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    Press ReleaseIPU Logo-middle
No.3, New York, 7 September 2005 IPU Logo-bottom


150 Speakers of National Parliaments attended the inaugural ceremony of the Second World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments, organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), at the UniteUnited Nations Headquarters in New York today.

In his opening remarks, the IPU President, Chilean Senator Sergio Paez, said that "this extraordinary meeting testifies to the interest in parliamentary diplomacy within representative institutions and to the increasing role of legislators in the international system".

The IPU President explained that the main objectives of the conference were "to air the views of the true representatives of popular sovereignty from all regions of the world; to take stock of parliamentary action in foreign affairs in the past five years, and to examine how we can provide more support for international cooperation and for the United Nations. Last but not least, we want to help bridge the democracy gap in decision-making in international relations".

The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Jean Ping, said that "the IPU is attached to the objectives and principles of the United Nations. The theme of the Second World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments is particularly significant at a time when the General Assembly is engaged in tough talks in order to agree on a document for our heads of State and government which will hopefully garner the broadest consensus possible so as to adapt the United Nations to the multiple challenges of the 21st century".

The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Mr. Dennis Hastert, sent a message that was delivered by US Congressman David Dreier. Speaker Hastert welcomed the Speakers to New York, adding that "we have been working together on a new initiative through which the U.S. House of Representatives will offer assistance to strengthen parliaments in emerging democracies worldwide. Working with other parliaments is an important part of your work too. I applaud this Conference’s central focus on how parliaments can contribute to democracy".

The representative of the United States said that "governments – even democratically elected ones – that lack strong and effective parliaments do their citizens a disservice by limiting the fire and flame of debate, faction, and public discourse. This stifles expression and compromise – two key elements of effective governance... As parliamentarians, we are uniquely positioned to contribute to the advancement of democracy, human rights and the rule of law simply by representing the best interests of the voters that elected us" the congressman added.

Established in 1889 and with its Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the IPU, the oldest multilateral political organisation, currently brings together 141 affiliated parliaments and seven regional assemblies as associate members. The world organisation of parliaments has an Office in New York, which acts as its Permanent Observer at the United Nations.
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