(New York, September 23 2003)

Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honor for me to address the 58th General Assembly of the United Nations, presided over by the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs of Santa Lucia, Mr. Julian Robert Hunte, whom I congratulate on his election.

I speak to you today as the Prime Minister of a democratic, free and prosperous country. For Spaniards, liberty and the rule of law are two precious achievements, allowing us to make progress. With our efforts, we have become a prosperous, stable and reliable country. These achievements define our framework of harmonious coexistence, in which there is space for all of us; we always bear in mind that the rights of the individual can never be sacrificed to the rights of groups.

Liberty and the rule of law also guide our foreign policy. Let us not fool ourselves: liberty and the rule of law do not prevail in today's world. Another world may be possible but, for better or for worse, this is the only one we have. This is the world we have to improve.. For that to happen, let us protect our freedom, and strive to ensure compliance with international law.

The world will be a better place if we obey our own rules. If those who break them know that they will not prevail. The United Nations embodies international law. Compliance with UN resolutions is in the interest of all. That is how to build a world according to law, not tyranny; according to liberty, not oppression.

It is therefore likely that the United Nations and the Secuirty Council will require reform. This is unquestionably a complex issue, and we support the efforts being made in this regard by the Secretary-General. Let us bear in mind in any event that having more Security Council members will not necessarily enhance efficiency.

However, above all, what the United Nations needs is for its members to ensure the implementation of its resolutions.

A determined effort by all countries is necessary to create a safer and freer world. We must not hesitate in the face of violations of Security Council Resolutions. On the contrary, we must all see to their fulfillment, we must all do our share because it is in the interest of us all that the United Nations' ideals become a reality.

Hence our commitment to security, the reconstruction of Iraq and giving sovereignty back to its people. Let us not waste our efforts, nor revisit past disputes. The success of these tasks in Iraq will be a success for the whole international community.

I trust that the Donor Conference, to be held in Spain, will be a major step in this direction. And I invite you all to take part.

Please allow me to offer you some more specific ideas. Our efforts must be geared to restoring sovereignty to the Iraqi people so that they may freely benefit from their own resources. With this in mind, I propose that we reach an agreement that allows for a multinational force under a single command with the clear mission to guarantee peace and stability. Because of the high risk of terrorist activity today in Iraq, the task cannot be entrusted to an intervention force but
precisely to a force which ensures peace and stability.

A second and subsequent agreement on civilian administration of Iraqi resources and public services to the population would thus be easy to obtain. I mean a civilian and joint Administration, run by the UN co-shared with the new leaders representing the peaceful and pluralist Iraq.

Mr. President,

Peace, security and liberty have always had enemies. At present, we cannot ignore threats: This very Organization has been a victim of the blind violence of terror. We should not forget that, with their cowardly and evil attack in Baghdad, the terrorists sought to drive the UN from Iraq and cut off this country from the world.

Terrorists and states violating international law threaten that which we hold dearest: our lives and our liberty. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction may make them even more lethal.

I firmly believe that the commitment and true cooperation of all States will bring us victory over terror.

Last May, I was able to share some thoughts on the international fight against terrorism with the members of the Security Council. Please allow me to briefly go back over these thoughts with you.

- We must continue to work to produce a general list of terrorist organizations. We must call a spade a spade, and not provide moral alibis to killers.

- We must work hard in our priority areas. Let us block the terrorists' sources of financing, and prevent their access to weapons of mass destruction. The nuclear, chemical and biological disarmament treaties must be put to use for this purpose. To prevent and intercept illegal trafficking in these weapons, a group of countries has implemented the Counter- Proliferation Security Initiative. Our first meeting was held in Madrid last June. You are invited to join us.

- We must lend an ear to the victims of terrorism. Three reasons make it imperative to do so: to restore the truth, to reinstate dignity and to pay tribute to the memory of the deceased. Terrorists have sometimes made use of public platforms, therefore we are morally obliged to provide victims with an institutional forum where they may speak out. Let us unmask the terrorists, and listen to their victims.

Mr. President,

It has been rightly said that the United Nations was not founded to lead the world to paradise but to prevent it from falling into the abyss. There is no such thing as paradise on earth. It is our efforts for the sake of a safer and freer world that keep us from the abyss and enable this Organization to bring to life its high ideals. Let us not spare those efforts.

Thank you very much.