The speech of President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko at the UN became one of the most striking in the organization's history.
As a mediator of the conflicting parties, Russia and Ukraine, Minsk automatically became involved in this story. The United Nations were waiting for what President Lukashenko will say in connection with the situation in Ukraine.
This speech was important also because after the "thunder and lightning" in the region, the West suddenly softened their assessments and actions with regard to Belarus. Would Lukashenko cozy up to the West? No, he did not. Directness of expression and bold criticism (constructive though) were the distinctive features of the President's speeches.
Lukashenko was quoted on a par with Obama, Putin, and the Pope. US President Obama and his wife Michelle were photographed with Alexander Lukashenko and his son Nikolai. Our special correspondent Igor Pozniak was in New York those days.
September 2015. New York. The 70th UN General Assembly. Most of the Heads of State of the world took part in the UN events.
144 political leaders. The summit was the most representative in the history of the United Nations.
This was Alexander Lukashenko's fourth "access" to the highest international rostrum.
Belarus has been very straightforward at the UN. 1995: Alexander Lukashenko speaks for the first time at the UN and immediately declares NATO's eastward expansion is fraught with unpredictable consequences for the whole of Europe. In 2000, the President of Belarus says about equality and the effectiveness of the United Nations. 2005: Alexander Lukashenko urged the international community to combat human trafficking. A few years later the General Assembly adopted the Global Plan of Action in this regard. Finally, 2015. The position of Belarus is clear to everyone: a country's sustainable development is impossible without peace and security.
Speaking at the development summit Alexander Lukashenko drew attention to the huge shortage of geopolitical justice.
Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
They started from Tunisia and finished with Libya. The scenario is the same: they crucified President Gaddafi destroying the state. Did the situation in Libya become better? No. And where is this Libya as an integral state?
Ladies and gentleman, maybe it is enough? No. They rushed to Syria. The question is why. Why kill people, why overthrow the incumbent president; what wrong did he do? Moreover, by the massacre in that country you erase the first traces of our civilization. Tell the world community what you want and what you are aiming for. Tonight is the appropriate time. From this rostrum at the UN General Assembly.
The Ukrainian crisis. If we do not stop the bloodshed in Europe, that fratricidal slaughter, and allow the escalation of the conflict, all the civilized world will feel that 'heat'. Excuse me, but we will make one more step towards a global conflict and possibly a new world war, in the center of the civilized and advanced world.
Agenda 2030 is a sort of picture of the world in 15 years' time. The previous and the first global development program in the history was adopted in 2000. By the way, Belarus has successfully completed most of the Millennium Development Goals. For example, reducing maternal and child mortality.
The current Action Plan includes five strategic areas: people, planet, prosperity, partnership and, of course, peace.
Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor of Germany:
Peace will remain the key condition for successful development. Millions of people are forced to flee from war, terror and violence. More than at any other time since World War II.
Will these political forecasts be fulfilled? Alexander Lukashenko expressed his thoughts at the general debate.
Today, you cannot help feeling that a ghost of another major conflict, if not the war, is looming large. We cannot allow this sinister ghost to become a reality!
Yes, we have gathered today here. Yesterday we discussed a very important problem and outlined the program of the United Nations. I have already said: for many, for the millions of inhabitants of our planet "sustainable development" sounds blasphemous, because they are dying every day, children and the elderly are dying. And today we should get together and take only one decision - put an end to wars and conflicts.
Global economic threats is yet another danger to the stability of the world. Currency wars, sanctions and unfair competition aggravate the global crisis, said Alexander Lukashenko. There is only one way out of this deadlock is all-round cooperation of economies.
Only together we can bring a new formula for universal mutually beneficial cooperation. The Belarusian side offers the idea of integration of integrations as the most current trend of the modern world. This idea can become the basis of this formula. Look how many new integration associations have emerged in recent years.
And today we are talking about the prospects of cooperation of the European and Eurasian Economic Union, a large-scale project of the Silk Road, the creation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Free Trade Area, and dozens of others.
Only an alliance of strong and effective states can adequately confront the modern threats, the Belarusian leader said. And here, of course, an important role is given to the United Nations: the organization must keep pace with the times. Alexander Lukashenko also mentioned the global social crisis.
We are very concerned about ongoing processes in some countries and the destruction of the traditional family.
Especially we do not like it when we are asked to accept certain deviations from the norms of morality and various social innovations as a natural thing. I do not want to go into this problem. I'm afraid to get caught and be subjected to excessive criticism but I just want to ask you one question: who will give birth to children?
The Ukrainian issue was at the top of the political debate, as it had been expected. This fire must be extinguished quickly and decisively, because flames can flare up all over Europe.
This position of Belarus is known today throughout the world, and Minsk has become a symbol of peace, says UN Secretary-General with pleasure. Ban Ki-moon personally thanked Alexander Lukashenko for a constructive role in resolving the situation in Ukraine.
From the international rostrum, world leaders talked a lot about the Minsk Agreements.
Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation:
We are convinced that we can stop the bloodshed and break the deadlock only but fully implementing the Minsk Agreements as of 12 February 2015.
By the way, among the hundreds of journalists covering the UN General Assembly were a lot of those who spent the sleepless February night in Minsk.
Bernard Hammelburg, radio journalist (Netherlands):
I think that Belarus had its own reasons to hold these talks. This is a good opportunity to offer our platform and say: 'Let us gather all the parties to the conflict in our country and hold talks. We can help with this.' And it worked.
Alexander Lukashenko held a series of talks on the sidelines of the forum.
On the first day of the visit, Mr Lukashenko met with the director of the International Monetary Fund. The IMF considers Belarus as a reliable partner. Therefore Alexander Lukashenko and Christine Lagarde discussed the possibility of a new program of cooperation between Belarus and the IMF. The President thanked the management of the Fund for the successful implementation of the standby program.
Here the Belarusian President talked with the Cuban leader, the president of Latvia, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
I want to assure you that we are committed and will be committed to true human rights. I want you to say frankly: we will never allow anyone to impose the so-called human rights on us and politicize them.
Austrian leader Heinz Fischer thanked Belarus for the important steps to perpetuate the memory of victims of the Second World War and noted the memorial "Trostenets" recently opened near Minsk. His family history is connected with that place.
Heinz Fischer, Federal President of Austria:
I am very grateful to you for having set up this monument. My wife's grandmother was killed there and other members of my family also suffered. I believe that we need to strengthen our cooperation.
Mr Lukashenko spoke with the heads of Egypt and Ecuador about the economy and the development of trade.
At the end of the visit, Alexander Lukashenko attended the reception on behalf of President Barack Obama.
"An ominous ghost of a new conflict is looming", "No alternative to dialogue" and "Invulnerable countries no longer exist." These are some of the headlines of the foreign press that quoted Alexander Lukashenko. The Belarusian leader's speech at the UN, as noted by the world's leading media, has become one of the most poignant and resonant.
The Washington Post:
The Belarus president is warning of another world war “if we make one more step toward global conflict.”
Lukashenko urged the UN to get rid of corruption and politicization of problems, also return to defending the weak and fighting against terrorism in order to become "an organization of really united nations."
RIA Novosti Ukraine:
No less resonant was a speech at the UN General Assembly of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko who said that if one does not stop the conflict in Ukraine, the whole civilized world will feel the heat.
Lukashenko has warned the United Nations about a new war. He believes that the international community has lost effective mechanisms of checks and balances.
The leader of a member state of the EEU, Belarus' Alexander Lukashenko, on Sunday made one of the strongest speeches of the summit.
In fact, peace is incredibly fragile. Even peace that has consistently demonstrated a seemingly unshakable power. This was a lesson to the whole world, which took place in New York, in Manhattan, September 11, 2001.
The memorial Ground Zero is in memory of the victims of the terrible terrorist attack in the history of mankind. The Belarusian Irina Buslo was in one of the Twin Towers that day. In 1999, she came for the American dream and two years later died under the rubble of the World Trade Center. Alexander Lukashenko with son Nikolai laid flowers to the memorial.