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

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General Assembly - 52nd Session (1997-1998)

El Arancel de Aduana El documento principal que sirve para aplicar y pagar las tasas aduaneras por las mercancías importadas a la República Checa (RCh) lo es el arancel de aduana vigente para el aňo corriente. Esta tarifa se publica anualmente conforme a la disposición respectiva del

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PLENARY



  • Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, The Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina
    New York, December 15, 1997

  • Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency
    New York, November 12, 1997

  • Statement by H.E. Mr. Josef Zieleniec, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic to the Fifty-second Session of the United Nations General Assembly
    New York, September 1997


Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, The Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mr. President,

Although the Czech Republic as an associated country has endorsed the EU statement presented by the representative of Luxembourg, I would like to make a few additional comments on this point. The reason is that the situation in the former Yugoslavia, namely in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a long-term priority of the Czech foreign policy, reflected in our intensive political, military, material and financial support for all efforts to bring stability to the region.

The Czech Republic supports a united Bosnia and Herzegovina based on the principle of single citizenship. However, it recognizes that Bosnia and Herzegovina now consists of two entities - the Moslem-Croat Federation and the Republika Srpska. We feel that the two entities cannot be forced to work together. The three ethnic groups must be aware of the advantages of mutual cooperation. We expected that the forming of Bosnian government and the constituent session of the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina would activate common Bosnian institutions, however, the actual progress has been inadequate. We think that the major reason is the lack of political will on all sides. The internal development in Republika Srpska is characterized by a growing rift between the supporters of President Plavsicova who urge the strict implementation of the Dayton Agreement and the party of former Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic. The parliamentary elections in November, no matter how effectively they demonstrated the prevailing desire for democratization of the society, did not mark a turning point for the effort to build an independent, united and multiethnic state. In this context, I would like to say that I fully agree with the speakers before me who appreciated the tremendous performance of OSCE, SFOR and other personnel in organizing and supervising the elections.

It is beyond all doubt that a consistent implementation of all articles of the Dayton Agreement is crucial to the prospects of a normally functioning democratic state capable of ensuring the basic social, legal, security and other conditions for everybody. The Czech Republic therefore fully agrees with the conclusions of the PIC conference held in Bonn a couple of days ago which, inter alia, reaffirmed that the international community must continue to work toward the implementation of the Dayton Agreement, namely of the civilian aspects. While the military aspects of the Dayton Agreement are almost fully in place, much remains to be done for the civilian aspects, despite the recent moderate progress. The urgent problems include the return of refugees, freedom of movement and efficiency of local police force. A sine qua non in this context is an early understanding between the leaders of both entities on full implementation of the constitutional provisions which they have endorsed. For this reason, the Czech Republic wholeheartedly supports an extended mandate for the High Representative with a view to effective and expedited implementation of the civilian aspects of the Dayton Agreement. The PIC conference was a clear signal that the international community wants to see concrete results and that these results will be reflected, inter alia, in the volume of international aid.

The International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has an essential role in dealing with the consequences of the war. The Czech Republic reaffirms its unfailing support for this mechanism for investigation and punishment of war crimes which is essential to the moral renewal of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as to boosting the population´s confidence in the international community.

The economic reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a challenge to the international community. We should bear in mind that international aid should flow to all parts of the country, including the Republika Srpska. The Czech Republic has to date contributed to the international reconstruction efforts in proportion to its own capacities, it has provided development aid totalling USD 3 million and additional allocations are planned for 1998.

Judging from the current developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, one cannot abandon this country in summer 1998. We therefore maintain that the presence of NATO-led multinational armed forces in the country must continue after the mandate of SFOR expires next June. In such case, the Czech Republic, a country which has contributed troops to UNPROFOR, UNCRO, UNTAES, IFOR and SFOR, stands ready to contribute a contingent to the new operation as soon as the appropriate political decision is made by the NATO Council and the mandate for the operation approved by the UN Security Council.

Thank you, Mr. President.


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

Mr President,

At the outset I wish to voice my country's support to the statement delivered by Luxembourg on behalf of the European Union and associated countries. I shall therefore limit my intervention only to those issues which the Czech Republic considers of particular importance.

Mr President,

The 41st session of the General Conference of the IAEA marked the 40th anniversary of existence of the International Atomic Energy Agency and as such it was an occasion for making a balance sheet of what has been achieved and what has failed. Above all it was an opportunity for setting new tasks and goals.

As we all know, the main objectives of the IAEA have been to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of nuclear energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world. My country shares the opinion that in this respect the work of the Agency has been successful.

Over the past four decades the development of peaceful uses of atomic energy took place in the environment created by the Cold War and bipolar world. It should be noted that the IAEA was one of those organizations which coped with this bipolarity day by day by bringing people of different nationalities together under its roof, by providing them with a stage for the exchange of views and experiences and by creating a suitable platform for setting up common security principles in the use of nuclear energy. The IAEA thus contributed to greater understanding, cooperation and progress, irrespectively of existing political divisions.

In the course of years the IAEA has also well proved its ability to reflect the needs of its Member States. In accord with them it gradually redirected its emphasis from a general and broad support to all forms of peaceful uses of atomic energy and ionizing radiation to the elaboration of basic principles of nuclear safety and radiation protection. More recently it has focused its efforts on the problem of radioactive wastes and nuclear fuel cycle. This process has been accompanied by seeking new improved forms of its own management and internal structure.

The mission and tasks of the IAEA in ensuring global security in respect to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons remain the top priority in the current and future activities of the Agency. The Czech Republic welcomes the adoption of the model text of the Protocol Additional to the Safeguards Agreements as a concrete and positive outcome of the "93+2 Programme". The Protocol substantively increases the inspection mandate of the IAEA. I have the honour, Mr President, to inform you that the Czech Republic has initiated steps to accede to the Protocol.

Mr President,

When speaking about global safety culture we have to place the safety of both nuclear power plants and other non-military facilities using nuclear resources for peaceful purposes, in certain international legal framework. The Czech Republic commends the efforts of the IAEA and its Member States leading to preparation and adoption of the Protocol to Amend the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, and the Joint Convention on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management and on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management, all of which are introducing safety standards to the areas which had not yet been covered. My country is prepared to incorporate them in its legislation upon their signature, adoption and entry into force.

Mr. President,

The development and use of nuclear energy and ionizing radiation sources is closely linked to international co-operation and technical assistance programmes. These programmes serve the country in gaining new experiences, methods and approaches and at the same time in sharing its own experiences with the others. The IAEA technical co-operation programmes, implemented at both regional and national levels, are of particular technical, social and economic assistance for their beneficiaries.

Mr. President,

One of the most intensively discussed topics at the last General Conference was the Article VI of the Statute. Those, who have been interested or directly involved in the discussions, would agree that we have been dealing with a very complex, complicated and sensitive issue, where maximum understanding for partner's views and maximum flexibility are the necessary preconditions for success. The Czech Republic has stressed many times it did not feel the urgent need for changes in size and composition of the Board of Governors, for the reasons of keeping the work of the Board efficient and effective. However, in the course of discussions we have decided, in the spirit of compromise, to accept a package solution proposed by Canada. At the same time we would like to stress here, that should there be any atempt to deal with each aspect of the proposal separately, the Czech Republic could not go along with any solution leading to other than equal representation of all geographic areas in accordance with recent developments in the membership of the IAEA, particularly in Europe.

Mr President,

I would like to conclude my intervention by expressing my country's appreciation and thanks to the outgoing Director-General, Mr. Hans Blix, for his sixteen years of work devoted to the Agency. It was a period of persistent pressure on dynamic expansion of IAEA activities on one hand and of limited funds on the other, a period when the IAEA had to cope with problems around Iraq, Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, the Middle East peace talks and the effectiveness of safeguards. Dr Blix has grappled with all of them successfully. He deserves our special thanks for his personal contribution to the success and high reputation of the IAEA. Thank you, Mr. Blix.

In the very conclusion I would like to wish the IAEA and its newly elected Director-General, Mr. Mohamed ElBaradei, much success in their future work.

Thank you, Mr. President.


Statement by H.E. Mr. Josef Zieleniec, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic to the Fifty-second Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Mr. President,

May I congratulate you at the beginning of my address on your election as President of the 52nd session of the United Nations General Assembly and wish you much success in this important and responsible function. I would also like to use this opportunity to thank your predecessor, Ambassador Razali Ismail, who with his typical energetic approach contributed greatly to the success of the 51st session.

Mr. President,

The recently concluded 51st UNGA session can certainly be described without exaggeration as one of the key periods in the history of the United Nations. The important reform proposals submitted during its course will, if carried out, result in the most fundamental change in the structure and activities of the United Nations ever since its foundation. We strongly believe that the organization will emerge from the reform process reinforced and that this process will increase UN´s importance as a global forum focusing on serious problems facing our world today, open to all wishing and willing to take part.

UN Reform
We greatly appreciate the vigour and vision with which Secretary-General Kofi Annan has committed himself to the reform efforts. We support both the measures he has already taken to make the work of the UN Secretariat more effective, and the package of recommendations he has submitted to the General Assembly last July. It now depends on the political will of the Member States whether or not these concrete and effective reform steps are really put to life. The Czech Republic will make every effort to be most cooperative in this respect.

We are glad that the reform efforts of the Secretary-General have met with favourable response in the Member States. His proposals have been supported also by the sixteen heads of state and government associated in the Carlsson Group, of which Czech President Václav Havel is also a member. As this Group stated in its declaration of August 10, 1997, on the reform proposals of the Secretary-General, the United Nations has a chance to make a step forward and this chance should not be missed.

As for restructuring the Security Council, the Czech Republic prefers the expansion of both Council-member categories while preserving the Council´s effectiveness and flexibility. We continue to support an increase in the number of permanent members by Germany, Japan and three other countries representing Africa, Asia and Latin America. My country also advocates expansion of the category of non-permanent seats, including one seat for the Eastern European group of states.

The reform of the Security Council should also result in improving and simplifying the Council's working methods. My country has actively participated in discussions of this question and has submitted a proposal for a broader interpretation of Article 31 of the UN Charter. We are pleased that our proposal has been backed by a number of Member States and believe it will become part of the working methods of the reformed Security Council.

It is quite unthinkable to restructure the United Nations without changing its present system of financing. In order to make cost sharing more equitable it is necessary to change the existing scale of assessments. The new system of contributions to the regular budget and to peacekeeping operations should reflect the real economic capacity of individual Member States. All Member States without exception should also duly comply with their financial obligations.

International developments
Mr. President,

For my country, this year is a year of important events. The invitation extended at the Madrid Summit, to three Central European countries, including the Czech Republic, to open talks on accession to NATO, is a key and historical decision which we do not regard as a first and last step, but rather as the beginning of the process of NATO enlargement. The Czech Republic is convinced that the Alliance will in the future invite some other democratic countries. The signing of the Founding Act on mutual relations, cooperation and security between NATO and the Russian Federation constitutes an important step towards the strengthening of European security.

The Czech Republic has noted with satisfaction that the effort of the European Union to further enhance the integration process has achieved concrete results at the Intergovernmental Conference in Amsterdam. We welcomed the European Comission´s positive assessment of the Czech Republic as a candidate for EU membership. We believe that negotiations with our country and other candidates for EU membership can start in the first months of 1998.

One of the basic prerequisites for a country's stability are its harmonious relations with neighbours. This is why we attach great importance to the Czech - German declaration on mutual relations and their future development signed in Prague in January 1997. By signing this document the two sides confirmed their political will to further intensify allround bilateral cooperation as an expression of their determination to jointly work on shaping a peaceful future in Europe. In fact this joint determination and political will is already being transformed into concrete steps in different areas.

Mr President,

We are very sensitive to political problems of our present world and, within our capacities, participate in their solution. One of the most complicated issues is undoubtedly the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, and particularly in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We support the peace process based on the Dayton Peace Accords and on the London Plan of Action, and consider them the best possible solution to the protracted conflict. It is beyond dispute that one key prerequisite for the success of the peace process is the just punishment of all war crimes committed during the conflict.

We also focus our attention on the situation in the Middle East - the region currently being visited by President Havel. The peace process has gotten into a difficult phase now but its role is irreplaceable. We hope, however, that bilateral talks between the State of Israel and its neighbours will lead to greater stability in the region and eventually result in just and lasting peace for all.

The Czech Republic follows with much concern security and humanitarian situation in certain African countries, in particular in the Great Lakes region, but also in Somalia and Sierra Leone. We fully support the efforts of the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity aimed at putting an end to unrest, wars and suffering in Africa. Positive changes taking place for example in Liberia fill us with optimism. We believe that the work done by our own military observers in UNOMIL operation has also contributed to this progress.

Peace-keeping, arms control and disarmament
Mr. President,

My country wishes to continue to participate in building a global security architecture. On the soil of the United Nations we want to work actively mainly in the fields of peace-keeping operations, arms control and disarmament. Our military observers, doctors and other medical personnel participate in a number of United Nations peace-keeping operations. A Czech Army battalion has been operating in Bosnia-Herzegovina under NATO command within the SFOR multinational force, on the basis of the Security Council mandate. It has been performing its tasks well and we are pleased that its activities are being viewed positively.

The inclusion of the Czech Republic at the beginning of this year in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations is both a sign of appreciation of our activities in this field and manifestation of our commitment to further participate in peacekeeping operations and to improve the level of our participation.

Mr President,

The Czech Republic has been actively participating in the field of arms control and disarmament. As a non-nuclear-weapon state we are naturally interested in attaining universality of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and its strict observance which, as we expect, will lead to further reduction of nuclear proliferation and will advance the long-term objective of nuclear disarmament. We attach great importance to sessions of the preparatory committees and expect that their positive suggestions could set the tone of the Review Conference to be held in the year 2000 towards reinforcing the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The Czech Republic has from the very beginning voiced support for the idea of strengthening international safeguards system of the International Atomic Energy Agency within the so-called "93 + 2 Programme". It was within these efforts that the Czech Republic only a few days ago officially informed the IAEA Secretariat of its interest to conclude a Supplementary Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement between the Czech Republic and the IAEA as required by the NPT.

The majority of the United Nations Member States signed last year the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and I am pleased to state that my country was one of the first to have ratified it.

We welcome the establishment of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. We expect it to effectively control and carry out the verification process in which we are prepared to participate fully. We are convinced that the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons needs more effective control mechanisms. To this end, Czech experts are actively participating in talks on finalizing the verification protocol which will considerably strengthen this Convention.

In the field of conventional weapons, the Czech Republic supports all measures contributing to greater transparency and has been systematically fulfilling all obligations concerning notifications to the respective registers. At this year's Brussels Conference on anti- personnel land mines, the Czech Republic joined the so-called Ottawa process and is prepared to sign in Ottawa early in December a Convention on the complete ban of this kind of weapons.

Major Czech activities in UN bodies
Mr. President,

It has been an honour for my country to chair two important UN bodies this year.

The Economic and Social Council plays a very important role in promoting international cooperation in the economic and social fields. Its reform is therefore very important. The Czech Republic has always stressed the need for better coordination, effectiveness and simplification of the Council's structure and activities. And we believe that when chairing the Council we have helped shape its new image. We noted promising signs of this new image already during its substantive session in July. One example was the high-level segment with participation of ministers and senior government officials which proved the growing interest of the Member States in discussions on specific subjects. An informal political dialogue with representatives of UN funds and agencies proved also the Council's ability to serve as a platform for useful and fruitful exchange of views. The reform and strengthening of the Economic and Social Council should continue. In this respect we welcome all steps taken to implement of Resolution 50/227 and above all to further simplify the structure of the Council's subsidiary bodies.

In its priorities, the Czech Republic pays great attention to the protection of human rights as one of the necessary conditions for free development of human society and democracy. We had the honour to chair the Commission on Human Rights in the first year of our membership of this important body. Proceeding from this experience, the Czech Republic has been urging the elimination of factors negatively influencing the work of the Commission and has been seeking new approaches and methods of dealing with individual cases of flagrant violation of human rights.

Next year, the international community will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We hope that this event will not be merely an occasion for ceremonial assemblies and declarations but for presenting concrete results of work in the field of human rights.

Organized crime and international terrorism
Mr. President,

My country supports all efforts aimed at an early establishment of the International Criminal Court which would establish a new system for punishing the most serious crimes of human rights violations and of international humanitarian law. The need for such an institution is acute and the Czech Republic fully supports the convocation of a diplomatic conference in 1998 to adopt and open to signature the Convention on the Establishment of the Court.

One of the burning scourges of our world today is the growth of international organized crime and the related problem of drug abuse. This global problem can be solved effectively only through close international cooperation. We believe that the Special Session of the UN General Assembly in 1998 will stimulate the strengthening of this cooperation.

Another threat hanging over the world is international terrorism. This is a threat which can be neutralized only by the tough and uncompromising attitude of the international community and by effective international cooperation. Every country sincerely interested in security throughout the world must strictly observe and comply with commitments arising from relevant international instruments. The Czech Republic supports every effort aimed at the elaboration of an International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings. In this respect my country has also actively participated in the work of the Ad hoc Committee set up to deal with this problem and believes that the current session of experts will make further progress in the finalization of the draft convention so that it could be adopted and opened to signature as soon as possible.

Environment
Mr. President,

One of the most dynamically developing spheres of international and global cooperation is that of environment and sustainable development. The UN has been traditionally working hard in this field. The key and irreplaceable role in this field are played by the UN Environment Programme and the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. It seems that UNEP is already on the way out of crisis, although by far not all the problems are solved. The recent establishment of the High Level Committee is undoubtedly a step towards improvement of UNEP´s governing structure and towards stabilization of its programme and budget. In a short time, we expect the strengthened UNEP to start with a new endeavor to fulfil its mandate.

The process of follow-up activities of the UN Conference on Environmental Development was given a new and strong impulse at the 19th Special Session of the UN General Assembly. The results of this Special Session were not unambiguously positive. On the one hand, we welcome the wide support for the promotion of sustainable development and for efforts of governments and international organizations, further strengthened by complementary activities of non- governmental organizations, national governments, entrepreneurial circles and other interest groups. On the other hand, however, the session proved that not all of them are prepared to take resolute steps towards achieving sustainable development.

Mr. President,

The tasks facing the United Nations in the next period are numerous and difficult. However, they have been clearly outlined and can be fulfilled. It also depends on us, Member States, whether and how we will cope with them. And it is the result of our joint efforts that will decide not only the further fate of the world Organization but also of the world itself on the threshold of the next millennium.

Thank you, Mr. President