LITHUANIA

STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MR. VALDAS ADAMKUS
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

FIFTY-SEVENTH SESSION OF THE
GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS
GENERAL DEBATE

12 SEPTEMBER 2002, NEW YORK NY

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to express my thanks to President Han Seung-soo of the previous General Assembly. Mr. President, we do appreciate your skillful guidance and leadership. We wish the incoming President, Mr. Jan Kavan of the Czech Republic, a year of constructive dialogue and fruitful cooperation.

I also take this opportunity to welcome Switzerland and East _Timor, who are joining the United Nations family. This expansion of United Nations membership is very important. It takes place at a time when the need for global solidarity and partnership is as great as never before. Terrorism threatens global stability and the very basis of our lives. Our countries must stand united and act together in order to avert threats to our existence and to secure the future of our children.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My country knows from her own experience how powerful and instrumental solidarity can be. Some years ago, Lithuania and eight other countries from Central and Eastern Europe formed an informal Vilnius Group, which has now grown to ten, to facilitate their accession to NATO. Solidarity and mutual support is helping us to make these aspirations a reality within our grasp. We do hope that our countries will soon join the European Union and NATO, thus, reinforcing common values in the region, as well as our common positions and actions in the face of future challenges and threats.

But political solidarity is not enough. Our countries have also launched regional initiatives and taken other concrete steps to increase contributions to the global campaign against terrorism. In particular, I would like to mention the conference against terrorism, which was held under the Polish initiative in Warsaw last November. Our countries are determined to act and cooperate further, thus, strengthening European and global security.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the face of common threats, solidarity must emerge as a consolidating driving force in global diplomacy. The tragedy of September 11th is an experience that reinforces and strengthens our common resolve to combat and counter terrorism. It should give us the courage and determination to work together as an international community: in addressing the roots of terrorism; in responding decisively to non-compliance with Security Council resolutions and gross violations of internationally recognized norms of behavior; in fighting terror worldwide and keeping the weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists.

Therefore, it is regrettable that a member of this great body of the United Nations does not uphold its commitments and the underlying principles of this Organization. The Iraqi regime must allow unrestricted access for the UN inspectors to resume their work. We should exert all the pressure to insure this. Indeed, this is a test case of our solidarity and unity as an international community.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Last but not least, I would like to underscore the importance of international and regional cooperation in non-proliferation and arms control. It has always been Lithuania's firm policy to take part in all relevant, effective and functional multilateral arms control and confidence building regimes that are open to us and correspond to our national security interests. This year, Lithuania has applied for membership in the Open Skies Treaty. We will also seek to join the adapted CFE treaty after it comes into force and is open to all European democracies. Each and every member state of the United Nations should. make a positive contribution to international security and stability, first and foremost, by respecting the rule of law and the human rights of its citizens. Good governance is a good starting point for all of us, irrespective of our cultural diversity or fundamental differences of history and geography.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who devoted much time to the planning of this multilateral institution known as the United Nations, once said: "We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other nations, far away." Thus, the real strength of our power as an international community continues to lie in the power of our resolve to deal with the critical issues.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Yesterday, in this great City of New York, we paid respect to the victims of September 11, 2001. We support the United States of America in her efforts to eliminate threats to international security and human freedom. We must debate, talk things out and to make full use of diplomatic measures, but we must be ready to act decisively when strategic realities demand defense of freedom and democracy.

Thank You, Mr. President.