H.E. Mr. Cyril SVOBODA
Minister of Foreign
Affairs of the Czech Republic
at the General Debate of the Fifty-Eighth Session
of the United Nations General Assembly
New York, 29 September 2003
Let me congratulate you on your election as President -of the 58th
session of the UN General Assembly and wish you every success in this
important position. It is a pleasure to see a representative of Saint Lucia, the smallest
country ever to hold the office. This upholds the Charter principle
of sovereign equality of nations in this important world body, as well
as the desirability of universal membership in the UN where all the
countries, large and small, have something to contribute.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank your predecessor,
Mr. Jan Kavan, for his work and efforts devoted
to the UN activities throughout the year. It was a great honor for the
Czech Republic to preside over the General Assembly and to use this unique
opportunity to further enhance the United Nations
capacity and ability to respond to current global challenges.
Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me express my country's deepest sympathy to all who have lost their
loved ones in the terrorists attacks, including
that on the UN building in Baghdad, which claimed
the life of the UN Special Envoy in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello and his co-workers.
We perceive this horrible act as an attack against the principles of
freedom, democracy and peace, the principles on which our Organization
The UN effort aimed at the stabilization, democratization
and reconstruction of Iraq
has a full support of my country and I do appreciate the bold
and selfless work done by the UN staff. The United Nations plays an
irreplaceable role in this field therefore we support the idea of passing
a new resolution of the UN Security Council that would provide framework
for the widest possible participation of other countries. The
Czech Republic will actively participate in this process and is determined
to continue its engagement.
The recent terrorist attacks in Iraq
and other regions of the Middle East strengthen
our conviction that the international community must not give in to
terrorist threats. On the contrary, we must combine and intensify our
efforts to combat it. The success of co-operation between the United
Nations, the Coalition Provisional Authority and Iraqi representatives
in stabilizing the situation in Iraq
and handing over the country's
administration to the Iraqi people will be the essential step in this
direction. The Czech Republic therefore welcomes the establishment of the Governing Council,
the appointment of provisional ministers and the continued work on drafting
a constitution and is interested in speedy creation of a stable government
in Iraq that will honor its international commitments,
respect human rights and freedoms and the fundamental principles of
democracy. But this is not something what can
happen overnight, as we know from our own experience; transition from
dictatorship to functioning democracy takes some time.
We believe that the progress in the Middle East peace process based on the Road Map must get into the
center of efforts of the whole international
community. We should not allow extremist and terrorist groups to dominate
its agenda as the recent developments have shown. In the same time we call upon all parties involved to exercise maximum
restraint in actions, which contradict the political and peaceful settlement
of the crisis, especially extrajudicial killings and suicide bombings.
Republic supports the activities aimed to revive
and continue the implementation of the peace plan. The Quartet and the
parties concerned must at their talks take stock of the peace plan and
identify obstacles on the road towards peace as well as outstanding
tasks on the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Without
a proper implementation the Road Map would
suffer the same fate as the numerous peace initiatives we witnessed
in the past.
The problems of the Middle East
are very complex. In this fragile phase, my country
emphasizes two basic issues, which we consider crucial for the implementation
and success of the road map for peace: the security aspects of the peace
settlement and the consistent suppression of all manifestations of terrorism
as well as the consolidation and strengthening of the position of the
Palestinian government and the process of its reforms, including concrete
steps to confront terror and violence.
In our view, an inseparable part of these efforts
should be tangible changes to the situation on the ground. The Palestinians,
with the vision of their own independent state, at the same time should
feel that their economic and humanitarian situation is improving. The
Czech Republic is prepared to assume its share of responsibility in the efforts to improve the economic situation
of Palestinian autonomous territories at both bilateral and multilateral
The restoration of ethnic peace, the strengthening of stability and economic
growth remain the main objectives of the international community in
the crisis regions of the Balkans. In the present conditions, the maintenance
of international presence in the region is still a necessary
prerequisite for the development of democracy and the strengthening
of peace. The United Nations and other international organizations must
exercise their control function even more systematically, use their
experience in assisting the transformation of the society, ensure active
participation of all ethnic groups in its administration, create conditions
for the safe return of refugees, help with development of local economies
and curb the organized crime.
I am convinced that the new SRSG H. Holkeri
will further contribute to the achievement of the declared objectives.
The transfer of competencies from UNMIK to the local authorities must at the same time be the transfer of responsibilities
for the achievement of the objectives set by the international administration,
above all the creation of conditions for the safe return of refugees.
For the functioning of a multiethnic society, it is also necessary to
ensure active participation of all ethnic groups in its administration.
The Czech Republic
supports all international efforts in the field of disarmament, arms
control, including verification of non-proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction and their means of delivery. This process is a long-term
priority of Czech foreign policy.
The Czech Republic
devotes considerable attention to the relevant international treaties
and conventions and takes an active part in addressing security problems.
We are convinced that it is necessary to promote the universal adherence
and reinforcement of the three major multilateral agreements relating
to weapons of mass destruction, that is Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,
Chemical Weapons Convention and Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.
In this connection we also support the promotion of an early entry
into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty. Particular emphasis should be placed on establishing
effective verification mechanisms, namely for the Biological and Toxin
The Additional Protocol, which creates an integral
part of the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards system and
strengthens the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty we consider to be a very important element of the verification system.
That is why it is urgent for the States that have
not entered into Safeguards Agreements with the International Atomic
Energy Agency to do so and fulfill their obligations in accordance with
article III of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We are of
the view that the Additional Protocol should be made
the standard for all NPT Signatory States.
The problems of the current conflicts severely affecting
the civilian population are closely connected
with the issue of conventional weapons, especially small arms and light
weapons. The Czech Republic
supports the international community in its effort to prevent the illicit
trafficking in small arms and light weapons and their uncontrolled proliferation.
Republic greatly welcomes that the international
community is increasingly sensitized to the
observance and protection of human rights. There is a growing body of
globally recognized human rights, most cases of human rights violations
are strongly criticized by the democratic international
community. It would be too daring to assume that a negative response
can always mitigate the consequences of a human
rights violation; however, the fact that most entities in international
law lay stress on human rights is unquestionably a positive aspect.
Therefore, I take this opportunity, on behalf of the Czech Republic, to call
for the release of the "prisoners of conscience" in various
parts of the world, and for the observance of their fundamental human
rights. In the light of the recent developments, I consider it necessary
to again mention the Nobel Peace Prize laureate from Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi or the numerous Cubans sentenced to many years in prison
in the political processes in March and April 2003. These and similar
cases only deepen the isolation of the countries concerned and do not
solve the existing situation.
Republic remains fully committed to the UN
and is aware that the United Nations is a universal
international organization, which plays irreplaceable role in the present
globalized world. We support Millennium Declaration as the basis for reform of the whole
UN system and further step towards the strengthening of the Organization's
authority, operational capability and effective functioning, in particular
the initiatives of the UN secretary-general seeking to improve the management
and administration of the UN. Another important task is to proceed with
the revitalization of the UN General Assembly, including areas like
clustering of agenda items, their biennalization
or triennalization, reduction of the number and volume of documents
and reports, etc.
The Security Council reform represents the crucial
elements in the development of international relations in the new Millennium.
The Czech Republic shares the majority view that the composition of the Council
is outdated, reflects rather the Second World War realities than nowadays
and should be adjusted to the present state
of affairs. Present situation is unsustainable; undermines UN legitimacy
and therefore calls for an urgent action. The Czech Republic will continue to support inevitable reform steps, including
the enlargement of the Council in both categories of me mbership. In
particular we support the aspirations of Germany
and Japan for permanent
seats as well as allocation of other three new permanent seats for Africa,
Asia and Latin America.
Using this opportunity let me also inform you about
the decision of the Czech Republic Government to present its candidature
for the non-permanent seat on the Security Council for the period 2008-2009
as our contribution to the safeguarding of international peace and security.
I welcomed your intention to focus the Assembly's
efforts on the implementation of the outcomes of the United Nations
summits and conferences held in past decade and the United Nations development
agenda, including the Millennium Declaration Goals. The Czech Republic emphasizes the importance
of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals as a
overarching platform for specific actions to achieve specific goals
and targets. Actions at national, as well as re gional and international,
levels are necessary to fight poverty, improve the
access to health services, access to water, combat the spread of HIV/AIDS,
provide education, bridge the digital divide, preserve the environment,
to name only a few of our many concerns. At the same time, the efforts
to achieve the development goals complement the efforts to achieve sustainable
development, with its economic, social, and environmental aspects. The
Czech Republic believes that focus on multilateral and international cooperation
is indispensable to the success of the United Nations development agenda
and is therefore prepared to continue contributing to this important
As regards the strategic document New Partnership
for Africa's Development (NEPAD), in which the African states for the
first time in history assumed their own responsibility for their further
development, the Czech
Republic is well aware that the support for
this document must be translated into action
as soon as possible. An active and constructive approach should be reflected in all "horizontal" activities
of the international community. That is why the Czech Republic regards the
"principle of good governance" as one of the NEPAD's key principles which can
substantially contribute to the establishment of suitable conditions
for the integration of African states in the ongoing globalization processes
and for the creation of a favorable climate for the continent's further
Republic as an acceding country to the EU is
prepared to assume its part in implementation of the "African Policy"
in the scope of the European Foreign and Security Policy.
In conclusion, let me stress that over last couple
of years probably no challenge emerged so bitterly and forcefully before
the global community as the challenge of security. Here, we have a real
test of our will and ability to cooperate. In this respect
the UN remains an irreplaceable forum for conflict prevention and a
legal platform for multilateral steps taken in order to preserve world's
security and peace. In this respect, we very much support the Secretary
General's call for strengthening of multilateralism, since international
security cannot be achieved only by single states or coalitions shouldering
the threats for the rest of the world. In the whole history, humankind
has not been challenged in such terms. I am
not referring only to terrorism or nuclear threats but also to various
epidemics, poverty and worsening environment being the very essential
causes of conflicts. Further more, and we are witness of it in Iraq,
reactive military actions both targeted and short dated are part of
the solution, but do not provide the whole remedy: There is an irreplaceable
role for the world community to play. Therefore
we, the member states of the United Nations community should focus together
with our utmost attention on efficient measures to make our planet secure
and prosperous for present as well as future generations.
Thank you for your attention.