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PRESS CONFERENCE BY PRESIDENT OF POLAND

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

16 September 2005

While progress had been made at the United Nations World Summit in many areas, including combating poverty and injustice, Poland was disappointed by the lack of movement in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation, its President, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, said at a Headquarters press conference this morning.

“My impression is that we think more, deeper, and with more engagement about such problems than in the past”, he said. Much of what was accomplished created stepping stones towards progress that could be made in the future.

In choosing its next Secretary-General, he said the United Nations should take into consideration the fact that there had been Secretaries-General from virtually every region of the world, except for Eastern and Central Europe. But more important than where the Secretary-General came from was to choose someone who would be effective and had the right perspective on the kinds of changes the Organization required.

Reform of the Security Council was also crucial, and it was important to consider not only what countries should be on the Council but also whether regional organizations should be represented on it, he said. Even though the United Nations needed reform, its very existence for the past 60 years had been of great value and ought to be recognized, he added.

Mr. Kwaśniewski also briefed correspondents on discussions that took place yesterday in the second in a series of high-level round tables, held in conjunction with the World Summit. Discussions in round table 2, which he chaired and included 26 Heads of State, were wide-ranging, informal and energetic, he said. Participants discussed the Millennium Development Goals, Security Council reform and the organizational problems of the United Nations. They agreed on a number of issues, including those related to education, poverty and the abiding importance of the existence of the United Nations.

Asked if Poland, in its quest for a Secretary-General from Eastern or Central Europe, was prepared to deal with opposition from Asian countries, who also sought to have a Secretary-General from their region, Mr. Kwaśniewski said that such discussions were premature.

In response to another question, the President said that he had not, despite efforts on both sides, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Noting that United States Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had welcomed Poland as a representative of the “New Europe”, a correspondent asked if Mr. Kwaśniewski felt he could count on the United States to support its quest for a Secretary–General from Eastern or Central Europe. Mr. Kwaśniewski said he counted on United States support both inside and outside the United Nations.

But, he took issue with Mr. Rumsfeld’s characterization of Poland, noting that Poland had a long history and was indeed part of the old Europe. As a new member of the European Union, Poland sought to build greater integration in Europe and not to create artificial divisions such as “new” and “old” Europe and those regarding levels of development. An important task facing Europe was to address the question of how it would reconcile local traditions and culture with a new openness, commitment to integration, and new immigrants in the region.

Regarding Turkey’s accession to the European Union, Mr. Kwaśniewski said he believed the Union should negotiate with Turkey on that issue. However, Turkey had to solve many domestic problems and accept the Union’s rules and standards. The main problem remained Cyprus, and it had to be solved with the participation of Turkey.

In response to another question, Polish Foreign Minister Adam Daniel Rotfeld, who also attended the press conference, said Poland supported referring the matter of Iran’s nuclear programme to the Security Council, as Iran’s arguments about only wanting nuclear capabilities for energy were not convincing.

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For information media • not an official record



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