Seventy-seventh Session,
12th & 13th Meetings (AM & PM)

Confrontation, Unilateral Action, Interference in States’ Internal Affairs Must Yield to Dialogue, Cooperation, Speakers Stress at Annual General Assembly Debate

Confrontation, unilateral action and interference in the internal affairs of States must yield to dialogue, cooperation and adherence to international law, world leaders stressed today as the General Assembly high-level debate continued, as the shortcomings of the current international system in addressing global challenges are manifest.

Sergey V. Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, condemned the United States’ wars of aggression in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya, which claimed many hundreds of thousands of lives.  From its adventurism in the Middle East to its goal of subjugating Asia, Washington, D.C., is trying to turn the entire world into its own backyard.  Promising its military support, Washington is playing with fire around Taiwan.  On its quest to spread the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to the East, he said Moscow warned the West that it was unacceptable to bring its military infrastructure closer to Russian borders.  For NATO, Moscow is “an immediate threat on their way to total domination”, he said, noting that, for the Anglo-Saxons, Ukraine is just expendable material in the fight against the Russian Federation.

Moscow believed the promises of Western leaders not to expand NATO in the East, he stated.  It even agreed to legitimize the bloc by signing the Founding Act between the Russian Federation and NATO, he stressed, detailing Russian history of non-interference.  However, the West watched in silence as members of the 2014 coup started bombing Eastern Ukraine, and he highlighted Moscow’s role in stopping Kyiv’s neo-Nazis in the region.  He emphasized that it was the incapacity of Western countries to negotiate and the continued war by the Kyiv regime against its own people that left Moscow with no choice but to recognize the independence of the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics and start a special military operation.

Vladimir Makei, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belarus, similarly pointed out that NATO expanded eastward despite previous agreements, trampling on the vital principle that one party must not seek its own security at the expense of others.  The collective West bears the responsibility for the ongoing bloodshed in Ukraine, he stressed, recalling that such States refused to consider proposals from their opponents that sought to establish security in Europe.  The West wants to create a unipolar world, ruled from one hegemonic centre, but neo-colonialism is no longer an acceptable or viable option.  Calling for a paradigm shift similar to the Copernican revolution of knowledge, he stressed that the world is too complex to reduce all its problems to a confrontation between “democracies” and “autocracies”.

Expressing support for the peaceful resolution of the war in Ukraine, Wang Yi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, urged all parties to keep the crisis from “spilling over” and — more broadly — warned against instigating proxy wars.  Describing Taiwan as an “inseparable part of China’s territory since ancient times”, he said the “One China” policy has become a basic norm of international relations.  “Any move to obstruct China’s reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history,” he asserted, emphasizing that China must combat separatist activities with the firmest resolve and take the most forceful steps to oppose external interference.

Abdoulaye Maïga, Prime Minister ad interim of Mali, also spotlighting this form of intrusion in the ongoing transitional process in his country, decried France’s decision to unilaterally withdraw its military forces from Mali.  The French junta — nostalgic for new colonialist and vengeful practices — repeatedly violated Malian airspace and provided information and arms to terrorist groups.  “How many Africans died for France,” he exclaimed, recalling the French intervention in Libya and the forced participation of thousands of Africans in the First and Second World Wars.  In this context, he requested an emergency meeting of the Security Council to enable Mali to present evidence of the attacks and violations committed by the French army.

Carlos Faría Tortosa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, similarly detailed attempts to destabilize his country, along with the imperialism and supremacism that led to unnecessary bloodshed in Iraq, Haiti, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Syria.  The global North, he stressed, must recognize that “the unipolar, colonialist system cannot adequately respond to the problems and needs that they themselves have created”.  Rejecting all provocation and economic sanctions against the Russian Federation, he urged countries to prioritize diplomacy and dialogue over military confrontation.

Spotlighting the temptation of unilateralism, Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, stressed that global security depends on upholding the fundamental principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.  Small States in particular, he emphasized, cannot allow the world to regress to one where “might is right”.  The only way forward is to uphold the inclusive, rules-based multilateral system and, in this, he spotlighted the adoption of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which brought order and predictability to ocean governance.  While not perfect, the multilateral system is the best option for addressing transnational challenges and managing global commons.

Echoing that, Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, underscored that the world will be dominated by force if it is not governed by rules.  While there have been problems, conflicts and mistakes in the post-World War order, wars of territorial expansion have not been allowed.  The Russian Federation’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, she stressed, “was a rude awakening to how the world might look if the ability to destroy — rather than the capacity to create — is allowed to determine the fate of nations”.

Ann Christin Linde, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, recalling her Government’s decision to apply for NATO membership on 16 May, stated that security is best built together with others.  The countries of the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament have presented ideas to heed the Secretary-General’s call to bring disarmament and non-proliferation back to the top of the international agenda.  She also highlighted other cooperative international efforts to address global challenges, such as key decisions taken by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to advance climate security and the European Union’s substantial contributions to global vaccination.

Amery Browne, Minister for Foreign and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, said that his country, in its 60 years of independence, has anchored its multilateral engagement on the founding purposes and principles of the United Nations.  Noting that it has nurtured the same by maintaining a tradition of democratic governance that respects human rights and promotes the rule of law, he stressed that “the people of my country cannot accept any unilateral attempt to violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States”.  Spotlighting the valuable, beneficial and necessary perspective that small islands bring to the world, he called for building a truly global community:  “Together we aspire.  Together we achieve”.

Also speaking today were Heads of Government and Ministers of the Bahamas, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, North Macedonia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Albania, Viet Nam, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Thailand, Ethiopia, Tajikistan, India, Bulgaria, Egypt, Azerbaijan, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Brunei Darussalam, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, Haiti, Guinea and the United Arab Emirates, along with the Secretary of State and Head of Delegation for the Holy See.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Monday, 26 September, to continue its general debate.


PHILIP EDWARD DAVIS, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance of the Bahamas, said the people of his country are justifiably proud of what they have accomplished in the country’s 50 years of independence.  However, Hurricane Dorian in 2019, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 impacted his country.  Prior to that, the Bahamas welcomed millions of visitors every year.  With no visitors coming to visit, due to the pandemic, the health crisis quickly became an economic and education crisis.  Now, a global inflation crisis is making the basics of life unaffordable for too many, creating more hardships for people in his country and around the world.  In addition, everyday his country must also defend its ocean borders from trafficking in people, drugs and guns.  Further, among all challenges faced by the international community, none requires more urgent action than the climate crisis.  Yet, despite decades of conferences and meetings featuring warnings from scientists and experts, one sixth of all carbon emissions ever — some 407 billion tons — occurred between 2010 and 2020.

Calling for climate justice and fairness, he asked why small island developing States who have contributed so little to the problem experience the biggest burdens.  The transition to clean energy will create jobs, increase efficiencies and improve living standards.  However, countries like his own, trapped by billions in climate debt, need funding to transition to renewable energy infrastructures.  In February and July, his country hosted the One Young World regional and annual conferences for young people regarding climate-related issues.  In addition, in August, the Bahamas brought together the Caribbean countries to agree on consensus positions for negotiations at the twenty-seventh Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27).  It is also actively defining ways to safeguard its shallow seas, mangroves and seagrasses — all of which act as a major carbon sink for the world, he said, inviting those with technological solutions to bring their innovations to his country.

Recalling that, last year, he informed the General Assembly of the threat to the financial services industry in his country and the region, he noted that “sadly, little to nothing has changed”.  “Now, we are yet again the victims of inequitable and unjust measures on the part of major economic actors,” he said, recounting that just yesterday the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issued a statement placing his country on its blacklist.  Calling that action profoundly unfair, he asked why European States that operate frameworks akin to that of blacklisted countries are not eligible for inclusion in that list.  He further asked why all the countries targeted are small, vulnerable and former colonies of European States.  The $2 trillion to $3 trillion estimated to be laundered each year through the developed countries are never flagged as causes for concern.  Yet, the Bahamas, which is widely recognized as one of the best regulated in the world, is singled out for such reputational attacks.  He pointed to the “darker issues of prejudged discriminatory perceptions”, stressing that:  “Black-governed countries also matter.”  He voiced support for reforms in the global financial system, adding that international financial institutions can and should forgive the debt incurred due to the economic shutdown of COVID-19.

Noting that crises in neighbouring countries impacts his own, he reiterated his country’s opposition to the decades-long embargo and sanctions on Cuba, stressing that COVID-19 has made the existing hardships of its people much worse.  As well, the people of Haiti continue to suffer, with instability in the country fuelling more tragedy and threatening the entire region.  In addition to migration, his country is also struggling with the proliferation of guns.  While they are not manufactured in the Bahamas, they illegally find their way into the country and within days can be connected to some criminal activity.  Defending its borders is an expensive challenge.  Efforts can be made at the source to ensure that a right to bear arms does not quickly and easily translate into a right to traffic arms.  He also recalled the Alliance of Small Island States’ work in 2020 on the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index — a critical step forward in ensuring greater equity for countries such as his own.  Noting the need for a more robust and better change-making architecture across the United Nations, he voiced hope that Member States will support the candidature of Stephen Bereaux for the seat of director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau of the International Telecommunication Union(ITU) for the 2023-2026 term.

ABDOULAYE MAÏGA, Prime Minister ad interim of Mali, voiced his deep disagreement with the Secretary‑General’s stance on the 46 Ivorian mercenaries.  Describing it as a bilateral and legal issue between two brotherly countries that does not fall under the competences of the Secretary-General, and stressing that there are no links between the 46 mercenaries and the United Nations, he expressed his opposition to the portrayal of Mali as perpetrator rather than victim.  The Secretary-General is not a Head of State, and the acting President of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is not a civil servant, he added.  Since August 2020, Mali has been going through a transitional process which will end on 26 March 2024.  The transitional authorities have committed to carry out institutional reforms before organizing elections to guarantee lasting institutional stability in Mali, he underlined, pointing to the passing of the electoral law.  He also stressed that Mali is the only country in the world that is currently facing four different types of insecurity simultaneously:  terrorism; communal conflicts manipulated by terrorists and their foreign State sponsors; cross-border organized crime; and violent actions by isolated individuals.  Alongside the return to constitutional order, Mali is continuing to fight against extremist groups.  “The terrorist groups have been seriously weakened,” he said.  However, these criminal groups can still cause harm in an attempt to terrorize the people of Mali, he warned, praising national security forces. 

Detailing his Government’s efforts to recruit, train, equip and bolster the operational capacities of the national defence and security forces, he cautioned that the military and security solution has its limits.  He drew attention to his Government’s global integrative strategy, including political, social and development measures.  The approved national stabilization strategy and the 2022‑2024 action plan reflect a holistic approach to implementing peace and reconciliation agreements.  On the Algiers Process, he welcomed the active role of Algeria and the support from the international mediation team.  He expressed gratitude to the neighbouring countries for having created conditions that allowed the safe and dignified return of Malian refugees, and paid tribute to all the victims — civilian and military — who have given their lives in Mali.  He reiterated his Government’s demand for a paradigm shift and adaptation of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to the environment it is deployed — to be a support force in Mali, as it seeks stability.

However, the decision of France to unilaterally withdraw its military forces from Mali was a stab in the back by the French authorities, he said, adding:  “The deeply anti-French French authorities have denied universal moral values and betrayed the humanistic legacy of their philosophers.”  Further, the French have become an obscurantist junta that is nostalgic for new colonialist, condescending and vengeful practices, he said, denouncing the illegitimate and illegal sanctions by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against Mali.  The Malian population has been under embargo for seven months, he pointed out, praising the solidarity of friendly countries and the African people.  He also criticized obscurantism of the French junta, which violated Malian airspace by sending drones, military helicopters and fighter planes more than 50 times and by providing information and arms to terrorist groups.  Recalling the French intervention in Libya — decried by all Africa — and the forced participation of thousands of Africans in the First and Second World War, he said slave trade explains the economic well-being of France.

“How many Africans died for France,” he exclaimed, requesting an emergency meeting of the Security Council to enable Mali to present evidence of the attacks and violations committed by the French army, as well as evidence regarding terrorist groups receiving intelligence and arms.  Emphasizing that these hostile acts are incompatible with the Charter of the United Nations, he called for the personal involvement of the Secretary-General with the Security Council to guarantee the success of Mali’s request and the end of the proxy war imposed on it.  In combating terrorism and violent extremism, he highlighted Mali’s commitment to human rights and zero‑tolerance policy against impunity.  However, the Government is also opposed to the instrumentalization of human rights for political purposes.  He voiced regret over the selectivity observed vis-à-vis massacred populations in some villages and the media manipulation, describing innocent civilians as neutralized terrorists.  The Malian people fully support the Government and the return to constitutional order, he stressed, noting that the Malian transition authorities have no other aim but to carry out political and institutional reform before organizing elections.

Ralph E. Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, said that, in times of overwhelming conflict, civilizations either descend into barbarism or into “respair”.  At present, the overwhelming majority of the world suffers as one State acts with exceptionalism, “grounded in manifest destiny”, while another, with military prowess, seeks global hegemony.  Instead of giving up, the world needs to remember that the multilateral system can also offer pathways to peace, prosperity, sustainable development and security.

Calling for global leadership to redouble its response to these challenges, he stressed:  “It is an indictment on our civilized Assembly that horrific wars rumble on, unabated, in Ukraine, Yemen, Syria and parts of Africa.”  He also condemned the oppression of the Palestinian people, the unjust embargo on Cuba and the imperialist attempts to subvert the elected Governments in Venezuela and Nicaragua.  Further, the situation regarding Taiwan is being ignored, he pointed out, adding that the United Nations could bring peace and security to the area by allowing that country’s participation in the Organization, World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).  All these problems have solutions; mature, coherent multilateralism grounded in international law is the only way forward for humanity.

He also detailed a series of natural disasters experienced by his country, including 32 volcanic eruptions and Hurricane Elsa; these all followed the “harsh effects” and impact of the pandemic.  Now Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is suffering through scarcity and sky-rocketing prices of fuel, food and fertilizer.  He highlighted the multilateral organizations that were instrumental in delivering aid during the 2021 volcanic eruptions, including the World Food Program (WFP), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  These were coordinated through the United Nations, Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.  “Episodic support must, however, metamorphose into structured ongoing solidarity if Small Island Developing States are to survive and thrive,” he cautioned.

The agenda for small island developing nations includes global action combatting and adaptation to climate change, financing for development and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, he continued.  Specific to the Caribbean context, however, is the urgent need for reparation from European States for their “commission of native genocide and the enslavement of Africans”, an issue that needs be addressed.  He also spotlighted the deteriorating situation in Haiti, a fellow member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), condemning the international community’s neglect on the issue and underlining that country’s need for the Organization’s help.  Further, he pointed out that his nation’s development is being hindered through banking “blacklists”, sanctions and disinformation.  Calling for appropriate United Nations reform, he encouraged continued “partnership between all nations” to ensure peace and security.

DICKON MITCHELL, Prime Minister of Grenada, pointed out that the COVID‑19 pandemic has taught the international community the value of cooperation, timely exchange of information and sharing of resources.  Therefore, it is imperative that the matter of climate change be escalated to the same level of urgency.  The world must now accept that the solutions to these problems cannot be found be found in “this grand Hall”, but rather in young people, who stand to lose the most from the inaction of the world’s current leaders.  He called on young people to be agents of change rather than victims of climate change.

The small island States of the Caribbean are already experiencing significant effects of climate change, he said, adding:  “We watch and wait, with bated breath and a silent prayer, in the hope that this year it will not be ‘our turn’.”  He reiterated his call for the scaling up of climate finance for adaptation and the removal of challenges that developing States face to access climate financing.  He also called for increased technology development and capacity-building, especially for young people.

On a national level, he noted that the pandemic exposed structural weaknesses and resource deficiencies in his country’s health-care system.  In addition, the ensuing closure of borders and stagnation of tourism exacerbated already high levels of unemployment and poverty.  To that end, the Government intends to mitigate such circumstances in the future by diversifying its economy and developing information and communications technologies.

Noting that the war in Ukraine has resulted in hardships upon nations unconnected with the conflict, he joined the call for the Russian Federation to end its war efforts in Ukraine and for the parties to negotiate a peaceful settlement.  He also renewing his call for the Caribbean to remain a zone of peace and for Cuba to be removed from the United States’ List of State Sponsors of Terrorism.  Further, he said it was regrettable that more has not been done for Haiti to help it achieve political stability, peace and economic progress.

Reiterating support for the International Court of Justice’ efforts regarding the border dispute between Guyana and Venezuela, he reaffirmed his country’s support for the territorial integrity of Guyana and called for an end to the imposition of unilateral coercive measures against Venezuela.  He also stressed that, for small island States to eliminate poverty and attain sustainable levels of development, the vulnerability criteria must be comprehensively reviewed as a matter of urgency.  To that end, he called for a new multidimensional vulnerability index for small island developing States, which would “eliminate the threat to our economic development and security”.

DIMITAR KOVACHEVSKI, Prime Minister of North Macedonia, said that his country joined global efforts responding to the war in Ukraine.  “In doing so we relied on our own experiences and lessons learned,” he noted, adding that peace, strength and progress can be achieved only with unity.  Recalling that, in 1991, his country peacefully declared independence and in 2001 tackled internal inter‑ethnic conflict, he underscored his commitment to the concept of “one society for all”.  Such an approach is setting an example of a functional multi‑ethnic democracy, while being a significant factor of stability in the Western Balkans.  “Functional solutions, solutions that work in a small area always serve as a road map to finding solutions in the global setting,” he added.

He went on to express concern that a permanent member of the Security Council, the Russian Federation, decided to resolve a challenge using force despite being a member of an organization founded on the commitment of preserving world peace.  Demonstration of force by a larger country against a smaller country was a dangerous and impermissible precedent, he said, describing the unprovoked aggression by the Russian Federation as a gross violation of the Charter of the United Nations, as well as the norms and principles of international law.  He called on the Russian Federation to put an immediate end to the aggression and withdraw its troops from Ukraine, underlining that putting an end to aggressions is a necessary precondition for resolving conflict by the means of diplomacy and dialogue.

Developments in Ukraine pushed numerous other global conflicts to the background, he continued, noting that terrorism, hybrid threat and fake news continue to constitute a serious threat to humanity.  There must also be a focus on threats related to the catastrophic floods in Pakistan, loss of biodiversity, air pollution and the lack of water.  Consolidated preventive actions are needed.  In addition, in line with its international commitments in the humanitarian area, his country has accepted Ukrainian refugees.  In North Macedonia, all ethnic communities have equal constitutionally guaranteed rights and obligations.  Further, together with Albania and Serbia, his country established the Open Balkan initiative, a regional interconnectivity aiming to eliminated restrictions of movement of people, trade, transport of goods and provision of services between the countries.  Moreover, the countries agreed to remove bans on trade in basic agricultural and food products.  “We are also intensively considering options for cross-border trade in electricity and providing assistance with various energy sources,” he reported, as the world is facing a serios energy situation.

Emphasizing the importance his country places in its membership in the European Union, he noted that, “after long 17 years”, it was granted a candidate status for membership in the bloc and started accession negotiations.  “The EU membership of the Republic of North Macedonia is of essential importance also for the European Union itself,” he said, highlighting the enlargement process in the Western Balkans.  Reiterating his support towards the European integration of the Western Balkans, he underscored that it would contribute to overall peace in Europe.

MOEKETSI MAJORO, Prime Minister of Lesotho, reporting that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed Lesotho’s vulnerability as Africa’s landlocked least developed country, called for innovation and digital technology to achieve sustainable recovery and readiness for future pandemics.  In addition to the pandemic, he pointed to other unpredictable global shocks that impacted his country, including wars, climate-related events and the lack of predictable financing.  Without a true spirit of partnership, where each partner lives up to expectations, “the Decade of Action will end as a decade of disappointment”, he warned.

The pressing challenge of climate change has a direct bearing on food insecurity and poverty in Africa, he continued, cautioning against destruction of the continent’s ecosystems, land degradation and the decline of agricultural productivity, which is the mainstay of small economies.  Pointing to the indisputable scientific evidence of the link between global warming and human activity, he noted that catastrophes have begun to hit, mostly affecting the poorest and most vulnerable countries.  The global climate-finance architecture is complex, he added, calling on the international community to simplify the accessibility of funds earmarked for climate change.

Spotlighting recurring conflicts and eruption of new ones in many parts of the world, he said that the emergence of new extremist groups and terrorist entities are a stark reminder that the international community must act collectively.  The use of military force alone as a strategy for combating terrorism has never been a panacea for eradicating that menace.  Terrorism requires a holistic approach that addresses its root causes.  Similarly, leaders should not turn a blind eye on the plight of civilians in all conflict areas, he noted, stressing the importance of consistency in dealing with humanitarian crises in different parts of the world.  Raising concern over the simmering trade and political tensions between the United States and China, he emphasized that military power and aggression can never beget peace.  In the same vein, he said the ongoing war in Ukraine and other parts of the world inflicts a reputational carnage on the United Nations.

He added his support to the call for the reform of the United Nations, including the Security Council, recalling United States President Joseph R. Biden’s statement, on 21 September, calling for representation of Africa in the permanent category of the Security Council.  He also noted that heightened geopolitical tensions have led to the re-emergence of protectionist trade policies, adding that the economic war in terms of sanctions has the potential to make global supply chains less efficient.  In this context, all economic and political sanctions should be lifted against Zimbabwe, he said, also expressing solidarity with the people of Cuba for having endured economic sanctions for so many years.  He further urged the international community to intensify efforts to bring to an end the question of Western Sahara, whose people “languished under the hegemony of colonialism for far too long”.  Along similar lines, he expressed support to the Palestinian who “endure untold pain and suffering”.

ADRIANO AFONSO MALEIANE, Prime Minister of Mozambique, said that new outbreaks of internal tensions and inter-State conflicts, terrorism and international organized crime are negatively affecting the economic and social development of countries.  Constructive dialogue and concerted multilateral actions are needed.  By incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals into his country’s priorities, Mozambique has managed to improve the livelihood of its people and tackle poverty.  He underscored his country’s standing commitment to the protection and conservation of the environment and ecosystems.  However, the current multilateral institutional financing model needs to be rethought so that it allows more resources to be mobilized in order for Mozambique to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  Turning to COVID-19, he reported that the measures adopted by the Government to contain the spread of pandemic were successful.  As a result, 96.6 per cent of the country’s population over 18 years of age are vaccinated.

“Climate change places Mozambique under permanent surveillance,” he continued.  In recent years, the country has been strongly affected by natural disasters that led to the loss of human lives and displacement of persons, while also causing extensive damage to infrastructure and socioeconomic activities.  To respond to these challenges, the Center for Humanitarian and Emergency Operations of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was created in 2021.  It aims to provide SADC countries with tools and institutions to provide a rapid response and coordinated intervention to emergencies caused by climate change.  His country will continue strengthening climate security by advocating for and disseminating good practices of environmental protection, management and risk reduction of natural disasters.

He also highlighted the remarkable progress in the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former Renamo guerrillas.  To date, 4,002 former Renamo guerrillas, of a total of 5,221, have participated in this process.  “We foresee, by the end of this year, the conclusion of the [disarmament, demobilization and reintegration],” he affirmed.  This process will be an important milestone in the implementation of the national peace and reconciliation agreement signed between the Government of Mozambique and Renamo on 6 August 2019.  With the completion of this stage, the Government will focus on long-term reintegration and more effective reconciliation to ensure sustainability of the peace process and consolidation of national unity.

To prevent and combat terrorism in some districts of the Cabo Delgado Province, the Government adopted a comprehensive approach to strengthen operational capacity of the defence and security forces, stabilize security and enable recovery, reconstruction and socioeconomic development, he said.  With support and assistance of multilateral and bilateral cooperation partners, including SADC, the European Union and Rwanda, the country made progress in combating terrorism.  “Mozambique's approach is a pioneering one in terms of concerted regional action to address the global threat of terrorism,” he said.  These actions contributed to the reestablishment of security.  Because of that, there has been a gradual return of the population to their areas of origin.  He also noted that, with the implementation of the Cabo Delgado Reconstruction Plan resumption of economic and social activity has resumed in the regions previously affected by terrorist actions.

EDI RAMA, Prime Minister of Albania, stressed that the international community’s hopes and beliefs were shattered and its assurances broken by an unprovoked, unjustified and premeditated war in Ukraine.  “It is an open battle between an aging cynical tyranny and a young growing democracy,” he stressed.  Shying away from this battle between the principles — sovereignty, territorial integrity, freedom and the right to decide on the future independently — and principles contrary to those, is shying away from the duty to “protect ourselves, our countries, our children”.  Condemning the sham referenda recently conducted in some parts of the occupied Ukrainian territory, he called for and expressed support towards adopting a convention on the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity.

At a time when a multitude of crises have put the world in turmoil through open conflicts, terrorism and nuclear threats, he pointed out that cybersecurity is also closely linked to and has a huge impact on peace and security.  He recalled that his country had become the target of an unprovoked cyberattack in July, which turned out to be a State-sponsored aggression, orchestrated and carried out by Iran.  Adding that Albania was left with no other choice but to sever its diplomatic relations with that country, he urged the Organization to focus more seriously and concretely to address cybersecurity by investing in prevention of cyberattacks and helping Member States build resilience.

Turning to the Balkans, he stressed that nothing concerning the wars and crimes which had occurred in the region will be forgotten.  He also stated that justice and accountability must be pursued based on facts with proof and evidence, not with fiction or distorted reality.  Highlighting an example of a report adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 2011, which accused the “Kosovo freedom fighters of the despicable crime of organ trafficking”, he expressed hope that based on the accusation’s lack of evidence, Parliamentary Assembly will honour the truth and accept his country’s request to produce a follow-up report on this issue.

He went on to say that his country is focused on building the future of the Balkans together with its neighbouring countries, as characterized by the launch of the Open Balkans initiative, a platform open to all countries in the region.  Meanwhile, he reiterated his country’s support of the need for every country, including Serbia, to recognize the Republic of Kosovo.  The two sides should work towards a comprehensive peace agreement “by doing their part to adopt a European Union-United States-backed breakthrough,” he added.

PIETRO PAROLIN, Secretary of State and Head of Delegation of the Holy See, underscored the importance of multilateralism and the irreplaceable role of the United Nations.  Governments must heed the plea of countries and peoples who suffer most from the consequences of the Organization’s current limitations.  Revitalization must go beyond the General Assembly and extend to reform of the Security Council, he said, stressing that its members, especially the permanent members, hold a crucial responsibility for the maintenance of peace and order in the world.  “When there is no shared vision or political will for peaceful coexistence, and the very guardians of peace ignore the rules they claim to uphold, they become themselves the perpetrators of grave injustices,” he underscored.  Instead of squandering vast sums on military equipment, countries should invest in avoiding war, rather than preparing for it.  Education is the primary vehicle of integral human development and therefore should be a priority.  He also drew attention to the war in Ukraine and its impact on nuclear security and food and fuel prices, among others, voicing concern that:  “As winter approaches in the Northern hemisphere, many living in colder climates will face an existential choice between heating and eating.”

Addressing these crises — which can only be resolved fully once the violence in Ukraine ceases — requires urgent and concerted action, he stressed.  Spotlighting the refugee crisis in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia, he said that implementing the Global Compact for Safe, Regular, and Orderly Migration, as well as the Global Compact on Refugees, remain among the best ways to encourage international cooperation and burden‑sharing.  States must continue to fulfil their obligations to their citizens, including ensuring their people to live in peace, security and dignity in their countries of origin.  He expressed concern about situations across the world, including in the State of Palestine, Libya, Sahel and across Africa, Haiti, Nicaragua, and between Armenia and Azerbaijan, noting that the Holy See continues to follow those situations.  He also said that, in regards to climate change, it was up to each State party to honour the obligations incumbent upon them and to implement the relevant agreements.  The Holy See, acting in the name and on behalf of the Vatican City State, recently deposited the instruments of accession both to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and to the Paris Agreement on climate change.  Thus, it will become a party to both prior to COP27.

WANG YI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, underscoring that peace is crucial for the future of the international community, emphasized that “turbulence and war can only open Pandora's box, and he who instigates a proxy war can easily get himself burned”.  To ensure human prosperity and advancement, the world must remain open and oppose exclusion.  Noting that protectionism can only “boomerang” with decoupling and supply‑chain disruptions that hurt everyone, he called on the international community to uphold the World Trade Organization (WTO)-centred multilateral system.  Noting that the world needs to embrace diverse civilizations, he emphasized that democracy and human rights should not be used as tools or weapons to achieve political ends.  He further stressed that no country should abuse its power to bully other sovereign countries.

Noting that his country has been a “pace-setter” for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he added that the Global Development Initiative, originally proposed by President Xi Jinping last year, has laid out dozens of concrete steps to accelerate its implementation.  As the world’s largest developing country, China will continue to stand with all developing States, who are no longer the silent majority in international and multilateral processes.  On the COVID-19 pandemic, he highlighted that his country has provided over 2.2 billion doses of vaccines to more than 120 countries and international organizations.  Referring to the country’s Belt and Road Initiative, he spotlighted that it has already signed cooperation documents with 149 countries and 32 international organizations.

Turning to the war in Ukraine, he expressed support for all efforts conducive to its peaceful resolution.  He therefore called all parties to keep the crisis from “spilling over” and protect the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries.  Noting that a few countries have arbitrarily imposed unilateral sanctions, cut off development aid and frozen lawful assets of other countries, he particularly expressed support for Cuba in its struggle to defend its sovereignty and oppose external interference.  Turning to Taiwan, which has been an “inseparable part of China’s territory since ancient times”, he stressed that its “One China” policy has become a basic norm of the international relations and a consensus of the international community.  His country would continue to work for the peaceful reunification with sincerity, he said, adding that, to realize this goal it must combat separatist activities with the firmest resolve and take the most forceful steps to oppose external interference.  “Any move to obstruct China's reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history,” he said.

PHAM BINH MINH, Deputy Prime Minister of Viet Nam, pointed out that global military spending surged to $2.1 trillion while the international community failed to raise $100 billion tackling climate actions, threats to global security and poverty exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Despite this dire context, he reaffirmed his support for multilateralism and emphasized the need for international solidarity and partnerships at all levels.  On a national level, he affirmed that cooperation was indispensable during the Doi Moi renovation, resulting in Viet Nam being on track to become a developed, high-income country by 2045.  Emphasizing that his country is not an exception, he encouraged the international community to choose partnership over mistrust to bring about positive change.

He expressed solidarity with Cuba and called for the immediate lifting of the unilateral embargoes.  International law must be respected as it is the only way to maintain the sovereign integrity of States and resolve disputes peacefully.  Calling for a cessation of hostilities in Ukraine, he offered his country’s support towards diplomatic efforts and the country’s reconstruction.  He also noted that multilateral institutions must continue sharing knowledge between members in order to find appropriate global solutions to problems.  To this end, the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda is an example of forward-looking proposals.  Regional organizations can bolster multilateral cooperation, highlighting his country’s with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).  Turning to security in the South China Sea, he called on all parties to exercise self-restraint, refrain from unilateral activities and attempts to change the status quo, and not to threaten or use force, in accordance with international law including the United Nations Charter and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

This year, Viet Nam celebrates its forty-fifth year as a United Nations member, he reported, underscoring that the Organization has been the most reliable partner during the period of post-war reconstruction, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Doi Moi Renovation.  Detailing Viet Nam’s relationship with the Organization, he noted that it was a member of major United Nations bodies, most recently the Security Council.  His country’s men and women also serve in peacekeeping missions in South Sudan, Abyei and the Central African Republic and the country is aiming to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, an ambitious goal given its level of development and technology capacity.  His country is also hoping for a seat on the Human Rights Council for the 2023-2025 term, he said, adding:  “In unity there is strength, with solidarity and partnerships there is power.”

SALEUMXAY KOMMASITH, Deputy Prime Minister of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, said the international community faces environmental and economic crises as well as armed conflicts, while multilateralism has been undermined by unilateralism.  It is disheartening that the most vulnerable people and countries suffer the most, he added.  Further, the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States that were recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are now also confronting climate, food and energy crises.  He asked the General Assembly to stop lecturing, blaming or shaming one another because those behaviours run counter to multilateralism and will only slow solutions.  To that end, he called for necessary reform of the United Nations to render it more effective in addressing the world’s problems.  He said that unilateral sanctions not only violate the United Nations Charter and international law but also hamper development.  The United States must lift the economic embargo on Cuba, he stressed, emphasizing that unilateral coercive measures cause innocent people to suffer.

Turning to sustainable development efforts in his country, he said that the Government presented two voluntary national reviews detailing progress in and challenges to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals through through its National Socioeconomic Development Plans and 2030 Vision and Green Growth Strategy.  Though the country recorded progress prior to 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic undermined much of it. Further, the country is facing extreme weather events due to climate change.  The Government has implemented the revised nationally determined contributions, aiming to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.  To that end, he expressed the urgent need of financial resources and technical support not just for his country but also for developing countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States to achieve their commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change.  He also called for renewed political will coupled with concrete actions taken by the international community in the upcoming COP27 in Egypt to preserve the planet for many generations to come.

He expressed his Government’s support in implementing the internationally development goals and agreed-upon programmes of action for least developed countries and landlocked least developed countries as well as other United Nations development frameworks.  Reaffirming his commitment to multilateralism, he strongly committed to supporting conflict resolutions through peaceful means as described in the United Nations Charter.  More action-oriented solutions and non-politicized approaches must be adopted, he stressed.  Expressing gratitude for States that support its membership in the Economic and Social Council for the 2023-2025 term, he said his delegation will work on advancing partnership towards a more resilient and sustainable world.

DON PRAMUDWINAI, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand, spotlighting the global food crisis, urged States to strengthen multilateral action among like-minded partners, United Nations agencies, WTO and international institutions to address the crisis.  “It is vital to keep our global supply chains open for seamless cross-border flows of food, fertilizers, and essential goods,” he noted.  He also welcomed the Black Sea Grain Initiative and underscored the importance of international cooperation in responding to new global challenges.  To promote sustainable development, his country adopted a Bio-Circular-Green economy model to achieve a more balanced development in its post-COVID-19 recovery phase.  The model uses science, technology and innovation to encourage resource optimization for environmentally friendly economic growth.  He also reiterated Thailand’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2065 in its efforts to address climate change.  Provision of adequate support will enable the country to increase its nationally determined contribution target to 40 per cent.  “This is not an empty promise,” he emphasized.  Recalling the pledges made by developed countries, he urged them to provide financial, technological and capacity-building support to developing countries so that they may tackle climate-related challenges.

His country also provided humanitarian assistance to Myanmar bilaterally and with the assistance of ASEAN, he reported, noting it donated more than 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and financially supported the activities of UNICEF, WHO, WFP and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in that country.  He expressed support for the constructive role of ASEAN, underscoring that the time-tested practice of the bloc on consolation, cooperation and consensus makes it best placed to help Myanmar. “Close regional cooperation can complement the multilateral system and reinforce the global agenda,” he said, stressing that in 2022 his country will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting under the main theme “Open. Connect. Balance.”.  That theme represents the willingness to embrace every opportunity, connect in all dimensions and balance in all aspects.

Turning to the Ukraine crisis, he drew attention to the possibility of a breakthrough in November.  In three different cities in the South Asia region world leaders would be assembling at the ASEAN Summit, Group of 20 and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.  This could be “a golden opportunity” for all stakeholders in the Ukraine crisis to meet, he said, adding that these events could serve as the most appropriate platforms for talks to provide a possible “exit” from the high-tension global crisis in Ukraine.  He added that the United Nations, as a guardian of peace and stability, could join in any juncture to add value to these endeavours, adding his wish for the parties to take advantage of this “golden opportunity”.  

DEMEKE MEKONNEN HASSEN, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, emphasized that climate disasters and their destructive impacts are preventable, stressing that countries must realize their climate finance commitments to build resilience and mitigate impact.  To meet emission‑reduction targets, States require focused coordination, non-politicization, avoidance of securitization and cooperation in good faith.  He emphasized that Africa is not responsible for the historic emissions that caused the climate crisis.  “Yet, we are making the most tangible contribution to mitigate the impacts of climate change,” he pointed out.  The Ethiopian Green Legacy Initiative contributed to a strong culture of afforestation.  “We are also on a path to sustainable energy transformation and green growth,” he added, calling for tangible support.

He expressed concern over the lack of universality in the United Nations organs, noting that Africa does not have a permanent seat at the Security Council.  “Our quest for African solutions to African problems is yet to be given the respect and support it deserves,” he said.  Highlighting the significant progress Ethiopia made in socioeconomic development and democratization, he recalled that, in November 2020, it fell victim to the “most heinous and treasonous attack” waged against its national defence forces.  The criminal group aiming to destroy societal foundation of the country, colluded with external actors that oppose the country’s development aspirations.  “The insecurity this group created has been very tragic and costly,” he said, calling for support for a peace, reconciliation and reconstruction agenda.

He also reported that 2021 was a milestone year for his country and for the whole Nile River Basin, announcing that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has started to produce electricity.  He also underscored his country’s commitment to equity and cooperation in the use of transboundary rivers and shared prosperity with all riparian countries.  Emphasizing the importance of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, he also underlined the importance of reforming the global financial architecture to ensure more equitable, speedy and collaborative cooperation based on the needs and potential of least developed countries.  He called on the States to actively support Governments that work to create a conducive environment for the prosperity of their countries and urged that global institutions become more representative and responsive to current challenges.

SERGEY V. LAVROV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said the United States, declaring victory in the cold war, has behaved as if it has the sacred right to act with impunity whenever and wherever it wants.  Recalling the war of aggression — in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya — which claimed many hundreds of thousands of lives, he also asked:  “What is the outcome of the adventurism of the United States in the Middle East?  Has the human rights situation improved?  Is the rule of law better?  Has the socioeconomic situation stabilized?”  Pointing to the quest to spread NATO to the East and bring the military infrastructure to the borders of the Russian Federation, he warned that Washington, D.C., now has the goal of subjugating the Asian areas.  At the June NATO summit in Madrid — under the slogan of Indo-Pacific Strategy — it aimed to undermine what has been ASEAN policy for decades, namely open and regional architecture.  In addition, Washington, D.C. — promising its military support — is playing with fire around Taiwan.  Washington, D.C., is trying to turn the entire world into its own backyard through unlawful unilateral sanctions, preventing countries from getting access to medications, vaccines and food, as seen in the blockade of Cuba.  Further, despite the efforts made by the Secretary-General, namely the Istanbul agreement, the impediments against Russian grain and fertilizers have not been lifted.  For several weeks, 300,000 tons of fertilizer are being held up in European ports, he said, proposing they be forwarded free of charge to the countries in Africa that need it.

Detailing Moscow’s history of non-interference, he recalled that his country voluntarily dissolved the Treaty of Warsaw, thus removing the reason for NATO’s existence.  Against the position of London and Paris, Moscow also supported the re-unification of Germany without any preconditions.  It withdrew its military from Europe, Asia and Latin America, and recognized the independence of former Soviet republics.  Moreover, Moscow leaders believed the promises of Western leaders not to expand — not by an inch — NATO in the East.  However, when that started, it agreed to legitimize it by signing the Founding Act between the Russian Federation and NATO.  Moscow warned the West it was unacceptable to bring the military infrastructure closer to the Russian borders.  Turning to the 2014 crisis, he said that the West watched in silence as members of the coup started bombing eastern Ukraine.  He cited Kyiv’s attempt to ban the Russian language, education, mass media and culture, along with chasing Russians out of Crimea and waging war against Donbas.  Further, Moscow played a role in stopping Kyiv’s neo-Nazis in the east of Ukraine, he said, demanding that the Minsk package of measures be implemented.

The incapacity of Western countries to negotiate and the continued war by the Kyiv regime against their own people left Moscow with no choice but to recognize the independence of the Luhansk and Donetsk people’s republics and start a special military operation to protect the Russian and other people in Donbas, he stressed.  He also underlined the intention to remove the threat against Russian security which NATO has been consistently creating in Ukraine.  For the Anglo‑Saxons, Ukraine is just an expandable material, as they are fighting against the Russian Federation.  NATO declared his country “an immediate threat on their way to total domination”.  At the same time, the collective West, headed by Washington, D.C., is sending frightening signals to other countries.  One of the consequences of the crusade by the West against the objectionable is the growing decline of multilateral institutions that have been turned by Washington, D.C, and allies into tools to implement their own selfish interest.  On broadening the representation of the Security Council, he identified India and Brazil — key international actors — as worthy candidates to the permanent membership.

SIRODJIDDIN MUHRIDDIN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan, said that climate-related hazards and disasters could slow or reverse Tajikistan's path towards the realization of the 2030 Agenda and threaten agricultural productivity and food security.  “While we all have been struggling with the consequences of these water-related disasters, we are becoming increasingly aware that water is vital and a resource we must value, protect and manage effectively,” he said.  In that regard, he urged  States to attend the United Nations 2023 Water Conference with new commitments to enrich the water action agenda launched by his country.  His country is also promoting an integrated approach to addressing water and climate issues, including the Water and Climate Coalition, and called on the General Assembly to support an upcoming draft resolution on declaring 2025 as an international year of glaciers' preservation.

Regarding Afghanistan, he said that that country is rapidly becoming a safe haven for terrorist groups and a springboard for spreading the Taliban's radical extremism.  It was also consolidating and creating a new hotbed of tensions near his country’s border of 1,400 kilometres it shares with Afghanistan.  Thus, it was paramount for his country to strengthen its border with Afghanistan.  He also highlighted the issues regarding the Tajik-Kyrgyz border, noting that, on 19 September, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan signed the protocol on the settlement of the situation and ceased hostilities.  Troops and military equipment of both sides were be withdrawn to their places of permanent deployment.  A joint inspection was organized in the border area and a joint task force was set up to monitor the implementation of the agreements reached.  Most importantly, both parties reaffirmed their commitment to resolving all bilateral issues exclusively by political and diplomatic means.

However, he reported that Kyrgyzstan is deviating from the agreements reached, creating a false appearance of withdrawing troops and heavy military equipment from the line of contact by hiding them in populated areas near the border.  “The responsibility for any next round of tension on the Tajik-Kyrgyz border will lie exclusively with Kyrgyzstan,” he said.  Detailing the result of Kyrgyzstan’s military aggression, he said that more than 40 civilians of Tajikistan were killed and about 200 were injured, including devout Muslims — attendants of the mourning ceremony in the mosque.  The parties had reached an agreement on the description of the State border line according to the documents of the national territorial delimitation of 1924-1927 — the only legal framework for continuing the negotiation process.  In order to show goodwill and maximum flexibility, “we met our neighbor halfway and agreed to also use the documents of the 1989 parity commission proposed by Kyrgyzstan”, he noted.  Border issues require the political will of the parties and daily, thoughtful, joint work based on the political will of those parties.  His country was ready to continue negotiations towards building together an atmosphere of peace, friendship and harmony, he affirmed.

SUBRAHMANYAM JAISHANKAR, Minister for External Affairs of India, stressed that the international landscape has faced a sharp deterioration, with the effects of the conflict in Ukraine adding to the challenges of countries recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Pointing out that the global South will be the most impacted by these crises, he underscored that the inequity of vaccine distribution should not be replicated in other domains.  On the war in Ukraine, he emphasized that his country is on the side of peace, which calls for dialogue and diplomacy as the only way out.  It is in his country’s interest to find an early resolution, he added.

Highlighting that his country has had to contend with other challenges, especially in its region, he stressed the need for the international community to rise above narrow national agendas.  He reported that his country had sent 50,000 metric tons of wheat along with medicines and vaccines to Afghanistan, extended credits of $3.8 billion to Sri Lanka for fuel, essential commodities and trade settlement, and supplied 10,000 metric tons of food aid and vaccine shipments to Myanmar.  To combat climate change, he emphasized that his country remains deeply committed to working in line with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.  He also added that his country’s stance is based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, considering different national circumstances.

His country will assume the presidency of the Group of 20 this December, he said, noting that reforming the governance of multilateral financial institutions will be one of its core priorities, along with addressing issues such as debt, economic growth, food and energy security, and environment.  Also noting that India was Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee this year, he called for a global architecture that responds to the new technical tools deployed against open, diverse and pluralistic societies.  Having borne the brunt of cross border terrorism for decades, India firmly advocates a zero-tolerance approach.  Finally, on Security Council reform, he noted that, while his country is completing its tenure this year, it is prepared to take up greater responsibilities.  However, it seeks to ensure that the injustice faced by the global South is addressed through such a process.  Calling for serious negotiations on this matter to proceed sincerely, he emphasized:  “They must not be blocked by procedural tactics.  Naysayers cannot hold the intergovernmental negotiations process hostage in perpetuity.”

ANN CHRISTIN LINDE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, stressed that the war in Ukraine must stop and Russian troops withdraw.  Her country and the European Union have scaled up their contributions to meet immense global relief, recovery and resilience needs, she said, noting Sweden’s increased humanitarian assistance to a record $950 million this year.  She commended the efforts of the Secretary-General and the President of Türkiye on the Black Sea Grain Initiative, noting that some 50,000 metric tons of wheat, thanks partly to Swedish funding, will soon leave the port of Odessa, bound for millions of people at risk of famine in Yemen.  Also, a significant part of Sweden’s aid budget has been directed to the United Nations as an investment in global peace, security and development, and the multilateral system itself.  Recalling the international meeting Stockholm+50 in June, she said Sweden has spearheaded the climate transition through innovation and green investments, and an ambitious increase in climate aid.  To advance climate security, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) took key decisions last year during the Swedish Chairpersonship, and the European Union is “scaling up”.

Turning to nuclear security, she said the countries of the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament have presented ideas to heed the Secretary-General's call to bring disarmament and non-proliferation back to the top of the international agenda.  She stressed the need to prevent another pandemic, noting that her country and the European Union have made substantial contributions to global vaccination.  In 2021 alone, Sweden committed over $600 million to global health.  “The military invasion of a country in our neighbourhood […] has also fundamentally changed Sweden’s security environment,” she pointed out.

Noting her Government’s decision on 16 May to apply for membership to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), she underscored that security is best built together with others.  During the first half of 2023, Sweden will hold the presidency of the Council of the European Union and looks forward to deepening cooperation with partners around the world.  It must be safe to work for peace, security, development and human rights, she said, voicing support for the work of the United Nations-appointed independent investigator to bring clarity to the circumstances of the death of former United Nations Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld, and his crew.

NIKOLAY MILKOV MILKOV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, said that his country attaches utmost importance to the peace, stability and prosperity in the region of the Western Balkans.  The transformative power of the European Union integration process and the inclusive regional cooperation are the most powerful tools for achieving democratic governance, market economy, political, economic and social sustainability.  “We will continue to support these countries on the path to the [European Union],” he stated.  He also expressed concern over the lack of progress in advancing the Middle East peace process, as well as the recent escalation of tension in the Gaza Strip.  “An enhanced cooperation between international and regional partners is needed to provide political horizon for the resumption of bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations,” he emphasized.  In addition, the human rights situation in Afghanistan and the restrictions imposed by the Taliban on the rights of women, girls’ access to education and on journalists was of great concern.

Turning to the situation in Ukraine, he pointed out that the global food system has already been under pressure even before the war, due to climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic.  However, the crisis escalated dramatically because of the war, with disruptions in food, energy and financial systems in over 90 countries around the world putting 1.7 billion people at risk.  Commending the deal on resumption of grain exports from Ukraine's Black Sea ports, mediated by the United Nations and Türkiye, he underscored its importance alleviating current food crises.  He also emphasized the need for humanitarian assistance to a number of countries in the global South, particularly in Africa, and specifically in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions that were further exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  “They come as an additional burden on post-COVID recovery efforts,” he said, calling for specific and comprehensive responses to address short-term needs of the countries concerned.

With Bulgaria holding the presidency of the Economic and Social Council, he underlined the importance of emerging economies and sustainable development, as well as to the priorities of the small island States and their specific needs, including their existential struggle with the impact of global warming and the constant rise of sea levels.  He also stressed that education was a solid foundation for future peace, tolerance and sustainable development.  Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic further limited access to education for children in developing countries, he highlighted the active role his country played in the preparation of the Transforming Education Summit.  In regard to the United Nations reform, he expressed his support for the comprehensive reform of the Security Council.  “We have come to a critical juncture where further keeping the status quo is untenable,” he said.  As a result, he advocated for allocation of an additional non-permanent seat in the reformed Security Council to the Eastern European Regional Group.

SAMEH HASSAN SHOUKRY SELIM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, said the pandemic’s devastating impacts, coupled with successive geopolitical crises, have battered developing countries’ economies, as evidenced by the sovereign debt crisis.  Many countries in the Middle East and Africa lack the resources required to confront that crisis, he added, calling on developed countries to launch a global debt swap initiative between creditor and debtor nations to transform the bulk of debt into joint investment projects.  Such an initiative would combat unemployment, create jobs, and contribute to economic growth.  Noting threats to global security, he said primary among them is the attempt to undermine the nation-State by interfering in its internal affairs and disrespecting the particularities of different societies.  Other threats include terrorist groups and armed militias that dominate the security scene of a number of States.  As such, the nation-State and its institutions must be empowered to play its role at all levels in order to reach an international system wherein the values of dialogue, cooperation, and understanding overcome the use of force.

Turning to the current food crisis, he pointed out that in Africa alone one in five people are at risk of hunger, and the continent remains a net food importer at an annual cost of $43 billion.  An integrated strategy is needed and must address, among others, the root causes of the crisis, the negative impacts of climate change, and developing countries’ access to global markets.  Given its location, his country is ready to cooperate with all parties to establish an international hub for storing, supplying, and trading grains in Egypt, in support of collective food security.  As President of COP27, he urged all members of the international community to put their pledges and commitments into action and support developing countries and least developed countries in their efforts to confront the devastating impacts of climate change.  Also needed are commitments to implementing the pledges to double adaptation financing and ensure accelerated delivery of the $100 billion annually, as well as work on a just transition to renewable energy.

He went on to highlight that water security remains one of the most important challenges facing the world today, especially in the Middle East and Africa, which includes some of the driest and most arid countries in the world.  He pointed out that the issue is not always due to a lack of resources or declining rainfall, but often results from the actions of upstream riparians that assert their absolute control over a transboundary water resource, in disregard for the principles of humanity, good-neighbourliness and international law.  Even after a decade of futile negotiations, his country remains committed to self-restraint and to respecting the Ethiopian people’s right to development.  However, this cannot be at the expense of the Egyptian people’s right to life and survival, he said, stressing the need to reach, without delay, a comprehensive legally binding agreement regarding the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, in accordance with the Agreement on Declaration of Principles concluded by Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in March 2015 in Khartoum.

JEYHUN AZIZ OGLU BAYRAMOV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, pointed out that his country is well-known for promoting intercultural and interfaith dialogue, spotlighting the Baku Process that the Government launched in 2008 with various partners.  Based on that experience, Azerbaijan launched a new international initiative, the Peace4Culture Global Call, which aims to contribute to sustainable peace and the development and protection of cultural heritage.  Among other international and domestic initiatives, Azerbaijan also pursues a transition to a green, circular economy, which is a priority in its development agenda despite oil and gas playing a significant role in its economy.  He pointed out that the non-oil sector of his country’s economy rose by 11 per cent in the first half of 2022, triggering a 7.2 per cent increase in its gross domestic product (GDP).  Further, $3 billion has been allocated from the State budget towards building new “smart” cities and villages using modern urban-planning methods.  Positioned at the crossroads of the North-South and East-West transport corridors, routes passing through Azerbaijan offer competitive advantages for transport operators and businesses, he added.

However, he noted that Armenia has inflicted long-term damage on his country’s environment, also destroying, plundering or misappropriating thousands of Azerbaijan’s cultural-heritage objects.  Recalling that his country has called on Armenia for decades to support an independent, transparent mission by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to advise on protecting cultural heritage in the region, he reiterated that request.  For almost 30 years, Armenia has committed ethnic cleansing and carried out an illegal settlement policy.  In response to yet another large-scale military provocation, Azerbaijan launched a counter-offensive in 2020, liberating its territories and resolving the conflict through military and political means in line with the statement signed by the leaders of Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation and Armenia on 10 November 2020.  Azerbaijan has now embarked on unprecedented recovery and reconstruction activities in the liberated territories, he said, but a major impediment to this process is Armenia’s continued refusal to provide accurate, complete information on mined areas.

He went on to emphasize that his country is committed to regional peace, stability and development and, to this end, that establishing good relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan is key to building a secure, prosperous South Caucasus.  Azerbaijan, therefore, has initiated the process of normalizing its relations with Armenia, along with efforts to begin delimiting borders and unblocking transportation and communication links.  He pointed out, however, that Armenia — instead of implementing its commitments in good faith — frequently resorts to provocations and sabotage to exacerbate tensions and undermine the normalization process.  Detailing the recent large-scale military provocation by Armenia, he underscored that his country “is not, and cannot be, interested in this tension” and noted that the latest hostilities erupted near areas where large-scale, post-conflict investment, rehabilitation and reconstruction projects were under way.  Urging Armenia to constructively engage in the ongoing normalization process, he stressed that “it is high time” for both nations to turn over this tragic page of history and start building a better future for their children.  “The commitment of the Azerbaijan side is there,” he underlined.

VIVIAN BALAKRISHNAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, stressing that the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine flagrantly violates international law and undermines the rules-based order, said he is deeply concerned about  the potential annexation of more Ukrainian territory.  The multilateral global system is being severely tested and the temptation for unilateralism has become stronger:  “The need for global cooperation in the face of transnational challenges has never been greater or more urgent,” he stressed.  An uneven and fragile recovery from COVID-19, prolonged inflation, increased interest rates and energy prices, disruption and polarization demonstrate that without cohesion, trust or even an ability to agree on facts, the unity needed for societies to confront such challenges will be undermined.  Moreover, the climate crisis is a clear and present threat. “The post-World War II era of relative stability and prosperity has come to an end,” he said, stressing that the only way forward is to uphold the inclusive and rules-based multilateral system.  He pointed to his country’s contributions to that goal, including the establishment of the Forum of Small States, which now comprises 108 countries. 

Global security depends on upholding the fundamental principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, he said, stressing that small States in particular cannot allow the world to regress to one where “might is right.  He used the example of the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea — which brough order and predictability to ocean governance — to show that, while not perfect, the multilateral system is the best option for addressing transnational challenges and managing global commons.  Commending the Secretary-General’s ambitious plan Our Common Agenda, he pointed to areas where building resilience in urgently needed.  Calling for a sustained, ambitious response and continued commitment to the Paris Agreement and Glasgow Climate Pact, he said that Singapore — a small, low-lying and alternative energy disadvantaged island nation — is especially vulnerable to climate change and sea-level rise.  However, Singapore takes its climate change action obligations seriously and has raised its climate ambition to achieve net zero by or around mid-century and is devising a comprehensive strategy to green the economy.

Turning to global health and pandemic preparedness, he stressed the need to build a more robust global health architecture to protect future generations and said Singapore will continue supporting the COVAX facility and the World Bank’s financial intermediary fund for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.  He underscored that the world needs an open and inclusive global framework to harness and optimize the opportunities of digital transformation, while effectively addressing its challenges — including ensuring that small States and developing and least developed countries benefit.  In that vein, he voiced support for the Secretary-General’s Global Digital Compact proposal and noted Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations chairs the Open-Ended Working Group on security and the use of information and communications technology (ICT).  The consensus adoption of the Working Group’s first report is a welcome sign that multilateralism can still deliver meaningful progress on the global commons.

VLADIMIR MAKEI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belarus, said the conflict in Ukraine stems from a wider geopolitical chaos, whose causes must be sought in events 30 years ago.  History teaches that epoch-making wars resulting in unfair and humiliating peace terms contain the seeds of future conflicts, and the so-called “winners” of the cold war did not draw on examples from past peacemakers, or the cooperation established during the Second World War by the “Big Three” — Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.  The cold war ended not with an official treaty, he noted, but with some kind of “gentlemen's agreements” and declarations — with the West selfishly offering post-Soviet States only one path:  that of its satellites.  NATO expanded eastward despite arrangements achieved, including via Soviet leaders, trampling upon the vital principle that one party must not seek its own security at the expense of others.  Citing NATO’s involvement in illegal wars in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya and Syria — in addition to attempts to encroach on historical Eastern Slavic lands — he said it is the collective West that should fully bear the responsibility for the ongoing bloodshed in Ukraine.

The West, he stressed, further refused to consider proposals that came from its opponents in 2009, when the Russian Federation invited all parties to sign a new European security treaty that would de jure wrap up the cold war.  Succeeding proposals from Belarus in 2017 and Moscow in December 2021 were also ignored.  The West wants to establish a unipolar world, ruled from one hegemonic centre, he affirmed.  While it has dominated the globe for five centuries, he stated that neo-colonialism is no longer an acceptable or viable option.  Noting that when the West was beginning its global ascent, the world witnessed the Copernican revolution of knowledge, he called for a similar “Copernican” paradigm shift today.  The world is too complex a structure to reduce all its problems to a confrontation between so-called “democracies” and “autocracies”.  Economic sanctions aimed to achieve a change of power through food riots — however, most countries have not joined the effort, and Belarus and the Russian Federation are largely self-sufficient and will weather the storm.  Sanctions have also driven up prices in developing countries by 300 per cent over the last half a year, while Africa is facing fertilizer shortages of over 2 million tons.  No matter how some may swagger today, “ordinary people in Europe will have to freeze in the coming winter”, he stressed. 

The origins of Ukraine’s problems should be sought in 2004 when the West carried out the first colour revolution, with the second revolution a decade later securing anti-Russian Federation status for Ukraine.  Instigated by the United States and their allies, he said Ukraine has been exterminating the people of Donbas for eight years simply because the local people want to speak their native language, Russian.  Ukraine is paying the price in blood because its politicians bought into deception and disregarded the historical brotherhood of the three East Slavic peoples — Belarusians, Russians and Ukrainians.  However, a ceasefire agreement and comprehensive strategic peace settlement can only be achieved through negotiation.  As a neighbour and an affected country, he insisted Belarus should be part of that process and of final security guarantees.  He called on countries representing the developing world to take the lead on global security, including the Non-Aligned Movement and Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.  Urging an end to mutually destructive rhetoric and fatal total confrontation that leaves no room for diplomatic efforts, he stressed:  “Let us act — lest it becomes too late.”  Belarus is ready to be a vigorously engaged and responsible stakeholder in security processes at the global and regional levels.

LUCA BECCARI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of San Marino, underlining the importance of the United Nations Charter and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, highlighted the General Assembly resolution where the international community strongly condemned the aggression against Ukraine and demanded the Russian Federation immediately stop its military aggression and fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.  All involved parties must renounce the use of force and reopen the channels of dialogue and negotiation, he stressed, adding:  “No one should remain indifferent to war, but rather we should all work responsibly to create the conditions for dialogue and peace with the full involvement of international institutions.”  While reaffirming the responsibility to protect, he also reiterated his country’s full commitment to the obligations under human and humanitarian law and its support to the International Criminal Court.  He also voiced his support for initiatives such as the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group’s Code of Conduct on Security Council action against genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity and the declaration by France and Mexico on voluntary veto restraint. 

As a member of the Group of Friends on Children and Armed Conflict, he stressed the need to strengthen child protection capacities and encouraged Member States to adopt relevant protection instruments, including the Paris Principles and the Safe Schools Declaration.  Noting that children and youth are uniquely — and often disproportionately — affected by conflicts and atrocities, he commended the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict and her Office’s commitment to the protection of women and girls and the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence.  As well, persons with disabilities should be taken into account; barriers to information, evacuation and emergency assistance should be lifted.  He condemned the deliberate attacks against schools, hospitals, places of worship, journalists, humanitarian workers, human rights defenders and peacekeepers.  He also condemned the Russian Federation’s dangerous nuclear rhetoric, stating:  “Any threat of use of nuclear weapons is unacceptable and of the utmost concern.”  Recalling his country’s participation in the tenth Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and in the first Meeting of State Parties, he expressed his regret that they did not adopt the final document and urged all States to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 

Turning to the effects of conflicts, he noted San Marino has welcomed more than 300 Ukrainian refugees, which is equal to 1 per cent of the entire Sammarinese population.  Armed conflicts displace farmers, destroy agricultural assets and food stocks and disrupt markets, vital services, supply chains and prices.  The international community must address food security and continue to incentivize sustainable production, supply and consumption to make healthy diets less costly and more affordable for all.  As the promoter of the General Assembly resolution establishing 29 September as the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, he reiterated his country’s stance that fighting food loss and waste will promote food security and welcomed all awareness-raising initiatives.  Climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and armed conflicts all threaten the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.  Citing the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda report, he called for the United Nations to adapt quickly and the Security Council to reform.

FAISAL BIN FARHAN A.F. AL FURHAN AL-SAUD, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, called for Security Council reform to enable the organ to be fairer, more representative of today’s world and better able to address common challenges.  On the ongoing wars, he stressed the need for dialogue to silence the guns, protect civilians and provide prospects for peace and development, welcoming all efforts to reach a political solution to end the Russian Federation-Ukraine crisis.  In the Middle East, combined efforts are needed to ensure a future commensurate with the aspirations of the region’s people and, in this, he spotlighted the Jeddah Security and Development Summit.  For its part, Saudi Arabia supports United Nations efforts to find peaceful solutions in line with the principles of independence, territorial integrity and national cultural values.  “Diversity is a source of wealth,” he said.  Security in the Middle East, he emphasized, also requires just resolution of the Palestinian question — namely, in the form of a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital.

He also underlined the importance of the truce in Yemen to bring about peace in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions and noted that, for its part, his country continues to meet Yemen’s humanitarian and development needs.  However, obstacles to the import of basic foodstuffs and aid must be lifted, and the roads near the besieged city of Taiz must be opened.  Saudi Arabia also supports security and stability in Iraq — and is currently working to reinforce its relations with that country, particularly concerning electricity — and supports the Special Envoy’s efforts to bring about a political solution to the conflict in Syria pursuant to Security Council resolution 2254 (2015).  Calling for economic and structural reforms to help Libya emerge from its current crisis, he stressed that the country cannot become a breeding ground for terrorism and drug-trafficking, as this would destabilize the region.  He also encouraged the parties in Sudan towards a dialogue for that country’s prosperous future, and detailed his country’s support for Afghanistan, which also must not become a base for terrorist operations.

Emphasizing that international peace and security cannot be achieved with an arms race, he called on the international community to counter the proliferation of weapons and to make the Middle East an area free from the same.  In this vein, Saudi Arabia is cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to build confidence, both with its neighbours and the international community.  Also stressing the need to address climate change, he pointed out that Saudi Arabia has launched a green initiative in the region and plans to reduce its annual emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.  It will also invest in fossil fuel and clean energy to meet growing international needs and avoid the negative impact of “unrealistic policies” aimed at excluding a main source of energy, as this would have consequences for global supply chains, energy prices and unemployment, among other socioeconomic damage.  Further, Saudi Arabia has provided $2.8 billion in food aid and, with its regional partners, has announced a $10 billion contribution to national and regional development funds.  He added that the international community must continue its fight against terrorism and extremism and “be firm” with States that “use extremist ideology to expand and destroy”.

DATO SERI PADUKA AWANG HAJI ERYWAN BIN PEHIN DATU PEKERMA JAYA HAJI MOHD YUSOF, Second Minister for Foreign Affairs of Brunei Darussalam, while noting that many are now looking to a post-pandemic world, stressed that vaccine equity is crucial to this achievement.  Only 58 countries have reached the 70 per cent vaccination target set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and, although initial supply and manufacturing challenges have been addressed, many countries still struggle to get their allotted vaccines.  He welcomed the role that the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) initiative has played during this global health emergency, but spotlighted the need to develop a more-effective global-health infrastructure to face future emergencies.  He also called for increased efforts to address the pandemic’s impact in areas such as mental health.  In this, Brunei Darussalam has introduced a five-year multisectoral mental-health action plan, in addition to working on a regional basis to promote better mental health and well-being.

Turning to climate change, he cited reports of climate change’s impact on agriculture, which has led to devastating consequences for food production and food security.  For its part, Brunei Darussalam is moving towards net-zero emissions by 2050 by preserving forests and transitioning to clean energy.  Pointing out that rainforests still cover 72 per cent of his country’s land area, he noted that its greenhouse-gas emissions only account for 0.017 per cent of the global total.  As a regional champion for conservation, the environment and forest preservation, Brunei Darussalam plays a leading role through its plans to host the ASEAN Centre for Climate Change.  It will also work to strengthen the region’s capability to prevent, mitigate and manage climate-related disasters by establishing mechanisms and formulating policies towards this end.

Noting that, last year, the peace and stability of the South-East Asia region was affected, he recalled that ASEAN collectively agreed on a five-point consensus to work gradually and constructively towards a peaceful solution and return to normalcy in Myanmar.  Unfortunately, this matter continues to require close attention, and he welcomed the continued support of the United Nations and others for ASEAN’s efforts in this regard.  He went on to point out that the current conflict in Europe led Member States to adopt a resolution ensuring accountability for the Security Council, but expressed disappointment that the same attention was not given to resolving other areas of conflict — particularly the question of Palestine.  Urging the international community to give the same attention to conflicts wherever they are — particularly where territorial integrity and sovereignty have been violated — he called on the same to remain resolute in its commitment to a two-State solution.

ALI SABRY, Minister for Foreign Affairs for Sri Lanka, said that confronted with overlapping challenges, developing countries and their economies are at extreme risk with Governments facing debt-default and financial collapse due to a lack of access to adequate capital, while people face rising poverty, unemployment, hunger and education disruption.  He called for the international community’s cooperation and support as his country embarks on political, social and economic reforms.  “We are pleased to have reached a staff level understanding with the IMF,” he said, noting his country’s efforts to reach the most vulnerable through economic reforms.  Freedom of expression is sacrosanct and must be exercised within the confines of the law.  On COVID-19, Sri Lanka’s vaccination drive exceeded WHO targets, yet the country was vulnerable to the pandemic’s economic fallout, he said, stressing the importance of multilateral cooperation through global health networks.

Highlighting Sri Lanka’s commitments to the targets of the Paris Agreement and its aim of reducing emissions to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, he called on the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases to fulfil their commitments and assist developing nations in adaptation and mitigation measures.  “As an island nation, we are acutely concerned about and sensitive to the impact of pollution and climate change on oceans,” he said, and the sustainable use of their resources, he underscored, while also supporting a sustainable transformation of agriculture to ensure food security, especially for children.  Bridging the digital divide is another goal, and on human capital investments, he noted that Sri Lanka is ranked in the high human development category, occupying rank 73 out of 191 countries globally, and is the highest in the Asia-Pacific region.

Turning to disarmament, he said that agreed frameworks for arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament have become fragile and expressed regret that a consensus outcome wasn’t reached at the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.  He restated Sri Lanka’s consistent, principled position that the Palestinian people have a legitimate, inalienable right to the natural resources in their territory and to statehood and the urgent need to attain a two-State solution.  The absence of a regulatory supervisory regime concerning the use of new technologies in cyberspace and in artificial intelligence needs to be addressed urgently, he said, noting the implementation of Sri Lanka’s first Information and Cyber Security Strategy and stressing the importance of establishing a partnership-based approach to protect cyberspace from multinational cyberthreats.  Noting Sri Lanka was a victim of terrorism for several decades, he called for legislative measures and law enforcement mechanisms to counter terrorism and radical ideologies.  To contribute to international peace and security, Sri Lanka looks forward to enhancing its participation in peacekeeping operations.

CARLOS FARÍA TORTOSA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, spoke against the campaign to discredit and stigmatize his country for challenging neoliberal globalization and its opposition to the modern version of colonialization.  The aim of this campaign, he elaborated, is to create political and economic conditions which prevent alternatives to capitalism’s imperialist and predatory system.  Accused of being a dictatorship and a failed State, Venezuela has experienced attempts to destabilize its democracy including assassination, invasion, seditious movements and a parallel government, 913 sanctions and the theft of its foreign assets.  Denouncing the sanctions as crimes against humanity, he proclaimed they “have never been able to break the will of our people”.  Such acts of piracy have, however, left a deep wound.  While political propaganda points to forced migration as an example, he noted that 60 per cent of Venezuela’s migrants return voluntarily because of exploitation, mistreatment and persecution in other countries.  Urging accountability over the “millions of resources that were supposed to be there to help Venezuelan migrants”, he called upon multilateral organizations to guarantee the rights of all migrants around the world and warned all of the outbreak of xenophobia, the rejection of the poor, hate crimes, hate speech and intolerance.

Instead of surrendering to the conditions imposed upon its people, Venezuela is working towards social peace and has implemented an economic plan to open up new sources of wealth through tourism, industrialization, entrepreneurship and farming development.  Expressing concern over the impact of various global conflicts on food security, he shared his country’s stance that the only way to overcome global hunger and poverty is through a return to sustainable agriculture.  Venezuela will help other countries and, as an Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member, wants to assist in the current energy emergency.

Urging countries to prioritize diplomacy and dialogue over military confrontation, he pledged his country’s support for an international commission to facilitate dialogue between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.  Venezuela rejects all military provocation and economic sanctions against the Russian Federation and the hate campaign against the Slavic people.  He attributed the loss of trust in the international community to the United States’ 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and referenced the imperialism and supremacism which led to unnecessary bloodshed in Iraq, Haiti, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Syria and continues to lay waste to international law.  Warning of the rise of a global security surveillance state which deprives citizens of privacy and turns democracies into “infocracies”, he called for the defence of truth and the application of reason and common sense as the antidote to collapse.  The North, he continued, “must recognize that the unipolar, colonialist system cannot adequately respond to the problems and needs that they themselves have created [in] harming humanity, animal life and the planet” and must accept new Powers and new leadership of China, the Russian Federation, India, Iran and Türkiye.  Venezuela hopes the Assembly recognizes and respects the peoples of the world, addresses the injustices against the Saharawi people and the Palestinian people, puts an end to illegal economic sanctions and political persecution against Nicaragua, Cuba, Iran and the Russian Federation and helps Argentina regain sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands*.

VLADIMIR NOROV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, said the establishment of inter-civilizational and intercultural relations and dialogue is extremely important in relieving global tension, uncertainty and unpredictability.  With this in mind, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev put forward the Samarkand Solidarity Initiative for Common Security and Prosperity at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit on 16 September.  Domestically, by 2030, Uzbekistan intends to halve the level of poverty, increase the effectiveness of the social protection system, strengthen food security and become an upper-middle-income country.  Uzbekistan is on the eve of constitutional reform to ensure the sustainability and irreversibility of fundamental transformation of the State system and public administration to guarantee inviolable rights and freedoms.  Endorsing the coming “Summit of the Future” in September 2023, he cited the successful outcomes of the Transforming Education Summit, noting over the past 5 years, enrolment in higher education has increased from 9 per cent to 29 per cent, and children with preschool education from 27 per cent to 67.2 per cent. 

Launched at the initiative of Uzbekistan, the last Consultative Meeting on 21 July produced a historic Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation for the Development of Central Asia in the twenty-first century.  He proposed establishment of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Regional Office in Central Asia to successfully implement the Global Strategy and continuously monitor the implementation of the updated joint action plan.  Stressing that the prospects for the region’s development are inextricably linked with ensuring peace in neighbouring Afghanistan, he expressed concern over the decline in international attention to the country, which is experiencing a deep humanitarian crisis.  It is extremely important to prevent the isolation of Afghanistan, which will undoubtedly have negative consequences for regional and international security.  The international community should ensure restoration of the Afghan economy, integration into interregional economic processes, and the implementation of infrastructure and socially significant projects.  He noted his Government has established the International Transport and Logistics Hub in the border city of Termez, actively used by United Nations agencies to provide humanitarian assistance to the country, and proposed a special humanitarian support fund.

Citing the Assembly resolution on “Strengthening connectivity between Central and South Asia” (document A/76/L.68/Add.1), prioritizing the involvement of Afghanistan in economic cooperation and its transformation into a bridge connecting the two regions, he pointed to implementation of trans-regional infrastructure projects, such as the construction of the Termez-Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway.  Turning to the negative regional consequences of climate change, he noted his President launched a massive initiative called “Yashil Makon” (Green Land), planting 1 billion trees and shrubs across the country over the next five years.  Further, as the increased salinity of the Aral Sea is the biggest environmental crisis in the region, over the past 5 years the country has planted 1.7 million hectares of forest plantations on the drained seabed.  He thanked the Assembly for adopting the resolution on “Declaring the Aral Sea region a zone of ecological innovations and technologies” (document A/75/L.83/Add.1).  In 2023, for the first time, Uzbekistan will host the Fourteenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, as well as a meeting of the Committee to Review the Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

AMERY BROWNE, Minister for Foreign and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, said that in 60 years of independence, his country has anchored its multilateral engagement on the founding purposes and principles of the United Nations and nurtured those by maintaining a tradition of democratic governance that respects human rights and promotes rule of law.  Accordingly, “the people of my country cannot accept any unilateral attempt to violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States,” he said, and called upon the Russian Federation to immediately abandon its action and resume negotiations with Ukraine.  In that light, the world’s collective experience the last seven months has laid bare the urgent need for the Security Council to be reformed to reflect current geopolitical realities.  Moreover, he voiced his fullest support for the mission of the International Criminal Court and its record as an independent tribunal ensuring accountability for growing acts of impunity.

Noting the resurgence of fuel use due to the war in Ukraine, the off-track climate finance commitments by developed countries and the increase in immediate and slow-onset natural hazards, he called for full implementation of the Paris Agreement and a dedicated loss and damages facility under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s financial mechanism.  Stressing the need for global food security, he said his country hosted the second CARICOM Agri-Investment Forum and Expo as part of the region’s commitment to reduce its food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.  On Haiti, he said his country is committed to work with CARICOM towards the restoration of peace and stable democratic governance and urged the United Nations system and international donors to strengthen their role and engagement.  Trinidad and Tobago is committed to strengthen cooperation with regional and international partners to tackle transnational organized crime, human and illegal firearm trafficking and the drug trade.  Highlighting the important role of women as agents of positive change, he encouraged Member States to co-sponsor and support the country’s biennial resolution on “Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control”, while detailing how in Trinidad and Tobago a growing number of stakeholders have joined national efforts to make society safe for women and girls.

Outlining structural problems of the global economic and financial system, he said that without reform, efforts like the 2030 Agenda will not produce the needed results in the Global South.  Tailored measures addressing fundamental financing challenges and particular attention for the least developed countries and small island developing States are necessary, he said, pointing to the multidimensional vulnerability index as an utmost priority.  Furthermore, he reiterated his call for reparatory justice for enslavement of African people, the destruction of all nuclear weapons, lifting the embargo on Cuba and a two-State solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict.  He also spotlighted the valuable, beneficial and necessary perspective of small islands to the world and contributions Trinidadians and Tobagonians have made to the multilateral system.  In that vein, he said his country offers itself to serve as the President of the General Assembly during the seventy-eight session — a defining role and responsibility that his Government would embraced with commitment and impartiality.  Lastly, he called for building a truly global community where no one is left behind and shared the national motto:  “Together we aspire.  Together we achieve”.

THÓRDÍS KOLBRÚN REYKFJÖRD GYLFADÓTTIR, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, in noting the Assembly Hall’s symbolism and the gavel’s Icelandic inscription, registered her country’s acute awareness that the world will be dominated by force if it is not governed by rules.  While there have been problems, conflicts and mistakes in the post-world war order, wars of territorial expansion have not been allowed.  Calling upon all leaders “to make sure that the fortunes of the past decades do not lead us down into dangerous complacency,” she advocated for a more representative and fit-for-purpose multilateral system.  To that end, Iceland fully supports the Secretary-General’s vision in his Our Common Agenda report.  The Russian Federation’s “unlawful and brutal full-scale invasion”, she continued, “was a rude awakening to how the world might look if the ability to destroy, rather than the capacity to create, is allowed to determine the fate of nations”.  Pleading for the madness to stop, she declared, “Ukraine must win.  Russia’s aggression must be defeated and the crimes perpetrated in its name must be accounted for and punished.”

Turning to food insecurity, poverty, hunger, armed conflict, climate change and natural catastrophes, she pledged to increase Iceland’s funding for humanitarian assistance.  As countries must accelerate the fight towards better climate resilience, his country has set ambitious targets to achieve carbon neutrality and full energy conversion by 2040 and increased its climate finance contributions to focus on a balanced approach to mitigation and adaptation.  All countries also have a responsibility to ensure the sustainable use and health of oceans for the benefit of all.  Tackling marine pollution, in particular plastic waste, must be a priority.  She welcomed the United Nations Environment Assembly resolution in Nairobi, expressed her country’s appreciation for the Lisbon Ocean Conference and noted the progress on a new agreement for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.  Reminding all that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development cannot be neglected, she reiterated Iceland’s continued commitment, which it demonstrated through increased official development assistance (ODA).  As countries must also work towards a world free of nuclear weapons, she called out the Russian Federation as “the lone opponent of the final document and the only State that has lowered the threshold for using nuclear weapons by explicitly threatening to resort to these weapons of mass destruction.”

On human rights, Iceland remains committed to countering the regression of women and girls’ rights.  The rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, she noted, have either never been secured or have regressed.  The values and principles embodied in the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are important in and of themselves and for harnessing individual creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and innovation.  In acknowledging the problem open societies face with the spread of lies and false information, she warned Governments against claiming a monopoly on truth.  The Russian Federation, she pointed out, is an example “where all forms of public debate and independent thinking has been criminalized”.  People must be able to freely challenge the status quo, express their opinions and debate the most sensitive issues.  These values are what Ukraine’s defenders want for their children and Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya demands for Belarus.  Such values are denied to women and girls in Afghanistan and do not accept Mahsa Amini’s death in Iran.  Reminding all of their duty to respond, to not look the other way or wait for others to act, she urged all to stand with Ukraine, defend the multilateral system, protect nature, tackle poverty and deprivation, safeguard the rights of individuals and enable them to contribute.

JEAN VICTOR GENEUS, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Worship of Haiti, appealed to those engaged in conflict to cease hostilities and negotiate peace, as the consequences of conflict, also for other States, are too severe.  The increase in food prices is particularly undermining developing economies, he said, stressing that solidarity, not hoarding as was the case during the COVID-19 pandemic, must be the rule.  The international community must exhibit imagination, self-sacrifice and altruism to establish a new type of international relations.  Haiti is at a crossroads, he noted, and its people are experiencing a multidimensional crisis compounded by insecurity that endangers democracy and the rule of law.  The Government’s priorities are restoring public order and security, finding broad consensus for peaceful governance, holding democratic elections and socioeconomic development to improve people’s lives.  Noting the violence wrought by armed gangs, he said efforts are needed to improve police capacity and working conditions, referring to Council resolution 2645 (2022) in that regard.  He called upon more Governments to contribute to the basket fund used to financially aid the Haitian police and emphasized continued solidarity is needed.

“I engaged in immediate dialogue with all sectors to build consensus for peace and effective governance during the interim period,” he noted, stressing that the primary goal for Haiti’s transitional period is re-establishment of democratic institutions through free, transparent and inclusive elections and constitutional reform and welcoming support from CARICOM, the Organization of La Francophonie and the United Nations.  While defending the right to freedom of expression and the right to protest, he condemned looters and vandals that carried out attacks on churches and schools.  Good governance goes hand in hand with the fight against corruption, smuggling and trafficking, he said.  Committed to government budgetary discipline and public revenue management, Haiti has entered into a staff monitored programme with the IMF.  It also has begun implementing major reforms in the customs sector with the help of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). 

Recalling the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on 7 July 2021, he promised justice for Mr. Moise, his family and the Haitian people and thanked international partners in solving this transnational crime.  However, many more crimes committed in Haiti remain unpunished, he said, adding that the country’s insecure climate relates directly to human rights violations.  Judicial reform is essential to, among other things, address prolonged preventative detentions, he said, thanking civil society partners and the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) for their engagement in that regard.  He emphasized that he has no wish to remain in power longer than necessary to return to a constitutional order and free elections.  Elections, for which an organizing body is being established, must be carried out in a climate of security and peace to ensure that the largest number of voters can participate.  Noting the link between poverty, lack of prospects for youth and repeated crises and crime, he said:  “We must give back hope to the youth.”

Pointing out that 4.9 million people — 46 per cent of Haiti’s population — need humanitarian aid this year, he said he looked forward to implementation of the promises made at the international donor conference for Haiti’s reconstruction in February.  Insecurity, political instability and natural disasters have contributed to poor economic performance and negative growth for three consecutive years.  In this environment, the Haitian people have seen their socioeconomic rights regularly violated.  He called upon the international community and United States President Joseph R. Biden specifically to stand alongside Haiti to help it reach it’s socioeconomic goals.

BERNARD GOMOU, Prime Minister of Guinea, noted that after setting the tone for independence in Africa, particularly in Francophone nations, his country has experienced dark times in its governance — and unfortunately, during the last decade, the regime in place was no exception.  The period was marked by extreme politicization of State bodies, violations of the rule of law and financial mismanagement.  The former President’s constitutional change removing presidential term limits was the triggering factor of sociopolitical unrest in a nation where development was already paralyzed — even though it is the world’s largest producer of bauxite.  Faced with the disastrous situation, the Forces of Defense and Security Forces, within the National Committee of Reconciliation and Development, decided to take responsibility on 5 September 2021 to establish a virtuous Government for the benefit of the Guinean people — in particular women and the young — for inclusive and sustainable development.

The population supported the move, he emphasized, and an overview was taken of appropriate solutions to the challenges of recovery, including:  building strong and legitimate institutions; refounding the State to restore its authority; recovery, modernization and renewal of the Administration; and rallying the people in conducting public affairs in full transparency.  The country developed and published the Transition Charter and a Civilian Transition Government, established the National Transition Council and the Court of Repression of Economic and Financial Offences to fight corruption and embezzlement of public property and restore confidence between the people and the authorities.  All proceedings are based on the full independence of the judiciary, with the organization of national conventions of “Days of Truth and Forgiveness”, which submitted a report on 24 August.

He noted a proposed timeline was obtained by consensus, with a view to preventing the people of Guinea from falling back into cyclical transitions.  As a central point of negotiation between Guinea and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), he emphasized that the content of the transition involves 10 points, including a general population and housing census and a civil status administrative census.  Those programmes will take 24 months, and the country will need an additional 12 months for holding the three scheduled elections.  He stressed the urgent need for that quality census to ensure an indisputable electoral registry, guaranteeing transparent electoral processes and results acceptable by all.  

On that point, he emphasized that the members of the National Committee, the Government and the National Transition Council — without any pressure, and of their own free will — decided not to run for office during the upcoming elections.  The Guinean Government further has made a national priority of organizing a trial of the events of 28 September 2009 on behalf of those who were victimized.  After a 13-year wait, the President of the Transition decided to open the trial in cooperation with the International Criminal Court and the Human Rights Council.  On the economic front, he noted Guinea’s efforts to stabilize the economy through an Interim Reference Programme 2022-2025, contributing to improving living conditions, and reassuring all public and private investors of the Government’s intention to guarantee favourable business climate conditions.  Public finance and the mining sector will be overhauled, setting the index price of bauxite and allowing the population to benefit from the dividends of growth in that sector. 

His country shares the concerns of the international community on issues of peace, security, development and human rights.  Since 1861, Guinea has deployed troop and police contingents in various peacekeeping missions around the world.  In addition to deployment within the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), operating since 2013, it has deployed an additional contingent to replace the Benin contingent whose mandate expires in 2023.  Calling for United Nations reform, he stressed the Organization must be fairer, more inclusive and ready to respond to the legitimate aspirations of the peoples of the world and adapt to international realities.  He cited the importance of the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, which express the shared African position on Security Council reform.  Guinea has adopted inclusive dialogue, including with ECOWAS, on strengthening of the rule of law, promoting human rights and ensuring accountability to mend the torn social fabric.

REEM EBRAHIM AL HASHIMY, Minister of State for International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, said that, facing daunting global challenges, States need to restore confidence in the existing international system and the legitimacy of its institutions as well as enhance its efficiency and build its capacity to address crises.  International law must be applied consistently without double standards or selectivity to ensure the stability and security of the international system.  Demanding an end to Iran's occupation of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa islands — the United Arab Emirates’ sovereignty over which is proven by history and international law — she stressed that Iran has not responded to her country’s calls to peacefully resolve this conflict.  “We will never relent in voicing our to claim these islands either through direct negotiations or through the International Court of Justice,” she affirmed.

For decades, African and Arab countries have been hit the hardest by armed conflict and instability.  “As a direct result, we have learned difficult yet critical lessons:  we must prioritize diplomatic solutions, dialogue, and de-escalation in order to settle tensions, prevent conflicts from emerging, and combat extremist ideologies,” she said.  Stressing her country’s firm position calling for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in line with agreed international references, she welcomed the Israeli Prime Minister’s statement to the Assembly supporting the vision of a two-State solution.  Advancing all political processes in the Arab region and building peace requires rejecting interference in the internal affairs of other countries.  It is imperative to empower regional and international organizations and provide them with the necessary tools, resources and expertise to effectively respond to challenges, as they are better equipped to mediate in crises.  The initiatives of the African Union are an example of this, she said.

“The maintenance of international peace and security requires a world free of weapons of mass destruction, particularly in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula,” she affirmed.  Terrorism must be rejected and perpetrators and financers held accountable.  The situation in conflict zones has grown increasingly dangerous as a result of terrorists’ use of missiles and drones in cross-border attacks.  This requires active efforts to prevent such areas from becoming a safe haven for terrorists as well as inhibiting access to advanced weapons.  She also cited the attacks perpetrated earlier this year by Houthi terrorists against her country’s capital and Saudi Arabia and the threats posed by Da’esh, Al-Qaida and Al-Shabaab.  On climate change, she urged States to adopt the renewable energy agenda, provide adequate funding for climate action, and support the capacity of developing countries to build resilient communities, ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Egypt this year and in her country in 2023.  Finally, she touched on food security and the meaningful contribution of youth and women to society.


* A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).

For information media. Not an official record.