'Long Live the United Nations!' (Excerpts from the More Than 200 Speeches Given at the General Assembly to Celebrate the Organization's 50th anniversary)(Transcript)(Cover Story)
Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali was both serious and optimistic as he addressed the leaders of the world during the special commemorative session of the UN's golden jubilee: "Your presence speaks, as you have spoken, with eloquence, of confidence in the future of the United Nations." The UN photo above, taken by Paul Skipworth for the Eastman Kodak Company, includes 190 of the 200 participants in the session's historic debate. Among those pictured are 88 Heads of State and 36 Heads of Government, as well as Vice-Presidents, deputy Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers, Permanent Representatives and heads of intergovernmental organizations. In the pages that follow are excerpts from the 200 addresses given to the General Assembly, on the occasion of the Organization's fiftieth anniversary, during six special plenary meetings of the Assembly held between 22 and 24 October. "We have listened to the wisdom of those leaders", the Secretary-General said at the end of the three-day celebration. "Together they have given the world an `Agenda for Tomorrow'."
President Liamine Zeroual: The fact that the United Nations has seen its membership approach universality in its 50 years of existence bears witness to the existence of a fortunate convergence between the trail that was blazed by the Charter and the course that has been followed by many of our peoples. The fact that the UN was able to foster the vast liberation movement that delivered peoples from the yoke of colonial domination, holds its rightful place among the causes of satisfaction that give today's event its full meaning. The UN has woven a fabric of cooperation that spreads the benefits of man's mastery over nature.
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos: The journey has not been easy for our Organization. On the date of its foundation the world was just emerging from a devastating war, with a tragic balance of 50 million dead and profound trauma and destruction. Sooner or later, the difficulties facing the United Nations will require redefinition of its structures and mechanisms, particularly the Security Council. A permanent seat in the Council should be assigned to a country from each geographic region that can assume an effective role in preserving peace at the regional level.
Desire Vieyra, Minister of State for Coordination of Government Action: The United Nations, as it reaches the half-century mark, must commit itself with resolve to the fight against poverty. We are pleased that at the World Summit for Social Development we finally overturned a sacrosanct principle to the effect that a country's social action must be determined by its economy. We shall now base our economies on the social sphere. Today, Benin is striving, with the help of its development partners, to reduce the rate of infant and maternal mortality and to reduce illiteracy by placing particular emphasis on health and education.
President Ketumile Masire: The presence of so many world leaders in New York bears witness to the success of the United Nations during its half century of existence. For Botswana and the African continent, this is a particularly historic moment. When the Organization was born in San Francisco in 1945, only four African countries were able to adhere as independent countries to the Declaration of the United Nations. The rest of the continent was still under colonial domination. Today, the UN boasts of 53 African States among its 185 Members. The UN has served us well.
Ablasse Ouedraogo, Minister for Foreign Affairs: On the threshold of the 21st century, above and beyond the theory of States and of sovereignty, beyond the relationship of force, beyond the ambitions of domination, should we not substitute people, societies, nations, States? Should we not give new impetus to what was enshrined in the UN Charter in the words "We the peoples", and find again the human being and the humanity in each and every one of us and in each and every one of our acts? …