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UN2K: Albanian President Rexhep Meidani



New York, 7 September 2000


Honorable Mr. Secretary-General,

Madame and Mr. Co-Presidents,

Your Excellencies,

The past half century has seen a revolution in the way in which nations are governed. Fifty years ago, the majority of the nations, that are now members of the United Nations did not have self- determination and many of them were ruled by colonial masters or Marxist regimes. Today, the challenges of economy and security are very different from those confronted during the Cold war. But today's values are still being defied by dictators and authoritarian demagogues and, in some cases, fascism is still a threat in parts of Europe. One such example is the Balkans, where the entire development of the region is being kept hostage by the wars caused directly by the criminal regime in Belgrade. The current crisis in the territory of the Former Yugoslav federation started in Kosova in 1989 and it may come to an end only after the right solution will be found to this crisis, including a new, free and democratic Kosova, the reconsideration of various problems in the Former Yugoslavia and, also its membership in the UN. If we go back to our history, the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia had established, in place of the crumbling Holy Roman empire, nation states. But a pure nation-state is difficult to find in the real word. That is why, I believe, that instead of the old concept of classic independence we must apply a new concept of interdependence. I think this is the path in Europe and Balkans to make compatible the principle of self-determination with the principle of interdependence within the United States of Europe. Such a path does not mean the dissolution of national sovereignty, but rather the sovereign choices nations states are making to devolve more power to local and regional authorities or to pool their sovereignty within supranational. authorities. This is also the way to make compatible the concept of the national sovereignty with the concept of globalization and its sub-phenomenon-regionalization. However, in the world, as we moved through the 1980's and the 1990's, there was considerable progress towards the democratic governance. But the question we must ask ourselves is this: Can we yet reach the limit of our avowed goal of good governance while there are still members of the UN who insist on maintaining a state of war with other members? The answer is, frankly, no. Today, it is quite clear that many countries, including Albania, have made an important move towards good governance, with macroeconomic stability and openness to trade. Particularly in Balkans, they are embarking on a more complex set of reforms, in the framework of Stability Pact. It is now sure to us that where there is strong domestic commitment to sound policies, international contribution can be highly productive. This conclusion is by no means new. A striking vision of good government is in the famous 14th century Sienna frescos by Lorenzetti, entitled "Effects of Good and Bad Government", depicted two cities. In one, the goverment is counseled by Justice, Wisdom and Compassion; in the other by Wrath, Self-Pride and Avarice. The former is orderly, happy and prosperous; the latter is poor, corrupt and oppressed. Over the last decades we have resized some old truths and deepened our understanding on the poverty and how it can be overcome. With the right vision, clear international commitment and honest partnership, I strongly believe, we can respond to poverty and we can beat it; changing at the same time, the experience on the help of the poor regions. Lecturing the poor countries and criticizing their own weak governance, whilst providing little money to support technological advance, public health, education and other needs, is cheap all right. But simply, it does not work. The strategy must be modified, in my opinion. It is the same, regarding the environmental policy, which is still largely concerned with repairing only what was wrong, identify mig itself to few recycling systems.

It is now generally accepted that, with the end of the Cold War, old ideological divisions are mostly over. But a more intractable division is taking hold, this time based on technology. A small part of the globe, accounting for about 15% of the earth's population, provides nearly all of the world's technology innovations. A second part, perhaps half of the world's population, is able to absorb and adopt these technologies. The remainder, around a third of the world's population caught in a poverty gap, is technologically disconnected. Unfortunately and ironically, this trend is accentuated by the increasing importance of information technology, which puts greater power and economic rewards in the hands of the wealthy and well-educated. The appropriate response to that is not to impede the digitalization of the world, but to bridge the digital divide. My call for reach countries is to recognize it and to respond, at least to create the chances for many of the technologicallyexcluded regions to become technological adopters, to join in the benefits of globalization. In particular, the industrialized world could make an immense impact by supporting relief from international debt of poor countries. For me, this is not only a springboard for further cultural, technical, civic and human evolution, but even for the absorption and the transfer of the technology and know how, as a first step against the technological division, as well as minimizing the brain drain, which not only decreases the degree of intellectual and democratic potential, but also represents considerable financial and social losses for poor countries.

There are already growing doubts about the future of world policy, economy and civilization, particularly with regard to the role and strength of different organizations and their instruments such as, UN, SC, NATO, EU, Nafta, and so on, and more specifically with regard to the reformation of the world leading financial institutions such as IMF, WB, WTO. At the same time, I believe that we must encourage all the ongoing changes and adjustments designed to increase their effectiveness and dynamism, through new effective rules and, why not, even new principles. One of the solutions could be to reduce the requirement for consensus by adopting an innovative decision-making procedure with some type of weighted voting or delegated responsibilities, particularly for crisis prevention as well as post-crisis management. In this regard, efforts should be made to reach an agreement on the principles of expanding both categories of permanent and non-permanent membership of the Security Council, and including both developing and developed countries in the permanent membership.

In the process of rapid globalization, I think that some fundamental "pillars" should be conceived like: the strengthening of the "ideology" of peace, freedom and human rights as the "philosophy" of this century; the establishment of the moral free market economy on international scale; the empowering of international instruments for security and policy-making; the development of the linguistic pluralism and cu Itural diversity instead of the human homogenization. No doubt these pillars would be "sandy", unless they are accompanied by more concrete ingredients, such as: general disarmament, international peacekeeping and nonproliferation; real and equal justice, mutual tolerance on differences satisfaction of the basic needs for all, growing concern for health, education, environment, energy and water; global war against terrorism, crime, corruption, human degradation and life-threatening diseases such as HIVAIDS; an evaluation of the spiritual components for a healthy, strong family, and finally, a realistic approach to the concepts on the sovereignty, nation, state, government, civil society, world order, security and democratization.

And I am certain that this Millennium Summit will project the tight path to respond to these problems. "That is our challenge. That is our new frontier. Cross it we can, and cross it we must."

Thank you for your attention!

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