CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
It is an honour to be here in New York City and at this General Assembly.
That we are gathered here now, just two months after the devastating terrorist attacks of September 11, demonstrates both the resilience of this great city and the determination and defiance of a united global community.
Having spent last Sunday - like my friend, Prime Minister Dzurinda of Slovakia - running through so many streets and communities of the five boroughs of New York in the annual New York City Marathon, I have witnessed personally and been quite overwhelmed by the deep reserves of courage evident in this city, and in all those individuals who are choosing to take back their lives and reject the menace of terror.
Our job is to galvanize and focus the courage of nations - to transform sentiment into commitment, and commitment into action. Expressions of shared outrage are comforting but they will not be enough to defeat terrorism. The ultimate success of our campaign - this long and extremely complex campaign -rests upon our collective ability to demonstrate leadership, harness political will and sustain the commitment we have made to each other and to our citizens: that we will not allow crimes so vile, so immense and so shattering to the world community to be unanswered or ever repeated.
In order to achieve these goals - and to merit the trust and fulfill the expectations placed in the United Nations and its constituent member states - we cannot go on as before. There can be no more "business as usual." There is no more time, no more patience and no more resources for diplomatic gamesmanship and the stoking of dangerous self-interest. National governments must take responsibility, and be held accountable, for their actions and decisions - for fighting terrorism, for undertaking political and legal reforms, for resolving disputes, and for establishing the conditions in which democracy flourishes and development is sustained.
The United Nations may now be facing its greatest test ever. So far, the UN is performing admirably. The unity of purpose and effective decision making that allowed swift passage of the landmark UN Security Council resolution 1373, and the rapid convening of a special debate on terrorism, provide clear evidence of what we can accomplish together - and further underscore the reasons why this organization, and its esteemed Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, were deservedly recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize this year.
We cannot, however, afford to lose ourselves in complacency, self-congratulation or distraction. Our work has only just begun.
Horrific as the atrocities perpetrated on September 11 were, terrorism did not begin here. Unfortunately, too many of us in this hall know this all too painfully. No, it did not begin here; but we as a global community have the responsibility - and now a renewed opportunity -- to ensure that we end it. Here.
The United Nations has a unique and indispensable role to play. While the campaign against terrorism will be conducted through coalitions of different state actors, alliances and organizations, this is where it must ultimately all come together in its political, diplomatic, legal, economic, humanitarian and security dimensions. As long-standing proponents of multilateralism and the UN system, we in Canada have strongly welcomed the close collaboration evident between the United States government and the UN over these last two months.
In Canada, our highest priority is the campaign against terrorism, including
the obligations we have undertaken here at the UN. This crisis has deeply
affected our country, which shares with the United States the longest unmilitarized
border in the world, and the closest, most extensive and most profitable
bilateral relationship anywhere. Canadians, like Americans and citizens
of many other nations, are concerned about their security but also about
what kind of a country, and what kind of a world, they are to live in post-September
11. The interlinked goals of protecting our citizens, providing assurance
to our partners and allies, and preserving the character of our free, democratic
and diverse society have guided the actions and decisions of Prime Minister
Chretien and the Canadian government throughout this
We have committed 2000 armed forces personnel, ships, aircraft and special forces to the international military coalition against terrorism; and at home we have introduced a wide range of measures, legislation and new investments to bolster our security framework, including at the border and in our airports.
Canada welcomes the reporting and monitoring functions of Security Council resolution 1373. We have already implemented many of its provisions and are moving quickly on the rest. We are well advanced in the preparation of our report and will submit it to the Counter-Terrorism Committee well ahead of the 90-day deadline.
We urge other member nations to demonstrate their continued resolve and solidarity by doing likewise. And Canada is prepared to support those states for whom implementation poses a great challenge.
As we take steps in compliance with resolution 1373, we are completing our ratification of the Convention Against Terrorist Bombing and the Convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism; this will make Canada full party to all 12 existing UN counterterrorism conventions. Negotiations are underway on the 13th convention, the Comprehensive Convention Against International Terrorism. That convention will ensure that all terrorist acts are condemned under international law.
What is needed now is the political will to complete the negotiations. If not the General Assembly of the UN, who will act? If not now, when? The time will never be more propitious, or the need greater.
Our international legal framework also requires a strong arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament regime. Implementation of the Ottawa Convention banning antipersonnel mines is proceeding apace. And to keep weapons of mass destruction from being employed as the instruments of evil, we are hard at work to reinforce key instruments such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] safeguards, and the Chemical and Biological Weapons conventions - all requiring strong multilateral action to ensure their full implementation.
I would also add that we are now very close to making the International Criminal Court a reality, with only 17 more ratifications to go. The creation of the Court will represent an extremely significant step in the ongoing struggle to eliminate impunity for the worst crimes known to humankind.
These are only the most immediate and most obvious steps to ensure our collective security. But our agenda must be far broader than this.
Nothing has more violently shaken our sense of security than have the events of September 11. But our conception of what constitutes "security," and the nature of the threats that may be posed to it, was already undergoing dramatic change before the attacks.
The denial of human rights, the spread of HIV/AIDS, persistent mass poverty, unchecked environmental degradation, and the blight of drugs and crime all undermine stability, reduce human potential, and obstruct social and economic progress. They are threats to human security - as are discrimination and racism, which the Durban conference was intended to address. Unfortunately, it failed to achieve its potential and instead provided a forum for propagating long-standing hatreds and biases, and the world is poorer for it.
The resolution and prevention of conflict must remain at the top of the UN agenda, but leadership and commitment are required if we are to move from a culture of reaction to one of prevention, as proposed by the Secretary-General.
Just a week ago, I ended a five-country visit to the Middle East. I was reassured by the commitments of my hosts to the fight against terrorism. As have others, I urged Israel and the Palestinians to immediately put into place measures that will bring them back to the negotiating table. That is their only way forward. The essential truth is that there is no alternative to peaceful co-existence. This conflict cannot go on forever and leaders must act now to bring it to an end. The international community must increase its efforts to help bring about a just peace.
Finally, there is little that is more debilitating to humankind than the ravages of extreme poverty - most notably in Africa, which will be a principal focus for the G-8 in 2002, when Canada will assume the G-8 chair. Speaking at this podium in 1963, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson (a Nobel Peace Prize winner) warned the world of the dangers of a growing disparity in economic and social development between nations. He urged that this "must be corrected before it creates an unbridgeable gulf between 'have' and `have-not' nations." That was 39 years ago, and the challenge remains more acute than ever.
The pledges of the Millennium Summit in September 2000 must not be overshadowed by the urgency of the events one year later. Indeed, their fulfillment can and must form an integral component of how we create a strong, equitable global environment - one that can be neither attacked nor exploited by terrorists.
Terrorism does not speak to us; it does not speak for anyone but criminals and murderers, and it only serves to undermine the causes they purport to represent. It does not represent Islam; it does not reflect the will of the Afghan people.
The welfare of the Afghan people must remain sharply in our focus. This is a country that has been so neglected, so abused and so driven into isolation by its self-appointed rulers that it could not even be ranked on the last UN Human Development Index. The rights of its people - notably women and girls - have been blatantly and repeatedly violated. An acute humanitarian crisis is building; we must do more, working with UN agencies and other relief organizations, to ensure that civilians (including refugees and internally displaced persons) are protected and have access to food and aid.
For this reason, Canada responded to the UN's humanitarian appeal, adding further resources to the $160 million in aid that we had already provided over the last 10 years. We were also pleased at the prompt appointment of Lakhdar Brahimi - who has played such an integral role in the reform of UN peacekeeping - as the Secretary-General's Special Representative to Afghanistan. Canada has pledged to work with Ambassador Brahimi and other coalition states to support the Afghan people in the search for a stable, fair and effective administration that can begin the enormous task of leading Afghanistan forward to a more secure and hopeful future.
The opportunities for progress toward a more free, prosperous and peaceful world have always been before us. In the haze of self-interest and competing priorities, sometimes our global community has not seen them so clearly.
The enormity of September 11 has offered us that clarity, just as it has concentrated minds and catalysed relationships. It has given us a renewed basis for co-operation between states both within and outside the United Nations - not only driven by the United States and its traditional allies (including Canada) but also through the opportunities for leadership provided to Russia and China, to India and Pakistan, to countries of the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and others in the resolution of this crisis.
Terrorism globalizes us. It globalizes outrage and condemnation, just as it does compassion and the cry for justice. We must ensure that terrorism also globalizes a sustained commitment to bring about its end.
Tomorrow, on November 11, Canada and other UN member nations will mark our annual Remembrance Day. On this day we remember and honour the men and women who have fought and sacrificed for our freedom. This week in New York I hope that we will all take time to remember what it is that we are together working - and, yes, fighting - for today. For freedom, for peace and for justice, and for the dignity and realization of the potential of all peoples everywhere.
As we make our speeches, file our papers and press forward our resolutions
in this great hall, let us also remember that the words "United Nations"
- coined by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942 - not only refer to
an organization or a name on a building, but that they were first and foremost
a declaration of solidarity and of a common vision for a better world.