At UN, Slovak President warns against leaders caring more about retaining power than improving lives
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly’s general debate today, Andrej Kiska, the President of Slovakia, warned that there is “a real danger” spreading again – the rise of nationalism, extremism, racism and bigotry in many parts of the world.
“I am certain that responsible leaders need to address these dark moods in our societies. Because these moods are the ultimate enemy of the mankind, the enemy responsible for the worst misery and bloodbath in our modern history,” he said.
Political leaders had established many useful institutions to advance peace and development, but the world is witnessing the largest displacement crisis since the World War II.
“It’s a moral duty of every successful, modern country to help,” he said, urging those who gathered for the general debate to ask themselves if they are doing enough to improve the lives of people in need, or if they are more concerned about retaining their power.
Mr. Kiska expressed concern about the destabilization in its neighboring sovereign country of Ukraine and recurring violence in the region.
“As well-known catchphrase goes, we should think globally and act locally. The crisis in Ukraine – in the part of world where I am coming from – has entered its third year,” he said, reiterating his nation’s call for the settlement of the conflict, as the Minsk agreements as the only viable way out of the crisis.
“Slovakia is ready to continue its assistance to Ukraine to help secure a stable, prosperous and democratic future for all her citizens,” Mr. Kiska said.
Turning to the selection of the next UN Secretary-General, he said that candidates from Eastern Europe, including Slovakia’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Miroslav Lajcák, “have a lot to offer in terms of potential, capabilities, knowledge and accomplishment.”
“We are still living in strange times of contradictions,” he said, noting that a physician can examine a patient’s data uploaded on the opposite side of the globe, but 16,000 children die every day mostly from preventable diseases. Some places see autonomous self-driving cars but millions of children cannot find their way into the classrooms, he said.
“With all our resources, all our innovative power and all our unprecedented ways of knowledge-sharing, we can’t ignore the opportunities to increase global prosperity, freedom and the dignity of human beings,” he said.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted last year by UN Member States, has been crafted on the grounds of successes and experience. “It’s our task to drive the necessary change to make the world a more prosperous, healthy, inclusive and safe place.”
Mr. Kiska is among the many leaders who will address the general debate of 71st General Assembly which opened this year with the adoption of the New York Declaration as the outcome of yesterday's first-ever UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants. Made up of all the 193 Member States of the United Nations, the Assembly provides a forum for multilateral discussion of international issues covered by the UN Charter.