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London Economic Summit Political Declaration: Strengthening the International Order

July 16, 1991

1. We, the leaders of our seven countries and the representatives of the European Community, renew our firm commitment to the ideal of a peaceful, just, democratic and prosperous world. The international community faces enormous challenges. But there is also reason for hope. We must reinforce the multilateral approach to the solution of common problems and work to strengthen the international system of which the United Nations, based on its Charter, remains so central a part. We call on the leaders of other nations to join us in that cause.

2. It is a matter for hope and encouragement that the United Nations Security Council, with the backing of the international community, showed during the Gulf crisis that it could fulfil its role of acting to restore international peace and security and to resolve conflict. With the East-West confrontation of the last four decades behind us, the international community must now build on this new spirit of cooperation not only in the Middle East but wherever danger and conflict threaten or other challenges must be met.

3. We believe the conditions now exist for the United Nations to fulfil completely the promise and the vision of its founders. A revitalised United Nations will have a central role in strengthening the international order. We commit ourselves to making the UN stronger, more efficient and more effective in order to protect human rights, to maintain peace and security for all and to deter aggression. We will make preventive diplomacy a top priority to help avert future conflicts by making clear to potential aggressors the consequences of their actions. The UN's role in peacekeeping should be reinforced and we are prepared to support this strongly.

4. We note that the urgent and overwhelming nature of the humanitarian problem in Iraq caused by violent oppression by the Government required exceptional action by the international community, following UNSCR 688. We urge the UN and its affiliated agencies to be ready to consider similar action in the future if the circumstances require it. The international community cannot stand idly by in cases where widespread human suffering from famine, war, oppression, refugee flows, disease or flood reaches urgent and overwhelming proportions.

5. The recent tragedies in Bangladesh, Iraq and the Horn of Africa demonstrate the need to reinforce UN relief in coping with emergencies. We call on all Member States to respond to the Secretary General's appeal for voluntary contributions. We would like to see moves to strengthen the coordination, and to accelerate the effective delivery, of all UN relief for major disasters. Such initiatives, as part of an overall effort to make the UN more effective could include:

(a) the designation of a high level official, answerable only to the United Nations Secretary-General, who would be responsible for directing a prompt and well-integrated international response to emergencies, and for coordinating the relevant UN appeals; and

(b) improvement in the arrangements whereby resources from within the UN system and support from donor countries and NGOs can be mobilised to meet urgent humanitarian needs in time of crisis.

The United Nations would then be able to take the early action that has sometimes been missing in the past. The United Nations should also make full use of its early warning capacity to alert the international community to coming crises and to work on the preparation of contingency plans, to include the question of prior earmarking of resources and material that would be available to meet these contingencies.

6. Since we last met the world has witnessed the invasion, occupation and subsequent liberation of Kuwait. The overwhelming response of the international community in reversing the forcible annexation of one small nation was evidence of the widespread preference for

-- taking collective measures against threats to the peace and to suppress aggression

-- settling disputes peacefully

-- upholding the rule of law and

-- protecting human rights.

These principles are essential to the civilised conduct of relations between states.

7. We express our support for what the countries of the Gulf and their neighbours are doing to ensure their security in future. We intend to maintain sanctions against Iraq until all the relevant resolutions of the Security Council have been implemented in full and the people of Iraq, as well as their neighbours, can live without fear of intimidation, repression or attack. As for the Iraqi people, they deserve the opportunity to choose their leadership openly and democratically. We look forward to the forthcoming elections in Kuwait and to an improvement of the human rights situation there and in the region.

8. We attach overriding importance to the launching of a process designed to bring comprehensive, just and lasting peace between Israel and her Arab neighbours, including the Palestinians. Such a peace should be based on UN SCRs 242 and 338 and the principle of territory for peace. We support the concept of a peace conference starting parallel and direct negotiations between Israel and representative Palestinians on the one hand and Israel and the Arab states on the other. We confirm our continuing support for the current American initiative to advance the peace process, which we believe offers the best hope of progress towards a settlement. We urge all the parties to the dispute to adopt reciprocal and balanced confidence-building measures and to show the flexibility necessary to allow a peace conference to be convened on the basis set out in this initiative. In that connection we believe that the Arab boycott should be suspended as should the Israeli policy of building settlements in the occupied territories.

9. We take note with satisfaction of the prospects opened by the restoration of security in Lebanon. We continue to support efforts by the Lebanese authorities to achieve the implementation of the Taif process, which will lead to the departure of all foreign forces and the holding of free elections.

10. We express our willingness to support the development of economic cooperation among the countries of the Middle East on the basis of liberal policies designed to encourage the repatriation of capital, an increase in investment and a decrease in obstacles to trade. Such policies should be accompanied by comprehensive long-term efforts to bring about more stability for the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

11. We welcome the further substantial progress in reform, both political and economic, achieved in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe during the last year and recognise that these gains will need to be maintained through a difficult period of economic transition, including through regional initiatives. We have a strong interest in the success of market reforms and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe and we commit ourselves to full support for these reforms. We also take note of the progress of Albania towards joining the democratic community of nations.

12. Our support for the process of fundamental reform in the Soviet Union remains as strong as ever. We believe that new thinking in Soviet foreign policy, which has done so much to reduce East/West tension and strengthen the multilateral peace and security system, should be applied on a global basis. We hope that this new spirit of international co-operation will be as fully reflected in Asia as in Europe. We welcome efforts to create a new union, based on consent not coercion, which genuinely responds to the wishes of the peoples of the Soviet Union. The scale of this undertaking is enormous: an open and democratic Soviet Union able to play its full part in building stability and trust in the world. We reiterate our commitment to working with the Soviet Union to support their efforts to create an open society, a pluralistic democracy and a market economy. We hope the negotiations between the U.S.S.R. and the elected governments of the Baltic countries will resolve their future democratically and in accordance with the legitimate aspirations of the people.

13. It is for the peoples of Yugoslavia themselves to decide upon their future. However the situation in Yugoslavia continues to cause great concern. Military force and bloodshed cannot lead to a lasting settlement and will only put at risk wider stability. We call for a halt to violence, the deactivation and return of military forces to barracks and a permanent ceasefire. We urge all parties to comply with the provisions of the Brioni agreement as it stands. We welcome the efforts of the European Community and its member states in assisting in the resolution of the Yugoslav crisis. We therefore support the dispatch of EC monitors to Yugoslavia, within the framework of the CSCE emergency mechanism. We will do whatever we can, with others in the international community, to encourage and support the process of dialogue and negotiation in accordance with the principles enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act and the Paris Charter for a new Europe, in particular respect for human rights, including rights of minorities and the right of peoples to self-determination in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and with the relevant norms of international law, including those relating to territorial integrity of states. The normalisation of the present situation will allow us to contribute to the indispensable economic recovery of the country.

14. We welcome the positive developments in South Africa, where the legislative pillars of apartheid have at last been dismantled. We hope that these important steps will be followed by the de facto elimination of apartheid and improvement in the situation of the most impoverished among the population of South Africa. We hope that negotiations on a new Constitution leading to non-racial democracy will begin shortly and will not be disrupted by the tragic upsurge of violence. All parties must do all that is in their power to resolve the problem of violence. We are concerned that the foundation for a new non-racial South Africa will be undermined by mounting social problems and declining economic prospects for the majority of the population, which have contributed to the violence. There is an urgent need to restore growth to the economy to help reduce inequalities of wealth and opportunity. South Africa needs to pursue new economic, investment and other policies that permit normal access to all sources of foreign borrowing. In addition to its own domestic efforts, South Africa also needs the help of the international community, especially in those areas where the majority have long suffered deprivation: education, health, housing and social welfare. We will direct our aid for these purposes.

15. Finally, we look for further strengthening of the international order by continued vigorous efforts to deter terrorism and hostage taking. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages wherever they may be held and for an accounting of all persons taken hostage who may have died while being held. We welcome the undertakings given by governments with an influence over hostage holders to work for the release of hostages and urge them to intensify their efforts to this end. We extend our sympathy to the friends and relations of those held. We reaffirm our condemnation of all forms of terrorism. We will work together to deter and combat terrorism by all possible means within the framework of international law and national legislation, particularly in the fields of international civil aviation security and the marking of plastic explosives for the purpose of detection.

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16. This forum continues to provide an invaluable opportunity for representatives from Europe, Japan and North America to discuss the critical challenges of the coming years. But we cannot succeed alone. We call on the leaders of the other nations to join us in our efforts to make a practical and sustained contribution to the cause of peace, security, freedom and the rule of law, which are the preconditions for trying to bring about greater justice and prosperity throughout the world.

16 July 1991

Note: The declaration was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary but was not issued as a White House press release.

George Bush, London Economic Summit Political Declaration: Strengthening the International Order Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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