22 October 1995

Press Release


19951022 World Leaders Gathered for Three Days of Meetings Praise United Nations Past Accomplishments, Urge Reforms To Bring Organization into 21st Century

A special meeting of world leaders, gathered in New York to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations, began this morning with praise for the Organization's past accomplishments and calls for its democratization and reform.

Opening the meeting, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali declared that the world of the twenty-first century would confront two great opposing forces: globalization and fragmentation. The forces of globalization would cause people to seek refuge in small groups, while fragmentation could breed fanaticism, isolationism, separatism and the proliferation of civil war.

He said the financial crisis facing the Organization reflected the fact that Member States simply did not regard the United Nations as a priority. If measures to resolve the problem could not be set in motion by the end of the year, a special session of the Assembly should be convened to deal with the financial crisis.

General Assembly President Diogo Freitas do Amaral (Portugal) said it was the duty of the international community to support the United Nations. "Let us praise the United Nations and its founding fathers. Let us fight the destructive critics of the Organization and not allow them to be the United Nations liquidating fathers. Let us take upon ourselves the noble and necessary task of becoming from today the reforming fathers of the United Nations."

Statements this morning were made by President of the United States, William J. Clinton; the President of Ukraine, Leonid D. Kuchma; King Hussain Ibn Talal of Jordan; the President of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Bandaranaike

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Kumaratunga; the President of Namibia, Sam Nujoma; President Frederick J.T. Chiluba of Zambia; President Suleyman Demirel of Turkey; Captain Regent of San Marino, Pier Natalino Mularoni; President Lennart Meri of Estonia; President Kim Young Sam of the Republic of Korea; President Franjo Tudjman of Croatia; and President Boris N. Yeltsin of the Russian Federation.

Also addressing the session were the President of Cuba, Fidel Castro Ruz; Sultan and Yanh Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah; the Vice-President of Uruguay, Hugo Batalla; the Prime Minister of New Zealand, James Brendan Bolger; the Prime Minister of Poland, Jozef Oleksy; the Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland; the President of Spain, Felipe Gonzalez; the Prime Minister of Japan, Tomiichi Murayama; Secretary of State of Switzerland, Jakob Kellenberger; and the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Yasser Arafat.

The special commemorative meeting will resume at 3 p.m. today.

Special Commemorative Meeting

The General Assembly decided in May 1994 to convene a special commemorative meeting at Headquarters from 22 to 24 October 1995, at the level of head of State or government on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the entry into force of the Charter of the United Nations (resolution 48/215 B).

The Preparatory Committee for the fiftieth anniversary was established by the Assembly in April 1992. At a meeting of the Committee last June, the initial list of speakers for the special meeting was determined by a drawing of lots and subsequently rearranged in accordance with the Assembly's established practice. The Assembly also decided that the first speaker of the special meeting would be the head of State of the host country.

The Committee, open to the participation of all Member States, had the task of considering and recommending to the Assembly proposals for activities in connection with the observance of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations, on the understanding that its decisions would be taken by consensus. Among its decisions, the Committee agreed that the theme for the commemoration would be "We the Peoples of the United Nations ... United for a Better World". It also established a drafting group to prepare a declaration for adoption by the special commemorative meeting.

The draft declaration, approved by the Preparatory Committee yesterday afternoon, states, in part, that the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations must be seized as an opportunity to redirect the Organization to greater service to humankind, especially to those who are suffering and are deeply deprived, as "this is the practical and moral challenge of our time". It focuses on peace, development, equality, justice and the work of the United Nations Organization.

By its provisions, Member States and observers would reaffirm the purposes and principles of the Charter and pledge to give to the twenty-first century a United Nations equipped, financed and structured to serve effectively the peoples in whose name it was established.

Under a section concerning peace, world leaders would pledge to promote methods and means for the peaceful settlement of disputes and reaffirm the right of self-determination of all peoples. Concerning development, they would express great concern that one fifth of the world's 5.7 billion people live in extreme poverty and call for extraordinary measures by all countries to confront that situation, stressing that people must be at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. Addressing equality, they would reiterate the Charter's affirmation of the dignity and worth of the human person and the equal rights of men and women, and reaffirm that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated.

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Regarding justice, world leaders would pledge to promote and develop international law with a view to ensuring that relations between States are based on the principles of justice, sovereign equality, universally recognized principles of international law and respect for the rule of law. In an entire section of the draft devoted to the work of the United Nations Organization, they would call for revitalization of the work of the General Assembly; improvement in the efficiency and transparency of the Security Council, including its expansion; and strengthening of the Economic and Social Council to enable it to carry out its tasks with respect to the well-being of all people. Member States must meet, in full and on time, their obligation to bear the expenses of the Organization, the draft declaration states.


DIOGO FREITAS DO AMARAL (Portugal), President of the General Assembly: The duty of the international community is supporting the United Nations, that should be its collective pledge in this special commemorative meeting. Reforming the Organization should be its political commitment during those three days. The international community must not allow the Organization to die at the hands of its critics nor to perish for lack of commitments of its supporters.

Please tell the world that freedom, justice, development and human solidarity are magnificent values worth living and working for. Please tell your peoples that all countries must help each other for the survival and benefit of humanity. "Let us praise the United Nations and its founding fathers. Let us fight the destructive critics of the Organization and not allow them to be the United Nations liquidating fathers. Let us take upon ourselves the noble and necessary task of becoming from today the reforming fathers of the United Nations."

SECRETARY-GENERAL BOUTROS BOUTROS-GHALI: The world of the twenty-first century will confront two great opposing forces: globalization and fragmentation. Globalization will present an array of problems, including the growth of transnational crime and new pressures generated by the communications revolution. The forces of globalization will cause people to seek refuge in smaller groups. "Fragmentation can breed fanaticism, isolationism, separatism and the proliferation of civil war."

The United Nations can help solve the problems created by the dialectic of globalization and fragmentation because it is designed to respond to both global concerns and the needs of Member States. It has dealt for 50 years with those two forces: in response to globalization, it has fostered the progress of international law and helped forge international consensus on a range of issues through conferences; in response to fragmentation, it has been called to respond to civil wars, and is promoting democratization within and among States. Within States, issues of identity and ethnic separatism will be

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decided by democratic means, not by the gun and ethnic cleansing. Among States, democratization will promote a climate of peace, helping to prevent the outbreak of conflict.

The United Nations cannot play this role if the present trend continues, because it is trapped by a second dialectic, in that the problems of globalization and fragmentation have caused vast responsibilities to be placed on it without the provision of commensurate resources. "The financial crisis is a symptom of a deeper problem: Member States simply do not regard the United Nations as a priority. This is sad news to report to this commemorative session. I appeal to you to give the United Nations a firm financial base." If steps towards that end cannot be set in motion by the end of this year, then a special session of the General Assembly should be convened to deal with the Organization's financial crisis.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States: The value of the United Nations can be seen the world over -- in the nourished bodies of once- starved children, the lives of those immunized against diseases and of students eager to learn, in the environment sustained, refugees saved and peace kept, as well as in standing up for the human rights and possibilities of women and their children.

In the United States, some people ask, "Why bother with the United Nations? America is strong. We can go it alone." Americans should not forget that America's values and interests are also served by working with the United Nations. The United Nations helps the peacemakers, the care providers, the defenders of freedom and human rights, the architects of economic prosperity, the protectors of the planet.

Historically the United States has been and remains the largest single contributor to the United Nations. "I am determined that we fully meet our obligations, and I am working with the Congress on a plan to do so." The United Nations must be able to show that the money it receives supports services that save or enrich people's lives. The United Nations must reform to remain relevant, and to play a still stronger role in the march to peace, freedom and prosperity.

In the Middle East and Northern Ireland, people are embracing a future of peace. In South Africa and Haiti, fear has given way to freedom. In the Balkans, the international community and North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) resolve have brightened the prospects for peace. The parties in Bosnia are urged to seize the chance for settlement. "If they achieve peace, the United States will be there with our friends and allies to help secure it."

In the global village, progress can spread quickly, but problems can too. Neighbourhoods cannot be freed from drug related crime without the help of countries where drugs are produced or transported. Foreign terrorists

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cannot be tracked down without assistance from foreign Governments. The environment cannot be preserved without sustainable development for all. Individual vigilance cannot keep nuclear materials stored half a world away from falling into the wrong hands.

Nowhere is cooperation more vital than in fighting the increasingly interconnected groups that traffic in terror, organized crime, drug smuggling and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Those forces jeopardize the powerful global trend towards peace and freedom, undermining fragile new democracies and sapping the strength of developing countries. All nations must fight against them.

To stem the flow of narcotics and stop the spread of organized crime, the United States is cooperating with many nations, sharing information, providing military support, initiating anti-corruption programmes -- with visible results. Iran, Iraq, Libya and Sudan are urged to turn from the path of sponsoring terrorism.

"Today, I am announcing new initiatives to fight international organized crime, drug trafficking, terrorism and the spread of mass destruction." The United States Government has been directed to identify and put on notice nations that tolerate money laundering. The United States will work with nations to help bring their banks and financial systems into conformity with international anti-money laundering standards. If they fail to do so, appropriate sanctions will be considered.

The United States Government has also be directed to identify the front companies and freeze the assets of the largest drug ring in the world -- the Cali Cartel. The Justice Department has been instructed to prepare legislation to provide other government agencies with the tools they need to better respond to international organized crime.

"I invite every country to join in negotiating and endorsing a declaration on international crime and citizen's safety. It should include a 'no sanctuary' pledge, by which organized criminals, terrorist and drug traffickers and smugglers would have nowhere to run and nowhere to hide." It should include a counter-terrorism pact, to destroy the gray markets that outfit terrorists and criminals with firearms and false documents. It should include an anti-narcotics offensive, which will involve stepping up prosecution of drug cartels and destruction of drug crops, while working to decrease demand in consumer nations like the United States

The declaration should also provide for partnership of effective police forces, involving the creation of a network of centres around to world to share the latest crime fighting techniques and technologies. In addition, there should be an illegal arms and deadly materials effort, in which all should participate. The United States, with its partners, will seek to better

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account for, store and safeguard materials with mass destructive power. Efforts to combat the global illegal arms network will be intensified.

"The United Nations has not ended war, but it has made it less likely, and helped many nations to turn from war to peace." It has healed the wounds and lengthened the lives of millions, advanced the cause of freedom and prosperity on every continent. It has been a force for good and a bulwark against evil. "At the dawn of a new century so full of promise and yet plagued by peril we still need the United Nations. And so, for another 50 years and beyond, you can count the United States in."

LEONID KUCHMA, President of Ukraine: With the end of ideological confrontation, mankind has managed to decrease the threat of self-destruction in nuclear flames. Ukraine made a special contribution to the cause of disarmament; as the third largest nuclear State, it was the first to voluntarily renounce its nuclear status. That has entailed enormous economic and ecological losses for Ukraine. The provision of a special status with international security guarantees, financial and technical assistance, and moral incentives to countries that renounce their nuclear weapons would become a great impetus for expediting the disarmament process. It can be implemented through a United Nations programme called "the twenty-first century world -- without nuclear weapons".

United Nations peace-keeping activities require constant improvement. Efforts should be reoriented in favour of conflict prevention strategies. The United Nations should establish trusteeship over the process of the formation of new States, and should aim to make the use of force inadmissible. The international community should adapt to the realities of the present day with respect to separatism, which could become the greatest challenge of the future.

It is necessary to establish a regime to integrate post-socialist countries into the international community. "Establishing, on a level with the Security Council, a United Nations council on economic security -- a new body, equal to the former as to its weight and influence -- would promote the working out of specific proposals with respect to international support for these countries' development." Such a body would be used to identify development prospects for mankind. The most important task facing the United Nations is to identify itself under new conditions and follow the road indicated by real circumstances governing the lives of people.

KING HUSSEIN IBN TALAL of Jordan: Jordan has suffered enormously from successive wars in the Middle East. Embarking on the path of peace with confidence, it achieved what many had deemed impossible. "Today we celebrate the first anniversary of the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty, which we hope will be a landmark in the region's progress towards a comprehensive, just and lasting peace that will enable all peoples to resume their quest for

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development, to build a better life for future generations." Today, young pilots from the Royal Jordanian and Israeli airforces, who were at the forefront of their respective countries' armed forces that threatened each other in the state of war, flew in joint formations in the skies of their two countries to honour their fallen comrades, to salute their people, and to embody peace and the commitment to safeguard it.

Peace, poverty and backwardness do not mix. The Amman economic summit, which opens in a few days, inaugurates a new quest for the comprehensive development of the region. It is hoped that the conference will contribute to growth and to overcoming the negative consequences of decades of conflict.

Last Friday, the United Nations University International Leadership Academy was established in Jordan. The Academy, the first of its kind in the world, will offer courses for leaders from the political, social economic, religious and cultural sectors to foster dialogue, understanding and cooperation among peoples.

It is essential to review the nature of Security Council membership in order for the United Nations to rejuvenate itself and to fufil its role. Given the suffering prevailing around the world, it is high time that the international community work to help those affected to overcome their difficulties. For its part, Jordan will continue to strive to be a living example of harmonious pluralism.

CHANDRIKA BANDARANAIKE KUMARATUNGA, President of Sri Lanka: The effective strengthening of the United Nations system is an essential requisite for advancing its goals. To empower it, development priorities should not be sacrificed in the pursuit of politico-military operations which must be set at realistic levels. Decision-making by the United Nations in all areas must be based on the full engagement of its members. The Security Council must become more representative. Commitments made for multilateral action in all fields must be honoured and diligently pursued.

In the index of human development, Sri Lanka rates high among developing countries, but it has been traumatized by ethnic tensions kept unnaturally high by forces of terrorism and chauvinism. "None the less, my Government is resolved to fulfil its mandate by seeking through political negotiations, solutions to our problems which would enable our people to live in peace, security and freedom." An armed group claiming to represent the Tamil minority has been engaged in violent acts against popularly elected governments in Sri Lanka. This group maintains an international network for fund raising which has a close nexus with commercial interests engaged in traffic in illicit drugs, trade in illicit arms and smuggling of illegal immigrants.

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Concerted international effort was essential to combat terrorism. Unfortunately, effective action to that end has been frustrated by sterile philosophical debate about the nature of terrorism. However, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) had overcome that difficulty. The SAARC Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism centres on a comprehensive legal regime and practical measures to combat terrorism. Similar action should be taken by the United Nations to give legal effect to the obligations arising from the Declaration on the elimination of terrorism adopted last year. Sri Lanka is happy to hear the statement of President Clinton in that regard.

SAM NUJOMA, President of Namibia: The time has come for the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction. Namibia is working actively for the denuclearization of Africa. "We must renew our collective resolve to have a world free of war." There is no further justification for nuclear testing anywhere in the world. Nuclear-weapon States must work for disarmament. On the other hand, Namibia supports the peaceful use of nuclear technology for development.

The biggest challenge facing the United Nations is the sorry state of its finances. "The outstanding amounts of arrears of contributions by Member States to the budget are alarming and disappointing, to say the least. This sad situation cannot continue forever at the time when so much is expected of the Organization."

Decolonization is the Organization's most monumental accomplishment. Namibia is a brilliant example of the decisive role played by the United Nations in this field. Central to that success was the cooperation of the Namibians themselves, who are now striving towards their democratic ideals.

Restructuring the Security Council should be carried out in a manner that upholds the principles of democracy, sovereign equality of States, equitable geographic representation and transparency. Only then could the Council's legitimacy be restored. Needless to say, the authority and importance of the General Assembly should not be compromised in this reform exercise. "Granted, the United Nations is far from being perfect, but for us it is the only truly viable forum in which developing and small nations like Namibia can raise their voices on the basis of equality." Rededication must start at the Assembly, which stands as the centre of multilateral diplomacy and cooperation.

The United Nations in the future should stress interdependence, equity and fair play among nations and peoples in order to remove the ever-widening gap between the rich North and the poor South.

FREDERICK J.T. CHILUBA, President of Zambia: Zambia is committed to the United Nations Charter. In a world of growing challenges, the United Nations

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has responded well since its inception in 1945. Some of its officers and personnel have made supreme sacrifices in the execution of their selfless tasks, including Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, who died in a plane crash in 1961 on Zambian soil. They must always be remembered for their valour.

The United Nations can and must do even better. Zambia joins in calling for restructuring of the United Nations, to enable it to cope with increased demands. The structures of 1945 were meant to serve an almost homogeneous membership of 50 countries, which has increased nearly fourfold since then. Regional diversity has also increased.

In the spirit of genuine democracy and the equality of nations, the United Nations has to embrace broader geographical representation. "The Security Council especially can no longer be maintained like the sanctuary of the holy of holies, with only the original members acting as high priests deciding on issues for the rest of the world, who cannot be admitted. Broader and geographical representation is the answer." In addition, all Member States must honour their obligations to the world body to enable it to meet increased demands.

SULEYMAN DEMIREL, President of Turkey: No nation can be fully at peace while its neighbour is not. With this awareness, actions must be based on the interlocking concepts of democratic interdependence, market rationale, economic cooperation, international and constitutional legality, shared prosperity and solidarity. "Together we must resolutely resist those who try to undermine our renewed hope and vision, those who openly defy our common values and international law."

To fashion a new United Nations which will remain true to the ideals of its founders, it is necessary to give priority to preventive diplomacy, show resolve in the face of aggression, renew commitments to peacemaking and peace enforcement, and redouble efforts to reform the Organization. The Security Council must be made more representative, democratic and accountable. In addition, people-centred development must be at the core of the international development agenda. "With regard to this point, I would like to invite all heads of State and government to Istanbul in June 1996 to take part in the city summit, HABITAT II, to discuss how sufficient housing, healthy environment, and social services can be provided for the billions of people living in the cities, as well as other human settlements of the world."

Turkey, which has incurred the second highest loss of human life in peace operations under the United Nations flag, is solemnly committed to shouldering its share of global responsibility. The great Turkish poet- philosopher, Yunus Emre, seven centuries ago made the following call to the peoples of the world: "Let us love and be loved, for this world is no one's to own forever".

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PIERO NATALINO MULARONI, Captain Regent of San Marino : No more wars! This is the appeal of a small country which is also one of the newest United Nations Members. The United Nations has been able to elaborate a new right of nations and a code of conduct for the States. The international community began to reject the idea of a dangerous return to a division in military, economic and political blocs. The contribution of all and the setting of common goals are the indispensable foundations for the resolution of today's problems.

In the past, the League of Nations rejected the admission of very small States, despite their centuries-old existence, on account of their small territorial dimensions. Now the family of the United Nations also includes such States among its members. The capacity and strength of the United Nations in consolidating a higher recognition of human rights must be generally acknowledged. Solidarity must take new and more humane forms; it can no longer be expressed through charitable acts determined by exceptional circumstances. It has to be translated into a concerted plan of assistance and be considered a common duty of the entire international community.

The United Nations must encourage a deeper review of the international instruments, if greater accomplishments in the field of human dignity, justice and equality among the individuals, the peoples and the States are to be attained. San Marino stresses the right of any people to a land and to its natural and inalienable use. It recommends the total elimination of the abhorrent practices of slavery, torture and death penalty. The respect for and the safeguard the rights of minorities.

LENNART MERI, President of Estonia: The United Nations was established to secure stability in the world through a combination of realism and idealism. Idealism reigned in the General Assembly, where each State, regardless of its population, was equal to the others. Realism was the dominant force in the Security Council, in which the four victorious allies of the Second World War and China exercised the right of veto.

Estonia is sympathetic to the concerns of colonized peoples, having spent 50 years in that category. It is also an old democracy, having been born of the decomposition of an empire. It thus holds the same values, principles and goals as the first world, while experiencing the same disappointments and concerns as the third world.

In a security vacuum, small States are more sensitive to barometric changes than large ones. Although those States which have risen from the end of colonialism and neocolonialism form a majority in the world community, their voice is weak in the General Assembly and absent in the Security Council. Estonia proposes a rotating member in the Council, chosen from among the world's small States. It also calls on the small States of the world to gather in Estonia's capital city, Tallinn, to draft a declaration of small

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States. A copy of the draft will be received by Member States by next December. That will allow time for those States "to gather together in order to work out a mechanism that will turn this silent majority into a constructive majority".

KIM YOUNG SAM, President of the Republic of Korea: The United Nations must be democratized and made more efficient. All regions should be equitably represented on the Security Council. The number of members with veto power -- a power that has long crippled the Organization -- should not be increased. The United Nations must strengthen its work in the area of conflict prevention. It must respond more actively to demands for development. The Organization's activities must give priority to human beings and families. New plans must be made for burden-sharing in connection with additional budgetary requirements arising from the strengthening of the Organization.

"I believe that the sooner the Organization undergoes change, the better it will be for the world. To that end, I hereby propose that a special session of the General Assembly for United Nations reform be held."

The Republic of Korea is one of the most active member nations in United Nations activities world wide, participating in peace-keeping operations in Western Sahara, Georgia, Angola and elsewhere. The Republic of Korea will also actively participate in development projects and increase its monetary contributions. "I am convinced that the Korean peninsula will surely be unified in a democratic way in the not-too-distant future. I humbly and sincerely ask you all to become solid supporters for the peaceful unification of Korea."

This summit meeting should be a bright milestone in history. United Nations summit meetings should be held regularly every five years, with the first such meeting head in the year 2000.

FRANJO TUDJMAN, President of Croatia: The totalitarian iron curtain that cut across Europe was brought down, not only by the determined policy of the Western democratic alliance, but also by the freedom-loving aspirations of small nations. Destiny has allotted to small nations the role of promoters of great ideas.

"The boundaries of our freedoms are set by boundaries of the freedoms of others." The affirmation of human dignity and universal rights can be achieved only through respect for different ethnic, religious, cultural and political identities, an efficiency system of collective security, and respect for a law-governed State and international law. "A multipolar world is more stable than a bipolar one, and it is the future of mankind."

"The global order can no longer be based solely on the special position of the anti-fascist coalition or the nuclear club, or on economic or military

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power." First and foremost, it must be based on the contributions of individual States to preventing totalitarianism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, on their role within global socio-economic, development, on their democratic achievement, and on their regional importance. Thus, account must be taken of the democratic and economic resources of Germany and Japan, which deserve permanent seats on the Security Council.

The people of Croatia appreciate the values of United Nations mechanisms, through which the establishment of Croatia's full sovereignty throughout its territory has been internationalized and achieved. It is grateful to the United Nations, in particular, for the enormous humanitarian effort that has alleviated the sufferings of hundreds of thousands of displaced persons within Croatia and of refugees from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Croatia is entering the new round negotiations with the hope that they will bring about the end of the crisis in the former Yugoslavia. A just peace means establishing Croatia's full sovereignty throughout its territory within its internationally recognized borders. Croatia hopes that an agreement will soon be reached on the peaceful reintegration of 4.6 per cent of still- occupied Croatian land. At the same time, it remains prepared to take other necessary steps if timely reintegration of Eastern Slavonia, Baranya and Western Sreeyem is not incorporated into the final plan. "We have shown that we have courage in war, but be assured that we have even more courage for peace."

BORIS N. YELTSIN, President of the Russian Federation: Only the United Nations can realize the dream of a world without wars, where controversial issues are resolved through negotiation. There is a dangerous tendency to play down the United Nations role and to circumvent its Charter and the collective will of the Security Council. The United Nations can and should become the main instrument for building new international relations. To do so, it should be provided with appropriate means, including financial resources. Russia will continue to meets its obligations to the United Nations.

Russia is concerned with the situation whereby the Security Council is relegate to the sideline of events, as has recently happened in the case of Bosnia. Such a situation represents an obvious violation of the foundations of the world organization. "It is inadmissible for a regional organization to take decisions on the mass use of force, bypassing the Security Council."

Russia has worked hard to bring peace closer in Bosnia and Herzegovina. "We are ready to support the operation on the implementation of a peace agreement with the participation of multinational forces, including Russian forces, but only under a clear-cut mandate of the United Nations Security

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Council. Military force should never be used in those cases where diplomacy has not yet managed to succeed."

A lively debate is under way on enlargement of the Security Council. Russia advocates such a reorganization, provided that the Council's responsibility is increased and the interests of different regions are taken into account.

Russia's main interest is to achieve stability in Europe and Asia. "European security is indivisible. There is no alternative to that." Russia therefore supports the early establishment of a new system of all-European security in which every European State is represented. "And this is precisely the reason why we are against NATO's eastward expansion -- it will put a barrier on the way to establishing a unified Europe."

"The strengthening of one bloc today means new confrontation beginning tomorrow. This is not the way to build a just world order." Russia favours a world where priority is given to international law and cooperation, where there is a comprehensive security system, where there is steady advance towards a world free from weapons of mass destruction and where conventional weapons are being reduced. Russia favours a world order where the role of the United Nations for achieving peace, conflict-settlement and development assistance is increasing.

FIDEL CASTRO RUZ, President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of Cuba: How long shall we wait for the total removal of all weapons of mass destruction, for universal disarmament and for the elimination of the use of force, arrogance and pressure in international relations? The obsolete veto privilege and the misuse of the Security Council by the very powerful are resulting in a new form of colonialism within the United Nations itself. Latin America and Africa do not have a single permanent member on the Council, nor does India, with a population of almost 1 billion people.

How long shall we wait for the democratization of the United Nations and for the independence and sovereign equality of States to become a reality? How long before non-intervention in the internal affairs of States and true international cooperation take their rightful places? How long before rationality, equity and justice prevail in the world? Will the next generation reach the promised land pledged a half century ago?

People lay claim to a world without hegemony, nuclear weapons, racism, national or religious hatred, outrageous acts against the sovereignty of any country, and universal models that totally disregard the traditions and cultures of all peoples. "We lay claim to a world without ruthless blockades that cause the death of men, women and children, youths and elders, like noiseless time bombs. We lay claim to a world of peace, justice and dignity where everyone, without exception, has the right to well-being and life."

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SULTAN HASSANAL BOLKIAH MU'IZZADIN WADDAULAH of Brunei Darussalam: It is fashionable to criticize the United Nations. Some of the criticisms are valid. Bosnia and Rwanda represent failures of will and policy that will haunt all members for a long time.

More rigorous financial controls are needed, and members must pay their dues so that the United Nations can have the resources needed to carry out its mandates. "But let us not forget that it is we ourselves as Members who must take ultimate responsibility for its failures, because as an Organization of sovereign States, the United Nations can do no more than its Members empower it to do."

The shortcomings of some peace-keeping operations should not obscure the honour due to those who have sacrificed their lives in many successful peace- keeping and humanitarian operations. Credit must also be given to the sterling service rendered by the specialized agencies, whose work in such areas as health, education and agriculture may not have captured headlines but has contributed to a better world.

HUGO BATALLA, Vice-President of Uruguay: In terms of its population and the size of its armed forces, Uruguay is the world's major contributor of personnel to peace-keeping operations. Nevertheless, these operations cannot be transformed into the Organization's priority objective. The essential part of the activities of the United Nations must focus on preventing conflicts that affect international peace and security. Its role as a forum for ongoing dialogue where disputes are discussed and resolved by peaceful means needs to be strengthened.

To have succeeded in silencing the guns in various conflicts, to have contributed to eliminating apartheid and to tearing down the solid edifice of colonialism that had lasted almost five centuries are undoubtedly great achievements of the international community, and the United Nations can justly feel proud of them. But the Organization now needs to rethink itself, in order to devote all its resources -- human, financial, institutional and technical -- to the great undertaking of remedying the unjust economic and social imbalances and the related problems of the environment, in the conviction that this is not only a moral imperative, but the ideal way of strengthening peace.

The demands of the new international situation require that the United Nations establish closer links of cooperation and coordination, especially in the field of human rights, with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, whose membership covers the broadest political, ideological and philosophical spectrum of member nations, thus ensuring the pluralism from which democracy draws its strength. Unless the Organization effectively demonstrates its ability to guarantee the international legal order -- over and above international policies dominated by the most powerful nations, under which

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economic and trade embargoes are imposed and the principles of non- intervention are violated -- the international system will without doubt soon be in its painful and prolonged death throes.

JAMES BRENDAN BOLGER, Prime Minister of New Zealand: Small countries, as well as large, can play a full part in a true global economy. While aid is important in meeting immediate needs, true independence and prosperity will come only through genuine free trade. The new World Trade Organization has much to do to achieve this goal. The Asia Pacific Economic Community nations agreed last year to free trade by 2010 for its industrial State members and by 2020 for its developing members. Such political courage is now needed on a global scale. "Global free trade is an idea whose time has come."

The time has also come for a new commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons. Several States have abandoned their nuclear capability and some nuclear-weapon States are significantly reducing their arsenals. Against that background, it is inexplicable and unacceptable that China and France are still testing nuclear weapons. The elimination of nuclear weapons is not an impossible goal. The only question is how it is to be achieved.

New Zealand welcomes the announcement that the United States, the United Kingdom and France will support the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty. Next year must see completion of the comprehensive test-ban treaty.

Global security cannot be separated from global prosperity and human rights. Economic development and good governance will help eliminate those sources of tension which tempt States to invest in arms rather than health and education. In the aftermath of the cold war, there is now an opportunity to protect the environment and enhance the planet. To achieve that and more, the Organization must be renewed. The Security Council must be reformed, waste and duplication eliminated. "Members of the United Nations must break the bad habit of expecting something for nothing. To make our Organization work, everyone must pay their dues."

JOZEF OLEKSY, Prime Minister of Poland: "Cold peace is not an acceptable option as a prescription for our post-cold war times." New Berlin walls, this time of an economic nature, or other "iron curtains" must not be allowed to cut across Europe and separate nations. Every State should take a critical and creative view of its geopolitical situation. Poland had succeeded in concluding treaties of friendship and good-neighbourly relations with all of its neighbours. "After all, not one of them is the same or identical neighbour that we had only a few years ago."

The cornerstone of Poland's foreign policy since 1989 has been aimed at integration with the European Union and entry into Euro-Atlantic structures. However, that does not mean turning its back on others, whether in the east -- especially Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic States -- or the South,

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including the third world and China. Poland held a ranking place among nations committing blue helmets to the world's trouble spots and has resolved to seek election to the Security Council. Poland is also actively involved it the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe, and holds guest status in the Non-Aligned Movement.

The effectiveness or inefficiency of the United Nations depends on the degree of consensus among its Members and on their readiness to contribute to its budget and support its various activities. The United Nations can and should pay a special role in developing trust between States and their organizations and between people. If the Members of the United Nations show sufficient determination to give effect to their own proposals, the world stands a chance of ensuring a better and safer life in the twenty-first century.

GRO HARLEM BRUNDTLAND, Prime Minister of Norway: Member States are responsible for the great difficulties facing the United Nations today. Some dozen parliaments are holding the Organization hostage by withholding their membership dues. "How unworthy. The Secretary-General, the world's principal civil servant, suffers the undignified role of having to pass the hat around while countries are burning." The United Nations has been loaded with new tasks but it has not been provided with resources to fulfil them. "We must all pay our fees in full and on time. We require some countries to pay more than their fair share. Other countries voluntarily pay more than their fair share. Many countries pay too little or hardly at all."

Reform of the Security Council is needed. Greater regional balance is needed. The most obvious candidates are Japan and Germany. The Council's decision-making efficiency must be retained and its implementing ability greatly enhanced. A schedule should be drawn up to implement the decisions taken at recent world conferences. Humanitarian assistance activities must be better coordinated so that the Organization can act more quickly and effectively. "Funds, people and resources often prove to be available only when human suffering has aggravated enough to dominate the evening news, while other tragedies of famine, environmental degradation and underdevelopment remain unnoticed."

The peace-keeping and conflict prevention capacity of the United Nations must be improved to save more lives and save expenses. An international society must be built where the strong are just and the weak are secure. "We need affirmative action in the interest of our poorest members. We need an international public sector and a conscientious human rights watch here at the United Nations. We must bring justice where the limits are overstepped, and support the new international courts, including the idea of an international criminal court, to make a civilized world." Steps towards a civilized world

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will include the completion of the Middle East peace process; the prohibition of anti-personnel landmines; and the implementation of a comprehensive test- ban.

FELIPE GONZALEZ, President of Spain, speaking on behalf of the European Union: Together, the members of the European Union are by far the main contributor to the Organization's regular budget and its peace-keeping operations. The European Union is also the principal donor of funds for humanitarian assistance and development cooperation. It is hoped that all States, large and small, will contribute to the revitalization of the United Nations through the full, punctual and unconditional fulfilment of their financial obligations.

The United Nations must improve its capacity for preventive diplomacy, humanitarian assistance, peace-keeping and peacemaking, as well as post- conflict reconstruction. The Organization must intensify its work to eradicate hunger, poverty, unemployment and social marginalization, as well as to protect human rights and promote equality. It must coordinate efforts aimed at sustainable development. The enthusiasm of all sectors of society, especially the young, must be aroused for this endeavour, so that their concerns may inspire global efforts. "In the pursuit of this collective task, the United Nations can rely on the active commitment of the European Union."

TOMIICHI MURAYAMA, Prime Minister of Japan: Japan has made cooperation with the United Nations an important pillar of its foreign policy and has thus been contributing actively to the peace and prosperity of the international community. Japan has never forgotten the support it received from many members of the international community in building the economic prosperity it enjoys today. The United Nations has an increasingly important role to play in addressing issues which lie at the root of problems such as social instability and in building world peace and prosperity. The United Nations should not limit its concerns to the nation-state level, it must focus its efforts on the well-being of each and everyone on earth.

As a leading donor country, Japan has been supporting the concept of sustainable development, including the promotion of democracy and economic reform. Japan also stands ready to cooperate more actively for peace in such areas as humanitarian assistance, preventive diplomacy, peace-keeping operations and disarmament. The fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations is also the fiftieth year since the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is time for the international community to accelerate its efforts towards the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons. It is deplorable that nuclear testing continues today. It is extremely important that a resolution calling for the cessation of nuclear testing be adopted at the current session with the support of as many Member States as possible.

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Japan calls upon all Member States to face up to the financial crisis of the United Nations, to honour their financial obligations and to urgently and seriously address the question of the United Nations financial reform. Improving the efficiency and reviewing the mandates of the Economic and Social Council and other related organs are pressing tasks. The Security Council must be strengthened by having its effectiveness and its legitimacy enhanced. That will require an expansion of the Council, including its permanent membership, and an improvement in its working methods through enhanced transparency. Member States are urged to reach an agreement on a broad framework of reform at the current session.

JAKOB KELLENBERGER, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Switzerland: By seeking new ways of further developing the philosophy behind peace-keeping operations, which have now come to encompass human rights and humanitarian dimensions, the Organization has reached a milestone on the way to realizing new parameters for human security. Peace and security can be guaranteed within the international community only when citizens can enjoy their fundamental rights and freedoms. "This is possible only if the law stands above political power." The United Nations has moved the international community to make major strides in identifying shared principles.

The Organization's objectives converge with those of Switzerland, which is actively committed to the promotion of international law and to the peaceful settlement of disputes. Switzerland has been supporting United Nations peace-keeping activities to the extent of its capabilities, and would further seek to enhance its cooperation with and support for the United Nations. This convergence of views prompts Switzerland's desire to pursue membership in the United Nations. "Our Government is thus striving to maintain with the Swiss people an ongoing dialogue to enable them to become aware of the changing face of international cooperation as well as of the United Nations activities."

YASSER ARAFAT, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO): The United Nations history is intertwined with the question of Palestine. It was the United Nations which adopted the resolution on the partition of Palestine into two states: one Jewish and one Arab. The history and resolutions of the Organization constitute a permanent, legal, political and moral responsibility. It should continue to sponsor the Palestinian cause, alongside the Israeli-Palestinian agreements, until achievement of the Palestinian peoples inalienable rights, including the right to return, to self-determination and to national independence.

The initiative for the peace process was made on the basis of United Nations resolutions, particulary Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, and on the principle of land for peace. The Palestinian question therefore remains a United Nations concern, particularly because important issues --

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such as the questions of Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem), refugees, settlements and final borders -- have been left to the final stage of the process.

The Palestinian people have always affirmed their desire for peace. When they embarked on the peace process, "the peace option became an irreversible Palestinian decision. It springs from our people's desire to turn over the leaf of killing and destruction once and for all, so that the Palestinian people and Israeli people may live side by side, in two independent states, on the basis of mutual respect".

The historic Palestinian-Israeli reconciliation must be carried through as envisaged. It must be completed on all the other Arab-Israeli tracks -- particulary the Lebanese and Syrian tracks -- so that peace may be comprehensive and include the peoples of Iraq and Libya. The Palestinian side is determined to go forward to complete the transitional stage and enter into negotiations on final status.

Support is needed to enable the Palestinian people to build its infrastructure, which has been destroyed by the occupation, to come back together to build their political system on the basis of democratic plurality and freedom. The PLO also supports the trend towards expanding the membership of the Security Council.

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For information media. Not an official record.