BY H.E. MR. BORYS TARASYUK,
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF UKRAINE
IN THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE 55TH SESSION
OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK, 18 SEPTEMBER 2000
PERMANENT MISSION OF UKRAINE TO THE UNITED NATIONS
At the outset, allow me to congratulate you on the assumption of the Presidency of the current Session and wish you every success in discharging your duties. I would also like to pay full tribute to your predecessor, Minister Gurirab, whose vast diplomatic experience and able guidance throughout the 54th Session greatly contributed to its success, and to the ultimate triumph of the Millennium Summit.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is only 10 days since the historic event - the Millennium Summit that secured an unprecedented quorum of the world leaders to discuss at the highest level the role and the place of the United Nations in the system of international relations of the new era.
By adopting the Millennium Declaration, the international community clearly demonstrated its support to the fundamental Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter, which continue to be the basis of international law and the main instrument that govern international relations.
Ukraine's active participation in the work of the Millennium Summit, and in the Security Council Summit, which was held on the initiative of the President of Ukraine, testifies to the special importance that my country attaches to the activities of this universal Organization.
Like most other States ‑ and the Millennium Summit unequivocally reconfirmed this Ukraine denounces the threat or use of force as a means of solving interstate problems. We strongly believe that it is only the United Nations which possesses both the relevant powers and wide range of tools and mechanisms to address today's major global problems. They remain the same as were several decades ago - wars, poverty, inequality in distribution of resources, repression and discrimination.
Having gathered on September 7 at the level of Heads of State and Government for the second time in the UN history, the Security Council reaffirmed its readiness to carry on an essential share of responsibility for building a world free of fear, poverty and injustice.
We consider as the most important achievement of the Security Council Summit the commitment reaffirmed at the highest level to ensure effective functioning of the system of collective security and to enhance the efficiency of available mechanisms for preserving peace and, in particular, for conducting peacekeeping operations.
We believe that the UN will not be able to adequately respond to the challenges to peace and security in the 21st century unless its peacekeeping potential is enhanced. Ukraine welcomes the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations chaired by Ambassador Brahimi. My country finds most of its recommendations substantial and far-reaching and calls for their speedy implementation.
Ukraine has always considered the UN peacekeeping as one of the most important raisons d'etre of this Organization, which is called upon to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. That is precisely why since 1992 more than 12 thousand representatives of Ukraine have participated in twenty UN peacekeeping operations and missions. Since the beginning of this year, Ukraine, fully recognizing its additional responsibility for maintaining international peace as a member of the UN Security Council, has increased 20 fold its contribution in military and civilian personnel to the ongoing and newly established peacekeeping operations.
In the course of the eight months alone, Ukraine has deployed its contingent of 650 troops with the UN Interim Force in South Lebanon. We have also sent a group of military observers to the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Eritrea, as well as a group of civilian police to the UN Mission in East Timor. The deployment of a special Ukrainian police unit of 115 servicemen with the UN police force in Kosovo is being completed this week . Our military contingent earmarked for the UN operation in the DRC stands in full operational readiness.
It is regretfully a common knowledge that human history can be called a chronicle of continuous wars and conflicts. I do hope that at the end of the second millennium, having learned from its tragic past, the mankind has finally grasped the simple truth: it is necessary to fight the fires of wars long before they have erupted, because even the costliest peace is much better than the cheapest war.
This makes me emphasize the importance of the most expedient and effective implementation of the proposal, put forward by the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma at the Millennium Summit and at the Security Council Summit. He spoke in favour of developing a comprehensive conflict prevention strategy of the United Nations, based on large-scale use of preventive diplomacy and peace building. Ukrainian experts stand ready for this work. I am glad to note that almost all leaders, addressing the Millennium Summit, recognized preventive action as a priority for the UN in maintaining peace.
To date, the history of the United Nations peacekeeping has the only record of the operation under the preventive deployment mandate ‑ in the Republic of Macedonia. As we all know, it proved to be a success. We believe that such kind of operations should gain prominence as a qualitatively new model of peacekeeping activities.
In our view, the concept of regional centers on conflict prevention can become practical steps toward developing a relevant UN strategy. In this context, Ukraine's recent proposal to establish in Kyiv, under the OSCE auspices, a regional center for ethnic studies deserves proper attention. We think that activity of such a center, authorized to monitor current developments in the sphere of inter-ethnic relations in the OSCE region, and directed at timely detection of dangerous separatist tendencies, will be conducive to further elaboration of UN preventive strategy in cooperation with the OSCE.
My country keenly follows the process of conflict settlement in the neighboring Balkans -troublesome region of Europe. While the developments in Bosnia give us sufficient grounds for optimism as to the future of the peoples of this country, the situation in Kosovo remains a cause of our serious concern.
We are confident that the peaceful settlement in Kosovo has to be pursued in strict compliance with UN Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) and that is with full respect to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In our view, it is impossible to resolve this problem without determining the future status of Kosovo following negotiations between the FRY and the authorized representatives of the province.
Ukraine is also determined to intensify efforts aimed at promoting final peaceful settlement of the so-called "frozen" conflicts in the post-Soviet territories, particularly in Abkhazia (Georgia), Nagorny Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Transdniestria (Moldova).
As a member of the Group of "Friends of the UN Secretary General" that promotes peaceful settlement of the almost decade-long Georgian-bkhaz conflict, Ukraine can not but be concerned with the lack of real progress towards peace in this region. I would like once again to confirm the invitation by President Kuchma to host in Yalta the next round of negotiations between the Georgian and Abkhaz sides aimed at confidence building, improving security and developing cooperation.
President Kuchma has also presented a feasible plan for the settlement of Transdniestrian conflict based on the principle of "acquired status" acceptable for all conflicting parties. Ukraine, together with the OSCE, is currently examining the possibility of reorganizing the peacekeeping mission in the region, which will be made up of peacekeeping contingents from Ukraine, Russia and other OSCE members. We very much hope that in the long run these initiatives will reinvigorate the process of resolving the conflict.
The credibility of the UN will always be measured by its ability to provide adequate response to threats to peace and security in every region of the world. Today, this principle should be upheld by giving special attention to the problems of the African continent. The untold sufferings of the peoples of Africa, resulting from both intrastate and interstate conflicts, do not find comparison in any other part of our planet.
Ukraine is determined to make a practical contribution to the United Nations peace efforts aimed at resolving conflicts in Africa. This determination is reinforced by our aspiration to expand trade and economic cooperation with African partners. Let me repeat the words of the President of Ukraine at the Security Council Summit: "We look forward to a century of African renaissance and stand ready to hasten its arrival."
I would like to underline that in resolving conflicts in Africa the international community has no other alternative but to promote the need for strict adherence to the principles of sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of the countries of the region.
This has to be particularly emphasized in relation to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which represents the most dangerous challenge to peace at the turn of the century. Ukraine calls on all parties to the Lusaka Agreement to fully comply with the relevant Security Council resolutions and to implement their own commitments.
The recent events in Sierra Leone have become a serious test for our Organization. It proves the urgency of consolidating international efforts with a view to strengthening the effectiveness of the United Nations peacekeeping.
I would like to reiterate our position as for the need to continue enhancing the sanctions regime against Angola's rebel group UNITA. We are convinced that decreasing UNITA's ability to wage war represents an essential prerequisite for restoring peace in Angola. It should be also borne in mind that the sanctions have to be accompanied by greater international efforts aimed at resolving this long-asting conflict.
We note with optimism the latest developments in the process of settlement in Somalia. This long-uffering nation painfully but steadily is overcoming the obstacles on the way to peace and stability. Ukraine considers the preservation of Somalia's territorial integrity as a necessary prerequisite for a comprehensive settlement in the country.
Over the past year an important step forward was made in advancing one of the integral parts of the Middle East peace process - its Israeli-Lebanese component. The withdrawal of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon in compliance with Security Council resolution 425 (1978) has created new conditions for further progress in the whole process. Ukraine sincerely hopes that Israel and Syria will also be able to achieve a breakthrough in their stalled negotiation process in the near future and calls upon the parties to resume the dialogue as soon as possible.
We follow closely the process of solving the core issue of the Middle East problem, that is the question of Palestine. It is our firm belief that political wisdom and farsightedness of the Israelis and Palestinians will eventually help them to reach mutually acceptable compromise. We welcome the decision by the Palestinian Central Council of September 10 to postpone the date of proclamation of the State of Palestine. Ukraine hopes that, following the strenuous efforts of both sides, the Palestinian people will finally exercise their right to self‑determination and their own statehood.
Promotion of disarmament and nuclear non‑proliferation are among the crucial issues before the UN and the whole international community at the turn of the century. We are convinced that those processes should go along with the overall improvement of international situation in other spheres, creation and practical implementation of universal security guarantees, unconditional adherence by States and international organizations to the norms and basic principles of international law, consolidation of an atmosphere of mutual trust.
As a country, which has made outstanding contribution into the process of practical nuclear disarmament, Ukraine fully shares the concern that the attention of the international community to this issue has substantially decreased. We believe that nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are the cornerstones of international security and a means of averting a global conflict. In our view, achieving the universality of the NPT and the CTBT is the best way to prevent nuclear proliferation and to ensure elimination of nuclear weapons. It is the nuclear states that should be in the vanguard of this process.
The problem of illegal arms trafficking, which has acquired global dimension, also requires joint universal approach to its solution. The key role of the United Nations is indispensable in consolidating the international efforts to fight this evil.
Turning now to the problem of the Security Council-imposed sanctions, I would like to reaffirm the position of my country on this issue. Sanctions were designed as a powerful tool to ensure the implementation of the Council's decisions. However, they were eventually turned into ineffective and sometimes even harmful instruments. It is therefore absolutely necessary to develop a clear and coherent methodology for the imposition and lifting of sanctions that takes into consideration the concerns of innocent civilian populations and the interests of third countries.
Ukraine supports the recent Security Council practice of defining time limits of sanctions at the stage of their imposition. We believe that it is of primary importance to develop objective criteria and mechanisms for assessing the effectiveness of sanctions and their impact - including on the target State. We also support the immediate lifting of sanctions, when there are sufficient grounds to believe that they have served their purpose. This is indeed the case as far as the sanctions against Libya are concerned, where the Security Council should move, as soon as possible, to the next stage and take a long overdue action.
Among major challenges of the new century, the problem of HIV/AIDS occupies a special place. AIDS has become an epidemic of global proportions with enormous human and social ramifications that go far beyond the province of health alone. The time has come for the United Nations to elaborate a comprehensive agenda for action against this pandemic. Aware of the magnitude of this problem, the delegation of Ukraine together with other co-sponsors initiated the convening, as a matter of urgency, of a special session of the General Assembly on that question. We are encouraged by the wide support to this idea and look forward to further work towards its realization.
We are convinced that the multilateral forms of international cooperation have played and will continue to play a decisive role it the attainment of the goals of sustainable development.
We support the reform efforts of the Administrator of the UN Development Programme for improving the situation in the field of mobilization of resources, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of its work.
During the difficult period of economic transition the assistance to Ukraine by the UNDP plays an important role by streamlining the efforts of various international partners. It also helps to alleviate the complex problems related to the elimination of the Chornobyl disaster's consequences and decommissioning of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to express our gratitude to the countries-participants of the July donors' conference in Berlin who pledged more than 320 million US dollars of additional funding for transformation of the "Shelter" facility into an environmentally safe system. Almost 50 million dollars are still to be raised additionally to accumulate the amount required, and we count on the continuous international assistance in this regard. I believe it could be effectuated within the framework of the "UN-Chomobyl" programme. Let me underline that these funds will be aimed mainly at the implementation of realistic objectives, specifically the decommissioning and eventual closing down of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant by December 15, 2000 ‑ the decision reconfirmed by the President of Ukraine at the Millennium Summit.
We also hope that consideration by the current General Assembly's Session of the item relating to the integration of the countries with economies in transition into the world economic system will contribute to strengthening the economic cooperation in this field and make it possible to elaborate a common strategy to solve specific problems of these countries.
In this context we attach great importance to the accession of Ukraine to the WTO. International economic cooperation at a regional level is also of significance for Ukraine. I mean, in particular, the development of our relations with the European Union, interaction within the framework of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization and the GUUAM group (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Moldova).
Fulfilling the concept of "human rights for all" in the next century is a task of global dimension. That is why strengthening and improving international monitoring of human rights violations becomes particularly acute today. At the same time we remain convinced that the use of force can not be considered an adequate means of ensuring respect for human rights.
I wish to emphasize that adherence to and protection of human rights became the key policy principle of my country. Ukraine has signed and ratified all basic international documents in the field of human rights and put in place, at the national level, effective mechanisms of their implementation. This year Ukraine adopted a decision to abolish capital punishment.
The time that has passed since the historic Rome Conference clearly reaffirmed the epoch making significance of the document it adopted. We consider the International Criminal Court as the only viable democratic mechanism of a universal character to enforce compliance with and respect for international humanitarian law.
I would like to join previous speakers in expressing our great hopes for the continuous role of the United Nations in bringing solutions to global problems. Given the complexity and the multidimensional nature of this task, our Organization needs to rely on a solid financial footing, highly qualified staff and an appropriate system of personnel management at all levels.
We hope that this Session will enable us to speed up the process of reforming and improving the mechanisms of the apportionment of the United Nations expenses on the basis of objective economic criteria. Therefore, the process of UN reform, initiated three years ago, should get additional impetus.
There is also a need to re‑activate the efforts aimed at Security Council reform, which is the key element within the process of renewing the United Nations. This was by rights emphasized in the statements of many world leaders at the Millennium Summit. May I express hope that in the nearest future we will achieve a far‑reaching transformation of the Security Council expanded on the basis of equitable geographical representation.
The absence of substantive progress on this issue limits the capacities of the Council as the major instrument of collective security. I would like to reiterate the position of Ukraine that the Security Council's comprehensive reform should be based on the norms and principles of the UN Charter. In our view, an increased representation in the Security Council of all regional groups should remain an essential principle. The interests of both developed and developing countries have to be taken into account. At the same time it is important to guarantee that an increase in the membership of the Security Council does not impede the efficiency of its work.
Ukraine believes that the necessary balance within an expanded Security Council can be achieved through an increase in both categories of its members.
Pursuing a path of strengthening the United Nations, building up its institutions on democratic foundations, the international community reinforces its own capacity to meet the challenges of the time, to create the climate of justice in international relations and the atmosphere of mutual respect between states, peoples and civilizations.
In the course of the historic Millennium Summit, the international community, enriched by the half‑century experience of this Organization, has outlined the road map to be followed by mankind in the twenty-first century. Only by intensifying concerted and resolute efforts to attain our determined goals, we will realize the ideals of the Charter of the United Nations. After all, this is the only raison d'etre for our Organization.
I thank you.