H. E. Mr. Wlodzimierz CIMOSZEWICZ

Minister for Foreign Affairs
Head of the Delegation of the Republic of Poland

United Nations General Assembly
Fifty-sixth session
Agenda item 9: 
General debate

New York, 
12 November 2001

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Mr. President,

At the outset let me offer my sincere congratulations on your election to the prestigious office of the President of the fifty -sixth session of the UN General Assembly. The de legation of the Republic of Poland extends to you, Sir, its firm support in your demanding mandate.

Let me likewise express to the former President, Mr. Harri HOLKERI of Finland our appreciation of his remarkable leadership, which he brought to the fifty-fifty session of this Assembly.

I should also like to convey to Mr. Kofi ANNAN, the distinguished SecretaryGeneral, my sincere greetings and to say how pleased Poland is at his second terni in that responsible post. May I also take this opportunity to renew to him, and indeed to this Organization as a whole, my government' s congratulations on the recent Nobel Peace Prize. The award comes as a timely token of appreciation of the way the U. N. and the Secretary General have been meeting is formidable challenge.

Mr. President,

The appalling tragedy of September 11th calls for resolute reaction of the entire international community, for its active solidarity with the United States and effective counter-measures against those who sow death, hatred and terror.

The terrorist attack of September 11th, the way it came about and the circumstances it was conditioned by, should be seized by the international community as an occasion for an in-death reassessment of the very foundations of the international order. Preoccupied as we are with the daily and ever new developments we usually tend to be mentally incapable of following signals that predict new trends in international relations. We can hardly afford time for a searching reflection, for instant adjustment of those negative phenomena which - if ignored - in time become the breeding ground of upheavals and conflicts. In the era of enormous new challenges it is a time of creative thinking, vision and intellectual courage.

The essence of security has changed dramatically. In Poland's view, all aspects of security call urgently for a thorough and imaginative reassessment. In this context a particularly searching reflection must be focused on the role of the state; a state; which is acting in entirely new circumstances, in the era of - dramatically growing - integration, globalization, but also fragmentation process. This is the time of interdependence and multiculturalism when openness, close international cooperation and interaction should be seen as countermeasures to diverse processes of fragmentation and disintegration, which can lead us even further - to the domain of nationalism, separatism, closure and isolation already on the agenda. Fragmentation is creating instability and conflicts. And the most dangerous fragmentation process of current era is emerging from nothing else than the widening development gap between regions and states so well confirmed and documented by many U. N. publications. In this the role of the U. N. is particularly fondamental and crucial. There is no better-equipped and more universal forum to deal with those issues.

At the Headquarters of an organization, which the peoples of the United Nations 56 year ago have established in order to "maintain international peace and security" that axiom should be self-evident. The whole worid is trying to answer for challenges of globalization, new scientific revolution, and - quite recently - the destabilization forces of terror. The U. N. should find proper answers for those challenges. This is a time for collective and resolute action.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Perhaps as ominous as terrorism itself is the fact that in some countries, the monstrous act of violence has been met with some sympathy of those who are destitute, deprived of any hope, driven to the margins of social life and become frustrated and desperate.

Terrorists must not be ever exculpated or justified. We need to remove the grounds on which many perceive terrorists as the "present day Robin Hoods". Such a perception should be described as groundless. Yet, it does not release us of our responsibility to take a careful and courageous look at those phenomena of the present international order, which tend to consolidate inequalities and diverse social calamities.

Mr. President,

From the very beginning Poland has proclaimed herself entirely on the side of the international antiterrorist coalition. We are working seriously and diligently on the implementation of the Security Council resolution 1373.

Regional undertakings can make a significant contribution to drafting the global strategy of struggle against terrorism. With that in mind, we organized a very successful international conference on combating terrorism in Warsaw last week. It was attended by representatives of 17 Central European, Baltic and Balkan states including 13 presidents. There was also a direct connection with the White House and the President George. W. Bush had an opportunity to talk directly with the Conference participants. The declaration of the conference indicates strong political commitment to fight against that plague at the dawn of the 21st century, in close collaboration with the United States and the whole international community. The adopted plan of action spells out concrete measures. It is significant that the leaders of that region of Europe gave unanimous backing to the relevant actions of the United Nations, the European Union and other organizations.

Mr. President,

In the Polish very complicated history, my Nation experienced several cases of betrayal by our disloyal neighbors and allies and paid the highest price for it. Therefore we understand better than anyone else how priceless and crucial is the true loyalty and alliance. Thus, we will continue to support our friends and allies by all available means. Our principal current aim seems to be give people a relieve from fear, fear that was imposed on them by the enemies of mankind.

The horrible scenario, where public order and safety of the people is threaten, passenger planes hijacked and destroyed, deadly viruses spread or water poisoned, must not be repeated. We have to defeat those who participate in or contribute to create such a threat. Our approach must be a comprehensive one. Let me make it clear: there is no room for any selectivity, flexibility or relativism when the most fundamental values are openly and furiously attacked.

However, Mr. President, we need to reconsider our positions how to respond to the needs of millions of those who every day suffer from hunger, disease, lack of clean water. For them, the same and the only question arises every morning - a question that sounds like a classical phrase "to be or not to be". This is the question how to survive. Extreme poverty deprives people of their inherent dignity, human rights and chances for better tomorrow, thus pushing them to make desperate steps.

Let the tragedy of September the 11th teach all of us how to collectively combat evil. Let us do everything to assure that forces of darkness never prevail.

Mr. President,

Over the last few years it has been eloquently argued, also from this rostrum, that globalization is a very positive force, which ultimately usher in an era of prosperity, stability and global society. Alas, this has not come to life.

This, Mr. President, calls for a new approach to international cooperation, for a new role of multilateral institutions and for the restoration of the primacy of courageous political decisions and inter-governmental accords. This also calls, on the one hand, for a greater moderation of the strong and the rich and, on the other for more determined endeavors of the weak and the poor, who must be convinced that their consistent aspiration to improve one's own lot will ultimately pay off. In my opinion, the promotion of democracy and good governance offer one of the important routes towards such a goal. Our own Polish experience of the past twelve years since the historic transformations of 1989, testifies to the merits of that route.

Mr. President,

It is my government's firm view that in face of threats, which will forever be symbolized by the atrocities of September 11th, the interests of international security would be well served by the earliest signature and ratification of, or adherence to the multilateral conventions against terrorism, which have been elaborated under the aegis of the United Nations. In particular, the spreading anthrax scare representing but a tip of an iceberg of potential danger of bio-terrorism, spreading of fissile materials and chemical weapons are a powerful argument for the urgent need to strengthen and strictly enforce the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972, and some other legal instrument in this sphere.

We should immediately move - to quote Secretary-General's words - from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention.

Mr. President,

While imperative, the struggle against terrorism must not obscure the necessity for the United Nations to effectively discharge the mandate it was entrusted by the international community, a mandate whose scope is expanding over the years. This goes true not only for the international security problems, which I have just referred to. It also concerns the problems of socio-economic co-operation, protection of human rights and addressing the humanitarian issues, more particularly those concerning refugees and the protection of the environment.

Of major importance, in our view, is also the elaboration and adoption of a package of regulations and commitments in respect of development aid, indebtedness and trade. This brings me to emphasizing the significance of full implementation of the set of principles and practical measures which have been embodied in the Millennium Declaration. We are mindful, of course, that the translation of that program into practical steps cannot be the responsibility of the United Nations alone. In fact, it is essential for other institutions and organizations, including financial, trade and regional ones. Above all, it is necessary for individual states to get directly involved, otherwise smooth and timely implementation of the Millennium Declaration could be seriously jeopardized.

The United Nations is facing now enormous challenges without precedent. This challenges, particularly striking at the dawn of the new millennium, mean growing divisions, indeed - a risk of fragmentation of the international community. My country, Poland, is ready to be an active participant during the process of searching for a new role of the United Nations. We have been active in entire history of the U.N., we want to be active in immediate future as well.

I thank you for your attention.