The challenge of peacefully resolving new kinds of conflicts should inspire the United Nations as it faced the new millennium, the General Assembly was told this afternoon as it continued its commemorative meeting on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary.
World leaders stressed that as it undertook reforms, the Organization should strive for ever-greater transparency and accountability. Many of the perceived deficiencies of the Organization had actually resulted from policy decisions by Member States, the Assembly was reminded. Several speakers stressed the need to restructure United Nations peace and security machinery.
Statements this afternoon were made by President Mario Alberto Nobre Lopes Soares of Portugal; President Liamine Zeroual of Algeria; President Nursultan Nazarbaev of Kazakstan; President Heydar Alirza ogly Aliyev of Azerbaijan; President Jose Eduardo dos Santos of Angola; President Joao Bernardo Vieira of Guinea-Bissau; President Alyaksandr Lukashenka of Belarus; Acting President Stojan Andov of The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; President Michal Kovac of the Slovak Republic; President Amata Kabua of Marshall Islands; President Omar Bongo of Gabon; President Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico; President Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan; President Guntis Ulmanis of Latvia; and President Mary Robinson of Ireland.
Also addressing the Assembly this afternoon were Wim Kok, Prime Minister of Netherlands; John G.M. Compton, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia; Mario Frick, Prime Minister of Liechtenstein; and Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada.
The Assembly also heard statements by Ali Akbar Velayati, Foreign Minister of Iran; Bahige Tabbarah, Minister of Justice of Lebanon; Alexander Chikvaidze, Foreign Minister of Georgia; Danny Phillip, Deputy Prime Minister of Solomon Islands; Jacques F. Poos, Deputy Prime Minister of Luxembourg; Galo Leoro, Foreign Minister of Ecuador; Kozo Zoumanigui, Foreign Minister of Guinea; Ablasse Ouedraogo, Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso; and Edgar Camacho Omiste, Chairman of the Delegation of Bolivia.
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The commemorative meeting was also addressed by the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Hamid Algabid; a Member of the Sovereign Council of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Count Carlo Marullo di Condojanni; the Director-General of the International Organization for Migration, James N. Purcell; and the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Cornelio Sommaruga.
When it meets again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 23 October, the General Assembly will continue its commemorative meeting on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary.
The General Assembly met this afternoon to continue its special commemorative meeting on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations.
MARIO SOARES, President of Portugal: Tribute should be paid to the United Nations for its steadfast efforts in furtherance of peace, dialogue and development. The difficulties and frustrations encountered by the Organization have, for the most part, been the responsibility of Member States, owing to conflicts of interests, ideology and the desire for hegemony. At other times, they arise from financial needs that have not been met. The principles enshrined in the Charter represent a powerful stimulus in favour of democracy, human rights and peace.
An outrageous situation continues to prevail in the Non-Self-Governing Territory of East Timor. Notwithstanding the resolutions of the Security Council and of the General Assembly, that situation still awaits the conclusion of a decolonization process brutally interrupted by 20 years of Indonesian occupation. In a rapidly changing world, the United Nations must do everything it can to ensure that changes occur without serious disruptions, as called for in the appeal of the Social Development Conference in Copenhagen.
Peoples throughout the world should participate in solving the problems of humanity, which meant sharing scientific knowledge, technology and information. The world's ongoing changes call for a reshaping of the global context, including an urgent restructuring of the United Nations system. The current system's inability to respond in a timely and effective manner to the need for intervention in armed and unarmed conflicts has made it clear that the best -- and most economical -- strategy is the prevention of crises and conflicts. The United Nations has developed a new international legal order for the oceans, based upon the principles of peaceful utilization, cooperation and development of the capabilities of every nation. Civil society should develop a keener appreciation for the value of oceans.
LIAMINE ZEROUAL, President of Algeria: The fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations represents an ideal moment for collective retrospection and a new point of departure in re-establishing such ideals as peace, security and shared prosperity. The hopes embodied in the United Nations have long been frustrated and its work remains incomplete. Over the past 50 years the United Nations has seen its membership approach universality. The vast movement of decolonization fostered by the United Nations is one of the causes that gave meaning to the fiftieth anniversary.
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Numerous organs of the United Nations system have rendered invaluable service to the developing world. But, over the years the United Nations has also served as an arena for power politics played in a climate of confrontation. The weaknesses and shortcomings of the United Nations are inseparable from the limits that Member States have put on their own cooperation on behalf of peace, development and international security. On the eve of the twenty-first century, the peoples of the United Nations, who are steadily advancing towards democracy, human rights and market economies, are entitled to raise their expectations as to what the Organization can achieve.
Lingering conflicts should be settled in conformity with justice and law. The international community should unite in the battle against terrorism, which is a threat to international peace and security. Nuclear disarmament must be accelerated and the environment must be protected. The United Nations itself must be reformed. It must be an efficient instrument that Member States can use to face the challenges of the day.
NURSULTAN NAZARBAEV, President of Kazakstan: Today's international structures do not always effectively respond to new realities. Could anyone imagine 10 years ago that one of the leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement -- the prosperous European State of Yugoslavia -- would be torn apart and sink into the blood of its innocent people? Today, the international community stands at the threshold of a new era of global structures. No international structure on the eve of the twenty-first century will be capable of resolving the issues of global security and socio-political development without considering new global balances which are already reflected today in the emergence of new centres of power in western Europe, south-east Asia and North America.
The Assembly should now concentrate its efforts on elaborating a conceptual model of a renewed twenty-first century United Nations which should incorporate new goals, objectives and functions. For example, the role of the Security Council should be reinforced. Germany and Japan should become full members, and steps should be taken to ensure that views of all regions receive wider consideration. The interaction between global and regional security systems should be enhanced. Member States of central Asia should enhance the regional aspect of international security.
The contours of the biggest regional market was developing in central Asia with the participation of many Asian, Commonwealth of Independent States, and European countries. The market dealt with issues of transportation of the oil and gas resources of the region, as well as the efforts to combat transit drugs and to cooperative efforts of the world community to preserve the Aral Sea. Urgent steps are needed to stem the environmental consequences of the
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Aral disaster which can easily become an issue of great concern for EuroAsia as a whole.
An important question is how the renewed United Nations is going to interact with the regional and continental system of security and cooperation. Two possible roles could be played by the Organization -- one as a single centre of global security whose decisions are strictly binding for all regional systems, a second an international coordinating body which would act as the highest independent arbitrator in resolving disputes and conflicts between regional structures.
Kazakstan has proposed establishment of a fund for peace-keeping efforts, with each nation contributing by reducing annually its defence budget by 1 per cent.
HEYDAR ALIRZA OGLY ALIYEV, President of Azerbaijan: Positive changes have occurred since the establishment of the United Nations. It has been possible to avoid a third world war and see the end of apartheid as well as other international problems. The confirmation of common human values, ideas of freedom, democracy and human rights have become widely expanded. Democratic changes in States and in all areas of life have become important factors in all States. International peace and security have been strengthened. The United Nations has played a special role in all these developments.
But the world has not become more secure and still faces problems such as a proliferation of weapons, hunger, poverty and environmental disasters, all of which require radical solutions. Bloody conflict and human suffering continue. The armed Armenians continue their aggression against Azerbaijan. They have occupied more than 20 per cent of Azerbaijani territory. More than 1 million refugees exist as a result of this aggression. The Security Council resolutions regarding the situation are not being implemented by the aggressor. As a result the peace process in the Minsk group has not yielded the desired results.
Azerbaijan appeals to the international community to restore its territorial integrity and its internationally recognized borders. It condemns all types of aggression in any part of the world.
JOSE EDUARDO DOS SANTOS, President of Angola: Sooner or later the difficulties facing the United Nations will compel it to redefine its structure and mechanisms, particularly of the Security Council, which needs to increase the number of its permanent members. It must provide a permanent seat for each geographic region so that the country representing a particular region can become effective in the preservation of regional peace.
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The world financial system is inadequate to meet the current world realities, and a polarization of the world is occurring. Self-sustained economic development should be encouraged.
Angola has always been predisposed to collaborating with the United Nations with a view to resolving its problems. Today, thousands of United Nations soldiers are deployed in Angola as guarantors and monitors of the peace process. For its mission to be accomplished, the Lusaka Protocol must be accelerated, especially where it concerns the quartering and disarming of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) military forces, de-mining and the opening of main roads for the free movement of people and goods. Angola hopes those tasks will be concluded by next March so that the Government of unity and national reconciliation may then be established. The Government thanks all of the international community for their contributions to the cause of peace and reconciliation and appeals for continued financial, technical and material assistance for economic recovery.
JOAO BERNARDO VIEIRA, President of Guinea-Bissau: The current century has seen the re-emergence of awareness of fundamental values regarding the human person, notably respect for human dignity and democracy and the rights of man. A new cultural relationship between man and nature has been forged, but despite those achievements, critical problems persist including the precarious economic situation of third world countries, particularly in Africa.
Today, as never before, the United Nations Charter is a judicial, political and moral reference in international relations that cannot be sidestepped. It is imperative to proceed with reforms of the Organization in order to respond to recent developments in the world. The agenda of the General Assembly must be rationalized and the Security Council should be expanded on the basis of equitable geographical representation. Guinea-Bissau would also like to see the Republic of China in Taiwan return to the United Nations.
The world is now confronted by a number of tensions and conflicts that threaten international stability and compromise man's progress. Member States must support actions that support the Organization's capacity for maintaining peace. They must forge a world organization that is capable of protecting future generations and providing reasons for hope.
ALYAKSANDR LUKASHENKA, President of Belarus: The United Nations today should not think about all that it had achieved, but should look to the work left undone. Problems of the environment and of hunger threaten the future; only the United Nations can unify nations to solve those problems. Giving up the Organization will be tantamount to abandoning the hope of peoples uniting for a better world.
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The Organization should be more effective. It showed that it was viable in the time of the cold war. The challenge today is for the United Nations to prove itself in the multi-polar world. The expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is fraught with uncertainties for the future of Europe. Today is not the time to expand military blocs; it is the time to reduce conflicts. Belarus was the first country in the world to renounce the possession of nuclear weapons. As a result, funds intended for development had to be applied to the destruction of weapons.
The solution of the economic and social problems of Belarus and other States of the former Soviet Union depends on cooperation with the United Nations. The people of Belarus suffered greatly from the Chernobyl accident. More than 40 per cent of the radiation leaked in that disaster had fallen on Belarus. The major States today should not think about diktat but about leadership in solving the problems of mankind. Belarus will do everything in its power to make the United Nations live up to expectations.
STOJAN ANDOV, Acting President of The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: The President of the Republic of Macedonia could not be here, as he is recovering from a terrorist attack on his life. The attack, however, did not achieve its aim to destabilize the Republic of Macedonia and to change its role as a key factor for peace in the south of the Balkans. The Republic of Macedonia has illustrated the points on the peaceful path to self- determination and independence, which is an indisputable right of all peoples. It has also demonstrated political and preventive methods of resolving and surmounting historical injustices.
The basic reason that the Republic of Macedonia is a factor for peace in the south of the Balkans is that it opted for peaceful and legitimate means to achieve the right to self-determination. It also opted for the inviolability of its borders and proclaimed independence within its constitutional and internationally recognized borders. It has actively carried out a policy of good-neighbourliness and surmounted the historical causes for being the "bone of contention".
The country has been supported by the United Nations, which, by deploying the forces of the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force, helped to prevent an escalation of the war in the south of the Balkans and gave a clear signal that the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Macedonia are of concrete interest to the United Nations. The Organization has also helped in the normalization of relations between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece. The Republic of Macedonia hopes that it will finally realize the right of being referred to in the United Nations by its constitutional name and that it will receive active support in surmounting the damages that have resulted from sanctions and blockades.
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MICHAL KOVAC, President of the Slovak Republic: The United Nations has played an irreplaceable role for 50 years. It was established after a failed attempt to gain absolute world hegemony and in the euphoric atmosphere of the victory over that attempt. It was founded in order to prevent a recurrence of that catastrophe and to save future generations from the horrors of war. The Organization is a living being which has experienced periods of success, even while recognizing its weaknesses. It is now gaining an increasing role in the field of economic and social development where certain disproportions must be addressed.
The United Nations faces a difficult but unavoidable task; it must change its institutional structure by adopting more efficient system-wide functions. The Organization can only change in line with the wishes and desires of its members. If they want structural changes to have a positive impact on the international situation, political will and the agreement of individual governments will be of vital importance.
The new State of Slovakia was aware of its obligations to the United Nations. It has taken part in many activities of the Organization, including peace-keeping and humanitarian operations. It will continue to act in conformity with its international obligations and in the general spirit of cooperation. As the United Nations celebrates its jubilee it has all the prerequisites needed for finding constructive solutions to even the most intricate current and future problems. Slovakia will be a solid partner in that process.
AMATA KABUA, President, Marshall Islands: This session will witness the sharing of many constructive and far-reaching recommendations concerning various aspects of United Nations reform. "I propose the holding of an international convocation before the turn of the century. Then with firm resolve and clear vision, we must endeavour to make the cause of peace the object of our consultation, and seek by every means in our power to establish the unity of nations." These consultations should lead to the formulation of binding agreements, treaties and covenants.
Given humanity's yearning for peace, which has created an impetus that is gathering momentum, the Marshall Islands finds it most difficult to understand the need for and the wisdom of the resumption of nuclear tests in the Pacific.
Undoubtedly, the United Nations constitutes the most legitimate forum through which the needs and interests of individual nations can be expressed, their concerns addressed and their fears allayed. Members have the obligation to find ways to promote, without discrimination, the well-being of all peoples, to eradicate poverty and to enable all citizens to enjoy the benefits of peace and prosperity. "It is with this perspective that I feel moved to
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urge that perennial rhetoric must cease, and that deeds, not words, be our adorning."
EL HADJ OMAR BONGO, President of Gabon: The United Nations system is often the object of criticism. Some say it is just a forum for making speeches, while others charge that it is ineffective. Conflicts persist in Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina and many other areas of the world. Underdevelopment in many areas of the world also continues to be a problem. However, many of the past inadequacies of the Organization were a result of East-West hostility. Today the United Nations can take credit for contributing to human rights and democratization, although progress could have been much greater.
"The time has come to revisit the practices of the United Nations in order to bring them in line with the times." The Security Council must be examined and the mechanisms of the Organization that have been tried and proven should be strengthened. Dialogue, negotiation and mutual respect should be encouraged in the resolution of conflicts. In order to carry out these functions the United Nations needs finances. If it lacks financing, it will be like "an automobile without fuel". Resources earmarked for development are dwindling, which is causing concern for developing States, especially those from Africa. The issue should be addressed and a real dialogue between North and South should be initiated, under the auspices of the United Nations.
ERNESTO ZEDILLO, President of Mexico: Contemporary threats to international peace and security include efforts at genocide and fragmentation, environmental degradation, drug trafficking and poverty. It is necessary to strengthen the United Nations so that relations among States may be governed by in law. The United Nations must be the forum through which to achieve a world without nuclear danger. Mexico, together with other countries of the region, has helped to establish a vast region without nuclear weapons. Other regions should follow suit, and an end must be sought to nuclear tests.
A comprehensive strategy to combat drug trafficking is needed. Countries where demand for drugs is high must do their part in that effort. The United Nations, which works to promote a culture of human rights and respect for indigenous peoples, should work to curb all forms of racism and xenophobia. It must play a greater role in combating poverty, fostering development and promoting the status of women. All people must benefit from the fruits of the world economy. "By sowing the seeds of development, we shall reap peace."
The United Nations must be reformed in a manner that respects the principles that gave birth to the Organization. Reform must ensure a more democratic and transparent system better able to foster peace. Mexico would
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continue to strive with the Organization for the peace and progress of all peoples.
SAPARMURAT NIYAZOV, President of Turkmenistan: Turkmenistan supports efforts to improve the United Nations and its structures to conform with changes in the world. The Security Council should be enlarged to make it adequately represent the interests of all States and regions and its decision- making mechanism should be democratized. Countries should not be categorized as small or large, central or peripheral. None should have special powers and prerogatives, which should belong to the entire international community. Such an approach will enhance responsibility for implementing United Nations decisions and help fulfil them effectively. The problem is relevant because expectations that the end of the cold war would make the world safer did not materialize. New realities have not solved old problems, and the emergence of independent States has led to new conflicts, such as in Asia. The continent, with its enormous human and natural resources, could become the richest part of the world. However, instability and long-standing regional conflicts have hindered domestic development. Asia should try to create a more just and equitable order in the economy, information and cultural exchanges and neutralize efforts to form political blocs along linguistic, religious or geographic lines.
Turkmenistan is starting to fulfil its historical chance for independent development and has preserved social stability. It has tried to develop on the basis of its national interests and the need for regional stability and international security. This is important because Turkmenistan is located at a major crossroads, has more than one quarter of the world's deposits of hydrocarbons and ranks fourth in the world's natural gas reserves. This lends legitimacy to its policy of neutrality, which will meet the interests of international cooperation, bearing in mind the country's geographical location. The present leaders' gathering should support Turkmenistan's initiatives. Turkmenistan will cooperate with all sides on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.
A new region has been formed by the States of central Asia, the Middle- East, south-west Asia, part of the Caucasus and the Near East. Many countries there have joined the Economic Cooperation Organization, which develops inter- regional partnership, particularly with the States of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union. After assuming the Economic Cooperation Organization presidency next year, Turkmenistan will promote that process.
GUNTIS ULMANIS, President of Latvia: When the United Nations was established, Latvia was under occupation and could not sign the Charter, but it drew hope from the Organization's message of peace and equality. The situation in the world today evokes historical analogies with the situation
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prevailing when the League of Nations was founded. Latvia had been an active member of the League of Nations and clearly recalls the results of appeasing aggression in 1939. "The leaders of the world today would do well to remember these lessons of history."
The dramatic rise in the number and complexity of peace-keeping operations in recent years gives rise to the need for a new approach to peace- keeping. Humanitarian assistance, human rights and economic and political questions are now integral components of peace-keeping. Latvia is ready to participate, within the Danish battalion, in United Nations peace-keeping. Further, the Baltic States have established a battalion that is currently being trained for the same purpose.
All Member States must act constructively and in unison to reform the Organization. Action should be taken to effect progressive change without making permanent commitments to new structures and procedures. The work of the Security Council should be made more open. Expanding the Council must strengthen the role played by small countries, while respecting equitable geographic distribution and new geopolitical realities. The Assembly should compile information on innovative financing mechanisms, which need to be developed. The highly inequitable scale of assessments must be adjusted to obey the principle that States with equal average per capita incomes should bear assessments that are broadly at the same per capita level. All States must be assessed by the same criteria. Rainis, the distinguished Latvian Nobel prize nominee, said "That which transforms will survive." The United Nations must change so that aspirations for the coming century may come to fruition.
MARY ROBINSON, President of Ireland: "Our special commemorative session will be an empty ritual, quickly forgotten, if we limit ourselves to celebration." Humankind today holds the fate of all other species in its hands. It fills the planet and owns the Earth. The leaders of nations must see both the danger of the time, and the potential beyond the danger. Concern and compassion must be translated into action in the real world through effective institutions.
We live in a world where conflict is a constant danger and weapons grow endlessly; where fear aroused in ethnic conflict can lead to genocide and where poverty and injustice oppress hundreds of millions. In order to tackle these problems an effective international Organization is needed. The United Nations is such an Organization, adaptable and developed. However, today, it is in crisis, its authority uncertain and financial situation dire. "Its Member States give it tasks which exceed its present capacity, they stint and limit their support and then blame it for lack of success in enterprises which their own lack of support has doomed to failure."
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Four steps should be taken this year to infuse the United Nations with new vigour. Finance should be the first concern. There is room for greater efficiency in the United Nations, but that should not be used as an excuse for failing to pay due contributions. Second, the Security Council should examine, clarify and codify its procedures for running peace-keeping operations and enforcement actions. Third, it is time to seriously consider a mechanism for an early response to crises, when peace-keeping operations are urgently needed. Is it not possible to think about proposals for an international volunteer force at the disposal of the Secretary-General under the direction of the Security Council? Fourth, decisions should be taken on the enlargement of the Security Council to make it more representative.
WIM KOK, Prime Minister on the Netherlands: Member States of the United Nations have played a crucial role in every success and failure of the Organization. They must determine what they want from the Organization and decide how much they are willing to pay -- both financially and politically. In recent years, the international community has made ever-increasing demands on the Organization, without showing a similar degree of enthusiasm when it comes to providing financial means.
Member States must agree on what should be the core functions of the Organization and realistically assess its capabilities to perform those functions. They need to agree on a division of labour between the United Nations and other international organizations. In order to be relevant the Organization must adopt a "result-oriented" approach. The Netherlands was willing to work with other member States in the Working Group on the Strengthening of the United Nations System to develop practical solutions for modernizing the working methods of the Organization.
If no action is taken, the United Nations will run out of cash some time next year. All member States should honour their obligations under the Charter and under international law to pay their contributions in full, on time and without conditions.
JOHN G.M. COMPTON, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia: The international community has struggled for the past half century to attain its goals, but the idealism of the 1940s has lapsed into the materialism of the 1990s. The uplifting mood that followed the end of the horrors of the Second World War seems to have slipped with the atrocities of Bosnia and the genocide in Rwanda. Foreign aid has been systematically cut, aggressive competition has increased in trade and such institutions as the United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the International Development Agency are either being starved of support or threatened with extinction.
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Efforts must be redoubled to ensure that the Charter's call for equal rights, with its implication of racial harmony, is not mocked by the xenophobia which today threatens western society. Despite negative developments, the Organization and its agencies have succeeded in battles against ignorance, poverty, disease and colonialism. It also heard from women at their international conference and won victories in South Africa, Haiti and, more tentatively, the Middle East. It should now face the convoluted problems of Africa and support the initiative of Latin America and the Caribbean to forge an Association of Caribbean States. The Association should serve as a microcosm of the United Nations in its search for peace, justice and equality.
MARIO FRICK, Prime Minister of Liechtenstein: New problems and challenges call for new, creative and flexible approaches. A comprehensive reform and restructuring of the United Nations system is indispensable to achieving that goal, including reform of the Security Council. It is necessary to realize, however, that no reform, no matter how artful, can succeed unless the Organization functions on a firm financial basis. In that context, particular concern arises over the endangering of peace-keeping operations.
"It is unacceptable that the United Nations, while being at the centre of the attention and the expectations of people, should find itself continuously grappling with serious financial problems." Proposals have been put forward, but the most important measure remains that all pay their contributions in full and on time.
Recent major global conferences have made clear the extent to which issues of concern to the United Nations are interdependent. Now, efforts should focus on the implementation of the respective outcomes of those conferences.
JEAN CHRETIEN, Prime Minister of Canada: The gap between rich and poor countries is far too wide. The right balance between economic development and a healthy environment must be established. "We have so much to do, but now the United Nations is itself under attack. We see it in the financial crisis; too many States do not pay their dues in full and on time. But finances are only a symptom of a deeper crisis: a growing belief that nations cannot work together effectively on issues of common concern."
Today more than ever before, the United Nations is needed to maintain international stability and tackle problems that do not respect borders, such as AIDS, drugs and terrorism. Countries can and should pay their dues immediately. The scale of assessments should be reformed to reflect current international realities. The Security Council should be made more representative and more transparent.
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The United Nations can react to crises more quickly. Canada has tabled a study on ways to improve the rapid deployment of United Nations military and civilian personnel. In addition, the mandates of the specialized agencies should be reviewed to ensure that they are dealing with the right issues in the right way. The Secretary-General is working to cut waste. "We are each doing this in our own countries. We should do no less for the United Nations."
ALI AKBAR VELAYATI, Foreign Minister of Iran: No longer a captive of the East-West rivalry, the United Nations is deemed by many to enjoy the power and means to influence genuine change in the world, and design and establish a new order. Others feel that the United Nations is merely a place for States to express their opinions, a gigantic bureaucracy so inefficient that it can hardly rectify its own difficulties, much less those of the world. Neither view reflects reality. The United Nations has a broad mandate and some power to enforce its decisions, but it does not have the power or prerogative to formulate policies and act on its own. It is obliged to follow the collective will of the international community.
Concern arises when that will is not pursued because a few powerful countries are not on board. Selectivity is rampant, whether in the areas of peace and security or development, trade and human rights. The levels of intrusion are dictated by the powerful States. Adherence to the principles in the Charter would undoubtedly strengthen the Organization and enhance its role.
There can be no justification for attempts to impose the will or values of a few over the rest of humanity, or to enhance the perception of security of the privileged few at the expense of subjecting the rest of humanity to the nightmare of nuclear holocaust. Many problems today stem from the diversion of precious resources from development to the arms race. Adding to complex problems are unilateral economic measures, ranging from protectionist policies to outright coercive economic measures amounting to economic terrorism.
The needs and aspirations of the majority of the world's people must be the focus of efforts to reform the United Nations. The role of the General Assembly -- the most democratic and representative United Nations body -- must be enhanced. Institutionalized and implicit centres of privilege and influence must be removed, and the equality of all constituent elements of the Organization must be respected.
BAHIGE TABBARAH, Minister of Justice of Lebanon: The United Nations is the last resort for the weak and the oppressed. In its resolution 425 (1978), the Security Council called for Israel's withdrawal from the occupied Lebanese territories and for the extension of the State's authority to Lebanon's internationally recognized borders. Today, 17 years after the deployment of
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international forces, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is still unable to fulfil its mandate. Israel still refuses to withdraw and insists on maintaining an occupation zone in the southern part of Lebanon.
The United Nations has been unable to implement its resolutions concerning the Israeli occupation, even as many other resolutions have been implemented. "With bitterness we realize that different standards are used in dealing with Member States of the Organization." The United Nations should be provided with the support needed to implement the resolutions it adopts. Lebanon has paid its assessed contribution to the United Nations in full and calls on all Member States, especially major States, to pay their arrears.
Lebanon supports the Secretariat's work in peacemaking and peace- keeping. However, the United Nations is primarily the international institution that provides assistance and support to the developing countries. World peace and respect for human rights cannot be permanently realized unless the economic gap between the rich and poor countries is bridged.
ALEXANDER D. CHIKVAIDZE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Georgia: Head of State Eduard Shevardnadze was strongly inclined to participate in the Commemorative Session, but the charged atmosphere of parliamentary and presidential elections did not allow him to leave the country. "He asked me to assure you that Georgia is steadily returning to normal life."
The new world order is being killed in its infancy in the former Yugoslavia, Nagorny Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. "The new philosophy of the United Nations must give priority to the strategy of making peace over keeping peace. The United Nations is obliged to break with neutrality in favour of a mandatory implementation of the principles of the Charter with regard to those who break the peace."
"A new manner of decision-making is also required, which would focus on the means of implementation rather than excessive preoccupation with procedure and self-serving, adjustable wordings. We must have the courage and the will to call an aggressor an aggressor, and genocide genocide."
DANNY PHILLIP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Solomon Islands: During the last five decades, the United Nations did much to expand and strengthen the community of nations. In the Pacific, for example, the United Nations has been a critical factor in the emergence of independent States. The recent international recognition of vulnerability of small island developing States to adverse economic conditions, as well as to natural and environmental disasters, is a significant example of the family of nations building mutual trust, support and respect. Solomon Islands proposes that the fiftieth session of the General Assembly consider and adopt a plan to bring
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into the Organization several nations that have expressed the desire to become Member States but are financially or politically unable to do so.
Solomon Islands, an ethnically and linguistically diverse, developing nation, believes it is time to formulate an agenda for democracy and tolerance, to complement the Agenda for Peace and Agenda for Development. The proposed agenda for democracy and tolerance will be the vital link in the triad of Agendas, which will buttress the new diplomacy that is emerging. People-centred, the new diplomacy embraces the ideals of democracy, tolerance, peaceful coexistence, the rights of persons and peoples, equity and sustainable development.
JACQUES F. POOS, Deputy Prime Minister of Luxembourg: Despite the paralysis engendered by the cold war, the United Nations was able to ensure relative stability by preventing the outbreak of a major conflagration and by limiting the scope and intensity of existing conflicts. The Organization has improved the living conditions around the world and offered refuge to hundreds of millions of homeless people. It has contributed to wiping out infectious diseases and reducing infant mortality around the world.
Only the United Nations has the authority and legitimacy to try to find solutions to current challenges such as internal conflicts, complex political, military and humanitarian crises; international terrorism; arms proliferation; drug trafficking; and environmental degradation. To prepare the Organization for its second half century, Member States must find an immediate solution to the financial crisis; ensure the balanced enlargement of the Security Council; develop preventative diplomacy and improve the organization of peace-keeping operations; and improve the Organization's capacity to act to promote sustainable development through a combination of organs and functions.
"Let us not make the United Nations the scapegoat for our own shortcomings. It is not the United Nations that has fallen short of our hopes, but we, the Member States, who have not come up to the level of our Organization's ideals, and who are denying it the political and financial means to carry out the mandate we have given it."
GALO LEORO-FRANCO, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador: The important successes of the United Nations on its fiftieth anniversary include the avoidance of a third world war. Yet the lack of cooperation among States and the persistence of acute problems have also been the cause of profound failures. Some conflicts have been solved through United Nations actions. Others have found solutions through different mechanisms of the Organization. Serious concerns persist at all levels.
The 1945 concept of peace and security that involved traditional military matters based on the concept of collective security has, today,
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widened to embrace political, economic and social affairs. State sovereignty is evolving. At the same time, promotion of democracy and defence and protection of human rights have become universal norms.
The Organization should continue to contribute to peaceful and friendly relations among States and to promote economic and social development. To meet new demands, it requires major structural changes derived from the Charter. The Charter provides the only way to guarantee the survival of weak, small States. Ecuador reaffirms its commitment to pursuing the ongoing quest for just and equitable solutions, and through mutual agreements to resolve the conflicts that persist in our region and in the world at large.
KOZO ZOUMANIGUI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guinea: Over the past half century, the United Nations has proved to be irreplaceable as a universal mechanism for dialogue, negotiation and collective action. It has not ceased to be both the ideal framework and an indefatigable craftsman for maintaining peace and global security and mobilizing the international community to take action on the world's development problems.
The Organization's capacity to keep peace and maintain international security has encountered difficulties because of operational problems. To continue to play its role fully and effectively, the United Nations needs to be fortified and given resources on a par with humanity's expectations. In this context, implementation of the agendas for peace and development are very important.
This anniversary offers humanity the opportunity to provide itself with a stronger Organization, seasoned by a spirit of solidarity and of fruitful cooperation. It will then be capable of mobilizing the necessary resources to meet humanity's current challenges -- maintaining peace and global security, economic and social development, justice, democracy and equality.
ABLASSE OUEDRAOGO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso: Five minutes to speak of the 50 years to come -- that is the price of the success of a now global organization! The world is suffering from a disease even more serious than conflicts, epidemics and natural catastrophes. This disease is self-absorption and indifference towards others, towards those without homes, refugees, street children, immigrants, the poor, rivals, adversaries, enemies, strangers.
Is it not imperative to re-examine this situation by which it is always the same who give and the same who receive? At the dawn of the twenty-first century, is it not worthwhile to transcend the theory of States and sovereignty, transcend balances of power and the will to dominate? Is it not worthwhile for people, societies, nations and States to refresh themselves with that great inspiration, "We, the People", with which the United Nations
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Charter begins, and to rediscover the humankind in each of us and in each of our acts? Only in this way will we move with confidence towards becoming nations united for a world of solidarity, a world of progress, of justice and of peace.
EDGAR CAMACHO OMISTE, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, speaking on behalf of the President of Bolivia: Fifty years after the founding of the United Nations, Bolivia reiterates the conviction of its delegates to the historic San Francisco Conference, that permanent peace on earth requires justice in international relations, as well as within each country. Justice alone will be the foundation of a true peace.
Some day in the not too distant future, there will be an end to oppression and dependency. Just as colonialism will come to an end, extreme poverty will disappear. Friendship among peoples will flourish, and the free and sovereign presence of Bolivia on the Pacific Ocean will be possible. The power politics of yesterday will give way to brotherhood and cooperation in international relations.
Bolivia cultivates friendship among countries. Most of all, good- neighbourly relations require respect and the readiness to contribute to the welfare of brother peoples, to raise standards of living, promote employment and reach definite social, financial, economic and technological objectives. Based upon those principles all countries will be active members of the world community, capable of making sustainable development possible and responding to the challenges of the day. Bolivia has learned that stagnation corrodes institutions and paralyses ideologies, while change is a source of life and the key to social transformation.
HAMID ALGABID, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference: The challenges posed by poverty, hunger, sickness, illiteracy, underdevelopment, terrorism and arms proliferation demand an unshakeable commitment to putting common interests ahead of parochial ones. Similarly, the democratic ideal will be achieved only as a result of greater cultural interaction and greater understanding, openness, dialogue and tolerance. The cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference have contributed to creating favourable conditions for dialogue and understanding among peoples and nations.
Since the beginning of the crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Islamic Conference has participated in the international community's efforts to promote justice, moral values and democracy. Similarly, in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Somalia and other conflicted areas, the cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization has planted promising seeds. And more could be done to help reduce tension in Jammu and Kashmir, in Nagorny Karabakh and Cyprus. In this context, the Islamic Conference vows its support to the
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United Nations as it seeks to accomplish its noble mission in the service of peace and progress.
CARLO MARULLO DI CONDOJANNI, Member of the Sovereign Council, Sovereign Military Order of Malta: After the end of the cold war, the hope of a lasting peace appears to be a much more achievable target than 50 years ago. It is a privilege to extend the wish and testimony of the Order for a constant commitment to the community of nations. The Order has fraternal relations at embassy level with 68 Member States of the United Nations. Its members and thousands of volunteers operate specialized clinics and first-aid centres worldwide.
During the Lebanese civil war, the Order's dispensaries took care of thousands of wounded. It recently agreed to contribute to the sanitary needs of the Blue Helmets in Lebanon and Kuwait, as was also done in Central America. It has also been one of the first to assure humanitarian aid to the former Yugoslavia. This humanitarian assistance safeguards human rights aimed at guaranteeing international peace and security. In its capacity as observer, the Order is fully available to cooperate with the United Nations in the field of humanitarian assistance. In particular, the Order is ready to shape its cooperation and provide medical assistance to peace-keeping operations.
JAMES N. PURCELL, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM): The IOM was established 45 years ago by concerned States convinced of the benefits of an orderly response to migration needs. Currently composed of 96 member and observer States, the IOM offers technical assistance to States and facilitates orderly and planned migration of nationals. It has a history of reacting quickly in situations requiring timely movement of large numbers of vulnerable persons.
The links between the IOM and the United Nations system are strong and getting stronger, especially over the past three years, since it became an observer at the General Assembly. The IOM can be a key resource in helping to explore comprehensive solutions to the migration phenomenon. It can only do this in close partnership with the United Nations. The only realistic approach is a joint effort, in which each member of the extended family of international, regional and national organizations plays its own role effectively in relation to its own mandate.
CORNELIO SOMMARUGA, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross: "While basic human values are now the subject of universal consensus, ensuring respect for them remains a daily challenge. Since 1945, more than 120 conflicts have claimed 22 million lives throughout the world, and continue to cause untold suffering."
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If lives are to be saved in situations of extreme emergency, humanitarian action must be taken rapidly and independently of any consideration other than its immediate objective -- to help and protect. The only way to prevent such emergencies is to strike at the root cause of the evil. Political action remains a key factor in preventing crises and States, therefore, bear the primary responsibility. It is also up to the States, acting either individually or through the United Nations, to ensure respect for the rules of international humanitarian law. And it is essential for the United Nations to move towards the establishment of a permanent international criminal court.
A spirit of tolerance and solidarity, a respect for minorities and for one's fellow human beings in general depends largely on the attitudes of individuals. The International Red Cross is, therefore, thoroughly committed to the growing efforts made by civil society to spur government action and to take part in major international debates.
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