23 września 2008
On 23 September 2008, President of the Republic of Poland Mr Lech Kaczyński and Mrs Kaczyńska set off for New York to attend the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Upon his arrival, the President of RP took part in a meeting organised by the Presidents of the US and Iraq in honour of the states participating in Multi-National Force in Iraq MNF-I and then in the official dinner hosted by the UN Secretary General in honour of the Heads of Delegations who came to attend the 63rd Session of the UN General Assembly.

On 24 September 2008, President Lech Kaczyński met with the President of Slovenia and the President of Serbia. Then followed a meeting between Heads of Delegations which form the “Climate Troika” and the UN Secretary General. After the meeting, a joint press conference was organized.

In the afternoon, the President of RP met with the UN Secretary General and with the President of Albania.

In the evening, President of RP Mr Lech Kaczyński had a speech in the general debate:

"Secretary General,

Let me start by expressing my respect and gratitude for the President of the former - 62nd session of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Srgjan Kerim, whose active involvement and initiatives have contributed to a broader agenda of the General Assembly and facilitated its work. I wish to extend my congratulations to his successor – Mr. Miguel D`Escoto Brockmann on his appointment to the function of the President of the 63rd session of the General Assembly and wish him fruitful work.

In the course of last year we have seen numerous new challenges and problems which need to be dealt with by the international community. In our attempts to respond to these problems and to search for best solutions to them we have recognized yet again that overcoming different crises cannot be successful without referring to such universal values as democracy, freedom and solidarity.

One of the biggest global challenges nowadays is the food crisis and its consequences. The decision to make this issue the central theme of this year`s session of the United Nations General Assembly proves that the UN has been assigned a special role as a forum of debate focused on major global challenges.

Poland appreciates the initiative to combine the debate on the food crisis with discussions about the need to democratize the United Nations. As it is only democratic and effectively functioning United Nations that is able to face up to the global challenges of eliminating hunger and poverty or ensuring stable development of the poorest countries. That is why we are confident that the reform process of the United Nations should be continued.

One of the fundamental principles governing the democratic management within the United Nations is expressed in the following words: "one state one vote". Each state should be granted the possibility to decide in which direction the United Nations will be heading. General Assembly still remains the most important forum for holding such democratic debate. In this context, facilitation of the decision making mechanism takes on pivotal importance.

We advocate a quicker pace of reforms of the Security Council, which have been conducted for many years so far. The number of non-permanent members of the Council should be increased so as to reflect the true image of the contemporary world. Let us remember that certain rules in this respect were defined in a world utterly different from today`s.

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services (…)” – these are the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. As an international community we bear responsibility for their fulfillment.

Fighting hunger and poverty constitutes one of eight Millennium Development Goals. It has been almost 8 years since the international community set them. Despite numerous declarations made and commitments undertaken we are still short of achieving them within the predefined time frame. Overcoming the current crisis in the implementation of the development policy will not be possible unless every country adopts individual responsibility when taking stock of the fulfillment of our promises and commitments made so far. I wish to stress it particularly strongly as I have already underlined it a number of times before in this forum.

We should make joint efforts aimed at boosting global development agenda with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at its base. It was in this vein that Poland joined the Call to Action Declaration announced on the initiative of the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. We hope that the Declaration, reflecting a broad understanding reached by the countries and business representatives, NGOs and faith groups will contribute to the comprehensive implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. We believe that the High-level Event on MDGs taking place on 25th September will result in concrete solutions which will be implemented in a timely manner. Respecting the timeline is of particular importance in this regard.

While analysing reasons behind the food crisis and trying to find effective recipes for combating poverty and hunger, we have taken notice of an immense impact the aggravating climate change has upon these phenomena. And although consequences of the climate change will be felt globally, it is the poorest who will bear the brunt. Without the sense of solidarity, responsibility and enhanced mutual cooperation, the developing countries will not be able to fulfill their commitments as regards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and will fail to successfully adapt to climate change. It is obvious for anyone who has at least rudimentary knowledge about our world. A certain change in philosophy is needed; or to put it in a nutshell: much bigger effort needs to be made by the North for the sake of the South. The rich have to get much more involved in helping the poor. The United Nations is, if not the only organization then for sure a major one that can achieve such goals.

Poland wants to be an active partner in the activities undertaken by the international community in this respect. With this in mind - this December, Poznań, one of the biggest cities in my country - will host the 14th session of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as well as the 4th session of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

One of the key challenges facing this year`s Poznań conference consists in working out such solutions and supporting such mechanisms which will bring about true systemic changes in the developing countries. It is vital to ensure financing of investments conducive to modernization of the economies of these countries, CO2 reduction and adaptation to climate change. And let me reiterate that these aims are absolutely impossible to attain unless states, and in particular those which possess the largest resources, change their line of thought.

We hope that the Poznań conference will lay strong foundations for reaching a new agreement in Copenhagen next December – I am thinking about the one which will supersede the Kyoto Protocol. In its capacity as the COP14 Presidency, Poland will strive to bring as close as possible the positions among major groups of states so as to ensure maximum progress at the Conference. In this regard we count on cooperation and support from our international partners and friends. We particularly appreciate UN Secretary General’s strong involvement in achieving the above mentioned aims.

Introducing new more climate-friendly technologies should be coupled with enhanced energy security and diversification of energy supplies. Due to the fact that mechanisms guaranteeing solidarity of all member states in case of energy crisis are not yet in place, the issue of energy security constitutes our priority. I am now referring to the European Union, however the issue concerns all the countries across the world.

Poland is following with concern developments in Georgia. We take the view that conducting dialogue, as well as acting in the spirit of solidarity and consistency in pursuing energy policy should become a priority for all European states, and especially for the EU members. Only in this context can Europe`s energy security be guaranteed. Faced with complete unpredictability of the current major energy suppliers – I am referring to Europe at this point - Poland is concerned about certain states, especially about one very powerful state, using energy supplies as a tool in achieving political goals in relations with its neighbours as well as with all states which it provides with energy.

Hence, it is pivotal to establish diversified sources of supply, to introduce transparent rules regulating trade in fuels – both in Europe and globally - and to extend transport infrastructure, especially to create alternative routes and sources of supplying Europe, including the European Union, with fuels imported mainly from the countries of the Caspian Sea basin, from Central Asia and also from the Middle East. It can significantly contribute to a faster development of these countries as well as to increasing their possibilities as regards the global solidarity.

I have already referred to Georgia in the context of energy security. The situation in this country is much more serious, though. A few weeks ago we witnessed illegal military aggression and division of the country. The aggression was launched against an independent state. Fundamental principles of international law i.e. inviolability of borders and territorial integrity were infringed. Unless these principles are respected, our world will become a theatre of not just one but hundreds of conflicts. We may not allow for relativization of the principles of international law. We may not accept a situation where international law shall be binding upon the weak and not binding upon the strong. As in such case the law will be stripped of all its positive sense. Firstly and most importantly it concerns the principle of territorial integrity. We may not accept the principle against which the United Nations was established 63 years ago as a consequence of World War II and as a consequence of the bankruptcy of the League of Nations. The principle against which the United Nations was set up is the principle of using force before law. Not all of you, ladies and gentlemen, gathered in this room represent countries lying close to Georgia or close to Europe for that matter, however the issue of Georgia is our common one. It poses a problem for every country which struggles with the issue of territorial integrity or with superiority of its more powerful neighbours, which applies to most countries in the world.

International order should be based upon strict interpretation of the provisions enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations by all subjects of international law, hence by all states in the first place, and upon joint responsibility for the fate of those countries which are not able to ensure their own security. These were the principles that underpinned my actions as the President of the Republic of Poland during the Georgian conflict. They also underpinned the actions of the Presidents of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Ukraine.

Poland`s involvement in international security manifests itself through our participation in the anti-terrorist coalition in numerous volatile regions of the world. Currently more than 3500 Polish troops and police officers are stationed as a part of global peace-keeping and stabilization forces – from Africa to the Balkans, to the Middle East and Asia. Iraq was one of such places. Through its 5-year long presence in Iraq, Poland has made efforts to help our Iraqi friends and allies to ensure external and internal security. Our mission, a major stage of which comes to an end this year, has clearly proved successful. Iraq of today is safer and more stable than a few years ago despite some considerable doubts voiced by some in this respect.

What remains to be a challenge however is the situation in Afghanistan. We firmly believe that the Afghan mission with considerable participation of the Polish forces will come to a successful end. It must be successful not merely on the military level – when it comes to fighting terrorism - but also for the people of Afghanistan in terms of improving their everyday lives. Since military operations should and must be accompanied by economic activities aimed at creating stable economy, enhancing internal security and ensuring ever faster growth. I am confident, or at least I would like to believe firmly in the mission`s success.

Continuing lack of stability in the Middle East arouses concerns of almost all the countries across the world, I reiterate, unfortunately of almost all the countries, including Poland. The long-term process of building an independent Palestinian State should be completed as soon as possible – for the sake of Palestinians and Israelis alike. Poland is a friend of both nations. We wish the Palestinians full success in their fight for an independent state. To Israel, with which we are bound by great historical ties due to the origin of many of its citizens, we convey wishes of success and of so much needed peace.

I would like to stress with great pleasure that hope is being restored in Lebanon. Poland is confident that the elections, the new president will bring about stability and peace which the nation of Lebanon has awaited for 34 years, since 1974, if my recollection is correct. But even before that the country saw a number of difficult moments. We wish the new authorities and the nation of Lebanon success. Poland is and will remain involved in that region of the world in the name of international solidarity and our historical bonds.

The issues mentioned above cannot be solved by a single state or a group of states. Today we see clearly that a joint action by all countries is needed: the poor and the rich, the Eastern and the Western. In the contemporary world however, where the division between East and West is of lesser importance than it used to be, what is required in the first place is solidarity between North and South. What is necessary is providing assistance to those in need, which I mentioned before. What is needed is the promotion of democracy, obviously democracy tailored to the culture and tradition of a given state. For, irrespective of its shortcomings, the history of mankind has not seen a more human-friendly system as democracy.

In order to live up to the challenges facing the world today, we should act jointly in the spirit of solidarity, and via effectively operating international structures in order to achieve best results. The United Nations together with its agencies is a worldwide organization – globally unparalleled in this respect. UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon is right in saying that irrespective of huge successes achieved by the organizations affiliated with the UN in the last few decades, more coordination is needed among the agencies than has been the case so far.

What is essential however, is guaranteeing respect for the core principles of international law, human rights, which I referred to, and fundamental freedoms. I hope that when we meet next year on the occasion of the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the world will be a little bit safer and a little bit closer to the principles which I was honoured to speak to you about.

Thank you very much Mr. President, Thank you very much Mr. Secretary General, Thank you."

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