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Sep 30, 2004

Belize address at UN hits all the notes

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It was Belize’s turn to experience our annual fifteen minutes of fame in New York–or in this case, twelve minutes–as United Nations Ambassador Stuart Leslie joined the World’s leaders to deliver his address to the UN General Assembly. There is no shortage of global, regional and local issues to cover and Leslie did his best to touch as many as possible. Among them were terrorism, Iraq and the admission of Taiwan to the UN.

Stuart Leslie, Belize Ambassador to U.N.

?While we condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and have joined international efforts in the fight against terrorism, we are mindful that our actions for the reservation of peace and security must be consistent with international law and must be respectful of the human rights and freedoms of all peoples without discrimination, foremost among which must be the right to self-determination. It is

for this reason that we shall remain strong proponents of the right of the Palestinian people to a secure and viable State. It is also for this reason that we support the Taiwanese people’s right of representation before the United Nations.

But what United Nations? Last year our Minister of Foreign Affairs confined his remarks to an urgent call for the United Nations to recall and enforce the principles on which it was founded, basic among which is the principle of multilateralism, the most fundamental conviction that led to its creation: that States, on a basis of sovereign equality, conjointly take decisions that secure a peaceful and prosperous world for all. Tragically, events since then have only exacerbated the problem of powerful States taking the law into their own hands and acting in total disregard of

the principles of the UN Charter and indeed of international law. If we do not act together to reverse this evil trend, we are walking ? nay, running -on the road to perdition.?

And with regard to another road that Belize has long travelled, Leslie expressed the nation’s frustration.

Stuart Leslie, Belize Ambassador to U.N.

?Belize has its own cause to promote. The United Nations is well aware of the age-old and unfounded territorial claim of Guatemala, and has clearly and unanimously called for respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belize. We have

endeavoured to negotiate a just solution to this claim for decades, and in the last four years have been engaged in a process under the auspices of the Organisation of American States aimed at bringing this anachronistic claim to an end; agreements

have been made and broken, in the context of a Guatemala that has proclaimed its desire to find a peaceful solution to the dispute; still no solution is in sight. The worst scenario is for the claim to linger unresolved, affecting the security and development

of our people.?

With regard to Cuba, Leslie reiterated Belize’s and the Caribbean Community’s longstanding opposition to the U.S. embargo. As for why Leslie was asked to deliver the address instead of the Prime Minister or Foreign Minister, no one contacted in the Foreign Ministry by News 5 would venture an explanation. We understand that as of last week Foreign Minister Godfrey Smith was scheduled to deliver Belize’s remarks to the General Assembly on Tuesday, September twenty-eighth. At some point that appointment was cancelled and rescheduled for today, with the Ambassador pinch hitting for the minister.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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