RUMEN RADEV, President of Bulgaria, said a “resurrected ghost of self-destruction”, the result of large-scale war in Europe, is a nightmare his generation wrongly believed to be a “bygone phase” of history of humanity. While hopes for repairing broken societal and economic ties brought some optimism after the pandemic, the war in Ukraine exacerbated the crises and destroyed that optimism. Also highlighting the erosion of democracy, human rights and the rise of authoritarianism, he said the rules of the world order adopted by the international community – forged in the green marble hall of the General Assembly – are now violently contested. Reiterating his country’s condemnation of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine, he also expressed concern over Moscow’s decision to withdraw from the Black Sea Grains Initiative. Bombing of Kiev’s port infrastructure and restrictions on shipping in the Black Sea have led to an escalation of global food insecurity in the Global South, where the price of war is particularly high.
Stressing that human lives are equally precious everywhere, he called on the parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to resume direct negotiations conducive to the two-State solution. He also stressed that a political solution to the Syrian conflict was the only way forward and reiterated Bulgaria’s support for Yemen’s unity and sovereignty. While emphasizing the importance of preventing terrorist threats and irregular immigration in Afghanistan, he also expressed support for the Western Balkan countries’ European path as a way to achieve regional stability. Bulgaria is a strong supporter of strengthening nuclear disarmament and global non-proliferation, he added, calling for dialogue on confidence-building among nuclear-weapon States. Noting that Moscow’s intention to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus undermines strategic stability, he called on the Russian Federation to adhere to the Joint Declaration of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear-Weapon States on Preventing Nuclear War and the arms race.
He added that access to finance and strong partnerships with international financial institutions are essential for sustainable development, also noting that his country provides financial support to countries in need. Welcoming the adoption of political declarations at three health summits during the high-level week, he said these documents will promote a “one health” approach and strengthen national health systems. Additionally, he called for decisive climate action and highlighted the need to reverse biodiversity loss. To this end, he welcomed the Global Biodiversity Framework.
He also highlighted that Bulgaria, as co-chair of the Group of Friends of Children and the Sustainable Development Goals, advocates for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, while promoting the rights of persons with disabilities and fighting discrimination and hate speech. Additionally, in 2023, it commemorated the eightieth anniversary of the rescue of more than 50,000 Jews during World War II. “This remarkable episode in our modern history encourages us to continue our efforts to affirm tolerance and understanding as fundamental values of modern democracy,” he said.