Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mourad Medelci, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Algeria

    Sunday, September 30, 2012   No comments

MOURAD MEDELCI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Algeria, said the world faced a complex turning point, due to geopolitical upheavals in the Middle East and the global economic crisis. The collective faith in multilateralism should pool efforts to overcome the uncertainty caused by those ills. He called for efforts to prevent the economic crisis in the developed world from spilling over to other regions, particularly Africa. The return of confidence and growth should lead the world to better coordinate the work of the Bretton Woods institutions. Algeria had made enormous sacrifices, carrying out rigorous expenditure control and social policy to redistribute wealth. It would maintain investment to spur economic growth during the 2010-2014 period. Development, peace and security were interrelated. Regionally, Algeria had contributed to the process of democratization and the rule of law. It had maintained cooperation with countries in the Magreb and Sahel regions to fight hunger and poverty, achieve food security, and develop agriculture, infrastructure and renewable energy.
Algeria shared with its Arab and African partners its experience with fighting terrorism, organized crime and trafficking of drugs and weapons, he said. It welcomed recent changes in North Africa and the Middle East, due to the quest for democratic ideals, justice and liberty. He condemned all forms of violence and repression. He expressed hope that the people of Western Sahara would be able to exercise their right to self-determination. He urged Morocco and the Polisario Front to act in good faith and launch formal talks to reach a just solution to their conflict over Western Sahara. He supported the United Nations commitment to conflict prevention through tireless diplomatic efforts and the role of the Organization in promoting solutions to major crises as part of efforts to promote development. Algeria was a member of the Special Joint Committee of the United Nations and the League of Arab States to monitor the Syrian crisis. Algeria had supported Special Envoy Kofi Annan and it would do the same for his successor.
In the Middle East and North Africa region, violence and terrorist acts were linked to organized crime and trafficking of drugs and weapons, he said. The complex situation in Mali, whose root cause was underdevelopment, seriously threatened the Sahel region. Algeria was working with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union and other regional actors to achieve a peaceful, lasting settlement to the crisis. He supported United Nations reform, including to revitalize the Assembly and to make the Council more democratic and representative, particularly for Africa. Algeria had contributed to decolonization in Africa, enjoyed peace with its neighbours and was working towards regional integration. It was a candidate for membership in the Human Rights Council in 2014-2016. He stressed the need to fight Islamophobia, which had been used to commit acts of terrorism. He condemned the tragic events sparked by the anti-Muslim video and violent acts against diplomatic personnel and installations. He proposed holding an initiative under United Nations auspices to identify ways to prevent hate crimes. The responsible, adequate use of freedom of expression was needed to give the world a more brotherly dialogue among peoples of different religions.
He welcomed Palestine as a new United Nations member, based on 1967 borders. He recognized the legitimate, inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to sovereignty and self-determination. Creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East was an important confidence-building measure. He supported the efforts of Finland’s Secretary of State to serve as a facilitator of the upcoming conference on the Middle East. He supported efforts towards sustainable development and urged Member States to shoulder their common but differentiated responsibility in terms of capacity-building, technology transfer and financing. Algeria’s President had given new impulse to reform to ensure the rule of law and women’s empowerment. Today, women accounted for 146 members of Parliament, or one third of the lower chamber. Algeria had made progress towards democratic freedoms and it already had achieved the Millennium Development Goals. It was selected as one of 50 countries to consult with the United Nations on the Millennium Development Goals and the post-2015 development agenda.

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister for Foreign Affairs; United Arab Emirates

    Sunday, September 30, 2012   No comments


ABDULLAH BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, expressed regret over Iran’s continuing occupation of its three islands — Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb — and demanded full respect for its sovereignty over them. “All actions and measures taken by the Iranian occupation authorities are null and void, contrary to international law and to all norms and common human values”, he said, calling on the international community to urge Iran to respond to his country’s repeated, peaceful and sincere calls for a just settlement of that issue, either through direct and serious negotiations or referral to the International Court of Justice.
Deeply concerned by the escalating violence, killings and displacements perpetrated by the Syrian regime against its own people, he called upon the international community to stop the heinous tragedies committed against Syrians, noting that the solution to the crisis would only be achieved through an orderly transition of power. He urged all States to contribute to humanitarian efforts, adding that his country would continue to provide relief to Syrians in Turkey and Jordan. As for the wider Middle East, he said peace and stability could not be achieved without resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict and ending Israel’s occupation of Palestinian and other Arab lands. It must withdraw from East Jerusalem, the occupied Syrian Golan and the remaining occupied Lebanese territories to the lines of 4 June 1967.
He hailed the completion of Somalia’s transition, the convening of its Constituent Assembly, the adoption of its Constitution and the election of its new President, and reaffirmed support for the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence. The Emirates also remained committed to supporting the security and stability of Afghanistan, and would continue to provide it with humanitarian and developmental support. He expressed his deep concern about the violence perpetrated against the Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar, calling upon the international community to urge that country’s Government to stop all acts inconsistent with human rights principles.
Reaffirming his country’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, he reiterated its support for turning the Middle East, including the Gulf region, into a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. The United Arab Emirates demanded that Israel join the NPT and subject its nuclear facilities to the comprehensive safeguards system. He also called for Iran’s full cooperation with the IAEA, to implement its international commitments to ensure the programme’s transparency, and to dispel all fears and suspicions surrounding it. He said his country had begun developing a nuclear energy programme for peaceful uses in 2009, in order to meet growing demand and to support economic development projects, while ensuring that its rules and regulations were based on the highest safety and security standards and non-proliferation principles.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey

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AHMET DAVUTOĞLU, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, said: “On many matters, we speak as one, yet we fail to act in unity.” Each year there was a commitment to solve frozen conflicts in Palestine, the Nagorno-Karabakh region and in Cyprus, and they remain unresolved. And “while we cannot resolve current problems, each year we find ourselves besieged by ever-mounting new ones”. In that respect, he said the world was now witnessing indiscriminate attacks and the collective punishment of civilians by a cruel regime in Syria. “If we fail to hear and rise up to the cry of innocent masses wherever they are, and if we cannot force these brutal regimes to submit to justice and the rule of law, how are we to maintain international peace and security?” he asked. Indeed, the international community’s inability to act had become a “tool in the hands of despots and destructive regimes to demolish their cities, towns and villages, massacre their own citizens and make a mockery of the civilized world and the United Nations”. “Let us make no mistake”, he added, “mercy shown to an oppressor is the most merciless act towards people under oppression”.
He underlined that the recent attacks against the Prophet Muhammad and against Islam were outright provocations that aimed to pit nations and peoples against each other. Turkey condemned all sorts of incitement to hatred and religious discrimination against Muslims and peoples of other faiths. Unfortunately, Islamophobia had become a new form of racism, like anti-Semitism, and it could no longer be tolerated “under the guise of freedom of expression”. Freedom did not mean anarchy, he stressed in that respect; instead, it meant responsibility. At the same time, he condemned the provocation and violence that followed, saying it “cannot be justified under any pretext”. Because of the alarming increase in the number of acts that defame religions, he believed the time had come to establish the denigration of all religions and their followers as a hate crime. He called for a universal policy and legal instrument that, while protecting free expression, should also ensure respect for religion and prevent intentional insults against faiths. “The solution should not be arbitrary,” he added, calling on the United Nations, in particular, to lead that effort and provide the international legal framework.
The people of Syria had suffered under the brutality and the tyranny of the regime in Damascus for the last 18 months, he went on, stressing that more than 30,000 people had been killed so far and around 300,000 had fled to neighbouring countries, such as Turkey. About 1 million people were internally displaced. Unfortunately, however, “this humanitarian tragedy has become just a statistic for many”. There could be no legitimate explanation for the failure of the Security Council to reflect the collective conscience of the international community by stopping the violence of the Syrian regime. “The responsibility to protect the people of Syria is our fundamental duty,” he stressed, not least because the situation in the country had evolved into a real threat to regional peace and security.
Before concluding he focused on a long-standing conflict — the “ Cyprus problem”. In that regard, he said that a new round of talks, begun in 2008, were now stuck with no end in sight, due to the Greek Cypriots’ “intransigence and lack of political will”. The Turkish Cypriots had so far proven their firm commitment to a negotiated solution, but yet remained subject to an inhumane and unlawful embargo. “This is simply unfair,” he said. The continuation of the problem created additional risks for the stability of the region. Moreover, the unilateral exploration of oil and natural gas by the Greek Cypriots around the island further intensified those risks. Under those circumstances, the United Nations must do more. The Security Council, in particular, should facilitate a solution, rather than merely sustain the status quo. “It is no longer enough to pay lip service to a bizonal, bicommunal federation,” he said in that respect, adding, “it is time to act before it is too late.”

Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bahrain

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KHALID BIN AHMED BIN MOHAMMED AL KHALIFA, Foreign Minister of Bahrain, said that, since 2011, serious challenges to his country’s security and stability had arisen. The Government had created the Bahraini Independent Commission of Investigation “to establish the truth and give each person his or her due”. King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa had also proposed the creation of an Arab court of human rights to lay down the foundations of an enabling environment for human rights and to protect those rights in the Arab world. It would be modelled on the Inter-America Court of Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Council of the Arab League had endorsed that historic initiative and arrangements were currently under way to set forth the legal basis for establishing the court, which hopefully would become a reality very soon.
The United Nations had an indispensible role in addressing international and regional problems and finding appropriate solutions, he said. The Arab world was now in great need of that role, given the speedy and regrettable developments in Syria. The international community, represented in the United Nations and its entities, entrusted with maintaining international peace and security, was called upon to unify its position and end the suffering of the Syrian people, and to find a political solution to the crisis that would bring an end to the violence and bloodshed. The Organization must, therefore, shoulder its responsibility to protect unarmed civilians and not allow its own procedures to impede its ability to prevent crimes against humanity, he emphasized.
Even though the Syrian crisis was currently the international community’s main concern, the Palestinian question remained the core issue in the Middle East, he said. It was imperative to redouble efforts for a just, durable and comprehensive solution, notably through the creation of an independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital, in conformity with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations, the Arab Peace Initiative and the decisions of the Middle East Quartet. The international community should, therefore, demand that Israel halt its settlement-construction which was jeopardizing the chances for peace. He also stressed the necessity of implementing General Assembly and Security Council resolutions by taking practical action to halt Israeli violations and aggression and ensure its observance of the principles of international legitimacy.
Israel should also adhere to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and subject its nuclear facilities to IAEA inspection, he continued. On the other hand, Iran must fulfil its commitment to total and transparent cooperation with the Agency, he stressed. That country had lately been reiterating menacing threats aimed at members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, contradicting the spirit of good-neighbourliness, and thereby generating tensions and suspicions in the region. More importantly, Bahrain reaffirmed the necessity of resolving the problem of the three United Arab Emirates islands occupied by Iran — of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb — either through direct negotiations or arbitration by the International Court of Justice.

Najib Mikati, President of the Council and PM of Lebanon

    Saturday, September 29, 2012   No comments


NAJIB MIKATI, Prime Minister of Lebanon, said that at a time of legitimate Arab demands for reform and change, their goals would only be met through dialogue rather than violence and foreign interference, he said. Regarding the Syrian crisis, Lebanon could not alone handle the increasing number of refugees displaced by the conflict, he said, calling for international assistance and efforts to ensure a political consensus on ending the violence, which claimed hundreds of lives each day. As for the question of Palestine, Lebanon supported the people’s right to return to their homeland and to have an independent State, he said adding that recognition and acceptance of such a State as a full United Nations member should pave the way for a just political settlement of the Palestinian cause and end the historical injustice the Palestinian people had suffered since 1948.
Committed to peace in south Lebanon, he reaffirmed his country’s commitment to Security Council resolution 1701 (2006), pointing out, however, that Israel had committed more than 9,000 violations of Lebanese sovereignty and territory since 2006. Its actions imposed limits on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and its freedom of action while threatening the security of its members, he said, appealing to the international community to exert pressure to ensure that Israel respected international resolutions and international law. He also called for full implementation of General Assembly resolution 192/66 on the oil spill caused by the 2006 Israeli war on his country, adding that Lebanon remained committed to defending its exclusive economic area and maritime borders, as set by international law.
Lebanon was a crossroads of religion, communities, cultures and civilizations committed to religious and human values, freedom of speech, tolerance, dialogue, diversity and integration, he said. Building confidence and fostering mutual understanding was essential to ending violations of religious symbols once and for all. Committed to regional peace, Lebanon wished to see elimination of weapons of mass destruction, he said, noting that Israel was the only country in the region to possess such arms, and that following its creation in 1948, that country had persisted in violations of international law. “Stability cannot occur without a Palestinian Spring through the full implementation of the Palestinian right to self-determination on their land,” he stressed.
“The Arab world is witnessing one of the most sensitive periods of its modern history,” he continued. “We have reached a point where communities must make choices that will translate their ambitions into reality.” Lebanon had proven itself as an example of a democratic, tolerant and pluralistic country, and it was the international community’s duty to insulate it from the turbulent region around it, he said. “For it is only then that you would be providing our unstable region with a real source of inspiration: a viable nation and a vibrant one, full of life and a model for civil and religious liberties, social diversity and political freedoms.” He urged the international community to see Lebanon not as a responsibility, but as an opportunity to provide the safest and fastest way towards all that the Middle East could be — democratic, peaceful and prosperous.

Mohamed Yousef El-Magariaf, President of Libya

    Saturday, September 29, 2012   No comments


MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF, President of the General National Congress of Libya, apologized for the crimes carried out by the despot who had ruled his country for 42 years, saying Libyans were determined to build a State of peace, security, good relations with their neighbours and respect for international obligations and human rights.
Hailing the late United States Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, as the “voice of reason and conscience” and “the messenger of peace”, he expressed his deep sadness over the diplomat’s assassination, vowing that the tragedy would strengthen Libya’s solidarity and unity around the aspirations and goals that he had stood for. “We will defeat the schemes of retarded terrorists who do not represent Libya, nor represent Islam”, he stressed, assuring the United States that Libya would pursue the perpetrators and bring them to justice. The Government would spare no effort to bolster protection for diplomatic and consular missions, he added.
The mass demonstrations held in Benghazi and other Libyan cities to condemn that abominable crime illustrated the Libyan people’s rejection of violence and radicalism, he continued, also condemning the denigration campaigns against Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. Since its February 2011 revolution, Libya had witnessed significant shifts towards ending social injustice and political tyranny, and embracing democracy. In the past few months, it had begun rebuilding State institutions and elected a General National Congress, which would begin drafting a permanent constitution and form the first interim Government following democratic, transparent elections. Political parties had emerged for the first time since independence, he said.
Still, he said, the new Libya was still grappling with serious challenges and security threats caused by illegal activities by the late Muammar Qadhafi’s sons and other members of his regime, as well as by transnational organized crime, terrorism, drug smuggling and human trafficking. To address those ills, Libya had hosted the Regional Ministerial Conference on Border Security in March, which had adopted the Tripoli Action Plan for Border Cooperation. He called on all States to help Libya recover State funds looted by the Qadhafi regime to finance terrorism abroad, and in the fight against corruption.
He said Libya was keen to respect all global accords on disarmament, recalling that in November 2011, the Government had quickly notified the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons about the presence of additional stocks left by the former regime. Libya continued to cooperate with the IAEA, and called for efforts to expedite the formation of a legally binding agreement to ensure the security of non-nuclear States. It supported a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, and called on all States to pressure Israel to commit to that goal. Libya also urged Iran to be more flexible and cooperative with IAEA. It called for urgent action to end Israeli aggression against the Palestinians, for Israel’s withdrawal from the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and for an independent State of Palestine. The Security Council should act promptly to end the violence in Syria while protecting and ensuring that the legitimate demands of the Syrian people were met. He urged the relevant parties to show the political will for genuine United Nations, particularly the Council, in which Africa needed fair representation.

Moncef Marzouki, President of Tunisia at UN GA

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MONCEF MARZOUKI, President of Tunisia, said that, through its revolution, Tunisia had entered the fraternity of free and democratic people. But, also today, the world was witnessing a great evil, which had been exacerbated by violence and extremism. “These are issues that need to be seriously addressed,” he said. Such behaviour stemmed from extremist policies and had led to human carnage.
Describing his country’s experience, he said Tunisia had worked under United Nations auspices to establish peace and avoid confrontation. But, the freedom and democracy that people now enjoyed had come at a high cost: tens of thousands of people held as political prisoners, with hundreds of people killed and injured. Tunisia continued to confront multiple economic and social problems inherited from a regime that had lasted over two decades through sheer force of repression. That paled in comparison to the price being paid by Syrians, where thousands had been killed and the infrastructure destroyed, events that would impact Syrians for decades to come.
“Dictatorship is a disease,” he said, which impacted freedom and gave rise to hatred and violence. Europe had only known stability since the fall of the Nazi and communist dictatorships. Political maturity had since been acquired. He invited the United Nations to declare dictatorship a social and political “scourge” to be eliminated by a bold programme similar to that which had eradicated polio and small pox.
In that context, he said the International Criminal Court only tackled crimes after they had been committed, and mechanisms to prevent dictatorship from taking root were needed. Indeed, dictatorships gave themselves a “false legality” by organizing fraudulent elections and using democratic principles to undermine democracy itself. Tunisia’s dictator had done just that, with plans to rewrite the Constitution ahead of 2014 elections because he knew there were no internal or international mechanisms to prevent it. There was no Tunisian court to rule on such behaviour. Thus, a preventive mechanism should be part of the United Nations.
The United Nations Charter and the many international conventions were deemed to be humanity’s guide, he said, but what was missing was an implementation mechanism. As such, he proposed the creation of an international constitutional court, similar to the International Criminal Court, to denounce certain constitutions, or illegal charters and elections. That court would consider disputes, and rule on the legality of elections that did not align with the United Nations Charter. All democratic systems would need to be recognized by that tribunal. In turn, countries could seek advice from that body. Such a court would deter tyrannical regimes and strengthen the role of civic resistance.
In that context, he urged rapid intervention to save Syrian lives, and the deployment of an Arab peace force to help create a pluralistic peace. More broadly, he supported Palestinians on their quest for peace and an independent State with Al-Quds as its capital. Denouncing Islamophobia, he urged reducing the chasm between rich and poor. He also insisted on the need to free the Middle East from nuclear weapons. In closing, he stressed that Tunisia was a country of peaceful democratic revolution. The creation of an international constitutional court should make its way onto the Assembly’s agenda’s, an idea he hoped would garner international support, as that would help succeeding generations avoid a scourge that had cost the world so dearly.

Mahmoud Abbas, President, Palestinian Authority

    Saturday, September 29, 2012   No comments


MAHMOUD ABBAS, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and President of the Palestinian National Authority, said attacks by the “terrorist militias” of Israeli settlers had become a daily reality, with at least 535 attacks perpetrated since the start of 2012. Palestinians faced relentless waves of attacks against their mosques, churches, homes and schools. Increased attacks should not surprise anyone; they stemmed from a policy that prioritized settlements and a racist climate fuelled by a “culture of incitement” in the Israeli curriculum and extremist declarations.
Since the Assembly’s last session, Israel had continued its settlement campaign in Jerusalem and its environs, he said, aiming at altering the city’s historic character. It was a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” against Palestinians by demolishing homes, revoking residency rights, denying basic services, closing institutions and impoverishing people through a “siege” of walls and checkpoints. Settlement building continued throughout the West Bank, while attacks persisted against the Gaza Strip. He urged that Israel be compelled to respect the Geneva Conventions, lift the blockade of Gaza and investigate the detention of Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli jails.
He said Israel continued to impose severe restrictions on movement, preventing the Palestinian National Authority from implementing infrastructure projects and providing services to its citizens. Its overall policy was undermining the Authority’s ability to carry out its functions and implement its obligations. Such actions were taking place amid an Israeli political discourse that brandished extremist positions, which incited religious conflict. “This is something we firmly reject,” he said, stressing that such discourse only fuelled those trying to use tolerant monotheistic religions as ideological justification for terrorism.
To surmount that impasse, Palestinians had held exploratory talks with Israel at the start of the year, upon Jordan’s initiative, he said, and had made efforts to create favourable conditions to resume negotiations. But Israel’s actions in his homeland and position on permanent status issues had led him to conclude that Israel rejected the two-State solution. A State of Palestine coexisting alongside Israel represented the “historic compromise” of the Oslo Declaration of Principles adopted 19 years ago under United States auspices, by which Palestinians had accepted to establish their State on only 22 per cent of the territory of historic Palestine. Israeli measures aimed to empty the Oslo Accords of their meaning, making their implementation extremely difficult if not impossible.
Further, Israel refused to seriously discuss the issue of Palestinian refugees, he said, and continued its occupation of Palestinian water basins, agricultural land, air, skies and borders. It refused to allow Palestinians to attain their rights and rejected the independence of a State of Palestine. “I speak on behalf of an angry people,” he said, calling Israel’s evasion of accountability a license for it to continue its policy of dispossession and ethnic cleansing.
Despite the complexity of the reality and all the frustration, “there is still a chance — maybe the last — to save the two-State solution and to salvage peace,” he said, urging a new approach based on an understanding that a racist “settler colonization” must be condemned, punished and boycotted. It also required reaffirmation of and adherence to the terms of reference endorsed by the United Nations. Marathon talks were not needed, but rather the sincere intention to reach peace. The approach must include realization of an independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital, over all territory occupied by Israel since 1967, as well as an agreed solution to the Palestinian refugee issue, in line with resolution 194 (III), as prescribed in the Arab Peace Initiative.
The international community must now uphold its responsibilities, he said. He called on the Security Council to adopt a resolution on the foundations for a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which would be the basis and foundation and serve as a “binding reference” if the two-State solution was to survive. The independence and freedom of a State of Palestine was a sacred right that must be realized. The Palestinian National Authority had affirmed its ability to create an advanced model for a modern State, achievements recognized by the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee and the World Bank, among others. A year ago, he had submitted the application for consideration by the Security Council to allow the State of Palestine to assume its rightful place in the United Nations, efforts that were aborted despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of countries supported them. A year later, “ Palestine” was playing its role in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with high professionalism.
His Government would continue its efforts to obtain full membership for Palestine at the United Nations, he said, and had begun consultations with regional organizations and Member States aimed at having the General Assembly adopt, during this session, a resolution considering the State of Palestine as a non-Member State of the United Nations. Today, 77 per cent of Palestinians were younger than 35 years old and they would not allow a new Nakba to occur. All Palestinians would continue to survive on their beloved land, every inch of which carried evidence of their roots. “There is no homeland for us except Palestine,” he said. Palestinians would continue peaceful resistance, in line with international humanitarian law, against the occupation for the sake of freedom, independence and peace. “Let peace be victorious before it is too late,” he said.

UN General Assembly; Cheick Modibo Diarra, Prime Minister of Mali

    Saturday, September 29, 2012   No comments



CHEICK MODIBO DIARRA, Prime Minister of Mali, said that for Mali it was particularly important to settle disputes by peaceful means. The country’s north was occupied by armed groups comprised of drug traffickers, terrorists and bandits that were committing human rights violations. Mali had asked the International Criminal Court to prosecute such odious acts, which constituted crimes against humanity and war crimes. Among them were amputations, summary executions, rape, torture, looting and destruction of cultural monuments and sites. On 1 September the Interim President asked ECOWAS to recover the occupied territories as part of the fight against terrorism. The Secretary-General, France, United States, African Union and the European Union had referred the matter to the Council. A lasting solution to the Sahel situation required stronger, more dynamic cooperation among States in the Sahel. He supported the holding of a meeting of Heads of State and Government in the region to build capacity and also to enhance coordination of existing regional mechanisms.
Algeria, Niger and Mauritania had joined Mali in setting up a joint patrol mechanism based in Tamanrasset, Algeria, he said. He called for international support to effectively implement it. The situation of aggression and occupation in northern Mali was a consequence of the Libyan crisis. That was underscored in the joint United Nations-African Union report adopted by the Council in January 2012. The presence of terrorist groups of various nationalities on Malian soil should mobilize the international community to take joint, rapid, effective action. He reaffirmed Mali’s determination to continue to work with other core countries to fight terrorism, transnational organized crime and subversive trends in the Sahara-Sahel region. He reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to negotiate with those who were not terrorists. It was not ready, however, to negotiate issues that called into question Mali’s territorial integrity.
The conflict in northern Mali had led to the deterioration of already precarious humanitarian conditions, he said, pointing to the more than 350,000 people that had fled the fighting, the more than 84,000 internally displaced persons, and the more than 268,000 refugees in neighbouring countries. The situation had impeded children’s access to education, damaged schools and equipment, and displaced 85 per cent of teachers and 50,000 students. Many schools were now occupied by victims of floods in the south. Mali was facing enormous humanitarian needs, including for housing, food, health care, education and nutrition. On 31 July 2012, the Head of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the crisis in Mali was one of most neglected humanitarian situations in the world. Still, only $49 million of the $153 million appeal for relief aid had been received.
During her visit to Mali in August, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator had recalled the need for $213 million, he said, calling for greater mobilization by all partners to coordinate aid. In August 2012, a national unity Government had been set up to facilitate the quick recovery of the occupied areas in the north and the organization of democratic, transparent, just and credible elections. He called on the Council to adopt a resolution authorizing military intervention, so the Malian army could re-gain security of it national territory. “We want to see the immediate presence of that force”, he said, stressing the Malian people’s hope that the Council would duly consider that request. He thanked ECOWAS, the African Union and the United Nations for their efforts to end the Mali crisis, which threatened the stability of the subregion and Africa at large.
He called for a more in-depth dialogue to ensure more stable resources and financing for development to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, particularly in health, education, food security and the environment. Climate change was affecting living conditions in the Sahel. The expanding desert, deterioration of the ecosystem, floods, and poor rainfall underscored the need for appropriate responses to ensure sustainable development. The United Nations, which had a crucial role in building a new world order based on justice, solidarity and sustainable development, must be reformed in line with current realities. He called for correcting the historic imbalance that continued to deny Africa a permanent Council seat. The situation in Mali was a manifestation of security problems in the Sahel. The appropriate United Nations mechanisms must prevent an even worse situation for other people in the Sahel. The security risks in northern Mali seriously threatened the entire region and, in the long term, the rest of the world.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mohamed Morsy, President of Egypt, at United Nations GA 2012

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012   No comments
Mohamed Morsy, President of Egypt, at United Nations GA 2012



MOHAMED MORSY, President of Egypt, told Member States that he was the first Egyptian civilian President elected democratically and freely following a great revolution in his country. Since that revolution, Egyptians had taken a number of steps towards establishing the modern State to which they aspired — one that was in tune with the present, based on the rule of law, democracy and respect for human rights; a State that sought justice, truth, freedom, dignity and social justice. “The Egyptian revolution was not the product of a fleeting moment, or a brief uprising,” he said, adding, “nor was it the product of the winds of change of spring or autumn.” Rather, the revolution, and all the ones preceding and following it throughout the region, was triggered by the long struggle of authentic national movements that sought a life of pride and dignity for all citizens.
That vision of a new Egypt should also guide the country’s cooperation with the international community, he said, in a spirit of equality and mutual respect and entailing the non-intervention in the affairs of other States. The “new Egypt” was determined to regain its standing among nations, assume an effective role in global issues. Egypt’s involvement in Arab, Islamic and African issues was the reflection of the essential role it played in defence of interconnected fates and interlinked interests and values. In that vein, long decades had passed since the Palestinian people expressed their longing for their full rights and for building their independent State, with Jerusalem as its capital. It was shameful that the free world accepted, regardless of the justifications provided, that a member of the international community continued to deny the rights of a nation that had been longing for decades for independence. It was also disgraceful that settlement activities continued in the territories of those people, along with the delay in implementing the decisions of international legitimacy. He called, in that regard, for the immediate and significant measures to put an end to colonization, settlement activities, and the alteration in the identity of Occupied Jerusalem.
The bloodshed in Syria and the humanitarian crisis that had unfolded there “must be stopped”, he continued, as the Syrian people deserved hope for a future of freedom and dignity. That was the essence of the initiative he had proposed last month in Mecca, along with three other nations; they would continue to work to put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people and provide them an opportunity to choose freely the regime that best represented them. He also emphasized that the initiative was open to all those who wished to positively contribute to resolving the Syrian crisis. Indeed, Egypt was committed to putting an end to the catastrophe in Syria within an Arab, regional and international framework. That should spare Syria to dangers of foreign military intervention, which he opposed. Egypt was also committed to supporting the mission of Lakhdar Brahimi, the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, and continuing the current efforts aiming at unifying the Syrian opposition and encouraging it to propose a comprehensive, unified vision of the steady, democratic transfer of power.
Turning to the situation in Sudan, he urged Member States to support that country. Sudan had committed itself to a Comprehensive Peace Agreement and it had been the first country to recognize the nascent State of South Sudan. “But let me be frank: it has not received the support it deserves”. Similarly, he called upon Members of the Assembly to support the Somali people in their present difficult period of transition, and in fending off those seeking to hinder their efforts to achieve stability, reconstruct public institutions, and realize the aspiration of the Somali people for a better future.
Over many years, some had wrongfully sought to attain stability through oppression and tyranny, he said. “Some of us have, alas, applauded their bad deeds”. But now that the peoples of the region had regained their freedom, they would not tolerate being deprived of their rights, whether by their own leaders or outside forces. The will of the people, in particular in the region, no longer tolerated the continued non-accession of any country to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the non-application of a safeguards regime to their nuclear facilities, especially if that was coupled with irresponsible policies or arbitrary threats. In that regard, the acceptance by the international community of the principle of “pre-emptiveness” or the attempt to legitimize it was, in itself, a serious matter and must be firmly confronted in order to avoid the prevalence of the “law of the jungle”. In that regard, Egypt stressed the need to mobilize international efforts to hold a conference on achieving a Middle East free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction before the end of the current year. “The only solution is to get rid of nuclear weapons”, he said.
The world also had a responsibility to support Africa’s efforts at development and economic growth, beyond mere promises. Egyptians, as Africans, were ready and willing to do so. In addition, the youth representing the majority of the country believed that real legitimacy was derived from the people’s will, not the one imposed by an assertive authority that lacked any legal or moral basis. In that vein, he recalled that he had proposed, during the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran, a new initiative dedicated to youth issues and paying particular attention to the issues of education, training, employment and improving their participation in political life. In addition, “we look to the current situation in the international financial system, and stress the need to work diligently to reform it.” Revitalizing the General Assembly and reforming the Security Council must also remain high on the priority list of issues that must be tackled with the necessary seriousness.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, at UNGA 2012

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012   No comments
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, at UNGA 2012



Statement Summary: 
MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, President of Iran, recalled that, in previous years, he had addressed the Assembly about the current challenges, solutions and prospects of the future world. Today, he said, he wished to discuss issues from a different perspective. He asked Member States to imagine, for a moment, if in human and recent history there had been no egoism, distrust, malicious behaviours and no one violating the rights of others; if humanitarian values had been viewed as the criterion for social dignity in place of affluence and consumerism; if the Crusades, slavery and colonialism had not happened; and if the wars of Palestine that followed had not taken place; if Saddam Hussein had not invaded Iran and the world’s large powers not sided with him; if the tragic incident of September 11 and the military actions against Afghanistan and Iraq not occurred.
He further asked them to imagine if the world’s “arms [had] been turned into pens”, and if the right to criticize the hegemonic policies and actions of the world Zionist regime had been recognized; if the Security Council had not been under the domination of a limited number of Governments, thus disabling the United Nations from carrying out its responsibilities in a just and equitable basis; “imagine how beautiful and pleasant our lives and how lovely the history of mankind would have been”.
Drawing attention to the current global economic situation, he said that poverty was on the rise and the gap was widening between the rich and poor. The total foreign debt of 18 industrialized countries now exceeded $60 trillion, and economies dependent on consumerism and the exploitation of people only served the interests of a limited number of countries. Concepts such as moral principles, purity, honesty, integrity, compassion and self-sacrifice were rejected as defunct and outdated notions, and “pure” and indigenous cultures were under constant attack, and susceptible to extinction. A lifestyle devoid of individual or social identity was being imposed by nations, he said; moreover, the “human soul has become frustrated, and the essence of humankind humiliated and suppressed”.
Unilateralism, the application of double standards and the imposition of wars, instability and occupations were now “the order of the day”, he continued. An arms race and intimidation by nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction by the hegemonic powers had become prevalent. Testing new generations of ultra-modern weaponry, and the pledge to disclose those armaments in due time, were now being used as a new language of threat against nations, to coerce them into accepting a new era of hegemony. The continued threat by the “uncivilized” Zionists to resort to military action against Iran was a “clear example of this bitter reality”. No one felt safe. Further, the earth’s environment had been seriously damaged or devastated by capitalists around the world. In that context, he asked, “does anybody believe that continuation of the current order is capable of bringing happiness for human society?”
Some tried to justify that “everything is normal” and a reflection of divine will, putting the blame on nations as responsible for all prevalent vices and ills, he said. However, those were arguments aimed at justifying the attitudes and destructive behaviours of the ruling minority. “Poverty is imposed on nations, and Powers’ ambitions and goals are pursued either through deceits or resort to force”. Masses of people never wanted to expand their territories, nor did they seek to obtain legendary wealth. Peoples — including Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and others — had no disputes among themselves, in principle. Instead, the current “abysmal situation of the world” and the bitter incidents of history were due mainly to the poor management of the world and the self-proclaimed centres of power who had entrusted themselves to the Devil. The world today was founded on materialism, and had been shaped according to selfishness, deception, hatred and animosity. It believed in the classification of human beings and in the humiliation of others nations, and aimed to monopolize power, wealth, science and technology.
Asking, in that context, what should be done, he answered that “there is no doubt that the world is in need of a new order and a fresh way of thinking”. An order was needed in which man was recognized as God’s Supreme Creature, enjoying material and spiritual qualities and possessing a pure and divine nature filled with a desire to seek justice and truth. Together, the world needed to place its trust in God and stand against the “acquisitive minority” with all its might.
“It is necessary to note that the United Nations belongs to all nations,” he said, stressing the current structures of the United Nations must be reformed, and that the present existence of discrimination and monopoly in the Organization was in no way acceptable. Participation in global management was the basis of lasting peace. The more than 120 nations of the Non-Aligned Movement, holding their sixteenth session recently in Tehran under the motto “Joint Global Management”, had underscored the necessity of a more serious and effective participation of all nations in the global management.
“The Non-Aligned Movement is proud to once again emphasize the rightfulness of its historic decision to reject the poles of power and the unbridled hegemony ruling the world”, he said. The need to remove the structural barriers and encourage universal partnership in global management had never been greater. If the United Nations was not restructured, international interactions and the spirit of collective cooperation would be tarnished, and the standing of the Organization damaged. It had been created to expand justice but in practice had been engulfed in discussion and domination by a few countries. Finally, he emphasized, the arrival of the Ultimate Saviour would mark a new beginning, a rebirth and a resurrection; it would be the beginning of peace, lasting security and a genuine life. He would bless humanity with a saying that would put an end to “our winter of ignorance, poverty and war” with the tidings of a season of blooming. “Long live this spring, long live this spring and long live this spring,” he concluded.

President of Yemen Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi Mansour, UNGA 2012

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012   No comments
President of Yemen Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi Mansour, UNGA 2012



Statement Summary: 
ABDRABUH MANSOUR HADI MANSOUR, President of Yemen, said in recent weeks there had been a wave of outrage in the Islamic world against a recent film that contained “explicit denigrations” of the Prophet Muhammad. It was deplorable that there had been a deliberate campaign of insults to Islam to taint its image and plant seeds of animosity. Despite that campaign, the behaviour had been justified as part of freedom of expression. Those people overlooked the fact that there should be limits to such freedom, especially if it was used to blaspheme the beliefs of nations. He strongly denounced the film, while also calling for an enhanced understanding between different religions and cultures, and for the adoption of international legislation to prevent further abuses of the right to freedom of expression. Denouncing violence and incitement, which was contradictory to true Islam, he called for adherence to peaceful expressions of opinion.
Heralding Yemen’s fiftieth anniversary of its 1962 revolution and its forty-ninth anniversary of its 1963 revolution, he noted his country’s peaceful transfer of power for the first time in its recent history. The “historical achievement”, he said, demonstrated his country’s determination to end an autocratic regime and establish a republican government with a constitution that represented a “new social contract between the State and its people”. As one of the “Arab Spring” countries, he lauded the disputing parties’ ability to reach an agreement and political settlement under the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative, thus avoiding a “catastrophic” outcome. Early presidential elections were conducted, granting the new authority full legitimacy to fulfil the Initiative provisions and lead Yemen into a “brighter future” where its citizens could freely “choose their rulers”.
Continuing, he said that the National Dialogue Conference in Yemen that would tackle pending problems and concerns was open for all Yemeni parties and would be a means to achieve national reconciliation. Noting the current political arrangements, including the implementation of the settlement agreement and the Security Council resolutions 2014 (2011) and 2051 (2012), he pointed out that, although there were many political, economic, security and social obstacles facing his country, the Yemeni people would be undeterred in their efforts to join the twenty-first century. In that regard, it was necessary to adopt an “overarching vision” that would take into account the historical and geographical components of Yemen, including the strategic location of Yemen on trade routes and international sea navigation.
Terrorism, he noted, had pervaded his country for more than 10 years, threatening local, regional and international peace and stability. Regardless of the recent victories by Yemeni armed forces over Al-Qaida, he urged that the terrorist organization not be underestimated. He drew attention to the humanitarian crisis that resulted from terrorism in Sadah and the recent events of the past year that displaced more than 500,000 people from their homes, in addition to the increasing number of refugees from the Horn of Africa region. The United Nations appeal had asked for some $600 million, but it had been only about half funded. He called for support from “brotherly and friendly countries” to respond to the appeal so that the basic needs of displaced people and refugees could be addressed.
Concluding, he said that it was deplorable that six decades after the General Assembly issued the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, many nations still suffered human rights violations, such as the Palestinian people by the Israeli Government’s activities, the violence against thousands of civilians in Syria and the “racial cleansing” of Muslims in Myanmar. He congratulated the Somali people for their successful peaceful transfer of power and the election of a new president in a democratic environment, noting the “deep, historical relations” Yemen shared with Somalia. However, with the continued influx of migrants and asylum seekers from Somalia into his country, national security, peace and stability was threatened. He called for the international community to “share this burden” with Yemen, especially since his country’s own resources were “exhausted”.

President Asif Ali Zardari, at UNGA, 25 September 2012

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012   No comments
President Asif Ali Zardari, at UNGA, 25 September 2012



ASIF ALI ZARDARI, President of Pakistan, said his country had gone above and beyond the call of duty in fulfilling its international responsibilities. It had consistently been among the top contributors of troops to United Nations peacekeeping operations for many years, and today, more than 10,000 of its forces wore the blue helmets in the service of people around the world. Furthermore, Pakistan’s election to the Security Council reflected its commitment to world peace and security, as well as the international community’s vote of confidence. The United Nations represented common aspirations for peace and development, but it needed reform, he said. It must become more democratic and accountable. The legitimate aspirations of any people should be accommodated peacefully and in a manner consistent with sovereignty and territorial integrity, he said, adding that Pakistan supported the right of the Palestinian people to an independent State and to the admission of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations.
He recalled the loss of more than 7,000 soldiers and policemen, over 37,000 civilians, and several Government officials, including Pakistan’s first elected female Prime Minister and his wife, Benazir Bhutto, to extremism. Terrorism and extremism had destroyed human lives, torn the country’s social fabric, and devastated its economy, he said, adding that he was present not to answer, but to ask questions on behalf of his people whose lives had been lost to terrorism. Turning to Afghanistan, he said Pakistan’s doors had been open to its Afghan brothers and sisters but it had been left to fend for itself and its Afghan guests. Recalling the dictatorial regimes that were responsible for suffocating and throttling Pakistan, its institutions and its democracy, he called attention to the judicial execution of Pakistan’s first elected leader, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the jailing of other elected leaders, the 12 years he had himself spent in prison, and the billions provided by the international community to support those dictatorships.
The country’s social fabric and its very character had been altered, he said, adding that “our condition today is a product of dictatorships”. No country and no people had suffered more than Pakistan in the struggle against terrorism. How much more suffering could it endure? Describing how democracy had brought about major changes in his country, he listed the completion of a full five-year term by the first civilian Government in Pakistan’s 66-year history; the passage of unprecedented reforms by Parliament; the restoration of the 1973 consensus Constitution; and the establishment of the National Commission on Women, the National Commission on Human Rights, and a truly Independent Election Commission to ensure free, fair and transparent elections. The media were free and uncensored and civil society was flourishing under the protection of democracy, he said. Millions of families had also benefited from the Benazir Income Support Programme, the first social safety net created with the support of Pakistani women, for the weak and less privileged. It had not only helped the poor, but also empowered women in their households, he said.
As evidence of its cooperation with other countries in the region, he said Pakistan had begun to engage at all levels of the Afghan political spectrum. Believing in a sovereign, stable and secure Afghanistan, he said “what is good for the Afghan people is good for Pakistan”. He stressed the need for the international community to support the 3 million Afghan refugees in his country, so they could return home with dignity. Similarly, Pakistan’s relations with India, based on mutual trust and communication, were growing, he said, adding that he had been was encouraged by his discussions with the Prime Minister of India, with whom he had met last month in Tehran — their fifth meeting in four years. On the territorial dispute between the two countries, he stressed Pakistan’s continuing support for the right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir peacefully to choose their destiny, in accordance with the Security Council’s long-standing resolutions on that matter. Kashmir remained a symbol of the failures of the United Nations system rather than its strengths, he said, emphasizing that the resolution of those issues could only be reached in an environment of cooperation. To further build regional cooperation, Pakistan would be hosting a quadrilateral summit next month, and signing the Afghan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement, he said.

King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein, King at UNGA, 25 September 2012

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012   No comments
King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein, King  at UNGA,  25 September 2012




ABDULLAH II, King of Jordan, welcomed world leaders of many religions who had stood with Muslims worldwide in rejecting provocations meant to divide those of different faiths. He condemned all acts vilifying the Prophet Muhammad or falsely using his name — or that of Islam — to justify violence. “There are no sidelines on this issue,” he stressed. Every faith everywhere must be proactive in promoting understanding, he said, adding that the first four words of the United Nations Charter — “To unite our strength” — were not just an old dream, but “a modern urgency”. The United Nations was needed as never before.
He said important tasks ahead in the Middle East involved providing better opportunities, especially for young people, averting regional instability and fulfilling the basic human right to live in freedom, dignity, justice and peace. Jordan, for its part, was guided by mutual respect and moderation in its “Arab Spring” journey to accelerate home-grown reforms and achieve national goals. Since 2011, constitutional amendments and new laws had created a matrix of institutions and principles that supported democratization, he said, adding that Jordan would have a new Parliament next year.
Turning to the tragic situation in Syria, he said the violence must end immediately and a transition must begin now. There was no alternative to a political solution that would end the bloodshed, restore security and preserve both Syria’s territorial integrity and the dignity of its people. Jordan would support the new Special Representative of the Arab League and the United Nations. More than 200,000 Syrians had sought refuge in Jordan since the beginning of the crisis, and while that had put pressure on its economy, the country would continue to shoulder that responsibility, he said, adding that international support was essential.
As for the crisis at the heart of the region, he said Palestinians had been the exception to the United Nations promise of shelter under international law, the dignity of living in freedom and security, and the right to self-determination. No issue stirred more anger than telling an entire people that they did not count when it came to global justice. The “Arab Summer” could not bear its full fruit until the Palestinian-Israeli conflict ended with a just peace and a Palestinian State, living side-by-side with a secure Israel. Illegal settlement-building and unilateral actions threatened a negotiated peace. Jordan was also extremely concerned about threats to Jerusalem and the sanctity of its Muslim and Christian holy sites.
With Al-Aqsa Mosque and Compound under Hashemite custodianship and protected by international law as occupied territory, he warned, any invasion or division of Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa would be viewed not only as a breach of Israel’s obligations, but as a profound religious transgression. A clear message must be sent that such actions would not be tolerated. The world could not afford continuing hostility. There was a potential opportunity after elections in the United States to achieve a solution that would see two States at peace — Palestine and Israel — secure and free to look forward on the basis of a just, comprehensive and final settlement. “The Arab world is seeking peace, real peace”, involving diplomatic and economic relations, and a new normality wherein people would be safe in their homes. That prospect had been on offer since 2002 under the Arab Peace Initiative, through which 57 Arab and Muslim countries had reached out to Israel, he noted, emphasizing that it was time for Israel to turn around and make peace with the Palestinians. Almost three generations after the creation of the United Nations, it was not enough simply to make the right choices. “We must also pursue effective action.”

Turkey's Erdogan to consolidate grip as ruling party renews

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012   No comments

By Nick Tattersall and Can Sezer

Erdoğan gives a thumbs-up sign from
the cockpit of the Turkish Primary
and Basic Trainer Aircraft "Hürkus"

(Photo: Reuters)
KONYA, Turkey, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Surveying the street lights sparkling like jewels on the plain below, Tahir Akyurek looks back with satisfaction on his first eight years as mayor of this central Turkish city.

Two-lane highways have been widened to six, a fast train line has put Ankara just an hour and a half away, and there is a new park where students and the elderly chat over tea or wander among pristine lawns in the shadow of elegant minarets.

More so than the teeming streets of cosmopolitan Istanbul, the ordered avenues of Ankara or the resorts of the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, this conservative industrial city on the Anatolian plateau epitomises the reformist ambitions of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party.

"Konya is connected with its traditions and embraces the new ... Being conservative, being devoted to tradition, does not mean being reactionary," Akyurek told Reuters, sipping tea and chewing almonds on a cafe terrace overlooking the city.

His sentiments reflect the self-image of the Islamist-rooted AK Party as it prepares for its biggest overhaul since sweeping to power in Turkey a decade ago. Critics are less charitable, viewing it as a threat to the modern secular republic founded by Kemal Ataturk on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire 90 years ago.

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