Polish President chairs UN Security Council open debate

PAP/Radek Pietruszka

Polish President Andrzej Duda chaired at the UN seat in New York on Thursday an open debate headlined "Strengthening and promoting international law within the context of the maintenance of international peace and security."

The debate has been prepared by Poland in connection with the country taking over the presidency of the United Nations Security Council on May 1.

In an address delivered during the debate, the Polish head of state focused on the "significance of international law as a guarantor of peace and relations between states," and the main challenges to global policy, with special emphasis on the ongoing conflict in Syria, the Korean Peninsula, the situation in the Gaza Strip and Israeli-Palestinian relations. President Duda also spoke about the war in Ukraine and the frozen conflicts in Georgia, Moldova and Nagorno Karabakh.

Asked by reporters about his expectations regarding the presidency of the UN Security Council, President Duda said that Poland's presence in the UN body was "a unique chance to contribute to building global peace and security."

"This is, above all, the building of peace architecture. I have no doubts that security is extremely important both for the Polish state and for its citizens," the president answered.

"We live in times, in which a dream about our part of Europe never again being affected by a war is a fiasco. Today, we have a military conflict in Ukraine behind our border, borders in Europe, which are very close to us, are being violated. It is unnecessary to tell anyone that taking care of peace and security is a fundamental matter. I am convinced that this is what my compatriots are waiting for," he stressed.

According to President Duda, only international law, its observance and execution can ensure peace and security.

"If our work here, namely, at the UN and at the Security Council, will contribute - even in a very slight degree - to the improvement of international law and its better observance, I am sure that for us this will be a huge success, regarding both our security and building global security."

Asked about EU-US relations as far as trade and a nuclear deal with Iran were concerned, President Duda declared that it was most important for him as the Polish head of state to keep European-Atlantic ties in good condition. "This is the most important thing from the Polish point of view," he underlined.

Answering a question about a reform of the UN, the president said it should be aiming at making UN Security Council's moves more effective and more efficient for global peace and security. He added that decision-making process at the UN required a change.

The Polish head of state also expressed his hope that one day a UN secretary general will come from Central Europe, or even from Poland. "Central European countries have never had their secretary general. I hope that in the future this post will be assumed by a representative of a country from our region. I hope that it will be Poland," President Duda said.

He also stressed the need for countries of our region to cooperate as far as various matters were concerned. He admitted this was not easy, especially in a group of countries where there were both Russia and Ukraine.

Asked about his expectations regarding his words about the air disaster in Smoleńsk, Russia, in which the then Polish President Lech Kaczyński, his wife and over 90 Polish officials were killed on April 10, 2010, President Duda said he wanted his statement about the air crash to be heard at the UN Security Council.

Addressing the UN Security Council, the Polish president said that "for those who seek justice, law has to be a supportive force."

"It applies specifically to such issues as compensations for historical losses, or modern investigations, for instance concerning flight disasters, such as the full clarification of the causes of the crash of the Polish airplane in Smoleńsk, where the late President of Poland Lech Kaczyński, his wife and all member of the Polish delegation perished," he told the gathering.