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The Honduras Delegation to the 53rd General Assembly 
of the United Nations in New York.

Speech Delivered by
H.E. AMBASSADOR HUGO NOE PINO,
Ambassador Permanent Representative of Honduras
before the United Nations, in which he submits the Resolution entitled: 
"EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE TO BELIZE, COSTA RICA, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, 
EL SALVADOR, HONDURAS, NICARAGUA, AND PANAMA" 
During the Fifty-third General Assembly of the United Nations.






MR. PRESIDENT:

Allow me, first of all, to thank you for the opportunity to present to the General Assembly a declaration regarding the state of emergency in Central America, a result of the negative effects of Hurricane Mitch. At present, having felt the destructive forces of nature, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama are experiencing considerable human and material losses.

In these moments of death, mourning, and sadness, our societies are mobilizing for the tasks of rescuing and helping thousands of compatriots. That spirit of solidarity is strengthened and multiplied when the international community comes to our relief and support.

At this time, we appeal to that solidarity which characterizes the members of the United Nations, so that the organisms, institutions, and nations, bilaterally grant us the aid requisite to conquer the scourge of this tragedy visited upon us.

MR. PRESIDENT

The symbolic expression "in the eye of the hurricane" became a harsh, painful reality for Honduras. Until now, despite limitations in our ability to thoroughly evaluate the situation, we have determined that no less than 300 people have died, an undetermined number are missing, 250,000 have left their homes, and more than 1 million people have been affected in Honduras.  Entire communities are cut off from communication due to flooding, brought on by the overflow of 79 rivers, causing the most severe damages anyone in our country can remember. The lack of food, potable water and medicines has made this a dramatic situation indeed.

The Atlantic Coast of Honduras, hub of the country's economic activity, generator of more than 60% of gross national product and 80% of export production, is the most severely affected.  This region is completely paralyzed with human and material losses that require assistance in the short, medium, and long term.

In Nicaragua, at least 180,000 people are without basic provisions, 121 have died and thousands are considered missing. In addition, 172 communities are isolated and 5,066 have been destroyed. In El Salvador, human and material losses are also immense, at least 100 people have died and 127,000 are victims of the disaster. In Belize, thousands have been evacuated, due to an alert issued by national authorities.  In Panama 8,200 are reported affected and one person, in the zone of Darien, is dead. In Costa Rica, 7 people have been reported dead, 3,500 have been affected and 2,064 have had to seek refuge in safe places.  Meanwhile, extensive damages are reported to infrastructure and crops in the provinces of Guanacaste and Puntarenas.

Evidently, the magnitude of the damages in the region is considerable and the task ahead is immense. Despite our grief, the mettle and integrity of our men, women, and children will make rehabilitation and reconstruction possible, with the generous cooperation of the international community as the complement to our efforts.  As the President of the Republic of Honduras, Carlos Roberto Flores, said last week, our countries are galvanized and ready to work. "May God help us and bless us, may God hear our prayers, we are not alone, we are united in fraternal solidarity, and the international community is at our side, solicitous and companionly, the complement to our own efforts and resources.

In view of the above, MR. President, I respectfully move to submit resolution A/52/L for consideration by this Assembly.

Thank you.


Speech Delivered By
H.E. AMBASSADOR HUGO NOE PINO,
Ambassador Permanent Representative of Honduras
To  the United Nations, In Behalf of the Central American Countries, 
ON ITEM 91d : "EXTERNAL DEBT AND DEVELOPMENT"
Before the Second Committee of the Fifty-Third General Assembly 
of the United Nations.





Mister President

Allow me  to  congratulate  you  for  your  deserved election to preside the Second Committee during the fifty-third  period  of  session  of  the  General Assembly.  We are sure that under your conduction, our   deliberations   will   be   successful   and productive.  My congratulations extend to the other members of the bureau.

Mister President

I have the honor to address the Second Committee on behalf of the countries of the Central American Integration  System:   Costa  Rica,   El  Salvador, Guatemala,   Honduras,   Nicaragua,   Panama,   and Dominican Republic,  who associate ourselves fully with the statement made by the Group of 77  and China,  but  consider  it  important  to  make  some additional comments.

We,   the   Central   American   countries,   Mister President,  are profoundly concerned by the burden that the service of our foreign debts brings to the region.    As  is  known  by  the  General  Assembly, Honduras and Nicaragua, remain among the low-income countries that the World Bank considers  severely indebted.

The burden of foreign debt in the Central American region seriously limits our ability to continue and intensify   our   economic   reform,    structural adjustment and stabilization programs.   While,  at the same time,  limiting our ability to alleviate the social costs of these.  The service of foreign debt  impedes us  from having  full  access  to the market, from increasing our economic efficiency and from reducing our inflation.   Problems of external debt  negatively  affect  our  development  efforts, particularly  those  of  poverty  eradication  and attention to the most vulnerable  sectors of the population.

When  the  development  and  economic  growth  of  a region is at risk,  international economic growth, apt,  among  other  things,  to  adequate  exchange relations, good commercial practices and equitable access   to  markets  and   technology,   is   also compromised.

This is why, Mister President, the Central American countries join fully in the labors of the General Assembly  and  try  to  create  an international consensus on the necessary strategies to reduce the debt of countries such as ours.

For our part,  the Central American countries feel that we make great efforts to fulfill our part in the international strategy to grant assistance to seriously indebted countries.   That is to say, we have   adopted  macroeconomic   stabilization   and economic  reform  programs,  with  the  support  of multilateral financial institutions.

Nevertheless,  we allow ourselves to say that the part that corresponds to the creditors is not been met with the urgency it deserves.   We recognize that  the  general  situation  of  debtor  developing countries has improved since the General Assembly began to study it, in 1986.  However, the burden of foreign debt continues to limit the possibilities for growth and development  of a  good number of developing counties.  It is worth highlighting that it is precisely the poorest countries that continue suffering debts in which the ratio of the present value of debt  service to Gross National  Product (GNP)   is  over  100%.     The  service  of  these quantities brings an alarming economic cost.

As is known, the treatment of this situation on an international   level   is   managed   through   the agreements reached by International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in what is called the Highly Indebted Poor Country Debt Initiative (HIPC) .  The relief mechanisms to opt for the resources of these institutions  are  widely  known,   of  which  the following  can be  highlighted:  First,  having  two three-year   agreements   with   the   International Monetary  Fund  in  what  is  known  as  the  Fund's Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF), and second,  the Naples terms,  according to which the Paris Club simultaneously considers the reduction of bilateral debt for broader relief.   To opt in both cases, parameters, such as the one previously mentioned, have been established with regard to the relation of debt service to GNP and to the level of exports.

These   criteria,   Mister   President,   require   a revision to ensure  that  they have  not become a series  of  obstacles  to  the  realization  of  the Highly Indebted Poor County Debt Initiative as an alternative  that  offers  more  possibilities  of achieving a lasting solution to the debt problem. For  instance,  we  can  ask if  the  period of  six years,   required  by  the  initiative,   does  not constitute a barrier to a more expeditious solution of the problem.   It is possible that in a shorter period, countries can demonstrate their compromise to correct economic policies and in that way can free their scarce resources for other activities. In this matter we share the concerns expressed by African countries.  It is also important to analyze what criteria are used to determine the "viability" of the debt and if the national authorities share these.
In  summarizing,  Mister  President,  the  Central American  counties,  faced with  levels  of poverty that make imperative the canalization of resources to social programs,  particularly in the areas of health  and  education,  are  deeply  concerned  that bureaucratic criteria, which artificially delay the much needed relief to external debt, exist.

A final element which merits attention, and which is being currently discussed at an international level,  is the question of whether the content of structural  adjustment  programs  has  solved  the problems faced or whether it has exacerbated them. Contractionist  policies,  which  tend  to  reduce growth in order to benefit stabilization, are under serious scrutiny in middle income countries.   We could ask if this also applies to poor severely indebted countries.

Mister President

As   we   expressed   at   the   beginning   of   our intervention,  we  do  not  want  to  ignore  the important  advances  made  in  the  treatment  of external  debt  at  an  international  level.    Our desire is to point out that for an important group of countries, among them two Central American ones, Honduras and Nicaragua, the debt problem continues to be an important obstacle to the possibilities of economic  growth  and  the  preparation  of  our countries   for   their   participation   in   the globalization process.   This is why,  we consider necessary that the Second Committee maintain its discussion on these points and that  together we find the avenues of agreement that will lead to effective solutions for our countries.
 


Speech Delivered By
The Presidential Advisor of the Republic of Honduras
HIS EXCELLENCY IVAN ROMERO MARTINEZ
Before the Special Session of the General Assembly on
THE GLOBAL DRUG PROBLEM

 Mister President, Mister Secretary General Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I have the honor to express, on behalf of the Honduran Government, my sincere congratulations for successfully presiding this special session of the General Assembly of the United Nations devoted to the fight against the illicit production, sale, demand, traffic and distribution of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and related activities and to proposing new strategies, goals, practical activities and concrete measures with the goal of strengthening international cooperation to face the problem of the inappropriate use and illicit traffic of drugs

My country congratulates the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which has acted as preparatory body for this Assembly, for the excellent work done and for the elaboration of important documents which we are sure will constitute valuable guidelines for our deliberations.

In the same manner, my country recognizes this highly positive initiative of His Excellency Mr. Ernesto Zedillo, President of Mexico, which allows us to grant a global and integral focus to this scourge which circles the confines of the orb.

The Plan of Government of the New Agenda of Honduras -- of the New Government of Honduras -- advocates with urgency for a profound change which would allow the citizen the right to be a protagonist in national development and in his/her destiny and to elevate in this manner, the greatness of the nation and his/her own economic, social, and spiritual well-being. This is why, aware that the health of the citizenry, the children, the young, and the strengthening of the system of law and of public institutions are threatened at a global level by drug traffic and related crimes, such as the illicit traffic of arms and money laundering, Honduras also actively promotes international cooperation and action, that together with national strategies, reduce the demand as well as the supply of these criminal substances which poison the consciences and destroy the health and hopes of thousands of peoples around the world. With this purpose, the Plan of Government of the New Agenda contemplates:

a.)  Supporting the internally established legal organizations with measures that will strengthen them for the prevention and combat of said evil.
b.)  Developing information programs for the population to warn it and incorporate it into the fight against drug traffic and consumption.
c.)  Promoting reforms to existing laws to harden the penalties for crimes related to drugs and to grant more legal faculties to the institutions that combat them.
d.)  Emitting a special legislation that incorporates banking and financial activities and their business entities in the control, detection, and denouncement of transactions suspect of money laundering.
e.)  With full guard of national sovereignty, coordinating international actions with friend states to require assistance and support to the national activities of the fight against drug traffic.


Mister President

The Government of Honduras reiterates that it shares the efforts of the international community in the fight against the production, distribution, and consumption of drugs. In this sense, the Government of Honduras has been part of the signatory governments to the three conventions approved by the United Nations. In July of 1997, together with the governments of six Central American countries, Honduras signed a convention against money laundering with the vision of combating drug traffic.

In the recently past Presidential Summit in Santiago, Chile, our president, along with the rest of the assisting presidents, adopted a plan that determines concrete actions, to be executed in the following years, to combat drugs, under the direction of the Interamerican Commission for the Control of Drug Abuse (CICAD), technical specialized body of the Organization of American States (OEA).

The new Government of Honduras has seriously committed itself to combating this evil and continues to adopt the necessary measures, including legislation to punish crimes related to drugs, strengthening of the judicial system, cooperation with other countries in prosecution activities, adherence to pertinent international judicial instruments, and necessary campaigns, to be developed, that distance our people, all equally, from these substances that destroy lives, communities, hopes, and illusions.
 

Mister President

The Republic of Honduras highly values the resolutions and decisions proposed by the international community in this special session of the General Assembly of the United Nations dedicated to the world drug problem.  According to international guidelines in the fight against the scourge of drugs, as one of the greatest problems of the modern world, the Republic of Honduras sees with sympathy the Political Declaration in this special session and shares the terms of the document: First, that all citizens of all countries of the world be benefited equally by the anti-drug policies and anti-drug actions. Second, that the young be protected from the use of psychoactive substances. Third, that the necessary resources be provided for the rehabilitation of those individuals the have fallen in the use of narcotics. Fourth, that international organizations be exhorted to include in their programs, determinant actions in the fight against drugs. Fifth, that actions against violence, terrorist groups, and organized criminals that produce, traffic, and sell illicit drugs, be established internationally. Sixth, that in each country social communities be exhorted to grant their help in the fight against illicit drugs.

In particular, Honduras supports the objectives, purposes, and concrete goals that have been determined for the coming years, in relation to anti-drug programs.  No more pain and crying in the world, no more destroyed families, no more contaminated societies, no more cursed money.  All together in the fight against the drugs that threaten the health and well-being of humanity, the independence of states, stability, democracy, the structure of our societies, and the dignity of thousands and thousands of human beings.

Mister President, Distinguished Delegates:

Honduras aspires for a world with peace for all and without drugs for all.

Thank you very much.
 


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