H. E. Mr. Valdis Zatlers, President
24 September 2008
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VALDIS ZATLERS, President of Latvia, addressed the issue of security, particularly in relation to long-lasting conflicts that appeared to quiet but might later re-emerge. One such example was Kosovo, which required the international community’s help to achieve stability and to foster good relations with its neighbours. In that context, the Secretary-General’s decision to reconfigure the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) was welcomed. Similarly, the world must not undermine efforts under way in Afghanistan to build a democratic, prosperous and secure State -- a cause to which Latvia was strongly committed. Other parts of the world requiring attention were the Palestinian occupied territories and Lebanon.
He noted that not all developments on the international scene had been positive, and several questions regarding the legality of peacekeeping had been raised, notably by the recent conflict in Georgia. For instance, was it acceptable for peacekeeping troops to protect one side in a conflict? Could “protection of nationals abroad” be used as a pretext for a large-scale use of force in another State without Security Council approval? In terms of peacebuilding in Georgia, he urged implementation of an agreed ceasefire with the Russian Federation, and called on world leaders to provide help to rebuild the country. The United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) should not be hindered in its efforts.
Turning to the topic of development, he noted that the United Nations needed a clearer picture on what was required to successfully tackle the individual development clusters, namely health, education, growth and climate change. There must be a clearer picture of the division of labour among different actors. In that connection, Latvia supported the European Union initiative entitled “MDGs Call for Action”, and believed that the United Nations should play a decisive role in helping the world deal with climate change. The Organization should help find a way to ensure that globalization benefited as many people as possible, while Member States should strive to cooperate fully with special procedures of the Human Rights Council. States were also called on to ensure full cooperation with the International Criminal Court. Work should proceed on Security Council and management reform within the United Nations, so as to help foster more effective multilateralism.