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Jacques Chirac Addresses U.N.

Aired September 23, 2003 - 11:51   ET


AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: As you can see, the French President Jacques Chirac is addressing the general assembly. He has told the gathering that multilateralism is the key. He came out swinging, if you will -- for it ensures the participation of all in the management of world affairs. And he ends this sequence on multilateralism, working together. He said it is up to the U.N. to mandate multinational force. So the French have not forgotten what went on in the last year either. Here is the president of France, Jacques Chirac.
JACQUES CHIRAC, PRESIDENT, FRANCE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Majesty, distinguished heads of state and government, Mr. President of the General Assembly, Mr. Secretary General of the United Nations, ladies and gentlemen, Sergio Vieira de Mello personified the honor of the United Nations. He was murdered on the 19th of August with members of his staff and we shall long remember him. Let us dedicate this session to that great servant of the world and of peace.

The United Nations has just weathered one of its most serious trials in its history: respect for the Charter, the use of force, were at the heart of the debate. The war, which was started without the authorization of the Security Council, has shaken the multilateral system.

Having taken stock of this crisis, our organization is now resuming its onward march, for it is primarily within this forum, the crucible of international law, that we must exercise our responsibilities to the world and to future generations.

In an open world, no one can live in isolation, no one can act in the name of everyone, no one can accept the anarchy of a society without rules. There is no alternative to the United Nations. But in order to meet today's challenges, this fundamental choice expressed by the charter requires a far-reaching reform of our organization.

Multilateralism is crucial because it ensures the participation by all in managing the affairs of the world. It guarantees the legitimacy and democracy, in particular when it is a question of deciding on the use of force or of laying down universal norms.

Multilateralism is effective because it allowed us in Monterrey and in Johannesburg to transcend north-south confrontation and to open the way to promising partnerships, in particular with the African continent. Multilateralism is modern because it alone makes it possible to apprehend contemporary problems globally and in all of their complexity. First, the settlement of conflicts that threaten international peace and security. In Iraq, the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis, who must have sole responsibility for their destiny, is essential for stability and reconstruction.

It is up the United Nations to lend its legitimacy to that process.

It is also up to the United Nations to assist with the gradual transfer of administrative and economic responsibilities to the Iraqi institutions, according to a realistic timetable and to help the Iraqis draft a constitution and to hold general elections.

Finally, it is up to the United Nations to give a mandate to an international force, naturally commanded by the main troop contributor -- that is the United States -- in order to ensure the security of Iraq and of all those that are helping to rebuild that country.

CHIRAC (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Thus the international community and the Iraqi people, united around a common project, will together put an end to the tragic decade of that great country's history.

In the Middle East, ravaged by despair and hatred, a strong political will alone, on both sides, to implement the law, as stipulated by the United Nations, will pave the way to a just and lasting solution. The international community must restore a dynamic for peace, it must involve itself in the implementation of the road map. That should be the objective of the upcoming meeting of the quartet to be held at the ministerial level.

France believes that the idea of a monitoring mechanism is as relevant as ever and that the convening of the international conference is a goal to be attained as soon as possible, given the present tension from schools or from the parties not to succumb to the temptation of a trial of strength and of futile radicalization.

Another great challenge is the fight against international terrorism. And this fight is well under way under the aegis of the Security Council and within the context of the treaties. The horror of the 11th of September cemented our common resolve. This threat goes to the very heart of our democracies and our societies.

We are using force to combat terrorism, but that is not enough. It will reemerge again and again if we allow extremism and fanaticism to flourish, if we fail to realize that it seeks justification in unresolved conflicts and economic and social imbalances in the world.

Given the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, we reject the policy of fait accompli.

CHIRAC (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We must stand united to guarantee the universality of treaties and the effectiveness of nonproliferation regimes.

In order to ensure compliance, we need also to develop our means of action. France has proposed the creation of a permanent corps of inspectors under the authority of the Security Council. Let us give fresh impetus to that policy. Let us convene a summit meeting of the Security Council to outline a true plan of action of the United Nations against proliferation.

For the present, let us demand that North Korea completely, verifiably and irreversibly dismantle its military program; let us demand that Iran sign and implement unconditionally and without delay a strengthened nuclear safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

One other challenge is sustainable development, because half of mankind is living in conditions of precarity or extreme poverty.

Will we be able to establish this globalization based on solidarity demanded by our peoples in response to the inevitable globalization of the economy? We agree on the objectives; we are bound by the millennium goals. In order to attain those goals, strong political impetus remains necessary.

I propose that heads of state and government meet in New York in 2005 in order to have a preliminary review of progress made. And I would like this General Assembly to confirm the determination of states to overcome the failure of Cancun and to ensure the success of the Doha development round, particularly the development cycle.

In order to carry out the missions entrusted to it, in order to remedy its blatant shortcomings, the United Nations must evolve. Three watchwords I believe must guide us: democracy, authority, efficacy. Thanks to the secretary general, progress has been made and new avenues are opening up. It is now up to states to move forward without further ado and to put an end to the adverse consequences of the stalemate over reforms.

The United Nations suffers from the current weakness of the General Assembly and yet it is here where a debate should be organized and where a consensus should be crafted regarding solutions to major problems. A culture of confrontation must give way to a culture of action, aimed at achieving our common goals that we should determine together. The primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security...

BROWN: The French President Jacques Chirac, his defense of multilateralism now for the two sides, the Americans arguably on one side, and the French and others on the other. The hard work, the negotiations begin in the shaping of post-war Iraq.


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