ADDRESS BY H.E. MR. LASZLÓ KOVACS
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF HUNGARY
FIFTY-EIGHTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK, OCTOBER 1, 2003
Allow me to extend to you our sincere congratulations on your election as President of the fifty-eight session of the General Assembly. You may rest assured of my delegation's full support in the discharge of your important responsibilities.
It is my painful duty to pay along with so many of us a tribute to the memory of Sergio Vieira de Mello and his associates, who sacrificed their life for the people of Iraq in the service of peace and the United Nations. Our heart goes out to the families of the victims of that cowardly executed terrorist act.
The world was shocked and saddened when a most respected colleague, and a close friend of mine, Anna Lindh the former Swedish Foreign Minister fell victim of a senseless act of crime in Stockholm. Her vision of the world, her deep commitment to the principles and purposes of the United Nations will continue to be a source of inspiration for all of us.
Hungary aligned itself with the statement delivered by the Presidency of the European Union during the general debate and fully supports it.
We live in a world of great opportunities and serious challenges. It is in this context that global problems require indeed global and concerted solutions. To this effect, we must use the potentials of the United Nations to make the best use of opportunities at hand. In this respect, maintaining or restoring peace and stability, non-proliferation, development and human rights are in the focus of attention of the international community. International terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, grave armed internal conflicts, poverty and illegal migration constitute enormous challenges to all of us.
Hungary remains strongly committed to multilateral institutions. We are firmly convinced that the United Nations can and should play a major role in meeting the multi-faceted and ever growing challenges of our contemporary world. We, for our part, are deeply devoted to assist this role.
Along with our partners in the European Union, we are more than prepared to strengthen the United Nations as a unique instrument of a strong multilateral system to tackle global and regional issues for the sake of a safer and more secure world.
We will spare no effort to take an active part in maintaining peace and security, enhancing the non-proliferation regimes, protecting and promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as in establishing international standards.
The global fight against international terrorism must remain a major priority of the United Nations. In this context, we support the full and effective implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions. Hungary is keenly interested in widening the scope of multilateral instruments in the fight against terrorism.
After the success of the coalition forces in bringing freedom and opportunities of democracy in Iraq, we have to turn our attention to the reconstruction and development of the much-suffered country. Hungary is strongly committed to supporting the Iraqi people. Our fellow Hungarians are serving with the coalition forces. We will also attend the Donors Conference in Madrid later this fall.
We follow closely the developments regarding the United Nations assuming an ever-increasing role in Iraq. I would like to stress that the United Nations has to take its share both in restoring the sovereignty of Iraq and in the reconstruction process. I believe that our organization, with ample experiences elsewhere, can play a significant role in the establishment of democratic institutions, rule of law, respect for human rights and election monitoring. We are studying intensively our possible contributions to this process. For the time being though, our priority must be the stabilization of the security situation in Iraq and the normalization of day-to-day life.
Hungary is deeply concerned by the grave and deteriorating situation in the Middle East. We believe that the implementation of the Road Map is the only framework to reach a political settlement. An effective and credible monitoring, mechanism is of critical importance to this effect. The Quartet should carry on with its mission in the peace process. We call upon both the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority to dedicate all their efforts to the full and unconditional implementation of the Road Map.
The security situation in Afghanistan remains fragile. The Government of Afghanistan deserves our assistance and attention. Terrorist acts and illicit drug trafficking are causes for serious concern. I am confident that with the unwavering support of the international community, Afghanistan will soon be a better place for the Afghan people.
The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction together with their means of delivery is a growing and serious threat to international peace and security. The danger of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in the hands of terrorist groups and states, that are a menace to our world, represent new major security challenges, against which we must act together in a resolute manner both regionally and globally.
Earlier this year, the European Union has adopted a very important and far-reaching Declaration on Arms Proliferation and Weapons of Mass Destruction. Hungary will work hard with its partners in the EU towards the effective implementation of this new instrument as well as of the recently agreed EU Action Plan.
Under the current security environment worldwide, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons /NPT/ is in need to be reinforced. We call on the States remaining outside the NPT to accede to it unconditionally and accept the nearly universal norms of nuclear nonproliferation.
Revelations about large-scale nuclear programs and the failure to provide sufficient explanations about their purpose and nature, have given rise to legitimate concerns of the international community. There is a growing recognition, shared by Hungary, that these programs imply serious proliferation risks as well.
We view the first follow-up meeting of the States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention /BWC/ in August this year in Geneva as encouraging. The participants have rightly focused on practical actions. We look forward to seeing further progress in strengthening national implementation of the BWC at the next meeting in November.
Hungary remains strongly committed to international protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the rights of minorities.
In this regard, the United Nations is the only universal organization dealing with worldwide standard setting, protecting human rights and addressing violations of human rights in individual Member States. All these efforts deserve our unqualified support.
Hungary continues to attach particular importance to the protection of the rights of minorities. Regional instruments have already been adopted toward this end without major difficulties aimed at improving the situation of national and ethnic minorities.
A universal instrument on the rights of minorities is yet to be elaborated. We believe that, given the necessary political will of Member States, the United Nations will be able to fill this gap by an international minority protection system. The more effective we act, the more beneficial service we do to protect with standards and norms the vulnerable groups of minorities.
Hungary stands ready and is willing to join others in redoubling our efforts with regard to the strengthening of the United Nations system. Multilateral institutions are in serious need of reforms for living up to the expectations of a fast changing political and economic landscape of our times. The United Nations cannot be an exception to this.
Thank you, Mr. President