Lithuanian statement at the UN Security Council Open Debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Strengthening Multilateralism and the Role of the United Nations"
National statement delivered by Ambassador Audra Plepytė, Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the UN, on behalf of the Republic of Lithuania at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Strengthening Multilateralism and the Role of the United Nations"
Let me start by thanking UN Secretary-General and other briefers for their insightful briefings today. We highly value and commend all efforts of the Secretary-General related to the UN reform and his personal commitment towards effective multilateralism.
We welcome this timely debate organized by the Permanent Mission of China. My delegation aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the European Union.
The UN is now 73 years old. Addressing the assembled delegates at the start of the meeting in San Francisco at which the UN Charter was signed, the US President Harry Truman said: “you members of this conference are to be the architects of the better world. In your hands rests our future.” Today his words are more important than ever. The UN was created to provide the foundation and framework for a rules-based multilateral system. Such a system is a backbone and a recipe for a better world. Since the end of World War II, multilateral institutions have helped countries around the world to avoid catastrophic wars and achieve unprecedented levels of development. Today, much as we need more international cooperation, multilateralism has come under pressure. As this very open debate indicates, we are arriving to the point where multilateral cooperation starts to seems more of an aspiration than a reality.
Lamenting dare state of multilateralism is only paying lip service to the rules based international order. We all know the diagnosis of current global affairs. We all know too well the consequences when the UN Charter based order fails – protracted conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere as well as the worst humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II are only few stark reminders of those failures. We need action. During her statement at the UNGA General Debate earlier this September, President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė urged international community to take responsibility for our future and to enable UN to act. Responsibility, political will, commitment to reforms and making compromises are top prerequisites in order to change the current state of multilateral affairs. We need to use this current moment as an opportunity for genuine and lasting reforms.
Our commitment to a stronger global governance and binding rules should translate into effective reform of the UN system. There is no better way to preserve and reinforce relevance and credibility of the UN than making this organization more efficient. In this regard, we stand fully behind the Secretary-General's reform agenda in all its dimensions. This agenda has the potential to make the whole UN family less fragmented, more united and coherent.
Relevant and strong UN requires an efficient, transparent and inclusive Security Council. We understand the responsibility of the Members in taking weighted decisions in discharge of their duties and ensuring the long-lasting peace and stability. On the other hand, the very reason of this institution is to enable prompt and effective action by the United Nations, as delegated by the Charter. Inaction of the Security Council and the international community, directly or indirectly, encourages aggression, use of force and threatens entire multilateral system, based on international law. Restraining the veto use, inter alia, would make the Council’s responses to ongoing crises more coherent and reliable. Lithuania, therefore, strongly supports the French-Mexican initiative on limiting the use of veto in cases of mass atrocities, genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Lithuania also actively endorses Liechtenstein’s and ACT group relevant initiatives.
Justice cannot be vetoed. It must go beyond political manipulation. International peace, security and justice are not possible without international law. Ending impunity and ensuring justice for all is an absolute must in order to reinforce trust in the UN and to ensure credibility of our multilateral system. At the same time, when justice is not ensured and impunity thrives, multilateralism can neither function nor perform.
It is important to acknowledge, that many of current challenges to the global order are born and grown domestically. Blaming UN, international institutions and agreements for our domestic failures is not a viable way forward. While it is true that multilateralism needs to deliver much better at the country level, it is also true that respect for rules-based global system starts at home: it begins with open, peaceful societies based on the rule of law, freedom of media, access to independent justice, respect for human rights and with accountable and inclusive institutions.
Finally, let me conclude by underlining that the value of multilateralism itself transcends any particular policy or goal. The rule of law has an intrinsic value. Multilateralism must not lead to inaction and we all need to contribute to rebuilding trust in the UN's capacity to deliver. Lithuania remains committed to play its active role in multilateral action.
New York, 9 November, 2018