On what he described as the “first and last time” he will address the United Nations General Assembly, the President of Paraguay, Federico Franco, affirmed that his country will not abide by any infringement on its sovereignty.
“Here, before humanity's highest assembly, I expressly declare that Paraguay will never accept intervention by foreign powers in its internal affairs,” President Franco told the 67th Assembly’s General Debate, at UN Headquarters in New York.
“We will continue building upon our democracy according to the will of the Paraguayan people, sovereignty exercised through our freely elected institutions,” he added.
In June, the landlocked South American country experienced a political crisis, with President Franco predecessor – Fernando Lugo – removed from office through an impeachment process instigated by the country’s National Congress.
Then serving as Vice President, Mr. Franco assumed the office of President. “Since then, in accordance with the oath of office, I govern Paraguay peacefully and democratically, fully respecting public liberties,” he noted.
The events led to a fact-finding mission led by the Organization of American States (OAS), as well as an extraordinary meeting of the Heads of State of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).
Subsequently, UNASUR, as well as MERCOSUR, adopted sanctions against Paraguay “without allowing it to exercise its right to defend itself, as clearly expressed in the international agreements that are invoked for the application of sanctions,” President Franco said.
“In violation of international treaties, these countries have attempted to become the custodians of Paraguayan democracy, putting aside the principle of non-intervention consecrated in our United Nations Charter,” he said. “But”, he underlined, “they will not defeat us”.
Throughout its history, he continued, Paraguay has suffered repeatedly as a result of “arrogant intervention” in its internal affairs.
“The holocaust known as the War of the Triple Alliance (1865/1870), resulting from an unjustifiable coalition (Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay) that decimated Paraguay's population and destroyed its economy has still not faded from the memory of my people,” he said, adding that every right enshrined in human rights agreements signed in the UN and OAS frameworks has been respected.
“In the short time of my government, our detractors have not been able to point out a single violation of the agreements we have mentioned,” he added.
Leadership is based on respect for International law. “Only this way can we have a common position to reform the Security Council, a long standing wish of this universal organization that hosts us”.
“Paraguay calls to prop and continue building the beautiful international utopia of a planetary organization ruled by the strong and the weak, by the large and the small, by the poor and the rich, all equal in this magna world assembly. Therefore Paraguay believes it is necessary to insist that the reform process must necessarily include the gradual elimination to the right of veto”.
In opposition to this utopia, the Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff at the opening of the General Assembly argued the need for the incorporation to the UN Security Council of more countries with the right to veto.
Other topics mentioned in President Franco’s speech included sustainable development, UN reform, transnational crime human rights, gender issues and UN peacekeeping, with the latter being an area in which Paraguay has contributed its troops.