Globalization, security, and the future of the United Nations were among the issues discussed in the Fourth Interactive Roundtable of the Global Summit, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria told correspondents at a headquarters press conference this afternoon.
Calling it the most interesting debate he had attended in many years, Mr. Bouteflika was particularly impressed by the deep sensitivity some of the delegates from developed nations showed to the problems of the developing countries. He was also struck by the unique plight of small, poor island nations which could not afford to attend international conferences and were thus ignored.
The round table, he said, recognized that globalization was surely detrimental to some countries and profitable to others, and that some fundamental changes needed to be made in existing accords and perspectives to deal with this problem. The Bretton Woods system, in particular, needed to be reassessed as the product of another time in history. The power of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had to be reduced. And the question of “Who owes what to whom??in the context of debt repayment, sorely needed to be asked. In response to a correspondent’s request for clarification of that question, Mr. Bouteflika replied that it alluded to centuries of colonialization, the pillaging of resources, the deculturalization of peoples, the cost of wars of liberation, and the current brain drain.
In the area of security, Mr. Bouteflika said, there was support for the Brahimi report on peacekeeping and for non-recognition of regimes put in place through coups d’état, a position which had been adopted by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and was expected soon to become a universal rule. Terrorism was seen as an anti-democratic scourge that needed to be combated through international solidarity, dispensing with any notion of good and bad terrorism as being like “good or bad cholesterol?
Discussion of United Nations reform centred on the Security Council, Mr. Bouteflika said. It was extremely difficult to understand why the Security Council should be made up of four members who were of European origin and one that was not, representing all of humanity. The functioning of that body in relation to the General Assembly, which was the real legislature of the United Nations, also needed to be reassessed.
A correspondent wondered if the discussion of the Bretton Woods system included concrete suggestions for fixed exchange rates, or any other specifics. Mr. Bouteflika replied that the roundtable didn’t enter into the actual mechanisms for reform of the international monetary system.
Another correspondent asked about the unanimity of support for the Brahimi report in Africa, given that the President of South Africa had voiced reservations about it. Mr. Bouteflika replied that he could not speak for Africa, but the occasion required only majority approval, not unanimity.
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