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

česky  english 

Advanced search

Article notification Print Decrease font size Increase font size

General Assembly - 50th Session (1995-1996)

Plenary First Committee Second Committee Third Committee Fourth Committee Fifth Committee Sixth Committee Other PLENARY Statement by H.E. Mr. Karel Kovanda, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, on the

Plenary

First Committee

Second Committee

Third Committee

Fourth Committee

Fifth Committee

Sixth Committee

Other

PLENARY



  • Statement by H.E. Mr. Karel Kovanda, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, on the situation in the Middle East
    New York, December 1, 1995

  • Statement by H.E. Mr. Karel Kovanda, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency
    New York, November 1, 1995

  • Statement by H.E. Mr. Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic at the meeting of "the Group of 16"
    New York, October 23, 1995


Statement by H.E. Mr. Karel Kovanda, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, on the situation in the Middle East, Agenda Item 44

At the outset I wish to join other speakers in hailing the memory of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. He was a friend of my country, and the last meeting he had, in New York, with my President, Mr. Václav Havel, is something I will be talking about to my grandchildren.

In September 1993, when representatives of Israel and of the Palestine Liberation Organization met in Washington to sign the Declaration of Principles, the Middle East seemed ready to follow a course towards peace in the coming months, in line with the time frame of the Declaration. In the event, the course turned out to be full of brambles and boulders. But given the history of the region, the marvel is that the peace process did continue, not that it didn't meet its self-imposed schedule.

The progress has been obvious: the parties have established an expanding Palestinian self-rule in Gaza and the West Bank, settled urgent security problems and created conditions for elections to the Palestinian Authority. An Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty has been signed and its provisions are being implemented successfully.

The Czech Republic welcomes this progress. We have throughout supported the peace process and any talks on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 and 338.

To be durable and successful, any Middle East settlement has to have a tangible effect on the daily life of the local people. Economic development and reconstruction, above all in the autonomous Palestinian territories, is therefore an indispensable part of the peace process. Old conflicts will not, of course, simply dissolve in economic prosperity; nevertheless, without positive economic and social effects, peace will hardly take root.

Many countries are therefore endeavouring to promote comprehensive economic development in the Middle East and in Northern Africa. The 1994 Casablanca Summit outlined trends of regional economic integration, private investment and establishment of regional economic institutions. The recent Amman Conference, which followed up on Casablanca, elaborated these ideas and triggered concrete development projects.

In this context, we wish to commend the activity of the five working groups of multilateral talks on the Middle East. They are very important as a vehicle for preparing and implementing concrete projects in the region and as a forum for nourishing mutual contacts and cooperation among erstwhile adversaries. In September 1995, the Czech Republic was admitted as a member of the groups for water resources and for regional economic development. Our membership will allow us to intensify our participation in the development and reconstruction of the region. We hope the experience of our experts and companies, based on their long-standing business connections in a number of Mid-East countries will prove its worth.

So far, the Czech Republic has sought to assist by contributing - just yesterday at its pledging conference - to the UNRWA fund. Furthermore, we grant scholarships to Palestinian students. And earlier this year, the Czech Government authorized development aid to the autonomous territories; its concrete form and methods of financing are being considered.

Economic prosperity is not a universal medicine; the functioning of human community is more complex. Nevertheless, there is no doubt but that economic crises, i.e., the lack of economic prosperity, is one breeding ground for extremism. Economic growth in the Middle East is therefore an important tool for thwarting extremist and radical tendencies. We condemn such tendencies and strongly oppose violent acts of extremists, often targeted at civilians.

Even as we welcome the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Jordanian settlements, we hope that all other necessary bilateral negotiations will also begin and produce tangible positive results. We are convinced, for example, that the peace process will eventually alleviate incessant tensions troubling southern Lebanon and restore Lebanese sovereignty over its entire terrirory, in accordance with the Security Council resolution 425.

Unlike the Middle East peace process, the situation in Iraq offers only scant encouragement. Over the past two years we have carefully and responsibly studied the situation as Security Council members. Although from time to time we thought we had registered positive signals, the overall view is far from satisfactory.

Despite partial steps taken by Iraq, we are still awaiting its compliance with relevant SC resolutions, especially resolutions 687 and 715. We found Iraq's own recent admissions regarding its weapons of mass destruction programmes very disturbing. They proved that the work of the UN Special Commission is nowhere near an end. We also continue to be concerned about the fate of Kuwaiti and other nationals abducted and detained by Iraq, and have not ignored the issue of restitution of stolen Kuwaiti properties.

In connection with Iraq, one hears concerns - even in today's newspaper - over the difficult plight of its people which allegedly results from the imposition of sanctions. We are not going to compare their suffering with that which Iraqi leaders had in stock for mankind, in the form of most heinous biological, chemical and other weapons of mass destruction. We do, however, wish to urge Iraqi leaders once again, as we have repeatedly done in the Security Council, that they take a second look, and a third look, at Resolution 986. This resolution provides ample mechanisms to feed the hungry and minister to the sick - if only Iraqi authorities were prepared to take up this opportunity.


Statement by H.E. Mr. Karel Kovanda, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency

My delegation has associated itself with the statement of the European Union presented by the Spanish delegation here. I will therefore limit myself to a few points of addition and emphasis.

The Czech Republic views the IAEA as one of the most important bodies within the UN. Its annual General Conference (GC) was held in Vienna from 18 to 22 September 1995. During its 39th session, the GC concentrated on evaluating IAEA's activities in the previous period. We consider the previous year a successful one.

The indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the thorough evaluation of all aspects of implementing it were the most important events of the year. We recall the difficulties we faced on the way towards this objective. But, member States have now explicitly committed themselves to exclusively peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and very clearly reiterated their No to any threat of world destruction by nuclear weapons. These accomplishments fully coincide with foreign-policy objectives of the Czech Republic.

No discussion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy can avoid issues of nuclear safety: that is, the safe operation of nuclear facilities, safe management of nuclear waste, protection against radiation and liability for nuclear damage.

Signing the Nuclear Safeguard Convention, during the 38th session of the IAEA GC, was an important step in allaying these concerns. The Czech Republic was among the first twenty signatories of the Convention, and our Parliament ratified it on 23 May 1995. My country encourages all Member States which have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Convention, so that it may enter into force as soon as possible. This is also what Resolution GC(39)/RES/13 of the General Conference invited them to do.

The issue of safe manipulation with nuclear waste is one of our main priorities. Preparing the draft of the relevant Convention and convening an experts' session in Vienna this past June were steps in the right direction. We do not assume that working out the final draft of the new Convention will be problem-free. Nevertheless, our common objective - global protection of population against irresponsible manipulation with nuclear waste - should help us find generally acceptable language.

Of course, acceptance of a convention does not automatically assure its objective. An operational multilateral verification mechanism which will dispell concerns about its breaches is essential for achieving the objective in question. My delegation respects the IAEA role in providing safeguards at nuclear facilities all over the world. We continue to support the Agency's effort to develop a strengthened safeguard system based on the so-called "Programme 93+2" which integrates all proven items of the present system with certain additional measures. We welcome the adoption of the GC(39)/RES/17 resolution which requested the IAEA Director General to implement at an early date measures outlined in Part 1 of the document GOV/2807 and as soon as possible, after consulting Member States, to put before the Board of Governors clear proposals for measures suggested in Part 2 .

As we appreciate the necessity to ensure sufficient financial means for inspections on the basis of collective responsibility, we welcome the agreement on a new system of financing safeguards as well as on voluntary contributions to the Technical Cooperation Fund, approved by the General Conference of the IAEA. The Czech Republic is committed to paying its pledges in full and on time.

Even though the Czech Republic acceded only two years ago to the Vienna Convention on Liability for Nuclear Damage, we welcome attempts to amend the present text of the Convention so that it cover also areas not exhaustively covered currently. We believe the Standing Committee should focus on revising the Vienna Convention and are open to all ideas concerning more universal coverage. We consider the supplementary funding issue a very important component of these discussions.

Illicit trafficking with nuclear material is a most serious matter. We fully support steps which the Agency has taken in order to stop it. In view of our geographical location, we particularly appreciate close regional cooperation in this matter.

The Czech Republic supports the IAEA's effort to monitor the freeze of the nuclear programme in specified facilities in the DPRK, according to the mandate the IAEA has from the UN Security Council. The DPRK should meet its obligations and fully implement the full scope of safeguards within its territory. We also appeal to DPRK authorities to provide the IAEA with all necessary information to help complete the DPRK's initial report on the inventory of its nuclear material subject to safeguards.

In the light of the detection of further details of the Iraqi nuclear-weapons development programme in August 1995, we also fully support the Agency's right to continue to monitor every aspect of Iraq's ability to develop nuclear weaponry. In resolution GC(39)/RES/5 we appealed to Iraq to cooperate consistently with the Agency, particularly with regard to the Ongoing Monitoring and Verification Plan.

I wish to express my delegation's appreciation and support for the work of Director- General Hans Blix, and of the Agency's Secretariat which performs excellently even under difficult financial circumstances.

In conclusion, my delegation recommends the adoption of the draft resolution concerning the IAEA, which we have cosponsored, exactly as submitted.

Mr. Chairman,

The annual General Conference of the IAEA (GC), which the Czech Republic views as one of the most important bodies within the UN, was held in Vienna from 18 to 22 September 1995. During its 39th session the GC concentrated on evaluating the IAEA's activities in the previous period. We consider the previous year a successful one.

Extending the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty indefinitely and the thorough evaluation of all aspects of implementing it were the most important events of the year. We recall the difficulties on the way towards this objective. But, member States have now explicitly committed themselves to peaceful uses of nuclear energy exclusively, and very clearly said their No to any threat of world destruction by nuclear weapons. These accomplishments fully coincide with the foreign-policy objectives of the Czech Republic.

Mr. Chairman,

as we speak about peaceful uses of nuclear energy, we have to speak about nuclear safeguard as well: about safely operating nuclear facilities, safe manipulation with nuclear waste, about protection against radiation and liability for nuclear.

Last year's signing of the Nuclear Safeguard Convention, during the 38th session of the IAEA GC, was an important step in this direction. The Czech Republic was among the first twenty signatories to accede to the Convention, and the Czech Parliament ratified it on 23 May 1995. Subsequently, during the 39th session of the General Conference of the IAEA, the Instruments of Ratification were deposited with the IAEA. My country encourages all Member States which have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Convention, so that it may enter into force as soon as possible, as they were also invited in Resolution GC(39)/RES/13 of the General Conference.

The matter concerning safe manipulation with nuclear waste is one of our main priorities. Preparing the draft of the relevant Convention and convening an experts' session in Vienna in June this year, attended by our deputies as well, were in our view steps in the right direction. On the other hand, we do not suppose that working out the final draft of new Convention will be problem-free. Still, we believe that our common objective with regard to the global protection of population against irresponsible manipulation with nuclear waste may help us find generally acceptable language.

Mr. Chairman,

Acceptance of a convention does not necessarily assure the achievement of its objective. An operational multilateral verification mechanism which will dispell concerns about breaches is essential for achieving the objective in question. My delegation respects the IAEA position in providing safeguards as well as during inspections at nuclear facilities all over the world. We continue to support the Agency's effort to develop a strengthened safeguard system based on the so-called "Programme 93 + 2" which integrates all proven items of the present system with some additional measures. We welcome the adoption of the GC(39)/RES/17 resolution requesting the IAEA Director General to implement at an early date measures outlined in Part 1 of the document GOV/2807 and to put before the Board of Governors as soon as possible, after consulting Member States, clear proposals for the measures proposed in Part 2 .

As we appreciate the necessity to ensure sufficient financial means for inspections on the basis of collective responsibility, we welcome the agreement concerning a new system of financing safeguards as well as voluntary contributions to the Technical Cooperation Fund approved by the General Conference of the IAEA. The Czech Republic has pledged to meet its voluntary payments in full and on time.

Even though the Czech Republic acceded only two years ago to the Vienna Convention on Nuclear Damage, we welcome attempts to amend the present text of the Convention so that it cover also additional areas. We believe the Standing Committee should focus on the revision of the Vienna Convention and are open to all ideas concerning more universal coverage. We consider the supplementary funding issue a very important part of these discussions which ought to lead to an acceptable compromise.

Mr. Chairman,

illicit trafficking with nuclear material is a most serious matter. We fully support steps which the Agency has taken in order to stop it. In view of our geographical location, we particularly appreciate close regional cooperation in this matter.

The following text applies to two political resolutions adopted by the General Conference and it remains at solely discretion to which extent it will be included in speech:

The Czech Republic supports the IAEA's effort to monitor the freeze of the nuclear programme in specified facilities in the DPRK according to the mandate given the IAEA by the UN Security Council. We are convinced that the DPRK should meet its obligations and fully implement the full scope of safeguards within its territory. We also appeal to the DPRK to provide the IAEA with all necessary information, which will help complete the DPRK's initial report on the inventory of its nuclear material subject to safeguards.

In the light of the detection of further details of the Iraqi nuclear-weapons development programme in August 1995, we also fully support the Agency's right to continue to monitor every aspect of Iraq's ability to develop nuclear weapon. In resolution GC(39)/RES/5 we appealed to Iraq to cooperate consistently with the Agency, particularly with regard to the Ongoing Monitoring and Verification Plan.

By way of conclusion I wish to express my appreciation and support to the work of Director-General Hans Blix, and of the Agency's Secretariat which perform even under a very difficult financial situation. I would also recommend the adoption of the IAEA communiqué in the form it was submitted.


Statement by H. E. Mr. Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic at the meeting of "the Group of 16"

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me first thank Prime Minister Carlsson for his initiative, and all of you for your contributions to the work of this group dedicated to multilateral solutions to problems of our global neighborhood.

I fully agree that the reform of the United Nations needs a comprehensive framework as well as a set timeframe. A great deal of analytical work has been done, and we all agree that reform is badly needed. Now we have to develop mechanisms to start the political process that will bring the desired results - mechanisms that will translate ideas and discussion into decisions.

The first task, probably the most important one, is to identify the basic values which are common to all cultures. If we succeed, it will be easier to create mechanisms for promoting, defending and if necessary enforcing these values in the global society.

The second batch of issues we have to deal with concerns the credibility, transparency and effectiveness of the United Nations and of the multilateral system as a whole.

We must have the courage to redefine the roles of the existing councils, committees, commissions, secretariats, etc., so as to eliminate overlaps and waste, and to dissolve those agencies that have become or will have become obsolete as circumstances change. First and foremost, however, we need leadership and a genuine readiness to work for changes. That is why I have welcomed this initiative.

There has been much cynicism and scepticism about the present state of world affairs. The only answer to that - if the future is to bring a change for the better - is activity and dedication. I support the idea of continuing our activities.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.