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Statement by H.E. Mr. Borut Pahor, President of the Republic of Slovenia at the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly General debate

New York, 26. 9. 2014 | press release, speech

President Borut Pahor addressed the 69th session of the UN General Assembly dedicated to drawing up a development agenda after 2015 and highlighted the need for reforming the UN, especially the Security Council, in order to ensure that the international organisation remains effective in promoting global peace and security.

Statement by H.E. Mr. Borut Pahor, President of the Republic of Slovenia at the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly General debate

New York, 26 September 2014

Mr. President,

Let me start by congratulating H.E. Sam K. Kutesa on the election as President of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly and wishing him success in discharging his duties. I would also like to thank the outgoing President of the 68th Session H.E. John W. Ashe for his dedicated work in the past year.

Let me also take this opportunity to thank the Secretary-General H.E. Ban Ki-moon for his tireless and determined efforts to promote the values and principles of the United Nations and make this world a better place.

Mr. President,

Slovenia is among the vast majority of the international community that desires and strives for lasting peace. However, the prerequisite for this is the peaceful resolution of all disputes. The United Nations was founded mainly to serve precisely this purpose. This goal has often been achieved, and within the contemporary international community, the UN remains an indispensable tool for maintaining and strengthening world peace.

However, contrary to the UN Charter, force is still used in today's world. There is even a strong feeling that, due to new circumstances, the existing architecture of the United Nations – and above all the Security Council – is failing in its fundamental role. Long ago, a debate began on the reforms that are needed, but so far, it seems to have resulted in no palpable changes.

President of the Republic of Slovenia at the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly
Photo: XInhua/STA

Hence, a sense of uncertainty about future stability and peace is gaining ground among the peace-oriented international community. If the United Nations is not reformed so that it can successfully cope with international conflicts, it risks being side-lined. More and more often, a deadlock in the Security Council, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes not, is taken as an excuse for resolving conflicts by force and without a UN mandate. If this trend continues, it may lead to the break-down of the contemporary political and security architecture.

It is our common task to remedy these deficiencies rapidly, thoroughly and by consensus, especially with regard to the functioning of the United Nations and the Security Council; otherwise, it may be too late. This year, we are commemorating the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War. The Second World War began after the failure of the League of Nations. The third, and probably the last world war could in many respects be the result of an obsolete and ineffective United Nations Organization.

We all agree that reformed and effective Security Council is needed, with its permanent members exercising their powers responsibly and in accordance with international law and the UN Charter. We have to use this opportunity to rethink international security architecture, improve our capacity to prevent and resolve conflicts and reclaim our shared values and principles enshrined in the Charter. Complementary to our universal organization, regional and sub-regional organizations within their mandates and areas of expertise must play a key role in maintaining peace and stability.

In this respect it is our historical duty to modernize the United Nations, thus enabling it to secure international peace also for future generations. With numerous ongoing conflicts around the world, we will have to do this before international peace is irreversibly undermined. I cannot deny that, at times, lacking other means, specific circumstances may compel the international community to maintain peace by the use of force. Nevertheless, a UN mandate is essential to ensure credibility, at least in principle. If, however, intervening without a UN mandate becomes the principle, the world will certainly arrive at a point where an arbitrary action may trigger a conflict of broad and uncontrollable dimensions. There are no plausible moral grounds for such a threat.

Next year, we will not only honor the historic breadth of the Organization's development, security and human rights work, but also commemorate some other important milestones, like 20th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica. They should serve as a sober reminder of the urgency to implement our responsibility to protect civilians in situations like Iraq, Syria, South Sudan and Central African Republic. We support the French initiative on the voluntary restraint of the use of veto in situations of war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Secretary General’s “Rights Up Front” initiative timely draws the attention to the necessity to detect and address human rights violations at an early stage, thus preventing escalation into all-out conflicts and mass atrocities. Slovenia will continue to support these efforts and the work of the International Criminal Court as an indispensable instrument for bringing those responsible for the most heinous crimes to justice.

A comprehensive UN approach is needed also for a global threat emerging in the broader Middle East and North Africa, a threat of terrorism, extremism and militant radicalism which is distinctively different in its strategic approach and it's method of operation. It is a global phenomenon brutality and disregard for human life. We have to condemn it in the strongest terms and fought against it in a concerted manner bearing in mind the framework of the mandate given by the Security Council. It is because of the importance I entitle to the Security Council I'd like to reiterate support to the Security Council Resolution adopted day before yesterday by more than 100 states.

Even if the debate on the reform of the Security Council has been going on for decades now, it has recently become especially relevant. Slovenia is committed to contributing to this debate to the greatest possible extent.

Mr. President,

The vision of a world of peace may remain unfulfilled. But the ideals that led to the establishment of the United Nations almost 70 years ago and the need to preserve our humanity remain. Let's pull our resources and ideas together. Let's exert leadership, make necessary reforms and recommit to the principles of the UN Charter. Let's reestablish dialogue and rebuild trust.

This is the only way forward to maintain global order based on international law and leave a lasting legacy to the people and nations of this world.

Thank you.