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UN2K: Turkey President Ahmet Necdet Sezer










821 UN Plaza, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10017 Tel (212) 949-0150 Fax (212) 949-0086

Mr. President,

(Madame President)

We are privileged to have two prominent statesmen, one from the northern, the other from the southern hemisphere, co-chairing this summit. It is also a tribute to the United Nations to see the President of Namibia presiding over this unique event; a president whose nation's struggle for independence was spearheaded on the international front through the work of the Council for Namibia, in which Turkey had the honor of serving as Vice and Acting President.

Mr. President,

It is with a deep sense of responsibility that I have the honor to address this largest gathering yet of world leaders here at the United Nations General Assembly. We are expected to deliver the right messages in order to chart the right course for the Third Millennium. We should seek to ensure a better life for successive generations. As the United Nations Secretary General rightly depicts, the freedom from want, the freedom from fear and the freedom of future generations to sustain their lives constitute the three overarching objectives for achieving further human progress. We are living in a world where hope exists side by side with desperation, opportunities lie against poverty and great difficulties, and where joy is often shadowed by gloom. That we, as the global community, today still expend vast resources for benign and malign causes, is perhaps the most profound irony of our time.

Globalization means and offers new opportunities to mankind. But we must still be diligent to avoid making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Indeed, the world community, and the wealthy countries in particular, have to respond energetically and sincerely to the call, strongly expressed by the Secretary General, first to alleviate and ultimately to eradicate what constitutes one of our greatest concerns: poverty across the globe.

With regard to this common quest, the experience of my nation's struggle for progress and prosperity has taught us valuable lessons. Thus, we consider reliance upon and respect for the will of the people as the single most important value to be upheld. Only through this fountainhead will other values flow and the rule of law become supreme. We must see to it that civil society plays an increasingly significant role in the process of extending the frontiers of democracy and safeguarding this unsurpassed regime against extremism and fanaticism of all sorts. We must bear in mind that democratization and economic development are two parallel processes. In addition, assigning the highest priority to educating our youth will yield the greatest benefit in both moral and material terms.

Mr. President,

Indeed, the events of the last century have taught us that we must ensure a fair distribution, on the national and global scales, of the benefits of free market economies and new technologies; that we must respect the environment as a vital common asset that we are to bequeath to future generations; and that we must strengthen regional and international peace and security to the benefit of all. In a nutshell, Mr. President, growing interdependence between our nations is a must, not a vice, and we must therefore heed the universal values from which this process takes its roots. These goals can only be achieved, if they are made to reflect our common aspirations and, in support of which there is meaningful international cooperation.

Turkey is determined to be more actively engaged in the endeavors of the reinvigorated United Nations, as we become stronger in diverse fields, which range from democratic institutions to the economy; from disaster-preparedness to social and cultural development.

Mr. President,

We are going through a defining moment in the history of the United Nations. The noble objectives enshrined in its Charter are as valid today as they have ever been. On the other hand, we do remember the many sad and tragic moments when this great organization had to stand as an idle spectator to the scourges of warfare and human disaster, deprivation, abject violations of basic rights, famine and calamity. The Secretary General was right once again when pointing to the need of developing a "culture of prevention," along with the need to elaborate the central role of the United Nations in preventing conflicts. Indeed, beside providing economic and social assistance, the United Nations must be strengthened in its capacities to prevent and end conflicts. Hence we are much pleased that the thrust of the Millennium Report will be reflected in the document that we shall be adopting tomorrow.

In this vein, I need to stress the importance of avoiding the perpetuation of stereotype resolutions that do not help resolving disputes and conflicts, and where the realities of the subject matter are not really taken into account. Likewise, we think there is a definite need for reforming the Security Council in a way that will yield improved representation, transparency, accountability, and in a way that will reflect the principle of sovereign equality.

Mr. President,

These are easy to state. Translating them into reality, achieving concrete results continues to be our main task. This summit possesses the potential to make an impact on the conscience of the international community in order to get action started; and where there is action, to accelerate it.

I wish to conclude my remarks by saying that the children of this world, the children of the twenty-first century, wherever they may be, in the southern or northern hemispheres; but first and foremost, children threatened by insecurity and poverty; they deserve a better future, a good future. This summit of world leaders carries the responsibility to make it happen.

Thank you.

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