ALTHOUGH WORLD SUMMIT OUTCOME ‘DISAPPOINTING’, UN REFORM EFFORTS MUST CONTINUE, GENERAL ASSEMBLY TOLD DURING ANNUAL HIGH-LEVEL DEBATE
ALTHOUGH WORLD SUMMIT OUTCOME ‘DISAPPOINTING’, UN REFORM EFFORTS MUST CONTINUE, GENERAL ASSEMBLY TOLD DURING ANNUAL HIGH-LEVEL DEBATE
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixtieth General Assembly
18th & 19th Meetings (AM & PM)
although world summit outcome ‘disappointing’, un reform efforts must continue,
general assembly told during annual high-level debate
As the General Assembly continued its annual high-level debate today, ministers from around the world stressed that while the overall outcome of last week’s World Summit was disappointing, that did not mean that reform of key United Nations bodies should not, or could not, continue.
In two meetings today, Member States were urged to keep up the momentum generated by the Summit, which, despite its limited results, had endorsed Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s call to revitalize the sixty-year-old Organization by upgrading the Security Council; creating a new, more effective human rights body; and green-lighting a new Peacebuilding Commission, that would develop integrated strategies for post-conflict reconstruction.
While supporting the adoption of the Summit’s outcome document, Khurshid M. Kasuri, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, said more could have been achieved if the agenda -- which included improving conditions in the developing world and protecting and promoting human rights -- had not been so extensive, if the debate over Security Council reform had not sapped the energy from the Summit’s preparatory process, and if negotiations on the document had begun sooner.
That said, the reform of major United Nations bodies should get under way, he continued, declaring that while the Security Council had primary responsibility for international peace and security, it lacked transparency and democracy. That 15-nation body was neither fully representative, nor accountable to the United Nations general membership. It was clear that the Council needed to be expanded by 10 additional non-permanent members, to reflect the entire spectrum of the Organization’s membership.
Australia had also been disappointed by the lack of progress on Security Council reform, said its Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, who stressed that much remained to be done, since only a few steps had been taken towards that goal during the Summit. Nevertheless, the Summit had embodied a historic shift in mindset on human rights and the collective responsibility to protect human beings.
He agreed that while States had their own responsibility to protect their populations, when they were unwilling to protect their own, the international community had to respond and put aside the principle of non-intervention. He also welcomed plans for the creation of a Human Rights Council, but warned that any new body must overcome the drawbacks of previous initiatives, which had allowed some of the worst rights abusers to lead human rights efforts.
But Sergei Martynov, Foreign Affairs Minister of Belarus, said he felt anxiety and hope about the Summit and the future of nations working together. Under the guise of reform, the Organization was being turned into an instrument by which some States dominated others. The proposal to elect members of the main human rights body on the basis of subjective criteria was a clear deviation from the Charter and would lead to a split in the United Nations.
He said he did not want reform which would allow more frequent and arbitrary use of force by the mighty, or which would divide countries into those that were “worthy” and “unworthy” of international assistance. Calls made last week to “help those who want to help themselves” limited the right to development to countries that had adopted State and economic reforms in accordance with a particular model.
At the top of the meeting, Assembly President Jan Eliasson of Sweden reminded delegations that today, the 191-member body was observing the International Day of Peace.
Also addressing the Assembly today were the Deputy Prime Ministers of Turkey and Vanuatu.
Foreign Affairs Ministers and other high-level ministers from Egypt, Guyana, Canada, Maldives, Mongolia, Czech Republic, Uganda, Chile, Romania, Dominican Republic, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Malta, Nepal, Poland, Viet Nam, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Cape Verde, Tonga, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Albania and the United Republic of Tanzania also spoke.
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of Cyprus, Zimbabwe, Serbia and Montenegro, Albania, Cuba and the Czech Republic.
The sixtieth General Assembly’s general debate will continue tomorrow, 22 September, at 10 a.m.
The General Assembly met today to continue its annual general debate.
ABDULLAH GÜL, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, said the World Summit’s outcome document had forced the international community to focus on global problems. Now was the time to act. Turkey welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal to start with an accountability pact. He also mentioned that Turkey had submitted its candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the Security Council for 2009-2010.
The Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip was an encouraging development, he said. Israeli settlement activities in the occupied territories must end and the Middle East “Road Map” should be fully implemented. At the same time, reform of the Palestinian Authority had to move forward. Iraq’s destiny was also important for peace and stability in the Middle East. Turkey, in cooperation with the United Nations, had been at the forefront of efforts for political and economic rehabilitation in Iraq.
He said Turkey’s vision of establishing a zone of regional peace, stability and economic cooperation in the South Caucasus had yet to be realized. The problems of Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia continued to impede peace and cooperation. Turkey continued to support the strengthening of peace, stability and prosperity in South-East Europe.
Turkey’s vision was to promote cooperation, stability and prosperity between Turkey, Greece and the two peoples of Cyprus, he stated. It was regrettable there was an attempt to move the Cyprus problem away from the Organization. With the rejection of the Annan Plan in last year’s referendum, a chance to put an end to the division of the island was missed. The Secretary-General, in his report issued after the referendum, had recommended the lifting of all restrictions on the Turkish Cypriots. Unfortunately, that recommendation was being disregarded. He reiterated the proposal he made on 30 May for the lifting of all restrictions related to the island, including those related to the sea and airports between the two sides in Cyprus and to Turkey and Greece.
ALEXANDER DOWNER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, said the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations placed its efforts, and failures, to achieve peace, security and prosperity, and to reform the Organization, under a microscope. Australia welcomed the achievements of the Summit, including the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission, the recognition of the Organization’s responsibilities with respect to protecting human rights, and the call for early entry into force of the Nuclear Terrorism Convention. Australia would double its aid allocation to about 4 billion Australian dollars, by 2010, a doubling from 2004 levels. As a nation committed to the Doha Round of trade negotiations, it also welcomed the United States’ pledge to eliminate all tariffs and other trade barriers if other nations do the same.
Australia, however, was vastly disappointed by the utter lack of progress in arms control and non-proliferation, he said. The failure was a damning reflection on the intergovernmental process at the United Nations. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was stymied by a few States in the past year. Australia remained strongly supportive of the Treaty. The possession of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors posed one of the most dangerous threats facing humanity. Terrorism too remained a formidable threat, and nations must cooperate to prevent it. Australia had done its best to do so in its region. Many States needed assistance to build their counter-terrorism capabilities. While some progress had been made at the Summit, Australia was disappointed that the Secretary-General’s counter-terrorism strategy was not adopted.
Australia was also disappointed in the lack of progress in Security Council reform and noted that the Organization had only taken a step towards that goal. The Secretary-General needed more authority and flexibility to manage the United Nations and oversight systems had to be strengthened. Poor leadership and poor governance threatened to undermine the Organization’s work. The United Nations must recognize where it fell short in the area of reform and address it.
He decried numerous recent human rights atrocities, and said the Summit had embodied a historic shift in mindset on human rights and the collective responsibility to protect human beings. States had their own responsibility to protect their populations, but when they were unwilling to protect their own, the international community had to respond and put aside the principle of non-intervention. He welcomed plans for the Human Rights Council, which must overcome the problems of previous efforts that had allowed some of the worst abusers to lead human rights efforts. Australia would participate in negotiations on the shape of the new Council and would double its contribution to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
AHMED ABOUL GHEIT, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, said recent international developments had proven the increasing need to strengthen the multilateral framework in addressing the problems facing all nations and peoples, particularly concerning development, international peace and security, human rights and United Nations reform. Promoting development at the international level required strong political will to implement the agreements that had already been made and which had been recently reaffirmed by the outcome of last week’s World Summit. He called for the revitalization of the international partnership for financing for development, particularly meeting the agreed 0.7 per cent target for official development assistance (ODA).
He also called for greater attention to be paid the priorities of developing countries, particularly during the run up to the World Trade Organization’s next ministerial conference, which is set to be held in Hong Kong, as well as in other international forums dealing with trade matters, debt relief, investment, industrial modernization and other issues that could make the global trading system more fair and just. As for Africa’s specific needs, he called on partners to boost their support for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the continent’s home-grown development and socio-economic advancement strategy. The NEPAD also promoted the achievement of good governance and fostered the contributions of civil society.
Turning to other issues on the global agenda, he said terrorism did not distinguish between peoples, cultures or religions. Recent attacks worldwide, including in Egypt, had confirmed that combating the scourge required the enhancement of counter-terrorism mechanisms, as well as real efforts to address its root causes. With that in mind, Egypt had proposed the convening of a high-level Assembly meeting to formulate and adopt a comprehensive action plan against terrorism, which would include the necessary legal and practical procedures to deal effectively with all aspects of the phenomenon until it was eradicated.
On disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, he said the international community’s common aim, particularly since the Summit had failed to reach agreement on addressing those issues, should be based on restoring a balance between nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Following the Summit’s decision, he also warned that, once the Human Rights Council became operational, the body should not become politicized or be selective. He went on to call for continued revitalization of the Assembly, as well as reform and expansion of the Security Council in order to ensure balanced representation of Africa and other developing countries. He also welcomed Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and urged the parties to continue towards full implementation of the Road Map peace plan. In addition, he called on Israel to stop settlement activities in the West Bank and to improve the humanitarian situation of all Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Territories.
S. R. INSANALLY, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guyana, said that many Member States felt the Summit’s outcome document was less than satisfactory in its scope and substance, but it represented an agreed platform on which nations could reach a higher level of international cooperation.
The Millennium Development Goals, he said, were aimed at economic and social advancement and improving health and education, and should be fully embraced by the international community. Recent developments, such as the revision of Europe’s agriculture policy and its proposal to drastically reduce the price of sugar exports of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, were highly detrimental to the efforts of developing countries in achieving the Goals. “Without consultation or warning they [developed countries] adopt measures that wreak enormous havoc on the economies of the developing countries, particularly the small and vulnerable”, he added.
Speaking about the necessary requirements to achieve economic and social progress in the developing world, he said that developing countries needed to have a say in the decision-making process regarding development issues. The gap between developed and developing countries had widened, disproving the general assumption that the economic prosperity of the developed world would eventually raise the standards of living for all States.
Turning to the issues of human rights, democracy and security, he said that Guyana fully supported the establishment of the Democracy Fund and reform of the Commission on Human Rights. The new Human Rights Council should be built on the ideals of equal representation, not comprised of an “elite directorate” of nations, he added.
PIERRE PETTIGREW, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada, said the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations was a source of inspiration and a call for action. Global challenges had grown and there was a lack of agreement on how to resolve them. Two years ago, the United Nations was in a sorry state, largely because of the divisions over Iraq. However, it had survived the divisions and had gone on to make progress in the recent Summit.
He went on to cite the Organization’s major achievements since its inception and outlined the major challenges now before it. He noted that standards for human rights protection and the protection of the rights of women had been raised. The Human Rights Commission had served an important role but its shortcomings required its replacement. The United Nations had gone beyond its determination never to allow another Holocaust by declaring that it had a responsibility to protect. It was now necessary for the Organization to implement that commitment. Member States should have established a Human Rights Council during the Summit, and it should be a permanent body whose members were elected after meeting the set criteria. Also, it was regrettable that the Summit’s final document did not reiterate the Organization’s commitment to women’s rights, enunciated years ago.
The Organization had much work to do in a number of areas, including the Peacebuilding Commission, health, terrorism, protecting the environment and arms control, he said. It was shameful that the United Nations had not done enough to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases. On the issue of terrorism, recent attacks made it more necessary than ever to conclude a comprehensive convention on terrorism. In order to leave the world a healthy place for future generations, the world community must manage the environment together. Guidelines for how to protect the environment should be drawn from the upcoming conference in Canada on the environment.
It was deeply regrettable that the final document of the Summit did not mention disarmament and non-proliferation, he added. It was necessary that the whole architecture of arms control be improved. The International Criminal Court should also have been mentioned in the final document. His country urged all States to sign the Rome Statute.
AHMED SHAHEED, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Maldives, said his country was admitted to the United Nations 40 years ago today. The Maldives had survived the “mini-State” debate, thereby reinforcing the notion of the sovereign equality of all States regardless of size. The country’s economy was devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami. Compared with other countries, the loss of life had been small, but in proportionate terms, Maldives was the worst affected country with 62 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) destroyed, 7 per cent of its population displaced and 12 of its islands turned into rubble. It was vital that trade preferences and other concessions were not phased out through graduation before the country recovered from the tsunami’s extensive devastation.
He said climate change could cause destruction anytime, anywhere. Prevention was the only option where there was no cure. He hoped the Kyoto Protocol would be implemented effectively. Small States had the least chance of overcoming environmental catastrophes. He stressed the critical importance of the early and effective implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for small island developing States (SIDS).
Sweeping political changes had been brought to the Maldives, among them, the introduction of a multi-party system, and the establishment of legal and judicial systems aimed at modernizing the existing criminal justice system. Also, the Constitutional Assembly was in session. The support of the international community was vital for the success of the democracy project being implemented by his Government.
Of crucial interest to his country was the support given by the Assembly for the protection and security of small States, the important role played by United Nations in advancing efforts to protect the environment, and the assistance the Maldives was getting towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. The Maldives hoped measures to combat international terrorism, to strengthen peace and international security, to promote peace building and to strengthen the United Nations machinery on human rights protection would be followed up effectively. He welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposals on all aspects of reform, and hoped Security Council reform would be completed before the year’s end. In that regard, he expressed support for the G-4 proposal for Council reform.
TSEND MUNH-ORGIL, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, said that the goal of halving poverty by 2015 seemed highly elusive. While his country was poised to meet most of the Millennium Goals in the areas of education, gender, child and maternal health, combating diseases, and providing universal primary education and literacy, his commodity-dependent country was vulnerable to factors that threatened to wipe out hard-earned gains. He drew attention to the problem posed by rising oil prices in particular, and urged international financial institutions and oil producers to heed the appeal articulated by developing countries during the general debate to deal with that issue.
He said that Mongolia -- a landlocked country -- spent 7 to 8 per cent of its GDP on transit transportation and insurance costs, double that of other developing countries and triple that of other developed countries. Six rounds of talks with neighbouring Russia and China, to establish a framework agreement on transit transport to reduce costs associated with land crossings and transhipment at ports, had been inconclusive since talks began in 1998. But he expressed hope that the Almaty Programme of Action and the São Paolo Consensus, adopted at the eleventh session of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), would provide the impetus for forming an agreement. Mongolia was highly susceptible to natural disasters, and urged the international community to redouble efforts to address transboundary threats such as desertification, deforestation, soil erosion and land degradation.
He was encouraged by the commitment of world leaders to increase ODA to developing countries, but urged donor countries not to limit themselves to rigid categorization when disbursing funds. The quality of aid must also be improved, in line with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness of March 2005, with a particular emphasis on providing stable and predictable multi-year financing with a focus on development results, mutual accountability, institutional capacity-building, untying aid, reducing bureaucratic procedures and increasing the recipient’s ownership of aid. Among the initiatives proposed had been debt conversion for Millennium Development Goal projects. “Debt relief should be considered in a comprehensive manner, taking into account the history and impact of the debt on the development of the recipient country and its actual capacity to repay”, he said.
He added that trade barriers for developing countries were three to four times higher than for developed countries. He expressed appreciation for the European Union’s decision to provide duty-free access to over 7,200 goods from small and vulnerable economies such as his own, and urged Member States to meet the expectations of developing countries regarding the Doha development agenda.
CYRIL SVOBODA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, said the current session of the General Assembly was one of the most challenging in history. Millions of people in Africa and elsewhere were trapped in absolute poverty, deprived of a dignified existence. At the same time, technical achievements and thriving economies enabled large numbers of people to enjoy an unprecedented standard of living. In an increasingly interconnected world, however, there was no way to separate rich and poor or different ethnic groups.
Terror attacks and natural disasters were a repeated reminder that, despite all the advancements, the world was still very fragile and vulnerable, he sated. Fortunately, the worst of situations tended to awaken the best in the human character, and it was important to tap that positive energy. It was vital to strengthen preventive measures, step up efforts to fight terror, and enhance the mechanisms of development and humanitarian aid, as well as achieve the Millennium Goals. A reformed United Nations could play a central role in that entire process. The Summit managed to at least provide a rough outline of how to proceed, while leaving the fine-tuning of details for the coming months.
He said a new Human Rights Council needed to preserve the progressive features and experience of the Human Rights Commission, while avoiding its weaknesses and failures. The creation of the Peacebuilding Commission, and renewed commitments to fighting terrorism and to the responsibility to protect, brought new hope to those facing lawlessness and oppression. The Summit failed in some areas, though, such as disarmament and non-proliferation and, most notably, the expansion of the Security Council. The Secretariat needed profound reform, as underlined by the Volcker report. He asked whether Member States really wanted a stronger and more efficient United Nations, and whether a reformed Organization would be enough to spare the world of today’s troubles and guarantee democracy and human rights. He said the Czech Republic was ready to carry out its part of that assignment, including in the Security Council if elected to it for the 2008-2009 term.
SAM KUTESA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uganda, said Africa’s lack of stability, peace and security had contributed to its failure to make substantial progress in reaching the Millennium Goals. Conflicts, wars and civil strife afflicting the continent had acted as disincentives to development. Uganda had identified four main causes of conflict on the continent: parasitic vested interests; superficiality in identifying and dealing with parasitic interests; weak and disoriented local leadership; and Africa’s pre-industrial characteristics.
The conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Great Lakes region in general, was caused by a combination of those factors, he said. The Congolese leadership’s failure to consolidate independence in 1960 and the eventual failed United Nations intervention had contributed to the country’s present chaos, which was slowly eating away at its nationhood and threatening regional stability. Those with the most to lose in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were marginalized, while the real issues of statecraft had been pushed to the periphery. No attention was being paid to creating institutions and infrastructure that could sustain the State.
He said that among the lessons learned from conflict situations in the Sudan, Burundi and Somalia, were that political problems should be solved by citizens of the concerned country following democratic principles and guided by a belief in the equality of all persons before the law; the region should intervene if a country’s citizens could not solve the problem; the African Union should approve that process; and international bodies such as the United Nations should then come in. The advantages of such a process were that it drew on a reservoir of knowledge about the problem; key stakeholders with the incentive and motivation to succeed participated in it; and there was international solidarity, especially regarding resources.
Turning to United Nations reform, he said the victors of the Second World War were determining the destiny of others without due regard to their interests. In today’s world, however, colonial peoples had gained independence and the international power structure had changed. Stressing that Security Council decisions needed wider diplomatic, financial and military support to be implemented, he said it was imperative to make that body more representative and reflective of today’s realities. Africa, where most Security Council-mandated operations took place, believed it was time the continent had a real say in how such operations were designed and implemented.
KHURSHID M. KASURI, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, said that while his country supported the adoption of the outcome document at last week’s World Summit, it was disappointed with the overall results. The Assembly could have achieved more if the agenda had not been so extensive, if the debate over Security Council reform had not sapped the energy from the Summit’s preparatory process, and if negotiations on the document had begun sooner. He added that while development remained at the top of the agenda for most developing countries, not much movement had been made on that issue, particularly in the areas of trade, investment flows and global governance.
He said that terrorism was a global threat requiring a collective and determined response. A major target of terrorist acts, Pakistan was at the forefront of the global combat against the scourge and had initiated a number of measures aimed at eliminating terrorism and extremism. Among them were banning extremist organizations, cracking down on material and halting the misuse of religious institutions. Noting that the Summit had endorsed the elaboration of a comprehensive strategy against terrorism, he called for an ad hoc working group to be created to follow up on the matter. He went on, however, to express concern that the Summit had made no real progress on issues related to disarmament, and that true consensus on the protection and promotion of human rights had not been achieved.
Turning to United Nations reform, he said the Assembly should be strengthened, and its mandate should be preserved from encroachment by other bodies, particularly the Security Council. As President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Pakistan would work closely with Member States to implement the proposals aimed at enhancing that body’s role. He declared that while the Security Council had primary responsibility for international peace and security, it lacked transparency and democracy. That 15-nation body was neither fully representative, nor accountable to the Organization’s general membership. It was clear that the Council needed to be expanded by 10 additional non-permanent members to reflect the entire spectrum of the United Nations membership.
The Council, he stated, should not heighten its already apparent inequities by inducting new permanent members, which would alienate many important countries, divide and weaken the United Nations, and further reduce its own legitimacy. The proposal by the “Uniting for Consensus” group, to which Pakistan belonged, was fair and democratic and had the flexibility to accommodate the positions and aspirations of all countries and regions. Addressing several issues of global concern, he called for enhanced efforts to ensure peace and stability in Africa, early resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and ongoing support for political and social transition in Afghanistan.
He also noted that relations between India and Pakistan were improving and that there was new hope for peace and cooperation in South Asia. Hope must also be given to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their legitimate quest for self-determination. He recalled that Pakistan’s President had told the Summit last week that Pakistan and India “must not remain trapped, by hate and history, in a cycle of confrontation and conflict”. For progress to be made, it would be essential to find a solution acceptable to both sides, and above all to the people of Kashmir.
IGNACIO WALKER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chile, said the political agreement reached last week might not have met everyone’s expectations, but it put the international community on the road to reform of the United Nations. Globalization must be governed with clear, stable and equitable institutions that focused on the protection of human rights. When States were unwilling or unable to act in the face of genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity, the Organization could not remain indifferent. The new Human Rights Council should become a permanent organ, and its characteristics must be defined. Having its members elected by a two-thirds majority of the Assembly would give it greater legitimacy, as would comprehensive reporting by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the creation of an objective peer review system of all countries, especially those aspiring to become Council members.
He said Member States should actively commit to promoting and defending democracy. The greatest challenge to that was inequality. The Millennium Goals must be achieved. Also, the United Nations and regional organizations should closely cooperate to improve governance. The lack of an agreement to include disarmament and non-proliferation in the reform process was greatly discouraging. Those issues must remain on the Organization’s agenda. An international convention against terrorism must be concluded before the end of the current session. The Peacebuilding Commission would be greatly helped in its work by the participation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Haiti could be the first trial run for that Commission.
He said poverty, hunger and social inequality were the greatest challenges today. Equitable economic development was essential to achieving a world truly at peace. Implementing the Monterrey Consensus on financing for development was essential. While the bulk of assistance should go to the least developed nations, giving special attention to Africa, middle-income countries should also be helped. International trade should be liberalized, and a speedy conclusion of the Doha round was needed. Security Council reform was necessary so that the Council could more democratically represent the realities of the twenty-first century. The Secretariat’s capacity to efficiently and responsibly administer its resources must be renewed. The sixtieth session of the General Assembly was a historic opportunity to promote change. “If we do not act collectively today, tomorrow may be too late.”
TEODOR BACONSCHI, Secretary of State for Global Affairs of Romania, said a new dynamic was needed so that the United Nations was both efficient and relevant to the needs of the international community. “It has to be tailored to respond effectively to the most ominous threats to international peace and security, namely terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.” He urged Member States to uphold the concept of “responsibility to protect”, noting that internal conflicts where a State was unable or unwilling to discharge its primary function of protecting life, property and the rights of its citizens called for an international response.
He said the United Nations must act resolutely to ensure its efficiency and credibility, by improving its administrative performance, establishing mechanisms for responsibility and accountability of the Secretariat, strengthening the audit and oversight functions and endowing the Secretary-General with the authority needed to effectively manage the mandates entrusted by the membership. Indeed, the “band-aid solution” mentality must be stopped in favour of an overhaul of the United Nations machinery.
He said meaningful cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations was decisive in handling responses to transnational threats. He noted the increase in regional ownership over local conflicts by organizations such as the African Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union, and praised the common aspirations for democracy, rule of law and sustainable development demonstrated by such organizations. His own country’s experience in South-Eastern Europe and the Black Sea also demonstrated the importance of regional ownership. He hoped the situation in Kosovo would be similarly addressed with regional impacts in mind, noting that Serbs and other ethnic communities in Kosovo still feared for their safety.
In the wider Black Sea area, he said development was hampered by a lack of security and stability. Securing that region should be a priority concern, and his country would try to stimulate players in the region to overcome protracted conflicts when Romania took up its role as Chair of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization.
SATO KILMAN, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Vanuatu, said that, while he supported the World Summit’s outcome document, he was disappointed by the omission of numerous paragraphs. “The farcical ending to the negotiations dilute the quality of the final document and the United Nations must in future avoid becoming a rubber stamp for the powerful”, he said. The principles of democratization and good governance, so actively advocated and championed by some members, must be reflected in the reorganization and decision-making process of the United Nations system. He fully supported efforts to reform the global body and believed that reform of the Security Council, in particular, was long overdue. In addition, he supported the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission, and wanted the international community to do more to combat terrorism.
He said unfair trading policies contributed to a global economic situation that discriminated against many developing nations. Those negative trends then marginalized nations and peoples, which in turn eventually fuelled hatred that could foster extremism. Trade was very important for the economic growth of developing nations, like Vanuatu, who also needed market access and preferential treatment for their goods. He also urged developed nations to meet their commitments and reach the 0.7 per cent target for ODA.
He urged the United Nations to act responsibly in revisiting the case of West Papua. He was encouraged by the Indonesian Government’s efforts to address alleged human rights abuses and welcomed decisions empowering West Papuans to manage their own affairs, in collaboration with the central Government. He added that the United Nations should explore ways to end the economic embargo against Cuba.
CARLOS MORALES TRONCOSO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic, said the foremost concern of underdeveloped nations with scarce resources was to lead their people out of the economic and social abyss of poverty, lack of education, poor health and unemployment. The widespread poverty present in today’s world, which often led to violence and the collapse of the State, was both terrifying and morally unacceptable, with negative implications for both poor and wealthy nations. Its consequences could lead to mass waves of migration that threatened all nations.
Turning to the issue of soaring oil prices, he said it was alarming that oil production was projected to decline by 2015, the year by which the Millennium Goals were expected to be achieved. Rising oil prices and a decrease in oil production would have a catastrophic effect that could not be ignored.
With regard to Haiti, a country that shared the small Caribbean island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, he said that the transitional regime there lacked the resources to function properly. However, it was making a valiant effort to restore authority in the country with the assistance of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). The Mission needed to work on a comprehensive agreement between the political forces and the organized sectors of Haitian civil society to ensure national reconciliation and a foundation on which to rebuild the leadership. Holding elections would be the first major step to getting Haiti back on its feet.
YOUSSOUF OUEDRAOGO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso, said the Assembly’s sixtieth session would go down in history, not only because of the five-year review of the Millennium Goals and the efforts towards United Nations reform, but also because those events had come at a watershed point in history and in international relations. Africa’s concerns continued, particularly in the Great Lakes region, Somalia and Cote d’Ivoire. As for the Middle East, only a strict implementation of the Road Map would resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue. There were also new challenges requiring the concerted efforts of the global community. One of those was terrorism, which was fed by conditions of injustice, exclusion, humiliation and poverty.
Democracy, good governance and human rights had become by-words for States all over the world, he noted. The United Nations must be reformed to adapt to new conditions. That reform must also do justice to Africa, which must be allowed to attain its rightful place in the world body. In the area of development, he said what was lacking was not commitments or promises but their implementation. His country had benefited from various initiatives, including the decision by the Group of Eight to forgive Burkina Faso’s debt. But the foundations of a multilateral trade system must be laid down through the World Trade Organization (WTO), and they must be respected.
Committed to peace and development, he said his country was taking part in United Nations peacekeeping operations. It had also signed numerous international legal instruments, including the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). He added that the rights of all people must be respected, including those of the people of Taiwan.
NYAN WIN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Myanmar, said the guiding principles of the United Nations included universality and respect for sovereignty, non-interference in the affairs of States and the non-use of force. Only by working together and adapting the United Nations to the twenty-first century could Member States discharge the Organization’s responsibilities. The reform should reaffirm the Assembly as the highest organ, and keep in mind that non-interference in the affairs of States was the very basis of the international system.
Recalling that the Charter provided for the use of force only as the last resort, he said the right of collective self defence should not be used as an excuse for aggression. Developing countries should be adequately represented on the proposed Peacebuilding Commission. Also, the human rights mechanism must emphasize and ensure impartiality, with developing countries again playing an active role in the process.
Today’s threats did not respect boundaries, he said. HIV/AIDS, terrorism and organized crime did not stay within borders. His country was party to numerous relevant instruments, including the conventions on organized crime, the smuggling of persons, transnational crime and nearly all those related to terrorism. The fight against terrorism should not be used as an excuse for aggression. Also, all States must make substantial progress towards disarmament, an important priority that did not make it into the Summit’s outcome document but which must not be sidelined in the international agenda. His country had also taken steps to eliminate the illicit opium production that plagued it.
MICHAEL FRENDO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malta, said his country had grown increasingly worried about unregulated human trafficking across the Mediterranean. For Malta -- a small island with a high population density -- the flow of illegal immigrants could assume crisis proportions. The international community must not allow the rights of refugees and persons requiring humanitarian status to be undermined and prejudiced by international criminal organizations specializing in illegal human trafficking. Countries of origin and transit must clamp down on that problem. Meanwhile, it was important to address the roots of illegal economic migration, a phenomenon which was harmful not only to the individuals themselves who fell victim to criminal organizations -- often paying with their own lives -- but also to the economic and social development of the countries of origin. He looked forward to the General Assembly’s high-level dialogue on international migration and development, scheduled to take place in 2006.
In terms of development cooperation, he said his country would join its partners in the European Union to strengthen the commitment towards increased and more effective development assistance in the coming years. Malta’s contribution would be commensurate to the country’s possibilities and level of economic development. He noted that peace and prosperity must be rooted in human dignity, and said it was his country’s aim to bring to fruition the decisions taken at the Summit on the establishment of a Human Rights Council. He also welcomed the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission. Together with partners in the European Union, he said that Malta welcomed Israel’s disengagement from Gaza as a step towards full resumption of the Middle East peace process.
On the subject of terrorism, he said that international cooperation was especially important. While differences might still remain on the precise interpretation of the concept of terrorism, there was widespread commitment to resist and eliminate attacks on the everyday order of life. The ultimate objective of the current session of the General Assembly should remain progress towards the conclusion of a convention on international terrorism, he said.
RAMESH NATH PANDEY, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal, said the commitment to eradicate poverty and terrorism and bring about reform of the United Nations could only be achieved through cooperation. Terrorism was the world’s most pressing issue, a problem not only for a few nations, but a threat to world peace. Terrorism must be dealt with resolutely without any selective interpretations, and Nepal would support the early conclusion of a comprehensive convention on terrorism.
Focusing on democracy in his own country, he said that Nepal planned to hold open and free municipal elections in April 2006, to be followed by national parliamentary elections within two years. Nepal would welcome help from other nations to ensure free and fair elections. There was also a need for developed nations to help the least developed and landlocked nations by augmenting ODA levels through better market access, increased foreign direct investment and substantial debt relief measures.
Referring to the failure of the Summit to address the issue of proliferation and weapons of mass destruction, he said that international peace and security was threatened as a result of such failures. Regional mechanisms, such as the United Nations regional centres for peace and disarmament, could make significant contributions to global disarmament.
Citing his country’s significant contribution to United Nations peacekeeping missions, he said Nepal was seeking a non-permanent seat on the Security Council for the period 2007-2008. The establishment of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal underscored the country’s commitment to better human rights protection. The human rights situation in Nepal must be understood in the context of unabated violence by terrorists, and there should be no equivalency drawn between the constitutional duty of the Government to protect lives and the dreadful acts of terrorists.
SERGEI MARTYNOV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belarus, said he felt anxiety and hope about the recent Summit and the future of nations working together. Under the guise of reform, the Organization was being turned into an instrument by which some States dominated others. The proposal to elect members of the main human rights body on the basis of subjective criteria was a clear deviation from the Charter and would lead to a split in the United Nations. He said he did not want reform which would allow more frequent and arbitrary use of force by the mighty, or which would divide countries into those that were “worthy” and “unworthy” of international assistance. Calls made last week to “help those who want to help themselves” limited the right to development to countries that had adopted State and economic reforms in accordance with a particular model.
It was necessary to take an honest look at issues such as human trafficking, he said. All States should prohibit the forced labour of adolescents, the sexual slavery of women and girls, and the trade in human organs. Less than a third of Member States had ratified the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. A little more than a dozen countries had adopted national strategies to fight the problem. The United Nations must create a global partnership against slavery and trafficking in human beings in the twenty-first century.
Also, he emphasized that the long-term effects of the Chernobyl disaster should not be forgotten. The effectiveness of international assistance in that area should be assessed, and the priorities for the next decade planned. Member States should adopt a resolution in the Assembly on Chernobyl, and the Assembly should convene a special meeting on 26 April 2006 to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the disaster.
ADAM DANIEL ROTFELD, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland, said this year Poland had commemorated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Solidarity Movement that opened the way to profound historic changes in Europe, including the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Communist bloc. He hoped Solidarity’s message remained an inspiration for Poland and for people all over the world who were striving for freedom and solidarity.
He acknowledged that the United Nations was a ponderous institution that did not embrace change easily. However, the ambitious Summit agenda provided global leaders with many insights, ideas and useful recommendations that merited additional consideration. The outcome document should not be regarded as the end of reform, but as a reference point to make additional practical steps. Delegates should submit an implementation plan of the Summit’s decisions to the Assembly in order to break the vicious cycle of inaction and ensure proper follow-up. He welcomed the decision to create a Human Rights Council. Also, as a way to help nations make the transition to democracy, Poland supported the creation of a Democracy Fund.
Turning to the topic of weapons of mass destruction, he said the existing systems of national control and international non-proliferation agreements were not completely effective and were undermined by loopholes. It was disappointing that the Summit did not reach an outcome on non-proliferation and disarmament. Global leaders needed to strengthen the three pillars of the nuclear arms control regime: non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful use. They should also look for ways to ensure effective verification and enforce the application of the existing non-proliferation and disarmament obligations.
It was also necessary to review the existing negotiating machinery. One way to do that would be to establish a group of experts. Another, and perhaps better, way would be to request a respected international independent research centre, such as the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), to prepare a report with recommendations on how to transform the existing United Nations institutions and mechanisms into more effective bodies.
NGUYEN DY NIEN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, recalled the shock of so many around the world at the terrorist attacks in London. The way to root out terrorism was to address poverty, injustice and inequality.
Turning to issues in the Middle East, he said Viet Nam supported the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and welcomed Israel’s withdrawal from settlements in the Gaza Strip. He also expressed his support for peaceful resolutions to the nuclear issue in Iran and on the Korean peninsula. In addition, he called on the United Nations to intervene on the issue of the unilateral embargo against Cuba.
He stressed the need to ensure implementation of the World Summit’s outcome document and to carry out United Nations reform. His own country’s experience showed that an “environment of peace, political and social stability is indispensable for development and economic growth”. There was a need to reinforce the central role and power of the General Assembly. It was also necessary to improve the Security Council’s working methods to ensure democracy and transparency by enlarging its membership with better representation for developing nations, and making Germany, Japan and India permanent members.
He said it was essential for developing nations to be able to participate more effectively in the global economy, and the United Nations needed to implement measures to facilitate developing countries into the World Trade Organization. Regarding United Nations reform, he said the Human Rights Council required more in-depth discussion apropos the concept of “responsibility to protect”.
BERHANE ABREHE, Minister of Finance of Eritrea, said the border issue between his country and Ethiopia posed serious ramifications to international law and regional peace and security. Ethiopia’s violation of the Algiers Agreement represented a blatant disrespect of Eritrea’s territorial integrity. Citing provisions of the Agreement and a report of the Boundary Commission, he said the current situation was not an intractable border dispute but a matter of illegal and forcible occupation of Eritrea’s sovereign territory. Ethiopia was continuing to build illegal settlements in occupied areas, and its unrestrained assault on the rule of law and legal agreements set a dangerous precedent that would have severe consequences for other parts of the world, as well as for the credibility of the United Nations.
He said that the United Nations and the African Union were parties to the Agreement and, therefore, obligated to ensure its implementation. The Security Council was required to maintain peace and security by eliminating all forms of occupation. The Organization and some members of the international community, however, had been trying to avoid taking appropriate action.
Existing and aspiring members of the Security Council should fully appreciate that they were obligated to serve the cause of peace, not promote and protect their interests and those of their allies. Respect for international agreements must continue to be the foundation for peaceful coexistence among nations. If not, trust in the international system would be eroded and the functioning of the Organization severely damaged. There was still a chance for peaceful resolution if the Organization honoured its treaty obligations and addressed the issue of Ethiopia’s illegal occupation of Eritrean territory. If the Organization failed to reverse the occupation, it would be as responsible as Ethiopia for any renewed conflict. Eritrea was determined, and had the right, to defend and preserve its territorial integrity by any means possible.
ABDULLAH ABDULLAH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, said the successful parliamentary elections in his country just two days ago completed the final phase of the Bonn Agreement. Over the last four years, Afghanistan had made significant progress with the assistance of United Nations agencies, including the formation of a national army and police force, the disarmament of over 60,000 combatants, the formation of a new constitution that promoted human rights and equality between men and women, and the enrolment of over 5 million children in schools.
Focusing on the issue of poppy production for narcotics in his country, he said Afghanistan was working hard to stem the trafficking of opium through the creation of a counter-narcotics ministry and a special tribunal to prosecute those associated with cultivation. While the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported a 21 per cent decrease in the cultivation of opium, further efforts were needed, such as developing alternative livelihoods for rural communities, agricultural assistance for farmers, irrigation investment, assistance with electric power, and the generation of non-farm employment.
Turning to the major obstacles his country still faced, he cited extreme poverty, high rates of infant and maternal mortality, and lack of basic social services. The achievement of the Millennium Development Goals was not an option but a necessity for the security of Afghanistan, and would require a substantial amount of international aid. The National Development Strategy of Afghanistan, to be presented early next year, sought to promote growth and reduce poverty, as well as attract international assistance. Through a post-Bonn compact, Afghanistan planned to subscribe to a new timetable for building democratic institutions, providing security, reducing poverty and protecting human rights.
VICTOR BORGES, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Communities of Cape Verde, said there were two aspects to the lack of greater progress on achieving the Millennium Goals: the development policies of developing States and the commitments made by developed countries. To make more progress, developing States would have to do more legislatively to optimize their use of development aid. As the head of his country had emphasized last week to the Summit, the Goals were achievable. The only thing missing was political will. The Assembly’s sixtieth session should ensure that the results of the Summit were implemented. It would take great skill on everyone’s part to get agreement on some issues.
He said his country had recently marked its thirtieth anniversary of independence. The road had not been easy for a country with no natural resources. Still, Cape Verde had just graduated from the list of least developed countries, an achievement that was a joint success of its people and the international community. The indicator of economic vulnerability was the most relevant to a country’s standing and, in that regard, Cape Verde faced many challenges. Therefore, to succeed as a graduate, the process should provide a smoother transition so that development continued without a break. Also, a factor to be kept in mind was that small island States faced major structural vulnerabilities.
On financing for development and the urgency of achieving the Millennium Goals, he said the decision to eliminate the debt of 18 countries was “oxygen to Africa”. However, that decision must be integrated into the international agenda. Also, some gesture must be made to middle-income countries, or else debt forgiveness could be seen with some ambiguity.
SIOSIUA ‘UTOIKAMANU, Minister of Finance of Tonga, said business at the United Nations could not go on as usual because that would continue to defray the relevancy of the Organization and the important place of multilateralism. Last Friday, world leaders adopted the outcome document, which provided multilateral solutions to issue of development, peace and collective security, human rights, the rule of law and strengthening of the United Nations. It was now up to Member States to implement the proposals. The development agenda remained the first priority for small island developing States. Financing development programmes continued to be dependent on overseas assistance. Tonga welcomed the proposed increase in resources. However, international development assistance alone would not be sufficient, and would have to be complemented by foreign direct investment, improved market access and effective development partnerships.
Important to ensuring economic growth was to put in place the necessary internal conditions for mobilizing domestic savings, he said. Tonga had embarked on an economic reform programme and a reform of the taxation system. It welcomed the commitment to address the needs and vulnerabilities of small island developing States, through the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy. Energy continued to play a crucial role in Tonga’s sustainable development strategies, and maintaining a balance between energy and the economy was a national priority. Efforts should focus on alternative sources of energy.
The failure of the 2005 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Review Conference was regrettable, he said. Tonga supported the call to establish a new Human Rights Council, as well as the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission. It applauded efforts to revitalize the General Assembly and strengthen the Economic and Social Council. Also, Japan should be allowed a permanent seat on a reformed Security Council. Member States must not renege on commitments and push forward with reforms.
RAYMOND RAMAZANI BAYA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said his country had joined the United Nations in 1960. A year later, the great peacemaker of his country, Dag Hammarskjöld, had died. The United Nations had carried out two peace interventions in his country -– one early in its history and one now. His country served as an example of why the world needed a strong and reformed United Nations.
The Organization had become the conscience of the world, he said. It was also the forum in which to address both new and long-standing challenges, as well as to ensure that civilization stayed on the course of its highest ideals. Security Council reform should not overshadow the need to look at the other United Nations bodies and reinforce their mandates.
He was grateful to the international community, which had provided a lot of resources to rebuild his country. Towards the end of the year, a draft constitution would be adopted and elections would take place, in accordance with the people’s will and the Government’s decision. Twelve million voters had been registered and the electoral timetables would be met. What was needed now was to stabilize the situation and disarm foreign troops to keep them from disrupting the process. The country needed assistance to keep foreign groups from interfering in its affairs.
If neighbouring countries continued their interference, he said the option of forced disarmament must be considered, perhaps through the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC). While the Council had done well to authorize the Mission’s mandate under Chapter VII of the Charter, that did not have a deterrence effect. The country’s economy had improved, but the pace of progress was slow, particularly relative to the people’s expectations. An international conference on peace should be held in Nairobi to address the gamut of concerns in the Great Lakes region. A new period of stability and prosperity was coming to central Africa, he added.
BESNIK MUSTAFAJ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Albania, said his country was committed to achieving the broadest consensus possible on the most important United Nations reform issues. He fully supported reform of the Security Council, to improve its working methods and transparency. He believed the Peacebuilding Commission would be an instrument that the United Nations could use to galvanize the international community and help countries make the shift from conflict to sustained development. He supported the creation of a Human Rights Council and strengthening the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights with a larger budget. In addition, Albania endorsed the creation of a Democracy Fund as a way to support new democracies by strengthening each nation’s civil society and democratic institutions.
Albania was fully committed to reaching the Millennium Development Goals, as well as to improving all macroeconomic indicators in the country, he said. It was determined to promote sound macroeconomic policies and promote more solid investments as it worked within the framework of cooperation with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Albania was committed to a path of Euro-Atlantic integration and membership in the European Union and NATO, he said. Albania’s membership in NATO would help secure the region and its participation in the peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Afghanistan constituted a contribution to regional and global security.
Albania believed the present status of Kosovo was inadequate for sustained peace in the region. Kosovo’s final status should be based on the wishes of its people, expressed through democratic means. In that regard, he said a “conditional independence” of Kosovo would allow for the full development of its institutions and its society. The report of the United Nations Special Envoy for Kosovo, Kai Aide, provided an objective evaluation of the standards achieved so far in Kosovo, with regard to the creation of a democratic climate and the rule of law that would enable the start of negotiations on Kosovo’s final status.
ABDULKADER SHAREEF, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania, said the just-ended 2005 World Summit had set the tone, agenda and direction for the United Nations, some 60 years after its inception. The pace of the reforms adopted by that historic meeting would be determined by Member States’ collective political will. And although the Summit’s outcome document had fallen short of earlier expectations, the Assembly nevertheless had to hash out the open issues and fine points, so that what had been agreed could be implemented. “We should not allow political expediency and posturing to rob us of our declared objectives.”
It was time to toss the indignities of poverty, hunger illiteracy and preventable diseases into the “dustbin of history”, he said, adding that if agreed commitments were finally met, particularly the 0.7 per cent ODA target and the recent debt cancellation scheme endorsed by the Group of Eight, some countries would see real changes in their ability to implement their development programmes and priorities.
The political capital generated by the Summit should spark a convergence between the resources set to flow from development partners and the political reforms and fiscal and institutional changes already under way in Africa, he said. For its part, his country had already adopted the Summit objective of setting a comprehensive strategy to achieve the Millennium Goals by 2015. Indeed, it was nine years ahead of schedule to achieve the universal primary education target. It was also on course to achieve the targets on access to safe drinking water, reducing child mortality and promoting gender equality in political participation and decision-making.
With steady assistance and its own macroeconomic and political stability, the country should get closer to achieving most of the Goals by 2015, he said. Turning to other urgent issues in the wake of the Summit, he stressed that it was necessary to press ahead with efforts to reach agreements on disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, elaborate an international anti-terrorism convention and operationalize the agreed Peacebuilding Commission.
Right of Reply
The representative of Cyprus said he wished to reply to the statement of Turkey. There were no two peoples from Cyprus, he said. All people, regardless of origin, made up the Cypriot people. Also, there was no such thing as Greek Cypriot administration. References to unfair restrictions by Turkey were profoundly misguided. Turkey’s accusation that Cyprus was attempting to take the issue of the island to another forum was baseless. There was no alternative to the United Nations in seeking a solution to the Cyprus problem.
Zimbabwe’s representative said the Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic made a careless allegation, namely that Zimbabwe had repeatedly failed to respond to the human rights concerns of the international community. He was obviously misinformed. The delegation should find the courage to check their information. What did the Czech Minister mean by the international community? Zimbabwe would appreciate it if the Czech Republic refrained from using the name of Zimbabwe in its attempts to impress the international community.
The representative of Serbia and Montenegro, replying to Albania, said he was surprised Albania had changed its policy regarding Kosovo. That did not correspond to the required cooperation between Tirana and Belgrade, and did not contribute to international stability. He underlined that dialogue between the various communities was necessary.
The representative of Cuba said that, apparently, the Government of the Czech Republic was speaking from “under the shelter of the hunters and guardians”. The Cuban revolution for some 47 years now had been combating the greatest dominion of the world, which had attempted to undermine Cuba. But what could be expected from “cowards and lackeys”, who followed instructions issued to Prague? The Czech Republic sat in judgement of others when it came to human rights. That country was certainly not one to hold up a mirror to other countries. The “supreme martyrs” from the Czech Republic had done everything possible to combat trafficking of women and children and illegal prostitution. Did that mean it was free from the mafia that had perverted every institution of the country and whose illegal businesses flourished there?
The Human Rights Commission needed to be reviewed and recast in order to do away with the sham perpetrated by such countries, he continued. That spectacle was played out annually at United Nation Headquarters and in Geneva. If those miserable shows were meant to pass for human rights machinery, they were a demonstration of hypocrisy and Cuba would not support them. Nor would it stand by while the United States threatened half the world. The Czech Republic had remained silent when scandalous cases of torture and violence against prisoners on Guantanamo Bay had been discussed. If the proposed Human Rights Council repeated those double standards and the polarization, which had persisted for years through the dominance of Western powers and their satellites, Cuba would not be able to support the establishment of that body. The Czech Republic was in no position to sit in judgement of others.
The representative of the Czech Republic, replying to Zimbabwe and Cuba, said she regretted that a mere statement of obvious facts about the lack of cooperation of certain countries could generate such strong remarks. Was that a sign of nervousness? Hopefully, the cooperation of the countries would soon improve and the issues could be discussed at relevant international forums in the future. Her country did not shy away from discussing any matters of substance related to alleged violations of human rights.
Albania’s speaker said her country would not intervene in the future of Kosovo. However, since Kosovo was a neighbour, it could not be ignored, particularly since its future was about to be determined. After all, six years ago, there had been a war that affected Kosovo’s neighbours. As long as the international community remained committed to Kosovo, there was no concern.
Cuba’s representative wanted to remind delegations that the Czech Republic, for years, had discredited the achievements of the Cuban revolution and associated itself with “extreme right terrorists” and the United States, particularly participating in the embargo against Cuba. The people of Cuba chose its regime freely and could not tolerate the interference of any foreign Power.
Zimbabwe’s representative declared that the Czech Republic’s remarks showed that it was not ready to discuss the topic openly.
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