STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY
MR. GEORGI PARVANOV, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA
TO THE UNITED NATIONS
57TH REGULAR SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
12 SEPTEMBER 2002, NEW YORK
Mr. President, Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, let me congratulate you, Mr. President, on your election. Your
vast political experience and diplomatic ability guarantee the successful discharge
of your duties - in the name of the United Nations' cause and for the prestige
of the friendly Czech Republic.
The events of the last year do not allow us to treat this session as merely
routine. Political declarations should be put aside to focus our attention on
achieving concrete results. This session should address the unfinished tasks
of the Millennium Declaration and the new challenges to international peace
and security, the fight against terrorism in the first place. The session should
contribute to solving the persistent problems of underdevelopment, poverty and
wide spread diseases.
Unfortunately the agenda of the General Assembly is still dominated by regional
crises and conflicts all over the world. Bulgaria has been following the situation
in the Middle East with particular attention and supports the efforts to find
fair and lasting solutions to the problem. We share the view that progress could
be achieved only on the basis of dialogue and cooperation between the parties
concerned and the active engagement of the Quartet in the peace process. The
situation in Afghanistan is still volatile. The Afghan government needs comprehensive
support to enhance internal stability and security, as well as to rebuild the
country. Therefore, Bulgaria suggested the foreign debt of Afghanistan to be
relieved in order to stimulate economic development.
Iraq has been of a focus of attention of the United Nations for the past 12 years. The full implementation of Security Council resolutions concerning Iraq is of urgent importance. We expect Iraq to comply with these resolutions promptly and without any conditions. The Security Council should undertake actions in order to uphold its authority and credibility as the single international body responsible for the maintenance of world peace and security. Bulgaria will support all relevant decisions in this respect.
The Republic of Bulgaria has come to the Fifty-seventh session of the United
Nations General Assembly with the added responsibility of a member of the Security
Council. We are strongly committed to the principles of consensus building,
constructive dialogue and transparency in the work of the Council. The fight
against terrorism is a top international priority today. Yesterday's special
meeting of the Security Council reaffirmed the validity of Resolution 1373 and
commended the work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee. The President's statement,
supported unanimously by the Council, reflects the political will for common
action against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The fight against
terrorism should not however lead to persecution on religious or ethnic grounds
or infringe on human rights.
With its recent accession to the International Convention for the Suppression
of Terrorist Bombings and the International Convention for the Suppression of
the Financing of Terrorism, Bulgaria is now party to all universal conventions
against terrorism. My country has also contributed to the international efforts
in a tangible and practical way by sending a military contingent to Afghanistan.
Anti-terrorist efforts require serious rethinking of current approaches to
cooperation. We are aware that terrorism is often linked to other security threats
like organized crime, drug trafficking, corruption, money laundering, the illegal
traffic of human beings and illegal arms trade. Bulgaria has initiated and actively
participates in a number of bilateral and regional arrangements of cooperation
on these issues. My country is increasingly effective as a firewall protecting
Europe along one of the routes of drug trafficking. We have adopted one of the
most stringent laws on export control over arms trade and have taken decisive
steps to improve enforcement in all its aspects.
Developments in South Eastern Europe remain dynamic. Yet, for the first time
in recent years the tendency has been positive. I am optimistic that the legacy
of conflicts and confrontation could be surmounted and stability, peace and
security will be finally established in the region. This process should be continued
and made irreversible. European and Euro-Atlantic integration are proven instruments
for achieving these goals. All countries in South Eastern Europe share now the
same perspective in this respect and this is the basis of my optimism. For Bulgaria,
early membership in the European Union and NATO is a strategic priority enjoying
wide public support.
A precise analysis of the region's opportunities in an environment of new global
challenges is needed more than ever today. We have to overcome the conventional
ethno-nationalistic approach to security and proceed promptly to regional co-operation
in all directions. Rather than trying to resolve each crisis as it occurs, our
endeavors should be directed towards early prevention of conflicts through strengthening
democratic institutions and human rights protection and through economic development
in the first place.
During the years of crisis and post-crisis management in South East Europe, Bulgaria has showed capacity to generate stability and security in the region. The number of our peacekeepers in Bosnia and Kosovo has been dramatically increased recently. Bulgaria has the will and capability to sustain and, if there is a need, expand its presence in these crisis response missions. Our successful model of ethno-political tolerance, the excellent relations we maintain with all our neighbors, our active participation in all for a regional dialogue and co-operation are a practical contribution to regional security and cooperation. Based on this record, Bulgaria has the well-grounded ambition to assume the presidency of the OSCE in 2004.
The need for effective arms control measures remains urgent. The US-Russian
agreement on strategic nuclear arms is a landmark in the history of disarmament
negotiations. Bulgaria welcomes the ongoing security dialogue between them,
as well as the establishment of a new framework of interrelation between NATO
and the Russian Federation, which benefits the global political atmosphere.
We support the comprehensive and integrated approach of the United Nations
to non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Further strengthening of
the non-proliferation regime is imperative if we are to prevent the use of such
weapons for terrorist purposes, for international blackmail and disturbing and
threatening the world peace. Bulgaria will continue to promote the effective
and strict implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, as, well as the
strengthening of the regime of implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention.
The uncontrolled spread of small arms is another source of instability and terrorism.
Therefore, we strongly support the UN program of Action in this field.
International human rights protection should be undertaken in the spirit of
justice and equality, in compliance with the UN Charter and principles of international
law. The United Nations should be able to respond more quickly and effectively
to serious human rights violations. Bulgaria therefore supports the ongoing
reforms in the monitoring mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights.
Bulgaria believes that the exercise of all human rights by persons belonging
to minorities within a state is closely linked to the internal stability of
that state. All individuals should enjoy their rights on the basis of non-discrimination
and equality before the law. In this regard, we insist that the international
community's efforts should be focused primarily on the implementation of existing
Decisions should be taken to make the United Nations more effective in fulfilling
its numerous responsibilities. Bulgaria supports the reform measures initiated
by Secretary General Kofi Annan. UN reform must continue to take into account
new political and economic realities, and address in particular the specific
issues of sustainable development. I emphasize this point because I am still
under the influence of the Johannesburg World Summit where my country confirmed
its strong support to efforts targeted at the eradication of poverty and achieving
sustainable patterns of production and consumption, as well as providing decent
healthcare and education to the Earth's population.
This is just a brief outline of some of Bulgaria's priorities for this session.
Let me assure you that we take a truly responsible approach to the work of the
United Nations in its entirety and my delegation stands ready to participate
in the discussions and the decision taking on all agenda items. Our world needs
wisdom and resolution to meet the current challenges to international peace,
security and sustainable development. The UN offers the best opportunity for
tackling these challenges. Bulgaria is capable and willing to contribute to
I thank you.