Mr. President, I should like to begin by congratulating you, on behalf of my delegation, on your election to the presidency of the thirty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly. We are confident that your vast experience, knowledge and personal wisdom will guide our deliberations to a constructive conclusion. May I also express our deep appreciation and thanks to your predecessor, Mr. Ismat Kittani, for the excellent performance displayed by him in discharging the duties of his office. I should also like to extend my delegation’s sincere greetings to the SecretaryGeneral, with the renewed assurances of my government’s support to his dedicated efforts at upholding the objectives of this Organization. Mr. President, We are meeting at a time of increasing tension and anxiety. We are surrounded by a situation which demands us to take serious and urgent steps for preventing further deterioration of the international climate, and to rectify the norms of international behaviour in alignment with the decency of human values prescribed in the Charter of this Organization. The need for strengthening the role of the United Nations in maintaining world peace and security is felt, at the present stage, convincingly stronger than ever before. We should not allow the opportunity of this meeting to pass without effectively renewing our commitments towards the objectives of this Organization and fulfilling the aspirations of the people. Mr. President, In his remarkable report to this Assembly, the Secretary-General has very ably diagnosed the world situation, and my delegation fully agrees with him that our prime  objective should be, at this crucial moment, to reconstruct the concept of collective action for peace and security, and to render the United Nations more capable of carrying out its primary functions. The United Nations was created for the purpose of harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of common ends and it should effectively remain so with the maximum capacity to safeguard peace, and as a forum for responsible discussions and negotiations between nations. We also feel that the responsibility as  well as the authority of the Security Council, in its function as the primary instrument for international peace and security, should be reconfirmed and further strengthened by all possible means. In this context, my delegation would wish to stress the important commitments of the permanent Members of the [Security] Council and their responsibilities towards world peace. Mr. President, It is frightening to imagine a world with no power at all to deal with situations endangering international peace. The recent military adventures in Lebanon and the foreign interventions in Afghanistan, Kampuchea and some other countries in Africa and Latin America have indeed alarmed the world community to the dangers of a new international anarchy. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we, seriously and sincerely, embark on a process which will free mankind from these fears and anxieties. Mr. President, My delegation feels that we should accelerate our efforts for achieving world disarmament. While we are concentrating on the removal of the dangers of a nuclear war, we should continue with renewed determination our efforts to limit the arms race, and to limit the production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons, as well as other destructive so-called conventional weapons. My delegation will continue to support the efforts of the world community in the direction of total disarmament, including preservation of outer space, prevention of nuclear tests and establishment of nuclear-free zones. Mr. President, The situation in the Middle East remains the most pressing issue in the international scene. The tragic events in Lebanon have added new dimensions to the gravity of the problems to which this Organization has to address itself. And yet, the question of Palestine, the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people for self determination and freedom remain as the heart of the issue. The key to any lasting solution, and for peace in that crucial area is, as evidently seen through the sequences of the recent events, the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to have their own independent homeland. 3 Mr. President, The world has witnessed with anger and dismay the Israeli invasion of Lebanon while it continues its illegal occupation of other territories, perpetuating its policies of expansionism through the establishment of illegal settlements, ignoring and rejecting the United Nations resolutions and violating all norms of international behaviour. My Government has joined the world community in its repeated condemnation of the Israeli aggression on Arab territories and their atrocities in the Occupied Territories. The invasion of Lebanon under the cruel pretext of liquidating the Palestine Liberation Organization, which symbolizes the legitimate will of the Palestinian people, has clearly revealed the nature of Israeli policies in the area. Israel is not only a radical entity which aims to expand at the expense of other peoples and their rights, but also a force which will not hesitate to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign States through occupation, terrorism and even assassination in order to achieve unjustifiable objectives. The world community, including the States which continue to sympathize with Israel, should now, and in particular, after seeing the horrible consequences of its invasion of Lebanon, act firmly to stop the arrogance and the expansionism of Israel. Mr. President, Among the central Issues of international concern remain the questions of Afghanistan and Kampuchea; two small countries which were subjected to foreign invasion. My delegation reiterates its position of endorsing the United Nations resolutions which condemn foreign intervention and call for the withdrawal of foreign forces from those two countries, allowing the peoples of Afghanistan and Kampuchea the opportunity to exercise their own rights without outside influence and pressure, including the rights of refugees to return to their homes in safety and honour. We welcome the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General in initiating talks with the parties concerned to find a political solution to the problems involved, in the same context, arid within the framework of the same principles involved, we look at the events in Africa and Latin America in which interventions in the internal affairs of countries took place under different pretexts in the past few years. My country is deeply concerned about this trend of military interventions which undermines the orderly and peaceful existence of nations.  Mr. President, Among issues of grave concern to this Organization and to the world as a whole is the question of South-West Africa. The continuation by South Africa of its occupation  o Namibia, despite the vigorous efforts to grant independence to this deprived nation, constitutes a flagrant violation of international law, and endangers world peace and the stability of the African region. It is our duty to continue political and economic pressure on South Africa in our efforts to force her to concede to the logic of human realities and to continue our support to the people of Namibia under the leadership of SWAPO. While condemning the occupation of Namibia by South Africa, my Government reiterates its support to the oppressed people of South Africa itself under its inhuman policy of apartheid in their struggle for equality, justice and dignity. 4 Another question of concern to us is the situation in Cyprus. We are disappointed by the slow progress of negotiations between the parties concerned with the aim of reaching an honourable solution to the prolonged internal dispute which will at the same time ensure the rights of communities and preserve the national and territorial integrity of the country. My country is also concerned about the stalemate in the dialogue between the peoples of North and South Korea for the purpose of their peaceful reunification. We believe that the international community should continue its support to the Korean people, and that should encourage them to continue this process within the framework of their own aspirations, free from outside influence and pressure. In this respect, we should welcome all initiatives calling for resumption of talks between the two sides. Mr. President, We are deeply concerned that the war between Iran and Iraq continues to rage despite repeated appeals by the world community for a cease-fire, and for the resolution of the dispute between these two neighbouring countries by peaceful means. Mr. President, Maldives continues to be guided by a policy of Non-Alignment, and has always endeavoured to humbly contribute its modest share in order to strengthen the unity and the Charter of the Non-Aligned Movement, in all sincerity for peace, friendship and international cooperation. Mr. President, Turning to our region, and to a question of immediate concern to my country, I wish to confirm our full endorsement of and support for the proposal of transforming the Indian Ocean into a zone of peace, not only because of strong opposition to the presence of foreign military bases and facilities in the Indian Ocean, but also due to the awareness of increasing tension in the region and of the strong possibility of their involvement in provoking and escalating conflicts in the area. The rivalry among the big powers and their military presence in our own neighbourhood diverts our attention to potential dangers and compels us to exhaust our resources on otherwise unnecessary security measures, while our limited resources are most vitally needed for the promotion of the welfare of our peoples and the development of our economies. The efforts to implement the Declaration of Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace must therefore be renewed and continued within the framework of the fundamental elements of the Declaration. We feel that the Colombo Conference should be held at a date as early as possible. It may be true that the convening of a Conference will not be enough to resolve all problems pertaining to the security of our region. However, we are convinced that the meeting will contribute to the favourable development of the concept and to improve the climate in the region.  5 Mr. President, My country is indeed glad to note the successful conclusion of the negotiations in the Law of the Sea Conference with the adoption of a comprehensive Convention on the Law of the Sea, which reflects the expectations of the world community. It is our hope that the acceptance of the Convention by all member countries of this Organization will be a reality as soon as possible. My delegation believes that the Convention will be an extremely important instrument for promoting peaceful and orderly discipline in ocean affairs, as well as for exploitation of the immense resources of the sea and the sea-bed in a better and more dignified manner, beneficial to mankind as a whole. Mr. President, While we focus our attention to the critical developments in the international political scene, we find that further deterioration and serious erosion is taking place in multilateral economic relations mainly due to the failure by some of the developed countries to understand the inevitability of interdependence. My delegation feels that the concept of global negotiation should further be pursued, and new initiatives be undertaken in order to accelerate our effort for establishing a New International Economic Order. Meanwhile, we should continue our multilateral negotiations in the sectorial levels within and outside the specialized world bodies. The process should not be allowed to slow down under the pressure of the still existing oppressions of protectionism and adverse national policies. We should sincerely address ourselves in a collective manner to all stresses and strains of the entire economic system of the world, which extend beyond the relationship between North and South. Meanwhile, we are convinced that the promotion of the measures for collective self reliance among the developing countries is more indispensable now than ever. In this regard we endorse the outcome of the ECDC meeting recently held in Manila.  Mr. President, As one of the Least Developed Countries in the Third World, Maldives was happy to note the positive responses by many of the developing countries to the recommendations of last year’s Paris Conference. We on our part will try to demonstrate to the donor countries and to our friends all over the world that we are sincere and serious in our efforts to develop our country and to come out from the brackets of underdevelopment to an appropriate stage of steady growth. We sincerely hope that the recommendations of the Paris Conference will be followed up effectively, and look forward to the round-table meetings scheduled to take place in the near future with the earnest hope that they will produce positive results. In conclusion,  Mr. President,  I would like to reaffirm my country’s faith and trust in this Organization as the most potential instrument for maintaining peace and security in the world and for fulfilling the aspirations of mankind for justice and prosperity. Undeniably we are bound by serious constraints and difficulties. We are more often faced with frustrating 6 situations such as the one we are passing through today. However, our faith and trust in the noble principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations demands us to renew our commitments and to continue our efforts to strengthen the role of this Organization in fulfilling the lofty objectives of its Charter.  Thank you, Mr. President.