His Excellency Mr.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus
UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY GENERAL DEBATE
New York, NY
12 November 2001
Allow me, first of all, to congratulate you on your election to this responsible post of the President of the 56 t" session of the United Nations General Assembly. This is, undoubtedly, a fair recognition of your great personal experience, as well as of the role of the Republic of Korea in international affairs.
We would also like to express our gratitude to Mr. Harri Holkeri. The
successful running of the Millennium Summit and Assembly is a clear example
of his personal talent and leadership skills.
The United Nations is entering the new century under the leadership of His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan. His earlier unanimous re-election by the UN General Assembly for the second five-year term came as an unequivocal acknowledgement of the highest appreciation of his work as the United Nations Secretary-General. We also consider as well grounded the recent decision by the International Nobel Committee to grant the 2001 Nobel Peace Award to the United Nations and personally to Mr. Kofi Annan as its Secretary-General.
The consequences of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, against
New York and Washington D.C. continue to be felt as painfully pressing.
In this regard, our country does not consider the current session of the
General Assembly just as a regular event within the United Nations framework.
Belarus proceeds from the understanding that all of us as UN Member States
must demonstrate a collective wisdom, display a collective will to make
our world less vulnerable in the face of insane acts that put individual
countries and humanity as a whole on the edge of a global catastrophe.
As a responsible member of the international community, the Republic of Belarus cannot remain indifferent to this threat. The President of the Republic of Belarus H.E. Mr. Alyaksandr Lukashenka in his address to the UN Secretary-General H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan has clearly explained the perspective of our country as to international activities to fight against terrorism, I quote: "In the present situation the role of the United Nations in consolidating the efforts of states in the fight against terrorism is considerably increasing. We can only achieve a real success in this fight provided that the unique capabilities of the United Nations are used, especially as regards eradicating the root causes that generate and support terrorism. We believe that the United Nations should be placed in the center of developing strategy and tactics for the measures to be taken by the international community to combat terrorism", end of quotation.
Having actively supported all the antiterrorist resolutions by the UN Security Council and General Assembly and having become a party to 12 UN conventions on terrorism, Belarus welcomes the measures aimed at definition and eradication not only of the terrorism itself, but also of its root causes. We firmly support the work of Committee established in accordance with the resolution 1373 by the UN Security Council, and are ready to closely co-operate with the this organ.
Last year during the Millennium Summit and Assembly we ruled in favor of preserving the United Nations as a unique universal international institution uniting all countries of the world. The establishment of the necessary conditions for effective implementation of the goals set up in the Millennium Declaration is the question of the future of the Organization itself. We believe that the dynamics of implementation by the United Nations of the Millennium Declaration provisions during the first year after the Millennium Summit evoke certain optimism. In this regard, I would like to underscore that the Republic of Belarus has already worked out a Special Governmental Program on Implementation of the UN Millennium Declaration whose final draft currently stands ready for endorsement.
We see it as critical that the UN Member States have come to the realization of existing unbreakable links between development, peace and security in the context of globalization. The recent tragic events in the United States of America reaffirmed this interdependence.
Belarus welcomes the intensive work carried out by the UN in 2001 in the preparation for the International Conference on Financing for Development. We are convinced that this forum must lay grounds for a new international consensus on global economic and financial issues. Belarus believes that such a consensus should be built taking into consideration specific interests and needs of countries at different stages of social and economic development. The overall success of the forum will be ultimately dependent on the application of this approach.
While addressing the most pressing social and economic challenges of the modern world, we must not weaken our focus on the area of international security and disarmament. The statistics of military expenses growing up worldwide to have reached 800 billion US dollars per year is of particular concern in the present alarming international situation. It should be noted that our country has been pursuing a consistent policy in the field of disarmament. We have significantly contributed to the consolidation and development of international weapons-of-mass-destruction-non-proliferation regimes, including the reduction of the number of such weapons and elimination of their available arsenals.
Belarus has been consistently fulfilling the provisions of all nuclear disarmament treaties, which our country is a party to. The recent concluding inspection on the Intermediate and Shorter-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty carried out in Belarus in February 2001 confirmed a strict observance by our country of all the conditions envisaged by this document.
As a nation that voluntary relinquished possession of nuclear weapons and completely withdrew them from its territory in 1996, Belarus is determined to advocate the necessity of providing legally binding guarantees to non-nuclear states, including the elaboration of an appropriate international convention to this end.
The Republic of Belarus shares the opinion of states, which consider the Antiballistic Missiles Treaty of 1972 as a critical component of maintaining strategic stability. The outcome of decades of strenuous negotiations for the sake of reaching the compromise that saved the world from the imminent nuclear threat must not be dismissed. Strategic stability is a practical imperative for each and every state without exception. Negotiations on such an important issue should be conducted on a multilateral non-bloc basis with the participation of all interested states and in strict conformity with the provisions of the UN Charter.
We welcome the efforts undertaken for the universal prohibition of chemical weapons and support early elimination of existing arsenals of combat poisonous substances, as well as the attainment of universality of the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. This Summer Belarus concluded the Agreement with the Organization on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on the Privileges and Immunities of this Organization.
We pursue a similar responsible and consistent policy in the field of reducing conventional weapons. Strictly fulfilling the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, Belarus was the first among the participants of this treaty to ratify the Agreement on the Adaptation of the Treaty. Ratification by the Republic of Belarus of the Open Skies Treaty in 200'1 is a proof of the consistence of our policy in this field.
Practical contribution to the strengthening of regional stability, based on the principle of comprehensive and mutually beneficial co-operation with neighboring countries in all areas relevant to security and disarmament, is an important dimension of our foreign policy. Pursuant to this course of action Belarus has concluded the agreement with Lithuania on the measures for strengthening confidence and transparency. We are continuing to work to proceed to signing similar agreements with Ukraine and Poland.
Conflict prevention remains among the most important issues on the UN agenda. The events of the past year proved that the initiatives taken by the United Nations together with an active personal involvement of the UN Secretary-General and complemented by the work of regional organizations and individual UN Member States were effective and, very often, the only solution required to address the escalation of conflicts in different parts of the world.
At this point one cannot help mentioning the situation in Afghanistan, which is of particular concern to the international community. The developments within this country, as well as in the region as a whole have the risk of escaping out of control. Military force is not capable of resolving all the complex problems that have been multiplying for years. We are convinced that a sophisticated conundrum of contradictions within the Afghan society can only be unraveled by means of a balanced domestic dialogue based on a strict compliance with the standards of international law.
It is critical not to give up intensifying political efforts to give a new impetus to the peace process in the Middle East. There is no alternative to a peaceful establishment of the Palestinian State through political negotiations based on a strict observance of the already adopted Security Council resolutions and the decisions of other relevant international fora. It is regrettable that the UN Security Council was unable to reach consensus on the modalities of the UN presence in the region at this crucial period of time. We consider as extremely important the continuation of efforts to settle the unresolved issues on the Lebanese track together with the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Golan Heights.
We are concerned about the situation in Kosovo and Macedonia provoked by aggressive separatism and international terrorism. We believe that political logic must prevail over the logic of force here as well. On the eve of the forthcoming all-nation elections in Kosovo, Belarus confirms its adherence to the principle of territorial integrity of Yugoslavia and supports the diplomatic initiative by the Russian Federation to legally reconfirm the existing national borders in the Balkans.
The situation in Africa continues to remain unstable. We believe that the establishment of the African Union, further strengthening of other African regional structures with an effective UN involvement are important prerequisites for the maintenance of peace and stability in this continent. The application of a comprehensive approach, envisaging the integration of political, economic and social resources of African states is of crucial importance. Belarus is supportive of immediate implementation of all the decisions taken at the Summit of Organization of African Unity in Lusaka, Zambia, in July 2001.
It is important to retain the achieved dynamics in the political process
of establishing the statehood of Eastern Timor to be followed key admission
of this country as a full-fledged member to the world family of nations.
It is necessary to encourage an active work being done in order to continue an equitable dialogue between the North Korea and South Korea. The Cyprus problem continues to be an issue of import~:~nt international relevance. We call for the resumption of negotiations on the creation of a federal state in the region in accordance with the provisions of the relevant resolutions by the UN Security Council.
Belarus has been enhancing its participation in major UN international legal instruments in a number of strategically important areas. This includes combating organized crime and drugs trafficking. Belarus signed the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementing Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, as well as the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea, and Air.
Besides, the Republic of Belarus became a party to the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, the Convention on the Safety of the United Nations and Associated Personnel, the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the Protocol Amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
The current UNGA session is an important stage in establishing legal framework for Belarus' joining the UN system of peacekeeping operations. On October 1, 2001, the Republic of Belarus signed the Memorandum of Understanding regarding its participation in the United Nations Stand-By Arrangements System. We see the recent visit of the represE:ntatives of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations to Belarus to test and select Belarusian candidates for the UN civilian police contingents as an important initial step in the process of implementation of this Memorandum.
A major importance in the Millennium Declaration is attached to the
promotion by the UN Member States of the principles of sustainable development.
Yet, it can be observed that the realization of the paradigm of sustainable
development in many developing countries and countries with economies in
transition continues to be confronted with major difficulties.
In this regard, we pay a special attention to the preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. We consider the Rio+10 Summit to be an appropriate forum for defining new approaches to the solution of global problems, developing new and effective financial, institutional and legal mechanisms for their implementation.
The current session of the UN General Assembly is of principal importance to my country since it will consider the issues relating to elimination of the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. Economic, social and humanitarian aspects of this problem cannot be overestimated. It is sufficient to mention here that over the past decade Belarus has spent 12,5 billion US dollars to overcome the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. However, the people inhabiting contaminated areas have been unable to return to their normal way of life. There is a need to further rally international support to the efforts of my country to mitigate and minimize the aftermath of the Chernobyl catastrophe.
In this context we highly appreciate the initiatives put forward by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, UN Coordinator of International Co-operation on Chernobyl Mr. Kenzo Oshima to intensify international post-Chernobyl cooperation, including through shifting its focus towards assistance to sustainable development of the contaminated areas and their human capacity. The findings and outcome of the special UN assessment mission to the three most affected states earlier this year are expected to significantly contribute to the understanding of what precisely should be done in this direction in the near future. In the course of the current UNGA session a draft resolution entitled "Strengthening of International Cooperation and Coordination of Efforts to Study, Mitigate and Minimize the Consequences of the Chernobyl Disaster" has been jointly submitted by the Governments of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. I call upon the delegations to support this draft.
In the Millennium Declaration Implementation Plan the UN Secretary-General Mr. Kofi Annan fairly observes that "the epoch of taking obligations has just finished for the international government. Now it has to enter the epoch of their execution." It means that successful implementation of the Organization's strategy in the era of globalization is exclusively dependent on us as UN Member States. This is not only our common advantage but also our common responsibility.
Belarus is confident that the United Nations and the international community are capable of mobilizing political will, as well as technological and intellectual resources for the sake of building a stable and prosperous world.
For the Republic of Belarus the tenth anniversary of its independence coincided with the second presidential elections in the history of my country.
The support rendered by the overwhelming majority of voters to the President Mr. Alyaksandr Lukashenka confirmed the soundness of democratic foundations of the Belarusian society.
Similarly, the foreign policy of our country will remain consistent
and constructive. It will be guided exclusively by the basic principles
of the UN Charter, universally recognized norms of international law, including
the aspiration for the establishment of the world order where the interests
of all countries, big and small, developed and developing, both in the
North and in the South are equitably taken into account. Cooperation with
all UN Member States on the mutually beneficial and constructive basis
will remain the central priority for the Republic of Belarus.