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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS

HR/CN/999
19 March 2003

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ADDRESSED BY EIGHT
GOVERNMENT DIGNITARIES, CHIEF OF UNAIDS
(Reissued as received.)


GENEVA, 19 March (UN Information Service) -- Eight high-ranking government officials and the Executive Director of UNAIDS spoke before the Commission on Human Rights this afternoon as the Commission's "high-level segment" continued for a third day.

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Statements

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N. DLAMINI ZUMA, Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa, ...

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Concerning international issues, Ms. Zuma said there could be no doubt that the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination had been denied for too long.  For this reason, South Africa had been hosting a series of meetings between Palestinian and Israeli opinion-makers in an attempt to strengthen dialogue and trust.  South Africa -- a country that had voluntarily disarmed itself of weapons of mass destruction -- believed in a world free of such weapons.  Ideally, no member of the United Nations should possess such weapons.  However, South Africa was concerned about the growing pattern and practice of regime changes in various parts of the world.  This practice undermined everything the United Nations stood for and ushered in new concerns about the nature of the current international political system -- it seemed among other things, to be evolving outside the parameters of the United Nations.  To effectively address the complex challenges ahead, there was a need for States to act collectively for the common good of human kind.  Only through concerted efforts could one hope to ensure a better life for all. 

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DAO VIET TRUNG, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, said at this very moment, the whole world was following with great concern the looming danger of war in Iraq.  Viet Nam shared the opinion of all peoples of the world that such a danger of war must be driven back and that hard-won international peace must be maintained.  The United Nations must demonstrate its ability to play its role in accordance with the Charter.  As a nation having endured untold sufferings from war, Viet Nam fervently desired and strongly supported the peaceful and political solution to problems in international relations.  War must be avoided.  War, once breaking out, would certainly entail enormous human suffering and property losses and jeopardize international peace and stability.  Viet Nam also joined the international community in calling for an end to violence in the Middle East and for an early, fair and lasting solution to the conflict.

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