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Statement by Sergei Martynov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, at the 62nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (New York, 28 September 2007)

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All of us, sitting in this hall, witnessed how almost two decades ago an international system — based on the antagonism of the two poles of power and seemingly invincible — collapsed. It collapsed in no time flat.

 

The system that ensued — based on the antagonism of the powerful pole of power to the rest of the world — is splitting apart before our very eyes and creates tensions which inevitably lead to its collapse.

 

A simple logic, which does not aspire to explain the laws of the Universe, tells us that systems based on confrontation have a short life-span. They are doomed.

 

But this is not the end of history. This is a process of history. At the turn of the century systems based on antagonism and confrontation are becoming a thing of the past. The sand of time is inexorably flowing out of them.

 

New systems must replace them — international systems based on partnership.

 

These thoughts are not a digression into the abstract. Though still split by the old paradigm of confrontation between North and South and the imposed myths of confrontation between 'developed and developing' states, the myths of a 'conflict of civilisations', the international community should through its actions today build a practical partnership that will form the foundation for new systems of world order. Where we succeed in working together, there we will be able to tackle the most serious problems.

 

Let us take the subject of terrorism. Force alone — be it the most powerful and the most elaborate — cannot overcome terrorism. Such measures rather cause terror to spiral up. All of us come to realise this but painfully.

 

On the other hand, having understood the true impact of poverty, inequality, social vulnerability, illiteracy on the rise of extremism and terrorism, having addressed the fight against terrorism through joint and comprehensive efforts, we have started to undermine the very foundation of terrorism. The decisive role in this, in our opinion, belongs to the United Nations.

 

The United Nations must also reassert its leading role in the fight against such an increasing evil as trafficking in human beings and bring about engagement of countries of origin and countries of destination of modern slaves. Having made in the fall of 2006 the first steps in coordinating the efforts of the international community in this sphere, the General Assembly should offer to its intergovernmental and nongovernmental partners a practical vision of a global partnership in this fight. Belarus proposes to choose as an optimal form of such a partnership a United Nations plan or strategy of fight against human trafficking and other modern forms of slavery. Let us determine the optimal format of our cooperation through the thematic debate of the General Assembly without any delay, during the current session of the Assembly.

 

We are convinced that it is time for our common Organisation — the United Nations -to begin looking for the ways of dealing — based on engagement, of course, — with the de facto the most topical problem of mankind — the energy problem. Antagonism of suppliers and consumers of energy resources and the price race do not solve the energy problem. And this antagonism itself is a superficial phenomenon. At the end of the day we all are consumers of energy. And in this, in principle, we have common interests.

 

How to solve this problem in conditions of fast growth of the world economy and the rush for energy sources it provokes? It is clear that the future belongs to the alternative and renewable sources of energy.

 

This means that it is today that the United Nations must work out practical arrangements for the transfer and distribution of technologies of alternative and renewable energy sources on a global scale. This is the major prerequisite of the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Such practical measures should include the methods of dealing with the obvious problem of concentration of these technologies in the hands of a sufficiently small group of states. Otherwise, tomorrow the pricing for these technologies will emulate today's exorbitant prices for traditional energy resources.

 

If several decades ago the international community, thanks to the enlightened minds of researchers, managed to take a decision that a future controlled fusion technology, as a perpetual source of energy, should belong to the entire humanity, why cannot the United Nations today arrive at a similar decision with respect to the alternative and renewable energy resources?

 

Probably, it would be right to hold during the next session of the General Assembly informal thematic debates on technologies on alternative and renewable energy resources as the common property of the humankind.

 

The problem of global climate change — the key topic of this year's general debate -becomes increasingly acute. The Kyoto Protocol is the most important international instrument of addressing this issue to date.

 

Looking forward to full-fledged participation in Kyoto Protocol, Belarus has become the first and so far the only country to initiate, in 2006, an Annex amendment. In view of the aggravating problem of climate change and engaging the preferences of our partners, we have taken upon ourselves the commitment on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions which is the highest in the CIS region. So let us through the joint effort of parties to the Kyoto Protocol, ensure prompt ratification of the amendment, its enactment, thus creating a major precedent of enlarging the circle of participants in the Kyoto Protocol.

 

Acute perception by Belarus of climate change and environment protection issues is not accidental. Just like our neighbours — the Russian Federation and Ukraine, for the past two decades Belarus has been dealing with the consequences of the deadliest man-made disaster of the 20th century — accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

 

By great effort and at a heavy price the most urgent problems of providing an emergency assistance to the population have been dealt with.

 

In the coming years we will face a not less challenging task — to restore the economic potential of the affected areas, to create a safe living environment and pollution-free production. As before, we will carry the main burden ourselves. However, we hope that the proposed proclamation by the United Nations of a Decade of Rehabilitation and Sustainable Development of Chernobyl-affected areas, which was endorsed by the 2006 Minsk Chernobyl International Conference, will find your support and that the new resolution of the General Assembly will officially announce the beginning of the Decade of Chernobyl, thus ensuring cooperation and solidarity of the international community.

 

We have learned a lot from overcoming the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. We have gained a unique experience. We have collected and analysed a considerable volume of scientific data on the effects of nuclear radiation. We are ready to share this information and to take an active part in the work of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR).

 

Belarus is ready to provide UNSCEAR with talented specialists, scientific experts whose experience and knowledge will serve the interests of the entire humankind. We ask the United Nations Member States to consider favourably the request of Belarus for membership in UNSCEAR at the current session of the General Assembly.

 

Many words were said from this rostrum about the problems of Doha negotiations on international trade. There is yet another aspect of this problem — the unacceptable practice of some countries which use the process of accession to the WTO by new members as a convenient instrument of pressure on candidate countries, and not only economic — to receive forced and unilateral additional benefit from the WTO expansion — but political as well.

 

The United Nations must pronounce itself forcefully in favour of establishing — with participation of all interested states — fair conditions for WTO accession which take into account trade and financial needs of the joining countries, their real development needs.

 

Belarus rejects the use of unilateral coercive measures in international relations as an instrument of political and economic pressure on sovereign states. These measures not only contradict the principles of the UN Charter and international law but they breed alienation among countries, distrust and hostility. We deal with simply absurd facts when economic sanctions are imposed under the pretext of promotion of the rights of workers, yet ultimately they lead to job losses.

 

By applying unilateral coercive measures of economic pressure, including exterritorialy, the well known world centre of power assumes de facto the rights of the Security Council. We all witnessed this during the current debate in the General Assembly.

 

I would like to draw the attention of the General Assembly to a particular issue — the abuse by the United States of the rights of the world reserve currency manager and the deliberate creation of obstacles for the lawful economic activity of legitimate companies and banks from countries which are disagreeable to the United States. It is an alarm signal for the whole international community.

 

By “appointing' states at will as pleasing and unpleasing, “good” and “bad”, the United States create an atmosphere of suppression of dissent and diversity in international relations. This does not just bring ideology and politicking into international relations. It is an act of confrontation — with every one and each one who dares to have an independent opinion, who has the courage to pursue an independent foreign policy.

 

The majority in this hall are Member States of the Non-Aligned Movement. They are non-aligned to confrontation. Five decades ago the creation of the Movement was a protest against confrontation and a global response to the global challenge of confrontation.

 

Today it is in our power to stop confrontation and to reject solutions it seeks to impose. Tomorrow belongs to the positive ideas and actions, to the engagement and cooperation for peace, in the common interest of the entire international community.

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