Remarks by the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Dennis Francis, at the 84th Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly to hear the Address by H.E. César Bernardo Arévalo de León, President of the Republic of Guatemala

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3 June 2024

Your Excellency, César Bernardo Arévalo de León, President of the Republic of Guatemala,

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

We gather today in the spirit that “we are stronger together” – bound by the principles of consultation, inclusion and solidarity that have underpinned multilateralism for nearly 80 years – the standard bearers for the Presidencies of the General Assembly since the founding days of this venerable institution.

Principles that, for decades, have enabled the globalization and integration of societies and systems at breakneck speed – and principles from which, quite unfortunately, geopolitical tensions and mistrust appear to be breaking apart today.

We see the devasting consequences of this in the more than 36,000 Palestinians and 1,500 Israelis killed in the relentless unnecessary violence in Gaza, the continued unlawful aggression against Ukraine – among numerous other simmering conflicts around the world; demanding that we understand the necessity to return to our multilateral roots as our best chance in surmounting them.

Our commitment to multilateralism is enshrined in the United Nations Charter – in our collective pledge to protect future generations from the scourge of war.

It is at its best when we assert our faith in fundamental human rights, when we uphold the dignity of all human beings – and when we stand firm, together, in support of equality between women and men, among nations, large and small.

I invite every Member State to seize the opportunity offered by this address by His Excellency President Bernardo Arévalo de León, the distinguished President of Guatemala, to recommit to multilateralism.


In this spirit, I was pleased to facilitate the request from the Permanent Mission of Guatemala to convene today’s plenary meeting – and on your behalf and my own, I extend a sincere welcome to the President of Guatemala.

We are all aware that Guatemala – a loyal member of this organization – is also a diverse and multicultural nation; with a rich heritage and strong resilience woven into its vibrant social fabric.

The road to peace was not the work of any one Government, political party, or social group.

Several administrations played their part – with strong support from the United Nations, a broad spectrum of civil society organizations, and La Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG).

These myriad efforts spanned years, showcasing the determination of all parties – working as one – to deliver on the highest aspiration for any society: peace.

As a result, the people of Guatemala brought an end to an era of terrible violence – and ushered in a new era of tranquility and sustained stability.

All Guatemalans should be rightly proud of all they have accomplished.

Excellencies, Dear Colleagues,

As I conclude, it is worth emphasizing that Guatemala’s success speaks clearly to the value of working together for the greater good.

Looking ahead, the Summit of the Future in September 2024, is the opportunity for Member States to work together to reinvigorate and strengthen multilateralism.

By building more effective and inclusive systems, networks and relationships that align with the demands of an increasingly multipolar world and that fulfill the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: to leave no one behind.

As the intergovernmental negotiations on the Pact for the Future advance, I encourage delegations to engage meaningfully in a spirit of compromise – steering the negotiations towards a successful Summit in September.

Once again, I urge you to use this once-in-a-generation opportunity to redefine multilateral cooperation – to return to the foundational principles of the UN Charter, to restore the credibility of the multilateral system for generations to come and to recapture the once awesome authority and legitimacy of this unique organization.

I thank you.



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