Václav Klaus addresses the UN for the last time as president
President Václav Klaus' speech to the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday placed a strong focus on Syria. But instead of calling for effective action, as some other world leaders had, the Czech president took a more cautious stance, questioning the wisdom of external military interventions.
“There is no doubt that we have to look at the situation in Syria from a broader and more long-term perspective. We should know what needs to be done tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. I am afraid that this is the most important lesson learnt from other similar situations, most recently from the military intervention in Libya.”
Unlike the veiled criticism of the actions of international armed forces in Libya, President Klaus did not hide his disapproval of past engagements of UN armed forces in conflicts on sovereign territories.
As an example of correct and peaceful conflict resolution that is rooted in local conditions, President Klaus cited the difficult, but successful division of Czechoslovakia two decades ago. He also praised the Czech Republic’s efforts to alleviate the situation in Syria by consistently providing humanitarian aid and setting up aid centers in neighboring countries for Syrian refugees.
The best conflict resolution, in the president’s view, should come from local politicians. But if an international intervention does take place it should be peaceful and, above all, in line with the long-term spontaneous developments in the region.
The Czech leader’s address to the UN General Assembly, underlining his strong views on national sovereignty, was most likely President Klaus’ final bow on the international stage before his second term expires in March of next year.