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UN2K: Canadian PM Jean Chretien

To the Plenary Session of

the Millennium Summit of the United Nations

New York

September 7, 2000

Mr. President,

I will begin by expressing Canada's outrage at the murder of innocent, unarmed humanitarian personnel in West Timor. Those who attack UN staff attack this Organization ... and undermine the purposes and principles we have all come here to reaffirm. It is incumbent on the Indonesian Government to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Mr. President,

As we mark a new millennium, the United Nations is the world's indispensable institution. And Canada is unshakably committed to its common goals and shared vision. I am pleased that the Secretary General is using this millennium watershed to focus our attention on reforming the UN. I wish to assure him that Canada will be a creative partner in this effort.

Canada's embrace of the UN reflects our common values and shared experiences. An incredibly diverse nation, we are deeply committed to freedom, tolerance, justice and equality. We know the sense of community that comes from sharing prosperity and opportunity. We have experienced what human ingenuity and creativity can achieve when they are free from want, free from fear and free from war.

In the new century, Canada's vision is of a world in which all people enjoy these same blessings. The UN is our best hope to marshal the common sense of purpose needed to realize this vision. But it must meet the challenge of change.

Extreme ethnic nationalism, in places like the Balkans or Central Africa, is a stain on our humanity. It also greatly complicates the task of peacekeeping, which must now include mandates to protect civilians under threat. And these mandates must be matched with commensurate resources.

As one of the original architects of peacekeeping, and one of its foremost practitioners, we urge all member states to be guided by the recommendations of the Secretary-General's panel on UN peace operations.

We must work harder to deny the agents of violence and conflict their sources of supply. By halting the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. And by controlling the illicit trade in diamonds. We must keep moving ahead with initiatives that put the security of people first. The Ottawa Treaty on Landmines and the Statute of the International Criminal Court are milestones marking our way.

This month, Canada will host an International Conference on War-Affected Children. I am also pleased to announce that Canada, with the support of interested foundations, is leading the establishment of an independent International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. Our Foreign Minister will shortly outline the rationale and mandate of the Commission.

Alleviating world poverty is our common cause. We must share the benefits of globalization. We must give it a human purpose and a human face. The poorest countries require access for their goods to export markets. Faster, deeper and broader debt relief should be pursued vigorously through the Heavily Indebted Poor Country Initiative. We must ensure that development does not degrade the global environment.

And we must bridge the digital divide. We must ensure that the benefits of the information revolution are shared by all. That is why Canada endorses the creation of a United Nations Information Technology Service.

As former Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson used to say: "The UN must be a symphony orchestra, not a string quartet". For that to happen, it has to be supported in all respects. Politically and financially. All members must pay their bills.

Mr. President, with the will and the resolve, the United Nations will remain the world's indispensable institution in the 21st century.

And Canada is committed to being an indispensable partner.

© Scoop Media

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