4 June 2008
Press Conference

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

PRESS CONFERENCE BY PRESIDENT-ELECT OF SIXTY-THIRD GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSION


The presidency of the sixty-third session of the General Assembly would focus on addressing the universal clamour for the democratization of the United Nations, President-elect Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua said today at Headquarters.


Addressing a press conference following his election, Mr. D’Escoto said he planned to give full support to the Working Group on the Revitalisation of the General Assembly, adding that he intended to place even greater emphasis on that effort than had the last 15 Presidents, particularly the last 5, who had been deeply involved.  The presidency would also focus on other matters causing anguish in the world today, particularly the traumatic experiences resulting from the sudden increase in food and energy prices.


He said that achieving those and other ambitious goals he had set himself would need a great amount of unity among all Member States, as well as love in the world at large.  Selfishness had brought the world to the “terrible quagmire” into which it was sinking irreversibly unless something happened.  Everybody must change their ways and accept the only truth that was absolutely indispensable -- all humans were meant to be sisters and brothers.  Unless people changed their behaviour and began to act according to that universal truth, there could be no salvation for the world.


The President-elect said a detailed work plan for the sixty-third session would become available on 16 September, after the transition period.


In response to a question, Mr. D’Escoto said he had always had great love for the United States, and while he had been known to be very clear in his opposition to certain things, that was not opposition to the United States.


He went on to stress that he held very strong positions in defence of the right to life and many other rights that were being violated, and would continue to defend those positions.  One must not confuse the policy of any one person with the policies of the United States, as the country was much larger than that.  Every United States policy he had ever disagreed with had also encountered domestic opposition within the country.  Since the policies of the United States affected countries all over the world, especially the smaller ones, people in those countries had every right to draw attention to those policies.  In fact, they would be remiss if they did not do so.


The President-elect reiterated that in order to come out of the quagmire in which the world found itself, people must become less selfish and make the transition from the logic of “I and mine” to that of “we and ours”.


Responding to another question, he said some people described the United Nations as the longest-lasting dictatorship.  It was good to talk about democracy, but even better to practise it, and a concerted search was necessary in order to find ways to revitalize and democratize the Organization, including the Security Council.  It was not just a problem of ensuring geographically balanced representation, even though that was important.  It would also involve looking into the Bretton Woods institutions and improving their coordination with the Economic and Social Council.


Revitalizing the Organization would also entail looking at the General Assembly itself, he said, adding that he planned to work with all the Vice-Presidents of the Assembly, sharing tasks and responsibilities with them as necessary.


Regarding negative comments he had made about the United States in 2004, he told another questioner that he did not wish to dwell on memories of the past as they should not become obstacles to the struggle for unity that was required from now on.  Neither did he wish to turn the presidency into a platform for taking on the United States.  The presidency looked forward to working very closely with United States representatives, because the unity of all Member States was needed.


In response to another question, he said such tags as “left”, “right” and “radical” were codes that some countries placed on others.


The President-elect said he agreed with the recommendations of the Cardoso Report, prepared by a former Brazilian President appointed by the Secretary-General to head a commission looking into ways to incorporate the rest of the world into United Nations activities and opening up the Organization.  Opening up the windows would let in fresh air and bring in people who were representative of the world, but not necessarily politicians.  Such people would be invited to make important inputs to the deliberations of the United Nations.


On the question of harmony among civilizations, he noted that all religions contained lessons to be learned and values from which to draw in preparing for the transition from the logic of “I and mine” to that of “we and ours”.  All the world’s religions and ethical philosophical traditions had much to contribute in that regard.


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For information media • not an official record