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UN2K: Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma









220 E 51st Street NEW YORK, N.Y.10022 TEL.212 759-7003 FAX 212 355-9455

Honorable Co-Chairpersons,

Honorable Secretary-General,

Honorable Heads of State and Government,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Speaking from this high rostrum, I feel probably the same as everybody present here -responsibility, solidarity and inspiration.

Our participation in the Summit reaffirms our commitment to and support for the foundations of the world order, based on the underlying principles of the Charter of the United Nations. These principles should continue to serve as the basis for the system of international relations in the next millennium.

In historic terms, the United Nations was brought into existence not so long ago. Even less time has elapsed since the creation of the newly independent states, including Ukraine, but even within this short period of time we have learnt a lot. We know what the peoples of our countries want. We know what we should do and what we should not, in order to avoid new tragedies and upheavals.

Desires and aspirations of the people of Ukraine are simple and clear. Like every people on Earth my compatriots strive for happiness, peace and well-being. They want to live in a democratic country, without fear for their future and the life and destiny of the coming generations.

It is from this angle that we perceive the role and place of the United Nations in the 21st century.

Disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons remain one of the essential tasks to be addressed by the United Nations and the world community.

Not so long ago, Ukraine made an unprecedented step by renouncing its third world's largest nuclear arsenal. That gesture of goodwill, dictated by the responsibility for strengthening peace and for the future of mankind, grants us the right to call upon the other states to follow this way. I am convinced that nuclear weapons are useless and unpromising as an instrument of state policy. It is necessary to do everything possible to make sure that in the new millennium the humankind gets rid once and for all of the fear of devastating nuclear disaster.

In this respect, we support the idea of convening a world-wide international conference to work out ways and means of eliminating such a threat.

The United Nations should continue to play a key role in maintaining the international peace and security. In this regard, it is very difficult to overestimate the role of the Security Council. We need to reform it, we need to strengthen its authority and legitimacy if we want this body to live up to our expectations.

It is quite obvious that such hazardous diseases as conflicts should be treated long before their eruption.

I believe that today as never before there is an acute need to develop a comprehensive strategy of the United Nations for conflict prevention that should be based on a large-scale use of preventive diplomacy and peace-building. It is on this premise that a peace-keeping philosophy of the United Nations and its Member States in the next millennium should be built upon.


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