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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Statement on behalf of the EU at the informal thematic consultations of the General Assembly of the UN on Cluster II: Freedom from Fear

Date of Speech : 21-04-2005

Place : New York

Speaker : Jean-Marc Hoscheit, permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the United Nations

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Croatia* and Turkey, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, align themselves with this declaration.

Mr. President,

At the outset, the EU would like to reiterate its satisfaction for the occasion of an in-depth cluster discussion on all the important issues that are on our collective agenda, as set out by the President of the General Assembly, on the basis of the Secretary-General’s report. We hope for a rich and fruitful exchange of views that should allow the facilitators to identify useful common ground and converging views for the preparation of a draft outcome document for the Summit.

Today we are called upon to discuss the cluster “Freedom from fear�?, on which the EU shares the Secretary-General’s view that, due to the interconnectedness of the identified threats, we must tackle the security concerns of all states in the nexus of development, security and human rights. With sovereignty come rights and responsibilities.

We acknowledge that “no State, however powerful, can protect itself on its own; no country, weak or strong, can realize prosperity in a vacuum�?. This situation calls for a strong collective response, and the EU feels confirmed in its determination to promote and pursue the objective of effective multilateralism, based on the rule of law, with the UN at its heart. In our European Security Strategy, we have emphasized that approach as the most effective response to the threats and challenges that the international community has to face.

The EU agrees with the Secretary-General on the need to address the threats to our security preventively. In that respect we acknowledge development - above and beyond its central importance as a pillar in its own right - as the first line of defense in a collective security approach based on prevention. Respect for human rights, justice and rule of law are also crucial in this regard. The EU also supports the strengthening of the role of the Secretary-General in preventive diplomacy. In this regard, we agree with the Secretary-General that good offices have indeed helped in preventing many conflicts. We therefore strongly welcome his initiative to strengthen the United Nations capacity in this regard.

Better compliance and more effective monitoring of the implementation of existing security treaties are essential contributions to a culture of prevention. In that regard, the EU pleads for strengthening those mechanisms. 

The international community also needs to define common effective instruments to address security threats. In that sense, we notably welcome the Secretary-General’s proposals with regard to peacekeeping and peacebuilding, small arms and light weapons. The risks of relapse into violence after an armed conflict are real and well documented; the damage done by SALW in the wrong hands is appalling. Today’s discussion will give us the opportunity to address these issues and others in more detail.

Mr. President,

The EU underlines the sense of urgency to combat the dangers posed by terrorism and the proliferation of WMD, in line with the EU Strategy against the Proliferation of WMD. In the fight against terrorism, as well as against the proliferation of WMD, the EU supports the call for wider adhesion to and implementation of international treaties, conventions,  protocols and other arrangements and for a stronger role of the Security Council. The EU emphasizes that effective export controls are also central in preventing illicit trafficking and the proliferation of WMD.

The EU considers that disarmament and non-proliferation are mutually reinforcing. We underline the importance to promote universal ratification and adherence to the relevant multilateral agreements and, where necessary, to reinforce their provisions, including by ensuring compliance, amongst others, through full implementation of Security Council Resolution 1540 and by strengthening national rules and regulations.

The EU would like to confirm its commitment to the universalization of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and to work toward preservation of the integrity of the Treaty and the strengthening of its implementation, including during the upcoming Review Conference. The EU underlines the need to strengthen the role of the Security Council as a final arbitrator when obligations under the Treaty are violated, in order to take appropriate action.

The EU is also committed to the universalization of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, as well as of the Hague Code Of Conduct and the IAEA’s safeguards agreements and additional protocols. Furthermore, the EU attaches great importance to the immediate start of negotiations and early conclusion of a non-discriminatory and universally applicable treaty on fissile material cut-off. We welcome the ongoing negotiations of amendments to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials and look forward to their early successful conclusion.

The EU underlines the importance of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban. The CTBT should be regarded as a vital tool of international non-proliferation. Entry into force of the CTBT as soon as possible should therefore be a key priority for the international community. The EU is calling on all States to sign and ratify the CTBT without delay, in particular the States referred to in Annex II without whose ratification the Treaty cannot enter into force.

The EU welcomes the Global Threat Reduction Initiative that aims at removing and/or securing high-risk nuclear and radiological materials and equipment around the world that pose a threat to the international community. The EU also supports the global Transfer Controls Initiative (TCI), which aims to support the UN Programme of Action on SALW. The aim of the initiative is to build strong international support, in view of the Review Conference of the Programme of Action in 2006, for tighter controls on arms transfers.

Appropriate measures must be taken to prevent nuclear terrorism and the possible use of radiation-dispersion devices. The G8 has adopted an action plan on radioactive sources and the IAEA a plan for protection against nuclear and radiological terrorism.

Mr. President,

In the hands of armed groups or terrorists, small arms, light weapons and ammunition and explosives kill hundreds of people every year. In view of the innumerous deaths through small arms and light weapons, the EU shares the sense of urgency with regard to combating the proliferation of these weapons that fuels conflict, terrorism and crime,  with the aim of eradicating their illicit trafficking. We welcome the Secretary-General’s proposal on small arms and light weapons and strongly support that an international legally binding instrument be adopted concerning their marking and tracing and an international instrument be negotiated on the brokering of SALW, including ammunition in both instruments.

The EU has established various instruments to better control the transfer of small arms and light weapons, such as the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Export and the common position on arms brokering. The EU strongly supports the full implementation of the UN Programme of Action to prevent combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all aspects. The EU also supports, at the global and regional levels, initiatives such as the Transfer Controls Initiative (TCI) to implement effective transfer controls, improve export controls and establish common principles to regulate all transfers of small arms and light weapons.

The EU considers that the fight against proliferation of small arms and light weapons should form an integral part of a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy.

Mr. President,

The EU welcomes the comprehensive United Nations counterterrorism strategy based on the recent outline by the Secretary-General in Madrid. We welcome the five basic pillars of what he termed as a “principled, comprehensive strategy�? to fight terrorism globally and we stand ready to participate in a continued development and rapid implementation of this strategy.

We thank the Secretary-General for the inclusion in his report of a proposal to define terrorism and for his strong support to the principle that terrorist violence against civilians and non-combatants is not justified under any circumstances. A strong political signal from Heads of state and government at the September Summit would be beneficial to swifter progress in agreeing on a comprehensive convention on the suppression of terrorism. 

The EU would like to promote institutional development in the UN and capacity building at the state level, notably through the strengthening of the coordination function of the Counter-terrorism Executive Directorate and with the assistance of UNODC and other relevant multilateral institutions.

The EU recalls the declaration of the European Council last March that called for the development of an EU long-term strategy to address all the factors which contribute to terrorism. This strategy would, besides coercive measures, include preventive measures, such as the promotion of human rights, rule of law and democratic reforms, strengthening state capacity to fight against terrorism and addressing regional conflicts as well as assistance to victims of terrorism. The EU also strongly supports efforts to counter extremism and intolerance, including through education and fostering public debate.

We place good governance and the respect for human rights and international humanitarian law among the most important preventive measures in the fight against terrorism. We also emphasize the importance of fully respecting human rights in the context of fighting terrorism.

Mr. President,

In the fight against terrorism, against the proliferation of WMD and against organized transnational crime, the EU supports the call for universal adhesion to and implementation of international treaties, conventions and protocols.

The EU supports in particular the call for universal adhesion to and implementation of the 12 UN Counter-Terrorism Conventions and Protocols.

The EU strongly supports the adoption without further delay of a comprehensive convention while preserving the existing definitions included in the 12 UN Counter-Terrorism Conventions and Protocols.

The EU welcomes the recent adoption of an international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism. The EU calls on all states to sign the Convention at the treaty event in September 2005.We hope that with this text we will have at our disposal an important corpus of legislation designed to tackle in a pragmatic and effective way the various terrorist offences as defined and prohibited by others instruments.

The EU also stresses the need of wider adherence to and implementation of international conventions and protocols against transnational organized crime, corruption, drug trafficking and trafficking in persons. We would like to underline the importance of ensuring the signature and the ratification of the 2000 UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its three protocols as well as of the 2003 UN Convention against Corruption. The European Community will soon be signing the latter. The EU also agrees with the recommendation to support the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

With regard to the use of force, the EU endorses the view that a set of principles, to be agreed upon as suggested by the Secretary-General, could contribute usefully to the Security Council’s debates on the use of force and increase its authority.

The UN Charter prohibits, as a general principle, Member States from using or threatening force against each other. The EU would like to reaffirm the full validity of the Charter in this respect, notably Art.51 which, in our view, does not need rewriting or reinterpretation. It is in this understanding that the EU considers the use of force as the measure of last resort, in conformity with international law. This should not prevent the international community to deal swiftly and firmly with threats as soon as they emerge.

Mr. President,

The EU is welcoming the proposal to establish a Peacebuilding Commission as the means to bridge the institutional gap between the end of armed conflict and the resumption of sustainable development activities.

The establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission – as other measures of institutional reform – should aim at enhancing the overall performance of the UN system. Membership and institutional set-up of such a commission should flow from its mandate.

The EU welcomes the explanatory note of the Secretary-General produced earlier this week and expresses general support for the elements contained therein. The EU will comment in more detail on these proposals during our cluster debate on institutional reform.

The EU recognizes the importance of sustained and predictable financing for peacebuilding. The proposed Standing Fund for Peacebuilding could assist with this. Exact modalities of financing and the scope of the Fund still need to be determined. We should also keep in mind that, for the time being, different activities during the transition period are financed through different channels.

The establishment of a Peacebuilding Support Office within the Secretariat would need to be undertaken in constant concern for a coherent, complementary and effective interaction with existing Secretariat services.

Mr. President,

The EU acknowledges the need for the strengthening of UN peacekeeping and crisis management capabilities. The EU looks favorably upon the Secretary-General’s proposals for the development of strategic reserves and a standing police capacity, which are currently being fleshed out in consultations between DPKO and member states. Also, cooperation with the EU, the African Union and other regional institutions and organizations should be enhanced among others by reinforcing institutional links, and interconnecting capabilities, thereby making full use of specific strengths.

Specific attention should also be given to actions in the fields of DDRR, the rule of law and Security Sector Reform i.a. through improved coordination in the field and at headquarters, as well as between the field and headquarters and through reinforced cooperation with regional organizations and institutions. In this context, we express our appreciation for the recognition by the Secretary-General of the EU’s efforts that will be continued.

The EU considers that efforts in peacekeeping and crisis management should be made throughout the membership of the UN.

With regard to sanctions imposed by the Security Council, the EU would like to recall the proposal aiming at the creation of a permanent mechanism dealing with sanctions, which has been on the Security Council’s table for quite some time. This mechanism would help to make sanctions implementation and monitoring more effective and efficient by enabling sharing of experience across different sanctions regimes.

The EU expresses its support for the recommendations aiming at an effective implementation and enforcement of sanctions. According to our overall concern for the rule of law, the Human Rights/terrorism relationships should be given adequate consideration. The role of the Security Council to mitigate the humanitarian consequences of sanctions is to be particularly underlined. Assistance to third states affected by the application of sanctions – as the ones foreseen in Article 50 of the Charter – could contribute to strengthening an effective and comprehensive approach by the international community to sanctions imposed by the Security Council.

The EU underlines the importance of establishing procedures to review the cases of those claiming to have been incorrectly placed or retained on sanction lists of individuals or entities involving the application of sanctions. Due process and respect for human rights, accountability and regular and reasonable review will make UN sanctions mechanisms more effective and more credible.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, let me express our appreciation for the opportunity to share among member states and groups of member states our views on such important issues as the security concerns, while not losing the larger perspective of the interdependence between security, development, human rights, rule of law and democracy that the Secretary-General so pertinently analyzed in his report. We are looking forward to further constructive interaction with other groups and individual member states.

* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process

This page was last modified on : 27-06-2005

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