President Ivo Josipović: Our efforts and successes are being recognised

Zagreb, 15 October 2011

After returning from New York, Croatian President Ivo Josipović in an interview for the Croatian United Nations Association talks about issues that dominated the discussion at this year’s UN General Assembly, the Croatian position on the international scene, the Palestinian issue and leaving the session during the speech of Iranian President Ahmadinejad.

Participation at the UN General Assembly is important for Croatia and its position in the world. You yourself have said this recently in New York and noone would probably dispute this claim. But can you still be more specific – what is that you are particularly satisfied with in respect to the last visit to the United Nations?

The annual session of the General Assembly is a unique event which gathers senior representatives of the Member States of the UN and all relevant political movements in the world. This year’s session was no different. In fact, the overall crisis that the world faces today has made this year’s session even more significant.

This year’s assembly was dominated by the problem of the Middle East crisis and the economic crisis that has shaken the developed world and threw the poor and least developed on their knees.

In that environment, although a little country burdened with its own problems, Croatia had what to say.

Among other things, on the issue of a Palestinian state, taught by our own experiences, we supported negotiations between the two nations as the only path to finding a solution.

We have supported all initiatives to further the fight against terrorism in which we actively participate, as well as the positive processes in the southern Mediterranean, where also, in line with our capabilities, we help in the humanitarian field. We have pledged to the sustainability of these initiatives.

Then, along with twenty other states, we have joined a US initiative in seeking solutions for better, more transparent and accountable governance. We believe that at a time when resources are lacking and the world faces a global crisis, to ourselves, we have to support ourselves and all countries in the world in taking the path of recovery through responsible governance.

I am pleased because I witnessed that our efforts and successes have been recognised. Our transformation has been recognised on the world stage. Especially in the UN, where we went from a “case state” to a state which is a factor in the international arena.

Delegations of Western countries, including the Croatian delegation, left the session of the General Assembly during the speech of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. You were there, what had actually happened?

What happened is a thing that happens for several years now at international forums where Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks. This time around too, the Iranian president challenged in an unacceptable manner all the achievements of Western democracies, brutally insulted the state of Israel and denied the Holocaust. We did not, like the vast majority of the representatives of UN member states, agree to such an attitude and expression, and we left the hall.

Do you see a solution to the Palestinian issue?

This is an unsolved issue that stands before the two nations and an issue that the United Nations is engaged with for more than sixty years now. It is extremely important for both nations, but also for the global community, to finally come up with solutions, but solutions that will take into account the main requirements of both nations. The state and the citizens of Israel need final recognition and lasting security while the Palestinian people need their right to their own state.

As a statesman, I have to believe that a solution will be found. Bearing in mind our experiences, I expect that it will be found only by agreement of the two subjects. The international community can in a variety of ways assist in this process, as it is doing for years, but the path to the final decision and, consequently, to a lasting peace, can only be found through dialogue and compromise.

Do you have any anecdotes from New York that you would like to share with readers of our web pages?

Unfortunately, this time I have “stormed” through New York and the General Assembly due to other obligations. Due to the strict UN protocol and a dense schedule, unfortunately, there was no room for anecdotes.

Posted in Columns.