RUMEN RADEV, President of Bulgaria, said that the pandemic, among many other challenges, raised the need for a more effective and coherent rules-based multilateralism, with the United Nations system at its core. “Multilateralism is the key to our future and has no alternative,” he stressed. Going forward, the most urgent tasks included preventing the spread of the coronavirus; global economic recovery; speeding up progress on climate change and sustainable development; and combating terrorism and transborder crime, among others. Emphasizing the need to build resilience, he said that sustainability cannot be achieved without tackling the effects of climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss.
He expressed deep concern at ongoing threats of security and stability in many parts of the world, including in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Ukraine. All States must combat terrorism through concerted multilateral efforts, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law. Noting that Bulgaria will receive up to 70 Afghan refugees, he said that continued humanitarian engagement with Afghanistan was essential. Regarding the Middle East, there was no alternative to reviving the region’s peace process. All sides must refrain from unilateral acts and they must give negotiations a chance. The crisis in Ukraine must also be resolved based on full and comprehensive implementation of the Minsk Agreements.
In the context of the pandemic, human rights must be respected, as they were essential for achieving security, prosperity and peace, he continued. For Bulgaria, protecting children’s rights was a priority, with a strong emphasis on inclusive education for children with disabilities. He also insisted on the empowerment of women and girls, promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, and combating antisemitism, Islamophobia and hate speech.
“We need a revitalized United Nations to effectively address the numerous challenges the world is facing today,” he said. Bulgaria, currently a member of the Human Rights Council, supported a comprehensive reform of the Organization and welcomes the Secretary-General’s report Our Common Agenda. He underscored his country’s commitment to fulfil its financial obligations to the Organization and expressed concern about its ongoing liquidity challenges, which undermined its ability to implement its mandates.
He recalled the United States diplomat, civil rights activist and Nobel laureate Ralph Bunche as saying that the Organization was the one great hope for a peaceful and free world. “I would like to add that the United Nations is our one great hope for safely steering the boat of our common destiny through the troubled and uncharted waters of our future — and we all must stand as one in its support,” he said.
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