DISCOURS DE S.E.M. HUBERT VEDRINE
MINISTRE DES AFFAIRES ETRANGERES DE LA REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE
PRESIDENT DU CONSEIL DE L'UNION EUROPEENNE
SSème SESSION DE L'ASSEMBLEE GENERALE
DES NATIONS UNIES
New York, mardi 12 septembre 2000
Heads of State and Government,
I have the honor of speaking this year on behalf of the European Union, which France is presiding until the end of December.
In this capacity, Mr. President, it is a great pleasure for me to congratulate you on your election. It symbolizes the respect that the international community has both for your country and for you.
I would also like to thank your predecessor, Mr. Theo‑Ben Gurirab, for his skill in guiding the proceedings of the 54`h session of the General Assembly, Mr. Sam Nujoma and Ms. Tarja Halonen for their action, at your side, Mr. President, as copresidents of the Millennium Summit. I would like to commend the Secretary‑General of the Organization, Mr. Kofi Annan. His international action, his independence and his vision have made a decisive contribution to asserting the key role that the UN plays and must continue to play. The European Union wishes to assure him of its support for his work as well as for the Organization and its representatives.
The Millennium Summit, the unprecedented gathering of heads of State and Government, has allowed us to address the main challenges facing the world community and the role of the United Nations in the 21 St century which will begin on January 1, 2001.
The Union notes with great satisfaction that the Summit has resulted in a political document which sets forth a road map for the Organization for the years to come. These guidelines are based on ideas outlined in the report of the SecretaryGeneral. It is now up to the General Assembly to implement them. The Union will contribute actively to this.
(The European Union, the UN and Peacekeeping)
Peacekeeping, strengthening international security and defending human rights are the central principles underpinning the European Union's foreign policy. Recent crises on Europe's very doorstep have convinced us that we cannot not remain idle when these fundamental principles are being violated. In this regard, the European Union approves of the priority given to peacekeeping during last week's meetings. Mr. Brahimi's report offers an in‑depth analysis on this subject.. It presents useful recommendations for the mandates of peacekeeping operations, operational planning in New York and deployment. It presents a unique opportunity to strengthen the UN's capacity for peace operations. The European Union will actively participate in the examination of these recommendations.
The European Union has decided to equip itself to be a major political actor and to play its full role on the international stage. To this end, and within a very short time‑frame, it has undertaken decisive measures. New decision‑making, actionoriented political and military bodies have been set up: a political and security committee, a military committee, an EU military staff, a situation center and a committee for civilian crisis management. These bodies will enable the EU to intervene quickly and credibly in the management of international crises. The European Union has also announced its intention to establish by 2003 a force of 60,000 troops for international missions involving the whole range of conflict‑prevention and crisis‑management operations, with the requisite air and naval support for deployment in a theater of conflict within 60 days for a period of at least one year. This autumn shall see the first concrete example of this policy during a conference for the commitment of capability at which each Member State shall pledge its contribution to this joint endeavor. The Union has also set ambitious and realistic targets for developing collective capabilities. In addition to its military resources, it will develop civilian intervention capabilities, including a corps of civilian police, whose contribution to peacekeeping is invaluable. In this connection the Member States have set themselves the goal of being able, by 2003, to provide up to 5,000 police officers, 1,000 of whom will be deployment‑ready within 30 days.
These decisions now enable the European Union to complement its already sizable economic and humanitarian programs with the full range of resources required for crisis management. Of course, these activities are designed in full respect of the principles of the UN Charter. Now more than ever, it is vital to establish working ties with the UN. In order to initiate this cooperation, the EU troika shall discuss this issue for the first time with the Secretary‑General of the United Nations. On behalf of the EU, I hereby invite Mr. Kofi Annan to go to Brussels for a working meeting with the organs of the Union.
(• Middle East)
The European Union hails the considerable efforts and determination shown by the President of the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Prime Minister during the latest negotiations with a view to reaching a final agreement between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. It is particularly pleased at the renewed vigor with which the most sensitive issues have been addressed at this time.
It commends President Clinton and the Secretary of State for their unflagging efforts to facilitate these negotiations. The circumstances favorable to reconciling positions continue to exist. We urge the parties to seize this historic opportunity, to show courage in the decisive choices, to take fully into account the human realities and recognized rights of all, and thereby to achieve a final agreement.
The European Union welcomes Israel's withdrawal from the zone it occupied in southern Lebanon. It welcomes the redeployment of UNIFIL as well as the presence of a joint security force sent to the area by the Lebanese government. It calls on all parties to shoulder their responsibilities in order to quell any tension. All this notwithstanding, the European Union feels that only a comprehensive settlement encompassing every track of the peace process, including the Israeli‑Syrian track, is likely to guarantee lasting stability in the region. It shall continue to support the efforts of the parties to this end and contribute to the implementation of any agreements that may be reached.
The situation in the Western Balkans remains a subject of very great concern for the entire international community. The ten years of conflict which have ravaged the
region have led to severe human suffering and politically unstable, and therefore dangerous, situations. But beyond the accumulated hardships and lagging economic and social development of many of these countries, all the peoples and nearly all the leaders of the region have realized that it does have a future and that future is called Europe. Today, all Europeans now share the belief that these countries are bound one day to join the European Union.
This is why the European Council has reiterated, in this connection, that its goal is to firmly attach the countries of the region to Europe. This means the greatest possible integration into the political, economic and social current of Europe through the stabilization and association process, political dialogue, trade liberalization, bringing their laws into line with those of the EU and cooperation in justice and home affairs.
The assistance that the EU has provided to the countries of the region over the last ten years‑ nearly 8 billion euros ‑ is considerable. The EU will continue to sustain this stabilization and association process by giving the Western Balkan countries massive technical, economic and financial assistance as well as by granting them asymmetrical trade advantages in farming and industry very soon, which shall pave the way for the creation of a free trade zone with the European Union. At the same time, in the context of elections concerning almost the entire region, it shall encourage them to develop regional cooperation and to continue to make determined efforts for political, economic and social reform in order to consolidate democracy and human rights, to build the rule of law and lay the groundwork for sustainable development. In this context the European Union has reaffirmed its determination to continue to be the, driving force in the Stability Pact which represents a new vision of cooperation between the countries of the region and the international community.
The summit that the European Union and the Western Balkan countries have decided, on the basis of a French proposal, to hold this autumn in Croatia will signal our common resolve to overcome the divisions of the past.
The FRY will not be able to participate in this conference. The nature of its present regime does not allow it. But the Serbs know that they have their place in the European family and that the EU is looking forward to the day when the FRY is in a position to participate fully in the stabilization and association process and recover its rightful place in Europe. The elections on September 24 could be decisive in this respect.
In Kosovo the international community, acting on the basis of Security Council Resolution 1244, has delivered praiseworthy results. Thanks must be given to all those who have made this possible in spite of enormous difficulties, especially the Special Representative of the Secretary‑General, the staff of the UN and the soldiers of KFOR, the many international organizations present on the ground and the NGOs. The first democratic elections for municipal authorities in Kosovo, to be held in a few weeks' time, constitute a major step in the implementation of Resolution 1244. I forcefully reiterate that the international community will not allow unacceptable acts of violence, whatever their motivations, to cause the democratic electoral process underway to fail. We will not let extremists from whichever faction sabotage the work accomplished over the past year under the aegis of the United Nations.
The European Union considers that the status quo in Cyprus is unacceptable and supports the efforts of the Secretary‑General to reach a negotiated, comprehensive, fair and lasting settlement consistent with the relevant Security Council resolutions. It reiterates its commitment to stability and prosperity throughout the Mediterranean region. With talks beginning right here under the auspices of the Secretary‑General, it invites the parties concerned to enter into substantive talks.
The EU is equally determined in its support for the efforts being made to prevent and settle conflicts in Africa, in close cooperation with the United Nations, the Organization of African Unity and other sub‑regional organizations in accordance with the objectives agreed at the Africa‑Europe Summit, held in Cairo last April under the Portuguese presidency of the European Union.
It shall lend its backing to the measures taken jointly by the OAU and the United Nations to implement the peace settlement between Ethiopia and Eritrea. In supporting the deployment of international observers, the EU is also willing to lend its support to the establishment and drawing of borders, to demining and to the assistance to refugees and displaced persons. It is endeavoring to provide assistance to the warstricken populations of both countries whose immense suffering has been compounded by drought.
The European Union is deeply concerned by the developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It calls on all parties to the Lusaka Agreement to implement their commitments, including those made in Kampala. This will allow for progress on the military and political provisions, all of which are under threat due to the continued fighting and the deadlock in preparing for a national dialogue. It also urges them to abide by the Security Council resolutions, in particular Resolution 1304, which calls for an orderly withdrawal of foreign forces from Congolese territory as well as for the cooperation of all parties in the deployment of MONUC by lifting the restrictions on the freedom of movement of MONUC personnel and by ensuring their security.
The illegal exploitation of the natural resources of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a violation of the country's sovereignty, is also unacceptable. The European Union therefore commends the establishment by the Secretary‑General of the United Nations on August 15 of a group of experts in charge of analyzing the ties between the illegal exploitation of these riches and the continuation of the conflict.
We are pleased to note that awareness has been raised about the illicit trade in diamonds and other minerals which is directly fueling conflicts. This is particularly the case with the illicit trade in diamonds in Angola, whereby UNITA has been funding its war effort. We wish to underscore the importance of complying with the Security Council resolutions on this matter. We welcome the decision to place this important question on the General Assembly's agenda. The discussion should be based on the Kimberley process. It should reflect the work of the preparatory conference cochaired by the United Kingdom and Russia. It should, lastly, examine the proposal made at Miyazaki to establish a standing group of independent experts to formulate ways of preventing illicit trade.
The European Union would like to recall its support for Resolution 1306 on Sierra Leone, which has tightened existing arms sanctions and established an embargo on raw diamonds illegally exported from Sierra Leone. The European Union calls on all the parties to the conflict to comply with the principles and objectives of the Lomé Agreement, and be fully involved in the re‑establishment of peace and stability and compliance with human rights in Sierra Leone.
The EU and its Member States will continue to contribute to African capacity and means of action in the field of conflict prevention and resolution, in particular through support for the OAU and sub‑regional organizations and initiatives.
The European Union is deeply concerned at the situation in Myanmar. It asks the Myanmar authorities to immediately restore Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi's freedom of speech, movement and communication with the outside. It is urgent for dialogue to begin between the Myanmar authorities and the democratic opposition, including the National League for Democracy, and national minorities. The Union supports the UN Secretary‑General's Special Envoy for Burma, Mr. Razali, in his efforts to find a solution.
(• East Timor)
The European Union expresses its solidarity with the people of East Timor and commends the work done by UNTAET in close cooperation with the political authorities of East Timor. It is in favor of accelerating reconstruction assistance in order to guarantee a successful transition and avoid any delay in the timetable leading to independence. We are extremely concerned by the instability caused by the militias, in both East and West Timor. The new outbreaks of violence by them have taken the lives of two UN peacekeepers and more recently three HCR personnel. The European Union calls on the Indonesian authorities to adopt effective measures to control the militias without delay.
The European Union calls for the termination of terrorist activity in Kashmir, the implementation of confidence‑ and security‑building measures and strict respect for the line of control in order to restore a peaceful local climate and enable the dialogue between Pakistan and India to resume in the spirit of the Lahore Declaration. The EU shall be looking closely for such signs from the parties involved and encourage those initiatives likely to resolve all the disputes between the two countries.
It is important for the specific measures laid down in Security Council Resolution 1172 to be implemented and for Pakistan and India to subscribe to the international non‑proliferation regime and sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Having advocated direct dialogue between the two Koreas for many years, the EU welcomes the historic Inter‑Korean Summit in Pyongyang from June 13 to June 15 this year. This is an important step on the road to reconciliation between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, opening bright prospects for strengthening the stability of the region. We invite the two countries, members of the UN since 1991, to continue this process in order to help the Korean people heal the wounds of the past.
The European Union recalls that full respect for the constitutional provisions concerning the elections and electoral legislation currently in force is the basis of democracy and the rule of law.
(Disarmament and Non‑proliferation)
The threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems is a crucial issue which the European Union, sharing the concern for international peace and security that ought to inspire the nations represented here, is resolved to combat relentlessly. To this end, international cooperation must be stressed along with the development of multilateral standards for non‑proliferation, arms control and disarmament.
This is particularly true of chemical and biological weapons, which have now been banned. The Union is working towards the early conclusion of a protocol to strengthen the 1972 Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons which shall contain reliable and effective verification measures.
We are equally determined to ensure nuclear non‑proliferation and disarmament, where so much progress has been made since the signing of the NPT, to which 187 states are now parties.
Since the end of the cold war, effective instruments for ending the arms race and achieving disarmament have started to see the light of day, with the halt to testing, the treaty enshrining it, the first two START agreements to reduce the largest nuclear arsenals and a host of unilateral decisions that follow the same trend.
Consolidating this mechanism must be our priority. A start was made with the review conferences of 1995 and 2000; the results which we welcome must be fully implemented.
We must give full weight to strengthening the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency through the widespread implementation of the measures contained in the 1997 model protocol and to remain alert to the issue of NPT compliance. We must also revive the momentum of the multilateral negotiations.
The entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the completion of the operational readiness of the CTBTO and the negotiation at the Disarmament Conference of the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty are all necessary steps that are of concern and ought to mobilize all States, be they parties to the NPT or not. The start of this negotiation implies urgent negotiations on a working program at the conference on Disarmament. International standards in this field can only be effective if they are universal. Arsenal reductions, which are the prime responsibility of the nuclearweapon States, must also be continued. This will enable us to move closer to our common objectives: the elimination of nuclear weapons and general, comprehensive disarmament under strict and effective international control.
The issue of small aims and light weapons is just as sensitive in many regions of the world. It deserves special attention. The EU will contribute to the preparation of the International Conference on the Illicit Trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons in all its aspects, which will take place during the summer of 2001, with the objective of obtaining a positive and enforceable plan of action to combat the destabilizing accumulation and spread of small arms and light weapons.
At the same time, the Union shall continue its drive in favor of the implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti‑Personnel Mines and on their Destruction. It shall join in the efforts to achieve the total elimination of anti‑personnel mines.
The European Union shall continue to support the efforts of the United Nations to reach the goal set by the Secretary‑General to put human rights at the heart of every aspect of UN work.
The best guarantee of solid progress in this area is each person's awareness of the importance of human rights and democracy and the emergence of groups who actively promote them in every country. In this connection, the European Union welcomes the designation, thanks to the support of many countries, of the Representative of the Secretary‑General for Human Rights Defenders, Ms. Jilani; we welcome her appointment and assure her of our full backing as she undertakes her duties.
This year the United Nations has once again demonstrated that it is the main forum of progress in setting standards for human rights, as witnessed by the adoption of two optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sexual exploitation of children and on children in armed conflicts. This represents a major step forward in favor of the protection of children. The European Union intends to contribute actively to the Special Session of the UNGA for the follow‑up to the World Children's Summit, to be held next year, which will give the international community yet another opportunity to help this cause move forward.
Another important task lies ahead: the World Conference Against Racism. At the European Preparatory Conference, to be held in October under the auspices of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, the European Union will demonstrate its commitment to combat all expressions of racism, whatever form they take.
The European Union, all of whose members have abolished the death penalty, calls on States that have not yet done so to adopt a moratorium as a first step towards the eventual abolition of this punishment which is contrary to human dignity.
The EU shall endeavor to strengthen international cooperation in the fight against terrorism and shall play an active role in the negotiations to be held to that end. It earnestly hopes that this General Assembly will adopt the Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols at the Palermo Conference next December. Given that such crime, one of whose most hateful manifestations is the trafficking in human beings, poses an ever‑growing threat to our societies, it is vital for the international community to develop the means to cooperate and fight against it effectively.
(International Criminal Court)
Lastly, the European Union looks forward to the early establishment of the International Criminal Court. I would like to recall that ratification by 42 States is still needed for this.
The European Union's contribution to international cooperation is substantial. With 30% of global GDP, it contributes 36% to the United Nations regular budget, 39% to the peacekeeping budget, 50% to UN Funds and Programmes, and 54% of the world total of official development assistance.
This effort is testimony of the EU's commitment to reducing inequalities, in particular by helping the least developed countries to keep from sliding further. The preparation of the third United Nations Conference on LDCs, which the Union will be proud to host in 2001, is extremely important. This Conference should lead to concrete results.
We attach great importance to the work carried out by the UN Funds and Programmes. Halving the world's great poverty by 2015 is a major goal of the international community, which has just been reaffirmed in the Millennium Summit Declaration.
The progressive integration of developing countries into the world economy, with special emphasis on the needs of LDCs, requires good governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights. In addition to the bilateral development assistance policies of its Member States, the European Union has proven its commitment to the LDCs since 1975 through the successive Lomé Conventions and shall continue to do so in the future through the latest Cotonou Agreements, negotiated recently with the ACP countries.
In the area of financing development, a better mobilisation of national and international resources is required, as is a better policy coherence and a more effective cooperation between all development actors: governments, the United Nations and the Bretton Woods Institutions, other international organizations, private sector and civil society.
(Eradication of Infectious Diseases)
Coordinated efforts and international partnerships are indispensable for fighting infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, which pose an extremely serious problem for development and security in the developing world, particularly in Africa. We fully support the action of UNAIDS and its co‑sponsoring organizations.
Environment should remain a UN agenda priority. In this regard, the outcome of the first Global Ministerial Environment Forum and the adoption of the Malmoe Declaration are very encouraging.
The concern for environmental sustainability expressed in the Millennium Report of the Secretary‑General is legitimate. We support the call to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, so that it may enter into force by 2002. The success of the Lyons and Hague meetings will contribute to this.
The implementation and follow‑up of UN conferences on environment and development are extremely important
(Follow‑up to United Nations Major Conferences)
In general, improved coherence and coordination of the follow‑up processes to United Nations conferences are essential. The review and appraisal processes should be made more rational, and the results should become more visible and target‑oriented.
(United Nations Finances)
The EU remains fully committed to putting UN finances on a sound, sustainable and equitable basis, and therefore looks forward to securing a comprehensive reform of both the regular and peacekeeping scales in line with its long‑standing position on this matter. The EU reaffirms its attachment to the principle of « capacity to pay », as the basis of the United Nations Member States' contributions.
The EU continues to support the strengthening and revitalisation of the Organization. Reform of its principal organs is essential for a more effective United Nations. The European Union is resolved to contribute to this.
At a time when the UN is asked to meet the challenges of peace, development and world regulation, I wish to assure it of the full support of the European Union and its Member States.
Thank you, Mr. President.