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St. Lucian-born UN Assembly President addresses delegates as 58th session opens


The General Assembly's new president, St. Lucian-born Mr. Julian Hunte, right, talks with U.N. Secretary General Koffi Annan before the start of the General Assembly. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

NEW YORK, New York: The St. Lucian-born President of the General Assembly, Mr. Julian Hunte, opened the 58th session of the United Nations yesterday, with a call for the strengthening of the U.N.'s role in promoting globalization and trade liberalization.

"We must actively pursue the benefits of multilateralism," the foreign minister of St. Lucia told delegates. "We must reaffirm the central role of the United Nations, the most important multilateral organization ever established, and which has stood the test of time. "We must uphold the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law."

Referring to possible reforms, the new President noted that Mr. Annan had recently indicated that the time may have come for a radical restructuring of the UN, including a realignment of its principle organs, and he called for revitalizing and strengthening the Assembly.

He also placed the Assembly at the centre of the "unfolding global socio-economic transformation," adding that it "has an important role to play in ensuring that globalization and trade liberalization are compatible with achieving equity in the global economy, and that the aspirations of all countries for sustainable development, prosperity and peace are met."

Globalization and liberalization "will have failed if they result only in enriching the few at the expense of the many, or creating and accentuating inequity and injustice in the global economy," he added.

"I have high hopes that the General Assembly is ready to break new ground and to record significant accomplishments during the 58th session," he concluded. "To do so, however, requires us to choose principle over expediency, precision over ambiguity, objectivity over bias, and creative thinking over inflexibility. Above all we need action over inaction."

Mr. Hunte, who was elected on 6 June, has extensive experience in the multilateral process, and a keen interest in the issues of regional cooperation and the role of small States within the United Nations. He was Saint Lucia's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1998 to 2001. During that time, he served as Chairman of the Special Committee on Decolonization, (formally known as the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples).

He has participated in various international summits and conferences convened by the United Nations, including the 2000 Millennium Summit, the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development, in Monterrey, for which he served as Vice-President, and the 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development, in Johannesburg, in which he led his country's delegation.

The session opened with a minute of silence for staff killed in the terrorist attack in Baghdad, Iraq; a pledge to persevere in the speedy restoration of sovereignty to the Iraqi people and a promise to pursue the benefits of multilateralism embodied by the world organization and a plea for reform.

Source: Caribbean Net News

 

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