UN: Latin America in Unison
Luiz Inácio "Lula" Da Silva, President of Brazil was the first to speak after the Secretary-General, in memory of the Brazilian Sergio Vieira de Mello, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, who was killed in the recent attack on the UN Mission in Baghdad. He said pointedly,
"Sergio's renowned competence was nurtured by the only weapons in which he believed: dialogue, persuasion, and, above all, concern for the most vulnerable."
Advocating a central role for the United Nations in Iraq, Lula added, "The improvement of the multilateral system is the necessary counterpart to democratic practice within Nations. Every nation that practices democracy must strive to ensure that in international affairs decision-making is equally open, transparent, legitimate and representative."
Alejandro Toledo, President of Peru, a country that itself has struggled with terrorism, said right off the bat, "Peru has no doubt that multilateralism is the best instrument to confront global challenges, as well as to guarantee peace and international security. For that reason, the United Nations is indispensable. All Member States must have the conviction to strengthen it, and the courage to reform it, in order to face the new agenda of international security; to emphasize the fight against poverty; to maintain the development agenda; to assure democracy and to fight decisively against drug trafficking and international terrorism.
"Peru praises the strengthening of the role of the United Nations General Assembly as the highest guarantor of the coexistence of all its members, a role in which Peru firmly places its vows."
The President of Paraguay, Nicanor Duarte Frutos, strongly backed Brazil for a permanent seat at the Security Council, representing "the important and legitimate interests of Latin America." He warned that "without a pluralistic and equitable participation in crucial decisions," the United Nations, particularly its Security Council, would fail in its objective to keep peace in the world.
French President Jacques Chirac wasn't the only European leader to espouse multilaterialism. José María Aznar, prime minister of Spain, finally dispensed with toadying before the United States and declared:
"Our efforts must be geared to restoring sovereignty to the Iraqi people so that they may freely benefit from their own resources. With this in mind, I propose that we reach an agreement that allows for a multinational force under a single command with the clear mission to guarantee peace and stability. Because of the high risk of terrorist activity today in Iraq, the task cannot be entrusted to an intervention force but precisely to a force which ensures peace and stability.
"A second and subsequent agreement on civilian administration of Iraqi resources and public services to the population would thus be easy to obtain. I mean a civilian and joint Administration, run by the UN co-shared with the new leaders representing the peaceful and pluralist Iraq."