Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov
Statement Before the 56th Session of the UN General Assembly
New York City, New York
September 24, 2001

Dear Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This session of the United Nations General Assembly has begun its work under tragic circumstances. These days, the entire civilized world shares the grief of the American people. We also mourn for all those who fell victim to terrorists in different parts of the globe. In the modern interrelated and interdependent world of the globalization era, the pain of bereavement is our common feeling, regardless of where a terrorist attack may occur.

The recent tragedy bears dramatic evidence that the sweeping changes in all spheres of life of the modern society, generated by globalization, may entail both positive and negative consequences for mankind.

On the one hand, the danger of global nuclear confrontation has become a thing of the past, while new advances in science and technology and rapid expansion of world trade and economic relations create prerequisites for the sustainable development of all mankind. On the other hand, the benefits of globalization have turned out to be simply inaccessible for most states, and the gap between the most developed and the least developed countries continues to grow rapidly. Finally, the world has encountered new threats and challenges, such as aggressive separatism, organized crime and illegal drug trafficking, in addition to international terrorism.

Under these circumstances, the international community is facing the grand task of giving an adequate and, what is most important, a collective response to the challenges of our time. There is an urgent need to develop a joint action strategy which could make use of globalization for a just and fair resolution of the key problems that mankind is facing and for strengthening universal security. In this context, we subscribe to the idea, voiced in the report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization, that it is necessary to strengthen and enhance the role of the United Nations as an indispensable instrument for maintaining international peace and security and for mobilizing people of the world against new, unprecedented threats.

With its firm commitment precisely to this approach in shaping a new world order, the Russian Federation advocates the adoption of collective measures that would make globalization processes manageable and therefore secure. Each state should see for itself that the results of globalization can indeed contribute to its prosperity and well-being.

An efficient globalization management mechanism should be comprehensive and should cover all areas: from the political and military to the humanitarian. The Russian Federation is open for closest cooperation with other States with a view to attaining this objective which is of primary importance for the future of mankind.

In fighting new dangers, of which international terrorism is no doubt the greatest one, the main objective is to set up a global system to counteract new threats and challenges. Such a system should integrate relevant multilateral interaction mechanisms, including early warning and prevention of emerging threats, and resolute and adequate reaction to any of their manifestations within the framework of international law and under the coordinating leadership of the United Nations.

As far as the political sphere is concerned, we have in mind the comprehensive implementation of the decisions of the Millennium Summit and Assembly made here a year ago, primarily those concerning the establishment of a just and violence-free democratic world order serving the interests and aspirations of all states and peoples. This can only be achieved if all countries are equal before the World Law based on the UN Charter and other fundamental principles and rules of international law, and hold them sacred.

It is the strengthening and not erosion of international law and order that should prevail in the era of globalization. Just as a democratically viable state can only be built on a solid legislative foundation, more robust international legal norms are required for a new world order to take shape.

Developing a kind of international law that is sensitive to the changing world calls for joint coordinated efforts, while any unilateral actions in a world where destinies of countries, peoples and individuals are getting increasingly intertwined will only erode the rule of law, thus compromising the international community's capacity to efficiently address emerging and ever more dangerous challenges.

A state's prestige among the nations should be measured not by its military or economic might, but rather by its ability to responsibly fulfill its international obligations.

In the military sphere, the priority task is to strengthen strategic stability as the critical component of international security. We appreciate the Secretary-General's concern, expressed in the report, over the continuing growth of global military expenditures and the low level of international cooperation in disarmament.

Fully aware of its role in ensuring international security, the Russian Federation has put forward a detailed realistic program to enhance strategic stability and expedite the disarmament process. President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has called upon the five nuclear powers and Permanent Members of the UN Security Council to initiate a consultation process on nuclear disarmament and strategic stability.

We reaffirm our proposal to the United States on a coordinated reduction of strategic offensive weapons down to 1,500 nuclear warheads for each party by the year 2008, possibly followed by further reduction. It should be recalled that in 1990, i.e. as of the end of the Cold War, the aggregate strategic nuclear arsenals of the USSR and the USA alone amounted to 20,834 warheads. This initiative, if implemented, would both help consolidate global stability and significantly boost the joint efforts to build a new strategic relationship between Russia and the United States.

This would also be an unprecedented breakthrough in nuclear disarmament and a strong incentive to enhance the regimes of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to make the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty universal.

Preventing the deployment of weapons in outer space forms an important part of the set of measures designed to ensure strategic stability. It is our common duty before succeeding generations to keep outer space peaceful through joint efforts.

Russia invites the world community to start working out a comprehensive agreement on the non-deployment of weapons in outer space and on the non-use or threat of force against space objects. In particular, the agreement could contain the following elements:

- outer space should be used in conformity with international law in the interests of maintaining peace and security;

- an obligation not to place in the orbit around the Earth any objects carrying any kinds of weapons, not to install such weapons on celestial bodies or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner;

- an obligation not to use or threaten to use force against space objects;

- a provision establishing a verification mechanism overseeing the implementation of the agreement on the basis of confidence-building measures and transparency in outer-space matters.

As the first practical step in this direction, a moratorium could be declared on the deployment of weapons in outer space pending a relevant international agreement. Russia would be willing to make such a commitment immediately, provided that the other leading space powers join this moratorium.

In addition to the "traditional" disarmament agenda, the era of globalization brings along new challenges to international security, thus raising the number of states involved in disarmament. This includes, among other things, non-proliferation of missile technologies, elimination of chemical and non-development of bacteriological weapons, and blocking the channels of illegal trafficking in small arms and light weapons.

In a word, a great deal of disarmament-related issues have piled up that call for a thorough and comprehensive discussion. To that end, the Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly on Disarmament appears to be the most appropriate forum, and the Russian Federation actively supports the idea of convening it.

It is clear that the practical implementation of these initiatives will require a responsible and delicate handling of the 1972 ABM Treaty as well as of the whole package of multilateral and bilateral treaties and agreements concluded within the last few decades and constituting the legal framework of the extremely sophisticated disarmament architecture. We have noted that the report of the Secretary-General encourages the continuation of consultations on these issues aimed at preventing a new arms race.

In peacemaking, special attention should be given to the introduction of a conflict-prevention culture into international practices. The Russian Federation supports the main ideas of the UN Secretary-General's special report on this matter. We are convinced that ensuring the UN's central role in the international peacemaking efforts meets the long-term interests of all states. This will certainly call for modernizing the UN peacemaking capacity and providing the Organization with adequate human and financial resources. A lot remains to be done to ensure better preparation and implementation of peacemaking operations, as well as their more rapid deployment. In our opinion, this task could be facilitated through intensifying the work of the UN Security Council Military Staff Committee. It would help if a broad range of states that supply peacemaking forces joined its activities.

There is no time to lose. With acute crises in various parts of the globe posing a real threat to the international security, rapid and concerted action is needed. In this respect, the events in the Middle East and the Balkans cause particular alarm.

When seeking to resolve crisis situations, we cannot remain oblivious to their underlying causes. As a rule, especially where the African continent is concerned, crises have their origin in social and economic problems. This is another solid reason for the international community to address without delay the social and economic aspects of globalization.

The peculiarities of regional crises, noted by the Secretary-General, such as the expanding sources of their funding and the availability of a tremendous choice of weapons, are in tune with the initiative put forward by President Vladimir Putin addressing the need to cut off external sources of conflict support.

Globalization has greatly broadened the horizons of international cooperation in the economic sphere by providing unparalleled opportunities for the movement of goods, capital and services. Sophisticated industries have emerged in various parts of the world and intellectual labor has become the determining factor of progress. However, has this benefited everyone? Have famine and illiteracy been eradicated from the world? Definitely not. Rich states have really got richer by reaping the fruits of globalization, whereas poor states have found themselves even poorer.

If the current trend persists and wealth keeps building up on one pole only, the other one will see an inevitable rise of social tension and political extremism. The only way to prevent this is to enhance the social component of globalization and put an end to discrimination in international economic relations. The new round of WTO trade talks should work out more balanced rules of world trade. They are to reflect the legitimate interests of all countries, including those that are about to join the WTO, and provide an opportunity to ensure a more even development of their national economies. Furthermore, it is of vital importance for relevant international agencies to develop mechanisms allowing to forecast and rapidly address international financial crises. Cooperation should be expanded between the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions and other international financial and economic organizations.

The international community should also make a wider and concerted use of its capacities to alleviate the situation in the least developed countries. In spite of all its domestic problems, Russia takes concrete steps in this direction, particularly in what concerns debt relief and broader access for the least developed countries to the Russian market.

The formation of a global information space epitomizes the world integration processes. In recent years, Internet access has become an essential feature of our homes and offices. We can now follow the live coverage of world events as they unfold.

At the same time, the information space has become a popular target for various extremist forces. The threat of cyber-terrorism is growing. Censorship has been replaced by a no less dangerous evil, that of information wars capable of destabilizing the situation not only in an individual state but in an entire region.

All of this directly jeopardizes the freedom of speech and the right of citizens to truthful information. Therefore, concrete steps are required to strengthen international information security. With the direct participation of Russia, this issue has already been a subject of detailed discussion in the United Nations. Now, we should move on towards concrete coordinated measures in this field.

Environmental problems are presently as relevant for human survival as military ones. Our future depends on the state of the environment; therefore, its preservation is our common challenge and high responsibility. Russia reaffirms its commitment to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol.

On the whole, climate-related issues require a comprehensive approach. Taking this into account, Russia has proposed to convene a World Conference on Climate Change in 2003 that would bring together governments, business and academic communities as well as civil society. We view this forum in the context of the Kyoto process. We expect the Conference to make an important scientific and economic contribution to its progressive development.

Globalization has greatly expanded the opportunities in the humanitarian field. The very concept of "human rights" has ceased to be an exclusively internal affair of states and has acquired a universal value. The Secretary-General notes that "today, universal ideas - the sovereignty of the people, accountability of leaders, individual rights, and the rule of law - are spreading around the world. Yet there is no guarantee that these values will not be reversed, and that some nations will not once again succumb to tyranny and oppression."

Like other states, Russia strongly condemns gross violations of human rights in any part of the globe. At the same time, we are firmly convinced that the international community should respond to humanitarian crises exclusively based on the solid foundation of law and legitimacy, proceeding from the UN Charter. It is imperative to observe the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of states and the prerogatives of the UN Security Council to authorize the use of force, as appropriate.

Looming large in the era of globalization is the threat that culture and art will cease to address the true aspirations of the human soul and will be largely reduced to consumerism. It is important, we are firmly convinced, that in the 21st century, not less than in any other time, a European or an Asian, an American or an African should preserve their identity rather than get lost in a faceless crowd fraught with a disastrous release of uncontrolled energy.

An unbiased analysis of globalization results in a simple conclusion that this process should be manageable. Hence an urgent need to have a single center that could coordinate national, regional and international efforts in this direction.

The privilege of being such a center by right belongs to the United Nations. The universal nature of the world Organization, its wealth of experience in multilateral cooperation, its considerable resources and organizing capacities enable it to fulfill the most complicated tasks with regard to making globalization serve all members of the international community.

In fulfilling its functions, the United Nations should adequately meet the challenges of time, constantly strengthen its operational potential and enhance the effectiveness of its actions. This is precisely what we see as the purpose of the UN reform process which should be continued on the basis of the broadest agreement among all member states.

Dear Mr. President,

Globalization compresses space and time, and makes the world an ever smaller place. Today, we are charged with an immense responsibility before the succeeding generations: we should strengthen the positive trends of globalization and use them only in such a way that would benefit the entire human race. We are convinced that, by jointly achieving this goal, we will be able to build a truly safe, stable and prosperous world in the 21st century.


© Publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.