Check against delivery

27 APRIL 2004

Mr. Chairman,

I am very pleased, on behalf of the Romanian delegation, to congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, and the other members of the Executive Board, for the important work you have done over the last 16 months and to wish you every success in accomplishing your mandate.

I also welcome the presence in this debate of Under Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor and wish to express my sincere appreciation for the apt leadership he demonstrated in guiding the complex process of rejuvenating the structure and work of the Department of Public Information (DPI).

I would like to extend my thanks to Ms. Therese Gastaut, the Executive Secretary of our Committee, and her team, whose dedicated work and admirable competence are the best guarantees for the successful conduct of our business. I particularly congratulate the Department of Public Information for the concise yet comprehensive reports they have provided. We found the documentation provided extremely useful in assisting us in our deliberations.

Mr. Chairman,

Our delegation aligned itself with the statement delivered yesterday morning on behalf of the European Union by the Irish Presidency. I would therefore like to concentrate my intervention on a few remarks, in my national capacity.

Romania fully supports the important role that DPI plays in providing high quality and focussed information services to the UN family, and to the wider public. Directly from its offices or indirectly through the activities of UNIC Bucharest, its products are well known and highly appreciated in Romania, particularly in the political, professional and academic circles.

The Romanian authorities are committed to further work with the UN team in Romania in order to benefit from its resources and operations and to maximise the UN visibility in our country. In this respect, the Government of Romania completed the legal procedures needed to fulfil its financial pledges to UNIC Bucharest, as well as to other UN funds and programs operating in our country.

I would like to make a special point on the future status of Romania as a European Union member country, which will bring about added value as a donor country. We have already started preparations to take this important step forward. We rely, in this respect, on our long lasting traditions of offering support and sharing experiences and resources with developing countries around the world.

The Romanian delegation welcomes the report of the Secretary-General regarding the process of the reorientation of United Nations activities in the field of public information and communications. We commend DPI for its constant efforts to develop a more strategic approach to promoting global awareness and greater understanding of the UN work.

Romania also welcomes the now completed restructuring of DPI and supports the proposed strategic framework for the biennium 2006-2007, meant to provide the Department with the tools required to fulfil its tasks. We are pleased to recognize in DPI's mission statement the historic goals proclaimed by the Millennium Declaration in the field of economic growth, social and human development.

As both an elected member of the Security Council and a troop contributing country, Romania attaches particular importance to DPI's activities aimed at enhancing public awareness of this major UN activity. We welcome the strategic efforts of DPI to publicise new peacekeeping missions and encourage DPI to further enhance its co-ordination with DPKO in this regard. Mr. Chairman,

The rationalisation of the network of UN information centres around regional hubs is a matter of particular interest to Romania.

We support the principles outlined in the Secretary-General's report on this matter and, as a future member of the European Union, welcome the establishment of the Regional United Nations Information Centre (RUNIC) in Brussels. As regards the further implementation of this process, we stress the need to take into consideration the cultural and linguistic and geopolitical characteristics of each region.

Mr. Chairman,

Since I will miss the opportunity of celebrating with you, here, at the UN headquarters, the World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, allow me to use this forum in order to underscore in advance the importance attached by the Romanian authorities to the principle of free press and its important role in a free society, as expressed by the President of Romania, Mr. Ion Iliescu: "Romanian citizens used to know, during the communism, the price to be paid by a state policy of lying, we know what it means not to be able to express a point of view freely, not to debate the options and actions of political powers. We all have now an obligation to protect journalists, to create normal conditions for their activity. Free access to information is a universal right and people should know that and celebrate it."

I would like to celebrate the 3rd of May by sharing with you a couple of some wisemen' s thoughts, that are touching and inspiring, and could, each, compete for being the motto of this Day:

First, I think that Gene Fowler was right in saying: "News is history shot on the wing. The huntsmen from the Fourth Estate seek to bag only the peacock or the eagle of the swinging day."

Let me add what Alexander Solzhenytsin used to exclaim: "Woe to the nation whose literature is cut short by the intrusion of force. This is not merely interference with freedom of the press, but the sealing up of a nation's heart, the excision of its memory!"

I would conclude by a wonderful definition that a prominent editor in chief of Time Inc. Henry Anatole Grunwald, gave to this profession that the world honors on May 3rd: "Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air."

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.