|Intervento del sottosegretario agli Affari Esteri Margherita Boniver al Meeting of Asem Foreign Ministers Kyoto, 6-7 May 2005|
In December 2003 the Myanmar government, through its Minister of Foreign Affairs, attended an international Conference in Bangkok, at his express wish. Numerous Asian countries, Yangon's traditional partners, were invited to the Conference, together with various European countries, and Australia.
Even though this was an informal event behind closed doors, hosted and efficiently organised by Thailand, it was an exercise in confidence-building - the first for a very long time - which helped to smooth the path towards the subsequent enlargement of ASEM.
This must not be allowed to remain an isolated case, and today, after more than a year since the Bangkok Conference took place, confidence building must be given a fresh impetus.
Myanmar's neighbours, the ASEAN countries and other regional members of ASEM have an important role to play in this process. They are best placed to help revive the international dialogue with Myanmar. The efforts made specificly by Thailand can then serve as a model for further initiative.
Yangon has diplomatic relations with most members of the international community, which are particularly intense with its nearest neighbours. Myanmar's influential neighbours are also members of ASEM. We therefore consider our Asian friends to be the natural partners for taking measures aimed at facilitating dialogue with Myanmar.
Italy too wishes to play a role. It is no coincidence that the government I represent has an embassy in Yangon - Italy is one of four European countries there -: we strongly believe it is preferable to establish contacts and engage in regular dialogue with Myanmar authorities and civil society, rather than pursuing total isolation.
Looking ahead to the future Burmese Presidency of ASEAN, I recall that at the last EU-ASEAN Ministerial Summit in Jakarta we endorsed the call to revive dialogue with the political leadership of Myanmar.
Today we seek to make our European partners, but above all our Asian friends aware of this need, involving not only the ASEAN members but also other large influential Asian countries such as China and we are circulating this message through all diplomatic canals.
Yangon affirms it has adopted measures to pursue national reconciliation but it is necessary that such moves be verified by UN Authorities.
European countries, as well as many Asian ones, have long adopted broad sets of rules and apply the rule of law to their international relations and domestic matters. That has made relations between States easier. I do wish that all ASEM member countries understand the advantage of adhering to these basic principles.
Multilateralismo – Riforma ONU
· The strengthening of the multilateral system is a cornerstone of the Italian foreign policy, as well as that of the European Union. In the age of globalization and interdependence, enhancing international co-operation is essential to counter threats to collective security and to foster social and economic growth. Development should be our main priority: it is an objective on its own merits, but it is also a powerful instrument to improve the security environment. It requires the collective engagement of the community of States.
· In this process the role of the UN is crucial, as the international organization at the core of the multilateral system. The historical opportunity to reform the United Nations will enable them to cope with the global challenges of our time. In the next few months negotiations in New York will be intensified on concrete proposals to be formally adopted in September and fully supported by the international community.
· On the most controversial issues, adequate time should be allowed to reach a negotiated outcome and the sense of ownership of all members in the reform process should be preserved. Consensus is needed to reform the collective security system, in particular the Security Council, if we are to enhance its credibility and legitimacy. Decisions taken by narrow majority votes would seriously undermine its effectiveness.
· As a matter of fact, the positions of the membership on Security Council reform diverge widely, also within the European Union, which has no common position on this issue. Therefore I shall briefly present the main tenets of the Italian position.
· All member States have the right to serve in the Security Council, on the basis of the principle of sovereign equality, through periodic elections, which will ensure the Council members accountability to the general membership and to the regional groups to which they belong. We do not waiver in our opposition to new permanent members – i.e. seats assigned permanently to one State – as their establishment would run against the principle of accountability and establish an outdated hierarchy in the Council.
· The Countries belonging to the movement “Uniting for Consensus” convened a very successful meeting in New York on April 11th. The very large attendance, and the positions taken by participants, strengthen our belief that, in the debate on Security Council reform, we should go beyond established positions and strive for a fresh approach.
· As a follow up to that meeting Italy circulated at the UN two models for Security Council reform that could serve as a basis for further discussion, and food for thoughts, in consultations with all the member States. These models are intended to take into account the concerns expressed at the April 11th meeting in New York and during wide ranging consultations over the last few weeks and months.
· We leave a detailed analysis of the texts to the experts. In general terms we believe that Security Council reform should reflect the main real geopolitical reality of today’s world, which is the growing impact of regionalism on international relations: more and more crises are handled at regional level, through the involvement of regional and sub-regional organisations; increasingly sophisticated consultative and decision making arrangements are set up in many regions.
· These developments should be reflected in the composition and working methods of the Council. We should avoid to freeze, for the next generation or more, its composition by establishing a disproportionate number of permanent members, which will have the obvious interest to stop any further reform which might jeopardise their status.
Last but not least, we should strengthen the democratic character of the United Nations, as the only way to ensure their overall legitimacy. To do so, we should improve the performance of the General Assembly and give it more clout in the relationship with the Security Council. More participatory and democratic decision-making processes at the UN are the only way to ensure the growing relevance of the Organization and the implementation of its decisions.