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Nations' Equality Highlighted General Assembly

Equality Among Nations Highlighted As General Assembly Continues Annual Debate

The representatives of small and medium-sized countries voiced their opinions on a wide range of issues facing the international community and their own governments, including United Nations reform and moving to greater equity in economic development and human rights, as the General Assembly completed the sixth day of its annual debate for the current 60th anniversary session.

Proposals by Libya and other countries to reform the Security Council had long been ignored, according Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham, Secretary of the country's General People's Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation.

"The United Nations, therefore, has been unable to administer justice; in fact some of its decisions inflicted harm on some peoples," he said, emphasizing that terrorism could only be fought on a multilateral basis.

Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Philippines Alberto Gatmaitan Romulo said that freedom from fear caused by terrorism must be addressed in an integrated manner that included enforcement, dialogue and development. To do that most effectively, reform of the Organization was necessary.

"Reforms should not be seen as ends in themselves but as means to accomplish the aims of the international community," said Billie Miller, Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs of Barbados, who also stressed the importance of women's health and reproductive services in reaching development goals.

Momentum for reform must continue because of the wide variety of issues that Member States committed themselves to tackling during the World Summit, said Ferenc Somogyi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Hungary.

Foreign Minister Cheikh Gadio of Senegal appealed to States and international institutions to provide adequate support to the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), as a primary tool to reach development goals on the continent.

Noting that the delegation of Costa Rica would assume the presidency of the Assembly of State Parties of the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court, the country's Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marco Vinicio Vargas, urged "all nations to accept, without conditions, the jurisdiction of the Court. Furthermore, we call upon all States that have made reservations to their declarations of acceptance of the jurisdiction of the Court to withdraw them."

Saint Lucia's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Julian Hunte, a former General Assembly President, said the decline in developing countries' trade sector should be halted and reversed. One size could not fit all – an indisputable fact which the World Trade Organization (WTO) "stubbornly refuses to acknowledge with respect to bananas and sugar" in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the small island developing states (SIDS).

Yemeni Ambassador Abdullah Alsaidi asked the Quartet – the European Union (EU), Russia, the United Nations and the United States – in its oversight of Middle East peace, not to accept any policies that could violate the rights of the Palestinians. He also called for Iraq to be allowed to exercise its full sovereignty.

Bulgarian Deputy Minister and Foreign Minister Ivailo Kalfin, discussing human rights around the world, referred to five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor who have been sentenced to death by the Libyan Court in Benghazi. Their innocence was categorically confirmed by the most renowned world experts on HIV/AIDS. "Bulgaria insists on a just solution by the Supreme Court of Libya at the upcoming session on 15 November of this year," he said.

Palau's Permanent Representative at the UN, Ambassador Stuart Beck, said not a single UN representative could be found in his small island nation to help it move forward. The UN had tried to fill the vacuum by creating regional and sub-regional centres at some distance from Palau's shores, but that arguably well-intentioned tactic had failed to provide 11-year-old Palau with capacity-building. He also called for a new East Asia and Pacific Group.

Ambassador Aksoltan Ataeva of Turkmenistan said that on the question of reaching the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, Turkmenistan, possessing huge energy resources of gas and oil, had designed policies up to 2020 to create an economy that ensured dignified living conditions for its population.

Referring to the transnational nature of contemporary challenges, Surinamese Ambassador Ewald Wensley Limon said there was need for an effective system of international cooperation to deal with both old and new threats to global peace and security.

As the UN committed itself to establishing a new Peacebuilding Commission, Fiji's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Isikia Rabici Savua, offered to share the national experiences "of reconstructing our country since the civil unrest which almost tore our country apart in 2000."

Angolan Ambassador Ismael Abraão Gaspar Martins, reviewing the conflicts that have recently wracked Africa, said: "While the illicit exploration of natural resources was not mentioned in the final document of the Summit, we hope that during the 60th session of the General Assembly this issue receives due consideration, since my delegation is of the view that it constitutes a fundamental element for the strategy of prevention and resolution of conflicts."

Calling Estonia a neophyte donor, Foreign Minister Kristiina Ojuland said that, along with other EU Member States, her country is increasing development assistance and its own contribution already had reached 0.08 per cent of gross national income (GNI). Estonia would also raise its contribution to UN development-related activities and donate to the new UN Democracy Fund.

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