Conference on Disarmament
S T A T E M E N T by
Geneva, June 26, 2003
As this is the first time I am taking the floor during the Italian Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament, allow me at the out set, on behalf of the Romanian delegation, to warmly congratulate you on the assumption of this position, to wish you a fruitful mandate and to assure you of my delegation's full readiness to work together with you in all your endeavors.
It is with great emotion that I now take the floor, as I approach the end of my mission here in Geneva, as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Romania to the UN Office, the Conference on Disarmament and the International Organizations based in Geneva.
These past three years have been very full and very busy, and they have brought to me and to the other members of my mission great joy and satisfaction.
I say this because, on the one hand, we have seen how - after a decade in which Romania has been focusing very much on its own transformation and on the process of relinking with Europe as a whole and with its fundamental institutions, the United Nations system is regaining - at the level of Romanian foreign policy, the attention and the importance that it rightfully deserves. As an eloquent expression of this, Geneva has become a select destination for Romanian officials, President, Prime Minister, members of Government when addressing the major issues confronting the international community in this age of globalisation - peace and security, human rights, science and technology, the information society, international trade, health and labour standards, sustainable development.
Secondly, after many years, too many years, of isolation and mismanagement under an authoritarian and outrageously anachronic regime, we have done our best of making Romania better known at the level of international Geneva. We have taken great pride and pleasure in organizing a variety of public diplomacy events, and hope that the new Romanian Hall in this Palais des Nations or the statue - not far away in the Cour d'Honneur, of Nicolae Titulescu, eminent Romanian statesman, twice President of the Assembly of the League of Nations and bold visionary who fought for the culture of peace and the spiritualization of borders, have not gone unnoticed.
As for the Conference on Disarmament itself, our views on its role and contribution are well known, as they have been expressed in this hall a number of times, most recently just last week. We firmly believe that we have here a formidable potential for significant and substantive work and Romania is one of the many countries ready to engage in such work. I remember when the Romanian Defense Minister addressed the CD in the spring of last year, and the round-table discussion he had later, over lunch, with a group of distinguished ambassadors to the CD, on a wide variety of issues relating to international security, disarmament and arms control. He was greatly impressed by the quality and level of that discussion and, as an outsider, convinced of the role that such people can play in building a better and a safer world. After all, it is well known that the CD is considered to be the best club in town- and this, for very good reasons.
Today the Conference on Disarmament is concluding its second part of deliberation in the 2003 session, once again without being able to adopt a programme of work. Although we all are aware of the several attempts made under the successive presidencies, no significant progress is to be reported so far: we are still unable to start real work and genuine negotiations.
A number of proposals have been tabled lately, both with a view to reach agreement on the agenda, and also to address the issue of a more effective structure and functioning of the CD. Delegations were and continue to stay involved in extensive consultations. These initiatives and endeavors are a strong proof of the CD members commitment to overpass the current deadlock. I am not the first one to mention that political will, balance, compromise, consensus are key elements for moving forward the activity of the Conference.
There is one particular thing I should like to underline about the Conference on Disarmament, namely that this body has naturally been affected by the tremendous changes that have occurred in the past fourteen years. Needless to mention how different things are today than after the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe or after the horrific events of September 11. Somehow, the current stalemate of the CD might be explained by the necessity to up-date our proceedings to the new challenges of our times.
At national, regional and global levels, policies and strategies are being reshaped in order to meet the new realities. Terrorism and weapons of mass destruction have become the headlines. The Conference on Disarmament is also touched upon by the process of defining the new international security and stability architecture. In this respect, allow me to recall the remarks made by our Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Abdelkader Bensmail, at the end of its tenure, in September 2000: "Multilateral disarmament forums have always evolved over the years in response to changed political realities. The Conference on Disarmament is no exception in this respect, and the difficulties it now faces are (…) are rather a reflection of the complexity and the dynamics of contemporary international relations (…)".
It is my strong conviction that the Conference on Disarmament has its unique role and place in the framework of multilateral bodies to deal with arms control, non-proliferation, disarmament and all the related issues. Moreover, it can become once again a major source for finding solutions to the fears and concerns of the international community.
In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues for their kind cooperation and friendship they extended to me during these last three years. It has been a privilege for me to be part of this diplomatic elite in Geneva. Although I have not experienced the most exciting times of this forum, I go away with pleasant memories about our Thursday morning meetings.
I wish also to express my appreciation for the dedication and professionalism of Mr. Sergei Ordzhonikidze, the Secretary-General of the Conference, of Mr. Roman-Morey, the Deputy Secretary-General, as well as of the entire Conference Secretariat and our interpreters.
To all of you, I wish the very best of health, happiness and professional success.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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