At UN, Czech President flags role of domestic dispute settlement in resolving conflict

Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic addresses the General Assembly. UN Photo/J Carrier

25 September 2012 – Reaffirming his country’s belief that domestic politicians should be the driving force of talks “rather than international negotiation teams or former political celebrities,” the Czech Republic’s President Vaclav Klaus today said that international disputes and conflicts should be settled by peaceful and not military means

“Do the external interventions improve the situation, or do they make it worse by hindering spontaneous processes that could re-introduce stability in the region possibly with smaller sacrifices compared to the price paid by external intervention?” President Klaus asked in his statement to the General Debate of the 67th UN General Assembly, at UN Headquarters in New York.

Referring to the division of Czechoslovakia 20 years ago, the President lauded the “difficult negotiations” undertaken solely by domestic representatives which resulted in a settlement that was considered a positive solution, and led to the emergence of the Czech and Slovak Republics.

Noting that the most important lesson learned from the developments in Libya over the past year was that “a stable settlement cannot be sought by military force,” Czech leader expressed the wish that Syria would be able to take a similar path.

Libya is currently undergoing a transition toward a modern democratic State, after decades of autocratic rule and the toppling of Muammar al-Qadhafi, who ruled the country for more than 40 years until a pro-democracy uprising last year – similar to the protests in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa – led to civil war and the end of his regime.

In his statement to the Debate, President Klaus suggested that the situation in Syria needs to be looked at from a broader and more long-term perspective. The Czech Republic has sent humanitarian aid to Syria and for those fleeing the country, he added.

More than 18,000 people, mostly civilians, have died since the uprising against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began 18 months ago and some 2.5 million Syrians urgently need humanitarian aid, according to UN estimates.

Expressing support for UN peacekeeping operations and reform of the Security Council, President Klaus also said that the Czech Republic remained committed to UN activities in the field of disarmament.

The Czech President is one of scores of heads of State and government and other high-level officials who are presenting their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends on 1 October.


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