Cablegate: At the Un, Iran, Georgia, Bolivia and Others


DE RUCNDT #0870/01 2731444
P 291444Z SEP 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. STATE 98982

1. Summary: The annual UN General Debate continued in the
afternoon of September 23 on the themes of global food crisis
and UN reform among others. Iran and Lebanon strongly
criticized Israel. Iran also defended its nuclear program.
Georgia spoke about the need for a stronger UN role given
Russia provocations in the region; Lithuania echoed Georgia's
call. Bolivia accused the United States of interfering in
its domestic affairs. The heads of state of Finland, Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Rwanda, Lithuania, Iran, Lebanon, Kenya,
Panama, Uganda, Guyana, Georgia, Bolivia, Namibia, and Benin
made interventions. Video and texts of the speeches can be
found at . End Summary.

Iran attacks "Zionist" interference in world affairs
--------------------------------------------- -------

2. Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadinejad said that Iraq was
attacked under false pretenses and argued that narcotics
production and terrorism have increased in Afghanistan since
NATO forces arrived. He defended Iran's "peaceful nuclear
program" as its inalienable right. He said the U.S. opposes
other nations' progress, monopolizing technology in order to
impose its will on other nations.

3. Ahmadinejad claimed that "Zionists" and the United States
control the United Nations and the rest of the world due to
U.S. power in NATO and status on the UNSC. He called
"deceitful and furtive" the "Zionists" who he claims dominate
financial centers and political decision making in the West.
He also claimed that "Zionist murderers" were supported by
the UNSC under pressure from "a few bullying powers" in their
"invasion" of Palestine. However, he commented that a
declining hegemony means the next U.S. rulers will be forced
to limit their interference to their own borders. (Note:
Per guidance, the USDEL vacated the U.S. desk leaving only a
note taker. End Note.)

Georgia pledges to fight aggression with democracy
--------------------------------------------- -----

4. President Saakashvili of Georgia said the implications of
Russia's recent invasion of his country cut to the heart of
the UN Charter. He asked if the United Nations would support
its principles or allow them "to be crushed under the treads
of invading tanks, under the boots of ethnic cleansers, under
the immobilizing impact of cyber attacks, and under the
pernicious tactics of violent separatism." Saakashvili urged
that Member States support UN principles by speaking out
against this violation of human rights, adopting a
non-recognition policy toward the provinces of South Ossetia
and Abkhazia, ensuring compliance with the ceasefire
agreement, and creating a meaningful UN conflict resolution
process to reunify Georgia.

5. Saakashvili emphasized repeatedly Georgia's pledge to be
a transparent democracy. He invited an investigation of the
cause of the invasion. He said "whereas others waged this
war with arms, we will wage it with (democratic) values." He
listed the invitations for talks Georgia had extended to
Russia, which he said were refused.

Lebanon's Intervention Focuses on Israel

6. Lebanese President General Sleiman requested the UN and
the international community stop Israel's threats of war
against Lebanon and provide assistance in regaining
territories that Israel occupies. Sleiman reiterated his
country's commitment to UNSC resolution 1701, but argued that
Israel's failure to comply with 1701 pushed Lebanon toward
other, "legitimate options." He made three arguments against
the resettlement of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon: 1) it
violates their right to their homeland, 2) it would
overextend Lebanon's limited resources, and 3) resettlement
is rejected in the Lebanese Constitution. Sleiman announced
Lebanon's candidacy for the Security Council election in
October 2009.

Bolivian President speaks out against the U.S.
--------------------------------------------- -

7. Bolivian President Evo Morales Morales directly addressed
his reasons for expelling the U.S. Ambassador in early
September. First, he argued that the United States did not
denounce the groups in Bolivia who were destroying oil and
gas pipelines. Morales called these "acts of terrorism." He
expressly made reference to President Bush's call to denounce
terrorism during his intervention in the General Debate (Ref
B). Morales also claimed that the United States had
orchestrated his 2002 expulsion from parliament. He claimed
that U.S. programs for civil society undermined his attempts
at reform. Morales also alleged that the United States
consistently tries to control members of the Bolivian
military. He further complained that the United States said
that farmers from the Andes are "Taliban" and that he himself
is from the Andes. Morales based a majority of his speech on
his pamphlet "The Ten Commandments to Save the Planet,
Humankind and Life." These include ending capitalism and
imperialism and multiple injunctions to respect and protect
the environment.

General Themes of the Afternoon

8. Lithuania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia, Lebanon, and
Kenya called for the United Nations to take a stronger stand
in conflict resolution and mediation of justice in their
respective regions. Speeches by Finland, Rwanda, Kenya,
Panama, Uganda, Namibia, and Benin concentrated on the global
food crisis and its effects on poverty and the
democratization of the United Nations. Namibia, Rwanda and
Benin all pointed out that rising food costs counteract
progress in poverty reduction. Uganda, however, called the
food crisis an economic opportunity for equatorial Africa and
said it would be "very good" for Ugandan farmers. Most
speeches called for investment in agriculture and increased
attention to climate change as an exacerbating cause of food
and energy shortages. Guyana spoke at length about the
international financial crisis. On the democratization of
the United Nations, Benin and Kenya called for reform of the
UN Security Council (UNSC). Kenya stated that Africa should
have permanent representation on the UNSC. Other speeches
lauded the idea of UN reform and democratization, but offered
no concrete suggestions.

© Scoop Media

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