ernesto Samper Pizano and the Government and people of Colombia for having conducted a highly important Conference of Ministers of Culture, and indeed, for Colombia's unstinting and dedicated leadership of the Non-Aligned Movement. On the eve of the 52nd General Assembly of the United Nations, we salute the members of the Non-Aligned Movement, and we look forward to an engagement marked by solidarity, productivity, and progress.
We meet in a time of particular significance for the history of the United Nations, indeed, for humankind of the new century. The goal of reform of the United Nations ought to be to produce a revitalised Organisation capable of addressing the needs of humanity and redressing the imbalances caused by globalisation. An effective United Nations will assist in the eradication of poverty through structures capable of efficient and effective service and programme delivery. In this context, South Africa welcomes the Secretary-General's reform initiatives which are the most comprehensive in the history of the organisation. We believe however, that some clarity and elaboration would be helpful on some aspects of the proposed reform package.
Suggestions have emerged recently on the question of the size and composition of the Security Council, which again fail to recognise our rejection, as emphasised in New Delhi, of the idea of a partial or selective expansion in the membership of the Security Council, to the detriment of developing countries.
Any attempt to limit the overall increase in the membership of the Security Council to a total of fewer than twenty-six members will result in developing countries being grossly under-represented in the new Security Council.
The possession and exercise of the veto power as an undemocratic instrument has been the pivotal issue in the reform debate. The NAM has, since 1976 in Colombo, been consistent in its call for the curtailment of the veto power with a view to its eventual elimination. We would therefore find unacceptable any effort that seeks to relegate its discussion to a subordinate body for subsequent consideration once the question of expansion has been resolved. The veto remains central to the 'package' of Security Council reform measures for which the Movement strives.
The need to address questions of security must be extended more widely, to incorporate the imperative of developing and implementing strategies of conflict prevention and resolution. In the African context in particular, South Africa has attempted to participate in and to promote such initiatives and efforts. We voice our concern over the critical situation in the Middle East, and reaffirm the importance of the need for a just, equitable and stable peace in the region. We urge restraint from acts detrimental to cultivating the spirit of trust necessary for the success of the peace process.
The quest for peace, which has been a crucial and cherished ideal and goal of our Movement, is a quest for a stable environment in which our peoples can fully realise their potential and their humanity. Such a goal is inextricably bound to economic and social development, and specifically, to sustainable development. The financial resources and mechanisms necessary for the implementation of Agenda 21 and for achieving sustainable development still fall far short of that required to create a world free of want. Developed countries should honour their commitment to raise official development assistance (ODA) flows to the United Nations' target of 0.7% of Gross Domestic Product. Developed countries should also re-examine their patterns of consumption and production, in order to address the problem of sustainability.
These are important concerns for the welfare of humanity as a whole, and are imbricated in a larger discourse of human rights. As we approach the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Year of Human Rights, we reaffirm a commitment to the pre-eminent values of basic human dignity, values for which we have fought and for which we must continue to fight. Our peoples deserve no less.