7 September 2000


7 September 2000

Press Briefing



Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of Poland and Chairman of the second roundtable of the Millennium Summit, told correspondents that the roundtable discussion which took place this morning was one of the most interesting debates he could recall. A total of 34 leaders took part and their discussions lasted for over three and-a-half hours.

President Kwasniewski said that the participants focused on defining the problems shared by the international community. These included poverty, disease, violence and the lack of democracy and human rights in many parts of the world. At this point, it was well known what was meant by globalization and what the implications were.

In the attempt to find answers to many of the most pressing problems, leaders and representatives of various countries offered many different solutions. For some, the developed countries had a crucial role to play. For others, it was a shared responsibility. He added that it was not easy to find a simple recipe for such complex global problems.

He said the United Nations had played a vital role in finding a compromise to global dilemmas. This was the foundation of the creation of the United Nations 55 years ago and the Organization had lived up to this difficult task. In that respect, the Millennium Summit had proven that the United Nations was very necessary.

Asked by a correspondent if there was any major message from the discussion, the President of Poland replied that a simple conclusion was impossible. The group of leaders had defined a common list of problems on which to focus. The United Nations could be a place to find the real solutions to these problems.

Why was the United States not in any of the round tables and did the meetings lose out by its absence, a correspondent asked. Perhaps the United States had decided not to participate because it would have been difficult to choose between the four different round tables, he replied. In any case, this was a question for President Clinton.

Another correspondent asked if the group of leaders taking part in the round table had made any promises to one another. President Kwasniewski said that the main idea of the meeting was to discuss the real problems and seek solutions. It was a very honest debate. In that respect, he appreciated the openness of one of the African participants, who had suggested ways in which other countries could think about the problems in Africa.

The correspondent followed-up by asking if there was anything about the discussion on Africa that was new to him. The President of Poland replied that, indeed, the real challenge for the international

Kwasniewski Press Conference - 2 - 7 September 2000

community was Africa. Rich countries should help by reducing the debt of the poor countries. Africa should be seen not just as a problem but as a responsibility. The Millennium Summit was crucial to that as was the efforts of the Secretary-General.

What was needed in order to prevent the current meetings from becoming “the Summit of lost possibilities”, a correspondent asked. President Kwasniewski said that there needed to be a concept of how to integrate the least developed countries. The most important thing was to have action and results. This was the challenge to all leaders. Words were words but efforts were something different.

Was it fair to say, he was then asked, that this roundtable had focused on consciousness-raising rather than discussing politics? President Kwasniewski replied that discussions such as the one which took place today were responsible for the progress that had been made over the past 50 years. It was clear that discussion and dialogue worked in the effort to find viable solutions.

The following representatives and observers took part in the second round table: Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chad, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Guinea, Iceland, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Malawi, Mali, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, the Republic of Korea, Romania, the Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland, Sweden, the Syrian Arab Republic, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Viet Nam and Palestine.

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For information media. Not an official record.