Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the UN in New York

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Conferences & UNGASS 2001

  Breve storiografia delle relazioni diplomatichetra la Repubblica Ceca e la Santa Sede   nel ottobre 1919 la Santa Sede riconosce la Cecoslovacchia il nostro primo ambasciatore è K.Krofta (1920) a seguito delle celebrazioni dell’anniversario della morte

  • Statement by H.E. Mr. Jan Kavan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic at the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
    New York, 11 November 2001

  • Statement by H.E. Mr. Miroslav Somol, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade and Head of the Delegation of the Czech Republic at the United Nations Conference on Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects
    New York, 9 July 2001

  • Twenty-sixth Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on HIV/AIDS
    New York, 27 June 2001

  • Twenty-fifth Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda
    New York, 7 June 2001


Statement by H.E. Mr. Jan Kavan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic at the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

Mr. President,

May I first congratulate you on your election as President of this Conference and assure you of the support of the Czech Republic for your work at this post. Allow me also to take this opportunity to express appreciation for Mexico´s endeavour towards the success of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

The Czech Republic aligned itself with the statement made by Belgium on behalf of the European Union and the associated countries. Let me complement the collective position of the EU which we fully share by several points my country deems important to emphasise.

The Czech Republic has consistently been in favour of realistic and efficient steps aimed both at preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means and at progressing gradually towards global nuclear disarmament. That is why, in our view, the effective and verifiable cessation of nuclear weapons test explosions and their prohibition as provided by the CTBT continue to be indispensable steps. That is also why we need the Treaty to enter into force as soon as possible and that is also the reason for us to meet here.

Mr. President,

The CTBT does well for an international treaty that has not yet entered into force: the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization regularly convenes and deliberates constructively, ratifiers and signatories contribute both in terms of human resources, know-how and finance, the international monitoring system and inspection régime are continuously built up. The work of the Provisional Technical Secretariat which has grown into an efficient and well managed institution is impressive and commendable. Perhaps most importantly, the moratorium on nuclear tests has been respected since 1998.

Nevertheless, these achievements are not irreversible. Reducing financial support for or even withdrawing from preparatory activities under the PrepCom would undercut the common efforts. We need to complete the construction so that the purposes of the Treaty are fully met. The entry into force is the most efficient way of deterring anyone from resuming nuclear tests. We also believe that the ongoing global fight against terrorism which the Czech Republic supports politically and materially should also entail increased efforts in nuclear non-proliferation. The CTBT is an important part of it and we hope our partners realise that.

Mr. President,

Since our first conference in October 1999 we have made a tangible progress towards entry into force and universality of the Treaty. Indeed, we are encouraged by the 161 signatures and 84 ratifications as of today. However, this is not enough in terms of the compelling mechanics of the Treaty.

Regretting that the CTBT, open for signature since 1996, has not entered into force so far, we are all well aware of the critical condition for that to happen. Let me underscore the responsibility of all those belonging to the group of the 44 states who have to yet ratify or even sign the Treaty. We are still missing signatures of three and ratifications of thirteen states belonging to this group. In this respect we are convinced that the ratification by the two nuclear weapon states which have thus far limited themselves to signing is what the future of the CTBT hinges upon.

Mr. President,

The purpose of this Conference is not only to take stock of the progress made but primarily to discuss how to maintain and reinforce the political momentum in progressing towards the entry into force. Certainly, one avenue is for the Provisional Technical Secretariat to continue the commendable outreach activities, including holding International Cooperation Workshops, and for nations to continue supporting the ratification process through political dialogue with non-signatories and non-ratifiers. My country has been appealing on non-signatories and non-ratifiers both individually and collectively, together with the European Union. I want to assure you, Mr. President, of our support for your further work in co-ordinating the efforts aimed at facilitating the entry into force. I also appreciate the efforts made by Japan in this respect.

Lastly, let me observe that Article XIV of the CTBT provides for a useful mechanism and conferences to facilitate the Treaty´s entry into force. Nevertheless, we continue hoping that we will not need to convene too often for too long. The next NPT Review Conference is the farthest time-horizon by which we should all feel compelled to bring the Treaty not only into force but also into full operation.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, let me assure you of the continued commitment of the Czech Republic to the CTBT and its entry into force. You can count on the Czech Republic as one of the earliest signatories and ratifiers, a regular contributor both with money and know-how and a willing supporter of all viable efforts towards having the Treaty meet its purpose.

Thank you, Mr. President.


Statement by H.E. Mr. Miroslav Somol, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade and Head of the Delegation of the Czech Republic at the United Nations Conference on Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects

Mr. Chairman,

On behalf of the Czech delegation, I want to congratulate you and the vice-chairmen on your election to your prominent posts. I would also like to thank Ambassador Dos Santos for his outstanding contribution to the preparations of the Conference, and to wish all participants good luck in their deliberations. The Czech delegation is ready to play a constructive role in the discussion aimed at elaborating and adopting a workable Action Programme.

Although the Czech Republic has aligned itself with the statement of the European Union, I would like to briefly elaborate on certain aspects of our national position on the issue before us.

Uncontrolled proliferation, excessive accumulation and misuse of small arms negatively affect the situation in many parts of the world. They are a factor which impedes economic and social development, escalates tensions leading to armed conflicts which are a threat to legitimate governments and innocent civilian populations, the majority of whom are women and children. They undermine efforts to reach an early and enduring peace in post-conflict situations. As regards the problem of child soldiers, the Czech Republic believes that abundance of small arms is only a contributing factor. The root causes go much deeper, to the social and economic development in the affected countries. Problems associated with international terrorism, organized crime and other criminal activities are another cause for our concern..

In the opinion of the Czech Republic, the core element of any comprehensive solution is national responsibility for own domectic legislation regulating and controlling the exports, imports and possession of small arms. Small arms stocks should be held for legitimate defence needs, including participation in peacekeeping operations.

The complex, multidimensional problem posed by small arms requires a broad range of countermeasures as well as mutually reinforcing, concerted action of international and regional organizations. The two guiding principles - transparency and information exchange - should help the States to detect and suppress illicit trade in conventional weapons, including small arms, and to provide cost-effective technical assistance.

Action in support of this global process has recently appeared high on the agenda of regional organizations, and evidenced for example by the OSCE Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Bamaco Declaration, Brasília Declaration and OAS Declaration on Small Arms and Light Weapons. The Czech Republic appreciates these activities and in this context believes that consistent application and feedback will be necessary in attaining the stated objectives of these initiatives. Another critical element in the fight against uncontrolled proliferation and accumulation of small arms is a responsible export policy which lowers the risk of diversion of legal transfers into the illegal market. All these aspects must be taken into account in formulating workable conclusions of this Conference. In this context, the Czech Republic recalls especially the EU proposals, including the suggested measures on traceability of small arms such as marking, record-keeping, long-term availability of records and broad cooperation between all competent authorities.

Against the background of the ongoing international initiatives, the Czech Republic urges that the UN Action Programme be very clear and realistic. In fact, adoption of reasonable and clear political commitments and implementing mechanisms should be our primary objective at this Conference. I do not certainly foresee that we shall find answers to all questions within this limited time-frame. The Action Programme should lay sound foundations for future action and outline the responsibilities and tasks of States, regional and international organizations, including the UN bodies and agencies, on the issue of small arms and light weapons in all its aspects. The irreplaceable role of non-governmental organizations in the field should be taken into account as well. The Czech Republic supports the proposals concerning the follow-up process, including the review conference in 2000. The Czech Republic is ready to share its expertise on national legislation and to provide technical assistance on some particular problems.

The publication "The Czech Republic and Small Arms and Light Weapons", which is distributed to the delegations at this Conference, is the Czech Republic´s contribution to this process, namely to information exchange on national legislation and the national control system.

Mr. Chairman,

Finally, I am convinced that the Conference will meet our expectations and become a milestone on the road towards the reduction of illicit arms trade. It should also stimulate us to address the problems of the most affected countries and regions. The declarations of political will made in the preparatory process should be reflected in the final text of the Action Programme.

Thank you for attention.


Statement by H.E. Mr. Bohumil Fiser, Head of the Delegation, Minister of Health of the Czech Republic to the Twenty-sixth Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on HIV/AIDS

Mr. President,

Mr. Secretary-General,

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I have the honour to speak here today on behalf of the President of the Czech Republic, Mr. Vaclav Havel.

Aware of the widespread HIV/AIDS epidemic, which is now passing its third decade, the Czech Republic was one of the first initiators of the open discussions of this problem. At this point I would like to express our appreciation to the co-facilitators of the preparatory process, Ambassador Debra Ka and especially Ambassador Wensley, for their tireless efforts towards completing the Declaration of Commitments.

There is no doubt that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is now a global crisis and constitutes one of the most serious destabilizing factors of development and social progress. From the very beginning the Czech Republic has taken part in the activities of the Global Programme on AIDS and also of its successor, UNAIDS programme. Moreover, for many years we closely co-operate with the neighbouring European countries in medical, social and economic areas.

Our country has been so far lucky and is not affected by the spread of the disease. It still ranks among the European as well as world countries with the lowest HIV/AIDS incidence. By May 2001, there were a total of 514 HIV-infected persons registered in the Czech Republic. Of this number, 151 persons have already developed the clinical stage of AIDS. And 90 people have so far died of the disease.

We are of the opinion, that the proper coordination at the national level is very important. Our government closely collaborates with other civil society actors - NGO's, economic and research institutions, people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. Our programme against HIV/AIDS is based on prevention. Both governmental and non-governmental sector focus especially on young people by enhancing the sexual and family education in our schools. Clear and open dialogue with all vulnerable groups is fundamental for further action.

An effective prevention is based on a widely accessible voluntary HIV testing and pre- and post-test counseling. Each district of my country - and there are more than 80 locations in 10 million population - provides access to this type of tests. High priority is given to the reduction of mother-to-child HIV transmission risk. As of 1st January 2001, HIV tests for all pregnant women are mandatory, with the aim to administer free specific antiretrovirus prophylaxis to all HIV+ women. The first three cases of HIV-positive babies in the Czech Republic have been a sufficiently warning signal and, at the same time, a corresponding stimulus for giving adequate consideration to this issue.

We also pay close attention to the care availability and quality of the treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS in our clinical AIDS centres. Therapy and prophylaxis is covered by health insurance and by a national HIV/AIDS subsidy.

We recognize that the dimensions of this epidemic have grown beyond the control of individual countries of the world, however rich or large they may be. The only possible way out of this situation is to mobilize all reserves in the area of international co-operation, science and preventive activities that have, in various parts of the world, proved effective. I fully agree with the Secretary-General Kofi Annan, that "we cannot deal with AIDS by making moral judgments or refusing to face unpleasant facts, and still less by stigmatizing those who are infected and making out that it is all their fault."

Let me finish my statement by quoting the President of the Czech Republic, Mr. Vaclav Havel, whom I have been authorized to represent in this Assembly: "Allow me to express a hope that this Session will contribute to closer co-operation of all countries in their efforts to prevent and eradicate this dangerous disease which is a scourge for the whole world, and, especially, for African countries."

Thank you for your attention.


Statement by Mr. Karel Havlicek, Deputy Minister for Regional Development of the Czech Republic at the Twenty-fifth Special Session of the UN General Assembly

Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

My delegation fully shares the views expressed yesterday by the distinguished minister of Sweden on behalf of the EU. The Czech Republic aligned itself with that statement and this allows me to confine my statement to a brief characterization of current processes in my country and few comments on the Habitat II follow-up.

Mr. President,

In the five years which elapsed since the Istanbul conference, the Czech Republic continued the process of substantial changes in the sphere of housing and human settlements. One of the recent milestones in this process has been the adoption of a strategic document known as "Housing Policy Concept" in 1999. It traces past developments in the housing sector, identifies main challenges, and formulates underlying objectives and prerequisites of their attainment. Some of the goals have already been achieved, including the establishment of the State Housing Development Fund.

These years have also seen a major public administration reform in the Czech Republic including the establishment of fourteen new regions with elected representation. Administrative powers are being gradually transferred on to these newly created territorial units.

Mr. President,

At the Millennium Summit, the Heads of the States took a commitment for whose fulfilment we feel to be responsible, too. The commitment says that by the year 2020 a significant improvement is to be achieved in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers as proposed in the "Cities without Slums" initiative. The course of fulfilling the commitment will verify the Habitat capability to participate in the solving of such a comprehensive issue.

Like many other delegations, we strongly feel that the Habitat Agenda should not be re-negotiated while the mechanisms of implementation are still to be strengthened. Our efforts should, therefore, concentrate on the agreed framework of priorities within the Agenda to make it useful and manageable in terms of implementation for all countries.

We will also maintain our interest to assist in establishing, promotion and support of municipal and regional networks of a pool of common and easy-to-measure indicators applicable for national reporting. However, this will call for modifications of the existing indicators.

Mr. President,

In the course of implementation of the Habitat Agenda, it is almost impossible to overstate the importance of regional, national and local approaches. For our region, Europe, let me mention the Ministerial meeting held last September in Geneva within the framework of the 61st Session of the Committee on Human Settlements of the UN Economic Commission for Europe. This meeting adopted a "S trategy for a Sustainable Quality of Life in Human Settlements in the 21st Century". We see, similarly to Ms. Anna Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of Habitat, this document and the approved Declaration of Ministers as good starting points for the future focus of the work of the Committee as well as an important step for the future implementation of the Habitat Agenda in the ECE region and its contribution to the global process.

We are well aware that the goals set by the Habitat Agenda may accelerate the housing policy reforms enacted by many countries and - at the same time - intensify regional and world-wide co-operation. The Czech Republic, too, is working hard indeed in a bid to achieve gradually those goals. We will support the efforts to implement those goals also by continuing our voluntary annual contributions to the activities of the UN Centre for Human Settlements in Nairobi.

Thank you for you attention.