UN has key role to play in preventing conflict, General Assembly told

25 September 2001

As the United Nations General Assembly today continued its consideration of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's annual report on the work of the Organization, many countries urged wide-ranging support for the world body's crucial role in preventive diplomacy.

Several speakers from among the numerous countries taking the floor this morning echoed calls by Mr. Annan to move the UN from a culture of reaction to one of prevention. The representative of Slovakia, Peter Tomka, told the Assembly that preventing conflicts was a moral imperative, and the UN had an essential role in preventive diplomacy by virtue of its mandate, legitimacy and wide-ranging capabilities.

For his part, the representative of the Netherlands, Dirk Jan Van Den Berg, called for UN support so that increasing global demands did not challenge decision-making in the Secretariat. The UN was active in eliminating the root causes of conflict, which were also the breeding ground for the insanity of terrorism, he said. However, despite increased responsibilities only a "negligible amount" of the world gross domestic product was spent on the United Nations Secretariat, funds, programmes or agencies.

On Monday as the Assembly debate began, many countries condemned the 11 September attacks against the United States and placed the United Nations at the centre of the fight against the scourge of international terrorism. Others speakers emphasized the importance of peacekeeping operations, inter-agency coordination and development issues.

The Assembly was expected to continue its consideration of Mr. Annan's report on Wednesday.


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