allow me to thank you and your delegation for convening this very important meeting on this crucial topic. Italy aligns itself to the statement of the European Union.
One of the last century’s most influential advocates of world peace, Pope John XXIII, used to say, “Let us strive to find that which unites rather than that which divides.” This concise but powerful sentence offers us guidance in our quest for permanent peace and security, the core business of the United Nations.
Through seven decades of efforts in pursuit of this goal, through trials and failures, we have come to understand that it is difficult but not impossible to achieve.
It requires solid foundations that must be carefully laid. Peace is not only a matter of signing a Treaty. It cannot be imposed: it can only arise from the mutual understanding of the parties involved, and from their recognition of that which unites.
This is just the starting point, Mr. President, the pre-condition to a lasting peace. This is what we learned from the Mozambican experience. A successful and still lasting peace agreement for Mozambique was signed in Rome in October 1992.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations at that time, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, called this peace the “Italian formula”: a patient exercise of reconciliation between parties to a conflict, engineered by a coalition of actors which included the Italian government, the Italian opposition, an Italian NGO, and the Catholic Church.
Once an agreement has been signed and a cease-fire reached, some conditions have to be met for the peace to last. Respect for human rights is paramount, as is setting the conditions for social and economic development. All these matters are an essential part of this organization’s job today.
Last week, the Permanent Mission of Italy had the privilege of co-hosting at UN Headquarters an event to commemorate Martin Luther King Day. At the event, dedicated to the threat of growing inequalities, Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz warned us of the perils of economic inequalities, a ticking time-bomb. They must form a crucial part of our reflections on how to achieve permanent peace and a fundamental element of our inter-states cooperation. The widening gap between those who have too much and those who have too little is a source of destabilization in our world. We need to bear this in mind and be ambitious in our quest for permanent peace and on the path to the new Agenda for International Development.
The United Nations does a remarkable, difficult and often misunderstood job through the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, a job that Italy fully supports. Our organization is too often blamed for conflicts in the world, but no club is greater than the sum of its members. The United Nations can only try to deal with troubles its members create. This is especially difficult if the organization lacks the necessary tools and structure. This is why Italy supports the long-needed reform of the Security Council, the organ with primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. To be effective, this reform needs to conform to a set of binding principles: namely, inclusiveness, representation and accountability. The reform must increase the Council’s flexibility and its interaction with the general membership, which should perceive it as a reliable and not exclusive club.
Ultimately what the United Nations is about is a world without war. This goal is reflected in every aspect of our work, and it must be our guideline and our ambition, in every decision we take.
In this regard, the lesson that history teaches is more relevant today than ever: peace is a dynamic process, it should not just be preserved but must also grow, becoming a safeguard of human rights, economic development, the stability of life and of democratic institutions, security and the rule of law. Today, as in the past, there is a need to seek out “that which unites”.
Thank you Mr. President.