H.E. Mr. Alain Juppé [Minister for Foreign Affairs of France], Distinguished Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have all welcomed the vigorous call for democratic change across the Middle East and North Africa.
Our challenge now is to ensure swift and solid support for those transitions.
Each country must be in charge of its own destiny. But the United Nations can help.
We have vast expertise across all key areas, from electoral processes to constitution-making, from institution-building to human rights, from transitional justice to economic recovery.
As I will stress to the Member States in my address tomorrow, strengthening assistance to countries in transition will be a key focus of my second term.
At this morning's high-level meeting, we reaffirmed our readiness to respond in a coordinated manner to Libya's transition plans.
The international community has also spoken with one voice in calling on the United Nations to coordinate these efforts. We will do so.
The new UN support mission in Libya will deploy for an initial period of three months, and will provide advice and assistance as requested.
In Tunisia and Egypt, I have urged the transitional authorities to ensure that their upcoming elections meet the legitimate aspirations of the people.
The United Nations has already deployed experts to help Tunisian authorities prepare for Constituent Assembly elections in October.
I have also offered UN technical assistance to the authorities in Cairo.
Overall, I will continue to advocate the strong participation of civil society in these transitions and encourage ongoing reforms.
We will do the same in countries where people are calling for change, but where their governments have not fully responded. We are especially concerned about the ongoing violence in Syria. President Assad has repeatedly assured the international community ?and me ? that he will listen to the demands of his people and halt the campaign of repression against them. It is up to us to hold to that pledge.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The challenges ahead will be formidable. These transitions, and others that may follow, will require our sustained engagement. During this historic period, the United Nations will continue to do its part in developing and strengthening democratic institutions and practices.
I thank all our partners for your cooperation. I remain confident that going forward, we shall continue to work together in a coordinated manner with the Deauville Partnership