Partnerships the key to greater global stability, Belarus says at UN debate

26 September 2009 - A "policy of partnership" is needed to help the world tackle the threats posed by climate change, the global recession, terrorism and other crises and challenges, the Foreign Minister of Belarus told the General Assembly's high-level debate today.

Sergei N. Martynov said the world's increasing inter-dependence demonstrated the need for closer partnerships - whether between countries, between regional blocs, or between other centres of power, such as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) or the Group of Twenty (G20) major economies.

"Modern international relations are ever more being built along the pattern of horizontal networks," he said. "These networks involve all interested and constructive stakeholders in today's world - States, big and small, international organizations, civil society, [the] private sector. Partnerships are a mechanism of engagement which, in the opinion of Belarus, does not have a sensible alternative in conditions of a pluralistic and contradictory world."

Mr. Martynov said he was optimistic, based on recent statements from the likes of the European Union and Russia, that "the world is starting to think in the same frame of mind organized along the lines of security, partnership and development. It looks like the world political leaders are beginning to speak the same language - the language of reason."

But he described the G20 bloc as too narrow to be a truly representative partnership, and said regional groupings such as the Eurasian Economic Community may have greater potential for effective partnerships.

Meanwhile, Andorra's Foreign Minister Xavier Espot Miro told the Assembly that his country, one of the world's smallest, also appreciated the value of greater international cooperation.

Mr. Miro noted that Andorra was working more closely with other countries, particularly members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), to ensure that it is sufficiently transparent on financial issues.

"Let's be clear: tax havens and fiscal opacity - signalled and denounced as two of the major financial evils of the 20th century - are matters that all Andorrans would like to overcome soon. The strategic position is clear and our commitment is strong.

"At the same time, we propose a tax reform that will allocate resources according to general interest priorities. Furthermore, it will provide guarantees to Europe and to the world that we want clear, transparent and responsible relations."

In his address to the Assembly, Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Foreign Minister of Brunei, said the experience of the last half century demonstrated the folly of dividing into different blocs and the value of working together, "big and small, regardless of background, culture and faith."

Prince Mohamed said that participants at this week's G20 summit, held in the United States city of Pittsburgh, sent some positive signals about being willing to work together.

"It is only a soft message, however, and a small change. The big decisions are still being made for us, and not with us. But at least it is a start. This is the kind of change we want to see and there is nothing to stop us from taking it a long way further."



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