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Friday, 16 September 2005

Address by Aleksander Kwaśniewski President of the Republic of Poland at the High-Level Plenary Session of the United...

On 16 September 2005, President of the Republic of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski delivered a speech during the High Level General Debate of the 60th Session of the General Assembly of the UN.
Addressing the gathered delegates, the President of the Republic of Poland said:

The United Nations today is facing an unprecedented challenge to provide the humanity with a new hope to build the 21st century’s civilization on a solid foundation of universal values: freedom, security, democracy and solidarity.   
Polish dedication to those values draws its strength from our past experiences. This year we commemorate in Poland the 25th anniversary of the Solidarity movement which inspired profound changes in Central and Eastern Europe. But above all, it mobilized nations and societies around fundamental values and noble principles. In this spirit, the anniversary celebrations attended by numerous heads of state and government were concluded by the appeal to establish the 31st of August as the World Day of Freedom and Solidarity. Today, I wish to repeat that appeal and call for a world united in freedom and solidarity.
Solidarity should be perceived as one of the key principles of the international relations. It should combine respect for diversity and readiness to provide assistance. As His Holiness Pope John Paul II underlined, it should be based on cooperation of one with another not on one against another, and on priority of unity over divisions. Solidarity of nations should always prevail over national egoism. The European Union has proved that it is possible to build structures and mechanisms of cooperation in a spirit of true solidarity.
The principle of solidarity remains inextricably linked to that of freedom. For many, freedom is still an unfulfilled dream. On different continents, people are deprived of their basic rights. The very freedom, however, cannot be imposed from outside. It must grow from within and from below. Democratic changes do not occur because they are masterminded somewhere else, but because people want them. We must learn how to advance freedom without imposing anything, how to foster it without relieving states from their primary responsibility towards their citizens. The United Nations should make us feel confident that the international community will provide people with necessary protection and assistance when their state is unable to deliver it.

I hope that recently established Democracy Fund, which Poland supports and is ready to contribute to it, would offer a genuine assistance for those who uphold and aspire for freedom and solidarity.
We must also show greater determination in our response to problems, such as violence, poverty, social exclusion, terrorism, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and others. We must stand up to those who ignore the unity of our world and see it as a battlefield of fighting religions, nations, and races. Therefore, the United Nations must pursue a far-reaching and comprehensive vision of change and play a more decisive and effective role in shaping a broad development policy which would contribute to improving life in all parts of the world.

As our contribution to that change, the Republic of Poland reiterated on numerous occasions the need to elaborate a New Political Act of the United Nations for the 21st century. In fact, the Polish vision of the UN reform reflects our strong commitment to fundamental values and principles as well as to the effective multilateralism, which should serve as a guiding principle of the United Nations activities.

The outcome document of this summit, reflects many of the ideas proposed by the Polish Government. At the same time, it represents, in many ways, a lower than expected consensus and should be perceived as a basis for further reform efforts. There is no need to say how much we regret that neither arms control nor non-proliferation issues are covered by this document. Despite our great determination, we were not able to achieve unity in confronting all of the problems facing the United Nations.

On the other hand, we should not expect that each and every summit will provide revolutionary changes. The real breakthrough comes usually in the wake of a lengthy and gradual process of change and adaptation. Indeed, the outcome document, the preparatory process, as well as discussions of the summit itself, offer many substantial insights, ideas and very useful recommendations that further merit our serious consideration. How to implement them, how to translate them into concrete actions, and how to build practical consensus around them remains a serious challenge for the 60th session of the UN General Assembly.

Poland will continue her striving for a genuine and comprehensive reform that will help to strengthen effectiveness of the United Nations.
We cannot build a secure and just world without a strong commitment to act together through the United Nations. Freedom, security, democracy, and solidarity must be the key guidelines that will lead the Organization in the 21st century.
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