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PRESS CONFERENCE BY PRIME MINISTER OF SPAIN

Department of Public Information . News and Media Division . New York

15 September 2005

Calling the United Nations “the great hope for the world” in facing down two of the current century’s major problems -- the achievement of peace through the eradication of terror, and the eradication of hunger and poverty -- Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said the sixtieth General Assembly had before it a document that addressed those issues and which should be viewed favourably.

While saying that parts of the document drafted at the 2005 World Summit could have been more ambitious, specifically referring to Security Council reform, he said Member States would continue to work towards making the Council more democratic. He also said there was great value in establishing a Peacebuilding Commission, which could contribute greatly in post-conflict situations.

Expressing his satisfaction with the three-day Summit, he said that many countries had answered the call for cooperation, demonstrating their vigorous interest in the Alliance of Civilizations project; an initiative which would contribute to peace and understanding amongst cultures, peoples and civilizations.

Responding to a question regarding existing conflicts in Syria and Iran, and the continuing violence in Western Sahara, he said those issues were further evidence of the need for the Alliance of Civilizations. “These issues must be resolved through dialogue and multilateralism in the UN Security Council, which will hopefully be a more operational and effective institution”, he said.

Asked whether Arab and Muslim Heads of State had been supportive of the Alliance of Civilizations, he said that the Arab League had supported the project, and that almost every country with an Islamic majority had looked upon the project with a great deal of sympathy and a readiness to contribute.

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For information media • not an official record



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