On the first day of the General Assembly's fifty-seventh session, its new President, Jan Kavan of the Czech Republic, today pledged priority attention to a set of balanced concerns, including globalization, peace and security, strengthening the role of the UN, and promoting effective reform.
While acknowledging the primacy of the UN Security Council in its field, Mr. Kavan said the General Assembly "can effectively contribute to the common fight against international terrorism primarily through conflict prevention."
Speaking to reporters at a press briefing, the new President also drew a link between globalization and the enhancement of peace and security, noting that extreme poverty could combine with other factors to foster terrorist behaviour.
Responding to questions, Mr. Kavan stressed the need to strike a balance in the Assembly's work. "Obviously presented with such sensitive subjects as the possible measures taken against the Saddam Hussein regime, this cannot be and should not be ignored by the General Assembly," he added, pledging to ensure that the matter would not sweep other issues "off the table."
The President also said it was his understanding that the majority of Member States would prefer a political solution to a military one in Iraq, especially if the political solution would resolve some problems, not just postpone them.
"I very much welcomed the emergence of an international anti-terrorist coalition which emerged after 11 September," he said. "I think the survival of this coalition is of utmost importance, particularly in the context of the still existing menace of international terrorism, and I do hope that steps taken against Iraq will be taken in such a way that the coherence of this coalition will not be threatened."