September 2000 – The United Nations had to be a more effective instrument for pursuing priorities, such as the fight for development, the fight against injustices in all its forms, the fight against violence, terror and crime, and the fight against the degradation of the earth, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, told the fifty-fifth regular session of the General Assembly this morning, as it opened its general debate.
Introducing his report on the work of the Organization, he said neither the United Nations nor governments could win all those battles on their own.
Cooperation with commercial enterprises and with civil society was necessary.
It was up to the General Assembly to give effect to the commitments made by the heads of State at the Millenium Summit. It was also up to the Assembly to achieve the comprehensive reform of the Security Council, a reform that would make the Council more representative and legitimate, but also more effective.
The Secretary of State of the United States, Madeleine Albright, said that today the United Nations accomplished more and wasted less than it did seven years ago. Those improvements, she said, must be built on by improving United Nations management and strengthening peacekeeping. The latter would require a larger peacekeeping staff, the ability to deploy United Nations military forces and civilian police rapidly, improved coordination between military peacekeepers and civilian peace builders, and additional resources from all governments. The report recently prepared by Ambassador Brahimi`s team was a solid place to start.
She pointed to the need for a sustainable and equitable system of financing in order to provide a stronger foundation for United Nations programmes and missions. The Organization should preserve the special responsibility for peacekeeping of the Security Council`s permanent members and retain a heavily discounted rate for the poorest countries. An equitable system of financing would also reduce the United Nations` over-reliance on payments from the United States. Although the United Nations provided no guarantee of global peace or prosperity, it could play a vital role as a catalyst and a coordinator.
Addressing the Assembly on the subject of Somalia, Ismael Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti, said that the country as a nation seemed condemned to a slow death, unable to expect either regional or international intervention or a positive change in the behavior of the war lords, who carried out systematic dismantling, destruction and looting. The people, however, had opted for government, law and order, and a certain future.
The date 26 August 2000 was a date which would forever stir the hearts of Somalis, he said. On that date Somalia’s interim parliament, the Transitional National Assembly, elected the country’s first President in more than a decade.
The rebirth of Somalia opened unlimited possibilities for Somalis everywhere to rebuild their country. Hopefully, the international community would mobilize emergency assistance to enable the government to function and to recreate basic institutions.
Juan Francisco Reyes Lopez, Vice-President of Guatemala, said the United Nations had made a significant contribution to the peace process in his country. His Government was fully committed to complying with the Peace Agreements of December 1996 and to incorporate new obligations, such as that of democratizing access to credit. The presence of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) was highly valued and he requested the cooperation of the General Assembly in order that its mandate be extended to the end of 2003.
Of the reforms pending in the United Nations, that of the Security Council had received the most attention, he said. He urged, among other things, an expansion of the membership of the Council as well as exercise of the veto in strict conformity with the United Nations Charter. The regularity of its use should be subject to review by the Assembly and in extreme cases by the International Court of Justice, in the interest of an authentic rule of law of an international character.
Statements were also made this morning by Luiz Felipe Palmeira Lampreia, Minister for External Relations of Brazil, Hubert Vedrine, Minister for Foreign Affairs of France (on behalf of the European Union), Chakra Prasa Bastola, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal, and Joe Borg, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malta.
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