Value of collective security through multilateralism stressed at UN Summit
14 September 2005 – In today's globalized and interlinked world, multilateralism is more essential than ever to meet the challenges posed by poverty, terrorism and human rights abuses, world leaders addressing the United Nations Summit meeting in New York said today.
"For the first time at this Summit, we are agreed that States do not have the right to do what they will within their own borders, but that we, in the name of humanity, have a common duty to protect people when their own governments will not," said British Prime Minister Tony Blair. He also called for the UN to strengthen its policy against non-proliferation, "in particular how to allow nations to develop civil nuclear power but not nuclear weapons."
Malaysian Prime Minister Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said UN reform must fundamentally aim to protect and enhance multilateralism. "This is because multilateralism is the best option for ensuring peace and security in the relations between nations; for protecting human rights, for enforcing compliance with international law, just as much as the multilateral approach is the best hope for eradicating global poverty and creating a more equitable international order, he said, adding that it is also "the only way to deal effectively with the scourge of international terrorism."
President Roh Moo-Hyun of the Republic of Korea called for "vigilance against a resurgence of major-power centrism in certain circles" and called on leading nations to be "more forthcoming in their introspection of the past and future and also exercise greater self-restraint." Only when great powers work further to achieve global peace and common prosperity can tensions can be defused, he added.
Néstor Carlos Kirchner, President of Argentina said any reform of the UN must render the Organization more transparent and democratic, "without creating new situations of privilege that would perpetuate the inequality between its members." He stressed that only the multilateral work of the UN and within the framework of regional and sub regional organizations would pave the way to address shared concerns.
Albert Pintat Santolària, the Prime Minister of Andorra, joined others in advocating multilateralism as a means of meeting the challenges of today's world. "It is for this very reason that we must all support institutions such as the International Criminal Court," he said. "In these uncertain times, at the beginning of a new chapter in history, we must all commit ourselves to multilateralism as a means of guaranteeing a safer and more just world."
Jan Peter Balkenende, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, also called for strengthened multilateralism through the UN. "Rather than pretending that the UN is some entity, distinct from us member states, we should acknowledge that the UN is 'us' and that we determine whether it is an effective tool or not," he said. "If we do not want the UN to be a lame duck, we must dare to give it the wings to fly."
The Emir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, said the challenges ahead require a new vision for collective security that will determine the responsibilities, lay down strategies and pave the way for action. He supported the view that security and human rights deserve equal attention, stressing that these, along with development, are interdependent aspects of progress.
The President of Peru, Alejandro Toledo Manrique, underscored the need to address human rights abuses, and stressed that permanent members of the Security Council should not use their veto power when dealing with cases of genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes or massive or systematic violations to human rights. In addition, he proposed the creation of a commission of independent experts to provide early warning on cases of flagrant and systematic human rights violations.
"There is a deep connection between security, development and respect for human rights, democratic values and good governance in everything we are attempting now to reform our Organization," said Traian Basescu, the President of Romania. "This essential linkage is more evidently reflected in the notion of a Peace Building Commission," he added, voicing full support for that body's establishment and urging the allocation of sufficient resources to make it work.
Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, spoke out against unilateralism, saying it was the "negation" of all that the UN stands for and should be combated. On UN reform, he voiced "dismay that over 50 Islamic countries encompassing more than one 1.2 billion people do not have a perm anent seat in the Security Council, nor does Africa with its huge capabilities and potentials, and that the vast continent of Asia with its ancient civilizations has only one permanent seat."
Tajikistan's President, Emomali Rakhmonov, decried attempts to imply a direct link between terror and the holy religion of Islam. "There are one billion and four hundred million Muslims the world over, but those who have been involved in terrorist activities are few in number," he pointed out. "The international community must apply common criteria and standards while combating any forms and manifestations of terrorism."
Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister, Winston Baldwin Spencer, joined others in voicing solidarity with the victims of Hurricane Katrina. He added that there would be a silver lining for the global underclass "if the riveting television images of the ongoing agony of Katrina's victims could ignite among all nations, and among all peoples, the recognition that we all share the duty to be our brothers' keepers."
Owen Seymour Arthur, the Prime Minister of Barbados, noted that the United States is coming to terms with the enormity of the destruction inflicted by Hurricane Katrina, just about a year after Grenada was devastated by Hurricane Ivan. "These recent events have highlighted our interdependence, reinforced the need for sustained and effective international cooperation and have placed before us, forcibly, the need to carry out a programme for global development to stop poor people from being poor, no matter where they live."
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh said her country has weathered many severe floods and cyclones and the toll in terms of life and property has been huge and could "feel the torment" of those affected by Hurricane Katrina. She added that Bangladesh's experience suggests that development, security and human rights goals "are best achieved against a backdrop of pluralism, democratic social ethos, greater gender balance and good governance."
Haiti's Prime Minister, Gérard Latortue, said his country had little to show for the massive assistance that had been poured into it over the years; the infrastructure has been ravaged, electricity remains a luxury that most people do not enjoy, and more than half the population is illiterate. "It is true that bad governance is partly responsible for this state of affairs, but the international community must also reflect on the question, undertake a self-critique and seek to develop a culture of effectiveness," he said.
Tommy Remengesau, Jr., the President of Palau, spoke about the threats faced by small island countries. "As global warming worsens, bleaching our corals and threatening our land; as overfishing by foreign fishing fleets continues to deplete our vast fish stocks; as certain fishing practices threaten to destroy our marine biodiversity; and as the combination of these forces place our diverse island cultures in jeopardy; the challenges mount," he said, calling on the UN to move beyond studies on past failures and take aggressive action to protect small island States.
General Pervez Musharraf, the President of Pakistan, said weapons of mass destruction must not fall into the hands of terrorists. "The catastrophic consequences of a nuclear war make it imperative to prevent one from ever taking place," he said. "Both the proliferation and the perpetual possession of nuclear weapons pose an unacceptable global danger." He called for a new global consensus to achieve disarmament and non-proliferation.
Slovakia's President, Ivan Gašparovic, said maintaining the status quo "could lead to the UN losing its relevance completely." The draft outcome document slated for adoption at the Summit, while not perfect, is a basic starting point for a more effective multilateralism with the UN playing a central role. He added that the text is "first and foremost just a framework for further steps" and called for "much political will and many compromises" over the course of the General Assembly's current session to achieve progress.
Tarja Halonen, President of Finland, said the draft outcome document "provides basis for further work during the coming months." She added that the text's firm commitment to fight terrorism should be accompanied with progress in the areas of disarmament and non-proliferation. She also welcomed the proposed establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission and a Human Rights Council, adding that "for the real progress, we must ensure that enough women will participate in the work of these new bodies."
Malta's Prime Minister, Lawrence Gonzi, said the Summit's draft outcome document represented some progress, but voiced disappointment that it could have been more ambitious. "In particular, we would have wished to see a more forceful reference to the question of impunity, and especially the important role that is being played by the
International Criminal Court," he said, adding that sections on the environment, human rights and disarmament could have been stronger.
Latvia's President, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, emphasized that the UN has reaffirmed its commitment to achieve the MDGs of reducing poverty and disease, promoting children's education and gender equality, fostering sustainable development, and creating an international climate of peace and security. Any aid programme must be administered responsibly through good governance in an honest, open and transparent manner, she said.
Mexican President Vicente Fox said the draft outcome document already contains many of the elements that will pave the way toward comprehensive UN reform, but there are still pending issues that must be addressed, especially nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. "Making sure that our Organization remains as the best means to attain international peace, security and development requires our shared commitment," he stressed.
Ireland's Prime Minister Bertie Ahern recommitted his country to reaching the UN target of 0.7 per cent of its national income to development assistance. "Quantity is important, but so also is quality," he pointed out. "Ireland is one of the very few donors all of whose aid is untied. Our aid will remain untied. Our aid is effective aid," he said.
King Juan Carlos I of Spain said his country is spearheading "projects to swap debt for public investment in key areas of sustainable human development, such as education, environment and infrastructures, with specific emphasis on heavily indebted middle-income countries." This initiative is taking shape within the framework of the Ibero-American Summits, with the next slated to be held in Spain next month.
Hungary's President, László Sólyom, announced the establishment of an International Centre for Democratic in Budapest. "The Centre will promote research and offer assistance for those who seek advice," he said, adding that Hungary would continue to champion the international promotion and protection of minority rights by the UN.
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