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9th plenary meeting
Saturday, 17 September 2005, 19 a.m.
Item 9 of the provisional agenda
The President: Before giving the floor to the first speaker in the debate, I should like to remind members that the list of speakers has been formed on the basis that statements will have a time limit of 15 minutes. I should like to appeal to speakers to deliver their statements at a normal speed, so that interpretation can be provided properly.
I should also like to draw the attention of representatives to the decision taken by the Assembly at previous sessions that the practice of expressing congratulations inside the Hall after a statement has been made is strongly discouraged. In this connection, I should like to invite speakers in the general debate, after having delivered their statements, to exit the General Assembly Hall through room GA-200, located behind the podium, before returning to their seats.
May I take it that the General Assembly agrees to proceed in the same manner during the general debate of the sixtieth session?
It was so decided.
The President: I give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Celso Luiz Nunes Amorim, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Brazil.
Mr. Amorim (Brazil) ( spoke in Portuguese; English text provided by the delegation ): ...
On several trips to the Middle East, I had the opportunity to talk to variety of people, including leaders from Israel and Palestine. They are aware of Brazil’s willingness to support the work of the Quartet as a partner for peace. The practice of tolerance and respect for others, as well as the harmonious co-existence of different communities in our country, constitute our comparative advantage. I believe that conviction is shared by eminent persons and political leaders from both Israel and Palestine.
The President : I now call on Her Excellency Ms. Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State of the United States of America.
Ms. Rice (United States of America): ...
Members of the United Nations must work together as well to support democracy in a world of expanding liberty. To advance this common purpose, in 2004 President Bush proposed the creation of a democracy fund. With the broad support of this body, we have made it a reality. The Fund is now receiving donations in cash and in kind from countries large and small that wish to help other nations lay the foundations of democracy. Showing its leadership as the world’s largest democracy, India made the generous opening pledge of $10 million.
Now, to be sure, when speaking about democracy, the United States has every reason for humility. After all, it was only in my lifetime that America guaranteed the right to vote for all its citizens. Obviously, the path to democracy is long and imperfect and different for every nation. But the principles of democracy are universal, as is the desire for them. And the United Nations must support every country that embraces the challenge of self-government. In Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and throughout the world, peoples who want to build democracy deserve our help.
The President: I now call on His Excellency The Right Honourable Jack Straw, MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Mr. Straw (United Kingdom): ...
We are also giving very active support to the Quartet’s efforts to secure a just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, with two States living side by side. We salute Prime Minister Sharon’s brave decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, and we salute President Mahmoud Abbas’s work to build the first stage of an effective, viable State of Palestine.
In July, the European Union again suffered the horror of a major terrorist atrocity. This time the target was my country, the United Kingdom: its capital, London. But none of us is safe from the threat of terror. International terrorism requires an international response; otherwise, we all pay the price for each other’s vulnerabilities. The ratification of a comprehensive treaty on terrorism is, therefore, at the highest priority.
But the threat from terrorists and the political instability they bring is made worse by the easy availability of weapons in what has become an anarchic, unregulated international trade. These same weapons fuelled the killings in Rwanda and in Bosnia a decade ago and are fuelling the conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Darfur today. We already have international instruments to regulate chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. We in the European Union have a comprehensive arms control regime. But I suggest to the General Assembly that the time has now come for this Organization to embrace the idea of an international arms trade treaty, which would build on and strengthen existing initiatives.
It was in the killing fields of Europe, in two successive wars, that the twin ideas of the United Nations and of the European Union became imperative. Today, the European Union’s commitment to the United Nations is profound; it has never been stronger. And it is reflected in what we give in voluntary donations and to the regular budget and peacekeeping operations.
The fundamental purpose of the United Nations remains today what it was at its foundation: to remove the scourge of war, to reaffirm the worth of the human person and to promote social progress and better standards of life. In this changed and changing world, it is the responsibility of us all to ensure that this Organization has the powers and the resources to achieve all these aims.
The President : I want to express my appreciation for the respect demonstrated for the time limit on statements.
The meeting rose at 12.55 p.m.
This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-154A. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.