NEW YORK, 15 SEPTEMBER 2002
STATEMENT BY HE AMBASSADOR ANTÓNIO MARTINS DA CRUZ, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND OF THE PORTUGUESE COMMUNITIES, TO THE 57th SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Resumed text read by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and of the Portuguese Communities at the UNGA Plenary
1. The international agenda was forever changed by the events of September 11. The challenge created for the United Nations was – and is – the same as for each of its individual members: how best to react to these changes.
The international fight against terrorism has thus become a top priority to all. It is not just a fight solely against individuals who conspire to kill innocent people. It is in itself a fight for the respect for human life and human dignity, for the values of liberty, tolerance and democracy, for the peaceful solution of conflicts.
The UN immediately pledged its members to this struggle, through:
- a swift reaction by the General Assembly and by the Security Council, which stated (in its resolution 1368) that the terrorist attacks on
and New York were a threat to international peace and security; Washington
- Security Council resolution 1373, sending out a remarkable signal of strength, quickly followed by other international organizations, such as the European Union and the OSCE.
currently holds the chairmanship of the OSCE. We put the fight against terrorism as a priority in OSCE’s agenda. As chairman-in-office I have been working towards an European Charter on the prevention and fight against terrorism, to be adopted at the ministerial meeting to be held in Portugal next December. Portugal
But the UN is in a unique position to co-ordinate and to invigorate the international response to terrorism. We are called upon to demonstrate that a world in which humanity can live free from fear is not only a common aspiration, but also an achievable goal.
We trust that the Security Council and this General Assembly will live up to their responsibilities in this regard. Failure to do so would seriously compromise the credibility of the organization.
3. At the same time that the world faces the new terrorism challenge, ancient challenges persist:
Middle East, that demands for a new dynamic of peace;
- the Iraq's issue, which evolution must necessarily comply with:
• the absolute respect for UN Security Council’s resolutions;
• the unconditional return of United Nations inspectors.
- actually, we consider the problem around Iraq to be frequently wrongfully presented: Iraq's a threat to international security; thus pressure must be laid on Iraq, and not on the United Nations or on one particular country; Iraq's the one failing to comply with the UN’s resolutions.
- our goal is to put an end to the threat that massive destruction weapons represent.
- the United Nations and its members cannot and may not continue to tolerate the continuous violation of Security Council’s resolutions and, thus, the international community must know how to act effectively and must be particularly demanding in this issue.
- Soon the Security Council should make a statement on the non compliance with its own resolutions and on the obligations that lay upon Iraq
- it’s now up to Iraq to seize this opportunity and to co-operate with the UN
- but should Iraq persist on not totally respecting the UN decisions, in the timeframe that would be determined, then the international community shall not exclude any alternative, any option.
4. On the other hand, two successful issues occurred last year that deserve a special reference:
- Peace was achieved and seems irreversible.
will keep on working along with the government and political forces of Portugal towards the total implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. Angola
- the United Nations must still hand out their contribute to this process.
- humanitarian assistance is vital for the consolidation of the peace process.
- these steps, along with free elections and a modern economic framework will surely affirm the country’s peace and democracy.
- last May 20th proclamation of independence represents a success for the people of
East Timor, for the United Nations and for those who have fought for it.
- this General Assembly will proclaim
East Timoras its new member: an independent East Timorwithin the United Nations deeply touches the Portuguese people, who have always believed in the rights of the people of Timorand in the justice of their cause.
East Timorhas started of from nothing: it now competes to the international community to keep its support, under penalty of losing the new country’s challenge.
5. Also worthwhile referring to:
International Criminal Court:
- as founding member of this court,
believes the election of a first team of judges to be a crucial step towards its effective functioning and credibility. Portugal
- this institution and its regular functioning must become unavoidable within the international scene.
New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD):
- it underlines the preoccupation of African countries with the values of democracy and human rights, as well as with a sustainable economic development and a continent’s integration within economic globalization.
- bearing in mind such worries,
will organize the next conference between the European Union and Portugal Africa, on April 2003.
Africais a priority for us: therefore we support any initiates that may dinamize the economy and development policies in that “forgotten continent”.
- we salute the adhesion to the United Nations. The Helvetia Confederation presence certainly constitutes a surplus for the United Nations’ action.
6. The way the world embraces the new challenges will constitute the best indication that the events of one year ago resulted in a triumph for the international community. A safer world is built out of secure countries representing all their people and living in peace. That is how terrorism will eventually be defeated: that should be, step by step, the new international order emerging.
Security can no longer be thought of in exclusively military terms, or simply in terms of territorial defense. Several factors are to be taken into consideration:
- the widespread development of weapons of mass destruction;
- the proliferation of other threats, such as environmental degradation, diseases, aids, famine and migration, that transcend state borders;
- the factors affecting capability of many states to manage facing the challenge of globalization.
7. No nation, however powerful, is thus sufficient by itself. Not even the greatest countries can do everything on their own.
Multilateral co-operation is the key to the future. One of the basic goals for the UN should be to give practical consistency to this.
Full speech of HE Ambassador António Martins da Cruz, Minister of Foreign Affairs and of the Portuguese Communities
It is with great pleasure that I congratulate President Jan Kavan for his election to the Presidency of this General Assembly. I see in his election the acknowledgement of the constructive role the
has been playing in the international arena. I also pay homage to the outgoing President, Han Seung-soo, for his efforts and efficiency during the leadership of the work of this Assembly. Czech Republic
To the Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, I would like to express my appreciation for the courageous and decisive way in which he is fulfilling his mandate, in a period in which the United Nations is confronted with multiple and complex challenges. I would stress particularly his commitment and leadership in the reform process of the organization that shall consider new formulas in the future composition of the Security Council.
The Danish Presidency has already addressed this Assembly on behalf of the fifteen members of the European Union. My country fully associates itself with this statement, namely on the role of the United Nations in the fight against terrorism, in peacekeeping, on the priority of respecting human rights and on concrete follow-up to the Millennium Declaration. I would, nevertheless, like to share with you some reflections on issues of particular importance to my country.
2. Fight against Terrorism
A year since the tragic events of September 11, my Government has joined in the mourning in the
and by the families of the victims of these acts by participating in the commemorations to mark this sad event. United States
The barbaric acts perpetrated against innocent victims is a serious common threat to the international community, waking us up to the risks faced by our shared civilized values. The implacable fight against terrorism thus represents one of the most important challenges for the United Nations in this century. It demands a concerted effort from all of its Member States to avoid any more September 11s.
We reiterate our belief that this Organization plays an irreplaceable leading role in the fight against this common threat, both as a coordinating forum for the reaction of the community of states and as the primary source of international legitimacy. The respect for the fundamental rights and values that are at the very heart of the United Nations, and the central role of our organization, have been increasingly recognized by the international community as an indispensable condition for the effectiveness of international action against terrorism. Of particular importance in this context is the work of the organization towards strengthening the international legal order, promoting the ratification and implementation of legal instruments
For its significance, allow me to highlight the notable number of signatures and ratifications of the 12 Conventions of the United Nations against terrorism during the last year: they testify to the high degree of consciousness on the importance of these instruments in the effective and coherent prevention and fight against terrorism.
has ratified all International Conventions and is therefore fully integrated into the international judicial instruments for the fight against terrorism. Portugal
The broad international alliance, that made possible the adoption of the important resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1390 (2002) by the Security Council, has also clearly demonstrated, without faltering, that it is conscious of its responsibilities for their implementation. I would note especially the role of the Counter-Terrorism Committee created by resolution 1373, particularly with regard to financial measures.
Furthermore, I would like to recall that
has supported, unreservedly, the fight against international terrorism in the context of the regional organizations most suited for such a role, such as NATO, the European Union, the Council of Europe and the OSCE. Portugal
I would, however, like to stress that the fight against terrorism must not translate into religious, ethnic or cultural fault lines; nor serve to justify violations of human rights. On the contrary: the fight against terrorism must be a unique opportunity to confirm our ethical and democratic values, our consistent practice of respect for universal rights and values and our defense of tolerance.
3. Portuguese Chairmanship of the OSCE
The prevention and fight against terrorism figure prominently among the priorities of the Portuguese Chairmanship of the OSCE. We believe the OSCE, namely through its broad definition of security, can provide a relevant contribution to the efforts of international coordination led by the United Nations. In this spirit, we organized the Lisbon Conference of 12 June, which enjoyed the presence of high-level participants from the main organizations active in the fight against terrorism. We should seek to deepen and strengthen this effort of coordination and these synergies.
The Portuguese Chairmanship of the OSCE also launched an initiative for a OSCE Charter for the Prevention of Conflict and Terrorism, that should be adopted in December at the OSCE Ministerial Meeting. It will be a political document, based on the stock of principles and values that serve as a foundation for the OSCE, and will act as a conceptual and normative framework for the participation of that Organisation in the fight against terrorism.
4. International Criminal Court
is proud to be among the founding members of the International Criminal Court. The coming into force of the Rome Statute, on July 1st of this year, inaugurated a new era in the fight against impunity and in the affirmation of fundamental human rights on a global scale. Portugal
The standardization of the most serious crimes and the permanent nature of the ICC will provide the predictability that is indispensable for the effective exercise of its function of deterrence.
It is important to underline that the ICC will act in accordance with the principle of complementarity, and the Portuguese government will continue actively to support the measures with a view to the efficient functioning of the ICC.
We believe that the elections for the first group of Judges of the ICC will be a decisive step to guarantee the competence, seriousness and credibility of the Court.
5. Sustainable Development
Let me stress the importance of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which recently took place in
and which enjoyed the presence of over 100 Heads of State or Government. The Johannesburg Summit was an essential link – from the Rio Summit and together with the objectives of the Millennium Declaration, the Doha Development Agenda and the Monterrey Consensus – in the convergence of international efforts in such essential areas such as the eradication of poverty and the reversal of environmental and resource degradation. Johannesburg
With the approval of the Plan of Implementation, with goals for 2015, it is now time for it to be implemented, in particular in the areas in which we have collectively established goals and targets – water, sanitation, health, education, marine and terrestrial bio-diversity, chemicals – as well as pursue steadily the agreements in the field of renewable energies.
also deepened the necessary involvement of all actors in this process – civil society, economic agents and governments – through the development of partnerships for the execution of the Plan of Implementation. These new interfaces may be, after all, an added value, which will allow for renewed effectiveness in this field. Johannesburg
6. International Agenda for Ocean Affairs
Given our maritime tradition and geographic location, and also because of its impact on our collective future, it is only appropriate for me to refer to the oceans and seas. The goals and objectives established in this area in
contribute to guiding our efforts in this regard, and it is particularly fitting that, also during this General Assembly, we will be celebrating twenty years since the signature of the Convention of the Law of the Sea. This coincidence gives us the historic opportunity to pursue an integrated consideration of the international agenda on the oceans, as we have argued for, including here at the United Nations headquarters. Johannesburg
7. Conflict Prevention and Peacekeeping
During the nineties, the world experienced violent conflicts whose resolution was, and in some cases remains, a serious challenge for the international community.
In this context, we must stress the fundamental role of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security, an undertaking for which all Member States have a duty to work together, seeking to resolve their differences in a peaceful manner.
actively participates in many United Nations operations: we rank 16th overall among troop contributors to UN peacekeeping operations and 1st among Member States of the European Union. We reaffirm here our willingness, and within the regional organizations of which we are a member, to work with the United Nations to strengthen its capacities for the prevention of conflict, in the search for peaceful solutions to existing conflicts and in assistance to the reconstruction of territories devastated by war. Portugal
8. Cooperation between the UN and the OSCE
, as Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE in 2002, attaches particular importance to developing cooperation between that organization and the UN in the promotion and consolidation of peace and security. It is a collaboration that has proved fruitful and allows for close coordination on the ground, namely in the Balkans, the Portugal Caucasusand in Central Asia.
Preventive diplomacy is an area where the OSCE has a particular calling. The prevention of conflicts was at the root of the
process and is today one of the main activities of that organization, which has at its disposal a number of adequate instruments to that end. Helsinki
The prevention of conflict is not, however, solely the competence of this or that international organization. It must be an area of strengthened co-operation among all, giving substance to the dialogue on conflict prevention and peace building launched by the UN Secretary-General with regional organizations. In this context, the recent Helsingborg Conference, hosted by
for the European Union, represents an important step towards creating a common culture of prevention. Sweden
9. Peace in
It is with particular enthusiasm that Portugal is following the developments of the past few months in the peace process in Angola, which have brought to an end the long conflict that destroyed the lives of so many in that great African nation to which the Portuguese people are historically and emotionally linked.
Portugal, which has been involved in the search for peace in Angola for more than a decade – having mediated the first contacts between the parties that led to the Acordos de Bicesse of 1991 – welcomes this new phase in the process of national reconciliation, marked by the resumption on 26 August of the meetings of the Joint Commission foreseen in the Lusaka Protocol, presided over by the United Nations and in which Portugal is an observer as part of the Troika.
The difficult humanitarian situation in Angola during this post-conflict period calls for a strong and united response from the international community that will help save the lives of those that have as their daily enemy hunger and misery, and that will guarantee that the new hope brought by peace will not dissipate. Conscious of its responsibilities in this area due to its special ties to the Angolan people,
, through its government and civil society, has increased its humanitarian assistance to Portugal , both at the bilateral level as well as jointly with its European partners. Angola
Alongside efforts towards peacebuilding, national reconciliation and the search for solutions to the current humanitarian problems, Angola has before it also, at this time, the conditions to follow a path of political, economic and social development, within a framework of respect for the values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law, which will guarantee, in the near term, the quality of life to which the Angolan people legitimately aspire. In striving for the goals of national reconciliation and reconstruction,
can continue to count on the support and friendship of Angola . Portugal
of Timor-Leste Independence
I could not but make reference to the independence of Timor-Leste on 20 May. This is a success story for the United Nations, as a result of the fundamental role it has played in the transition of this territory to independence. It would only be right to highlight, in this context, the commitment shown by the former Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Sérgio Vieira de Mello, who I take this opportunity to thank and wish him the greatest success in his new responsibilities as High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Timorwill be, in a matter of a few days, the newest member of the United Nations. will present, on behalf of the other cosponsors, a resolution to this effect. Portugal
I would like to also take this opportunity to make reference to the progress achieved by this new country since independence. In such a short period, the Timorese people, giving proof of great maturity and of a democratic culture, have elected a President of the Republic and a Parliament. The government and other democratic institutions are up and running, despite existing difficulties and needs.
There is much to be done for this new country to advance on the path of sustainable development.
and the entire international community should continue to remain committed to supporting the Timorese authorities to ensure that the socio-economic development of the country becomes a reality. Portugal
The difficulties that still remain, however, lead us to underline the need to consolidate the successes already gained, for which the role of UNMISET has been a determining factor as the guarantor of internal stability and security. This consolidation will demand still, for some time to come, the continued involvement of the United Nations, the international community and the countries in the region to assist this first state to gain independence in the 21st Century.
A determining factor for the reconciliation of the Timorese people is the development of a society that can promote and defend human rights, and the development of a credible and swift judicial system, for which the support of the international community will be decisive. I recall, in this context, the statement made by the Presidency of the European Union on the Ad Hoc Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Timor-Leste.
In this context of the consolidation of a democratically and economically viable state, the development of good relations with its neighbors assumes the highest importance, especially with
and Australia , a friendship vital for peace, stability and prosperity in the region, and for Timor-Leste in particular. Indonesia
– a new member of the UN Switzerland
Allow me also to welcome the Swiss Confederation, that as Timor-Leste, becomes a member of the United Nations during this session of the General Assembly.
12. The situation in the Balkans
Throughout the nineties, the instability of the Western Balkans was a source of constant concern for the international community and for this Organization.
The efforts of the international community are now turned essentially towards assistance for economic reconstruction, although it remains indispensable to continue to implement adequate solutions for the political questions of the various Balkan crises, namely within the different electoral frameworks to take place in the short term.
These positive results would not have been possible without an exemplary co-operation between the various international organizations working in the region, of which I highlight the United Nations, the European Union, NATO and the OSCE.
During this last year, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has reached unforeseen levels of violence, greatly weakening the trust between the parties, which needs to urgently be restored.
More than ever, a strong political involvement of the entire international community is necessary for the resumption of a political process towards a peaceful solution. Conscious of this responsibility, the members of the Quartet (
, USA , EU and UN) have not spared any effort, which we support. Russian Federation
It becomes increasingly evident that the resolution of the conflict can only be reached through negotiation, since the belief has taken hold that such a resolution must necessarily lead to the establishment of two sovereign states: one independent Palestinian state, democratic and viable, based on the borders of 1967, side by side with the state of Israel with its right to live in peace within secure borders, recognized by all.
Middle Eastpeace process has dragged on for too long, has cost too many lives, has had too high a political, economic and social cost for us all: it is time for more peace and less process.
14. CPLP – Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries
of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, the CPLP, that took place in Summit last August, welcomed Timor-Leste as its eighth Brasilia , adding a new regional dimension to the Community, now present in four continents. Member State
Its members share common historical and cultural roots that give them a common perspective, which also frames itself with the broad purposes of the United Nations: peace, security, stability and social and economic development.
15. NEPAD – New Partnership for African Development
welcomes the support that has been given to NEPAD as a frame of reference for the efforts of African states in taking their destiny into their own hands. Portugal
This frame of reference represents an added value of
Africa’s contribution to the United Nations development agenda, since it already includes, for the African continent, the results of the Monterrey Conference of last March.
NEPAD also provided an essential reference in the elaboration and negotiation of the section on
Africain the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development of Johannesburg.
We believe that, in creating a clear frame of reference for principles, NEPAD has come to strengthen the capacity of the African continent to attract the necessary resources to support its development.
These objectives will be revisited in the next Europe-Africa Summit, which will be held in
, next April. Portugal