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H.E. Mr. Lazăr Comanescu, Minister for Foreign Affairs

27 September 2008

Statement Summary

LAZĂR COMĂNESCU, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Romania, fully supporting the European Union’s statement, focused his remarks around two words: “responsibility” and “solidarity”, saying first that global cooperation could provide a solution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, provided that responsibilities were discharged.

As for climate change, as well as the world energy crisis and food security, he said solutions could not be found individually and there was a moral imperative of responsibility for the future.  Because of such interconnected challenges, the United Nations must be better equipped.  He urged reform of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Department of Political Affairs, noting that Security Council reform must take into account the legitimate aspirations of all regional groups.  It was also necessary to provide resources, and Romania was ready to support institutional consolidation, notably in the European Regional Bureau.  Regional political officers could expand cooperation with regional and subregional organizations, and he also noted cooperation with the African Union in Darfur and Zimbabwe.

On democratization, he welcomed the increased cooperation in the context of the international conference of new democracies.  The international cooperation network should not have anxiety as a common denominator, rather it should encompass freedom, respect for law and dignity for the human being.  The Assembly had adopted a resolution outlining the characteristics of democracy, and he praised United Nations efforts in Kenya, Iraq, Myanmar, the Central African Republic and Nepal, among others.

On Iraq and Afghanistan, he said, international efforts should be matched by the renewed commitment of the Iraqi and Afghani political leadership, and Romania -- among the first non-Paris Club countries that had agreed, in 2005, to the terms of debt relief for Iraq -- was committed to the democratic future of both countries.

On the Human Rights Council, he said that, under Romania’s presidency, the Council had examined 32 national reports, including one on his country.  States should not weaken their support for the Council or the Office of the High Commissioner.  On internally displaced persons, he said the suffering of 7 million Sudanese and 5 million internally displaced persons in Iraq, among situations in other countries, should catalyse assistance.  Romania had established a special evacuation transit centre for those most in need of protection and resettlement.

On the responsibility to protect, he said that the appalling humanitarian crises of the last decades should prompt States to react to such situations.  Further efforts should be made to form a common understanding of the concept, he said, adding that prosecutorial services were a pillar of the criminal justice system.

Turning to protracted conflicts, he said “let us be honest”, the recent crisis in Georgia proved that the global community could not shy from dealing with uncertain situations and assume they would just disappear.  “A dormant volcano can still be an active one,” he said, noting that deferring solutions was not a suitable response.  The crisis in South Ossetia and Abkhazia should focus attention on other conflicts, notably in Nagorno-Karabakh.  The Security Council should play its part, as hesitation was not helping.  Territorial integrity was “a must”, if States wanted peace to prevail.

On disarmament and non-proliferation issues, he stressed that statements, such as that made towards Israel, were unacceptable.  States had a duty to effectively implement commitments to promote the necessary legal framework, and establish appropriate mechanisms for verification control.  Solidarity at the regional and multilateral levels was needed.   Romania had always been willing to work with States in that respect, he added, citing work on an international seminar for how the Black Sea region could improve the global security situation.

He said the United Nations was the forum for all States “to have their voices heard and heeded”.  The question focused on how to make it more effective in the face of new challenges.  If the moral imperative was not enough, States must pay attention to pragmatism: the Organization belonged to the world’s people.

[Source: GA/10757]


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