DR. CELSO LAFER
MINISTER OF FOREGN RELATIONS OF BRAZIL
AT THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE 57TH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
OF THE UNITED NATIONS
New York, September 12 2002
I congratulate you on your election to the Presidency of the General Assembly of the United
I thank your predecessor, Han Seung-soo, for the leadership he displayed at a particularly critical moment for the Organization.
To Secretary General Kofi Annan, I reaffirm Brazil's confidence in his statesmanship.
I have the pleasure of greeting the entry of East Timor into the fold of the United Nations, just as we welcomed it, last July, in Brasilia, into our Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries. A free Timor - a remarkable UN success story.
Brazil also welcomes Switzerland, as it now becomes a full member of this global political forum.
I come to this hall as the representative of a country that has faith in the United Nations.
Of a country that views multilateralism as the guiding principle of relations among states.
This is a conviction we hold
dear at all times, good and bad.
We are at a particularly difficult juncture for the Organization. This moment calls for measures sustained by the principles and values on which the United Nations was founded. Brazil has defended them since the first international conferences of the 20th Century.
We have never let ourselves be tempted by the argument of power. Rather, we have been guided by the power of argument.
This has been the foreign policy of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Throughout the eight years of the two terms of office to which he was democratically elected, certain fundamental guidelines have been recurrent:
- fostering democratic decision-making;
- overcoming the governance deficit in international relations;
- designing a new financial architecture and providing effective solutions for volatility in capital flows;
- defending a multilateral trade regime that is both fair and balanced;
- correcting the distortions resulting from economic globalization that is not accompanied by a corresponding process of political and institutional globalization;
- affirming the value of human rights and sustainable development;
These are challenges that
we cannot face alone.
For this reason President Fernando Henrique Cardoso has sought to strengthen Mercosul together with South American integration, as instruments for peace, cooperation and greater competitiveness of our countries. Similarly, he has promoted the development of partnerships in all continents, pursuing wellbalanced negotiations for the establishment of free trade areas, in particular with the European Union as well as with the countries taking part in the Free Trade Area of the Americas process.
We are committed:
- to see the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol and the establishment of the International Criminal Court;
- to further the social development agenda;
- to move forward nuclear and conventional disarmament.
The Brazilian vision of the world under the leadership of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso expresses goals not just of government, but also of the entire country and society.
That is why the electoral process now underway will further strengthen democracy in Brazil and highlight the country's international credentials.
Our commitment to the United Nations and to multilateralism will not waver "in times of storm and blustery winds"("em tempo de tormenta e vento esquivo"), to quote Camoes, the great poet of the Portuguese language.
The greater the challenges - such as those facing us at this difficult juncture - the greater the need for answers grounded in legitimacy.
Legitimacy born of participation and consensus.
Cooperation must be our "modus
In the multilateral sphere, leadership is crucial to the tasks before us.
Yet the form and content of each task must be defined through dialogue.
Only through dialogue will a coalition of truly united nations be built.
Nations united by the power
The tangled interests that form a global web of interdependence, can only be managed through authority rooted in multilateral institutions and in respect for international law.
The commitment to negotiated settlements, under the aegis of multilateralism, must be upheld.
At the time of the September 11 terrorist attacks, this Organization immediately showed its solidarity with the United States of America by adopting resolutions by the General Assembly and the Security Council.
At the regional level, the Inter-American Mutual Assistance Treaty was invoked on a Brazilian initiative, as an expression of our firm repudiation and our condemnation of all barbaric acts of terrorism.
These responses have taken
the form of renewed collaboration in security, intelligence, police and
judicial cooperation issues.
Lasting solutions to terrorism, international drug trafficking and organized crime require careful and persistent efforts to set up partnerships and cooperative arrangements consistent with the United Nations multilateral system.
Many countries and regions have been burdened with the costs of globalization while at the same time being deprived of its benefits.
The very same free flow of capital that can foster investment is responsible for speculative attacks against national currencies and for balance of payment crises, with negative impact on the continuity of public policies and on the alleviation of social ills.
Protectionism and all forms of barriers to trade, both tariff and non-tariff, continue to suffocate developing economies and to nullify the competitiveness of their exports.
Liberalization of the agricultural sector has been nothing more than a promise repeatedly put off to an uncertain future.
The globalization we aspire to requires reform of economic and financial institutions. It must not be limited to the triumph of the market.
A modern understanding of development must encompass the protection of human rights, be they civil and political or economic, social and cultural.
In this respect, the appointment of Sergio Vieira de Mello as the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is a great honor for all Brazilians. He succeeds Mary Robinson, whose important achievements deserve recognition.
The United Nations was created to maintain peace and security. However, armed conflicts and pockets of irrational violence persist today.
The situation in the Middle East underscores how distant we still are from the international order imagined by the founders of the United Nations Charter.
Brazil supports the creation of a democratic, secure and economically viable Palestinian State as well as the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. Brazil also defends the right of the State of Israel to exist within recognized borders and of its people to live in security. These are essential prerequisites for lasting peace in the Middle East. It is only by mutually and comprehensively acknowledging the conflicting legitimacies in the region, as well as by building on existing agreements that we can staunch the indiscriminate destructiveness of violence and forge a way forward.
The use of force at the international level is only admissible once all diplomatic alternatives have been exhausted. Force must only be exercised in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and in a manner consistent with the determinations of the Security Council. Otherwise, the credibility of the Organization will be undermined in a manner that is not only illegitimate, but that also gives rise to situations of precarious and short-lived stability.
In the specific case of Iraq, Brazil believes that it is incumbent on the Security Council to determine the necessary measures to ensure full compliance with the relevant resolutions. The exercise by the Security Council of its responsibilities is the way to reduce tensions and to avoid risking the unpredictable consequences resulting from wider instability.
In Angola, the international community must support recent positive developments that open the way for the rebuilding of the country and the consolidation of peace and democracy.
Strengthening the system of collective security remains a challenge.
The Security Council needs reform so as to enhance its legitimacy and lay the foundations for more solid international cooperation in building a just and stable international order. A central feature of this reform should be the expansion of the number of members, both in the permanent and non-permanent categories.
Brazil has already made it known - and I reaffirm it here - that it is ready to contribute to the work of the Security Council and to take on all its responsibilities.
For Brazil, the United Nations is the public space for the creation of power that can only result, according to Hannah Arendt, from the human capacity to act in concert.
The United Nations is the crucial hinge in creating a global governance focused on a more equitable distribution of the dividends of peace and of progress.
Therein lies our vision for the future, a vision of solidarity among peoples and nations, a vision made legitimate by a renewed and inclusive understanding of power.
We are inspired by the observation by Guicciardini, the politically more successful Florentine contemporary of Machiavelli: "Among men, hope is normally more powerful than fear".