Leaders call for global cooperation as General Assembly enters 2nd week
As the annual high-level debate of world leaders at the General Assembly entered its second week today, leaders stressed international cooperation in addressing global issues and urged the speedy revamping of the United Nations in order to effectively address those challenges.
The morning session's first speaker, the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dragan Covic, underlined the importance of dialogue in resolving global challenges such as poverty, underdevelopment, organized crime and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He said today's Bosnia and Herzegovina was dedicated to advancing the political and economic stability of the Balkans and its on-going work towards accession to the European Union (EU) had been a positive experience of partnership for the country. The country was also committed to reform, and to respecting all the human rights of its individual citizens and peoples, in all their diversity, he said.
Acknowledging that there was still much to be done to transform Bosnia and Herzegovina into a modern state, Mr. Covic also highlighted his country's commitment to the strengthening of joint institutions and the establishment of a strong legal framework, the return of refugees and displaced persons and the return of property to its rightful owners. The business climate has improved and Bosnia and Herzegovina now offered better investment and employment opportunities, he said. Mr. Covic also said efforts to simplify the tax system, reform the armed forces and state intelligence service and educational system were underway.
Mongolian President Natsagiin Bagabandi said the emergence of a complex international situation and its subsequent developments had cast into doubt the ability of the UN to develop a timely and adequate response to international crises, to maintain peace and security, prevent armed conflicts, and resolve pressing issues in war-torn countries and effectively assist them in building national reconciliation and reconstruction. In view of evolving international realities, he said there was an urgent need to speed up the reform of the UN through "identifying innovative approaches" so that Organization, particularly the Security Council, would be able to effectively address the challenges ahead.
Mr. Bagabandi said it was important to ensure the universality of international treaties on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and testing. As a nuclear-weapon-free country, Mongolia also actively supported the establishment of nuclear-weapons-free zones in other parts of the world, he said. The President said his country also supported a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and a peaceful resolution to the issue of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea's nuclear programme.
Also taking part in the debate this morning were the Foreign Ministers of the Syrian Arab Republic, Farouk Al-Shara', Czech Republic, Cyril Svoboda, Myanmar, U Win Aung, Egypt, Ahmed Maher El Sayed, Saudi Arabia, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Liechtenstein, Ernst Walch, Maldives, Fathulla Jameel, Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Tolba, and the Chairman of the Observer Delegation of Palestine, Farouk Kaddoumi.
Kicking off the afternoon session, Prime Minister Percival James Patterson of Jamaica said the multilateral process would collapse unless the international community asserts a strong collective will to review the structures, mandates and procedures in the global system. He said to strengthen multilateralism it was necessary to reform and rebuild the UN. "The reform must extend beyond composition and geographical balance. We are certain to fall into a dangerous abyss, unless and until the Security Council is so constituted as to remove the absence of even a pretence at democracy in the global state and to deter arrogant deviation from the most basic elements of the rule of international law," Mr. Patterson warned.
Of particular importance to Caribbean countries is the need for special attention to the problems of small island developing states, Mr. Patterson said. He added that while the region fully recognized the developmental potential of globalization, it was also aware that it "increased our vulnerability, insecurity and the possibility of marginalization." In the aftermath of world trade talks in Cancún, the global community needed to accept that trade rules must be asymmetrical in recognition of the diversity in levels of development and size of economies and also recognize the right of all countries to protect their development priorities and vulnerable groups, especially their small farmers, he said.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, Mari Alkatiri, said since his country's accession to UN membership a year ago, his government has concentrated on strengthening national cohesion and building a democratic state founded on the rule of law. Timor-Leste's "open governance" strategy was based upon principles of good governance, inclusion, and individual and collective responsibility, he said, which entailed bringing the government to those in remote areas and instilling in the population at large a sense of responsibility for the country's reconstruction.
Detailing the extensive challenges still facing the country, Mr. Alkatiri said that substantial assistance and support was needed for the judicial, defence and security systems, in order to ensure their sustainability and credibility. The assistance of qualified people was needed to develop Timorese capacity in the consolidation of financial and banking systems, border control, legislative drafting, investment promotion and technology transfers. Mr. Alkatiri also expressed hope that negotiations for the demarcation of his country's land boundary would be finalized in the coming year to allow Timor-Leste to begin negotiations on its maritime boundaries.
Also taking part in the afternoon session were the Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh, Morshed Khan, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Timothy Harris, Cape Verde, Maria de Fatima Lima Veiga, Panama, Harmodio Arias, Sudan, Mustafa Osman Ismail, Jordan, Marwan Muasher, Singapore, S. Jayakumar, Gambia, Baboucarr-Blaise Ismaila Jagne, and the Chairman of the Delegation of Nepal, Bhekh Bahadur Thapa.