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September 22, 1997

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United Nations Address


"At the dawn of a new century, so full of hope, but not free of peril, more than ever we need a United Nations where people of reason can work through shared problems and take action to combat them, where nations of goodwill can join in the struggle for freedom and prosperity, where we can shape a future of peace and progress and the preservation of the our planet."

-- President Clinton, 9/22/97

Addressing its General Assembly, President Clinton challenged the United Nations to build new institutions to make globalization work for all people and announced that the United States will do its part to ensure global security and prosperity into the 21st century. As part of his challenge to the U.N., the President called for strengthening the United Nations so it can serve as a prime instrument in meeting the new challenges of the new century. Towards this goal the President called for: a permanent international court to prosecute the most serious violations of humanitarian law; passage of far-reaching reforms of the U.N. to make it better, not just smaller; and announced he will submit the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to the Senate for ratification this week.

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Makes The World A Safer PlaceThe Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which President Clinton will submit to the Senate for ratification today, prohibits all nuclear explosions for any purpose. The treaty marks an historic milestone in our efforts to reduce the nuclear threat and build a safer world. It will help prevent the nuclear powers from developing more advanced and more dangerous weapons. And will limit the possibilities for other nations to acquire such devices.

Permanent International Court Needed to Defend Human RightsOne of the U.N.s core missions must be to defend and extend universal human rights. In order to achieve this mission, the President has called for establishing a permanent international court to prosecute the most serious violations of humanitarian law. In addition, the President urged strong support for existing U.N. war crime tribunals and truth commissions to punish those responsible for crimes against humanity.

Passage of Reform Agenda Would Make U.N. Better Able to Meet New Challenges President Clinton called on the U.N. to pass much needed reforms to streamline the U.N. and make it more effective in meeting the new challenges of 21st century. These reforms, offered by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, are the most far reaching reform of the United Nations in its history. They would make the United Nations more efficient and better able to serve the world community.

President Committed To Meeting Americas Financial Obligations To the U.N.In an effort to put the United Nations on a sounder financial footing, President Clinton announced that he has made it a priority to work with Congress on legislation that would allow the U.S. to meet its financial obligations, both past and present, to the United Nations.

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