Mr. President,

It is a great honour and pleasure to congratulate you, the representative of the Group of Eastern European States, on your election to the high post of the President of the 57th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

On behalf of the delegation of Ukraine let me wish you success and assure of our support.

I would like to address the words of respect and gratitude to your predecessor, H.E. Mr. Han Seung-soo, and to pay tribute to his confident and fruitful efforts at the helm of one of the most dramatic sessions of the General Assembly.

I would like to take this opportunity to convey cordial congratulations to a new welcome member of the United Nations, the Swiss Confederation.

We look forward to having the Democratic Republic of East Timor as a member of the United Nations shortly.

We consider joining the United Nations by these states a truly historic event, which testifies to the viability of our great family of nations.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The first days of the 57th session of the General Assembly began with the commemoration of the victims of the horrible terrorist acts of September 11.

During the past year not once we reflected whether these events would rest as tragic moments in history, or would they prove to be a turning point.

We have been searching for the answer to the question, which represents the most difficult challenge to the humankind.

How to save the fundamental and inalienable right of every person - the right to life?

For Ukraine the notions of terror and terrorism are not just words.

For decades the Ukrainian people lived under oppression of terror, which was raised to the rank of state policy.

Next year Ukraine will be commemorating the 70th anniversary of the induced famine, which in 1932-33 took lives of over 7 million Ukrainians. This most tragic event in our modern history, caused by the totalitarian regime, was a brutal act of genocide against the Ukrainian nation.

At that time the world failed to respond to our tragedy.

Nor did it recognize early enough the face of fascism, when certain politicians and states thought that this evil would bypass them.

The consequences of such inaction turned out to be enormous.

Today, at the beginning of a new millennium, I am confident that each of us would like to rely upon the encouraging impulse of changes, which took place on the international arena.

To rely upon this unifying force, with which the world responded to the events of September 11.

In the face of the challenge of terrorism the international community demonstrated its determination and resolve.

Tangible results have been achieved by the antiterrorism coalition.

We regard the fight against terrorism as one of the aspects of a broad and long-term process - a comprehensive international action, aimed at abolishing the philosophy of hatred and intolerance, which is exacerbated by conflicts in various regions of the world.

The need for a new philosophy is particularly acute on the security front. Success of the international presence in Afghanistan, completion of the peace-keeping mission in East Timor, normalization in the Balkans evolve alongside the dramatic developments in the Middle East, the so-called "frozen conflicts" in the post-Soviet space, which remain unresolved, persistent security problems in Africa.

In this context, the United Nations has no right to limit itself to passive observation and uninvolved analysis.

At the Millennium Summit the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma put forward an initiative on developing a comprehensive strategy of the United Nations for conflict prevention. We hope that ongoing discussions in the United Nations on the recommendations made by the Secretary-General on this issue will contribute to bringing a real shift from the culture of reaction to the culture of prevention.

Mr. President,

The United Nations is capable of utilizing its consolidating force in the strengthening of the legal basis of international relations. We highly value the contribution of the United Nations to this process, which brought into force the Rome Statute and led to the establishment of the International Criminal Court. This mechanism of international justice was designed to protect and strengthen the principle of supremacy of law, to eliminate impunity and to provide accountability for the commission of such serious criminal acts as aggression, genocide, crimes against humanity and military crimes.

Today it is highly important to ensure the effectiveness of the Court and to preserve the integrity of its Statute.

Another priority task in this sphere is to conclude the elaboration of the comprehensive convention on international terrorism. This year Ukraine became a party to the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. Upon the completion of relevant domestic procedures on the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, Ukraine will be a party to all 12 universal instruments against terrorism.

A number of tasks facing the international community in the social and economic spheres are defining the further role of the United Nations as a unique forum for dialogue between developed countries, countries with economies in transition and developing nations.

The United Nations Economic and Social Council has a special role to play in this process. As a member of ECOSOC, Ukraine favours the need for advancing the reform of the Council and for the strengthening of its coordinating role.

This process would, inter alia, significantly strengthen the potential of the Organization in ensuring consistent and effective implementation of the provisions of the Millennium Declaration, Monterrey Consensus and the outcomes of the Johannesburg Summit.

For what can unite us more than the vital need for establishing effective mechanisms to ensure sustainable development of the humankind in the twenty-first century?

The right to life is inconceivable without the right and opportunity to live in dignity.

The Johannesburg Political Declaration and the Plan of Action outlined those concrete directions, where the efforts of the world can be united today for the improvement of living standards and social conditions of life, for the protection of environment and for ensuring economic development of developing countries.

When evaluating the outcomes of the Johannesburg, once again we come to a simple truth: he who doesn't wait but seeks real opportunities, reaches the goal.

Ukraine was guided by this principle when it offered its initiatives at the Earth Summit, which, "in our view, can bring practical and stimulating results.

The President of Ukraine proposed to elaborate innovative mechanisms of financial stimulation of developing countries and countries with economies in transition, in particular through the debt-for-sustainable-development swaps.

In our view, such step would make a positive impact on the rates of economic growth and ecological development of nations.

It will become one of those concrete and realistic measures, which should help our Organization to address most vital problems.

Mr. President,

On 31 December 2001 Ukraine concluded its two-year term of membership in the Security Council. As a member of the Council our country strived to make its practical contribution to finding solution to critical security problems in many regions of today's world.

It remains our country's position of principle that the Security Council is the only legitimate organ that has the right to decide on the use of force in accordance with the United Nations Charter.

At the same time we consistently stand for increased transparency of the Council's work and hope that the advancement of its internal changes will allow to start the process of comprehensive and long-awaited reform.

Making significant contribution to the peacekeeping activities of the Organization will continue to be an important element for Ukraine's participation in the United Nations efforts in the sphere of peace and security.

We believe that the key role, which is played by the United Nations peacekeeping operations in the world, and personal contribution of each peacekeeper deserve adequate recognition by the international community.

I am confident that everybody present in this hall will share this view.

At the current session of the General Assembly Ukraine will present a draft resolution proposing annual observance of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers as a way to pay tribute to the memory of fallen peacekeepers and to honour the participants of ongoing and past missions. We hope that it will be unanimously supported.

Thus, the first celebration of the Day of Peacekeepers will take place next year, which will mark the 55th anniversary of the deployment of the first United Nations peacekeeping operation.

Mr. President,

Ukraine views positively the advancement of stabilization process in the Balkans, in particular in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia).

Adhering to a consistent position concerning the territorial integrity and inviolability of borders of the Balkan States, Ukraine fully supports active involvement of the European actors in an effort to further normalize security situation in the region, which will facilitate the advancement of those states towards European integration.

In contrast to a promising assessment of the situation in the Balkans, we are compelled to voice our regret over the absence of progress in the settlement of other problems, which are of particular interest for Ukraine.

Among them is the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict.

The absence of confidence between the Georgian and the Abkhaz sides stands on the way to a renewal of political dialogue. As a host country to the Third meeting of the sides on confidencebuilding measures, which was held in Yalta in March 2001, Ukraine stands ready to make practical steps in cooperation with the United Nations and interested states in order to renew "the spirit" of Yalta.

Speaking about the situation in Georgia, I cannot but mention that Ukraine is deeply concerned over the situation related to the developments in the Pankisi Valley and the rise in tensions in the relations between Tbilisi and Moscow.

Ukraine believes that the existing misunderstandings have to be resolved only through peaceful means in compliance with the norms and principles of the international law.

We call upon the parties to employ all political and diplomatic mechanisms to arrive at a mutual understanding and to take all opportunities to achieve detent in the current situation.

Ukraine unconditionally supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.

The situation in the Middle East also remains a source of deep concern for Ukraine. It is quite obvious today that the parties have got stuck in the circle of violence that contradicts true aspirations of both peoples and breeds yet ever more hatred and desperation.

We fully support the efforts of the international community, first of all of the "Quartet" and the countries of the region aimed at assisting the parties to find peaceful ways of settlement of the conflict and to bring to fruition in three years the "vision" of coexistence of two states, Israel and Palestine, in security and within the limits of internationally recognized borders.

Ukraine, for its part, strives to contribute in every possible way to a peaceful settlement. In April this year during his visit to the region President Leonid Kuchma presented "Ukrainian proposals in the framework of international diplomatic efforts aimed at peaceful settlement of the Middle East conflict" (A/57/69-S/2002/481)), which envisage a range of parallel steps in security, economic and political spheres.

There is no alternative to commencement of peace negotiations between the parties on the establishment of the Palestinian State, ending the occupation and finding solution to the issues of borders, status of Jerusalem and refugees. Taking this opportunity, I would like to confirm the readiness of Ukraine to offer a venue on its territory and provide all appropriate conditions for the conduct of such talks.

The achievement of final, just and durable peace in the Middle East is not possible without the resumption of peace negotiations at the Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese tracks.

The development of the situation concerning Iraq cannot but cause serious concern.

We rely on the United Nations potential in solving this problem.

The resolutions of the Security Council should be implemented in full.

We expect that the new round of negotiations between the United Nations and Iraq will help to find ways to resolve this issue.

Mr. President,

Today the world observes with hope the unprecedented integration processes on the African continent. We hope that the birth of the African Union will strengthen the spirit of African brotherhood and unity in responding to the numerous challenges that confront the continent - armed conflicts, poverty and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Ukraine welcomes the establishment of the pan-African Union and its far-reaching plans of revival of the continent. We hope that "New Partnership for Africa's Development" (NEPAD) will unite the nations of the world for global partnership in support of peace, stability and development on the African continent.

The year 2002 marked important peaceful changes in Africa and brought new hope for the establishment of lasting peace in Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and Eritrea and for the settlement of conflicts in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, despite these positive developments the continent continues to suffer from armed violence, ethnic intolerance and impunity.

On its part Ukraine is ready to further continue and strengthen cooperation and expand economic ties with countries of the united Africa, including in the framework of a new global partnership for the development of the continent.

Mr. President,

Ensuring proper implementation of the principles of supremacy of law, creation of conditions for economic growth and effective functioning of the institute of the open society are the goals that remain fundamental in the national policy of Ukraine, which is aimed at systematic advancement on the course towards European and Euroatlantic integration.

It is through the prism of European integration that Ukraine views the processes of implementation of domestic reforms and its foreign political activity.

The President of Ukraine has launched a program of political reforms to ensure a transition to the parliamentary-presidential form of governance. This process should bring about further democratization of the society and lead to the consolidation of all domestic resources in order to achieve European standards and strengthen concord in the Ukrainian society.

Our determined strategic goal is to become a member of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which should finally ensure indivisibility of the European political, economic and security space.

This course is meant to become a pillar of political stability, economic prosperity and cultural renaissance of our country.

I cannot but mention in this statement a tragic problem for Ukraine, which is related to the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster.

Ever more often the word "Chernobyl" is associated in the world with a thing of the past, while for millions of Ukrainians it remains a difficult reality of everyday life.

Our country has to address virtually on its own a complex set of technological, social and economic problems, connected with the mitigation of the consequences of the disaster, as well as with the closure of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 2000.

We expect that our efforts will be supported by concrete actions on the part of the international community, in particular, within the implementation of the new United Nations strategy for addressing the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster.

In its turn, Ukraine is ready to offer to the humanity its own experience, which was accumulated during the years of the mitigation of the consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe. In particular, our country is prepared to provide assistance in utilizing the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the surrounding territory as a testing ground for an international scientific research center to work out technologies for the improvement of nuclear safety, for mitigation of the consequences of accidents at nuclear facilities as well as for rehabilitation of the environment.

Putting forward this proposal, we rely on the international support of our aspiration to become a member of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, and hope that the unique experience of Ukraine and its scientific and intellectual potential will be adequately utilized in its work.

Guided by the aspiration to achieve practical results, we are also determined to solve a broad range of other problems, which take an important place on the agenda of our world forum. Undoubtedly, the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic is one of the most challenging of them.

I would like to inform you that a regional conference for the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia will be held in Ukraine in November this year with the support of the United Nations and other international partners. I take this opportunity to reaffirm our readiness to continue to make active contribution to the consolidation of international efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am confident that a year after the American tragedy of September II each of us realizes particular significance of the tasks facing the United Nations.

Looking forward to the new changes, we hope that in the cause of the protection of civilization's values we will be guided by our wisdom, which will allow us to avoid dramatic scenarios and protect the rights of every inhabitant of the planet, every new individual who is coming to this world at these minutes of our debate.

Thank you for your attention.