Click to enlargepadLatvia’s president calls for comprehensive approach to UN peacekeeping

September 26, 2007

The President of Latvia today called for a comprehensive approach to United Nations peacekeeping, involving all facets of the system, in his address to the annual high-level debate of the General Assembly.

A former surgeon, President Valdis Zatlers drew an analogy between surgery and collective security. “It is not enough for the Security Council to prescribe peacekeeping operations, crucial as they are for international peace and security,” he said. “The whole United Nations system is necessary for the long-term recovery of conflict zones.”

He paid tribute to dedicated staff working in difficult peacekeeping missions. “It is our duty in our capitals and here at the UN Headquarters to support their efforts, each Member State according to its capacity,” he said.

On the specific case of Kosovo, he expressed support for the proposal put forward by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Martti Ahtisaari. “This proposal currently remains the only viable diplomatic solution on the table,” he said, calling the active involvement of the European Union “important to achieve a lasting solution.”

Mr. Ahtisaari’s proposal calls for a phased process of independence for the Albanian-majority Serbian province.

“We urge both parties to show flexibility and commitment to a peaceful, negotiated outcome,” said President Zatlers.

The President of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus, cautioned against letting the situation in Kosovo become protracted.

He pointed out that some conflicts in the world are not visible, calling situations in the GUAM area – Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova – ‘frozen conflicts.’

“‘Frozen conflicts’ in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus may become ‘very hot’ unless we act immediately,” he warned. “Let us not forget that it is not only the conflicts that are frozen, but also the lives and dreams of the people living in those areas of artificial conflict.

“This is where the United Nations should be more visible and more outspoken,” he asserted. “This also applies to Kosovo, where attempts to create another ‘frozen conflict’ must be excluded.”

Octobr 17, 2008 - President Bush Discusses the Visa Waiver Program
Office of the Press Secretary/ White House News

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. (Applause.) Please be seated, thank you. Welcome to the White House. I'm pleased to stand with the representatives of seven countries -- the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and South Korea -- that have met the requirements to be admitted to the United States Visa Waiver Program. Soon the citizens of these nations will be able to travel to the United States for business or tourism without a visa. I congratulate these close friends and allies on this achievement, and I thank you for joining us here.

I also thank Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of the Homeland -- Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff for working hard to make sure this day has finally arrived. Appreciate other members of the administration here and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

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