the President of the Republic of Slovenia





New York, 10 November 2001

(check against delivery)


Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Every admiration goes to the United States for making possible the normal, on-going work of the UN and sessions of the General Assembly despite the recent tragic events and all the global consequences. The tragic crime that affected the whole world, and still resounds in it, has brutally confronted us with new, very serious and long term issues. This year's general debate is thus an opportunity for us all, as well as a new great responsibility. A responsibility that must be accepted. Resorting to words of condemnation and solidarity cannot be enough.

As we sympathize profoundly with the American people, we must tell the world in one voice that we shall be deliberately and effectively allied in the future, too, and that we will cooperate in the fight against terrorism and in the thorough eradication of the roots of this evil. That we will responsibly consider joint measures for a world of more peace, greater freedom, solidarity and security, and more social justice for every person and every nation, and ever less space for violence. The idea of such a world requires that we avoid the vortex of evil by a considered and resolute response to the terrorist crime that was committed. The immediate decisive military reaction of the USA, NATO and other countries of the anti-terrorist alliance was imperative.

But we cannot simply rest at that. The vortex of violence, of all sorts, could threaten the democratic values that humanity has set over its long development as the measure of life in human society. That is why we are ultimately obliged to avoid dividing cultures following the principle of US versus THEM, dividing races, religions and nations into those civilized and those barbaric, and ascribing a priori fundamentalism to any religion or civilization. The UN have proclaimed this year the year of dialogue among civilizations. We should seize this opportunity.

The contemporary world is diverse, but all modern civilizations, all cultures and major religions respect human dignity and human life. Killing is an aberration anywhere in the world. Sadly, human and social pathology have made killing a lucrative business, and given international terrorism its own internal dynamic. Instigators and perpetrators of these despicable acts must be brought to justice, while it is the responsibility of politics to remove the social and political roots of this evil. It is the universal values of all contemporary civilizations, such as the sanctity of life and respect for human dignity, that enable the creation of a global democracy based on a global ethos.

Resolute action and also our joint attention must focus on those groups and individuals all over the world who brutally violate these principles, and bring chaos, murder and madness into our human world: Sadly, there are enough of these in all cultures and civilizations, in all parts of the human world. In the Christian world, too.
They warn us that the global world requires a different perception of the world and its dilemmas, especially of the unequal distribution of poverty and wealth, and that it raises questions to which there are as yet no answers.

At the Millennium Summit last year, we came very close to a realistic analysis of some of the major economic, financial, social, cultural, political and ecological effects of the global economy. W e have come nearer to the important understanding that a global world also requires global responsibility. And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, starts with the responsibility of each state.

States cannot arbitrarily do things that are in complete conflict with the values of the democratic world, and in particular they cannot systematically violate basic human rights and freedoms through state violence, nor allow and encourage activities that threaten the security of other countries and of the international community, all in the name of their proper sovereignty, even within their own boundaries. Neither can they ignore such activity by others, and shut themselves behind their borders.

Last year's position on humanitarian intervention was the first step in this direction, yet unfortunately not a sufficient one. The escalation of internationally syndicated and organized terrorism demands further steps to be made. We cannot allow terrorism and crime to abuse the possibilities offered by our globalized world before even the democratic world itself is in a position to put these possibilities to good use in finding answers to completely new challenges.

I see these challenges in the pronounced divisions that have global implications. Divisions into owners of capital, knowledge, ideas and information technologies on the one hand and the billions condemned to ignorance, a life of poverty and vegetating without prospects at the margins of society on the other hand. In the ever-greater financial weakness of many nation states and whole continents that are left without development potentials or prospects.

In the relentless growth of the power and authority of global capital, which has already long gone beyond state borders. True, this is in its very nature, but the consequences may be unimagined, for global capital assumes no responsibility for people's social position and prospects, for freedom and democracy, for development and the future, for people's security. This responsibility is left to state administrations, while capital moves in a different sphere.

I also see challenges in fundamentalisms of all kinds, even in the perverted understanding of competitiveness leading to production and services with an ever shrinking labour force, without caring about people and nature, about life on the planet and its future in an economy whose only motive and aim is profit.

I see them in the very pragmatically oriented national and international politics operating in a frame of dramatic simplicity and simplification, and so their euphoric haste does not match their effect. These are politics that ignore the dimension of time, the duration of phenomena, such as the ecological effects of genetic or biomedical interventions that are not apparent immediately but perhaps only in decades, only with the coming generations.

I see them in the neglect of a comprehensive perspective on phenomena and processes, in disregard for the way in which they are interconnected. All modern political, social and ecological dramas and conflicts, as well as the global socio-pathological cancers are a result of the interaction of a range of social forces and elements. In overlooking these, we overlook the very essence. Thus we decide on the wrong measures and means. These phenomena, which are like epidemics, including international terrorism, cannot be confined within the borders of one or more states. This applies to a host of phenomena, not just terrorism, but also ecology, food, genetics, finance, the information society, violence and so on.

I also see challenges in the lack of communication between the authorities and increasingly global civil movements. Protests from Seattle to Genoa are a powerful warning of the danger of a division into two worlds which are beginning to communicate solely through protests and violence. The world today is clearly different to what it was before. It could be better, but only with an awareness of and mechanisms for assuming global responsibility. This will enable the search for a dynamic balance leaving no room for chaos that out of control developments and acts of terror lead to. In order to achieve this we will have to change many things, or the world will live in increasing uncertainty.

Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, adapting the UN to these new circumstances is in a way a call in distress. It will not be a simple task. All 189 members and their representatives are bound primarily to the sovereignty of their own states. However, the world clearly also needs global governance. More than ever we need the UN as a global instance common to all states. An instance which will be able, with the full authority that rests on the global responsibility of states, to take measures to the benefit of dynamic development, a development of balanced forces and effects of the global economy and globalization in general. Otherwise we will have to say what the alternative is.

We must accept the recognition that every society, including the global one, must subordinate itself to specific rules, standards, or else it is subjected to the rule of crude force. Our difficulty is that we have overlooked that the world has become a single society, full of internal contrasts, which in real life, especially in international relations, recognizes and respects few rules. What we urgently need is a joint political will to provide legitimacy to a universal system of institutions and bodies, to which together we have entrusted the power to prescribe common rules, standards, law.

We need joint political will to subject ourselves to these rules, and to respect them. The actual power to prescribe rules would not only be in the hands of states. Could this also be the United Nations? What reforms are needed to achieve this? We cannot wait with the answers!

I am also speaking from the experience of Slovenia, which I represent. In gaining independence ten years ago, we experienced brief but serious violence on our territory. In our immediate vicinity, the south-east of Europe, we were faced with one of the most barbaric policies since the second world war, a policy which perpetrated genocide and other forms of widespread violence. With independence, Slovenia stepped into a world which is prepared to behave otherwise, better, from self-enclosed world that the former Yugoslavia has become in the final years of its life, when the equality of rights of people, nations, cultures, religions was violated and when hope for a different future was denied. We have stepped onto the path of freedom and Slovenia has accepted its own share of the responsibility for our global world.

I believe that this global world will tend toward a dynamic balance provided that states, large and small, rich and poor, technologically developed and marginalized, together seek new solutions. The venue can only be a fundamentally reformed UN. It is within such a UN that both a durable coalition against terrorism, and a durable coalition of common responsibility of all countries for a world with more solidarity and social justice for all humanity and all its parts can be achieved.