TRANSCRIPT OF PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECRETARY-GENERAL BOUTROS BOUTROS-GHALI HELD AT UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS
TRANSCRIPT OF PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECRETARY-GENERAL BOUTROS BOUTROS-GHALI HELD AT UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS19951218
MODERATOR: The Secretary-General will make an introductory statement, then we will open the floor for your questions. Mr. Secretary-General?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: First of all, I have to congratulate you on this new room. Secondly, I have to congratulate Ian Williams on his reelection. And finally, I want to thank my old friend Joe Sills for the wonderful work he has done in the past years, and to wish him success in his new, very difficult job in Washington.
I just returned from a long trip, when I visited five African countries: Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Benin and Côte d'Ivoire. I want to assure you -- and I am repeating myself -- that the situation in Sierra Leone and in Liberia is very difficult. I was in Monrovia 20 years ago, in a different period; the city is completely destroyed. There is no comparison between the destruction in Monrovia and the destruction in many other cities all over the world. Unfortunately, the perception among the leaders in these countries is that there is a marginalization of Africa and that the international community pays less attention to the problems of Africa. I defended the United Nations; I defended the international community, saying, "No, it is not true; the proof is that I am here", but the perception is a very negative one, that nobody is paying any more attention to Africa.
I want also to mention a few things about Western Sahara. We have a long-standing problem. I spent many hours in discussions with the Prime Minister of Morocco; I met him in London; I met him again in Paris; I had a long phone conversation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Algeria. And there is no progress in this dispute. So, as I mentioned two days ago, I will send Ambassador Gharekhan on a mission of good will to the area; that is, to Morocco, Algeria, Tindouf in the Sahraoui part of Western Sahara and Laayoun, which is in the Moroccan part of Western Sahara. He will also go to Mauritania, because there are 15,000 Western Sahraoui people in Mauritania who are supposed to participate in the elections.
May I mention also that I hope to make a trip in the next week to the Middle East, where I intend to pay a visit to Kuwait. As you know, we have United Nations forces on the border between Kuwait and Iraq. I had two long meetings in Geneva with the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Tariq Aziz, concerning resolution 986 (1995). The position has not changed, but I still hope that we will be able to progress in the implementation of this resolution.
Those are the few words I wanted to say. I am at your disposal to answer any questions.
Mr. WILLIAMS (President, United Nations Correspondents Association): Welcome, on behalf of the United Nations Correspondents Association. Of course, while you were away, your diplomatic colleagues across at the United
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States Mission were exchanging notes. Do you have anything to say about their exchange in the Security Council last week about the report?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: No, this is a problem which is related to Slavonia. There was a different point of view concerning what ought to be done in Slavonia. If you want, this problem has five dimensions. The first one is the composition of the presence in eastern Slavonia; must it be a multinational force, or must it be a United Nations force? That is the first difference. The second difference is the number of these forces. Certain people, among them the Government in Zagreb, are in favour of a very small force, of 2,000; the Government in Belgrade is in favour of a strong force, of 9,000. Then you have a third problem; what ought to be the mandate of this force. Will it be based on Chapter VI or will it be based on Chapter VII? Will it be a force that will control or observe the disarmament of the groups in eastern Slavonia or will it be a force that will participate in the disarmament?
Next, we have the problem that, in the case that it is a United Nations force it will take time to obtain the presence on the ground.
Finally, there is a question of perception, which is important because Belgrade looks at this presence as a presence to protect the Serbs living in eastern Slavonia. They feel insecure. The perception of Zagreb is that this presence is there to facilitate the integration of eastern Slavonia into the Republic of Croatia as soon as possible.
So the problem has different dimensions, and the Security Council has to take the decision. Whatever the decision of the Security Council will be, the role of the Secretary-General is to implement it. I can give my advice before; I can say that I believe that this or that ought to be done, but the Security Council will take the necessary decision.
QUESTION: Do you think that your recent frictions with Ambassador Albright will pose a problem for a second mandate?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: I have not decided if I want to have a second mandate. When I have decided if I want to have a second mandate, then I will answer the question.
QUESTION: Human Rights Watch, in their 1996 report, had some strong criticism of you or your performance, saying that the Secretary-General's reluctance to offend powerful governments played a major role in human rights crises, and that your refrain that you are the humble servant of 185 masters "cannot mask your abdication of leadership in the human rights realm". I wonder if you can respond to that?
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The SECRETARY-GENERAL: The fact that I have difficult relations with the different major actors contradicts what is said in this report. I have tried to do my best concerning human rights, but really my answer to this is that I have discovered that, through quiet diplomacy, you will achieve more than through declarations. I cannot give you examples, but I assure you that in many cases I have obtained constructive and positive results through quiet diplomacy rather than a huge declaration saying, "We condemn this", without any results.
I do not want to diminish the role of the non-governmental organizations. I have publicly mentioned that they are important and that we need their support; we need to find new channels of communication with the non-governmental organizations. But they are different. They are not responsible [to governments]. They are not dealing with governments. The United Nations is dealing with governments, and if you want to obtain certain kinds of progress, this has to be done through quiet diplomacy and not through public declarations -- which are the raison d'être of the non-governmental organizations.
QUESTION: The 30 November donors conference for Sierra Leone raised less than half of the money that would be needed for assistance for the elections in that country. If that money cannot be raised, perhaps the elections will not be held. How do you plan to help them to raise the balance of it?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: I have spent hours with President Strasser in Freetown, in Sierra Leone, about the importance of having the elections on 26 February next year in spite of the fact that he has internal problems. I gave him two examples in which elections had changed the political atmosphere; the elections in Cambodia despite the opposition of the Khmer Rouge, and the elections in Algeria despite the opposition of the fundamentalists. I advised him, and he is convinced and his staff is convinced, that the elections will help Sierra Leone to maintain peace and to change the political climate.
Now, I agree with you; we have a problem of how to obtain the money. I am in contact with many governments, I am in contact with many non- governmental organizations, to obtain the necessary assistance so that we will be able to have the elections on 26 February in Sierra Leone.
You say, what if you do not obtain the money? For the time being, I hope that I will be able to obtain the money, because I believe that if the election is held in Sierra Leone, this will change the political atmosphere and -- which is more important -- this will help to obtain more assistance. It is like a plane: the most difficult part is the take-off; when we have take-off, then the situation will change and it will be easier to obtain foreign investment, it will be easier to obtain the attention of the international community, and the whole situation may change.
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QUESTION: Speaking about elections, what can you tell us about the elections in Haiti, where only 30 per cent of the people voted after a campaign marked by intimidation and the rule of the mob?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: If you have statistics, you will see that in many parts of the world that are known as very important democracies ... sometimes only a small part of the population participates in elections. So what is important is that elections were held. You have offered an opportunity to participate in the election, but if someone does not want to use that opportunity, you cannot oblige him to do so. In certain systems you have to pay a penalty if you do not vote. That system did not exist in Haiti. Here again, I believe that the election of a new President will help to maintain a climate of security in Haiti, and what is more important, I believe that we will be able to maintain a presence after the result of the election. I hope that the new President may accept the presence of a police force on the ground so that we can help the new Government to maintain stability and, at the same time, obtain foreign investment for the reconstruction of Haiti. We have just finished construction of a bridge, which was done by the United Nations and which was a real success in the field of reconstruction in Haiti.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary-General, two films were banned from playing at the United Nations in the past two weeks, Bukovar and Beyond Rangoon, by the Croatian and the Burmese Governments. Can you explain to us by what standard the Secretariat would agree to accommodate those Governments? It seems that there seems to be a standard that anything offensive to a Member State is not permitted to be shown here inside the United Nations Headquarters, but the Charter seems pretty clear in providing you with the authority to keep Member States from meddling in Secretariat affairs or from carrying out its duties.
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: I am not aware of all the details of what happened, but I can give you general principles. This is an intergovernmental Organization. A film can be projected anywhere; you have 10,000 rooms in New York and you have 100,000 non-governmental organizations that are ready to project the film. If showing the film at Headquarters will create political difficulties with a Member State, let us avoid that. It can be projected anywhere else. I do not know all the details of what happened.
QUESTION: What is the moral defence for that position? It seems that under your leadership we have had a number of cases where dissidents have been barred from coming and speaking to the Press Club, and now you have these two incidents. By what authority or precedent have you been accommodating these governments, many of which have rather poor human rights records?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: As I said, I do not know the details of the problem, so if I have the details, then I can give you an answer. However, because I do not know the details, I merely mentioned the general principle, which is, that we, the United Nations, is an intergovernmental Organization
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and what can be done by the non-governmental organizations cannot be done by the United Nations. However, I honestly do not know the details, and therefore I am not in a position to give you a specific answer to this question.
QUESTION: Do you still believe that eastern Slavonia will be better off with multinational forces than with the United Nations? Why do you need 9,000 troops or more, since everybody, especially the Croatians, is saying that is too much?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: You see, if the multinational forces were able to obtain 60,000 troops in Bosnia, I do not see why we cannot obtain 10 per cent of that, which is 6,000, or 15 per cent, which is 9,000, in eastern Slavonia. That is my first point. Secondly, the problem is not only a problem of how to obtain the forces; it is a financial problem. We have still not been able to solve the financial crisis. The Member States owe us around $2.6 billion. They owe approximately $1 billion for the United Nations operations in the former Yugoslavia. So, we have financial problems. And again, it will take time before we are able to provide those forces. But again, if the Security Council decided that it had to be a United Nations operation, our role is to implement the decision of the Security Council.
QUESTION: Why is the Croatian Government opposing your proposal for 9,000 troops? Why does it want only 2,000?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: Because they say that an agreement has been concluded between Belgrade and Zagreb and that, due to this agreement and the political will existing between the two, there is no reason to have more than 1,000 or 2,000 troops there. The position of Belgrade is that it is not only a question of disarmament; it is a question of how, during the period of transition, to create a climate of confidence among the Serbian population, and we will obtain a climate of confidence only with a huge deployment of forces. So, as I mentioned, there is a difference of perception between the two countries.
QUESTION: On the point of eastern Slavonia, are you then saying, Secretary-General, that if, as looks likely, the Security Council will recommend a United Nations force of around about 4,000 to 5,000 troops, the United Nations will just get on and implement it? You wouldn't consider it a resigning issue, given the report that you have written?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: We have to implement. The role of the Secretary-General is to implement the decisions of the Security Council. We asked for 35,000 for the safe areas and they gave us 3,000 and then 1,000 after one year. And then we had all those problems that are known. We will have to implement, and we will implement. If they say 2,000, okay, let us send 2,000. The role of the Secretariat of the United Nations is to offer
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background information, to offer advice. But the decision is taken by the Security Council and our role is to implement the decision.
QUESTION: You must be pretty fed up with the Security Council [laughter].
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: No, it is related to the job.
QUESTION: You must be a bit fed up.
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: No, no; it is the job. Why did I accept this job? If you accept a job, you just have to do it. It is like being a soldier or an officer. They say, "You must attack"; you say, "We will lose if we attack"; they say, "You must". You attack.
QUESTION: But if they decide things that make the United Nations look bad, don't you feel that... ?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: Again, my role is to try to correct the image and I hope that you will help me in this.
QUESTION: In that vein, Mr. Secretary-General, you have been sharply criticized for the formula you have offered for the vote in Western Sahara. People have said that it is biased towards Morocco, that you are favouring Morocco and that the conflict there could reignite. In Rwanda, you are now presiding over a situation in which United Nations troops will be pulled out in two or three months' time. I am just wondering if you have any views on the fact that the impression is being created that the United Nations has found a new vocation, which is conflict reignition rather than conflict resolution?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: In Western Sahara, the details of the problem are very complicated. But I just want to assure you that I am in contact with all the parties, which do not at all share the view that the resolution is in favour of A or in favour of B. On the contrary, the common denominator between the parties -- Morocco and Polisario -- is that they want to keep the United Nations forces and to continue the process. (Algeria is of the same opinion.) This proves that the protagonists trust the United Nations and its objectivity.
The problem is that the international community says that, if there is no progress, we must not continue to pay this amount of money. It had exactly the same attitude to what happened in Somalia. Unless there is some progress, unless we finish the verification, unless we can move from verification to the referendum, then we have to pull out. I am confronted not so much by the differing points of view of the protagonists to this dispute, but also by pressure from the Security Council, which rightly says, "Enough!" and I share this point of view. We have postponed the referendum time and again over the
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past three years. We say "in the next five months" and then "in the next six months", and then "in the next six months". We have practical difficulties on the ground that are provoked by the different protagonists to this dispute, but all of them want to maintain the United Nations presence. The fact that they want to maintain the United Nations presence is proof that they trust the United Nations.
Concerning Rwanda, again the position is very clear. If a government says that it does not want United Nations forces, you have two choices: either you pull out or you decide to maintain the forces on the basis of Chapter VII. Here is the problem. It is a very simple problem. The whole problem has now been postponed for a period of three months, but we know quite well that we have 2 million refugees in Goma and Bukavu and on the border of Tanzania. There is a crisis of confidence and the refugees do not want to return. Everybody is afraid that a new genocide may happen, this time not by the Hutu against the Tutsi but by the Tutsi against the Hutu.
We are confronted by problems, but we have the same problems elsewhere. Why do you mention Rwanda and the Sahara? Why don't you mention Tajikistan? Why don't you mention Afghanistan, where more people have been killed in the past five or six weeks? I call these the "orphan situations" because nobody pays attention to them. These are the problem areas. We might be able to take care of the problem in Tajikistan or in Afghanistan or even in Georgia if we were able to send 5,000 or 6,000 Blue Helmets. But that would cost money and nobody is ready to pay the necessary amount to have that presence on the ground. Those are the real problems.
QUESTION: Before I ask my question, could you tell us where else in the Middle East you are going besides Kuwait?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: For the time being, only Kuwait, and then home, I hope.
QUESTION: My question is on Iraq. Are you looking for a particular formula of implementation that would be a sort of face-saving device for the Iraqis to accept 986? Is this what you are working on?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: My point of view, which has not changed since before resolution 986 (1995), is: "Don't say no. Discuss with us. We may disagree after six months of discussion, but at least we have had a chance to find a solution to this problem. Your attitude in refusing 986 (1995) is a negative one. Let us discuss. We may find a solution and may not, but let us discuss." This was my message.
QUESTION: The second part of my question is related to what Secretary of State Warren Christopher said about the necessity to unify the Iraqi opposition and the efforts of King Hussein, of which I am sure you are aware, regarding contacts with the opposition. Are you willing to support these
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efforts, Mr. Secretary-General, and to receive the Iraqi opposition in support of these efforts in the region?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: No. The United Nations is dealing with Member States. Iraq is a Member State of this Organization. My role is limited to implementation in accordance with a mandate given to me by the Security Council. My role is limited to implementing resolution 986 (1995) -- food for oil -- and my contact with the Iraqis is limited to obtaining a way to implement this resolution.
May I mention something else also which is important? It is that we have created an organ in Geneva which is to give an indemnity to three or four million workers from India, from Pakistan, from the Philippines, from Kuwait, from Jordan, from Egypt. They lost their jobs during the war; they lost their personal belongings. This Compensation Commission has no more money. In the case that resolution 986 (1995) is implemented, 30 per cent of the revenue from the oil will be given to this Commission, and we will be able to offer compensation to the thousands and thousands of workers all over the countries of the third world. So, it is not altruistic. Certainly, my priority number one is that the people of Iraq is suffering. But there is a second very important element; we need money to be able to pay compensation to the millions of workers who have lost their jobs and who lost many things during the Iraq-Kuwait war.
So if resolution 986 (1995) is implemented, this will give us additional resources ... so that we will be able to pay the compensation to the various workers.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary-General, when you took office after the Gulf War you spoke about the United Nations having a crisis of credibility; having too much credibility -- everyone coming to the United Nations for help. Now, of course, the United Nations has a crisis of too little credibility, and that is largely because of the reluctance of the United Nations to use force in Bosnia. Do you think the United Nations and you yourself were wrong to oppose the sustained bombing earlier in Bosnia?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: No, we never opposed any sustained bombing. The discussion of bombing or not bombing was undertaken by the people on the ground. I am not a military specialist. My decision, or the decision of my Special Representative, was taken according to the point of view of the military people on the ground. The military people on the ground were saying, "Don't bomb, because this will represent a risk for our soldiers", or "Bomb, because we are ready to take that risk." Practically, what was there? There were two strategies: the strategy of those who had air power and the strategy of those who had the ground power. This will not be so any more, because we have the same command doing the two operations.
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So, it is not a question that we were against bombing or in favour of bombing. The day those on the ground decided they were able to accept the bombing, they had already removed the soldiers, so it was easy to do the bombing.
QUESTION: Do you think you were wrong, then, not to remove the soldiers or reconfigure the soldiers one or two years earlier, and do bombing?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: Because we had not received the mandate to move them. We need a mandate. On the contrary, they asked for more soldiers; they gave us more responsibility on the ground.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary-General, I would like to know more details about the United Nations role in Bosnia during the IFOR mandate. But before that, please tell me; is Mr. Akashi your military adviser?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: No, neither Mr. Akashi nor I are specialists in military problems. Our military advisers were General Janvier and General Smith and the general from NATO. They give us their point of view, and on the basis of their information we take the decisions.
QUESTION: As far as I understood, Mr. Akashi opposed many NATO air strikes before.
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: The decision of Mr. Akashi was based on the advice of the military people on the ground. They know what the reality is.
QUESTION: And what is the role of the United Nations in Bosnia during the IFOR mandate?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: We have three roles. The first one is the problem of refugees. We will be asked to offer shelter to the refugees and help the return of the refugees. The second role is the role of police. You will have an international police under the direct control of the Secretariat of the United Nations. And the third role will be cooperation with different organizations in the field of human rights. We have a role number four which is still not final and not decided; what our role will be in the field of reconstruction. As you know, we have an Assistant Secretary-General who has been working in Sarajevo for more than a year for the reconstruction of the infrastructure of Sarajevo. I believe that here there will be a new approach concerning the reconstruction. But the three roles -- which are refugees, police and human rights -- are the role of the United Nations in Bosnia.
Then we are also responsible for the situation in Macedonia, and according to the next resolution of the Security Council we may be responsible for the transitional period in eastern Slavonia.
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QUESTION: I wonder if you could share with us what your feelings were about the way the United Nations was treated by the Dayton peace process. None of the major players thanked the United Nations for what had been done. It was treated as a complete failure. The decision was made that the chief civilian would not be a United Nations official. And the United Nations was given those things that nobody else wanted to do.
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: To be a civil servant is to be trained that nobody will say, "Thank you". You have to accept this. We are doing our job. And secondly, which is very important, we welcome any initiative coming from a group of States, from a regional arrangement, from a regional organization. This is based on the Charter. We have done this in Haiti; we have done this in Georgia; we have done this in Africa. After all, we are doing exactly the same with ECOMOG in Liberia; we were doing exactly the same when we cooperated with the multinational force in Haiti. So this is a division of labour.
I have mentioned this many times; due to the fact that we are not able to cope with all the problems, one of the ways is through mandates. As we are cooperating with non-governmental organizations in certain fields of social development or economic development, we are also cooperating with regional arrangements. We have even created regional arrangements -- a very sui generis one -- the Friends of the Secretary-General in El Salvador. I am trying to create, without success, the Friends of Afghanistan. We need that a group of States may help us in achieving peace in certain parts of the world. If the price of this is that they say, "We have done everything", okay, we are ready to pay this price. And we are ready to work behind the scenes.
What is important is not to say, "I have been successful" or "Mr. A has been successful"; what is important is to achieve peace.
QUESTION (interpretation from French): Mr. Secretary-General, you referred to the three roles of the United Nations in the former Yugoslavia, in Bosnia. You mentioned human rights. Do you not think that the Dayton agreement and the resolution that has just been adopted on the transition from UNPROFOR to IFOR are rather constraining vis-à-vis the International Tribunal on the Former Yugoslavia, and do you not think that the Tribunal will have financial difficulties as well?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL (interpretation from French): You have to draw a distinction between protecting human rights within Bosnia -- that is, the minorities and the return of refugees -- whenever one deals with refugees, it is a human rights question; when we have an international police force, this is also to protect human rights. Something quite different is the question of jurisdiction. The International Tribunal in The Hague is intended to punish those who have violated human rights. These are two completely different operations. One is a preventive operation; to protect the refugees when they return, to protect the minorities, and to have a police force which provides
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the maximum safeguards. And the other is an operation more concerned with punishing those who have committed violations. That lies within the purview of the Tribunal.
The Tribunal has the necessary authority to oblige States to hand over the criminals. If a State refuses to hand over a criminal, then the Tribunal can turn to the Security Council, and the Security Council must take the necessary steps to compel that State to hand over the criminal.
QUESTION (interpretation from French): But don't you think this is rather restrictive?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL (interpretation from French): It is difficult to answer that question, since it hasn't yet begun. We have four or five people who have been ... arrested, and now there will be a trial. We cannot know in advance exactly how it is going to turn out.
QUESTION: Regarding reconstruction in Haiti, how concerned are you that the Aristide Government is reneging on its commitment to privatize the public sector and that international lenders appear to be cutting off aid?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: Unless I am mistaken, there is nothing in the resolution adopted by the Security Council compelling the Aristide Government to privatize the public sector.
QUESTION: Wasn't that the understanding?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: No. Now, we may encourage him, we may advise him, we may say that privatization of the public sector will provide the necessary economic assistance, yes. But there is no obligation. This would be interference in the internal affairs of a Member State. The Member State will decide when and how it will turn to privatization. I know that there was a problem, the reason for the resignation of the former Prime Minister was related to the problem of privatization. But it is an internal problem. There is no obligation. There is nothing in the different resolutions that have been adopted. We are there, we can mention to the Government that privatization will help it; that we believe it will obtain more foreign assistance; that we believe that the public sector is not doing well or not producing the necessary development. But they are free, and this has to be their own decision.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary-General, I was just wondering, on the financial crisis, about your proposal to convene a special session of the General Assembly to try to resolve it. Where has that got to? Do you think it will happen?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: Yes. I hope so. We are preparing for this.
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QUESTION: When would it be, do you think?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: I do not know. Again, this has to be decided by the General Assembly and not by the Secretary-General. I advised them to hold a special session because the problem is still there; Member States owe us around $2.6 billion. We have daily problems because of this financial crisis.
QUESTION: This particular session of the General Assembly will be remembered by some countries mostly by the heat of the debate on nuclear testing. How can you reconcile, as head of the Secretariat, the work on environmental degradation and the continuing tests by the French Government?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: I believe that our hope is that we will be able next June to have a comprehensive ban on all testing. We have already begun to hold discussions in Geneva with the team working on this subject. I will do whatever ought to be done to accelerate this process. If we have, in June, the agreement on a comprehensive ban on all testing, I believe that this will be the best contribution the United Nations can make in the field of environment and disarmament.
QUESTION: Will you go to Iraq to discuss implementation of resolution 986 (1995) if you are asked to do so?
I also have another question. After four years in your post...
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: Four years less 15 days!
QUESTION: ... what do you think are the skills needed by the next Secretary-General to guide the Organization to the end of the century?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: I do not know. It is related to my decision for a second mandate, so I cannot give you an answer. I may have an approach that might be different from the approach of my successor.
QUESTION: When will you make a decision about this?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: I still have 12, or let us say 11, months. I believe that the most important thing is certainly to solve the immediate crises. Also important is to take care of what I call the orphan crises, the crises that do not receive the attention of international public opinion and that deserve the attention of international public opinion. I believe, above all, that what is important is that the United Nations be a think tank to try to prepare solutions to the problems of tomorrow. Because of globalization, we will be confronted by new problems. Who was aware of the environment 20 years ago? Who was aware of transnational crime? Who was aware of the many completely new problems? I believe that one of the roles of the United Nations is to prepare for the new problems -- at least to create the necessary mobilization, to have a certain awareness, to discuss, to prepare or to
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contribute to the solutions of those new problems. I believe that we have not paid enough attention to this dimension of the United Nations -- the future.
QUESTION: And regarding the first question; are you ready to go to Iraq to discuss the implementation of resolution 986 (1995) if you are asked to do so?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: The fact is that if they accept resolution 986 (1995) we will have to discuss it. Resolution 986 (1995) is a kind of framework, with certain guidelines; how will it be implemented? This was my basic argument to the Iraqis. Why did you say no? Why don't you stay and discuss? After two months of discussion, we may find an agreement or we may disagree, but at least we have tried.
Again, I want to be very clear. There is no question of changing 986. I believe the Security Council would never accept a change of 986. But 986 is a framework based on certain principles. How that framework will be implemented -- that can be the subject of discussion, and we may -- I don't say we will, but we may -- find certain solutions that will take into consideration the point of view of the international community and at the same time the objections of the Iraqi Government. I recognize that the chances are limited, but we must try. This is why the United Nations was created, to try to solve peacefully certain problems.
QUESTION: At the luncheon you had with us on 19 September, you mentioned that the world is heading towards world revolution in which the sovereignty of countries will be diminished. What is the status of that world revolution now, and what is the United Nations role in it going to be?
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: I believe that I called this globalization. Today, the price of oil is not decided by the Member States, it is decided by the international markets. The environment is not decided by the Member States, it is decided by so many new and different elements. Deforestation in Brazil will change the climate in the United States. This globalization, in a certain way, isre diminishing the role of the Member States as such. The multiplicity of non-governmental organizations is a new element. The role of the multinationals -- there are multinationals that are 10 times richer than the majority of Member States. The role of parliamentarians. The role of the media -- you. You are underestimating your power.
Those are new elements that are the new actors in international relations, and my approach is that we have to take into consideration those new actors. We have to obtain their assistance. Just take business; if we have a financial crisis, if we could obtain certain assistance from business that would certainly help us to overcome the crisis.
- 15ÿ - Press release SG/SM/5854 18 December 1995
So the problem is that the Member State is the main actor. This is an intergovernmental Organization, but we have more and more new actors. How can we obtain the collaboration of those new actors? How can we create new channels of communication with those new actors? How can we allow them to participate in certain basic resolutions?
We have done this in a certain way at the various summit meetings -- in Copenhagen, in Vienna, in Cairo, in Beijing. They played a role in the adoption of the resolutions. Maybe it was not a direct role, but they played a role. This is the beginning of a change in which the new actors are playing a role in the formulation of the new norms and rules of tomorrow.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much.
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: Thank you. Most important: Happy New Year, and Happy Christmas!
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