President of the Republic of Lithuania President of the Republic of Lithuania

“Small countries, too, may contribute to the solution of global issues,” President said at the UN General Assembly

2009-09-24
Thursday, September 24, New York - In the general debates of the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė made a speech on the topic "Effective Responses to Global Crises: Strengthening Multilateralism and Dialogue among Civilisations for International Peace, Security and Development".

The President underlined that although the international community was facing new challenges, the founding principles of the United Nations remained the same as six decades ago: joint security, prosperity, protection of human rights.

According to the President, all members of the United Nations, big and small, may and must contribute to the solution of global issues. In the President's view, small countries could play an active role in addressing global issues, particularly through regional organisations.

"The global financial and economic crisis is not the only problem today. Terrorism, proliferation of weapons, energy challenges, climate change, and many other issues are to be met in order to make UN goals a reality. Complex challenges require comprehensive responses. It is obvious we cannot afford individualistic and egoistic actions," President Grybauskaitė said.

According to the President, in an economic-financial downturn there is a temptation for each country to re-enter the for-itself mode, ignore international commitments and return to protectionism. But, as the President said, protectionism and isolationism never worked and will never work and only resolute common action can help to overcome difficulties and cope with new challenges.

The President called on the United Nations to strengthen societies that share the values of Humanity and Tolerance. "It is our responsibility to make sure that such phenomena as anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism are thrown out of our lives. There can be no excuses for not bearing this responsibility. Small and big countries have equal duties not only towards their own citizens but also towards global society."

The President urged that countries, with all due regard for their domestic concerns and needs of national tax payers, need to respect their common responsibility and international commitments.

Posing a question as to what particular steps should be made, President Grybauskaitė underlined the importance of UN peace missions and assured that despite the current economic limitations, Lithuania was committed to its obligations by contributing to peace-keeping missions and operations and ensuring global security and stability by continued participation in the EU missions in Kosovo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Afghanistan. The President stressed the need to seek international consensus to strengthen the policy against non-proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, in particular the need to find ways to develop civil nuclear power but not nuclear weapons.

Lithuania's President urged regional organisations to assume greater global responsibility. The Head of State underlined that aware of being a small state Lithuania was committed to promoting UN values, particularly during presidencies of regional and global organisations. This year Lithuania holds Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States and Presidency of the Community of Democracies, to be followed by the Chairmanship in the OSCE in 2011. Lithuanian representative will then assume the yearly Presidency of the UN General Assembly on September 2012, and Presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2013.

"Small or less developed states cannot avoid global responsibility anymore and all of us are responsible for our common present and future. Let us all recognise, from now on - in each of our capitals - that the global interest is our national interest and global responsibility is our national responsibility," President Dalia Grybauskaitė invited, concluding her address at the general debates of the UN General Assembly.

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2009.09.24 16:37

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