OFF THE CUFF
This document contains remarks made between September-December 1999
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Remarks as Rwanda Inquiry report was handed over to the Secretary-General, 15 December 1999 (unofficial transcript)
Ingvar Carlsson, Chairman of the Panel of Inquiry: Well, Mr. Secretary-General, in May 1944 I was a young boy, ten years old - then I saw the white buses with the Red Cross coming from Germany with some of the few surviving Jews. I'll never forget their voices, their faces, their eyes, but I couldn't imagine that I would meet that kind of situation again. But I did, in the sight of genocides in Rwanda - talking to the survivors, to the families. I am grateful that you asked the three of us to take on this inquiry. I think it was a good decision. We hope that this report will help to heal the wrongs and, even more important, that we will be able to avoid another genocide in the future of mankind. So this is our report and we thank you for gining us the honour to work on it.
SG: Thank you very much. I'm really very grateful to the three of you for having taken on this essential assignment and it is precisely for the reasons you stated that I wanted this done, not just for us to know the truth, but also to draw the lessons and prepare for the future and take steps to make sure that this is not repeated. I want to thank you all very much as I know it's been very hard work, lots of travelling, lots of analysis. I want to thank you and your staff for giving us this wonderful piece.
Remarks of the Secretary-General upon arrival at UNHQ, 8 December 1999, on Cyprus (unofficial transcript)
Q: On the statement that was issued today on the confidentiality of the Cyprus talks. Could you be more specific about the information in the press. Which side do you think has breached the confidentiality?
SG: Let me just repeat the appeal I made to the parties and all the countries concerned: to refrain from making any statements that may inflame tensions, complicate the talks, and therefore, I have asked everyone associated with the talks to refrain from saying anything. We will make a statement at the appropriate time when the talks have concluded and we'll brief the press and others as to what has been achieved, where we are and where we go next. And I would appeal to all the parties once again to respect this understanding and this agreement. I don’t want to get into finger-pointing here. All that I want to do is to repeat my appeal --- I think it's crucial for all of us to respect the rules of the game. And generally I think it has been done and I would urge them to continue doing so.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, you forgot an important fact here: Mr. Denktash getting in and out of the talks is still making statements and complaints about the Greek side…
SG: I think that I've said all that I have to say. I've just come off a plane and I will be seeing the parties again. We are going to make a serious effort to move the process forward and I think we should focus on that. That is what is important.
Remarks by the Secretary-General upon arrival to Headquarters, 3 December 1999, on Cyprus (unofficial transcript)
Q: (inaudible)...to the young generation today?
SG: That we should all be hopeful as we begin the talks today. And I hope as we start to sit down and begin serious discussions and have meaningful dialogue in search of a comprehensive settlement that they will all support this effort -- it=s their future that we are trying to resolve -- and I hope at this end of this process we will be able to come with a comprehensive solution that will assure the young people of the island a peaceful and harmonious future.
Q: Please Sir, what is the best possible outcome for today=s meetings?
SG: Well, we are just about to begin in an hour or so and I hope we will be able to discuss the core issues, stick to the issues, and move forward gradually. I don=t expect a miraculous solution. As I=ve said, we shouldn=t have unrealistic expectations that at this round we=re going to be able to solve the Cyprus crisis but we=re going to try to move the process forward and I=m very happy that both leaders are here and both parties have come determined to engage in a meaningful dialogue.
Q: What are the prospects for this round of talks?
SG: I just answered that question.
Q: I was wondering, Sir, if you could comment on the fact that you have asked both leaders to refrain from any public statements and whether you think they have respected your request so far?
SG: Well, I think that on the whole they=ve done well and I hope that as we begin today they will respect a news blackout -- it=s not intended against you guys -- I talk to you whenever I can but I myself and Mr. de Soto will restrain ourselves from comments to the press, but at critical stages we=ll share with you where we are -- what progress we=ve made -- but I think for the benefit of the talks it=s prudent that one doesn=t say anything that may be misconstrued by one side or the other and that is the only reason why I=ve appealed for restraint.
Press Conference, Geneva, Switzerland, 23 November 1999 - Following is the transcript of the press conference given by Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the global launch of the Consolidated Inter-agency Appeals for the year 2000 on behalf of humanitarian organizations. The Secretary-General was accompanied by Sadako Ogata, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Carolyn McAskie, acting Emergency Relief Coordinator.
Manoel de Almeida E Silva, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General: Thank you for coming. The Secretary-General of the United Nations has launched the appeal earlier today and he is accompanied by Ms. McAskie, Emergency Relief Coordinator ad interim, and High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata, who just returned from the Russian Federation where she had meetings as a Special Envoy for the Secretary-General. The Secretary-General has brief opening remarks and then we will move on to questions and answers.
SG: Thank you very much, Manoel. Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I will be very brief because I think you all had a chance to listen to the speeches and I trust you have seen copies of the statements made by the heads of programmes and funds at the launch of the Consolidated Appeal. In addition to the Consolidated Appeal on which you have material and you can ask questions, we can also discuss Mrs. Ogata’s trip to the Northern Caucasus. As most of you know, I had a long discussion with Prime Minister Putin and agreed with him that Mrs. Ogata would go as my Special Envoy to assess the situation on the ground and to determine how we can enhance our humanitarian assistance and to seek the cooperation of the Russian authorities. She has had a very interesting trip and would also be prepared to share briefly with you her findings and take questions on that. But I would suggest if you do not mind that we devote the first part of the question and answer period to the Consolidated Appeal and then on to Chechnya. The floor is open.
Q: Welcome back Mr. Secretary-General and thank you very much for giving us this press conference. I wondered if you could begin by telling us why you have hired a public relations firm for this year. Of course, you would have had us all here anyway, so I am wondering why you thought it was necessary and how much this is costing?
SG: I am a bit lost. I am not sure any of us are aware of a public relations firm being hired.
Ms. McAskie: Obviously, as my first duty with the press in front of the Secretary-General, I certainly do not want to give him the wrong answer. We had hired a consultant to help us with part of the process. The Consolidated Appeal Process, if you have seen all of the documentation, you will know that it’s sixteen times this. They are bringing together the work of all of the agencies and putting it in a format which is constant across the board. This is an enormous task and as is usual when we perform such tasks, we seek outside assistance.
SG: In fact, I suspect you also wanted to make it clear and easier for the ladies and gentlemen of the press so that they can have the facts much more clearly and I hope you do not object to that.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, I have two very brief questions. Do you have anything to tell us about Iraq, the reaction from the United Nations, to their position on "oil for food", and second, yesterday here the Yugoslav Ambassador said he expects Mr. Bernard Kouchner to be replaced. Do you have any news about that?
SG: Let me say that on the first one, on the question of Iraq, there are very serious discussions going on in New York about the extension. There has been a bit of a hitch. I think it will be worked out and we will be able to continue our humanitarian operations - the "oil-for-food" operations. With regard to the longer term issue of the Security Council coming up with a new common position that will allow the monitors and inspectors to go back and come up with a list of activities that Iraq will have to undertake and Iraq will have to comply with for sanctions to be suspended or lifted is something that the permanent five in particular and the Council is working on. I would hope that in the not-too-distant future, they will be able to come up with some understanding that will allow the process to move forward because I personally consider that the current impasse is not healthy and we should find a way of resolving it. I think that is precisely what the Council members are doing. With regard to your second question, I have no intention of replacing Bernard Kouchner. He is my representative. He is doing a very good job. In fact, he joined me in Istanbul, where we met quite a lot of the Heads of States and discussed the situation in Kosovo. He is staying and he is going to continue his job. I have no intention of replacing him.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, today you said that the people for whom we are appealing are suffering as a result of conflict. The question on the Kosovo conflict and consequences. Sir, do you share the concern of many political analysts and experts in the field of this Balkan crisis that non-compliance with United Nations resolution 1244 (1999) is pregnant with very unpleasant consequences as far as the stability in Europe is concerned. In a related aspect, there is a mass concentration of weapons, almost not controlled, and two military bases were created recently -- one in Bosnia, one in Kosovo. This is an arms proliferation. In other arms agreement, are they not also equally jeopardizing any future stability of the continent?
SG: Before I answer your question, if I may remind you of my request at the beginning, that if we can focus on appeals, the Consolidated Appeals, and then move on to the Chechnya situation. We are beginning to stray all over the place and so at least if we can focus on the two main issues which are why we are here, then we can take on the other questions. So I will note your question and ask if there are other questions on the specific issues and I will come back to your question. I will answer it.
Q: I was just wondering. Maybe I misunderstood but is it true that Mrs. Ogata only has been to Moscow and has not been in the Caucasus region itself?
SG: I take it that you have all had lots of materials on the consolidated appeals and now I would ask Mrs. Ogata to open the discussion.
Mrs. Ogata: I went to Moscow and to Ingushetia and Chechnya on a field visit as the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General and as High Commissioner for Refugees. In Ingushetia, I visited two refugee camps and the train carriages and host families that are hosting most of the displaced persons. I visited a hospital. I also went to a border crossing and then I went to north-western Chechnya, I visited a rural centre -- and in Moscow I met a lot of the authorities. The Minister of Emergency, the Minister of Foreign Affairs twice, the Minister of Emergency twice too, before I went on the field visit and on return, and also the Prime Minister, as well as all the agency colleagues.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, are you very hopeful or just hopeful that you will get all the money you are asking for?
SG: I’ve been around for a while so I cannot say I am very hopeful. Yes, I am hopeful that I will get the money I have asked for and we need it desperately.
Q: Mrs. Ogata, can you give an overview of what kind of answers you have got from the authorities in Moscow? Can you give an assessment? What’s the outcome of your trip?
Mrs. Ogata: Before going to Russia, there were signals from the Government that they were not asking for assistance although they would welcome if they come. Now the attitude of the Russian authorities has become much more open and the Prime Minister clearly stated that he needed the support and wanted to cooperate with the United Nations, especially he made a point that he wanted the assistance to come to reach the people who are really in need. Now, this is a very tall order. Maybe I should say that two weeks ago an interagency mission, consisting of United Nations agencies, was able to make an assessment mission of the needs, and we had some ideas of the needs. Now to put the needs into a package and to provide them required very close coordination and consultation with the authorities. One of the reasons why there was this hesitancy is of course the attitude of the Russian Government but also Chechnya, Ingushetia, the northern Caucasus are crime ridden areas. It is very, very full of criminality, hostage-taking and you probably know that one of my colleagues was hostage for 317 days, and that is not an exception. What kind of security and safety assurance can we get? So we had already worked out certain modalities of placing some of the national staff and how to cover through by sending international staff who would be more exposed to these security related measures and so these were the negotiations that we went to Y I went to complete. The authorities are very much ready to examine how we could cover the security issue and there will be very clear responses coming from the Prime Minister and the Foreign Ministry. Now on the assessment of the refugee situation there, they were good, yes, but at the same time most of the refugees -- there were about 30,000 in Ingushetia in four campsites. I visited two, and although they were good to some extent, that was clearly not sufficient. Besides, the sanitary conditions were not adequate, the distribution system was not adequate and there were enough problems where our own support and inputs would be useful, and this was something clearly I felt. I made that very clear to the authorities and they were willing to take it. Now, so there, we have to overcome the safety issues. We would be cautious in placing our colleagues in the right place and also trying to bring in international staff as possible and as necessary because we do have to monitor what goes to whom and this is something that the authorities themselves would be open to do. We would direct our assistance more to host families. More than 60-70 per cent of the people are in host families and I stopped by and visited five or six of them. The Ingush families are very generous people. I think some of them had up to 60 people in their houses -- 20-25 was average. So we have to package assistance to the families in order that they can take these people and an extended stay in host families requires careful provision of assistance because they get tired too. And so what we are proposing now is to package assistance to host families primarily and that also this package would benefit the refugees as well. So this is a very quick overview of what you ask.
SG: The only thing I would want to add is that I met earlier this afternoon with all the agencies and funds involved in the humanitarian assistance in the northern Caucasus and they will continue and they found Mrs. Ogata’s visit very helpful and they will, we will pool our efforts to have greater impact.
Q: I just wanted to follow up on Chechnya because the flash appeal document says quite clearly that the security situation precludes deploying international staff even in Dagestan and Ingushetia and I just wondered what prospects you see through your contacts with the Russian authorities of deploying further and actually getting incloser to Chechnya, if not to Chechnya itself.
Mrs. Ogata: We have our base in Stavropol and this is where we shall maintain our base. At the same time UNHCR has four internationals there and we would like to double it. Also, we would have our base in Vladikafkas, where we would be placing more of the national staff. But we would keep the international staff mobile as possible so that they would go on visit for three days or up to a week as required and this is the way we foresee the security arrangements. There are several ways of arranging the security, this is the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Emergency, federal and local, the Federal Migration Services, the English Government itself and currently the Foreign Ministry is trying to oordinate all the possible security assurances. We have to be cautious and the people who will be sent to these places will have to be very, very disciplined. At the same time I think there is some breakthrough in trying to get clearer and more determined coverage of security by the Government since the time this appeal was launched.
Q: Monsieur le Secrétaire général, c'est une question qui s'adresse au diplomate, par forcément au Secrétaire général. Je suis dans une grande confusion; je ne sais plus très bien ce que signifie ingérence humanitaire. Je sais que l'ONU a fait plusieurs fois son mea culpa en ce qui concerne les problèmes passés. Je pense au Rwanda, à la Bosnie et au Congo, et aux événements tout récents : le Kosovo, le Timor et maintenant la Tchétchénie. Alors quand l'ingérence humanitaire est-elle nécessaire, est-elle possible, est-elle admissible, et quand ne l'est-elle pas?
SG: This is one of the questions we will come to at the end. Lets stay with the humanitarian issue.
Q: I have one question for the Secretary-General and one or two for Mrs. Ogata. Secretary -General, could you tell us what you think would be needed now from the humanitarian point of view to be done for the Chechen people. I mean we always speak about the refugees in Ingushetia but there are hundreds of thousands still in Chechnya. And what is your assessment after Mrs. Ogata’s visit? And to Mrs. Ogata I would also ask the question. Did you have contact also with the Chechen Government of Maskhadov and don’t you think it's necessary? I mean nobody speaks about that and what happens to the people over there. And during your visit into Chechnya did you have contact with the local population and what needs do they have?
SG: I think your first question is also linked to the second. But let me say briefly that obviously there is military action going on in Chechnya and in the midst of that it should be difficult for us to go in and offer humanitarian assistance. There are parts which are perhaps not in direct military conflict that eventually one may be able to offer some assistance if need be. But for the time being we are concentrating on Ingushetia and the territories outside Chechnya. But down the line if assistance is required in Chechnya, obviously we will need to discuss further with the Russian authorities to see if there is anything we can do to assist.
Mrs. Ogata: When we went to this rural centre in north-western Chechenya, we did get out of the military helicopter that we were in and we walked around. We visited a school where the schoolmistress had just come back three days ago from exile. We went to a hospital where they were carrying out an amputation kind of surgery. So it was beginning to function but this was an area that had come under government control just a few weeks ago. And so much of the northern part of Chechnya has come under government control. As the Secretary-General has said, the second largest city has also come under government control. But in the capital, Grozny, there is a very big military operation going on. We heard bombs all the time we were in the area.
The question of what we would do in Chechnya itself is related to one issue that the Government has raised and this is some of the people who are refugees in Ingushetia, they want to go back or maybe it would be better to move transients out of Ingushetia which is very crowded to the northern part of Chechnya. But our position very clearly is that all return to Chechnya has to be voluntary and there the Russian authorities did not dispute it. At the same time if they were to go back to certain parts under government control, I would hope very much that those who go back are either from that particular area or have relatives there. And so this return is not totally unforeseen but we are not yet planning for it and I think it is in this context that whatever happens in Chechnya will be also of some humanitarian concern, but not yet.
Q: I didn’t hear from any humanitarian agency in the last weeks any concern on the fate of the civil population under the control of the Chechen Government still. I mean you must have an idea what the situation is in Grozny -- you must have contacts in the region, or you must have people you know that fled, that told you what’s going on. What’s your assessment on that?
Mrs. Ogata: The Mufti of Gudermes who came to see us in Moscow was very clear in explaining what a difficult situation the refugees who fled were in and many of the refugees had come from Grozny, they said they were terrified but if the bombing and so on ended they would like to go back even if they were terrified and very worried. So this was clearly civilian victims of the conflict and this is something that I raised very clearly with the authorities: spare the civilians. This is a message that was very clear but as for the political contacts, I do not have any political contacts with the people who are fighting this war.
Q: This is a question addressed to the Secretary-General. I would like to know how on Chechnya you conceive the role of the United Nations on a political level? What should the United Nations do politically about Chechnya?
SG: One more question on the humanitarian side and I will take all the political questions.
Q: Secretary-General, earlier this year you were on the same podium with business leaders from around the world. Do you expect the business community to write a few cheques to meet this $2.4 billion appeal, or even surpass it? And my second question is the tremendous problems we are hearing from United Nations agencies on lack of auditing of non-governmental organizations who are tapping into the humanitarian funds. Will that be improved?
SG: As far as I know, no private company has offered to write any cheques for any of the humanitarian assistance. But I know that in some areas we are getting lots of help from them. For example, the Gates Foundation just gave $26 million to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and I suspect we will be hearing of other major grants from private foundations and private sectors to help some of the United Nations activities. As far as a specific appeal is concerned, I am not aware of any cheques from the private sector -- are you?
Mrs. Ogata: Not yet. But we are waiting.
SG: On the second question of non-governmental organizations, my colleagues tell me that they are audited, maybe we should do a better audit, but they are audited and they play an important role in the humanitarian activities and we are interested in seeing them well organized and effective and I don’t know if Sadako or Carolyn, you want to say something about that?
Ms. McAskie: Just that we have a very close relationship with the NGOs. They are often first out there and they are often also implementing partners. As such we have daily contacts with them and we do have in some cases contractual arrangements which are subject to normal audit procedures. I personally am not aware of any specific question through the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs but just to say that it is a critical issue and something that we would take seriously if complaints were brought to our attention.
SG: I think that was the last question on the humanitarian issue and I have three questions on other issues. The first was Kosovo and the implementation of resolution 1244 (1999). I think we are determined to do our best in implementing 1244. My special representative Bernard Kouchner and his team and KFOR are trying very hard. Obviously it is a very difficult situation and we are aware of the tensions on the ground. We have a mandate to administer Kosovo as an autonomous region of the former Yugoslav Republic. But the people on the ground that we are supposed to administer see themselves as independent or eventually independent. So obviously there is a tension there that we have to manage. We have to manage that tension and other ambiguities, but we are determined to respect our mandate. Another difficult area is the treatment of minorities which we have tried to protect. The KFOR and Bernard Kouchner in the United Nations team are doing their best. We have a little over 1,500 police. We need more policemen and women on the ground and we are appealing to governments to make them available to us. The question of protecting every individual has become a very difficult issue. You have to blanket the area with quite a lot of policemen which we do not have. The military are not trained for that sort of policing work. Given the limitations I think we are trying to do the best we can. But let me assure you that we are not seeing our mandate as a mandate that is preparing Kosovo for independence. We have a limited mandate to administer it as part of Yugoslavia and that is what we are doing despite the difficulties.
With regard to arms proliferation, whether it is in Kosovo or in Bosnia or in Congo or Angola, it is something that none of us can condone. The presence of arms per se does not provoke conflict, but the likelihood of a conflict being provoked and sustained is always much higher when you do have proliferation of weapons and that is one of the reasons why as part of the functions of KFOR they were required to disarm the UCK. Obviously there has been some debate as to whether they have been effectively disarmed or not, but the question of demilitarization was very much part of the mandate.
The other question that has been posed is the question of intervention. Kosovo, East Timor, Chechnya: When is the United Nations going to intervene?
First of all let me be quite clear here. When it comes to intervention, I define intervention as a continuum from the most benign diplomatic action to use of force in the extreme cases where it may become necessary. I define intervention as any action that may help stop violence, any action that may improve the lot of people in conflict situations, any action that could contain a conflict. It is not necessarily force, and I think in each of the cases that you have referred to, there has been some sort of intervention. There has been some sort of action. As Mrs. Ogata indicated in Chechnya, we sent in an interagency team earlier. She herself has just been to Chechnya and we are taking steps to enhance our humanitarian activities. On the political front at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Summit in Istanbul, the heads of States and governments of the OSCE discussed this issue with President Yeltsin and offered to mediate and I think we all know the results. What has been agreed to is that the chairman in exercise of OSCE will visit the region and we will take it from there. I think I have answered all the questions which were posed and I want to thank you, ladies and gentlemen, very much for coming to this press conference.
PRESS CONFERENCE, Ankara, Turkey, 22 November 1999 (unofficial transcript)
Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen.
This has been a wonderful first visit to Turkey for me and for my wife. We had time to see just a little of the incredible beauty of Istanbul, but what has really overwhelmed us is the friendliness of all the Turkish people we have met.
The country fully deserves its legendary reputation for hospitality, and this is all the more impressive after the terrible double earthquake trauma you have just been through.
Perhaps the most remarkable welcome we received was from the people we met in Izmit who had lost their homes and even members of their families. I am glad the United Nations has been able to do something to help, but what is really impressive is the way you, the Turkish people, are helping each other. There is not much more I can say about this, except to wish all the people of Turkey GETCH-MIS OL-SUN. (May you overcome it!)
I also want to congratulate you on the success of the Istanbul summit. It was a tremendous feat of organisation to entertain so many head of state and other dignitaries in such magnificent style, and quite a responsibility to ensure their security. Yet it all went off without a hitch, and you made it look almost effortless.
And you managed to qualify for the European Cup at the same time. How do you do it?
In Istanbul, and again in Ankara today, I have had a valuable opportunity to meet Turkish leaders and discuss a wide range of regional and world issues –including of course Cyprus which we all hope may at last be moving closer to a solution. Very much struck by Turkey’s crucial and sensitive position, at the hub of an area of conflict and instability which includes the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East.
But my strongest overall impression of Turkey is that of a young, vibrant and pluralistic society. The sheer number of different TV stations and newspapers that have been folliwng us round is a measure of that.
I’m sorry I haven’t had time to take all your questions at every stop on the road, but this is your chance now…..
Q: (inaudible (question on oil-for-food)
A : I don’t think we've heard the last of that yet. We are so very much at the beginning of this process (inaudible) of the next extension. My own expectation is that the issue will be resolved, the Council is discussing the issue and we will find a way out to continue the oil-for-food programme.
Q: One thing which was noticed during the disastrous earthquake is that a spirit of solidarity has emerged, has taken lead even over the diplomacy and has created climate in which the resolution of a number of long standing problems has been possible. Does this spirit of solidarity give you hope of the possibility of bringing peace into the world in the coming century.
A : I think the spirit of solidarity and support was absolutely remarkable. The way the whole world rallied, including your neighbor Greece. And you, in turn, went to help them when they had their difficulties. I think we need to build on this goodwill, this new spirit which has been created. It is not going to solve everything, but we now have another opportunity to build on this and I hope we will, And by "we" I don’t mean just the governments, I mean the ordinary people, civil society, we can all come together and really change our attitude vis-à-vis our neighbors and I hope they will do the same. And if that sort of good neighborly spirit continues, I think it will facilitate my task and the task of all those who are trying to bring peace to this region and to other parts of the world.
Q: In your previous statement that you have said you will have the chance to bring the parties together in the New York meetings. Have you had that kind of insurance (inaudible)?
A: First of all, I had the opportunity to meet the two leaders in Istanbul. We had healthy, good and constructive talks, preparatory talks for the New York negotiations. The discussions in New York will be proximity talks, it has never been intended to be a face-to-face discussion. That may be further down the line. So the proximity talks is what we are organizing in New York on the 3rd of December and I am looking very much to receiving the two parties.
Q: Secretary-General, my question is regarding Iraq (inaudible)
A: I think first of all let me say that as far the neighboring countries are concerned, the countries in this region, which have borne the brunt of the economic impact of the sanctions, I think the only way eventually to help and to ensure that their economy gets the advantages it used to get by trading with Iraq and Iraqi oil products is eventually for Iraq to comply for the sanctions to be lifted. And what the Council is trying to do now in New York is to develop a common position that will allow the inspectors and monitors to go back to Iraq and get Iraq to comply in exchange for the lifting or suspension of the sanctions as foreseen by the resolutions. The discussions are still going on. I can not give you an indication as to when it will be completed but I hope not in too distant in the future.
Q: Sir, Greek Cypriot leader Clerides said that the difference this time about the peace talks in New York will be the international actors like UN or EU will be watching these talks. Are you going to accept any contributions from these international actors; and to follow up to that and can you give more details about the format of the talks, especially the place, how long it will take, how are you going to manage the talks, coming-going between the leaders.
A: Let me first of all say that when we undertake this kind of negotiations it is normal that the entire international community pays attention to what is going on and the results of that effort. So it is only natural that the European Union, the Americans and others will follow very closely the talks that will be taking place in New York. And this time around I think there is an enhanced interest in our efforts because of the EU discussions; the EU discussions regarding Cyprus membership; the EU discussions regarding Turkish membership and invitation to Turkey for (inaudible) of the EU. So there will be heightened interest in the talks. I have indicated that talks will be proximity talks and not face-to-face discussions and therefore I will be meeting with the two leaders separately, I will meet them in turns, and (inaudible).
A: Let me say that for the moment I am focusing on the talks in New York on 3 December. I hope that the talks will go well. And that we will make some progress. But as I have had the chance to tell some of you, please do not have unrealistic expectations . This is a very complex, a very difficult issue. It has been with us for a long time. And I do not expect us to resolve it in one sitting in New York in December. And what I would hope is for us to make progress that we can build on in the future. Where the next sessions will be, I can not tell you now, it will depend on my discussions with the two leaders and yes, it is correct that Mr. Denktas has indicated a preference for future talks to take place on the island, but no decisions have been taken. As far as the contents of the talks are concerned, I will be leading the talks and I will be putting proposals I would discuss with the parties some of the core issues and I have indicated this to them. And I think it is erroneous to assume that there is an American package.
A: Talks will go on for about ten days more or less. More or less.
A: Let me start with the second part of your question. I will lead the talks myself. And if for some period of talks I need to absent myself. My new Special Representative for Cyprus, Mr. Alvaro de Soto will take over from me.
Q: It was about (inaudible)
A: No. I have indicated just as said to you earlier, we will be discussing the core issues with the leaders. I have also encouraged them to work on the basis that all issues will be on the table and there will be no preconditions and that is as far as I am prepared to go.
Q: (Inaudible on Chechnya)
A: I think we would all hope to see the situation in Chechnya brought under control. At the OSCE meeting, the Russian Federation agreed to receive an envoy, Mr. Volabaf ?, the Foreign Minister of Norway. I don’t know when he is going to go there but as all of you know, following a discussion between Prime Minister Putin and myself, I sent an envoy to the region, Ms. Ogata, the High Commissioner for Refugees. She had very good discussions with the Russian authorities, with Prime Minister Putin, Foreign Minister Ivanov and the Minister of Emergency. She will be reporting to me tomorrow. The Russian government did provide cooperation and support, and I am grateful to them for that. She has discussed with them the possibility of cooperation and to provide more assistance to the refugees and I am quite hopeful that we are going to be able to do that.
A: I think what would satisfy me at the end of negotiations in New York, first of all, is for the parties to become engaged and get engaged in a meaningful dialogue, meaningful negotiations that would eventually lead to a successful solution to the Cyprus crisis. I hope we make progress in New York, and at the end of it also agree on the next steps, what we will do next when we meet and what else we are going to do. That I think will be good.
Q: Sir, you have talked about the heightened interest on these talks because of the continuing talks as far as the EU is concerned. I guess you have in mind the Helsinki summit which will take up issue of the enlargement. I’m sure you are aware of the Turkish reserves as far as the Cyprus membership is concerned. Do you see a direct linkage between the New York talks and the Helsinki summit? In this respect, what would you (inaudible).
A: Let me say that as Secretary-General of the United Nations, and as the individual who is going to conduct these talks, I am focussed on the substantive and the critical issues affecting Cyprus. Unfortunately or fortunately, I do not have to worry about the EU and their session arrangements.
A: Capital punishment was not on the agenda. And I believe you are asking that question because of the resolution that was discussed in the UN General Assembly, proposing a moratorium on capital punishment. There were many amendments and very very difficult and acrimonious discussions. So the sponsors of the resolution have withdrawn at the moment. So I have not discussed capital punishment in my talks.
A: First of all let me say that this is an issue that has concerned us very much, the question of natural disaster, as well as man made disasters. I, in my own report to the GA this year, early September, I focussed on the issue of the natural disasters, as well as man made disasters. And stressed that we should move from culture of reaction to a culture of prevention and preparedness and that we should be able to come up with (inaudible) we should be able given the current scientific knowledge to be able to share scientific information and be able to predict and give early warning to prople in dangerous situations whether it is hurricanes, monsoons to give them enough warning to move out of harms way. There are many many rescue teams developed by nations. And we have also what we call the White Helmets which is organized by Argentina. Started by it and several other governments have joined in where they used unarmed military to help in emergency situations. And what we have been able to set up is a network of emergency groups around the world who often come together to assist. So until there is a group or international unit that will do the sort of work we are doing, what is important is for us to be able to coordinate all this international and national efforts when the disaster hits. But down the line, maybe it is some sort of a core, international core like the one you have indicated. (Inaudible). White Helmets can be developed into something like that.
Q: (Inaudible on UN peacekeepers in Cyprus)
A: We have UN peacekeeping forces on the island who have been there for quite a while. For the moment, I believe that the forces we have are doing adequate, they are doing the work adequatly, and I applaud their efforts. What I can not predict is what arrangements will be required once there is a settlement. And that is a question for the future to answer.
Q: (Inaudible on Chechnya)
A: I think on the political front, as I indicated, the OSCE seems to be taking the lead and the Chairman in Office will be visiting the Russian Federation and possible the region; this is something they have to work out with the Russian Federation. But on the humanitarian front, I think I have already answered that question and indicated that I had sent a team and I will be getting their report tomorrow. And it looks hopeful that we will be able to go in with enhanced humanitarian assistance. Mrs. Ogata will be briefing me tomorrow in Geneva, Carroll Bellamy of UNICEF, DR. Gro Brundtland of World Health Organization and Mrs. Bertini of World Food Programme.
Q: (Inaudible on Iraq)
A: I know that as a result of the embargo, Turkey has lost billions of dollars in trade during the last nine, ten years. And what I would encourage the Turkish business is to participate fully in this oil-for-food programme for the time being which I think they are doing because I have discussed with my representative here that much more they are doing at the moment, they have (inaudible), they have a good business capacity and I think they should be competitive when it comes to bidding for food, medicine and others.
Press Encounter following meeting with Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit of Turkey, Ankara, 22 November 1999 (unofficial transcript)
Q: inaudible (on SG's contacts in Ankara)
SG: Turkey is a very important member of the UN and I usually take the time to go and discuss with leaders issues of common interest and today we had the chance to discuss Cyprus, the new process of negotiations which will begin in New York on 3 December. We have talked about the crisis in Iraq, and the oil embargo. We talked about the Balkans and the effective cooperation between the UN and Turkey. And I am very very pleased to have had the chance of frank exchange with the Prime Minister whom I met recently in New York.. So I was delighted to be able to resume our discussion.
Q: Are you hopeful that a solution will be found in the talks in New York on 3 December?
SG: Well, we are going to bring the parties together to begin a meaningful dialogue in the hope of a comprehensive solution. This is a difficult problem. We haven't solved it for a long time. And I think there should not be unrealistic expectations that it should be resolved in New York in December. I hope we make progress.
Press Encounter following meeting with Foreign Minister of China, Tang Jiaxuan (unofficial transcript)
SG: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the Press. Like the Minister, I do apologize for keeping you waiting. We really had long, constructive, very, very fruitful discussions. The Minister has given you a sense of the topics we discussed so I'm not going to repeat them. But let me say that I find these annual visits, my third since I became Secretary-General to Beijing, extremely useful. It allows us to exchange views and together try to see what we can do to strengthen the United Nations, particularly, at this critical stage as we prepare to enter the next millenium. We don't have too much time. Maybe we should take care of your questions straight away.
Q: inaudible (on US arrears and on Falun Gong)
SG: Before I answer your questions, let me comment on the previous question to say that I agree entirely with the Minister that the United Nations is an indispensable organization and the Charter of the UN including the paramount role of the Security Council is something we must always respect. The Charter is a living document and has gone through the test of time. And we have been able to work with it and adapt it as we confronted different situations and different (inaudible). As the Minister indicated, in fact, we have heard some tensions recently and I hope we, as an international community and the UN, will be able to negotiate and resolve those difficulties. The tension, basically, is the tension between state sovereignty and protection of the state and the individual. And how do we reconcile the need for the protection of state sovereignty and the individual with the state. This is the challenge we are all going to face. This is a big question and a big debate and has been discussed in many capitals and I don’t want to dwell on it too much here.
On the question of the US payment, it is a positive development and a step in the right direction and it does not cover the total debt that the US owes to the UN. The reports regarding the actions in Congress and Senate are encouraging. But it has not been voted yet nor has the President signed it yet. But the expectations are that this will be done. And I believe that as the United States pays its debts it will be able to work constructively with all the member states and play a leadership role in making the UN a strong instrument for international peace and cooperation.
On the question of those who were arrested and your question, I really do not know what to say. You said they were (inaudible) because of my visit, I hope they were not protesting against my being in Beijing because I've come for peace and for constructive discussions. If you wanted to know whether we discussed Falun Gong or not, we did discuss it and the Minister has given me a full explanation as to how the Government sees the group and I think I will be leaving here with a better understanding of some of the issues involved. And that in dealing with this issue the fundamental rights of the citizens will be respected. But some of the actions they are taking are for the protection of individuals.
Press Conference at the Japan National Press Club, 12 November 1999 (unofficial transcript)
SG: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I have had a very useful couple of days here in Tokyo. I had the opportunity of meeting the Emperor and the Empress and to congratulate them on their 10th anniversary and discuss other issues. I have also had the opportunity to meet the Japanese leadership, starting with Prime Minister Obuchi, Foreign Minister Kono and Finance Minister, Mr. Miyazawa this morning. We were able to discuss a range of issues, both global and regional. We spent quite a bit of time on East Timor and I was very pleased with the assurance I got from the government and the support they have for the UN operations in East Timor. They have already been very generous with us by giving us $100 million to make it possible for certain countries to participate in the multinational force. Now that we have to get on to the stage of reconstruction and prepare East Timor for independence, I am open for and looking for Japanese support and cooperation and from my discussions with the government, I know this will be forthcoming and I am very happy about that and I am sure the people of East Timor are also grateful. We talked about disarmament where the government reconfirmed this policy and Japan, as you know, has been on the forefront of the efforts to free the world of nuclear weapons. We talked about UN reform, including the Security Council reform and the need to bring that to a conclusion. We discussed regional and global economic problems, including the World Trade Organization’s round in Seattle and I have found the whole discussion very useful. This is my third visit to Tokyo as Secretary-General. This frank exchange of views have always been very helpful for me. We don’t have too much time as I would want to take your questions now.
Associated Press: As you are aware that Japan’s Constitution bans any military action except that in self-defense. Considering that, does the UN desire changes in Japanese law that would allow this country to dispatch armed forces to peacekeeping missions, does the UN invite participation by armed Japanese troops?
SG: Let me say that Japan has played a very effective role in UN across the board and when it comes to peacekeeping operations, I myself was the head of peacekeeping department when Japanese troops joined us in the Cambodian operation. Last year I was also able to see Japanese troops in Syria on the Golan Heights and I hope that we will continue to see Japanese troops participate in these operations. How the Japanese government and the people organize themselves indeed with their Constitution to make that possible is something that obviously I will leave to them but I welcome the participation of Japanese personnel in peacekeeping operations and of course, peacekeeping operations are now so broad that it is not limited only to soldiers or police. We have, we look for civilian administraters, engineers, teachers and a whole range of people in East Timor. Our needs are wide and broad and I am sure the Japanese will be able to work with us. I have just appointed as my assistant, Deputy Special Representative for East Timor, Mr. Takahashi, who is Japanese and comes with lots of experience and I am sure all the Japanese will join the mission.
Itar Tass Russia: Mr. Secretary-General, what is your vision of UN activities, if any, in Chechen Republic of Russia. Thank you.
SG: I have been very concerned about developments in Chechnya. Early in the crisis, I sent a senior person to Moscow to talk to the Russian officials and you may know that I have issued several statements. I have indicated that whilst as we all believe that terrorists should be dealt with; they should not be encouraged, there is a need for international cooperation to contain terrorists, I believe that any attempts to root-out and deal with terrorists, have to be proportional and these efforts we need to respect international humanitarian law and ensure that civilians are not caught in a very difficult situation. I am also doing some things very quietly and privately with the Russian authorities and leaders and those will continue. And as you know, now I have, I just sent a humanitarian team to the region to assess what the needs are and what the international community will do. They have just come back and given their report to me and I will be discussing with the Russian authorities our plans to help the people in the region. Thank you.
Yomiuri Shimbun: I would like to ask Mr. Secretary-General, as you were just discussing East Timor, the rights and trust of the UN seem to be challenged here in Asia, in Indonesia there is a view that the United Nations and their major powers are pressing their views. Another thing, if I may add, is Cambodia, the UN has stressed an international tribunal, while the Cambodian side is opposing and in fact, it seems they want a domestic tribunal with foreign participation. What is your view on how to have the UN well understood in Asia?
SG: Let me start by saying that the work of the United Nations and that of the Secretary-General is a perpetual challenge. It is a perpetual challenge because of the world we live in and as you all agree, 1999 has been a rather messy year for all of us. I know the sentiments in some quarters with regards to East Timor that maybe the peacekeeping force have been imposed. Let me remind you that the peacekeeping force was only introduced after the Indonesian Government agreed that the force should come in. So the force went to East Timor with a full consent of the Indonesian authorities. The force was led and had to be led by Australia because it was the only country with means that offered actually the force. The UN does not have an army. We rely on governments to give us the force to deal with this sort of crisis. And perhaps another way to look at the problem is to ask the question what would have happened to the chaos and the brutality in East Timor. And our airforce to bring peace to that region. If Australia had not offered, or if Australia’s offer had been rejected, can you imagine what the situation would be in East Timor today? So we have to deal with certain realities and we had to be practical about getting help to the people. But as we move forward in establishing UN transitional arrangement and establish a UN force, there will be full participation of the entire Asian region, both in the military and in the civilian aspects of the operation. And I started already by announcing the appointment of Mr. Takahashi as Deputy Special Representative and this will follow and I do expect to see many Asian troops from the region. Australia will scale back its presence and will have a mixed and balanced group. I would hope that this sort of Asian cooperation and energy that made it possible for us to undertake our operation in Cambodia would also be brought in East Timor.
Jiji Press: I would like to know your reform plan of UN Security Council. I think this is what most Japanese people are paying attention to. Can you tell us any possibility for Japan to become a permanent member of UN Security Council? Do you have any specific timetable?
SG: The reform of the UN Security Council is a matter for the 188 member states. I think I can state categorically that all the members realize that the Security Council should be reformed and the discussions have gone on for several years. It has not been brought to conclusions yet. I would hope that given the interest of member states and key members in the reform of the Security Council, their efforts will be energized, particularly as we come to the end of this century. And as we look forward to a rejunevinated and energized United Nations, that the members states will see the reform of the Council as essential part of a reform in our efforts to position the United Nations for the 21st century. When will they conclude the discussions, I cannot give you a date, but my hope would be, that as we enter the next millennium, they will not keep us waiting for long. And I will continue to encourage governments to act on this issue.
Jiji Press: I think more Japanese should work at the United Nations. What is your view.
SG: I agree with you. We are making efforts to bring in more Japanese men and women. For the moment, we have more women than men. We have very competent and able women working for the United Nations and we would want recruit here more Japanese to join us. In fact, very shortly, the head of the UN Personnel Office will be coming to Japan to interview candidates and recruit. For those of you who know good candidates should bring them to the attention of the Foreign Ministry so that the head of Personnel can interview them when she is here. Obviously, you are a very effective member of the UN. You are the second largest contributor and your presence is far below what you deserve. And we are prepared and anxious to recruit more, but let them come forward.
Kyodo: I would like to ask you the issue of delayed U.S. payment to the UN. Already it is a massive $1.7 billion. What do you intend to do about this? Another question is the United States prefers to act unilaterally and use the UN when convenient. What is you evaluation of the US foreign policy vis a vis the UN?
SG: I think ever since I became the Secretary-General, I have done everything I can to try and collect the amounts owed to the UN by member states. You would recall that in my first year, one of the very first trips I took was to Washington and to the Congress and the Senate to try and encourage them to make up the payments. And at that time, several member states asked me if you are going to go each capital, now that you have gone to Washington, to try get the money back, would you go to every capital that owes the UN to collect the money. And I recall telling them that I will go to any capital that pays 25 percent of the dues and owes more than a billion dollars. There has been very serious efforts made to get the US to pay its dues over the past several years. This time, we are optimistically hopeful that the money will be paid. The new U.S. permanent representative Richard Holbrooke has devoted almost his entire time to this effort. He has brought in new energy and determination to the process and it is hoped that we will hear something, if not before the weekend, at the beginning of next week sometime indicating the payment by the US. Of course, if a bill passes, and if it comes with conditions, it will not be perfect, but it would be a step in the right direction. And the conditions and the demands in the bill will have to be discussed with the other 187 members of the United Nations. Of course, that is going to be a major challenge for the US diplomacy.
On the question of countries acting unilaterally, my own view is that in this interdependent world, it is essential for governments to come together to tackle some of these issues. It is not just a question of burden-sharing, but in quite a lot of the issues we face today, I believe that the collective interest is also the national interest and we should really embrace multilateralism and work together. And I would hope that the US, which has a leadership role in the United Nations will be able to work constructively with the other member states, once it has paid its dues. I had made it clear that they have a dynamic ambassador, Richard Holbrooke, he can do a lot in the UN, but Washington also needs to help him by putting some money on the table.
Xinhua News Agency: I would like to ask you a question concerning China. It is seen that Chinese participation in the WTO may be quite difficult. What is your view? And in China, there is the religious problem of Falun Gong, and what is your personal view on this?
SG: With regard to your first question, I understand at the moment there is a very important and useful discussions going on in Beijing between the U.S. negotiators and Chinese officials. I would hope that those talks would be successful and that it will facilitate the entry of China into WTO. I think China belongs to that organization. It is about time they joined. One cannot ignore, or keep out a billion plus people in an important economy. So my own expectation is that this will be possible. Obviously, WTO itself is at a critical and important crossroads. And I will be attending the meeting in Seattle at the end of November and there is lots of interest, public and private and NGO interest in that meeting.
On your second question regarding Falun Gong, let me say that I am a bit puzzled by the official Chinese Government reaction to the movement. But since I am going to China myself from here, I will have the opportunity of discussing the issue with Chinese officials and I would have a better understanding after those discussions, which I hope will be full and frank. In the meantime, I hope that any action that the Government takes would be in conformity with basic requirements of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Chinese Constitution.
Azu Halid from the Petra News Agency of Jordan: I heard some reports saying that the United States and British airplanes are attacking Iraq continuously and quietly. I want to know what exactly the position of the United Nations on this? Is it authorized or not authorized? And at the same time, there seems to be a trend in some countries that the United Nations is kind of influenced by the United States. Do you have any comment on this?
SG: Let me say that I am aware of the action against the no-fly zone by British and American planes. I do not see any Security Council resolution that authorizes those strikes. On the question of does the U.S. influence the UN? All the countries have a say in the UN and of course a major country like the United States with a leadership role in the organization will have an influence in the organization and does have a influence on the organization. Thank you very much.
Address at the United Nations University - "Japan's World Role in the 21st Century", Tokyo, 11 November 1999
Rector: Welcome to the UNU house. It is a great pleasure and honor to introduce to you the man who does not need any introduction. I would just like to give the floor to our Secretary-General Mr. Kofi Annan.
SG: Thank you very much. My dear friends, ladies, and gentlemen, it is a great pleasure for me to be here with you at the UN University. This is my third visit to the UNU as Secretary-General. But of course, I do not need to come to Tokyo to feel the presence of the UNU. Your work travels, too. Last month, with a major UNU study in hand, I spoke at length to the World Bank staff about the causes of violent conflict and humanitarian emergencies and the links between development and peace.
That study shows the UNU at its best, fulfilling one of its key roles as a think tank for the UN system. I am also pleased to know that the emphasis you place on reaching out to the young people. I think it is important that we do reach out to the young people, after all, they are the leaders of the 21st century. I can assure you that your efforts – on peace and security, development, governance, the environment and other global issues – are providing your colleagues and policy-makers around the world with excellent food for thought as we enter a new millennium.
The millennium may be no more than an accident of calendar to some cultures. But it does provide all of us with a timely opportunity to reflect on the gains and setbacks of the past century.
At the UNU two months ago, people from the Asia-Pacific region had their chance to put forth a vision for a more secure and hopeful future as part of the process leading up to next year’s Millennium Summit and Assembly.
That meeting, and others like it in recent months, have identified a wealth of themes and proposals. But one thing is clear: a new chapter of human history is beginning, and we have some crucial choices to make.
We must choose, for example, between "business as usual," which means continuing to degrade the environment, or taking the steps agreed in Kyoto two years ago to combat climate change.
We must choose between passivity in the face of glaring inequality among states and within states, and a concentrated effort to create a fairer global economy.
And in the face of humanitarian emergencies, we must choose whether to make do with palliatives or to address root causes which lie in the realm of politics, economics and even culture.
Japan, too, is at something of a crossroads. The choices made in the next few years by the Japanese people – about their global and regional profile, security policy, and presence in the United Nations – will affect other people throughout the world.
It is hard to imagine a nation that does more, across the breadth of the international agenda, than Japan. Japan is unquestionably one of the world’s leading economic powers, and its performance remains crucial to the recovery of all the Asian economies. It is also a leading investor in the developing world.
Japan continues to have the largest programme of Official Development Assistance in the world, with support reaching a remarkable 160 countries – I repeat, 160 countries.
And I need hardly remind you that Japan is the second largest contributor to the UN regular budget. Indeed, it is, at present, the first in terms of actual payments.
Moreover, its very generous voluntary contributions are helping our operations in Kosovo and East Timor and we are now getting off the ground, thanks to the major contributions made by Japan.
But Japan’s contributions are far from being only financial. Japan is strongly committed to multilateralism and has made the United Nations a central pillar of its foreign policy.
In particular, it has organized two remarkable meetings on African development, and has been the driving force behind a very fruitful African-Asian dialogue.
Japan eagerly shares its technical expertise with the developing world. Japan strongly supports the establishment of the International Criminal Court. It also promotes democratization and debt relief. And, of course, Japan’s is a key voice in the cause of nuclear non-proliferation and global disarmament.
Japan rightly views all of this activity as part of a single, integrated effort to ensure human security in the broadest sense.
I know there are some who worry that the word "security" suggests a military mind-set. But as my friend Yukio Satoh, Japan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, has said, "defining the term is less important than drawing increased international attention to issues endangering the life and dignity of human beings." Moreover, security, like peace, must be fought for, protected and defended.
Prime Minister Obuchi himself has shown an extraordinary commitment to the idea, and has established a Human Security Fund. If there were such a thing as a "human security council," I believe Japan would be a life-long member, the life-time member of that council and have a seat on it.
For all these reasons, there is a widespread sense in the international community that Japan would be a worthy member, or a worthy permanent member, if you wish, of a reformed United Nations Security Council.
I know that Japanese policy-makers and public alike feel growing frustration that the prospects for the Council reform seems to be elusive. The discussions are indeed moving too slowly, especially given that this is a crucial question for the entire future of the United Nations.
I think everyone would agree that the Council as it is today, represents the geopolitical realities of 1945, and should be transformed into a more representative, democratic and effective body. Such a reform would have to take into account today’s realities, including the leading role played by Japan in international politics.
This is, of course, a matter for the Member States to decide, and I hope they will address it without further delay.
Some people in Japan, I know, would like to use the country’s economic power as leverage by scaling back its financial development assistance or its voluntary contributions to the United Nations.
I believe this would be counter-productive, and unworthy of Japan’s high standing in the world, not to mention its people’s generosity of heart. I would counsel patience instead.
I would also urge Japan to contribute even more to the political work of the United Nations – the peace-making, peacekeeping and peace-building efforts that are the main business of the Security Council. The world needs Japan to take on a political role commensurate with its global economic presence.
This is not to say that Japan is absent from the world political scene even now. Far from it.
Japanese have served as electoral observers in many countries. Japanese police provided crucial help to the UN’s refugee agency in the aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda.
Japanese personnel have served with peacekeeping operations in Angola, Cambodia, Mozambique, and Tajikistan and on the Golan Heights. Japan is involved in the Middle East peace process. And Japan has served as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.
Still, there is room for Japan to do more, on its own and through the United Nations.
I know that there are constitutional provisions and historical inhibitions that affect Japan’s decision-making on certain types of international involvement.
Nonetheless I would like to think that Japan could participate more fully in peacekeeping. Japan’s active role in East Timor is a significant step in the right direction. With generous resources and its decision to dispatch an airlift to transport food and medical supplies to refugees in West Timor, Japan showed important new resolve.
But the political work of the United Nations is often as much a matter of intellectual inventiveness as it is of troop strengths and deployments. When we start talking of military action it is in many respects a sign of the failure of diplomacy and failure of prevention.
But, as I believe the Japanese well understand diplomacy is by no means the only or even the most effective means of conflict prevention. Even more important are policies for healthy and balanced development.
Democracy, too, is a key element, provided it is introduced in the right way, enabling all groups in a community to feel they have a say, rather than making minorities feel they are at the majority’s mercy. We should not be the winner, take all variety. Japan, I believe, could make greater use of its influence to promote the same democratic principles that it follows here in its domestic affairs.
I would also encourage Japan and its neighbours to make more use of multilateral approaches to issues of regional peace and security. Other parts of the world have found consensus-building, joint action and shared institutions to be effective ways of sharing burdens, promoting shared values and trouble-shooting when economics or political situations, particularly when they turn sour.
Finally, I would like to make a plea for Japanese men and women, and young people in particular, to bring their ideas and energies to the United Nations – not only its political work, but the entire spectrum of our concerns.
I know the Japanese government is frustrated by the low representation of its nationals among United Nations staff. We are making progress in this area. But to do even better we need candidates: Japanese men and women who share the ideals of the United Nations Charter, and who are the best in their professions and who are willing to make the choice of international public service and to live outside Japan.
Eighty-one years ago today, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns fell silent across Europe. The so-called "war to end all wars" was over. Since then, however, violence has continued to take a terrible toll on our world, as have poverty and intolerance. But it is also possible to see signs of progress in the human condition over the past century. Year by year, generation by generation, we do move forward.
Japan has brought to the United Nations tremendous resources and great determination to that effort. I salute the Japanese people for so strongly embracing the multilateral vision. That vision is one of the good things the 20th century has brought us. Turning it into reality will be the crucial test of the 21st century. We need a world that is equitable and inclusive. The world’s people expect a great deal of the partnership between Japan, a global leader, and the United Nations, the global institution. Let us not disappoint them. Thank you very much.
And I will take some questions.
Rector: Thank you very much Mr. Secretary-General. Ladies and gentlemen, of course, we are also very glad to have Mrs. Kofi Annan among us. Thank you very much for coming. Mrs. Kofi Annan.
The Secretary-General made this right and important remarks on the young generation entering the service of the UN, particularly, also from Japan and the need to prepare people for that. You know that the United Nations University last year took an initiative by organizing international courses to prepare young people for such service and we are very glad to support the Japanese Association for the United Nations Studies and other organizations in Japan to continue on this role to prepare people for service to the UN. I think it is very important.
The Secretary-General is prepared to take some questions. My suggestion is that I take first three questions and then ask the Secretary-General to answer them and if there is time, we will also have a round of three questions.
Q: I would like to know after hearing your words, some comments on what is the relationship which you foresee, of which you would recommend Japan to take in the relationship it has with North Korea. Because recently, this country made public a report saying that the conditions there are really harsh, such as hunger. Japan is a very close neighbour and it should maybe promote some kind of a policy.
Q: May I introduce myself. I am Professor Akira Onishi, Vice President of Soka University in Tokyo. In my opinion, the 21st century will be an age of fusion of science technology and I hope that Japan should play significant role in advancing scientific technology and sustainable development. Under such circumstances, I spent more than 30 years cultivating integrated program model for sustainable development, namely fusion of futures of global interdependence model. This model classifies the world into 200 countries and regions. And this country model is integrated through international trade, capital flows and some of the ------ flows. Each model includes population, food, energy, environment, economic development, peace and security, human rights and health care. And this upon such interdependence, global interdependency, the model can make the projections of the long-term economy, within the constraints of the global environmental changes. So, therefore, United Nations would make use of my model for the projections of the long-term economy within the constraints of the environmental changes, and also policy exercise simulation in the 21st century. Thank you.
Q: I am from the International School of the Sacred Heart. This is not actually a question involving Japan. It is a question many of us would like to ask you. You said earlier that security, like peace, must be fought for. If to the UN human rights are more important than state sovereignty, why is the Security Council not doing something about the current situation in Tibet?
SG: First of all, let me start with the last speaker. I am very delighted that you took the floor and asked the question. I want to challenge you young people to begin to lead, to begin to take charge, and I am happy that already, at your age, from that international school, from that environment, you are not intimidated by this crowd. Keep it up. All the others should do the same. Don’t hesitate to speak up.
Let me start with the first question on Korea. I am also aware of the difficult humanitarian situation in Korea and the UN has been very active -- the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the humanitarian coordinator, have been active in Korea and have given whatever assistance that we can.
On the question of the Japanese policy towards Korea, I think it is Korea is a neighbour, and in fact, the best policy in my judgment would be one of engagement. But it takes two to tango. And I would hope that the North Koreans would also be open to an engagement and a policy of dealing with the Japanese authorities and the people. In fact, in my discussions with the Prime Minister, he lamented that in a way, this is our closest neighbour, and yet the farthest away. And I hope in time, one will find a way of correcting that. But as I said, North Korea should also make a gesture.
The second question deals was a comment really on the model you have been working and the need to really develop models which are sustainable. And I think you want the UNU to use your model and work with you. The only thing I can say that the Rector is here, he heard you, you both live in Tokyo and I hope you will be able to pursue it even after I have gone.
On the other question, if the UN is concerned about human rights and rights of individuals. Why is not doing something about Tibet. First of all, let me tell you if you didn’t know that Mrs. Mary Robinson, the High Commissioner for Human Rights was on a very successful visit to China last year, had good and fruitful discussions with the authorities and also stopped in Tibet to find out for herself what’s going on on the ground. But, I should make it also clear here that when we talk of intervention and some of you may know, that I made a major statement at the opening of the General Assembly, talking about the need for us to reach a new consensus on how we tackle this issue of intervention. Our own Charter says that armed force can be used in the defense of our common interests, but what is a common interest? Who defines that common interest? Who defends it? With what means? And under whose authority? The Charter makes the Security Council’s role clear. I believe that we are entering an era where we need to paint through this question: why is it that we intervene in some situations and not the others. What are the criteria? What is the understanding under which we intervene or not intervene? This statement I made in the General Assembly has led to major discussions and debate, and this is what I had hoped, because I think we are dealing with an issue that requires well thinking. After 1945, our concern was interstate war, the leaders got together reflected and created a United Nations that was to help prevent wars, to save slaughter of people and save them scourge of war. As soon as the Cold War ended, we are dealing not with interstate wars, but intrastate wars. And these wars have killed 5.5 million people. These are estimates, but I think, given what we have all seen, it is probably accurate. 5.5 million people have been killed in these intrastate wars. And so, if the source of threat to the individuals, to the people we are supposed to protect from the scourge of war, it is no longer interstate war, but intrastate wars, do we sit on our homes and say the rules don’t apply or we think it through and determine what we should do for this mean situation. And I hope as we debate, the issue of the question of humanitarian intervention, we will be able to come up with some ideas and the new consensus would emerge, which will make the work of the Security Council, which will permit them to take decisions on some of these issues that will be universally accepted or wouldn’t be challenged, or at least we will have some criteria understanding as to when we intervene and when we don’t. It will inform our work and would also be able to explain to the public.
Rector: The Secretary-General is prepared to take two or three more questions.
Q: Some economic power of the world seems not very happy with the role of Japan during the financial crisis in helping its neighbouring Asian nations. I would like to know what is the UN view about this.
Q: I would like to ask about the East Timor issue. There are so many things accomplished by the United Nations, but also there are many errors, which is to say that some people have betrayed people in East Timor regions that they said they will stay after the referendum, but although they said that, they left the country. And the people felt that they were betrayed. What would you think about that. And another question is that do you feel any kind of responsibility after the referendum that tragedy happened. Do you feel any responsibility of the UN mission because the Secretary-General has made the date of the referendum, and I think that there was big role.
Q: The earlier question on North Korea. What we hear for the past several years, more than 3.5 million people died, especially children from hunger. I wonder whether we should conceive this as a human tragedy or structural problems involved. You are talking about human security, and we reckon that is quite important. Then how could we conceive the allocation of some of the resources, which might have been used for development nuclear powers or weapons or arms or those things related. On the other hand, kids are suffering; especially children and women are the victims. We can’t do abrupt intervention as such, but unless, especially notorious Security Council and the United Nations could take much closer look at not only to help, to assist, but try to come up with some sort of scheme which would enable the people themselves to be able to help themselves, so that at least, 3.5 million people who died could have been saved. It is difficult to say, while we are told, we hear from the media, some other development is going on. Could you not, the United Nations take much closer look.
SG: Let me say on the question of Japan helping neighbours. First of all, because of the size of the Japanese economy, it does play an important role in the region and around the world. The Japanese economy itself has been in sort of a recession, if you wish, and therefore has not been able to grow at a rate that would have lifted the region. Now it is turning around and I think with economic activity in the region, Japan would be able to help lift the region. Europe is also moving and I think we are going to see greater economic activity around the world. Your question deals with the period immediately following the financial crisis in Asia and what Japan could have done or not done. I know that during that period I did have a chance of speaking to some Japanese officials who were looking at what they can do to help the region. I don’t know which angle you are coming from, one what specifically you believed they could have and did not do. It is a bit difficult for me to answer your question in detail and specifically. But you would notice also that in my own statement, I did advocate that it would be helpful have a regional approach to some of these issues both in political and economic terms, to be able to not only burden sharing, but to be able to help each other in terms of economic and political crisis. I find that when you have this sort of grouping, sometimes, even before the crisis breaks, peer pressure can be very helpful. If one is in a group and they have got to know each other well, they are much more likely to take a warning from the members that the way you are handling your financial or economic policies, you are heading for trouble. And let’s try to do something about it. We tend to reject it from outside us, but if it is within a group that we have formed a region, and meet and work together, I think it can have it. So I would hope that kind of development would be seen in this region.
On the question of East Timor, let me first say that I know lots of comments have been made about East Timor and from your question, you seem to be making the mistake others make when they comment on East Timor. They forget the history, they forget that this is a crisis that has gone on for about 25 years since 1974, killing about 200,000 people, and the UN worked with Indonesia and Portugal to find a solution to the crisis. Initially, the idea was to define autonomy, a broad autonomy for East Timor. President Habibie offered independence. The nature of the talks changed and we moved ahead, and signed an agreement on May 5, which everybody committed themselves to honouring. Under the agreement, the UN can send only unarmed police and military observers. The Indonesian Government undertook insure security, maintaining that it had the capacity to ensure that security. On the 30th August, the day of the vote, East Timor was very calm. And an incredible percentage of the population had voted – levels we haven’t seen in other established democracies. And almost 80 percent of them opted for independence. After the peaceful ballot on that day, the results were announced on 4th of September. And violence ensued. You may have known that there will be such a degree of violence, none of us felt that we knew that there will be some problems. We know the history of the region. Even Gusmao, and the people who live there did not expect this sort of violence. What is important is not that the violence did occur that the UN acted that we managed to get in the force to calm the situation and the East Timorese have come back from the mountains. We are working hard to move them from West Timor to East Timor and help them prepare for an independent East Timor. An independent East Timor, which will be a part of Asia. An independent East Timor, which I hope, will have friendly relations with Indonesia, Australia, Japan and other Asian countries.
Finally, the 25 years struggle may be over. I think you may not have seen the comment that Xanana Gusmao had made when he was asked should the vote have been postponed, he said never. This was our only chance, after 25 years, we had a chance to end it, we knew there was a risk, but a risk was taken and we are very happy with the results, and now at least we are free and we can follow our own destiny. I don’t think it is up to us to make the choice for those who chose their destiny and worked and we worked with them in defining their future. I wish the violence had not occurred. Nobody wished for that, but what is important is that we took steps. And now, things are back on track.
On the question of human security and the fact that 3 million children have died. I cannot confirm or deny the figure of 3 million, but I do know that there has been malnutrition in North Korea and we have been giving lots of assistance, particularly to the children. And as I said, UN agencies have been very active on the ground. I think what is important is that nations should be helped to prepare themselves to develop their economy, to be able to, what we are doing with UNDP, for example, we have a program, going to countries to work with the government to strengthen their institutions to have a proper regulatory systems, to encourage good governance and work with the government to create an enabling environment that would free energies and creativities of the people and also create a situation that will attract investors, both domestic and international. It is the same condition that you need to attract international investors, that you need for domestic businessman to take risks. When business people invest today, they want to have an assumption that they have an expectation, that the assumptions under which they are investing would remain reasonably steady for them to be able to recoup their investment or otherwise they would not. I talk of investment, I talk of the role of the private sector, entrepreneurs, the spirit of the population because you cannot expect to develop and sustain a country on development assistance alone. I hope the next world trade organization, it be a really open process, it will be a developing process, it will be a process that will give access, genuinely to the developing countries, and have them trade their way out of poverty, rather than be dependent on the nations and drugs. I think it is better to prevent some of the crisis you referred to, whether man-made or natural disaster. I don’t know if you saw my annual report to the General Assembly, the main theme was prevention, asking us to move from the culture of reaction to the culture of prevention, challenging the governments, challenging myself and you. Each one of us to take a preventive action wherever we can. And pointing out that natural disasters have done great deal of damage in the last decade and in monetary terms, have done much more damage than civil wars that we are dealing with. Some of it could have been prevented by right building materials, right prevention and information sharing. We have the technology today to predict when hurricanes or cyclones are going to hit. Do we share information with everybody? Do we reach some of the poor to let them know that they are in danger? So there is a lot, we as a community, we can do together and I hope we will pursue this policy, this culture of prevention rather than a reactive one that leads to so much human suffering. I think that was the last question and I would want to thank all of you for coming this afternoon. I want to thank the friends of the United Nations who are in this hall, I want to thank our potential friends, and I want to thank the young people, who are the leaders of the future who are here with us today. Thank you very much.
Remarks of the Secretary-General on arrival at Narita Airport on Wednesday, 10 November 1999 (unofficial transcript)
SG: Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I am very happy to be back in Tokyo where I hope to have discussions with the Japanese leadership on the UN/Japan relationship. And also I hope to be able to discuss specific issues like East Timor and the world economic situation as well as the World Trade Organization round in Seattle. I always look forward to my visits to Japan. I will also be making a speech at UN University and I hope to be able to engage civil society and to talk to the members of Parliament. I hope to discuss with the authorities not just East Timor but also Kosovo, where the Japanese Government has been very generous to us and to the people of Kosovo and East Timor.
Q: (inaudible) on Chechnya
SG: I think that it is rather worrying that civilian population has been caught in this tragic crisis. I have sent a team to Chechnya to assess the humanitarian needs of the civilians. I will expect them to come back to New York in a day or two and give me a report and I would determine what further action I will take.
NEW YORK - on arrival at UNHQ - 27 October 1999 (on baseball)
Q: Sir, I didn’t get to see it myself - I heard about it. What happened last night? Tell me about your performance.
SG: Well, what I think is more important is the performance of the teams. I was able to be there to participate in a small way, to throw the first ball, and watch these teams compete in a remarkable way. It was a very exciting game and the Yankees won. I don’t know what will happen tonight, but I should say the crowd was involved, it was electric, it was very exciting, and I and my wife enjoyed it thoroughly.
Q: There is a bit of a diplomatic controversy, you could say. There was an NBC reporter who asked some tough questions of Pete Rose. The Yankees won’t talk to him now. Do you think a diplomatic initiative is needed for something like this?
SG: The Yankees won’t talk to Pete Rose?
Q: They won’t talk to the reporter who asked tough questions of Pete Rose? Would you offer your services? Do you think a little diplomacy is needed?
SG: (Chuckles) If they need a bit of peacemaking, this is what we are here for. I will give them whatever help we can. Thank you.
New York - Remarks as SG arrived at UNHQ, on Iraq - 26 October 1999 (unofficial transcript)
Q: You sent a letter to the Council yesterday expressing your concern about holds being put on contracts to Iraq. What exactly are your concerns?
SG: I think the letter makes it clear. In fact, the attachment to the letter from Mr. Sevan makes it clear that these holds are having an undesirable impact on our humanitarian activities. In some instances, goods which have been shipped as part of the package have to sit and wait because part of it has either been withheld or is not in, therefore they could not distribute it. I would want to see the UN run a smooth humanitarian operation in Iraq with a capacity to deliver all that the Council has approved. So I want them to look at the policy of the holdings and then review it periodically to make sure that they are not holding back anything that would help the programme.
NEW YORK - Remarks outside the Security Council Chamber, following adoption of Resolution 1272, establishing UN Transitional Administration in East Timor - 25 October 1999
SG: Ladies and Gentlemen, as you know, the Security Council has just approved the
resolution for the establishment of the UN Mission in East Timor. It's an important challenge
and I think it is a crucial stage in the lives of the people of East Timor and we will establish
the mission as quickly as we can and eventually take over from the INTERFET forces on the
As you have also heard I intend to submit the name of Sergio de Mello to the Council
as my Special Representative and we are in touch with governments and trying to gather the resources -- human and material -- that we need to implement the mandate. Thank you very much.
New York - Excerpts of remarks by the Secretary-General following his briefing to the Security Council on his recent visit to the Balkans - Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, 21 October 1999 pm
The Secretary-General paid tribute to his Special Representative for Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, "who is doing a heroic job in difficult circumstances to pull in the population, to work with them in administering their territory and in implementing resolution 1244." The Secretary-General noted that that resolution "has built-in tension and considerable ambiguity." The tension arose from the fact that 1244 required the United Nations to administer Kosovo as part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia -- to respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity -- "but those who are being administered are clamoring daily if not hourly for independence and that tension is going to continue."
"I did make a plea to the Council: we need money, he needs money, we cannot administer a territory without sufficient resources, and for the moment we do not have the resources we need," he said.
The Secretary-General said the United Nations would be "knocking on all the doors" of the governments who had given the United Nations the mandate. "When you come to think of it, we had all the resources for war, and we should have similar determination when it comes to rebuilding peace, which in my mind is even much more difficult."
New York - Remarks by the Secretary-General as he arrived at UN Headquarters, 21 October 1999 am (unofficial transcript)
Q: I just wanted to ask you, we heard the briefing by Mr. Brahimi yesterday and were wondering what you thought the impact would be on the situation with the UN and Afghanistan, and just in general.
SG: I think, as you all know, Mr. Brahimi has done a lot to try and bring peace in Afghanistan. He has been very active working with the Six + Two, but the Six + Two has not yielded any concrete results. Obviously, they've been able to bring people together. He has given a lot of his time and energy in trying to bring the parties together without much results. And he believes the time has come for him to move on and do something else. I think I respect that decision and I thank him for all the good work he has done. He is a very talented diplomat and, of course, we have other things for him to do.
Q: Do you feel, as some have said to us, that the Taleban was using the UN as sort of a cover saying they would work towards peace and then launching an offensive?
SG: I don't see how they can use the UN as a cover. What I can say is that the UN and the international community can be extremely helpful in situations where the parties in conflict want to resolve their differences. But where they are determined to find a solution on the battlefield, the UN can do very little. And basically, what Mr. Brahimi said -- resignation says -- is that we do not believe they are serious about peace talks -- serious about finding a peaceful solution, and that he would want to move on and do something (else). But I hope this also is a wake-up call and a powerful message to the people that the international community is not going to sit around forever, running after them, and that they should wake up and really work with us in seeking peace.
WASHINGTON DC - Remarks at the World Bank, including Question and Answer session, on "Peace and Development - One Struggle, Two Fronts", at World Bank Headquarters, 19 October 1999
Mr. Mats Karlsson, Vice President for External Affairs, World Bank: Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. President, Board, Visiting Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to welcome the Secretary-General to the World Bank for, not the first ever visit in World Bank, but certainly the first opportunity for him to speak to us inside the World Bank. As such, it is an historic event. We hope that bringing the Secretary-General….[sound lost] Anyway, I think we have with the Secretary-General and the President of the World Bank symbolically here a coalition for change. Mr. Wolfensen, may I ask you to introduce our guest.
James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank: Mr. Secretary-General, Ladies and Gentlement, I am actually rather depressed by this meeting, because I never get a crowd like this, and I thought I was much loved in this Institution! But it is an historic occasion, and it's historic because it's the very first time that a Secretary-General, in fifty years or more, has ever addressed colleagues in the World Bank. And that is a remarkable thing in itself, but it's not surprising that Secretary-General Kofi Annan has decided that this would be a good idea and that he would reach out to us in this way. I have said many times that I think the Secretary-General is a remarkable man, at the right time and in the right place. He is an individual of enormous integrity, enormous experience, and a total commitment to the issue of world peace and alleviation of poverty and the restoration and increase of social justice in our world. He has fought for that all his life, and it is that set of values which makes it so easy for us to have the basis for a totally new relationship with our relatives in the United Nations system. We are part of that system, and in the past it has not always been easy on either side to build the sort of coalition for change that we are now seeking to build. And I want to assure the Secretary-General on behalf of everyone here that there is an equally warm desire on the part of everyone in our Institution to enter and build that coalition for change as we move forward, to achieve the objectives that he himself holds so dear. I am very happy indeed that I can count the Secretary-General not only as a leader but also as a very good friend. And I know that, in many parts of the world, and in many ways our relationship with the UN system is one also of friendship, and constructive friendship. Today's address by the Secretary-General will be the first in a series of addresses by the leaders of the UN system, and of course the best to start is with the Secretary-General. I want to thank him, both personally and on your behalf for coming here and we all now very much look forward to his remarks. Mr. Secretary-General…
SG: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you, Jim for those very kind words. But I also have a surprise for you. You said you were surprised to see the attendance because you never have a draw like this. Let me let you into a secret. I know that they have come to congratulate you on your reappointment. (Laughter/applause.) We are all excited that we are going to have five more years of your dynamic and creative leadership. And what you've brought to the Bank and to our partnership is something that we need desperately.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honour for me to be invited to give this first in your new series of lectures.
The World Bank has always been an essential part of the United Nations system throughout its history. Its mission, to enable all the world's people to enjoy the benefits of development and to rescue billions of our fellow human beings from poverty, is an essential part of the mission of the United Nations as well.
So it should go without saying that we work closely together and engage in a constant exchange of ideas, and indeed of personnel. As some of you may have noticed, I recently poached one of your former vice presidents to administer the United Nations Development Programme. By setting up this series -- lecture series, you are, in a sense, returning the compliment. (Applause.) I hope we can have smaller discussion groups on specific policy issues as well. Both sides will have much to gain from that kind of exchange.
My friends, the founders of the United Nations clearly recognized the connection between the struggle for peace and security, where victory spells freedom from fear, and the struggle for economic and social progress, where victory spells victory from want.
Since then, there have been five decades of real progress on both fronts. The world as a whole is both more peaceful and more prosperous than it was in 1945. But that progress has not been equally shared.
Nearly half the human race, an estimated 2.8 billion people, is still struggling to survive on less than two dollars a day.
And according to one estimate, five and a half million people have died in wars during the '90s. Many times that number have had their lives
ruined by injury, by loss of their loved ones, by being driven from their homes or by the destruction of their property.
The vast majority of these conflicts occur in the developing world.
Most of the world's 20 poorest countries have experienced significant violent conflict in the past decades. In Africa, out of 45 countries where the United Nations has development programmes, 18 are experiencing civil strife and 11 are in varying degrees of political crisis.
Clearly, war is not the only cause of poverty, and poverty by itself does not cause war. If it did, all the poor countries would be at war. Thank God that most of them are not.
Nor is inequality in itself a sufficient explanation for conflict. The relationship is more complex than that.
But one thing is indisputable: Development has no worse enemy than war.
Prolonged armed conflicts don't only kill people; they destroy a country's physical infrastructure, divert scarce resources and disrupt economic life, including food supplies. They radically ndermine education and health services.
A war of national liberation or self-defense may sometimes bind a nation together, albeit at a cruel and unacceptable human cost. But almost all today's conflicts are civil wars, in which civilian populations are not incidental casualties but direct targets. These wars completely destroy trust between communities, breaking down normal social relations and undermining the legitimacy of government, not to mention investor confidence. They are also harder to end, because the opposing sides have to live together after the war and after peace has been achieved, rather than withdraw behind state borders.
Wars between states, fought with expensive modern weaponry, are very destructive but do at least tend to be short-lived; look at the Gulf War in 1991 or the Kosovo conflict this year. But today's more typical wars are fought in poor countries with weapons which are cheap and easy to obtain. The misery of these wars can be sustained for years or even decades; think of Afghanistan, Angola or The Sudan.
Much of our work at the United Nations is devoted to coping with the immense suffering caused by these conflicts and the search for ways to settle them peacefully.
The search is always long, and often thankless, but not as hopeless as the headlines might have you think. During the past nine years, three times as many peace agreements have been signed as the previous three decades. Some have failed, often amid great publicity, but most have held.
Success, however, brings with it new tasks and new problems -- what we in the United Nations call "post-conflict peace-building." This has been a major innovation of the '90s and something of a growth industry.
From Namibia and El Salvador to Kosovo and East Timor, you and we are working side by side, along with local government officials, NGOs, citizens' groups, to provide emergency relief, demobilize combatants, clear mines, organize elections, encourage reconciliation, build impartial police forces and re-establish basic services. Most difficult -- and I repeat the most difficult, but most important of all are what we try to do in bringing the people back, trying to rebuild relationships, that precious capital of trust within and between communities which is the first casualty of every war and the hardest
thing to restore.
There has been much talk of bridging the gap or managing the transition between these tasks and longer-term development efforts. But increasingly, I think, we understand that the two are not separate. Crisis management and peace-building have to be part of a
development strategy. If countries wait until all their conflicts and crises are settled before embarking on such a strategy, they are likely to wait for a long time, if not, forever.
But how much better would it be, ladies and gentlemen, if we could prevent these conflicts from breaking out in the first place.
I shall not waste your time trying to persuade you with facts and figures, because none of us will disagree that prevention is better than intervention. No one doubts that prevention is desirable. What some question is whether it is feasible, or whether decision-makers will ever have long enough time horizons to take it seriously. It is even said that convincing politicians to invest in conflict prevention is like asking a teenager to start saving for a pension. (Laughter.)
I believe such cynicism is misplaced, but there is also need for humility. Even if we did receive all the resources we need for prevention, we should not overestimate our powers.
Unless the government and people of a country are genuinely willing to confront the problems that may cause conflict, there is not much that even the best informed and most benevolent outsiders can do.
This is not a counsel of despair, simply a note of necessary caution.
What is clear is that to succeed in preventing wars, we need to understand the forces that create them.
Of course these are complex, and as usual, there is a lot of disagreement among scholars who have studied them. But on some of the key elements there is a consensus or a consensus is beginning to emerge.
First, no single factor can explain all conflicts, and therefore no simple nostrum can prevent them all. Prevention policies must be tailored to the particular circumstances of the country or region and must address many different issues at the same time.
Secondly, most researchers agree that it is useful to distinguish structural or long-term factors, which make violent conflict more likely, from triggers, which actually ignite it.
The structural factors all have to do with social and economic policy, and the way that societies govern themselves. It is here that the link between security and development policy is most obvious.
A major study by the U.N. University, to be published later this year, suggests that simple inequality between rich and poor is not enough to cause violent conflict. What is highly explosive is what the authors of the study call "horizontal inequality" -- when power and resources are unequally distributed between groups that are also differentiated in other ways, for instance by race, religion or language. So-called ethnic conflicts occur between groups which are distinct in one or more of these ways, when one of them feels it is being discriminated against, or another enjoys privileges which it fears to lose.
Economic stagnation or decline, sometimes caused by factors outside a government's control, such as deterioration in terms of trade, do make conflict more likely. As resources get scarcer, competition for them gets fiercer and elites use their power to retain them at everyone else's expense.
And when economic decline is prolonged, especially when it starts from an already low base, the result can be a steady degeneration of states' capacity to govern, until the point where it can no longer maintain public order.
So the fact that the political violence occurs more frequently in poor countries has more to do with failure of governance, and particularly with failure to redress horizontal inequalities, than with poverty as such. A well-governed poor country can avoid conflict. It is also, of course, the one that has a better chance of escaping from poverty.
Even where these long-term factors are present, actual conflict requires a short-term trigger.
Often this takes the form of a deliberate mobilization of grievances by rival elites, with the careful cultivation of dehumanizing myths within one group about another group, propagated and amplified by hate-media.
At the very edge of war, relatively small events which appear to confirm these myths can provide the spark to ignite full-scale violence. And once it has started, whole communities become gripped by fear and hate. Each action by one tends to reinforce the fear of the other.
Often it is the state, or the group that controls the state, which initiates large-scale violence as a response to non-violent protests by opposition groups. This is not surprising, because governments are usually better armed than their opponents, at least at the beginning of a conflict. However strong their grievances, people seldom take up arms in sufficient numbers to defeat the state unless they are driven to it by violent repression.
But many wars have more to do with greed -- and I repeat, with greed, than with grievance, as several recent studies have shown, including one done here by the Bank's Research Department. War can be profitable for some, especially where it involves control over valuable export commodities like diamonds, drugs or timber.
Where governments are weak, and legitimate economic opportunities are few, resort to violent crime may seem a logical alternative to destitution, especially for unemployed youth. And when such criminal violence occurs on a large scale, and is resisted, as it must be, by the state, it can all too often escalate into civil war.
So what can we do about all this?
First of all, if horizontal inequality is indeed a major cause of conflict, then obviously our policies must seek to reduce it. Yet until very recently, development policy tended to ignore this problem. As a result, some policies which were meant to enhance growth have had the unintended consequence of aggravating this kind of inequality, thus increasing the risk of instability and violence.
That is one reason why I welcome Jim Wolfensohn's call for the Bank and its partners to start asking the hard questions about how we can best integrate a concern for conflict prevention into development operations. And I'm interested to hear that the British government is now actively discussing the idea of conflict impact analysis. The idea here is that before adopting a policy -- a particular policy or imposing any type of conditionality, you would check, through the process of consultation, that that policy will reduce the danger of conflict in a country, or at least not actually increase it.
Like a lot of good ideas, this seems common sense once you have thought of it. But in the past it has not been done.
Secondly, if conflict is often caused by different groups having unequal access to political power, then it follows that a good way to avoid conflict is to encourage democracy -- not the winner-takes-all variety, but inclusive democracy, which gives everyone a say in the decisions which affect their lives.
During the 1990s, largely as a result of the end of the Cold War, there have been two remarkable changes in the international system. First, the number of democratic states in the world almost doubled between 1990 and 1998. And second, the number of armed conflicts in the world declined from 55 in 1992 to 36 in 1998.
That second statement may seem surprising when each of us can reel off lists of horrific conflicts from Bosnia to Sierra Leone to East Timor.
But the truth, so far entirely missed by the media, is that more old wars have ended than new ones have begun.
Of course the increase in the number of democracies is not the sole cause of the decline in the number of wars. Other factors, not least the ending of the Cold War's ideological conflicts, have also played a role here. And in some cases peace may have made democratization possible, rather than the other way round. But a number of studies do show that democracies have very low levels of internal violence compared with non-democracies.
When you come to think about it, that is what you would expect. Democracy is, in essence, a form of non-violent conflict management. But a note of caution is in order. While the end result is highly desirable, the process of democratization can be highly destabilizing, especially when states introduce winner-take-all electoral systems without adequate provision for human rights. At such times different groups can become more conscious of their unequal status and nervous about each other's power. Too often, they resort to pre-emptive violence.
But that should not discourage us from urging the right sort of democratization as part of our development policies.
Good governance, of course, means much more than democratization in a formal political sense. Another very important aspect of it is the reform of public services, including the security sector, which should be subject to the same standards of efficiency, equity and accountability as other public service. This has rightly become an issue of increasing concern to the Bank, to the OECD and several other important donor states.
Conflict is much less likely to occur in a state if all its inhabitants feel that their lives and property are made safer by the work of the security services. Conflict is more likely when a significant group of citizens feel excluded from the security services, and exploited or terrorized by them.
Ladies and gentlemen, if I could sum up my message this afternoon in one sentence, it is that human security, good governance, equitable development and respect for human rights are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. If war is the worst enemy of development, healthy and balanced development is the best form of conflict prevention.
The case for allocating more time and resources to development policies such as I have outlined is compelling. It is cost-effective, and it can save millions of lives. But it will not be easy.
The costs of prevention have to be paid in the present, while its benefits lie in the future. Moreover, the benefits are intangible: they are the wars and disasters that do not happen. Yet there has been a great upsurge of interest in prevention over the past few years among donor states as well as international organizations. We must build on it.
The World Bank and the United Nations have learned much together during the past decade. We have learned that there is much more to learn, and we are still learning what needs to be done.
We must learn how to work better with each other, with the other parts of the U.N. system, with governments, with NGOs and society at large.
We must learn from each other, and never to think that our own particular group or agency is the sole repository of wisdom.
Above all, we must learn from the people of the developing countries. Each country, each province, even each village has its own particular problems, but also its own insights and inspiration.
I believe the single most valuable quality, for a diplomat and development economists alike, is the ability to listen.
And now it's my turn to listen to you. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
[The above speech was issued as a press release on 19 October 1999, SG/SM/7187]
Thank you. Thank you.
Fred Eckhard brought me interesting news. He said about an hour ago, the Indonesian government approved the ballot in East Timor, which means we have to move on to transition to independence. (Applause.)
Mr. Karlsson: "Development and Peace: One Struggle, Two Fronts." Thank you very much, Secretary-General. You are all invited to come with questions now. Please pass them to the sides here and they will be collected and passed to me.
To start off, Secretary-General, I would like to catch on to what you said at the very end, namely, that the case for resources is compelling. We know how to put them to use on both the peace front and the development front. How can you, perhaps together with us, bring this to greater awareness among those who fund us? As you know, we are all facing significant constraints and problems at this point in time.
SG: I think we should raise our voices; we should be better advocates with the governments -- I hope you can hear me -- with the governments. I also believe that we should not try to do it alone, whether it's Jim Wolfensohn, my other colleagues, Juan Somavia, Gro Bruntland, your ex-colleague Malloch Brown. We should also try and engage the public, and also reach out in partnership, as I have said, working with the private sector, working with NGOs. But we need to get them to really live up to the promises they have made. And perhaps we will -- I will have to discuss this further with Jim. Maybe the time has come for all of us to make a joint appeal, joint appearance and really make a much harder push and hopefully also mobilize the public to work with us. I think if we can get the public to follow us, the public to support us, the politicians will be there; they will follow.
Mr. Karlsson: One other thing that joins you both is that you have worked for years now in modernizing the institutions with internal change. Maybe you would like to update the audience where you stand now on U.N. reform.
SG: I think we have achieved a lot in the past couple of years -- (off mike). I must stress here that reform is a process, it's not an event. So the search for excellence will be ongoing. At the Secretariat level, and particularly on issues which are within my own authority, we have done a lot. We have restructured, we have streamlined our activities, we have reduced our budget. For the first time since our creation, we have cabinet-type meetings once a week, with all the U.N. heads of departments, program heads from UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA. And our colleagues from Vienna, Geneva, Nairobi participate via teleconferencing. So that has pulled the leadership together.
We have also restructured ourselves to be effective at the country level, where the U.N. units on the ground are compelled to work together as a team, rather than competitively. And I am pleased to say that we are also working much better with the Bank's representatives at the country level.
Where we have failed is some of the initiatives, or decisions, which depend on governments. Everybody is interested in Security Council reform. We have made no progress. The only progress we have made is that all the entire membership, each and every one of them, agrees that reform is necessary. That in itself is progress. (Laughter.)
But what we do beyond that has become very, very difficult. They all agree that the composition and the structure of the Council reflects the geopolitical realities of 1945 and it is time that we bring it in line with today's realities. There have been discussions of expanding the 15-member Council to 21 or 24 and creating five additional permanent seats. And now of course, logically, you would ask, "Why create five additional permanent seats; why don't you eliminate the permanent seats which exist?"
The fact is those with that privilege will never give it up. (Laughter.) And others would want to share the privilege, and so you create a few more.
And just to give you an idea of the surreal world in effect as we live in it -- and you at the Bank will understand that, not that I am arguing people should vote their shares. But, for example, Japan, which pays about 20 percent of the budget, is not a member of the Security Council.
And they argue, "Why should we pay 20 percent when the four other members, except the U.S. -- China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom -- pay 14 percent?" They say, "Why should the four permanent members, who pay 14 percent, hold on to their seat and we are deprived of a seat?" When you talk about -- I made a speech about intervention at the opening of the General Assembly. President Bouteflika made a comment. He said, "The Council take decisions. We are not represented. They act in our name and we are supposed to support it blindly." Again, the question of expanding the Council to make it more representative, to make it -- to allow it to gain in greater legitimacy and at the same time make it effective is a challenge that we have. I don't think the issue will die, but the member states have not moved forward.
There are other issues where the entire membership have to agree, and this has been one of our great areas. In some areas, we've managed to push them, I think in the first year or so. We just surprised them and got a lot done. And then they woke up and decided -- (laughs) -- you're not going to get this past us. (Laughter.) And I'm sure anyone who runs an international organization has had this sort of experience. I'm sure you will have stories to tell me over dinner -- (laughs) -- about some of these same issues.
Mr. Karlsson: I think I have -- (off mike). (Laughter.)
SG: (Inaudible) -- come to the U.N. (Laughs.)
Mr. Karlsson: Well, here's another question, a topical one. In recent days, there have been seeming foreign policy setbacks in the United States -- the Senate rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and Clinton called, when he vetoed the foreign aid bill, isolationist. How can this trend be reversed? What are its consequences for conflict prevention?
SG: I think the rejection of the treaty deals a major blow to disarmament regimes around the world because the U.S. has a natural leadership in that area, not only because it's a nuclear power, but it is also a major leading political and economic country in the world. And by voting down the bill -- by voting down the treaty, even if one tries to explain it as purely a matter of internal politics, it is going to be extremely difficult to go to Pakistan or India or elsewhere and tell them, "Don't worry about what happened in Washington, we are not going to test, but we do not want you to test any weapons, we want you to respect the CTBT." It undermines that leadership role, and I think that is unfortunate.
I would hope that over time the Congress will change its attitude, because when you read the polls, and many polls have been done, the American public by and large believe in multilateralism. The American people by and large would want the U.S. to be an active player in the United Nations. They would want the U.S. to work with other countries. And in my own judgment -- this may get me into trouble, but in my own judgment, what is happening on the Hill is not in tune with what I'm reading about the wishes of the American people. And I hope in time, this too will change, this too will pass.
I think we need to keep on with education. We need to target the young people; we need to get them to understand that in an interdependent world, the collective effort, the collective interest, is sometimes the national interest and we should not necessarily be concerned that each time you have a multilateral effort or collective interest, it may be against a national interest. My hope is that this, too, will pass over time, but I hope not too long. We shouldn't have too long to wait.
Mr. Karlsson: Both of our institutions have moved to use information technology to reach out more directly to, in particular, the young of the world. Would you share some thoughts on how we can link up and use knowledge and communication for development and peace?
SG: Jim showed me earlier today what you are doing here at the Bank, which is really exciting, and I think we can use technology very effectively to help the developing countries and the young people around the world in areas of education, in areas of agriculture. And what is exciting about the technology these days is when you take a look at the Third World where some universities which were once very good have no libraries at all, you can really use the technology to help the students, give them the material, and really help them stay abreast with what is happening in the rest of the world.
But for us to be able to really expand that capacity and reach out, we have to make sure that we bridge the gap between the technologies and not create another gap, a world of technology-rich and technology-poor, because it's only when we've been able to provide the technical base that we can narrow that information gap.
When I opened the World Telecom '99 in Geneva, I sort of shared with them the amount of work we need to do to get to the poorer countries, reminding them that half the world's population -- almost 3 billion people -- have never made or received a phone call, and we really need to try and reach them. And some of them have not even reached the teledensity of one -- that is, one telephone to a hundred people.
So we have a tremendous tool at our disposal, but we need to try and give them the means to be able to tap into it and exploit it.
I don't know, Jim, if you want to say something.
Mr. Wolfensohn: Well, only that I, of course, agree with that. We have with us, actually today in the front row, international advisers from the World Bank Institute, who have been discussing this subject for the last two days. And I think we are all agreed that a key to peace and a key to development is a scaled-up version of productivity and the provision of appropriate services. And it's certainly something we are working on and I will be discussing with Mark in the very near future.
Mr. Karlsson: Connected to that is the following question: You mentioned, Secretary General, in a recent speech that we are seeing the emergence of the largest youth population ever, 1.2 billion people between the ages of 15 and 24. What can and should the U.N. system and the World Bank do to ensure true participation and sustained intergenerational dialogue with young people? And what role do you and Mr. Wolfensohn play as role models to a new generation of leaders?
SG: I will leave the last part of the question to Jim. (Laughter.) But I think on the first part; I think when I spoke here some time ago, I titled my address, "Creating a Billion Jobs." We need to really see these young people in school or create jobs for them, find some meaningful tasks for them to do -- (audio break) -- it's really -- (audio glitch) -- when you look at the number of people, the size of the population between 15 and 25, and the size of the population under 15; I mean, we -- when you talk of 6 billion people on the earth, it tells only half the story until you begin to analyze the figures and see those over 60, those under 15 and those between 25 and -- between 15 and 25, and the differences between regions. Then you realize that for the young people, we either have to really find creative ways of creating education opportunities, jobs for them, or we are going to have a very serious problem on our hands. It is when youth are unemployed, unoccupied and idle that they get into all this mischief. I think the challenge for us, the Bank, ourselves and the governments concerned is to come up with economic policies that will generate jobs and also ensure that there are educational facilities and what we discussed earlier, using technology as something that we can use to reach some of these young people and prepare them. And education is absolutely crucial. Education and information is what is going to give them an edge in the future.
Mr. Wolfensohn: I would only add for those that don't know that the Secretary-General spoke at the annual meetings on the need for a billion jobs, and it underlined very much this particular issue. We at the Bank have long believed that education is key, and particularly education of girls, so that we can have a more equitable and broader-reaching educational system.
And that's something that is totally central to our activity and ties in, of course, not just with the new technologies but with really getting governments to commit that this is central, not just to economic development but surely to peace. If you have people occupied, they're less likely to go out and shoot. And so we are united with you on this effort, and will continue to work with you.
SG: I think, on the second question, I would tell the youth, when they look at what Jim is doing and what is happening now, to understand that with determination and ideas you can do a lot. You will be criticized, you will not always be popular for what you say or do, but as long as you are convinced you're moving in the right direction and put together the right team, you should be able to move forward and do it.
And I think what is also happening here is one is trying to offer opportunities to the least fortunate and adapting the Bank and its reach to be able to do that. And if there's any message there for the youth, I think the message should be that yes, the task and the challenges are enormous, but one should not throw one's arms up. One has to come at it with perseverance, with determination, and really try and make a difference.
Mr. Wolfensohn: I just want to say that I think the Secretary-General's a great role model for the youth. (Laughter.)
Mr. Karlsson: There are a number of --
SG: (Off mike.) (Laughter.)
Mr. Wolfensohn: I want to make sure that I can stay in this job -- (Laughter.)
Mr. Karlsson: Well, let's move back to some serious issues. (Laughter.)
Mr. Wolfensohn: That's a very serious issue! (Laughter.)
Mr. Karlsson: There are very many questions here about different conflicts around the world, and I think this one captures most dimensions of them: How can we get the global support to stop the conflicts and get development in Africa in the same way the community came together in Bosnia, Kosovo and East Timor?
SG: International support, they mean?
Mr. Karlsson: (Off mike.)
SG: Yeah. I think it's a very pertinent question, because in my discussions with my fellow African leaders, I have always stressed the fact that today, because of the conflicts on the continent, when you mention Africa, people think of a continent in crisis. Their antennas go up, but they don't go beyond that image of continent in crisis to discover some of the countries on the continent that are doing reasonably well, and therefore, the entire continent suffers from that image. And we need to come together, the leaders have to come together to resolve these conflicts. And I'm happy to say that they are coming together. The peace agreement for the Democratic Republic of Congo involved about seven, eight governments, but a much larger group of leaders in the region also supported the effort. But now that the agreement has been signed, we have to pool our efforts and persistently support the implementation of the agreement.
So the same thing happened in Sierra Leone, with the African leaders coming together to do it. So the African leaders are doing their part, but they cannot do it alone. They need the support of the international community, international organizations and the donor community, whether in Sierra Leone, in Liberia or in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We have had very serious discussions at the U.N. at the ministerial level.
I was asked by the Security Council to produce a report on conflicts in Africa and plans for economic and social development. There has been very strong reaction to that report. In fact, last month there was a ministerial meeting on how the international community can help Africa overcome their difficulties, chaired by the Prime Minister of Netherlands. And I think those kinds of efforts, those kinds of visibility and real support needs to be sustained for us to help Africa get out of this conflict-ridden era. And what is important is that the leaders themselves have realized and are beginning to do something about it. And so in partnership, I think we can do a lot to make it happen.
The other thing I should say, one tends to make a comparison with Kosovo, East Timor, and there's a sense in the African -- on the continent that Africa is ignored, Africa is getting shortchanged, and other regions get lots of support, and particularly Kosovo is draining away resources from Africa's development efforts and conflict resolution. Governments have denied that, but the statistics don't help their case. We've talked of development assistance dropping, but even assistance for compelling humanitarian situations are dropping. You make an appeal and you get 10 percent of what you need to feed the starving. And this is something that we again need to change and sensitize the public and encourage those who have the capacity to give to give, and give generously and freely. And I think it's in everyone's interest to do that. I can go on for a long time, but I should stop. (Laughter.) As you can see, you touched a sensitive nerve. (Laughter.)
Mr. Karlsson: You won't really stop, because in a few minutes you're getting together with President Wolfensohn to speak precisely about the issues. And, well, I'm sure you will speak about East Timor as well, since it is happening right now as we speak. And I wonder if you couldn't at least comment a little bit more about what happens now and since the consultative assembly in Indonesia has approved the independence referendum; what goes on, the mission.
SG: We've been planning for a U.N. mission to take over from the multinational force. The multinational force, led by Australia, went in, if you wish, as an emergency reaction force, to help calm the violence and the situation, and eventually to hand over to the U.N., once the Indonesian government has endorsed a ballot and the situation has been calmed. So once a secure environment has been created, we will put in a U.N. administration, which would also include a United Nations force and police. We would have about 9,000 soldiers and policemen during the early part of the transition period. We would work with the local population to administer the place.
It is a difficult assignment because we are starting from scratch. The buildings have been destroyed. All the civil servants, doctors, nurses who were Indonesians have left. So we need to bring in all the civil service, all the essential services, to be able to manage the country.
We would also need to work very closely with the East Timorese leadership -- Xanana Gusmao, Ramos-Horta, and all that. Eventually we will have to organize another election, another election for the East Timorese to elect their own leaders, and then withdraw the U.N. presence. I see a timetable of about two to three years -- it may go faster -- and we will withdraw. But East Timor is going to need lots of help, and I look forward to working with the Bank on the reconstruction and many other issues. And in fact, after this meeting, we will be discussing how we pool our efforts in East Timor and Kosovo.
What is also important is that we take steps to mend fences and the relationship between East Timor and Indonesia. East Timor cannot survive without good relations with Indonesia, Australia, and its Asian neighbors.
I am encouraged that quite a lot of the Asian countries, the ASEAN and others, have given me indications that they will participate in the force, they will participate in the operations. And I hope in time East Timor itself will become a member of ASEAN, and they would invest in that new state. Thank you very much.
Mr. Karlsson: And so a last question, perhaps, but a very major one. You spoke strongly about democracy in relation to prevention. How can the international organizations come together more strongly in support of democracy?
SG: I think it is happening already. I think it's really happening. And I must say, when I look at the Bank and the U.N., our views on some of these issues have really converged, and we are moving in the same direction.
Apart from democracy as a way of preventing conflicts, I also believe that the establishment of good governance, the rule of law, respect for human rights, and the right regulatory systems and institutions is the very foundation on which some of the things we are doing, all the development efforts we are making, can thrive.
And when we look back -- I don't want to mention names -- but we've seen countries that seem to be doing extremely well, seem to have really taken off, and with one strong, one major difficulty, and it falls apart like a deck of cards, because the foundations were not there; the foundations were not solid. And quite frankly, I see this as an essential part of our developmental effort, and whether it's the bank, the IMF, the U.N., or any of our agencies, we should hammer away at this. And I think it is happening.
And I will pause here. And I think -- Jim, I don't know --
Mr. Wolfensohn: Well, I would only say that I just concur. We for the first time stuck our neck out and had a conference on democracy and development in Korea during the last 12 months. That would have been unthinkable a decade ago -- that we could have even put on the same agenda the World Bank and the notion that democracy and human rights were issues that relate to development. And while we are not asserting that it push it down everybody's throats, the fact that we can discuss it and that it can be addressed by us jointly with the U.N., I think, is a very important step forward. And people can make their own judgments, but the linkage is very clear.
SG: And I think we must all speak out -- the agency heads, those in Geneva, those in New York. I speak out and say lots of things because I also know it's helpful to people in countries who cannot speak freely. They can say, "As the Secretary-General said, as Mr. Jim Wolfensohn said" -- (laughter) -- and not get into trouble. (Laughter.)
Mr. Karlsson: I'm advised you have a little bit more time, so I --
SG: Oh, you are? My managers have told you, then. Yeah, that's good.
Mr. Karlsson: All right. So here's one: What is your attitude towards the need to mobilize forces of the world community to fight terrorism? The U.N. is now drafting a series of anti-terrorist conventions. When is it coming?
SG: I think to fight terrorism, governments have to work together, and they must not give refuge to terrorists. And if you have rules that require governments to hand over known terrorists whose crimes can be proven, it will dissuade some of them.
I think what is also important is not that we should have new conventions and new resolutions; we have about nine or 10 resolutions which, if they were to be implemented effectively, could make a difference. The question is implementation and pooling of efforts by governments. What I have noticed is the governments tend to ignore this issue until terrorism comes to their doorstep, and they suddenly wake up and want to deal with it. As soon as it subsides, they lose interest. But we need to get them to work in a sustained manner to fight this scourge and not think that it's somebody else's problem, because it can spread just as quickly to other countries. And I would urge implementation of conventions on the books rather than efforts to pass new ones.
I know there are discussions going on now that we should have a conference on terrorism. The Islamic Conference has proposed it, and others are now proposing it in New York, and it would probably be helpful. But we should go beyond the talk, we should go beyond the conferences and come up with concrete programs of state cooperation.
Mr. Karlsson: So here is the very last one. Thank you for your inspiring speech, but what is the role of the private sector in all of this?
SG: No, the private sector has a major role to play. And I think both Jim and myself believe that we should work with them in partnership and let them face up to their own responsibilities. They have tremendous resources.
SG: Is it better? (Microphone adjustments made.) This is real cooperation; isn't that wonderful? (Laughter, applause.)
We believe that the international -- the business community has a major role to play. They have a major role to play because of the assets they bring to the table. They have technology, they have management and they have capital. But they also have a responsibility to the rest of the world and to the planet.
First of all, through our own conferences and others, we have coined the phrase "sustainable development" and that we cannot continue to exploit the resources of the world the way we are doing without getting into trouble down the line.
We cannot do it alone; we need the corporate sector with us. And I often remind them of my favorite African proverb that "the world is not ours; it's a treasure we hold in trust for future generations." And that is a responsibility for all of us.
Secondly, I think if we can get the corporate sector to respect some of the values and the codes that we have come up with, in fact in Davos this year, early this year, I suggested a compact with the private sector: the respect for human rights, labour standards and environmental standards; that as they travel around the world and establish themselves, they should respect these standards.
I think we can also work with them in partnership to encourage direct foreign investment. And in fact, the way I see it, what the Bank and the U.N. is doing, is helping governments create the enabling environment with the right institutions, the right regulatory system, creating the atmosphere that would encourage companies to go in and invest.
And we are reaching out and working in partnership with companies, in some cases doing joint training programs or encouraging them to work with us, particularly in the technology area. And I hope they will find it beneficial, and we would also find it beneficial, because we cannot continue knocking on the doors of governments, asking for development assistance. We cannot develop the rest of the world alone with development assistance, and we need to get the private sector to become involved. But not just the private sector; the NGOs are becoming important players, and civic groups are also very active. And if you can get them at the national level to become active, to play a role, to be alert, and in some cases, keep the governments on the right track, we will all do much better. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
Mr. Wolfensohn: Well, Mr. Secretary General, I think you can gather from the reception that you have received, what an impact you made on my colleagues today.
What I gleaned from this remarkable address and from your response to questions, is just how real the partnership needs to be and in a way, how real the partnership already is, because as you describe so many of the initiatives that are taken by you within the U.N. system, and the counterpart in what the Bank is doing, is joined by an absolutely identical set of values, a set of values which relates to freedom of the individual to justice, to equity, to poverty; that we are concerned by the same issues of population, that we are concerned by the same issues of stress on resources.
And at each level, as we heard you speak today and heard, whether it was about conflict prevention or about the improvement of the human condition, I think the partnership between our institution and the U.N. system in general is both very clear in terms of its objectives, but that there are many areas already in which we are working closely together as we leave, in fact, to go and talk about East Timor and Kosovo.
These are two remarkable examples how, on the political front, you and your colleagues have given the leadership and were also ready within a matter of days to be in East Timor to do the second round of studies on the funding that is necessary, and this partnership is perfectly natural and is functioning.
But what I would say about today is that your presence here and your remarks has given all of us a greater sense of family and a greater sense of partnership with the U.N. system. We are enormously grateful to you for having come here. We would welcome you back any time. We really, truly enjoyed having you with us. We feel you are a member of the family, and as a small gift to a member of the family, let me just give you a memento that comes with the affection of all the people here and an invitation to come back any time you wish.
We thank you very much for a remarkable address. (Applause.)
LONDON - remarks in transit to New York from Kosovo - 14 October 1999
(on death of President Julius Nyerere; Pakistan; CTBT) (unofficial transcript)
Q: What is you reaction to Dr Nyerere's death?
SG: I was very saddened to hear about his death. President Nyerere was a great man. He was a friend, a wise man and a teacher and someone with a tremendous sense of humour. You could always pull him out and get his advice on whatever subject - I recall one of the last occasions I met him was in South Africa and I wanted his views and his advice on how we can bring peace to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I said 'Mwalimu, you know all of them, you know this region very well. How do we calm the Congo, how do we bring peace, how do we get the governments in the region_he threw his head back and laughed loudly and said "I was going to ask you - you should tell me as Secretary General of the UN, how we can calm these places and then he set about and gave me very good advice. We went through the personalities, what was happening and what one should attempt to do to resolve it. I always found him available and open with good advice and he is going to be a great loss, first and foremost for his family and friends but for the entire African continent and his nation.
Q: What do you see as his greatest achievements?
SG: I think his greatest achievement was first of all his struggle - the way he fought for independence but in a gentle and correct manner, if I may put it that way. He tried to reform and build his country and when you take on that sort of task, it is a major challenge. Yes I think he probably should not have taken the route he did in terms of economic approach but he did it honestly and in good faith and in the end what he left the continent - a continent where leaders do not leave power easily and do not know when to move on - he left office willingly without regret and became an elder statesman ready to advise and help in whatever way he can. So I hope he set a good example for other leaders.
Q: What is your reaction to events in Pakistan?
SG: Let me say that I was surprised to see the developments there - but not totally surprised. But I must say I do not believe that military coups are the way to solve these kinds of national problems. Obviously the junta has not declared its intentions but I hope they will return to civilian rule as quickly as possible and it is my hope and express wish that what has happened there will not further increase tension in the region.
Q: Pakistan is nuclear armed, do you see a danger here?
Obviously it is a great concern given the tensions that persist in the region but I wouldn't say that I see an immediate danger. I think the army in Pakistan has had effective control over the military capability and I hope it will be kept that way and there will be no adventurism in this case because both governments and leaders in both countries who have decision making powers with regard to the use of nuclear weapons will be very sensitive to the dangers in the region. I don't see an immediate danger however we need to calm the tensions in the region.
PRISTINA - Press conference - 14 October 1999 (unofficial transcript)
SG: I just returned with my Special Representative and my colleagues from New York from Pec where I was briefed by all the United Nations regional administrators in the territory. I then had the opportunity to visit the town and some of the reconstruction efforts going on. I saw for myself life in the markets and in the streets and I saw the people rebuilding their lives – for me it was a real miracle.
It was not more than a few months ago that I saw the refugees in Albania and Macedonia. So to come in and see what was happening was almost like a miracle of return and rebirth. And it was very, very encouraging. We were able, in discussions with my regional directors, to review issues of reconstruction – the race we have against time to try and rebuild as many houses as we can before the winter. We also discussed education, the question of reconciliation, good governance, and how the UN and the population are going to cooperate to administer at this phase – both at the municipal level and the regional level. And, of course, I’ve had a chance here to talk with my Special Representative and we’ve spent lots of time together. Mr. Kouchner and the members of his team have given me a comprehensive brief on what is happening on the national level.
I’ve had a chance to see some of your leaders – I met quite a few of them – and today I opened a school in Pec for 2,000 children. This was a joint project with several NGOs: GOAL and the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO). UN agencies like UNHCR, UNICEF and UNMIK also worked to transform the school. The furniture, donated by UNICEF, only arrived yesterday. So it was very exciting to see these young people, anticipating the opening of their new school . What I have seen here gives me a lot of encouragement. I see a group of people in this territory who are determined to rebuild their lives. But when I say rebuilding, I am not talking about bricks and mortar alone. I hope we also take into consideration the question of democracy, good governance, respect for human rights and respect for one’s neighbours – and hopefully reconciliation and, of course, justice.
I also want to pay particular tribute to my Special Representative, Dr. Bernard Kouchner, who arrived not many months ago, when you were all beginning to pick up the pieces. With his team, with your leaders, and with the cooperation of the people of this territory, we are making great strides. A great deal has been achieved and we have a lot still to do, but it is clear that without your cooperation and your full support, we cannot do our work, we cannot give you the assistance and the help we want to give you.
So I look forward to the continued cooperation you have given Dr. Kouchner. As you all know, he is dedicated and determined to make a difference and I am impressed with the level and depth of his relationship with the people of Kosovo and the leadership he has provided. So, ladies and gentlemen, with those few remarks, I will take your questions.
Q: I would like to ask you about detained prisoners on both sides, this is a very important issue. Are you planning to appoint a special envoy on this subject? There are no directs talks between the Albanian political leadership and the Serbian side on this. The Albanians are claiming there are 7,000 people detained in Serbian prisons at the moment.
SG: Let me say that the International Committee of the Red Cross, which has responsibility for this area, is working very, very hard on it. And when we get the change, we also tell the Yugoslav authorities to help. We will do whatever we can to get them released. And, of course, I do talk to the head of the Red Cross and I encourage them to redouble their efforts with both groups on both sides. I have a great deal of confidence in the Red Cross. It has done very good work in this area, in many other countries, and in many other crises. And we will continue to work with them on these problems.
Q: Yesterday, when you addressed UNMIK staff, you mentioned the role of UNMIK in encouraging employment. How can UNMIK enhance the resuming of work in local factories in Kosovo?
SG: I think that is something for all of us – the entire UN system, under the leadership of Bernard Kouchner. Here I’m referring to the OSCE – which you see all over the country, and they are doing a dynamic job – we have the EU, many NGOs and of course the Kosovar people themselves. I think what we need to do, and I encourage this in my discussions with United Nations colleagues, is find ways of starting quick-impact projects that will generate jobs. We need to find ways to reopen some of the factories which are closed. We need to find ways of starting small and medium-sized businesses. We need to encourage Albanians who are outside the territory and have professions and money, that things are beginning to move in this country, that they are needed here and they should come back to work with you and us in rebuilding the society. It’s a job for all of us. The UN cannot do it alone, and I think we need to rely on you and we need to do it in partnership.
Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Bernard Kouchner: Just one word. As you know, on quick-impact projects, we are working on the opening of a micro-credit bank, with the Italians and some others, and that should be in place within a few days. To help the people with development projects, micro-credit will be available.
SG: I hope most of the credit will go to business women.
Q: What have you been telling ethnic Albanian political leaders about their aspirations for separate representation at the UN, outside the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and their aspirations for independence?
SG: I have been very clear on this. I, as Secretary-General, and Dr. Kouchner, as my Special Representative, are guided by the Security Council mandate 1244. The mandate makes it clear that we should administer this territory, as an autonomous region, but within the boundaries of the Yugoslav Republic and therefore, from my point of view, we are not here to prepare the people for independence. We have to live within the mandate that we have been given. I hope this is understood by all. I know there is desire and clamor on the part of many people for independence, but that is not the mandate of Dr. Kouchner or myself. Our job is clear.
Q: According to Security Council resolution 1244, UNMIK’s goal is to ensure that Kosovo remains multi-ethnic. The United Nations success here depends on that. How then do you see UNMIK achieving this goal, if minorities today living in Kosovo still continue to be harassed, intimidated and even killed, sometimes just for speaking their own language?
SG: I think we have to counter that. We have to counter that by encouraging tolerance. We have to counter that by taking measures to protect minorities. We have to counter that by getting the message across that revenge is not the answer. We know a lot has happened. People in this territory have suffered a lot and, as I’ve said, I’ve seen people in the camps in Albania and Macedonia. But we do not want to see repeated what the international community has condemned and fought against. We do not want to see reverse ethnic cleansing. So that message has to get across: we need to be tolerant; we need to be able to live peacefully, side-by-side, with our neighbours. We need to be able to protect them. We need to create an environment, which I hope in time will encourage them to come back. Almost all of the Albanian refugees have come back, and I hope in time that conditions will be created that some of the Serbs and Romas who have left will also come back. We are determined to do whatever we can, with the understanding and support of the Albanian people, to build a multi-ethnic Kosovo. That is our mandate; that is our mission; that is our goal. I know it is not easy sometimes to swallow, but that is a future we should all hope to build.
Q: [First part of question inaudible.] Do you see a real willingness in the Albanian community to make a concerted effort to include other ethnicities in Kosovo institutions?
SG: From what I have gathered, there are some Albanians who are open to that. There are others who have resisted – and it is that resistance that we must all try to break down. That is why I referred to education, tolerance and time for those to heal. On your last question, I would like to ask Dr. Kouchner, who is much closer to it and deals constantly with the leaders, to also comment. But I think that naturally there is some resistance, but we have to overcome that resistance – we have to fight it, we should not acquiesce and accept it.
Dr. Kouchner: If I have to say a word, it would be pessimism – pessimism for now, optimism for the very close future. It has always been like that after a big war and years and year, centuries, of oppression. People here were not living together, they were living close to each other and they really didn’t talk to each other. I am quite sure that this will change, but when? If you asked the politicians and the people in charge, they all sign and repeat that they are in favour of a multi-ethnic society. And, following a murder or big crisis, we ask them to sign a statement condemning the action. But, that is not enough. The worst is when a Serb woman is completely frightened of her young son just turning a corner on the street. We have to change that and we will succeed. But Serbs are not alone, what about the Roma or the Bosniaks? And also, we can not forget the recent suffering of the Albanians. We are still discovering, week by week, more mass graves. This is not an excuse, this is a reality.
SG: So the education and the resistance must continue.
Q: Isn’t it strange that you, as Secretary-General of the United Nations, have not met with officials and representatives of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia here in Kosovo? And what do you thing of an independent Kosovo?
SG: I think the second question I have answered quite clearly as to my position and our approach to that question. On the first one, no, I have not met with the representatives of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia here, but I have met them in New York. In fact it was only about two weeks ago that the Foreign Minister, when he was in New York for the General Assembly, came to see me with the Ambassador. So I had a very recent meeting with them. My programme where has been very tight as you know. I did not meet them here, but I did meet them in New York.
Q: The Security Council resolution calls for self-government here in Kosovo, but right now it is your Mission that is running Kosovo – international officials. How long do you think before you can include the people more closely in direct running of the province? And how long before elections will be held?
SG: I think on the administration of the territory, we are, first of all, doing everything we can to work with the local population and to bring them in. In fact, I was very pleased in Pec today to hear the regional administrators talking to me about the municipal boards that have been set up which are made up of all the groups. These have been set up to bring everyone together to work on administering this territory. In Pristina, Dr. Kouchner meets with all the leaders of the various groups to discuss all the things we are doing here. In time, we will have elections. Preparations are going on. We have to register people. We have to prepare them well for elections. We have not decided when these elections will take place and at what level these elections will be – whether the local elections will be held separately or all elections will be held together. We are looking into this very, very seriously. In fact, we have a group studying elections now. I can assure you it is our intention to work fully with the local population. We cannot bring people in from our side to administer Kosovo without relying on the people here to work with us.
Q: Are you considering Kosovo to have its representative at the United Nations? Yes or no, please.
SG: I didn’t tell you how to ask the question, so don’t tell me how to answer it (laughing). Let me say that only independent states sit in the UN. Of course there are some observer countries, like Switzerland and others. All the states with seats at the UN are independent states and, as of now, Kosovo is not an independent state.
Q: Some days ago we were shocked at the cold-blooded killing of a UN staff member. Did you make any remarks to the Albanian political leaders on the consequences these incidents would have if they continued?
SG: We did discuss it with the leaders when we met them. They did offer their condolences and sympathies. But, of course, that murder shows the depth of the hatred and how much work we need to do to get people to reconcile and to forgive. If you can be killed for speaking a language, it shows how much work we all have to do as men and women of good will. We are going to take steps to ensure that this does not happen, not only to the UN staff, but to people generally in this territory. We are trying to intensify our efforts at training the police. We are going to bring in additional police, men and women, and really try to do whatever we can to improve security for all. I was very sorry for the colleague who got killed – he wasn’t even here for 24 hours before he was murdered. He came in search of peace. He came to help reconcile and he gets killed for speaking a language. How can you explain that?
Q: Are you satisfied that the Albanian leadership is doing enough to condemn and prevent attacks on minorities? [Second part inaudible.]
SG: I don’t think condemnations or declarations are enough. They are helpful, but we need to go beyond that and take measures to protect people; take measures to punish those who are committing these crimes; take measures to make sure that the judiciary system gets going. Right now my colleagues are appointing judges and getting the judicial system going. People must talk. There is almost a code of silence here – when KFOR or the police come around, nobody wants to talk, nobody wants to give them any evidence. How do you begin to cope with this problem? Police cannot do it alone, we need everybody. The leaders should not only condemn it, but we should all work together to take concrete steps to stop it. Or, at least, ensure that the criminals are arrested and punished to send out a message – otherwise it’s a free for all.
Q: Just wanted to give you the opportunity to comment on events in Pakistan, if you’re concerned by them. And what role do you think the Security Council might play in resolving the situation?
SG: As a matter of policy, I do not think coup d’etets are the best way to solve national problems. Obviously we are not aware of the intentions of the military junta, their objectives still are not clear. But I would urge them to try and return to a civilian rule as quickly as possible and let the political system take its place. I would also hope that the events in Pakistan will not heighten tensions in the region. As you know, we’ve had tensions in the region beginning with the explosion of nuclear devises by both Pakistan and India. And recently the Kargil incident where elements from Pakistan crossed the line of control and led to a military confrontation that could have gotten out of hand. But I hope this development will not further raise tensions in the region.
SARAJEVO - Press Conference - 12 October 1999 (unofficial transcript)
Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would want to thank you for coming this afternoon to this press conference. And let me say that it has been a particular pleasure for me to return to Sarajevo. I knew Sarajevo during the war and at the worst period of crisis. And coming back this time and seeing how you have rebuilt the society, as I have flew over the airport and got into the city, my mind flashed back to the difficult days of the conflict when almost every building was gutted. So, I want to applaud your hard work, your determination, the tenacity of the people of this land to pick up the pieces and rebuild.
Since my arrival, I=ve had very, very good meetings with the leaders - the Joint Presidency, the Prime Ministers, the Foreign Ministry and the Council of Ministers. And these discussions, had given me the sense that there is more dialogue among the communities. With all my interlocutors I was able to discuss the need to build a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural Bosnia; the need for joint institutions to work better; the need to strengthen the rule of law - not just to write laws but to implement them fairly and consistently across the board, because these laws are the basic foundation on which one builds strong societies. This will provide protection for individuals, because without laws of the kind I=m referring to, we cannot say all individuals are equal before the law. It will also create the right environment for us to encourage investments. Once that enabled environment is created, both domestic and external investors will become active.
Yes, a lot has been achieved, but a lot more needs to be done.
I am pleased with the cooperation among the UN agencies, the Office of the High Representative, SFOR and the Government. I have had the chance to look at the activities of the International Police Task Force and I believe the training program is making good progress. IPTF will also be assisting the Government to create border police to combat illegal trafficking. I am also pleased that the leaders assured me that they realize that the responsibility for building a new society, that building the future Bosnia is theirs and that of the people. But we of the international community should be ready to work with you and to assist. And we stand ready to continue our efforts. Some of you were at the Kosevo hospital, at the hospital today, where I greeted the six billionth baby and the mother. I think this is a sign of rebirth of a city that has gone through so much pain, of a people that are beginning to rebuild and I hope the symbolism will not be lost on us.
I then had the pleasure of touring the children=s home where I encouraged the children, the young ones, they may not understand it today, but as they get older they will, to build a future of tolerance, a future of diversity, a future of respect for each other and for us to accept that we are all born equal and have individual dignity. I hope they will do what I have asked them to do when they get bigger.
I will now take your questions.
Q: You have warned of a humanitarian crisis in Serbia. Now the EU has decided to send assistance only to the opposition, a couple of cities. What is the UN=s view about this and what is the international community going to do about this?
SG: You are right that I have maintained that there should be humanitarian assistance given to Serbia. We have a large number of refugees and I think perhaps today Serbia has the largest number of refugees in Europe. There are about 700,000 Serbian refugees from various wars, from Krajina, from Croatia and now from Kosovo, who are in desperate need of assistance. As a result of the military conflict in the region, a study we undertook indicates that there will be electricity shortages of 30 to 40 percent, many people will not have heating. Without electricity you will have problems with water supply and systems. So I have argued since the beginning of the summer that we should define humanitarian assistance in broad terms to include repairs to electrical systems, to ensure that we provide heating for the winter, the water systems are repaired and they have clean water and the hospitals can also be repaired. Because I think it is important that we do not further punish people who have already had painful experiences in their lives and have been disrupted. Humanitarian needs are humanitarian and I don=t think one can selectively offer humanitarian assistance. And this is why I would have preferred assistance to the needy across the board. And here I=m talking about the humanitarian assistance, across the board to all concerned. Obviously, what the European Union has decided to do is a step in the right direction. It is not going to solve the problems of all those desperately in need of our help.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, what are the key achievements of the UN policy in BiH so far and where do you think the UN and the international community should focus in the future?
SG: I think we have been here for quite a while and I think our achievements and contributions are all around us to see. What I think in the discussions I have had here is that we should focus and work with the government and the people on economic development. I think we should work very hard on the question of implementation of the laws which have been passed. We should improve the legal systems. We should really work hard to establish a society based on the rule of law and respect for individual rights. I think we have made some progress with the police. We=ve tried to train the police to become an instrument for the protection of individuals and their rights. We are now going to be focusing also on the judiciary system - to make sure that it=s not only that you have laws but that they are also implemented fairly and consistently across the board and that you have strong legal system to back it up.
The question of returns is also of importance to us. But of course we all need to do what we have to do. I think the entities and the governments and the leaders here will have to do certain things on the ground here to prepare and encourage the returns of the internally displaced and refugees. We the international community, should be prepared to assist when the people are prepared to come back. And when I say when the people are prepared to come back I=m not only talking about internally displaced, but also the refugees who are spread around the world. I think so far we=ve had about 600,000 that have returned and this year alone another 40, 000. And we have discussed today some special measures that we need to take perhaps to encourage professional, Bosnian professionals - doctors, writers, professors who are away - to come back home and to help with reconstruction.
Q: The question of refugees is the key issue today in Bosnia. Do you think Secretary-General that the Kosovo model can be implemented in Bosnia, which means that the IPTF and SFOR can escort and protect refugees going to their homes?
SG: Let me say that each crisis is different and has its own peculiarities. I think we need to be careful not to equate the Kosovo experience with the Bosnian experience. In Kosovo we witnessed perhaps the fastest and the most incredible, spontaneous return of refugees we have seen anywhere in recent times. When the refugees are able to return home quickly, the chances are that most of them will go back. The longer they stay away and put down roots and some begin to settle, the much more difficult it is for them to uproot themselves and start again. Which means that in the case of Bosnia we have much more work to prepare, convince and engage the refugees and the displaced to go back to where want to go to. It would also mean that we should be more welcoming, we should be more tolerant. We should accept diversity in our midst and they should feel a sense of security and that the prospects for building a future economically, socially and politically should also exist. And therefore we cannot compare the two situations. I don=t think the Kosovars went back because there were troops in Kosovo or troops were escorting them back from Albania to Kosovo. There were other factors at work here.
Q: Can you comment on what happened last night in Pristina. One peace keeper was killed - he just arrived?
SG: First of all let me offer my sympathy and condolences publicly to the family of our colleague who was killed in Pristina yesterday. He had just arrived. It was his first day in Pristina. Investigations are going on and I cannot specifically indicate what happened. I understand that he is an American, from the preliminary information that I have received, that he is an American of Bulgarian origin. He had just joined the UN to work in civil affairs, but when I get there tomorrow I am sure I will have much more detailed information.
Q: We witnessed a lot of violence in Kosovo. What impact is it going to have on the peace process in Kosovo, including the last incident we had when one of the UN staff was killed.
SG: Obviously, like you, we are very much worried about the violence in Kosovo. We have a mandate to build and encourage a multi-ethnic Kosovo, Kosovo for all its citizens, regardless of their ethnicity. And we now are witnessing a situation where some of the citizens have come under a lot of pressure. There is revenge, attacks. We have appealed for the revenge to cease; we have appealed for tolerance and reconciliation, which obviously we realize will take some time, but that is quite different from systematic policy of revenge and attack. So, these violent tendencies in the society are a source of great concern to us and we would want to see the situation calm down, for us to continue our work of administering Kosovo. And of course, we are guided by Security Council Resolution 1244, which requires us to administer Kosovo as part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The KFOR and my administrator Bernard Kouchner are doing whatever they can to bring down the violence, to get the people to sit and talk, to get them to make an effort to live side by side and look forward to the future. Thank you.
Q: What do you think about the initiative for Bosnia-Herzegovina to take part in one of the UN peacekeeping missions?
SG: This issue was discussed with the leadership and I think Mr. Klein has also discussed it with the leadership and we on our side will be prepared and be happy to see Bosnian participation in some of our operations - at the civilian level and at the military level. And I think Mr. Klein is trying to work out the details. And when Bosnia is ready, we will be ready and have space for their participation in one of our peacekeeping operations. I think symbolically it would be important and it would also send a very strong message to the rest of the world that things are moving in Bosnia. Not only are you rebuilding the future and trying to make sure that peace takes hold, but you are prepared to give something back to the world and to play your role in the international community. So I hope it will happen and we will be happy to receive your men and women in one or two of our peacekeeping operations. Thank you.
*** * *
ROME - Secretary-General=s Statement following meeting with Prime Minister D=Alema of Italy 11 October 1999 (unofficial transcript)
Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. As you heard from the Prime Minister, we had a chance to cover lots of ground in a very short time.
I was able to express to the Prime Minister my appreciation and that of the entire United Nations, for the support and cooperation of Italy, which has been an ideal Member State.
We did, as the Prime Minister said, discuss the emerging international order in the new era that we live in and the need to focus on protection of the individual. In the past, we have all been rather concerned about state security and state sovereignty. The challenge as we move into the new millennium is to find a way of shifting that emphasis on protection of the state to the protection of the individuals who live within that state. And I think the Prime Minister has spoken very eloquently about that, and our views are identical and I don=t want to go over that.
The other issue we did discuss was the humanitarian situation in Serbia, where there are 100,000 refugees from previous wars, from Bosnia to Croatia and now Kosovo, who are in dire need of assistance in Serbia. And of course, as the winter approaches, I am personally, and the Prime Minister and others are, concerned about the heating situation. There is lack of electricity, lack of heating facilities. And of course that also means [problems of] clean water, hospitals.
And I have argued for quite a long time that we should define humanitarian assistance in a broad enough manner to allow for assistance and repairs to the electricity and heating systems and water, to be able to assist the people through the winter. Otherwise, we will have another major humanitarian crisis on our hands.
And finally, I want to thank the Prime Minister and the Italian Government for giving us assistance in East Timor, despite the fact that it is so far away from Italy. And in my mind that underscores the understanding of this Government, and all of us, of the interdependence of today=s world.
And I am very grateful for all the support we have received. Thank you.
* * * *
Remarks of the SG upon arrival at UNHQ, 6 October 1999, on East Timor (unofficial transcript)
Q: We got a report out of East Timor. The head of the peace-keeping forces, the Australian head, has reported to the AP that peace-keepers shot and killed two militia men in what he said was a failed ambush. We'd like to know if you know anything about the situation and certainly what this portends for the security situation in East Timor and the MFN.
SG: I have no information about that. Obviously, if there had been any such incidents, we will get a report and I would make a judgement then. But I have no reports to that effect. I think on the general security situation, I should say that I think the multinational force has done quite well. I believe that so far so good. They are trying to spread out and are going to help in bringing back the East Timorese from West Timor, and I hope that operation will go well.
Q: Assuming this report is absolutely true, (inaudible) the authority that two men were shot and killed, does this tell you that the security situation is getting worse and is something that you may have to be particularly concerned?
SG: We are in an operation which we did not expect to be without risk. And I think given the history of the place and what the multinational force has done in the weeks that they've been there, I think things have gone reasonably well. I will need to look into the reports.
* * *
Remarks by SG as he arrived at UNHQ, 28 September 1999 - on East Timor (unofficial transcript)
Q: What is your next step?
SG: I thought you were here this morning, waiting for my guest. I think, obviously, the Commission has asked for an inquiry, which we are going to set up fairly quickly to try and ascertain the facts so that those responsible would be made accountable.
Q: Mr. Kofi Annan, there are very pitiful reports from West Timor telling that even little babies and pregnant women are being killed now in West Timor. Do you know about that?
SG: Well, we are concerned about the situation in West Timor and we are trying to increase our presence in the region. The High Commissioner for Refugees is increasing the number of staff; the International Red Cross is; and we are in touch with the Indonesian authorities, both military and political, to give us access, which they have, and to work with us in ensuring that those are protected and the militia are separated from the bona fide displaced or refugees who are in the region and to help us get them back into East Timor. And we are hoping to be able to do that.
Q: About the talks this afternoon, between Portugal and Indonesia, …
SG: As you know, both of them signed the agreement and they’ve been following very, very closely developments on the ground. And so we will be assessing where we are and then, of course, we'll talk about Phase 3.
Q: Will you speed up Phase 3?
SG: It is quite likely. But of course, that depends on -- we, on our side, are speeding up planning and implementation of Phase 3. But the key decision has to be taken in Jakarta, on the question of -- they will have to accept the results of the ballot, which I trust they will, given what has happened and the size of the "yes" vote. Then, we will be moving on formally to Phase 3.
Q: The American Ambassador yesterday said that United Nations is moving very slowly concerning East Timor, and America wants to put more pressure for the United Nations to move faster.
SG: More pressure or are they going to give us more troops and resources?
Q: Will you raise with Mr. Alatas the question of the international inquiry, or will your discussions today concentrate on the transition process?
SG: As a group, we will concentrate on the transition process, but I will have a chance, on one-on-one, to talk to him about the investigation.
Thank you very much.
* * * *
Remarks by SG upon arrival at UNHQ, 14 September 1999 - on East Timor (unofficial transcript)
Q: Good morning, Mr. Secretary-General, could you tell us the reasoning for the pull-out of most of the UN staff from UNAMET.
SG: Why we pulled them out? I think the reasons were simple. We had many more staff in the compound than the space could accommodate. We were worried about supplies; we were worried about health reasons, and further we should get out all the internally displaced persons who had taken refuge with us, to take them to safety and give our people also, get them out, give them a bit of rest for them to go back in and do their work. They've been holed up, not able to do much. We've kept a core staff there and will be going back shortly.
Q: Do you have any frustration about the failure at the moment (inaudible). Are there any problems developing?
SG: I wouldn't use the word "failure". I would say that we are moving ahead as quickly as we can to get in the force. I think the Council will begin action on the resolution soon. My discussions will continue with the Foreign Minister of Australia and Foreign Minister Gama of Portugal, and I'll be seeing Mr. Alatas again. I think we made good progress yesterday and we're going to move ahead.
Q: When do you think there will be a force going in?
SG: Well, my hope is that, we should be in, it would be possible to have some elements on the ground, hopefully by the weekend at the latest.
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