Statement by
Mr. Augusto CASALI
Minister of Foreign and Political Affairs
57th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
New York, 18 September 2002

Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary General, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Government of the Republic of San Marino I wish, first of all, to congratulate H.E. Mr. Jan Kavan on his election as President. of the 57th Session of the General Assembly. I am convinced that his experience, professional skills and dynamism will contribute to the success of our works and, consequently, to the positive outcome of the important commitments which the international community will have to fulfill in the near future. I also wish to thank Dr. Han Seung-Soo for having presided over the General Assembly in one of the most difficult and delicate moments of our recent history.

Let me also express a warm word of welcome to Switzerland, the 190th State to join the United Nations. We are extremely pleased with the weighed decision by the Swiss people to join this Organization, since San Marino and Switzerland are linked by close and ancient relations of friendship, and we firmly believe that Switzerland will make an essential contribution.

Mr. President,

This Session of the General Assembly still suffers the consequences of a deep, indelible wound which, a little more than a year ago, was inflicted on the whole humanity, on the people who contributed to creating this civilization and, in particular, on a great and friendly Nation whose role has always been crucial to the future of our planet. .

Feelings of pain, fright, but also rebellion are still vivid in the minds of each and everyone of us. The firm and absolute condemnation of what happened last year in September has remained unchanged, and has been further strengthened by the will to save no efforts in combating and possibly defeating the dreadful threat of terrorism which is still present.

However, San Marino is convinced that fighting terrorism exclusively through military, political and economic actions is not enough. We must ask ourselves why terrorism originates and develops, why fundamentalism and fanaticism exist, why some individuals, who declare to fight for the liberation of the oppressed, become instruments of death. We may have found an answer and this is why we keep on reasserting in all fora: as long as the world is stricken by hunger, poverty, underdevelopment, inequality, oppression, ignorance, violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, there will be no solution to all the political, economic and social situations that are inexorably degenerating and which we continue to witness with a growing feeling of anguish, uncertainty and instability for a whole generation, for the whole of mankind.

With this in mind, San Marino has fully supported the initiatives and procedures established by the Security Council to stem the expansion of terrorism. The Republic I represent has met in a timely manner the requirements set forth by the Counter-Terrorism Committee established by the Security Council itself. In the same way, a number of legislative and financial measures on anti-terrorism adopted by San Marino Parliament and Government are evidence of the will to proceed with the ratification of the relevant international Conventions, and of the intention to pass a special law to counter terrorism and the financing of terrorism.

We also believe that dialogue and tolerance among all peoples of the world are further instruments to combat terrorism and fundamentalism. This calls not only for effective political action, but also for a new culture to develop within peoples, where diversity becomes universal heritage, leads to unity rather than division, helps eliminating rather than worsening disparities, brings different cultures, religions and traditions closer together rather than turning them into instruments of incomprehension and confrontation.

Disgracefully, finding a solution to the ongoing conflict and violence in the Middle East seems unfeasible. Terrorist attacks and military reprisals further exacerbate hatred and revenge, undermining any possibility to promote negotiations and dialogue on the basis of mutual respect and safeguard of human rights and fundamental freedoms. San Marino is deeply concerned about the worsening of the situation in this area and strongly condemns the spiral of violence plaguing this region and indiscriminately causing victims everyday, mainly among civilians, especially women and children.

Israel has the legitimate right to exist within its own borders, to defend and protect its own population. Palestinians have the same legitimate right to live on their own land and to self-determination within their own State. Therefore, we deem it imperative that both parties respect the rules of international law and fully comply with all United Nations resolutions.

For all the many years of violence, we still believe that negotiations are the only way to find a peaceful and long-lasting solution allowing both peoples to live in harmony. The Government of the Republic of San Marino is confident and will do its utmost so that the efforts relentlessly made by the international community lead to a concrete solution as soon as possible.

Most recently, further tensions have grown because of the potential war that could be waged on Iraq to remove its President Saddam Hussein. Undoubtedly, the Republic of San Marino can neither tolerate nor accept that the world be kept as hostage by dictators without scruples and absolutely unreliable, probably willing and able to jeopardize international security. Yet, any action, including military intervention as a last resort, would in any case require the consensus and authorization of the UN. Therefore, my Government fully shares Secretary General Annan's analysis, especially where he states that, if Iraq's challenge persists, the Security Council will have to take its own responsibilities.

Mr. President,

The international scene is marked on many fronts by dread and insecurity. Nonetheless, San Marino follows with interest and supports the activity that the UN is intensively conducting to tackle a number of issues, with the ultimate goal of attaining a more civilized, equitable, humane and man-tailored society.

We followed with great attention the major Conferences that the UN promoted and organized in the year 2002, especially those dealing with children, the ageing population and sustainable development.

The 27th Session of the General Assembly on Children agreed that in order to implement the principles enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is imperative to attain three major objectives, that is, to guarantee children a decent standard of living in a safe environment where they can grow up and develop physically, mentally and emotionally in a healthy manner; to ensure that they can complete at least primary school; and to provide adolescents with the opportunity to strengthen
their individual capacities in a safe environment so that they will be able to fully participate in and contribute to the society in which they live.

San Marino shares these priorities, and has adopted a number of legislative, social and cultural initiatives to implement these fundamental principles. The Republic I represent believes that the education process must recognize that children are human beings with dignity, bearing in mind that their personal identity reflects their interpersonal relations. For this reason and in order to develop a healthy and unbiased intellectual dimension, children need the presence of adults who have the duty to direct and foster their growth. Therefore, the family has a key responsibility in the education process. We support any action, both domestically and internationally, aimed at promoting and supporting the essential role that the family has to play.

My Country also welcomes the activity carried out by the international community which, on the occasion of the Second World Assembly on Ageing held last April in Madrid, adopted a political declaration and a new plan of action to safeguard the interests and the needs of the elderly, a population group which, so far, has been probably neglected, though it will considerably increase in number over the next few years.

On that occasion, Governments committed themselves to guaranteeing a society for all ages, partly because of the widespread awareness that we are living a demographic transition, which will have manifold consequences, also on the quality of life.

San Marino attaches great importance to the significant changes brought about by the Assembly in the methods to face and solve the problems of the ageing population, seeking to fight and eradicate stereotypes and prejudices. We have a feeling that, in so doing, the international community has laid down the foundations for a future plan of action that will ensure all human beings wellness, health and security during the last years of their lives.

Though with different objectives, but always in the framework of the United Nations activities, the recent Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg, South Africa, was fundamental. On that occasion, a plan of action was adopted, by virtue of which the international community took the firm commitment, among other things: to fighting poverty, especially through targeted interventions in the health sector; to halving the number of people lacking drinking water and adequate sanitation by 2015; and to substantially increasing the use of renewable resources as a share of energy consumption worldwide.

San Marino is aware that the economic growth of the most developed nations must today go hand in hand with economic growth at a global level. Globalisation, however, cannot be imposed. On the contrary it must be conceived as an opportunity for all States and populations, it must facilitate access to markets by developing Countries, and promote targeted investments that take social and environmental aspects into account. At the same time, we have to build confidence and foster economic well being to achieve the integration, which we all deem essential and useful. Such integration is also a precondition for the protection and safeguard of both the environment and cultural diversity.

Mr. President,

I would like to recall that the Statute of the International Criminal Court entered into force on lst July 2002. With this formal achievement, the community of States has made a great leap forward towards the progress of international law, the Court being not only a judiciary institution created to prosecute genocide and crimes against humanity, but also clear evidence of the will, at an international level, to avoid that impunity be granted, as is too often the case, to the perpetrators of atrocious and intolerable crimes against peoples or individuals.

Also because of the role of guarantor recognized to this institution, the Republic of San Marino participated in the celebration of the 4th Anniversary of the Court on 17 July 2002 and was the first State in Europe to ratify its Statute. My Government believes that the International Criminal Court does not endanger, in any way, the international peace keeping forces, on the contrary, the Court further guarantees their protection through the articles of its Statute. For this reason, my Country hopes that the International Criminal Court will be joined and supported by as many Countries as possible, also in terms of practical solutions not altering the Statute of Rome and guaranteeing the continuity of peace operations.

Mr. President,

On this occasion, I feel the duty to reaffirm, on behalf of the Government of San Marino, the importance and the key role played by the General Assembly, as a major decision-making and representative body. Unquestionably, the functions of the General Assembly and the effectiveness of its decisions need consolidating. Moreover, the General Assembly should intensify its co-operation with the other UN bodies, primarily the Security Council. A working group, to which San Marino has also contributed with ideas and proposals, has been studying, for eight years, a reform of the Security Council.

Probably you all know that San Marino has long taken a stance in favor of an increase in the number of non-permanent members within the Security Council, while it agrees neither with the increase in permanent seats nor with the extension of the right to veto, since this could lead to further inequalities among member States, cause discrimination and constrain the right of the General Assembly to allow access to the Security Council by Countries which, under special international circumstances, could play a useful role within such an important body.

We consider that this would have a positive effect on many activities of the United Nations and therefore that it would be beneficial to relations among and between States, which is now most needed.

Mr. President,

I wish to conclude by reasserting that the only way to overcome the consequences of the painful events we have recently experienced, is to pool our efforts and work together, loyally and actively, in order to start a virtuous cycle where the objectives of civil and tolerant coexistence among peoples and Nations are universally shared, supported and pursued; where the values of solidarity, respect for human life and dignity dismantle the barriers of selfishness and oppression; where democracy and freedom from any constraint and need become effective.

The same objectives that a small State called Republic of San Marino, which I have the honor to represent here today in the most authoritative and prestigious international Organization, has always sought to reach over 17 centuries of history in a consistent, stubborn but also humble manner.

Thank you.