5 March 1996

Press Release


19960305 Following is the text, translated from the Spanish, of the statement delivered yesterday, 4 March, in Tlatelolco by the Foreign Minister of Mexico, José Angel Gurria Trevino, introducing Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali at his lecture at the Institute "Matias Romero" for Diplomatic Studies:

It is an honour for me to introduce the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, an old and dear friend of the Mexican Foreign Ministry.

A prolific author and incisive analyst in the fields of law, economic and social development and international politics, our distinguished speaker is, above all, a consummate diplomat. As Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt between 1977 and 1991, Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali participated in the negotiations, among others, on the Camp David agreements, considered at home and abroad as a landmark in the Middle East peace process.

We also recall him as promoter of an active policy of drawing closer to the Western hemisphere in general and Mexico in particular. During his term as head of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, there was a substantial increase in contacts with Latin America. Boutros-Ghali's clear view of the similarity of the problems confronting the developing world inspired these timely closer relations, the benefits of which continue to this day.

Tlatelolco remembers Boutros-Ghali as an enthusiastic promoter of the Africa-Latin America Seminar, an important review mechanism which every two years since 1982 has brought together a striking constellation of diplomats, political leaders, industrialists and academics from the two continents. In addition to having promoted the strengthening of links between various sectors in Africa and Latin America, the Seminar has fomented the attainment of a critical mass in matters of common interest. A few weeks from now, this Foreign Ministry will have the honour of convening the eighth meeting of the Seminar, one more proof that sound ideas endure.

__________ * Reissued to revise the headline and precede.

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In 1992, Boutros-Ghali became the sixth Secretary-General in the history of the United Nations, assuming his duties at an extraordinarily complex time. While it is true that the cold war and East-West bipolarism were and remain part of history, it is also the case that the international order in the new millennium is still uncertain. Crucial concerns from the old order persist and are intermixed with a new and complex international agenda. If you will allow, our time is both dusk and dawn.

In this context, Boutros-Ghali's management at the head of the United Nations has confronted the great challenge represented by rethinking the role, the priorities and the workings of the Organization in a world far removed from that in which, in 1945, it was created. Basing himself on the letter and spirit of the San Francisco Charter and calling on his vast diplomatic experience, the Secretary-General has defined peace, development and democracy as the central tasks of the United Nations.

A watershed in this redefinition of the role of the United Nations in the post-cold war period is the 1992 document, An Agenda for Peace, with its 1995 supplement. To the traditional affirmation that peace is not merely an absence of war, Boutros Boutros-Ghali has added a series of specific proposals on preventive diplomacy, peace-keeping, peacemaking and peace-building. As on few occasions in history, the United Nations has been involved in peace- keeping operations, and its influence in the settlement of regional conflicts throughout the world continues to grow.

As for development, a key element in Boutros-Ghali's management has been the report entitled "An agenda for development", submitted to the General Assembly in May 1994. The Secretary-General is absolutely right in conceiving of development as a process that is qualitatively different from mere economic growth. Let me say here and now that the Mexican Foreign Ministry agrees with the United Nations that development, to be such, must be intimately interlinked with peace, the environment, democracy and respect for human rights.

The latter-most element, perhaps the most innovative of the three that Boutros-Ghali has put forward in guiding the destinies of the United Nations, is democracy, understood as a process of participation that involves, but is not limited to, transparent and equitable electoral processes. So important is the phenomenon of democracy that the Secretary-General has indicated that, while decolonization was the watchword of the post-Second World War period, democratization is the imperative of the end of the millennium.

Lamentably, this ambitious and visionary design of the United Nations has run into obstacles preventing its full implementation. Very evident among these is the financial crisis through which the Organization is passing, which arises from the failure of the great Powers to understand the role of international institutions in attenuating power politics. For Mexico, a world

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of peace, development and democracy cannot be attained without the help of a politically and economically strong United Nations.

Precisely because of the commitment of our country to the causes espoused by the United Nations, this visit by its Secretary-General is of special importance for the people and Government of Mexico. I wish to tell you, Mr. Secretary-General, that the fiftieth anniversary of the Organization was widely celebrated in this country, and above all in this Foreign Ministry. As a small token of Mexico's recognition of your successful work at the head of the highest international organization, I wish to present you with a collection of the works published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations, and to extend to you, as always, the most cordial welcome.

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For information media. Not an official record.