Cablegate: Un General Debate Continues (Sept. 24 A.M.)
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SUBJECT: UN GENERAL DEBATE CONTINUES (SEPT. 24 A.M.)
1. SUMMARY: During the September 24 morning meeting of the
UNGA General Debate, heads of state or governments from
Comoros, Ghana, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rwanda, Lithuania,
Cyprus, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Panama,
Switzerland, Spain, Japan, Turkey, and Israel spoke. Common
themes were the global financial crisis; climate change;
implementation of the Millennium Development Goals; peace and
security; and United Nations reform, especially the Security
Council. Several speakers addressed Iran's nuclear program.
Full text of statements is available at
www.un.org/ga/64/generaldebate; video archives are at
www.un.org/webcast/2009.html. END SUMMARY.
2. Ghana: Millennium Development Goals are Unattainable.
President Mills cataloged the current state of the economy,
climate change, and high food and energy prices threatening
its economic and democratic achievements over the past two
decades. To counter this, he requested the support of the
United Nations and Ghana's regional allies but stated that
the Millennium Development Goals were "unattainable in any
meaningful way." To combat the economic crisis, Ghana has
put in place several measures, including fiscal restraint.
Mills stressed that realizing social and economic development
for Africa depends on commitment to good governance.
3. Bosnia and Herzegovina: Preventive Diplomacy.
Chairman of the Presidency, Komsic, stated that the principal
threat to global peace and stability was the economic and
financial crisis, and that if the opportunity to correct it
were missed, it could create "unimaginable consequences"
throughout the world. He also cited climate change as an
urgent issue and hoped that the Copenhagen Summit would
succeed and build upon the Kyoto Protocol. Komsic remained
committed to the International Criminal Tribunal for the
former Yugoslavia as well as police missions in the DRC,
Ethiopia, Eritrea, Liberia, Sudan, East Timor, Cyprus, and
Haiti. He declared that Security Council reform was
paramount, to include greater engagement of "preventive
diplomacy" to avoid conflicts. Additionally, Bosnia and
Herzegovina reminded the member states of its candidacy for a
non-permanent seat on the Security Council in 2010-2011.
4. Lithuania: Touts Sustained Development.
President Grybauskaite listed the challenges to the global
community (economic crisis, terrorism, weapons proliferation,
and climate change) and prescribed the transformation of the
UN so as to face these challenges. For sustained development
he prescribed: 1) continued peacekeeping efforts, 2) stronger
United Nations policy against nuclear proliferation, 3)
better and more responsible global governance, 4) addressing
climate issues, and 5) greater regional responsibility.
5. Cyprus: Blames the "system" and "market lawlessness" for
the global crisis.
President Christofias focused on the global economic crisis,
blaming the "system" with its "neo-liberalism" and "market
lawlessness" forcing states to re-evaluate priorities.
Cyprus reasserted Turkish war crimes of 1975 and appreciated
United Nations resolutions passed in support of Cyprus.
Christofias reiterated willingness to initiate dialogue with
6. Sao Tome and Principe: Mentioned United States trade
embargo with Cuba.
President Menezes praised political efforts between China and
Taiwan and encouraged a more robust "participation for the
Republic of China-Taiwan at the United Nations." Menezes
expressed disappointment with the lack of progress regarding
the trade embargo with Cuba, hoping that the new United
States President will soon bring it to an end.
7. Panama: "Is open for business."
In contrast to other speakers, President Berrocal was more
positive, but still expressed concern over climate change and
the economic meltdown. Even with the financial downturn, he
noted planned large-scale construction, such as building a
third set of locks to expand the capacity of the Panama Canal
to "transform Panama into the Hong Kong or the Dubai of
America." Berrocal believes that the rule of law needs to be
returned to Honduras and that of Central America, and hopes
for a smooth reconciliation process. He reported Panama's
ongoing cooperation with Mexico and Columbia in their battle
against organized and drug and arms trafficking.
8. Japan: The "New Japan" as a bridge.
Japan's new Prime Minister as of September 16, Hatoyama,
promoted Japan's role as a bridge between the East and West,
developing and developed countries, and cultures. Therefore
his "New Japan" program includes: 1) respond to the global
economic crisis, 2) address climate change, 3) support
nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, 4) address
peace-building, development and poverty, and 5) build the
East Asian community. He noted that Japan was the only
country that had suffered the destruction of atomic bombs,
citing President Obama's speech in Prague laying out a "world
without nuclear weapons." He stressed that North Korean
nuclear missile tests "cannot be condoned under any
9. Turkey: Issues possible ultimatum on relationship with
Prime Minister Erdogan's speech touched on the economic
crisis, climate change, terrorism, reform of the Security
Council, and strong support for Palestinians in Gaza. his
focus turned to regional issues. He focused on the "zero
problem with neighbors" approach which has resulted in
improved bilateral relationships with Greece and Armenia.
Turkey strongly supported the Palestinian people and
denounced the "aggression against Gaza" while calling on
states not to ignore further suffering. The Prime Minister
stated that the solution to the Turkish-Cyprus issue was
within the United Nations but went further in stressing that,
"if a solution cannot be found due to Greek Cypriot
intransigence, as was the case in 2004, the normalization of
the status of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will
become a necessity which can no longer be delayed." He added
that negotiations cannot last forever and the window of
opportunity will close, (he did not specify a time frame).
10. Israel: Denounces "terrorist regime of Iran;" rejects
Human Rights Council report on Gaza.
Prime Minister Netanyahu focused on two main themes
throughout his speech, Iran and Gaza. He called on member
sates of the United Nations to live up to the challenge of
preventing Tehran from acquiring weapons of mass destruction,
saying that, "the greatest threat facing the world today is
the marriage between religious fanaticism and the weapons of
mass destruction." He asked if the international community
was willing to stop the "terrorist regime of Iran" from
acquiring atomic weapons, thus threatening world peace. He
denounced Iran's assault on the truth while holding up a copy
of the minutes issued by the Nazis in 1945 instructing the
extermination of the Jews. He passionately asked, "Is this a
lie", referring to the document. Netanyahu asked to the
group if President Obama paid tribute to a lie by visiting
the Buchenwald concentration camp. Halfway through the
speech, the Prime Minister changed focus to the report by the
Human Rights Council condemning Israel for its actions in
Gaza and said, "if this body does not reject this report, it
would send a message to terrorists everywhere: Terror pays;
if you launch your attacks from densely populated areas, you
will win immunity." He called the report biased, unjust and
a farce, asking the international community, "will you stand
with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists?"
11. Other Interventions: Comoros, Rwanda, Sierra Leone,
Switzerland, and Spain addressed the General Debate's key
topics: climate change, the economic and financial crisis,
security and peace, the Millennium Development Goals, and
United Nations and Security Council reform. They reiterated
that the international community needed to work together to
solve these issues. Rwanda called for better global
governance; Switzerland viewed the "trend towards
protectionism as a recipe for disaster;" Spain praised
President Obama's willingness to put disarmament on the table
and urged the abolition of nuclear weapons.