MR. RICARDO LAGOS ESCOBAR
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
OF CHILE IN THE GENERAL DEBATE
OF THE FIFTYSIXTH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
TO THE UNITED NATIONS
New York,NY USA
10 November 2001
(check against delivery)
Dr. Han Seung-soo, President of the General Assembly,
I wish to congratulate you on your election, which is a mark of recognition of the IRepublic of Korea and of your distinguished personal record in the public and academic spheres. I am confident that under your guidance, the work of this Assembly will have a successful outcome for the States Members of the United Nations.
New York today receives us as hospitably as it always has. Why then did we witness two months ago a terrorist act that shook the world?
If I may be allowed, it is because New York is the city of the world that best represents the values which the twentieth century defended at a cost of so much suffering: its welcorne to those who were persecuted by intolerance of al¡ kinds, its respect for all nationalities, races and religions, respect for all ideas, freedom to think and to create, opportunities for al¡ to succeed, and its protection of individual rights through democracy.
It is not by chance that it was here in New York, on the banks of the East River, that the Headquarters of the United Nations was erected. It was built here because the values of this city are the values of our universal Organization of nations.
The terrorist attack on New York was therefore an attack on the unity of our nations. It was our values, our security, our faith in a better world based on dialogue and cooperation that were the targets of terrorist fanaticism.
And that is why we have been so close to the United States during this period: its pain is our pain; its grief is our grief; its response to terrorism is our response.
We are here to reiterate our condolences to the people and Government of the United States for the thousands of deaths caused by these criminal acts.
The sight of thousands of persons bearing photographs of their lost
family members amidst the smoking ruins cannot but produce among Chileans
a profound sense of empathy.
We are here to express our admiration for the unity and courage of this city and of the American people as a whole. We salute the Government of the United States and President Bush who, faced with an attack of this magnitude, has managed to contain passions and ito act in a reasoned manner, building a diplomatic coalition never before witnessed in the world.
We are here also to express our commitment to the United Nations, a commitment that has been constant since Chile signed the Charter of the Organization at the 1945 San Francisco Conference.
The holding of this General Assembly marks a sound defeat for the terrorist cause, which seeks to replace the value of dialogue by the cult of violence, and a renewal of our faith ir] this world forum.
We are here to extend to the Secretary-General and to the Organization our warmest congratulations on the Nobel Peace Prize which this year has recognized the outstanding contribution of the United Nations to our efforts to overcome the challenges of this new century.
Many have remarked that the twentieth century has been one of the most violent and deadly in the history of mankind.
However, the twentieth century was also the century that produced outstanding progress, improved our quality of life and eliminated great evils forever. Much of this progress was achieved, unfortunately, as a result of terrible and prolonged wars.
The First World War was followed by the creation of the League of Nations and by a new awareness of the essential equality of peoples.
The Second World War was necessary to put an end to fascism in its most monstrous manifestations, but also out of it carne the United Nations, the process of decolonization, the Charter of Human Rights, the Bretton Woods Agreements and a new awareness of the essential equality of man.
The Cold War brought a clash between two political and economic visions, but once ended, left a new awareness of democracy and individual freedoms.
We are confronting, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, a new conflict of global proportions whose first objective must be to put an end forever to fanaticism and intolerance transformed into terror.
In the opinion of Chile, Mr. President, this vast alliance must also pursue other objectives.
Like other victorious coalitions throughout history, it must begin to ask now what new progress it will seek to achieve for humanity after its victory.
We must envision even now the new world that must emerge from this tragic period in our history. A world better organized and one that shows more solidarity. Because the tEwrorists will have achieved their objective if, as a result of their attacks, globalization changes direction and moves towards less freedom and less international trade.
On the other hand, as the Secretary-General has so succinctly put it, in order to achieve success in globalization we must learn how to manage it better and, above al¡, how to manage it better together.
Beyond the risks inherent in this process - and international terrorism is one of them - it is evident that globalization has become a vast vehicle for the progress of billions of people and has improved understanding between nations.
But the opportunities offered by globalization have not been widely distributed. Of the six billion people who inhabit our planet, half of them struggle to survive on less than two dollars a day, have never seen a personal computer nor made a telephone cal¡.
Alongside growing wealth, the number of poor has not declined and the gap between rich and poor is becoming increasingly difficult to bridge.
The balance of our worid is precarious and the concepts and institutions that we have developed to govem it are clearly inadequate.
The tragic recent events teach us that there is no nation on the earth that can consider itself invulnerable and that genuine security can be attained only through cooperation among peoples and States.
What make our citizens vulnerable today - apart from terrorism - are such phenomena as ignorance, hunger, drug trafficking, climate change, uncontrolled population movements, and the erratic flow of 1.5 trillion dollars every day in financia¡ markets.
Confronting the risks of globalization requires multilateral agreements based on the principie that none is so small as to be irrelevant nor is any so powerful as to be able to do without the rest of the worid. All States must have the opportunity to participate.
Chile supports the coalition of countries which, in exercise of the right of self-defense, have embarked on a campaign aimed at eradicating terrorism.
What are at stake here are the universal principies and values which we share and which we must defend. These actions therefore are not aimed at aggression against the Afghan people, the Arab worid, and least of al¡ the religion of slam, for which we profess profound respect and admiration.
In order to stop terrorism, there is need for broad, continuing and resolute cooperation.
This is why Chile has supported the responses decided upon in this Organization. We are actively implementing resolution 1373 of the Security Council and we are already party to 12 global conventions against terrorism. We will today deposit with the Secreta ry-General the respective instruments of ratification.
As coordinator of the Rio Group, Chile has contributed to the achievement of a consensus response within the Organization of American States and among the parties to the Inter-American Treaty on Reciproca¡ Assistance. We attach special importance to the cooperation, which the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE) can provide in this area.
Chile is a resolute advocate of a global dialogue aimed at correcting and improving upon the legislation and interna¡ legal order of each country to root out the terrorist threat.
We wish to reaffirm in this forum the need to strengthen measures to promote mutual confidence and cooperation in the ares of defense. In this regard, Argentina and Chile have standardized their data on military expenditure and we are working towards the same objective with Peru.
We cannot hide our frustration at the difficulties in the way of progress towards the restriction of the manufacture and illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. We are convinced that in a matter so closely related to human suffering, restrictions should prevail over pure and simple free trade.
We also feel obliged, Mr. President, to say that we view with horror the worsening situation in the Middle East. That conflict has now become a threat to international security.
Our hope is that a peace agreement will be achieved that recognizes the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self -determination, including the right to establish an independent State, as well as the right of Israel to ¡¡ve within secure and internationally recognized borders and at peace with its neighbors.
We view with concern how international terrorism has also affected our economies, which are the basis for social progress for our peoples.
Fear has gripped the markets and become an obstacle to the flow of capital and trade. If this situation continues, terrorism will have achieved an unexpected victory.
In these circumstances, the Bretton Woods institutions must address the concerns of the international political organizations and provide for the additional costs required by the response to terrorism.
We are confident of success at the Ministerial Meeting in Doha, at which items on the multilateral trade agenda of concern to al¡ of us will be addressed: agricultura¡ products and services, intellectual property, anti-dumping and the settlement of trade disputes.
We believe it is necessary and possible for the great coalition assembled to combat terrorism to also assume the task of promoting cooperation among Governments in order to avoid the creation of territories that are excluded from globalization, that are easy prey to destructive forces fuelled by resentment. This is the best way of guaranteeing genuine and lasting security for al¡ the peoples of the planet.
In order to create a safer world, we need more and better globalization, not more autarky. At the same time, what is required is more and better democracy, not more authoritarianism, with its inevitable seque¡ of human rights violations.
In this connection, Mr. President, We must act preventively to protect our democracies and to ensure respect for human rights.
Democracy is strengthened with each free and secret election with the participation of an informed electorate. It is also strengthened when it introduces higher levels of justice and social equality. It is necessary to give back to people their confidence in democracy. We do not wish to achieve modernity with injustice.
In the Rio Group we have noticed that no one in the region thinks that an attack against democracy will be legitimized by us.
Neither lack of development, nor cultural particularities can be used as a pretext to justify curtailment of the rights recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments.
In Latin America, the fight against discrimination and intolerance requires a frontal attack on poverty and a reaffirmation of the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples.
Human rights require institutions that ensure respect for them. Hence the importance of the International Criminal Court, which should be an essential instrument for the universal protection of fundamental human rights, whatever the rank of the violators.
I have come from far, from the south of the world with an optimistic vision. Before leaving, I met with young people of various origins and with dignitaries of different religious creeds; the same ones with whom we celebrate together each anniversary of our national independence.
And I saw in them a renewed capacity for understanding and comprehension that I am sure is shared among western and western countries, among ethnic groups and religions, in short, among all those who are here today, to achieve the common objective of peace and progress.
Let us learn from our experience in assembling this great global coalition to respond politically and militarily to the terrorist threat! In this coalition, al¡ are important without regard to creed, race, political history or ideology, and in the coalition there are no small or large countries.
• Let us ensure that international institutions take
due account of the interests of all countries, large, medium-sized and
• Let us ensure that this grand coalition would bring security, not only against terrorism, but also against hunger, vulnerability and discrimination. Let us update what we created fifty years ago.
This will be the most fitting tribute to the victims of terrorism and the best gauge of our commitment to the weak and powerless of the earth.
Thank you very much,