The Greek Press Today
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21 September, 2006
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis addressed today, September 20, a thematic debate of the United Nations Security Council, on a foreign ministers level, on UN cooperation with regional organizations in maintaining peace and security.
Presenting the Greek SC presidency's theme Bakoyannis noted:
"First of all I wish to express my gratitude to the Secretary-General for his presence here today. We greatly appreciate his tireless efforts to bring increasing significance to the issue of the relationship and cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in maintaining peace and security.
We fully share his stated vision, of a mutually reinforcing regional-global mechanism for peace and security, which in our view will prove critical to effectively addressing future threats and security challenges in the 21st century.
We strongly urge the next Secretary-General to continue these efforts and further strengthen this partnership.
I also wish to express my appreciation to the representatives of regional organizations for being here today to share with us their views and experience on this most important subject.
This debate offers a good opportunity to discuss the developments that have taken place recently to implement resolution 1631 (2005), which was adopted last year under the Romanian Presidency. But most importantly, this meeting can stimulate an interesting discussion on the vision to create a ‘’Regional-Global Security Mechanism’’. The report of the Secretary-General, in response to resolution 1631, identifies challenges and opportunities to make the relationship with regional organizations more effective and paves the way for the construction of such a mechanism that will enable the world community to handle future threats and challenges in a more consistent and coordinated way.
On our part, we would like to raise three issues which are relevant to the findings and recommendations of the above report.
First, in the previous Security Council debates it was recognized that, given the nature of the new security threats, a greater involvement by international organizations in conflict prevention and management, in cooperation with the Council, is required. We fully subscribe to this position and we believe that a greater role by regional agencies in peace and security would not only lessen the burden of the Security Council in this area, but it would also increase the legitimacy of the Council by a more balanced input into its decisions and deliberations from various regions with different cultural, religious and historical background.
Second, many important developments have taken place in this regard, particularly through the convening by the Secretary-General of the Six-High Level Meetings, that have high-level attendance and a broadening substantive agenda.
The meetings have identified an important set of modalities for cooperation on conflict prevention and for guiding principles in peacebuilding. It is now important to ensure a more effective implementation of these principles in close coordination between the UN and international organizations.
The Security Council on its part has conducted its own meetings with regional organizations and has developed an enhanced relationship with regional and subregional organizations, focusing on peace and security challenges such as conflict prevention and management, peacebuilding and counter-terrorism.
However, despite the above developments, many challenges remain to be addressed to make this relationship more substantive and operational. While Chapter VIII of the Charter refers to regional agencies and arrangements and sets forth the functional relationship with the Security Council (Articles 52 and 53 of the Charter) it is silent with regard to their constitutional relationship with the Security Council. We believe that the time has come for greater clarity as regards a series of issues that will facilitate to shape the vision of a global-regional mechanism for peace and security, agreed by both the Security Council and the regional organizations. We need to identify regional and subregional agencies and to clarify the criteria on the basis of which these agencies are distinguished, for the purpose of applying Chapter VIII of the Charter, from other international organizations.
Such clarity will give real meaning to the envisaged global- regional mechanism and should restore more authority to the Security Council and greater reliance on constitutionally delegated executive functions to genuine regional agencies under Chapter VIII of the Charter.
The importance of this issue has been identified in the report of the Secretary-General, in response to resolution 1631, which emphasizes the need to clarify both the membership and the mandate of regional and other organizations to make coordination more effective and ensure a clearer collective effort. We endorse his recommendations on this issue and in this respect we have suggested in our concept paper some basic elements to be applied for the potential identification of regional and other organizations.
We also support all the other recommendations contained in the above report.
In conclusion, I would like to express our full support for all the efforts aiming at building the capacity of regional and other organizations. The UN and Member States should promote the capacity building of these organizations through the provision of human technical and financial assistance, if they really wish to develop an effective partnership. In this respect the Seventh High-Level Meeting that will take place immediately after this meeting, to which I have been invited as President of the Council to report on the findings and decisions of the Council, will focus on the implementation of the 10-year process of sustained capacity-building for African regional and subregional organizations. We are looking forward to the report of the Secretary-General on the UN contribution to this effect, in accordance with the World Summit Declaration."
Greece's foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis on Tuesday evening (Wednesday morning, Greek time) had a brief discussion with US president George W. Bush during a reception hosted by the president for the heads of the delegations of the UN member countries taking part in the UN's 61st General Assembly.
Bush asked Bakoyannis to convey his greetings to Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis, adding that he considered his father, former president George Bush, very lucky for visiting Greece nearly every year, and expressed the desire to take a holiday in Greece, too, some day.
Earlier, Bakoyannis took part in a discussion of women foreign ministers on UNSC Resolution 1325,referring to the protection of women on peacekeeping missions, as well as a working breakfast hosted by the President of Finland.
At noon, Bakoyannis hosted a luncheon in honor of the Security Council members, in the context of Greece's presidency.
Her bilateral contacts on Wednesday, on the sidelines of the General Assembly, included meetings with the foreign ministers of Algeria, Spain, Andorra, Brazil and Nigeria, and the defense minister of India.
On Wednesday night, she was to attend receptions hosted by her Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, and the president of the UN General Assembly, as well as a dinner being jointly hosted by the president of Pakistan and the prime minister of Italy on the theme Reform of the Security Council.
Tuesday's meetings: On Tuesday, Bakoyannis started off her program with participation in the coordinating meeting of EU foreign ministers, after which she attended the opening session of the 61st UN General Assembly, followed by an address at the inauguration of the "Encomium to the Olive" exhibition, which she officially opened together with UN deputy secretary general Mark Malloch Brown, which will run for the entire month as part of a series of parallel events throughout Greece's presidency of the UN Security Council. The exhibition was first presented during the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, and is organized by the Athens Academy's Archive Centre for Folklore.
Bakoyannis also met separately with the foreign ministers of Syria, Egypt, Iran, Kenya and Russia, and attended a luncheon hosted by UN secretary general Kofi Annan in honor of the heads of delegations to the General Assembly.
She was accompanied at most of her meetings by deputy foreign minister Yannis Valinakis, who also had separate discussions with several ministers, deputy ministers and representatives of UN member countries.
Speaking to reporters at the end of the day, Bakoyannis spoke in detail on her talks with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, which mainly focused on the Middle East and Iran.
Asked whether her talks with Lavrov and other foreign ministers included the prospect of holding a Security Council discussion on the Middle East, Bakoyannis said that "Greece has launched a very difficult effort to hold a discussion on the Arab-Israeli conflict at the Security Council at foreign ministers level, which has not been done for many years".
"Our effort, as I had stressed at the outset, seeks to assist in restarting this peace process, with all our powers, because the message of peace must reach all the peoples of the region. This is the goal," she said.
"Consequently, in the context of this effort, a series of bilateral meetings have taken place with my Russian counterpart, and my counterparts from Iran and Syria, as well as with my Israeli counterpart yesterday (Monday), with my Egyptian counterpart, and they are continuing. They are too many to list at this moment, but that is the main item of discussion, and also our bilateral issues, which such meetings always provide an opportunity to discuss," Bakoyannis said.
"I want to say that Greece has exceptionally good relations with its neighbors and with very many countries throughout the world," the foreign minister stressed.
Asked whether she had had the desired response from Lavrov, and Russia at the Security Council, Bakoyannis said that initial response from Lavrov and also from all her European counterparts, during the coordination meeting, had been positive.
"We had a meeting with Russia, and the majority of the European ministers support the Greek proposal. I want to hope that during these two days we still have ahead of us, we will be able to achieve our targets," Bakoyannis said.
Source: Athens News Agency