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    BRAMA News and Community Press

    BRAMA, Sep 28, 2004, 11:00 am ET


    by H.E. Mr. Kostyantyn Gryshchenko,
    Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
    at the General Debate of the 59th session
    of the UN General Assembly
    New York, 27 September 2004

    Mr. President,
    Mr. Secretary-General,
    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I would like to congratulate His Excellency Mr. Jean Ping on his election as the President of the United Nations General Assembly at the 59th session.

    H.E. Mr. Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine at the General Debate of the 59th session of the UN General Assembly, New York, 27 September 2004

    Let me also pay tribute to His Excellency Mr. Julian Hunte for his highly professional and fruitful work at the helm of the General Assembly.

    Mr. President,

    A year ago the UN Secretary General stressed in this hall that the United Nations reached a fork in the road.

    Today it is still true.

    We have a long list of problems, but not a clear vision of how to deal with them.

    To choose the right way, to solve a conflict of wishes and resources, of desirable and achievable we should concentrate on priorities.

    Let me outline Ukraine's vision of the most important issues, which the United Nations should focus on.

    Tragedy in Russian city of Beslan and other recent terrorist attacks leave no doubt that fight against terrorism is truly the major priority.

    We express sympathy to the victims and strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

    The reason behind terrorism is to create chaos, to disrupt the global system of peace and security established and promoted by our Organization.

    So, we have to act collectively.

    We have to overcome old prejudices and to establish a spirit of confidence and a new culture of international cooperation, which would embrace the whole spectrum of political, law ,enforcement and security instruments.

    Creation of a new efficient system of information exchange on terrorism will help prevent new attacks and save priceless human lives. We support views expressed by previous speakers on the need of a broader approach to address the complex and interdependent nature of security.

    To prevent terrorist acts and to eliminate roots of terrorism, the United Nations must promote better understanding, if you wish - a global rapprochement between different civilizations and religions. There are universal values of peace and security, which are a corner-stone of our Organization and which can serve as a basis for a new atmosphere of tolerance in the world.

    Mr. President,

    As a country actively participating in Stabilization forces in Iraq we are concerned with terrorist insurgency and continuing violence there. Though the situation in Iraq remains difficult, there are some positive trends.

    Ukraine welcomes the transition of power to Iraqi people, formation of the interim authorities. It is important to ensure effective implementation of the timetable for comprehensive political transition process in the country, particularly through holding free and fair election with the highest possible under the current circumstances standards. The UN Security Council resolution 1546 (2004) clearly extends a central role to the United Nations in comprehensive political transition in the country, as well as in the reconstruction process.

    However, the Iraqi crisis and international fight against terrorism revealed the need to strengthen the United Nations as a key instrument of safeguarding international peace and security.

    Institutional reform of the United Nations, including the Security Council, which should become truly representative and balanced, is an important task.

    We understand reasons behind suggestions to enlarge the Council in both categories -- permanent and non-permanent and are ready to consider carefully relevant proposals.

    In this respect Ukraine attaches primary importance to allocation of an additional non-permanent seat to the Group of Eastern European States.

    But the reform must not mean only some structural changes. We should not embark on it every twenty years, trying to reflect a new balance of power on international arena.

    Universal criteria, common understanding of threats and challenges are necessary to ensure effectiveness and efficiency of our organization in the XXI century.

    We fully share the views expressed by the Secretary General at the beginning of the general debate that rule of law should be a priority both at home and in international affairs.

    We are looking forward to the outcome of the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Changes.

    Authority of the UN should be increased, particularly, through its greater involvement into conflicts prevention and resolution. As the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma emphasized, conflict prevention should become pivotal in the philosophy of the United Nations work in the new millennium. In our region frozen conflicts in Abkhazia, South Osetia, Nagorny Karabakh, and Transdnistria need to be solved as soon as possible.

    As one of the major contributors to the UN peacekeeping operations and the largest in Europe, Ukraine is deeply concerned with increasing danger to the peacekeeping personnel.

    We stand for universal application of the Convention on Safety of the UN and Associated Personnel and call upon all Member States to abide strictly by its provisions.

    Role of the UN in the field of non-proliferation and disarmament should be also strengthened.

    This year Ukraine will mark the 10th anniversary of its accession to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The landmark decision to eliminate the third largest nuclear arsenal and relinquish nuclear capability has significantly enhanced international non-proliferation regime and global security.

    We hope that this positive example will be followed by countries, which entertain ideas of protecting their security through the access to nuclear weapons.

    Mr. President,

    All achievements by the international community may become futile should we succumb to the threat of HIV/AIDS that kills each year more people than all armed conflicts on the planet taken together.

    We highly appreciate the work carried out by the United Nations, its specialized agencies and personally by the Secretary-General in combating this pandemic.

    Ukraine supports the initiative to hold in June next year a high level meeting to review progress in the implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS.

    At the same time we believe that millions of our infected fellow citizens need concrete actions.

    We are convinced that HIV/AIDS poses one of the fundamental challenges not only to human health and well-being, but to the very security of our world. In this regard we attach particular significance to declaration by the Organization of a global emergency alert on fighting HIV/AIDS.

    The main focus must be placed on prevention and treatment of the disease.

    As President Leonid Kuchma stressed last year at the high-level meeting on HIV/AIDS, we need to elaborate a clear system of encouraging sponsorship of medical projects as well as expand educational campaign on preventing the pandemic.

    A leading role in this regard should be played by mass media. Ukraine has launched an active mass media campaign with the involvement of all social groups and is ready to lead regional media movement in the field of prevention of HIV/AIDS.

    Another pressing problem is trafficking in persons, especially in women and children. Ukraine spares no effort to address it.

    This year Ukraine has become a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and to its two optional protocols.

    However, tackling these issues requires a comprehensive approach and close cooperation of the international community. We need to create a truly functioning and efficient mechanism to combine the efforts of the countries of origin, transit and destination.

    Effective strategies to combat human trafficking should be based on both - law enforcement measures and improvement of economic and social conditions of potential victims.

    Ukraine welcomes the appointment of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children, and stands ready to render every support in implementing respective mandates. Excellencies,

    Last year the world observed the 70th anniversary of the horrible genocidal famine, which took lives of over 7 million of Ukrainian people. Taking this opportunity I wish once again to express our gratitude to all States, who signed the Joint Statement on the Seventieth Anniversary of the Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine (Holodomor), whose parliaments adopted acts of condemnation and sympathy, and to all organizations and individuals who took part in the events to honor the victims of the Great Famine.

    International community must thoroughly study this phenomenon in order to prevent it in the future.

    We hope that the newly appointed Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on the Prevention of Genocide will also duly focus on this issue.

    Almost two decades have passed since Ukraine was struck by another tragedy - Chornobyl disaster.

    Ukraine together with other interested delegations put forth an initiative to hold in the framework of the 60th session of UN General Assembly in spring 2006 a special plenary meeting to commemorate the victims of Chornobyl disaster.

    Ukraine has fulfilled its commitments related to the closure of Chornobyl nuclear power plant.

    What needs to be done today is to construct a new safe confinement. We expect that funds to this purpose promised by G7 in 1995 will be fully provided.

    Chornobyl remains a burning wound, which proves every day how fragile is our world and how easily broken is our nature. No one should doubt our commitment to the preserving of our environment.

    That is why Ukraine is so sensitive to environmental protection, whether it concerns building of roads, construction of new power plants or reopening of a navigable waterway that existed before.

    Mr. President,

    There was a fashion some years ago to criticize the United Nations for inability to solve the most important problems. Today we all come to this Assembly with ever stronger conviction that there is no alternative to our Organization.

    I am confident, that despite all obstacles and doubts of the past, we can act for the attainment of the UN goals, common for all of us. Act swiftly, collectively and with a vision.

    I thank you.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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