Ladies and Gentlemen,
One year has gone by since the terrorist attack on the United States, which inflicted such deep wounds on the city that welcomes us today. By striking this city, this nation, this democracy, the terrorists intended to strike at the heart the whole community of nations and peoples that embraces the United Nations and the values for which it stands.
But they failed in their purpose. Instead their barbarous acts roused in all of us a common will to respond. Rather than divide us, they united us. And united we intend to respond to every new threat to world security.
The fight against terrorism is the crucial challenge we must face today in order to defend human rights and the values of freedom, peace, justice and development which we all share.
The United Nations is in the forefront of this struggle. We know that it will be a long and hard battle, therefore we must maintain the cohesion and determination that we have shown so far.
But we are firmly convinced that this battle can be won.Yesterday President Bush recalled the responsibilities that we all share in this fight to defend freedom which is the greatest good, from which all others flow. Terrorism finds a breeding ground wherever there is no freedom, wherever there is no democracy, but where there is hunger, misery and despair.
In order to defeat terrorism we must globalize freedom and democracy. In order to eradicate terrorism we must promote an economic development without borders: a lasting development for all.
In this struggle my country has played its role from the start and will continue to do so to the end, enhancing the military, financial, judicial, police and intelligence cooperation that has already achieved important results.
But we are also working to eradicate poverty and disease.
We are committed to pledge 0.39 percent of our GDP to less developed countries. And we intend to reach the level of 0.70 percent.
The African continent is crucial to our effort, a challenge to our conscience and a test of our ability to help its countries to participate in a true development without borders.
The G-8's action plan for Africa, launched in Genoa under Italy's presidency and approved in Canada, responds to the need for a new form of solidarity between the most industrialized countries and those which intend to become the owners of their future.
But an increase in financial aid is no longer enough.
At the Kananaskis Summit we presented an action plan aimed at achieving common standards of "good governance", starting with our "e-government" initiative, a completely computerized and digitalized universal model of public accounting, public administration and its primary functions.
The adoption of this universal model, which respects the identities, the traditions and the cultures of each country, can produce several positive effects: clear and transparent public accounts, clear laws and regulations befitting the rule-of-law; more efficient services for citizens and businesses, greater efficiency in public administration; and above all, greater democracy. This will spark a virtuous mechanism, and donor countries will finally have the certainty that their assistance is truly delivered to needy populations.
In this respect at the G-8 three phases were outlined:
In the first trial stage, the necessary assistance will be provided to the countries that wish to adopt this system.
At the end of this phase, which might last three or four years, we can move on to a second phase in which the adoption of the universal system becomes a requirement for all countries that apply for development assistance.
Finally, there could be a third phase in which we could ask the most industrialized countries to forge a special partnership with specific countries, taking it upon themselves to implement specific projects.
We are likewise convinced that public assistance should be supplemented by private assistance.
At Kananaskis, we submitted an innovative proposal called "de-tax" whereby private citizens will be able to allocate between 1 and 2 percent of the price of their luxury purchases to the implementation of specific projects, such as schools, hospitals or water supply facilities in poor countries.
At Genoa we also launched the "Education for All" Plan and the "Global Fund against Hiv-Aids, Malaria and Tuberculosis", to which Italy has pledged a substantial contribution.
But the poorer countries also need to be relieved of the burden of their debt so as to free the resources they need for their growth. This is why Italy has already cancelled one billion dollars of debt, and will soon cancel another four billion dollars, until the complete write-off of all its credits.
Our commitment' to the United Nations is clear on all fronts. Italy is the sixth contributor to the Organization's regular budget and one of the largest troops' contributor. Around ten thousand Italian soldiers are deployed throughout the world from the Balkans to Afghanistan to preserve and maintain peace and security. We will continue along this road, in our firm belief there is no problem we cannot solve if we are united in our determination.
As we speak today, the main challenge to the United Nations and our system of values is posed by the regime that governs Iraq and that has systematically ignored all the resolutions of the United Nations. A response is both necessary and indispensable to safeguard the international community from the danger posed by a massive build up of unconventional weapons of mass destruction.
As President Bush so clearly stated what we must address today is precisely this repeated defiance of the United Nations and of the will of the international community.
We must make use of all diplomatic and political means available to redress this situation but if things do not change substantially it will be necessary to act within the framework of the United Nations to safeguard global security from a real threat.
The lesson we must draw from September II is that haste can lead to carelessness, but delay in taking the necessary action can have terrible consequences.
When terrorist attacks or threats to peace are carried out by networks or regimes that aim at destroying our way of life and our liberal democracies, then democracies not only have the right but also the duty to defend themselves.
And let me now turn our attention to the Middle East. Italy supports the Road Map drawn up by the European Union as well as the action of the "Quartet" and the rapid convening of an International Conference to assure peaceful coexistence between two independent States within safe and secure borders.
First of all the spiral of violence must come to an end through a cessation of terrorist attacks. The holding of free and fair elections will advance the process of democratic reform of the Palestinian National Authority. But a lasting peace cannot be envisaged unless we narrow the economic gap between the Israelis and the Palestinians, giving the Palestinians a realistic hope for jobs and development.
With this goal in mind, Italy has presented a Plan to rebuild and support the Palestinian economy.
Italy has already offered to host the negotiations and the peace conference.
We are men and women of peace.
We are convinced that this new century cannot be left at the mercy of criminal folly and fanaticism.
We are committed to the fight against terrorism and we will do everything in our power to eradicate this evil and to defend our security and our future. We will lend our efforts to the building of a true and just peace, the only kind of peace for the just and the free.