Klaus Iohannis: UN needs new commitments in fighting terrorism. President’s first meeting with Barack Obama, addresses invitation to visit Romania

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Field days for Romanian President on Monday and Tuesday during his visit to the U.S.

Klaus Iohannis and his wife Carmen attended the traditional reception granted by U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday (with the Romanian presidential pair taking a photo next to Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle).

President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday said he invited his US counterpart Barack Obama to pay a visit to Romania. Asked if he discussed with Obama and when he intends to go to the White House, Iohannis said he invited the US head of state to pay a visit to Romania, Agerpres informs. “It was a brief and warm meeting. We exchanged some words and took a picture together. It was very good. (…) I have invited him to Romania and preparations started to this end. Our diplomats are working on bilateral visits and we will inform you as soon as we find out,” said Iohannis.

On Tuesday President Iohannis addressed the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations, saying UN should make new commitments in the fight against terrorism, solve the causes of migration and prove less tolerance regarding some conflicts such as the ones in Ukraine or Transdniester.

“The 70th anniversary of the United Nations is yet another opportunity for a lucid reflection on the lessons learned and on the future of our organization (…) The United Nations has steadily assumed new mandates, thus reaching a level of complexity never seen before. Of course, the United Nations is not a panacea for all humankind’s evils. Its history is one of ups and downs, achievements and failures (…) It has become a common practice to ask the United Nations to do more with less,” Iohannis began his speech, adding that Romania is among those countries that has fully trusted and supported unconditionally the United Nations. “Year 2015 is a special one for my country, as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of Romania’s admission. The United Nations helped Romania in different ways in different periods of our post-World War II era (…) Our 60th anniversary allowed us to have a retrospective look. Romania is a country with limited economic power. Nevertheless, we take pride in making some significant contributions to the United Nations’ goals throughout the six decades of membership,” the Romanian head of state pointed out, mentioning the peacekeeping operations that Romania took part in all over the world and reminding of the Emergency Transit Centre set up in Timisoara, as a result of an agreement with UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and the International Organization for Migration.iohannis onu

Klaus Iohannis further said that, despite the fact the United Nations does not need to prove the legitimacy of its actions, his role is once again dramatically tested at present.
“The United Nations is called upon to make, in concert with regional organizations and individual states, new commitments in the fight against terrorism, in all its manifestations, be they coward crimes against innocent people, barbarous destruction of the common cultural heritage of mankind, or the unprecedented abhorrent form developed by the so-called ISIL/Da’esh whose actions constitute clear violations of international law and human rights we are striving so hard to uphold”, the Romanian president stated, while reiterating Romania’s support for the initiative of France and Mexico to propose a collective and voluntary agreement among the permanent members of the Security Council regarding the non-use of veto when action is needed to prevent, or bring to an end, situations of mass atrocities and war crimes at a large scale.

Moreover, he reminded of Romania’s and Spain’s proposal regarding an international court on terrorism. “Romania believes that the international community should do more in combating terrorism with the tools of law, including international criminal law. It is with that purpose in mind that Romania and Spain triggered a process of reflection on the possible creation of an International Court for the Crime of Terrorism.”

Iohannis further referred to the current huge waves of migration. “This phenomenon needs not just responses to the immediate humanitarian needs of refugees. The United Nations must address, in a realistic and energetic manner, the root-causes of migration. We should stop the destruction of the social fabric of the conflict-torn societies, help the populations escape the extreme poverty, youth regain their hope for a better future and individuals rebuild their dignity. Via the Official Development Assistance the UN should play a much stronger role in this respect. For that to happen, a thorough reform of ODA may probably be needed,” reads the President’s statement.

In his view, the United Nations should be less lenient vis-à-vis the protracted conflicts in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova, Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh. ‘Any status quo in situations that are contrary to international law will always be fragile and possibly conducive to occasional outbreaks of violence. In addition, the non-action on such situations creates the wrong impression that unlawful territorial gains, to the detriment of independent and sovereign states, are possible and tolerated. It is the case of the situation in Ukraine with respect to which the United Nations and the Security Council, in particular, did not take the action expected in terms of the UN Charter. We call upon all members of the Security Council to act responsibly and decide in the interest of international peace and security and in accordance with the international law while addressing the situation in Ukraine”.

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