Addressing Assembly, Portugal highlights need for UN reform, conflict prevention measures

Prime Minister António Luís Santos da Costa of the Republic of Portugal addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-second session. UN Photo/Cia Pak

20 September 2017 – Portugal’s Prime Minister António Luis Santos da Costa took the podium of the General Assembly to reiterate his country’s support of the Secretary-General’s agenda, which includes boosting conflict prevention activities and creating a stronger more adaptable world Organization.

“Your priorities, Mr. Secretary General, are the same as ours: an Organization that is stronger, offers greater solidarity and is capable of preventing conflicts, alleviating human suffering and promoting peace and prosperity,” the Minister said, also mentioning the importance of having a “more transparent, more effective and more adaptable” UN.

As for organizational reform, he said consolidating a culture of conflict prevention requires action across the board and an integrated vision of the three pillars of the UN system –peace, human rights and sustainable development – as well as closer institutional cooperation between the organs of the Charter, namely the General Assembly and the Security Council.

Mr. Santos Costa said the Security Council must be reformed to ensure a better representation of today’s world. “The African continent cannot be denied a permanent presence, and Brazil and India are also two inescapable examples,” he added in his address to the Assembly’s annual general debate.

During his speech, he positioned Portugal as a multilateral country contributing to the battle against terrorism, supporting the protection of migrants and refugees, and makes participation in peacekeeping operations one of the clearest priorities of its foreign policy.

“Multilateralism is the only framework for the defense of the common good of humanity and the collective promotion of peace, security and development. In no way does it diminish the sovereignty of each nation, nor the capacity for decision of their people and institutions,” he told world leaders.


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