6 March 1996

Press Release


19960306 Following is the text of the toast delivered by Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali at a luncheon hosted by the Foreign Minister of Mexico, José Angel Gurria Trevino, in Mexico City on Tuesday, 5 March:

Fifteen years ago, the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra performed at the United Nations Day Concert in New York. Its programme opened with the Overture to Verdi's "La Forza del Destino". It was, in many ways, an appropriate choice. That great opera brings together events over which its characters have no control. So too, at that time, were the lives of nations and peoples across the world influenced by forces they could not direct and by decisions in which they did not participate. Indeed, the adversarial decades of the cold war made the promise of the United Nations itself impossible to fulfil. The cold war is now over. But, in your own phrase, Mr. Minister, "the United Nations is entering upon a period as full of uncertainty as it is of opportunities".

This is a time which places particular responsibilities upon the founder Members of the Organization. It is their vision that gave form to the United Nations Charter. It is their hope that is manifest in the purposes of the Organization. It is their solidarity which has given vigour to the principles upon which it was constituted.

It is a privilege today to be in the capital city of one of those founders, a nation which participated in the first meetings of both the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. "The word 'force' in the historical sense must disappear from the political dictionary" observed your representative at those opening sessions. Fifty years of multilateral endeavours by Mexico have given practical manifestation to that conviction.

The Treaty of Tlatelolco, concluded in this very house, has given the regional urge to disarmament legal affirmation. You have sponsored in the General Assembly a resolution on a step-by-step reduction of the nuclear threat. At the Vienna Review Conference, you have raised your voice against the cruel and inhuman deployment of land mines and called for their complete ban. You have also made important proposals on restricting the use of other conventional weapons.

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These initiatives are entirely in keeping with Mexico's long tradition of actively championing the disarmament cause. The work and endeavour of Ambassador Garcia Robles gave this mission the distinction of the Nobel Peace Prize. The intellectual and scientific communities in this country represent an important source for imaginative and workable proposals towards this goals.

Over the past few months, cooperation between the United Nations and Mexico has strengthened and diversified. The Fifth Mexico Country Programme is being implemented by your Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Its principal areas of concentration include high technology, poverty and population, as well as water and the environment, and support to the efforts of the National Human Rights Commission.

I wish to express my particular appreciation of the prompt responses received from your Government to communications sent by the United Nations Centre for Human Rights. You have signed the important Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and called for full respect of their human and labour rights.

The international community has noted, Mr. Minister, your warning about "new forms of intolerance, racism and xenophobia" which threaten world peace. These represent, yet again, the parallel and often competing trends of fragmentation and globalization which have created a new dialectic in international relations.

In their Declaration on the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations, heads of State and government committed their countries to "act together to defeat the threats to States and people posed by ... the production and consumption of and trafficking in illicit drugs".

The United Nations launched its Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 10 years ago. But drug-related problems continue to intensify throughout the world. Resources available for drug control are inadequate. In my most recent annual report to the General Assembly, I had urged Member States to provide the political and financial support needed to pursue international priorities in this area. I wish to reaffirm that necessity today.

It is a pleasure, and a great privilege, to be in this country. Your shores have been touched by so many currents of history and culture, creativity and achievement, that a visitor is always made to feel at home.

Allow me now to propose a toast to our distinguished host, to the Government and people of Mexico, and to our common commitment and endeavour to make the world and its people safe and secure, through our collective effort and the United Nations.

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For information media. Not an official record.