Speech at general debate of 70th session of the UN General Assembly
Ladies and gentlemen,
Seventy years ago the end of World War Two brought a hope for mankind that a just world order relying on universal understanding and cooperation may be established.
However, the Cold War that followed divided the world into opposing blocs. After the break-up of the Soviet Union and the socialist camp many thought that reasons for confrontation of states and military conflicts would finally disappear. Alas, these hopes have not come true so far.
Unfortunately, we must agree that the world has not become more stable, predictable, and comfortable for the majority of people living on the planet in spite of immense work and tremendous efforts to implement large-scale plans of the United Nations.
At the yesterday’s summit world leaders had adopted an ambitious agenda for the UN for the next 15 years.
The final document focuses on five strategic areas that are vitally important for all of us: people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. These notions have not emerged from nowhere. They have become a logical continuation of efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
However, these efforts cause conflicting emotions.
Yes, there are certain shifts in reducing global levels of poverty, increasing protection and health of mothers and children, ensuring access to education. But, speaking about the achievements, we have to recognize that we did not achieve a qualitative breakthrough for the benefit of human civilization. Moreover, we see that the world is being engulfed by ever new challenges and old problems that are getting more acute.
And these challenges and problems do not concern just one area, but all of the most important areas of human activity.
First, today the world has confronted absolutely new geopolitical phenomena and military conflicts. “The level of tension in international relations is almost unprecedented. Unanswered threats are coming to the fore with ever greater clarity.
Focusing on minor disputes over secondary issues, the global community has overlooked the emergence of aggressive terrorist states.
The entire system of international security is going through a severe crisis. The loss of mutual trust between global players, unwillingness to compromise and partial return to the bloc-type confrontation have essentially put the world on the verge of a new war.
Efforts to impose a certain development model on other countries continue unabated. Where does it lead to?
As a result of foreign intervention, export of 'color' revolutions and controlled regime change, previously stable countries have been plunged into chaos and anarchy.
Instead of promised democracy and prosperity people in these countries experience extreme suffering and are forced to flee. Crowds of migrants are besieging Europe today. And this too has become an acute international problem.
Today, we increasingly depend on each other. Actions of one country have direct implications for the interests of many others. There are no more invulnerable countries.
We must honestly admit that there is currently no effective system of checks and balances. The states that claim global leadership cannot, unfortunately, escape the temptation to use force and economic blackmail to promote their own interests. The world has come dangerously close to de-facto renunciation of the principles of international law enshrined in the UN Charter.
This is why I am strongly convinced in the need to have a broad discussion in the United Nations about the principles of future coexistence of states and peoples. I mentioned it before, but I want to stress it once again: the Organization must not be turned into a place for mutual accusations and confrontation of states.
There is no alternative to dialogue! We will have to deal with our problems collectively.
One can certainly build new walls and draw division lines, but this will not make the problems disappear.
Second, global economic threats pose a serious challenge to the world's stability. Currency wars, sanctions, redivision of commodity markets, unfair competition and other negative phenomena aggravate the global crisis.
And attempts of a number of leading states to solve their problems at the expense of other countries only add to confrontation and estrangement.
There is only one way out of this deadlock. It is only possible through all-round cooperation of economies and sustainable development for the benefit of the entire world community. The support of poor countries is of utmost importance here.
Only through common efforts will we be able to forge a new formula of universal mutually beneficial cooperation. As a foundation of such cooperation, Belarus proposes the idea of integration of integrations as the most topical trend of the modern world. A big number of new integration entities that have emerged in the past years.
Today we speak about the prospects of cooperation between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union, about the large-scale Great Silk Way project, about creating the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Zone, as well as about dozens of others.
If we succeed in avoiding unnecessary and dangerous competition among integration models, and instead make them compatible and complementary, we will ideally be able to establish a global integration structure that would encompass the entire planet and closely connect different regions and continents. Such a paradigm would enable peaceful coexistence of different nations and states united by the common purpose of progress and prosperity.
The value of the integration process lies in its democratic nature. To a certain extent it equalizes the opportunities for all stakeholders and enables small and middle-sized countries to develop their potential and become an important link in this process.
The key prerequisite for integration is mutual benefit. “The desire to reap immediate unilateral advantages is, on the contrary, what lies at the root of evil.
We need to realize our responsibility for the future and to think about what we will leave after ourselves.
We must not forget that extreme poverty in some regions of the planet, outrageous social inequalities, disproportions between states, lack of opportunities, first and foremost, among young people form a fertile ground for international terrorism and organized crime.
Third, global threats in the social, humanitarian and environmental nature cause concerns.
Of late, resounding calls for maximum freedom have put to test the basic foundations of human society, including the family, good morals and virtue.
Irresponsible social ideas may lead to new divisions between different cultures and give birth to brutal religious rejection and ethnic conflicts. Do these 'social innovators' consider the consequences of their words and actions?
The same selfish attitude is characteristic of the mankind's approach to nature.
For many years now, the international community has been trying to meet the challenge of climate change. Many simply prefer to shift the burden onto others.
Thinking about such problems, one cannot help arriving at one particular idea. It seems that there is one deep-lying root of all these crises: an artificial cult of individual rights and freedoms to the detriment of collective social interest.
Under the guise of protection of human rights, overthrow of governments, destruction of states and wars over resources are being justified. Chaos and anarchy are proliferated. Predatory attitude to nature and pursuit of easy profit are cultivated.
This leads to degradation of human consciousness, when someone's perverted whims are treated as a norm.
Such approaches give "green light" to social degradation, decay of moral principles and values. The very boundary between good and evil disappears.
Belarus does not know universal ways of solving these issues. But we sincerely believe that the answer lies in the realm of the ideas proposed to the world 70 years ago by the UN founding fathers. First and foremost, we must unconditionally condemn violence.
Wars should not be an instrument for settling a score between states. “Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved by understanding", as wise Einstein put it. It is hard to argue with that.
It is only through self-restraint that we can ensure well-being and protection for all, the powerful and the vulnerable alike. This is precisely the essence of international law that is the only alternative to the 'law of the jungle'.
Belarus will always support every effort and initiative aimed at strengthening the system of international law. This is our key foreign policy priority.
However, peace and security on the globe, however, cannot be safeguarded by the means of international law alone. It is also needed to create, at the national level, worthy conditions of life for every individual.
I am deeply convinced that only a strong state can adequately cope with this task.
Paradoxically, humanity has entered the 21st century with a large number of failed and ineffective states. What is a failed state? It basically means the absence of law and stability, outrageous inequality and extreme poverty, lack of motivation and healthy moral values among youth.
People in Belarus understand all of this very well. Over the past two decades, we have been purposefully building a sovereign independent state with a socially oriented economy. We have paid our utmost attention to the policies that strengthen the family and help young people fully realize their potential.
Let me be frank: we are deeply concerned by the ongoing destruction of the traditional family in a number of countries.
We particularly do not like being invited to accept certain moral deviations and various social 'innovations' as natural. We will do everything to ensure that our grandchildren and their descendants preserve socially nurtured moral values, good traditions of spirituality and culture.
I can assure everyone with absolute confidence that anarchy, lawlessness and violence will never take root on the Belarusian soil.
We are strong and self-assured enough not to let them in from the outside!
Stable Belarus will continue to remain a donor of regional and international security.
We are keen to build equal, mutually beneficial and respectful relations with all countries around the world.
Good-neighborly relations and mutual assistance are of special importance for us. That is why we strive for peaceful settlement of the crisis in the brotherly Ukraine and in other hot spots on the planet.
Within international organizations, Belarus will continue to be actively engaged in collective efforts to meet global threats and challenges.
These organizations, in his words, have accumulated invaluable expertise and potential.
Belarus can offer to the international community its experience in tackling a number of problems. For example, the country can do that while addressing such goals as overcoming the consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster or eliminating human trafficking.
Thinking about our national development experience, I would like to make the following conclusion. Only an alliance of strong, responsible and effective states, united by the system of international law, can adequately respond to modern global threats and challenges. The role of the United Nations in this regard is crucial.
These very days one can come across a good deal of criticism aimed at the UN. “The Republic of Belarus, of course, shares the key idea that the United Nations should keep abreast of the times. We see as obvious the need to reform UN structures and activities while keeping intact the principles and goals of its Charter.
However, it is important to understand that the UN, as I have said many times, is nothing else but all of us together, and the well-being of the world community will depend on the degree of coordination and constructive nature of our common actions.
I would least want to sound prophetically, but today one cannot help avoiding the feeling of seeing a phantom of a new big conflict, if not a war. We must not allow this sinister phantom turn into reality.
We have gathered today here to discuss important issues, outline a development program for the United Nations Organization. I have already said this: for millions of people on the planet the very notion ‘sustainable development’ sounds as profane words as they die every day, children, the elderly die. Only one decision is important today, which is to put an end to wars and conflicts, at least to the ones that are currently raging on the planet.
I would like to conclude my speech with a quote from a great man Nelson Mandela. This unbroken fighter for justice in the world once said, "Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that generation."
I hope very much that such a destiny will fall on our generation. I am confident that we will find strength and common sense to do whatever it takes to change the world for the better.
Thank you for attention.