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H.E. Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy, President

23 September 2008

Statement Summary

NICOLAS SARKOZY, President of France, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that in the midst of so many difficulties, the global community had a political and moral responsibility.  States must remember that they were gathered here today because, following one of the most terrible tragedies humankind had endured, men of goodwill had been determined to ensure that no one could say that when faced with misfortune, “there is nothing we can do”.

“We have a duty to act, not to endure”, he said, adding that the world was beginning to gauge the tragic consequences of having waited too long.  The international community could wait no longer to achieve peace, end tragedy in Darfur, and fight terrorism.  To avert the food crisis and prepare for the post-oil world, fight global warming and allow everyone access to water and energy, he said:  “We can wait no longer.”

The twenty-first century could not be governed with twentieth century institutions, he said, stressing that enlarging the Security Council and the Group of Eight were not just matters of fairness, but also the “necessary condition” for acting responsibly.  He specifically called for an enlarged G-8 that might include China, India, Mexico, South Africa and Brazil.  “We must not endure this world, we must build it.  Let us learn to manage the most acute crises together that no one can resolve alone.”

Turning to the world financial situation, he called for the leaders of countries directly concerned to meet before year’s end to examine the lessons of the most serious global financial crisis since the 1930s.  It was necessary to rebuild together a “regulated capitalism” in which whole sections of financial activity were not left to the judgement of market operators, and in which banks did their jobs, which was to finance economic development rather than engage in speculation.  “In our globalized world, the fate of each is linked to that of all,” he said.

He went on to say that Europe wanted to set an example by acting to bring about peace, as it did so for Georgia.   Europe did not want a war of civilizations, a war of religion or a cold war.  “ Europe wants peace and peace is always possible when one truly wants it,” he said.  Europe wanted links with Russia and to be Russia’s partner and he proposed building a continent-wide common economic space that would unite Russia and Europe.  But Europe was also telling Russia with the same sincerity that it could not compromise on the principle of State sovereignty and independence, their territorial integrity, or respect for international law.

Turning to Iran, he said Europe respected that country’s right to nuclear energy, but it would not accept a nuclear-armed Iran that would endanger the peace and stability of an entire region.  It would not tolerate Iran calling for the destruction of the State of Israel.

He said Europe would continue to stand by Afghanistan’s side, but would not permit a Taliban allied with Al-Qaida to again take a people hostage and turn an entire country into a terrorist base.  Europe was committed to the co-development of Africa, and believed Africa had a place among the permanent members of the Security Council, he added.

He said it was more than democracy that brought delegations to the Assembly; it was a respect for the dignity of one and all as we are, with the diversity of opinions, sensitivities, cultures and beliefs.  “This is what Europe wants:  peoples united in respect, understanding and solidarity, working together for the great common cause of safeguarding the future of humanity.”

[Source: GA/10749]