H.E. Mr. Gonzalo Fernández, Minister for Foreign Affairs
27 September 2008
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GONZALO FERNÁNDEZ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uruguay, said that, as one of the founding Members of the United Nations, Uruguay saw the fundamental principles of its foreign policy completely reflected in the Organization’s Charter. It was important to emphasize, once again, his country’s traditional position of unreserved respect for and adherence to international law and its support of multilateralism; pacific settlement of disputes; sovereign equality of States; rejection to the use or the threat of the use of force; free determination of peoples; promotion and protection of human rights; and international economic and social cooperation.
Uruguay’s commitment to the principles of the Charter was not about listing good intentions, but rather respecting juridical principles and fundamental values, whose inclusion in the Charter granted them rank of international norm. The principles also constituted essential tools to lead Member States in a world that presented great challenges. States had the moral and juridical duty to find sustainable solutions to make peace and development the rule of coexistence between people.
A serious food crisis was affecting all too many countries in the world, he continued. To find a sustainable and lasting solution, it was necessary to understand and respond to the structural factors present in the origin of the crisis. Correcting the distortions in the multilateral trade system, particularly in agricultural trade, was a decisive way to ensure that there was enough food to cover the needs of the planet.
Apart from dealing with the crisis with urgent measures, it was indispensable to advance towards a long-term solution. That must inevitably imply increased efforts to strengthen the multilateral trading system and to quickly re-launch negotiations in the World Trade Organization. It was essential to do so, especially in the agricultural sector, in order to guarantee food security and avoid returning to protectionist practices that would only worsen the present situation.
One of the most crucial challenges facing the world economy today was the energy crisis. In the case of agriculture, Latin America required technological cooperation from developed countries. Regarding the development of the production of alternative energies, such as bioenergy and biofuels, research and technical assistance were critical to take advantage of opportunities offered by that production, without affecting food security or the environment. The United Nations had a crucial role to play in that regard.
Turning to United Nations reform, he reiterated his country’s support for the Security Council reform process, including the addition of new permanent and non-permanent members. Uruguay would not support the creation of new members with veto rights, however, because such a privilege went against efforts to democratize the Organization. He also stressed the significance of the United Nations as the governing body and main multilateral forum to find solutions suitable for the most important challenges today.