Slovak Republic's Commitment for World Peace & Stability
Schuster, Rudolf, Presidents & Prime Ministers
What three measures must the Palestinians and the Israelis undertake to bring about peace in the Middle East?
The first thing to be recognized is that bringing about peace in the Middle East requires, like in any other conflict, mainly the will and the desire for peace, as well as genuine determination of the peoples concerned to put an end to the decades of bloodshed and reach the consensus through making essential compromises. These compromises should make it possible to fulfill such objectives as self-determination, independence and security of the state structures.
I do, however, believe that the first and foremost prerequisite at the current stage of the conflict is the physical cessation of hostilities on both sides.
In the second step, the parties of the conflict should return to the negotiating table and should honor the agreements that had already been reached.
The third and perhaps the most important step should be, in my opinion, a clear and unequivocal statement that both sides will respect their partner's right to self-determination and existence. Both sides should act accordingly, expecting their partner to do the same.
Peaceful coexistence between the Palestinian Arabs and the Israeli Jews is realistic because it had been a reality already in the past. If the peace process in the Middle East is to be successfully concluded, all parties to the conflict-i.e., not only the Israelis and the Palestinians, but also the Syrians, the Lebanese and other Arabic nations--must fully recognize the right of the other side for existence, must honor their agreements and respect the recommendations and demands of the international community embodied in the UN resolutions.
What do you consider to be the next step in diplomacy between North and South Korea to ensure long-term peace in that region?
The international community will no doubt closely watch the preparations for the next inter-Korean summit during the upcoming reciprocal visit to Seoul that could constitute another important diplomatic step on the road towards deepening the dialogue and cooperation on the Korean peninsula. But rather than one major diplomatic step, I would prefer to speak of a series of small diplomatic steps that are needed to bring about peace in this part of the world.
I believe that for now it is important to preserve the momentum of the process of rapprochement that was launched with the inter-Korean summit last June, and to fulfill the joint declaration adopted at the meeting by the two Korean states. Equally important will be the diplomatic support for this process from the international community.
What specific measures must the World Trade Organization undertake to serve its membership effectively?
The World Trade Organization, with its 140 member states and another 29 in the accession process, is a relatively "young" organization created as late as 1995. It is, therefore, natural that it experiences problems of institutional and substantive character. They originate mainly in the addition to its agenda of such new issues as trade in services or commercial aspects of intellectual property, and in the enlargement of WTO membership represented by countries with widely differing levels of economic development.
The process of globalization generates a pressure on the discussion of new issues and their possible inclusion into the WTO system. In my view, the Slovak Republic's WTO membership is certainly not ineffective. I am convinced that, under the circumstances and compared with other international organizations, the WTO is an effective organization, although improvements should be introduced in such areas as the dialogue between the member states and the internal and external transparency of the organization. In this respect, the Slovak Republic supports five main priorities of WTO Secretary General Mike Moore aimed at strengthening the multilateral trade system.
What can member states do to make the United Nations a more democratic organization, especially regarding the restructure of the Security Council and its veto power?
The UN Security Council faces the risk of marginalization, unless the member states of the United Nations draw a lesson from its failure to address certain crises and conflicts due to inaction, paralysis, or the lack of political will. Obstacles to the resolution of this sensitive political issue are represented by the conflicting and antagonistic national and group interests of individual countries. The only possible solution to this situation is to seek compromise-based solutions, but the political will they require is still lacking.
Slovakia has presented on a number of occasions its position regarding the key aspects of UN Security Council reform. We are of the opinion that the reform should be centered on the proposal to restrict the right of veto and the issue of enlarging membership of the Security Council. As regards the enlargement of the Security Council, we believe that it is justified to increase the number of members of both categories, although this needs not take place at the same time. At this stage we could imagine an increase in the number of non-permanent members of the Security Council.
The experience of the Slovak Republic with the deployment of its troops in the UN peacekeeping missions confirms that small and medium-sized countries have a considerable potential for taking an active part in the attainment of peace and stability in the world. We are ready, within the limits of our possibilities and using all available means, to contribute to increasing the effectiveness of peace operations. We closely watch the developments in individual regions of the world and our country is a traditional contributor to the peacekeeping operations. Since its creation in 1993 the Slovak Republic has taken part in 13 peacekeeping missions.
According to the UN statistics, Slovakia ranks 35th among the contributors to the peacekeeping operations. Its latest activities in this field include the last month's reinforcement of the UNMEE mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea by additional 200 members of the Slovak armed forces. Another demonstration of our country's serious interest and long-term involvement in this area is the candidature of the Slovak Republic for the seat of a non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2006-2007.
What can the United Nations do to become more effective in Preventive Diplomacy?
The Slovak Republic is convinced that the UN has an irreplaceable role to play in preventive diplomacy and the resolution of various global issues that are practically impossible to tackle at the level of individual member states or their groups or at the regional level.
To safeguard peace, security, prosperity and development, the traditional concepts based on the principle of sovereignty of states and basic elements of international law will have to be combined with the newly developing principles embodying the worldwide respect for fundamental human rights and accountability before the international community for their violations. These new ideas and principles should be the object of discussions and talks among the countries that should lead to a broad agreement of the international community comparable to the situation of 55 years ago when the UN Charter was adopted.
The Slovak Republic welcomes last year's Millennium Summit as the first highly ambitious step on this road. I believe that it is our common duty not to lose this momentum and to maintain the pace. UN faces a number of challenges, but I would like to express my conviction that, following its internal reform, it will be able to cope in a relevant manner with all of them.
What can the "New World Order" or the "Fair World Order" do to ensure adequate food, clothing and educational resources for all?
In this respect, the final declaration of the Millennium Summit holds a great promise. More so than in the past, it addresses pressing civilization problems, including reduction of the number of people living in extreme poverty, poverty eradication, ensuring basic education, reducing infant and child mortality, assistance to the developing and the least developed countries, etc.
The values and principles that the leaders of individual countries set for the 21st century-freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, nature protection, shared responsibility for economic and social development and international peace-epitomize the most important goals that we must strive to achieve in the new millennium. It is my sincere wish that the UN member states do not limit themselves only to the verbal declaration of these principles but that we together strive to fulfill them, with an important contribution from the civil society and from the private sector. The Slovak Republic is ready to do its utmost to contribute to the fulfillment of these common goals.
Rudolf Schuster was born on January 4, 1934 in Kosice. He was elected President of the Slovak Republic in May 1999. From 1998 to 1999, he was the founding member and chairman of the Party of Civic Understanding (SOP) as well as a member of the National Council of the Slovak Republic.
Responses to questions by Newal K. Agnihotri, Editor and Publisher of Presidents & Prime Ministers magazine.…
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Slovak Republic's Commitment for World Peace & Stability. Contributors: Schuster, Rudolf - Author. Magazine title: Presidents & Prime Ministers. Volume: 9. Issue: 6 Publication date: November 2000. Page number: 6. © 1999 EQES, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group.
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