Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen.Let me, first of all, extend to you, Mr. President, my delegation’s warmestcongratulations on your election to preside over this august Session of theAssembly. My delegation has every confidence in your sagacity to guide thisSession and its deliberations towards fruitful conclusions.It is also my pleasure to pay tribute to your predecessor, H. E. Mr JulianRobert Hunte, for the commendable manner in which he discharged hisresponsibilities as the President of the 58th Session.I wish to further take this opportunity to compliment the Secretary-General, H.E. Mr Kofi Annan, for his diligence in promoting peace and in pursuing thenoble principles of this Organisation. My delegation sincerely wish him everysuccess in his daunting task.Mr. President,The evolving international events bring to the fore the question ofmultilateralism, with due accent on the vital role the United Nations has toplay in addressing global crises and problems, and in promoting a world orderbased on the rule of law, and collective responsibility of all nations andcommunities.Global challenges that we face today are numerous. While goals are set andprogrammes launched for eradicating poverty; achieving universal primaryeducation; promoting gender equality; reducing child mortality; fightingHIV/AIDS and protecting the environment, hundreds of innocent lives are lostevery day as a result of conflict and civil war.Terrorism has not been defeated. On the contrary, it is re-emerging with ugliermanifestations in the most unexpected places, killing innocent people,including children. The disappointing impasse on global disarmament and thedreadful odds of further proliferation of weapons of mass destruction makethe world ill at ease, and lose hope for a peaceful world.We, in the small states, feel more vulnerable to these challenges and threats,as our security is entirely dependent on the prevalence of global security andthe observance of the rule of law by all states. Clearly the concerns of smallstates cannot only be confined to the issues of environment, climate change,sea-level rise and sustainable development. The ominous threats that are3emerging on the political and security fronts of the contemporary world havefar reaching implications on us as well.Not too infrequently we witness small states victimised by non-state actors,such as terrorists, mercenaries, insurrectionary gangs and organised crimenetworks, whose measured assaults disrupt socio-economic and politicaldevelopment of small states, endangering peace and security. It would beimprudent to relegate the wider implications of the presence and activities ofsuch perilous actors on international peace and security. Solutions to themcould only be sought through international co-operation, vigilance and action.It is imperative that the international community takes on the crucialresponsibility of protecting the security of small states, as stipulated byGeneral Assembly resolutions 44/51 of 8 December 1989, 46/43 of 9December 1991 and 49/31 of 9 December 1994. With its global spread andability to work in collaboration with regional institutions, we see thisOrganisation as the most appropriate body to address such issues.Mr. President,Terrorism poses grave threats to regional as well as international peace andsecurity. The train bombing in Madrid, car bombings and terrorist attacks inIraq, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia and, most recently, the tragedy of thehostage taking in a Russian school, are all grim reminders of the particularlyinsidious nature of terrorism. I am sure that I echo the unanimity of theinternational community in reiterating that the war against terrorism shouldcontinue to remain a principal priority on the international agenda. MyGovernment believes that early adoption of the proposed internationalconvention on terrorism would be a crucial step in effectively combating thisdreadful menace.Mr. President,Expanding globalisation and increasing trade liberalisation, contrary to thehopes for a healthier global market, have had a distressing price tag for smalleconomies, especially for small island economies such as the Maldives.Limited natural resources and the narrow economic base of small islandeconomies severely restrict their scope for diversification and their ability toattract foreign investment. These disadvantages call for specialconsiderations including a level of preferential treatment on an exceptionalbasis to ensure sustainable development of small island developing states.While the Maldives is beset by the entire range of economic problemsinherent to small island developing states, the recommendation by theCommittee for Development Policy (CDP) to graduate us from the list of LeastDeveloped Countries has compounded the challenges to our development.4We do take pride in our achievements in the social and economic sectorsduring the last two decades. However, we fear that graduation may causeenormous and irreparable damage to our economy in the absence of asuitable mechanism to ensure sustained socio-economic development. In thiscontext, we welcome the recommendation of the CDP and the decision of theECOSOC earlier this year indicating the need to formulate smooth transitionstrategies for LDCs prior to their graduation.We support in particular the recommendation to decide post-graduationtransition arrangements on a case-by-case basis, and to establish Ad HocCountry Advisory Groups (ACAGs) to help formulate these arrangements. Westrongly feel that it is important for the ECOSOC to formally endorse thearrangements proposed by the ACAGs, while mandating the CDP with thetask of monitoring the progress of newly graduated countries for anydisruptions to their development.Mr. President, allow me at this juncture to register our sincere gratitude andappreciation to our development partners and the members of the G77, LDCgroup and the Bureau and the members of ECOSOC for the understandingand the care with which they are proceeding on this crucial and importantissue.Mr. President,The state of the global environment is as depressing as ever. Statisticalinformation and projections are alarming and disturbing, not only to smallisland developing states, but also to the entire international community. Thesefigures and predictions reveal the severity of environmental problems andthreats to human existence unless swift remedial measures are implemented.The frequency with which we have been witnessing natural disasters such ashurricanes and cyclones around the world demonstrates the urgent need totackle environmental issues on a global scale. Many small island developingstates suffer disproportionately from such hazards, underscoring thevulnerability of small island developing states in this regard. As we havewitnessed in Grenada recently a single hurricane could lay decade-longdevelopmental progress to waste in the matter of a few hours.Mr. President,We will soon be meeting in Mauritius to review the progress of the BarbadosProgramme of Action for Sustainable Development of Small Island Statesover the past decade. If we are to make the forthcoming meeting in Mauritiusa success, we need to muster the necessary political will to channelresources and to ensure the comprehensive realisation of the objectives ofthe Barbados Programme of Action.5Mr. President,The complexity and magnitude of ever-developing global challenges demandthat a reformed United Nations be assigned with the central role in dealingwith them. While these reforms should cover the entire UN system and itsorgans, the focus is once again drawn justifiably on the urgency of the needto restructure the Security Council; making the Council more reflective of therealities of the present day world, and more representative of the capacity,and the commitment of member states to contribute to international peaceand security.It is disappointing though that, no common view has emerged on the issue.We feel that we should go ahead with the enlargement of the SecurityCouncil, both in the permanent and non-permanent categories, and include inthis enlargement, countries such as Japan, and other member states, thathave the capacity, and the commitment to serve as permanent members, andwould represent the wider membership of the present day United Nations.Mr. President.The international treaty regime has to be expanded and strengthened, so thatemerging problems can be dealt with more effectively. We feel that this taskshould be a priority, in enforcing the principles for which the United Nationsstand, and the values of peace, security, justice, equality, human rights,democracy and rule-based international order it has advocated. In thiscontext, we applaud the remarks made by the Secretary-General at theopening Session of the General Assembly, and wish to express our supportfor his efforts to reform the UN system.Mr. President,The rapid socio-economic development gained by the Maldives in the pasttwo and a half decades is in no small part grounded in the political stabilitythat we have enjoyed during the period.To emphasise further the need to promote and to sustain the values ofdemocracy and respect for human rights, President Gayoom had proposed asweeping agenda for political reform early in June this year. The Governmentremains firmly committed to carrying out the reform agenda, which has beenwelcomed and supported both by the people of the country and its friends inthe international community. A Special Peoples’ Assembly had beenconvened, as required by the Constitution, and charged with the task ofdebating reforms to the current constitution proposed by the Government andby the civil society.6We seek the support and assistance of our friends in the internationalcommunity in our pursuit of this unprecedented reform agenda. The solidarityof the international community at this crucial hour of need would reinforce ourresolve and help us move ahead with the reform agenda with increasedveracity and diligence.The Government is also committed to respecting and observing human rightsthrough adherence to relevant international conventions. In this regard, I ampleased to announce that the Maldives will sign this week a frameworkagreement with the International Committee for the Red Cross, and keepingunder consideration signing of some other important instruments such as theRome Statute of the International Criminal Court.Before I conclude, allow me, Mr. President, to re-affirm our commitment to theprinciples enshrined in the UN Charter. My country believes this Organisationto be the most appropriate body to work for the betterment of humanity andfor the maintenance of international peace and security.Mr. President and Distinguished Delegates, I thank you for your attention.