Mubarak, invited to Millennium Summit
Egypt, Politics, 5/17/2000
UN General Assembly President Theo Ben Guriarab told Middle East News Agency MENA that he extended an invitation to President Hosni Mubarak to attend the forthcoming Millennium Summit due to be held in New York in September, adding that the President has promised to participate, an Egyptian statement said.
Ben Guriarab, who also doubles as Namibian Foreign Minister said his visit to Egypt aimed at having consultations with President Mubarak on the agenda of the proposed Summit which would include African disputes, uprooting of poverty, writing off debts especially of the least developing countries, disarmament and UN reforms.
"High on the summit would be the questions of globalization, human rights, democracy and reforming of the UN with different agencies," he added before leaving Cairo following a few days visit to Egypt.
At the end of the New York Summit about 100 world leaders are expected to adopt a plan of action in which they will commit themselves to strengthening the UN and ensuring greater participation.
Guriarab said he came to Egypt to reiterate Namibia's appreciation of the efforts Egypt exerted during the period of Namibian struggle and up till Namibia's independence in 1990, when President Mubarak chaired the Organization of African Unity (OAU).
The Namibian official said that his talks with President Mubarak and Foreign Minister Amr Moussa covered a host of issues, including the ongoing African disputes especially in Sierra Leone, Angola, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
"The visit also covered areas of cooperation between Egypt and Namibia in different domains," he added.
Guriarab also said that he conveyed to President Mubarak the greetings of Namibian President Sam Nujoma who is looking forward to meeting President Mubarak in New York in September.
"Egypt has constantly supported Windhoek during the period of struggle and liberation," he added, noting that Egypt had also played an important role in the OAU.
"Egypt is also providing Namibia with experts to train Namibian personnel," he said, noting that Egypt is also promoting a number of agricultural projects in Namibia.
On the role played by the UN in support for the Palestinian cause, the President of the UN General Assembly said that the UN is still providing the Palestinian refugees with humanitarian relief through key UN agencies especially UNRWA.
He added he inspected during his tour last week of Ramallah, the West Bank, assistance offered to the Palestinians.
"The General Assembly has the responsibility to assist the Palestinian people until they have their right to exercise self-determination, to gain their independence and declare their independent state in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338," he said.
He referred to the UN, OAU, OIC and Arab League initiatives to enhance the image of the Palestinian delegation in the UN. "The Palestinian ambassador to the UN stands on equal footing with ambassadors of sovereign states, a matter that reflects tremendous political and diplomatic support by the UN for the Palestinian cause," he said.
"The Palestinians' diplomatic status inside the UN has been enhanced as President Yasser Arafat has been streaked as head of state," he added.
On UN support to the declaration of the Palestinian state, Guriarab said that when he was in September in New York, Arafat repeated his intention to declare an independent Palestinian state in September.
"As soon as Arafat declares the Palestinian statehood, it will receive the recognition of the African, Asian and Latin American countries," he said, adding that he is sure that the majority of European Union (EU) member states will recognize this new state as well.
He said that after that, the General Assembly will admit Palestine as a member state at anytime.
He stressed that as soon as the Palestinian state is announced, it will be recognized.
Regarding the potentials of reforming the UN, Guriarab said that the UN should not continue to be a private club especially in terms of the Security Council where a handful of countries, because of historical reasons and wealth possessed by some countries, are monopolizing decision-making affecting the lives of the whole world.
"Seven years ago, the UN reforms intended to open the category of permanent membership to grant Africa two seats at least, the same as Asia, Latin America and Caribbean states," he added.
"Such reforms accordingly could reflect the reality of today's world equally," he added.
"Thus, the enlargement of membership of both permanent and non-permanent memberships is one demand to restructure the Security Council," he said.
He said that veto exercise by only five members should also be shared by a larger number of countries. But now we can't talk about globalization, transparency, accountability and democracy as demanded by countries, while the UN does not apply these ideals when it comes to the veto exercise.
"So the veto should abolished, but if it cannot be abolished, then all members, old and new, should have it," he added.
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