United Nations Reform Must Finally Become Reality, Speakers Stress, Demanding More Action to Address Compounding Crises, as General Assembly Wraps Up Annual Debate
Amid New Era With ‘Significant Transformations’ Under Way, Assembly President Calls for Peaceful Post-COVID-19 World, Cooperation to Address Climate Crisis
It is critical to finally make United Nations reform a reality to represent the entire international community, said ministers and representatives from around the world today, demanding further action on the current compounding crises as the General Assembly concluded its annual general debate.
Since 20 September, 190 Heads of State, Heads of Government, ministers and representatives of Member States took the rostrum, taking stock of the state of the world as the Assembly launched its seventy-seventh session.
Csaba Kőrösi (Hungary), Assembly President for the current session, delivered closing remarks, stating that, in the general debate, the Assembly heard from 76 Heads of State, 50 Heads of Government, 4 Vice-Presidents, 5 Deputy Prime Ministers, 48 ministers and 7 heads of delegation — of which 23 were women.
Sensing a growing awareness that humanity has entered a new era, he underscored that the international community has reached a time of a paradigm shift. “Because the movements, the adjustments that we see around us cannot be called mere modifications any longer: they are significant transformations in the making,” he added.
Highlighting the war in Ukraine, climate change, human rights and the modernization of the Organization as key challenges repeatedly mentioned by speakers, he called for a peaceful post-COVID-19 world and international cooperation to mitigate climate change.
Fayssal Mekdad, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of Syria, describing the war against his country as “an attempt by the West to maintain control of the world”, said the intention to break the will of the Syrian people has failed. While reiterating his support for the special military operation conducted by the Russian Federation in Ukraine, he also expressed support for China’s position concerning foreign interference in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
Echoing the Syrian delegate, the representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea opposed the imposition of Western values behind “signboards” — such as human rights and democracy — while not respecting sovereign equality. He criticized the Security Council for not adhering to the principles of impartiality and objectivity.
In the same vein, Denis Ronaldo Moncada Colindres, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua, said “the assault, the robbery, the disgraceful, abominable depredation, the looting and the genocides unleashed by the colonialists and imperialists of the Earth, are real crimes, such that they are the real criminals against humanity”.
While condemning Moscow’s “unjustifiable” invasion of Ukraine as a clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations, Francisco Bustillo, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uruguay, noted that human rights worldwide are flagrantly violated, especially by their people’s own Governments and leaders, including in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Lejuene Mbella Mbella, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cameroon, citing widespread hotbeds of tension, stressed that the voice of Africa be heard and supported globally. He noted that international commitments on climate are no longer being met or are being met “in dribs and drabs”, due to selfishness and insufficient political will. It is no exaggeration to affirm that humanity’s destiny is at stake, he said.
“Eritrea has bored the burden of this unfair international order through illicit sanctions, the use of surrogate forces to create a situation of permanent conflict and instability, [and] the weaponization of human rights to isolate and ostracize the young nation,” asserted Osman Saleh Mohammed, that country’s Minister for Foreign Affairs. Describing it “ridiculous” that less than 1 per cent of the population owns 99 per cent of the world’s wealth, he further spotlighted the growing consumerism and individualism, as well as their impacts on social stability.
Lyonpo Tandi Dorji, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bhutan, shared an appeal from a seven-year-old girl living in one of his country’s remote districts, perched at an altitude of 3,400 metres. He shared her fear that the melting of snow and glaciers due to climate change may cause a flood in her village at any time. “Kindly convey this small message to the world leaders, and big and rich nations to help and save our tiny village from global warming,” he quoted from her appeal.
Also speaking today were ministers and representatives of Congo, Mauritania, Indonesia, Algeria, Tunisia, Canada, Nepal, Benin, Turkmenistan, Angola, Oman, Djibouti and Nauru.
The representatives of Armenia, Serbia, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Korea, Morocco, Iran, Azerbaijan, Albania, United Arab Emirates and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
The Assembly also decided to re-elect Filippo Grandi as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for a period beginning on 1 July 2023 and ending on 31 December 2025.
The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 10 October, to hold a joint debate on the Secretary-General’s reports on the third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (2016–2025) and implementation of the Assembly resolutions on “Literacy for life: shaping future agendas, and education for democracy”, as well as its agenda item on strengthening of the United Nations system.
FAYSSAL MEKDAD, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of Syria, noting that the international community finds itself at a critical point due to conflicts and wars, terrorism, food insecurity, and climate change, stressed that this is the result of attempts by some countries to impose their hegemony over others. Those countries have invested in terrorism and lethal weapons with the excuse of spreading democracy and supporting human rights. “The war against Syria ultimately was an attempt by the West to maintain control of the world,” he emphasized, adding that this “war” aimed at breaking the will of his country’s people has failed.
Turning to Israel, he expressed support for the establishment of the Palestinian people’s sovereign and independent State, with Jerusalem as its capital. Noting that his country also supports it becoming a full-fledged member of the Organization, he expressed hope that “some members of the Security Council will not undermine these efforts.” Highlighting the worst violations of human rights and the international humanitarian law by Israel in the occupied Syrian Golan, he stressed that those who continue to say nothing about such practices, especially those who claim to be the guardians of the international humanitarian law and international human rights, have been accomplices in these crimes. While welcoming efforts and initiatives to “return to normal” such as the Astana agreement and the Tehran summit held in July, he pointed out that all of these will “remain dead letters if Türkiye does not respect these results.”
Reiterating its support for the special military operation conducted by the Russian Federation in Ukraine, he stressed his conviction that the Russian Federation is defending not only itself but also justice and the right to reject unipolar hegemony. Also, expressing support for the return to the nuclear agreement with Iran, he called upon Western authorities to satisfy the legitimate requests made by the country. He went on to voice support for the principle of an “United China” and the country’s position concerning foreign interference in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang. While condemning the embargo against Cuba, he also called for the lifting of unilateral coercive measures imposed on the Russian Federation, Venezuela, Belarus, Nicaragua, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and Syria.
JEAN-CLAUDE GAKOSSO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Congo, said that the world is witnessing an unprecedented level of crises. Those crises are increasingly intense, complex and numerous, including insecurity of food, threatened biodiversity and attempts to turn back climate change commitments. In addition, tensions and hostilities between permanent members of the Security Council are exacerbated, despite its primary vocation being the preservation of peace. Only a consensual and inclusive approach can help the world find answers, he stressed. Calling upon not only actors engaged in conflict, but also other powerful nations, he advocated for dialogue and abandoning great Power vanity. The world, under the auspices of the United Nations, he continued, should without delay commit to just, sincere and equitable peace negotiations. If not, confrontations could press humanity in an irremediable cataclysm and uncontrollable nuclear war. As Albert Einstein said, it would be “the last battle that humans would fight on Earth”, he stressed.
Borrowing wisdom from former South African President Nelson Mandela, he emphasized that peace is a long road, but it has no alternative. This holds true for the Russian Federation and Ukraine as well. Addressing Russians and Ukrainians directly in Russian, he appealed to stop this mass destruction, because too much blood has already been spilled. “Think of the youth, think of the future generations, think back to when Russians and Ukrainians stood together and courageously and selflessly fought the Nazi regime in the Second World War and give peace a real chance before it is too late,” he pleaded. On the situation in Libya, he said that a conference was organized in Brazzaville in July to bring Libyan social and political actors together after failed elections in December. “We must allow our Libyan brothers and sisters to forgive, renew dialogue and place prominence on justice,” he pleaded, stressing that efforts for reconciliation must be inclusive, constructive and consensus-based. He welcomed the Secretary General’s appointment of Abdoulaye Bathily as Special Representative for Libya and assured the unconditional support of Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso.
The forests at the basis of Congo are the second largest ecological reservoir in the world with the lowest deforestation rate globally – only 0.06 per cent — however, his country’s people are still waiting on commensurate support by the international community. Expressing disappointment over the unfulfilled climate change commitments at the Conferences of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen (COP15), Paris (COP21) and Glasgow (COP26), he said he hopes that this time, at the Conference of the Parties in Egypt (COP27), the global community can go beyond words and allocate significate resources to those vulnerable to climate disruption. Congo plays its part in protecting the planet, he stressed, and pointed to the Congo Basin Blue Fund and the political forum called “Leaders’ Partnership for Forests and Climate” to be organized with the United Kingdom. Turning to the Security Council, he said that the organ should be reformed, noting that the inclusion of Africa in the management of world affairs is self-evident as prejudices against the continent have for too long humiliated and unjustly served its people. Lastly, he called upon the wisdom of the people and leaders of the United States to lift the anachronistic and obsolete trade embargo against Cuba, closing that dark chapter in its relations.
OSMAN SALEH MOHAMMED, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Eritrea, said that the profound, intertwined and multiple challenges the international community is facing are of epic proportion, and — COVID‑19 aside — constitute the cumulative consequences and tell-tale symptoms of a tense and highly flawed global governance architecture. “They are the by-products and manifestations of systemic failure of the unipolar world order that has prevailed for over 30 years,” he said, stressing that it was essentially designed to advance and safeguard the privileges of its principal architects to the exclusion of most other States. “Its rather monolithic and condescending ideological perspective diverts no room to historical context, distinct realities, independent policy choices of other sovereign peoples and nations,” which are instead expected to fully adhere to the golden standards stipulated in the “flimsy” rules-based international order.
Over the past 30 years, the heavy meddling in domestic affairs, imposing of unilateral sanctions and distortion and weaponization of human rights have been derivates of the faulty global governance architecture, he said. It is “ridiculous” that less than 1 per cent of the population owns 99 per cent of global wealth, he said, noting growing consumerism and individualism and their potentially dangerous impacts on social stability, both in individual countries and globally. “Eritrea has bored the burden of this unfair international order through illicit sanctions, the use of surrogate forces to create a situation of permanent conflict and instability [and] the weaponization of human rights to isolate and ostracize the young nation,” he affirmed, calling for urgent remedial action.
He stressed that, as the prevailing global governance architecture has lost legitimacy and corroded vital global equilibrium that is crucial for continuity and sustainability, “our global village and the United Nations system must devise a new international order”. This must be anchored in: consensus with the full, equal participation of its constituencies; equality of all Member States and respect for State sovereignty and political independence; equitable representation of all Member States in all decision- making international bodies through viable mechanisms; a review of the selective and partial parameters that impair collective well-being; and the fostering of a compassionate social system.
FRANCISCO BUSTILLO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uruguay, condemned the Russian Federation’s unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine — a clear violation of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations — calling on Moscow to withdraw its forces from that territory and cease all hostilities. The parties should return to the negotiating table to resolve their dispute, as the fallout from the conflict continues to impact the international arena and the daily lives of millions of people, with an agricultural deficit harming developing countries and economies worldwide, a drop in the price of raw materials and the rising cost of oil.
The international community is not meeting the expectations of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, he stressed, as countries are not committed to the cap of 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels. He expressed hope that all States will mobilize the financial resources for adaptation and mitigation of climate change, or humanity will have missed its last opportunity. Future generations “have the right to expect us to meet the challenges of today”, he said, affirming that Uruguay is committed to the standards of the Paris Agreement. Multilateralism is not an empty word, he stressed, and the international community must strengthen that system as a shared common good. Despite adverse circumstances, he called for 2022 to be a landmark year for the Sustainable Development Goals. Reaffirming his country’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda, he noted shortfalls in the international arena that impact economic and social development, with criteria established for international cooperation that can have a negative impact. He noted Uruguay has been viewed through the old lens of evaluating development solely using gross domestic product (GDP) indicators.
He noted with sadness that human rights worldwide are flagrantly violated, especially by people’s own Governments and leaders, including in Latin America and the Caribbean. There is no more important forum than the General Assembly to recognize its humanist role, as the international agreements underpinned by the United Nations must be fulfilled by all Member States. He urged countries to bolster the rights of women, girls, the elderly, migrants and the disabled, as well as the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex and asexual communities. He further emphasized the role of the International Criminal Court and its relevance as a deterrent for perpetrators of genocidal acts and crimes against humanity. Voicing support for peacekeeping missions, he noted Uruguay has been involved since the 1940s on an ongoing basis and is currently deployed in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). Calling on the international community to recognize the growing impact of international organized crime and terrorism, he cited his Government’s formalized request to the Council of Europe to ratify the Budapest Convention on cybercrime. Democracy is not a perfect model, he stated, but it is the system of governance that best preserves the wishes and hopes of mankind — “namely, freedom”.
MOHAMED SALEM OULD MERZOUG, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Mauritanians Abroad of Mauritania, voiced concern over crises confronted by the world today: the war in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, terrorist threats, and natural disasters that are brought upon by climate change. The unprecedented socioeconomic and humanitarian repercussions of these crises, particularly food insecurity, represent a challenge to all sectors of life, while weighing more heavily on developing countries. The war in Ukraine has occurred at a time when the world is still emerging from the repercussions of the pandemic, he noted, pointing to the gaps in the supply chain for both fuel and food. Despite the agreement on grain and fertilizer transport, without which “the world would have witnessed an even greater catastrophe”, the measures undertaken by the international community remain minimal, he warned, calling for solutions that would guarantee peace, security, and dignity for all. To fulfil its responsibilities to developing countries, address the challenges threatening their food security, and counter the negative effects of these crises, the international community should forgive African countries’ foreign debt, he asserted. Highlighting the growing development gaps throughout the world, with some parts of the world witnessing the fourth industrial revolution and artificial intelligence development and some remaining in poverty and ignorance, he underscored the importance of solidarity in responding to these challenges and maintaining the dignity of humans everywhere.
He went on to underscore his Government’s progress in re-establishing the values of justice, equity, democracy and individual and collective freedoms. Underscoring efforts made in combating modern slavery and human trafficking, he spotlighted programmes for bolstering national cohesion and supporting the poor. The creation of schools and health-care centres as well as the provision of drinkable water has helped 15 per cent of the Mauritanian population. He further recalled the vital assistance provided to 85,000 refugees from Mali in the south-west of Mauritania, in collaboration with United Nations entities. Regarding investments in human resources, he drew attention to youth-training programmes and the promotion of women’s participation in political life. The Government made efforts to strengthen the national economy and took an interlocking approach to combatting terrorism, he emphasized, describing the countries of the Sahel as a key force to resist terrorism and establish development throughout the region.
Turning to the environment and sustainable development, he said 40 per cent of the energy consumed in Mauritania will be focused on renewable energy. Pointing to his country’s natural resources – such as wind and solar power – he expressed support for local industries. On improving the use of water resources and protecting biological diversity, he highlighted agricultural reforms in areas affected by drought. He condemned the continued violations of the rights of Palestinians by Israel, expressed support for the legitimate powers in Yemen and for the return to constitutional order in Mali, and called on the parties involved to end the war in Ukraine.
RETNO LESTARI PRIANSARI MARSUDI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, expressed worry over global crises, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic persists, the world economy remains sluggish, war has become a reality and violations of international law have become the norm. Comparing the current moment in time to events leading up to the Second World War, she warned States against going down the same path. She offered a new paradigm of collaboration and engagement; instead of containment and competition, she urged reigniting “the spirit of peace”. Respect for sovereignty of nations is non-negotiable, she said, reiterating that repeated dialogue and cooperation will foster strategic trust between nations. “These are the rules of the game, and we must apply them consistently, not selectively,” she said, noting that this was the message of her President upon his visit to Kyiv and Moscow earlier in 2022. She expressed Indonesia’s solidarity with Palestine as well as with Afghanistan, emphasizing that the rights of all people be respected — including access to education for women and girls.
She highlighted collective responsibility for global recovery from the current crises. Lamenting a marked lack of solidarity, trade discrimination and monopoly on supply chains, she reminded Member States that the pandemic “teaches us that no one is safe until everyone is”. Underlining the importance of the upcoming G20 Summit in Indonesia as a “catalyst for recovery”, she added that “we cannot let global recovery fall at the mercy of geopolitics”. She emphasized the need to address food and energy crises to avoid a fertilizer crisis that would affect billions of people, particularly in developing countries. Collaboration and engagement would instil a collective responsibility to attain the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and fight climate change, she added.
Condemning a post-war regional architecture constructed along the lines of minilateral groups that become involved in proxy wars between major Powers, she asserted that “we refuse to be a pawn in a new cold war”. To contrast, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is an example of regional architecture that bolsters peace and stability. Indonesia will chair ASEAN in 2023 and commits to honouring the group’s centrality in shaping order in the Indo-Pacific region. She expressed deep concern about the Myanmar military’s “lack of commitment” in implementing the Five-Point Consensus and encouraged the international community to support Myanmar’s neighbours to bring democracy back to the country. Recalling her new paradigm, she encouraged collaboration between all countries “both big and small, developed and developing”. She called for reform within the United Nations that would transform it into a multilateral organization that delivers. “It is no longer the time to talk the talk. Now is the time to walk the talk,” she said.
RAMTANE LAMAMRA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Algeria, in noting polarization’s resurgence and the crisis in Ukraine, reiterated his country’s full support for the Secretary-General’s reform efforts. The international community must address the structural imbalances of global governance mechanisms by ensuring parity and equality among all States and ending the marginalization of developing ones. The world’s collective security, he explained, is linked to the stability and prosperity of all peoples. In celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of its independence, Algeria will continue its contributions to international peace, security and sustainable development. To that end, his country looks forward to hosting the Arab League Summit in November as a decisive moment for addressing regional and international challenges.
The question of Palestine, he reiterated, remains key to restoring security and stability in the Middle East. Alegria continues to promote national unity among the Palestinian people, stresses their right to establish an independent State based on 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, supports the request for full membership and calls for ending the Syrian Golan’s occupation in line with relevant United Nations resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative. Reaffirming his country’s support for the inalienable rights of the people of Western Sahara to exercise self-determination and independence, he called upon the United Nations to redouble its efforts through the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy. He then urged the international community to support Mali on accelerating the peace agreement’s implementation and Libya on advancing national reconciliation. As the African Union’s coordinator on efforts to combat terrorism, violence and extremism, Algeria will intensify its efforts with concerned States to ensure new, dynamic and effective regional responses. In stressing the need for African solutions to African problems, he urged all countries to support Agenda 2063 and stated: “Africa is capable of presenting a new model of human civilization, a model that places human beings and the environment at its heart.”
He announced his country’s candidacy for a non-permanent Security Council seat for 2024-2025. Endorsed by the African Union, the League of Arab States (LAS)and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Algeria will work with other Council members to prevent and resolve conflicts more effectively, support the role of regional organizations, promote women and young people’s participation and ensure protection for all vulnerable groups. The international community must avoid past mistakes and establish a world order based on sovereign equality, mutual interests and constructive cooperation.
DENIS RONALDO MONCADA COLINDRES, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua, in noting global social, economic, cultural, climate and security challenges, spoke of his people’s demonstration of national dignity and sovereignty against colonial, imperial greed. He denounced “the assaults, the robbery, the disgraceful, abominable depredation, the looting and the genocides unleashed by the colonialists and imperialists” as crimes against humanity and called for the recognition of “our particularities, our models and ways of life, our creeds and beliefs, in accordance with our own history, tradition and aspirations.” The United Nations must represent all peoples and must not submit to any imperialist Power, he stressed.
It is time, he said, for people to assert their multiple voices, demands and causes and transcend the selfishness that murders millions by subjecting them to poverty. As world Powers continue to assert their dominance and cause hunger, illness, climate destruction, ignorance, war and hated, the international community must reject the criminal blockades which only seek to bleed the world dry. “Enough is enough,” he declared and urged a rebellion against the innate evil of capitalism, which suffocates the majority while brutally enriching the few and the politicization and denigration of human rights. The international community must enforce sovereign equality, stop the invasions, aggressions and occupations which affect the right to life, decent work, food, well-being and happiness, and denounce the capital sins justifying foreign interference. Countries, he continued, must assert the freedom to be themselves and not what others want.
In addressing the countries “that have lived through all the fires of greed, avarice, selfishness, the vain glory of vanities and the search for absolute dominion by others over a world that does not belong to them,” he said: “We must all strengthen and consolidate our identities and consensus.” He then expressed his country’s solidarity with Venezuela, Cuba, the Palestinian people, Iran, the Russian Federation and China. Nicaragua remains united with Syria, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Belarus and the peoples of Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean. Invoking Nicaragua’s national heroes who fought against imperialism, he called upon all to continue fighting for justice, peace and the inalienable rights of peoples.
OTHMAN JERANDI, Minister for Foreign Affairs Migration of Tunisia, pledged support for the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda report, calling it a ray of hope for the international community in a time where the economic, humanitarian and health-care related consequences of the pandemic seemed impossible to overcome. Despite many Tunisia-supported United Nations frameworks, like the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework, the 2030 Agenda and more, based on equality and solidarity, there are still people threatened with being left behind. He went on to note the many challenges the world faces: an imbalance in the international system and a lack of solidarity; climate change and natural hazards; migration and refugee problems; and famine, malnutrition and food insecurity. And, just when the world only started to come out of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine exacerbated everything including energy and food crises, supply chain issues, purchasing power decline and inflation. This time in history requires the leaders of the world to find transformative and radical solution to strengthen durability and resilience, he stressed. During every session of the General Assembly new issues are added, but today it is time for solutions, he said.
He emphasized that traditional policies must be set aside, and crises need to be addressed from the root upward with innovative solutions to save future generations and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. In that regard, he stressed six points: Solutions must be developed through multilateral action under the auspices of United Nations coordination while making use of complementary frameworks and organizations; new economic models are needed that focus on the quality instead of speed of economic growth and prioritize investment in technology and science; the world needs new approaches to debt management; better development of the African continent based on equal partnership is necessary; bolstering international peace and security based on rule of law and international legitimacy. In that light, he reiterated his position that the occupation of Palestine must end and an independent State needs to be founded, and there must be recognition that every country has unique challenges and characteristics and thus there is no one size fits all approach to development.
For Tunisia, he continued, democracy is a national choice from which the people will not deviate. As stated in various regional and international bodies and shown by Tunisia’s participation and contributions to many United Nations initiatives, he reaffirmed his country’s commitment to freedom, constitutional rights, sovereignty and rule of law. Emphasizing that multilateralism must be bolstered and trust in institutions restored, he called upon all to build a world with security, humanity, prosperity and sustainability for people now as well as for the future generations.
TANDI DORJI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bhutan, said that, ahead of his address to the Assembly, he received a heartfelt appeal from Chimi, a seven-year-old girl in Lunana — a place in one of the country’s northern-most districts, remote and perched at an altitude of 3,400 meters. It is home to a community of 810 people, comprising 185 households of highland nomadic herders. He conveyed the Lunana people’s fear that the melting glaciers and snow on the mountains and the expanding glacial lakes may cause a big flood in their village at any time. Relaying her appeal, he said: “Kindly convey this small message to the world leaders and big and rich nations to help and save our tiny village from global warming.” Chimi’s letter evokes the plain truths of communities standing on the frontlines of the climate crisis, he pointed out, urging deeper emission reductions, adequate and predictable financing, and technological and capacity support, especially for countries in special situations. To safeguard nature, Bhutan’s Constitution requires the maintenance of 60 per cent of its total area under forest cover. Bhutan’s forests are net carbon sinks, he said, highlighting that his country is not just carbon neutral, but carbon negative. Sustainable mountain development should be a global priority, he added, noting the need to build the resilience of mountain communities. To raise awareness and encourage action in that regard, his country is organizing the “Snowman Race” — an annual ultra-marathon event that will take elite athletes from around the world to run across the Himalayas at elevations of 5,000 meters above sea level.
Turning to the pandemic, he highlighted that today, more than 90 per cent of Bhutan’s population is fully vaccinated, acknowledging the support of India, the United States, Denmark, Bulgaria, Croatia, China and other bilateral partners and multilateral agencies in that regard. He welcomed the recognition of the report Our Common Agenda of the need to look beyond GDP. Noting Bhutan’s own approach to balanced and human-centred development that it calls “gross national happiness”, he said measures that consider the full spectrum of human development are needed. One year remains before his country’s exit from the least developed country category, he said, pointing out that those measures will help to ensure that Bhutan’s graduation is smooth, sustainable and irreversible. Major transformational initiatives are under way in his country to strengthen public service delivery. While universal health care is a guarantee enshrined in its Constitution, reforms in the health sector focus on the importance of preparedness for future outbreaks and pandemics, strengthening quality of health care, leveraging technology and a renewed focus on mental health.
Turning to tourism, he said Bhutan’s revamped tourism policy was launched on 23 September, coinciding with the opening of its international border. That sector has been restructured and reformed so that it benefits his country not only economically but socially and environmentally. In the long term, his country wants to create high value, authentic and unique experiences for visitors, and well-paying professional jobs and businesses for its citizens. Regarding peacekeeping, he said his country has prepared for the deployment of its first uniformed military unit, a “Light Quick Reaction Force”, to a United Nations peacekeeping mission, adding that its troops will arrive and serve the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in the weeks ahead. Stressing that the “do no harm” ethic must drive all aspects of field operations and conduct, he highlighted that when Bhutan’s uniformed contingent deploys, it will do so in an environmentally sustainable manner with renewable energy, waste management and provision of assistance to local communities whom it will serve. The centrepiece of the country’s pledge is the use of solar panels for lighting purposes in the barracks and camp area. It will also plant trees around the company location, in line with a host country’s policies, with a view to contributing to United Nations environmental efforts.
MÉLANIE JOLY, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada, said that in responding to today’s immense global challenges the international community can either defend the rules it has collectively developed or accept that these can be broken by the powerful, leading back to dark times of conflicts, displacements and human suffering. “For Canada, the choice is clear […] We need more of the United Nations, not less; we need a UN that is effective, efficient, relevant and accountable,” she stressed, spotlighting her country’s engagement to conceive, develop and strengthen multilateralism. Ensuring the Sustainable Development Goals remain on track must be addressed head on. Turning to Ukraine, she said that while the Assembly has spoken clearly that the Russian Federation’s aggression against that country violates the United Nations Charter, President Vladimir Putin has announced that he will conscript more young people into his war of choice. Moscow has threatened collective security with dangerous nuclear rhetoric and caused enormous civilian suffering, triggering a global food security crisis — a situation which must be addressed with imagination and determination. “A permanent seat on the Security Council is not a license to kill, nor to silence anyone, and it should never guarantee impunity,” she stressed.
She expressed Canada’s commitment to work towards a just and equitable reform of the international financial system, which is crucial for equity, global peace and stability. Her country aims to end the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent other pandemics, while combating HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed to invest $1.2 billion towards that goal. She also reiterated her country’s commitment to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 per cent by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Further, she stressed that Montreal would host the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, under the presidency of China.
Noting that certain countries are restricting civil liberties, violating human rights and conducting widespread surveillance of their populations, she said this phenomenon is particularly visible in the Xinjiang region of China. The findings of the United Nations Human Rights Office report reflect credible accusations of abuses amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity. She stressed that human rights are universal in nature and States “cannot hide behind the pretext of national sovereignty to violate them”. She also touched on domestic efforts to combat systemic racism and pursue reconciliation with indigenous peoples. On women rights, she pointed to the situations in Afghanistan, Myanmar and Iran as well as in Sudan, Haiti and Canada, where women peacebuilders and activists are being targeted. Her country will continue to push for justice for Rohingya women. “And we will not rest until those responsible for sexual violence committed in Ukraine are held to account,” she affirmed. To restore Member States’ trust in the Security Council, she encouraged efforts to reduce the power of the veto, expand Council membership and ensure the voices of all are heard, and responded to, across the United Nations system.
LEJEUNE MBELLA MBELLA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cameroon, citing widespread hotbeds of tension, said it is important that the voice of Africa be heard and supported, especially when it is carried by the African Union. He noted that international commitments on climate are no longer being met or are being met in dribs and drabs, due to selfishness and insufficient political will. It is no exaggeration to affirm that humanity’s destiny is at stake, he said. The cycle of the seasons is disrupted and bodies of water like Lake Chad — a source of life and prosperity — are reduced to bare minimum levels. Calling for mobilizing financial resources for developing countries, he cited the Democratic Republic of the Congo — “one of the environmental lungs of the world” — and efforts by the countries of Central Africa, united within the Central African Forests Commission. In return, they ask that sufficient financial and technological resources, regularly promised by developed countries, be granted, as well as funding for projects designed within the framework of the “Green Sahel” initiative. Cameroon has increased its greenhouse gas reduction commitments from 32 per cent to 35 per cent. Each country holds one of the digits of the access code to this new era, he stated, where the planet can breathe clean air, without carbon but rich in oxygen.
Despite the efforts of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), host countries and development partners, millions of people continue to flee their homes and their homelands to live in deplorable conditions due to conflict. “We have a historic responsibility to act,” he stressed. Cameroon currently hosts more than 500,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, ranking it nineteenth in the world among refugee-hosting countries. Many regions are suffering from the resurgence of subversive operations carried out by terrorist organizations such as Boko Haram, which is rampant in the Lake Chad Basin. He renewed the call for a stronger pooling of combat strategies for sovereign States that are victims to track down financing possibilities in order to neutralize them. He thanked partners who provide assistance to the Multinational Joint Task Force set up to combat and eradicate Boko Haram — which should be increased, taking into account not only the proliferation of regional terrorist groups affiliated with Islamic State but also their increasingly sophisticated means.
On poverty, he noted the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda lacks financial and technological means, as well as synergy between partners. His Government continues to show openness and dialogue to put an end to the socio-political crisis in the north-west and south-west. The Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Resource Centres created in these regions and in the north welcome and train a large number of young compatriots who have laid down their arms and renounced violence. The State exercises its sovereign prerogatives throughout the national territory. Hailing the dynamic action and contribution of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), he called on the international community to mobilize more actively to allow the country to continue to remain the haven of peace that it has always been. Cameroon is committed to implementing democratic projects and promoting a constructive regular dialogue between the different sociological components of its population, as well as members of its diaspora. He further reiterated support for United Nations reform and a more representative Security Council, in line with the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration unanimously adopted by African Heads of State.
BHARAT RAJ PAUDYAL, Foreign Secretary of Nepal, said cascading crises have negatively impacted financing of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially for countries in special situations. Based on pre-pandemic estimates, his country would require an average annual investment of $19 billion to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Given financing shortfalls, his country’s hard-earned development gains are at risk at a time when it is preparing to graduate from the least developed country status by 2026. He called for additional international support, particularly investments, technology transfer, aid for trade and technical assistance, noting that they are critical to the country’s COVID-19 recovery. The rising tide of protectionism and stalled trade negotiations are delaying much-needed reform in the international trading system. As such, open, fair and transparent trade rules must be ensured so that all countries can benefit from the system. He also called for reform of the international financial architecture so that it is made inclusive, fair and equally beneficial to all. Countries under debt stress need urgent debt relief, restructuring and cancellation, he stressed, calling further for the international community’s swift help to enable those countries to emerge from the debt crisis.
Turning to the climate crisis, he said his country is bearing the disproportionate burden of climate change and facing climate shocks such as frequent landslides, storms, floods and wildfires. The melting of glaciers and the drying-up of snow-fed rivers have been adversely affecting the lives and livelihoods of people downstream and rendering his country as one of the most vulnerable. Noting the recent loss of life and property in the region due to unusually heavy downpours, melting of glaciers and resulting floods, he said that to combat the climate crisis and address vulnerabilities, his country has localized adaptation plans and set the target of reaching net-zero status by 2045. However, climate change needs global action, he stressed, calling on large emitters, which account for over 80 per cent of all global emissions, to take bold steps to keep the 1.5°C climate goal alive. Moreover, the commitment of $100 billion in climate financing must turn into a reality, he said, underscoring that pledges must translate into action.
Regarding global security, he said it is “appalling” how the United Nations becomes crippled at the interplay of interests of the major Powers in the Security Council. On the issue of cybersecurity, collective resolve is needed to set norms and build capacity to prevent the threat it poses. Also needed are safeguards to curb the malicious use of new technologies. Noting that global military spending surpassed $2 trillion in 2021, he said: “Countries are chasing an elusive notion of security by leaving behind billions of people hungry, sick and destitute.” He called for general and complete disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction, including biological, chemical, nuclear and radiological weapons, in a timebound manner. Noting his country’s opposition to the arms race in outer space, he emphasized its peaceful use for the benefit of humankind. As the host of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, his country continues to support regional disarmament initiatives, which are building blocks of global disarmament. Nepal remains committed to reviving the Kathmandu Process, which complements global arms control and disarmament efforts. He condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, calling for an early conclusion of a comprehensive convention against terrorism.
MARC HERMANNE GNINADOOU ARABA (Benin), noting that the Assembly session is being held in a difficult international context marked by COVID‑19 and the war in Ukraine, echoed the African Union’s call to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and for an immediate ceasefire in order to avoid a global conflict. In West Africa, terrorism and maritime piracy threaten stability and prevent the free movement of people and goods, as well as the regional countries’ development — problems which also threaten global stability and deserve an international response. Benin is committed to a social platform that meets its citizens’ vital needs: clothing, good nutrition, decent housing, access to health care and quality education. To that end, the Government has successfully issued Sustainable Development Goals Eurobonds. In addition to its own efforts, he called for the international community’s support. Stressing the need to continue joint action to address climate change, he described existential threats to Benin — such as coastal erosion, increased salinity of fresh water and increasingly irregular seasonal cycles. The country has high hopes that the 2022 Climate Change Conference will produce fruitful discussions and appropriate solutions. As a current Human Rights Council member, Benin will promote implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. He expressed support for a viable Palestinian State in peaceful coexistence with Israel, and called for a definitive solution to the question of Western Sahara and the lifting of the United States embargo on Cuba. Underscoring that humanity can produce great results when it acts as one, he said solutions to interlocking problems are only possible through cooperation among Governments, multilateral organizations, and the private and public sectors.
KIM SONG (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that the world is faced with health crises, losses due to climate change and the worst global security environment since the Second World War. Despite challenges and difficulties, his country, relying on a superior system, scored successes in protecting the life and safety of its people and saw economic growth, he continued. However, currently the Korean Peninsula is stuck in a vicious cycle of confrontation with the United States. The United States just days ago accused the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea of blatantly violating United Nations “sanctions”, however Pyongyang never recognized such “resolutions” of the Organization that imposed pressure because his country does not abide by its “rules” made unilaterally by Washington, D.C. Moreover, he said the Security Council lost its competency and authority to act because of its failure to be impartial and objective — two principles on which the United Nations is founded. Pyongyang will continue to extend its firm support to and solidarity with the people of Cuba, Syria and Palestine, as well as other countries that struggle to repel foreign interference. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s foreign policy is based on independence, peace and friendship and Pyongyang will even cooperate with capitalist States if they respect his country, he concluded.
AKSOLTAN ATAEVA (Turkmenistan), describing dialogue as the only acceptable way to resolve conflicts and differences, called for the restoration of economic and humanitarian ties. There is no alternative to the United Nations, she asserted, cautioning that the global security architecture is being seriously tested. Pointing to complex processes that hinder multilateral cooperation, she stressed the need to strengthen existing platforms for dialogue and consider establishing new ones for intergovernmental negotiations on pressing global issues. To further promote the philosophy of trust-based dialogue in international relations, her delegation intends to propose a General Assembly draft resolution — entitled “Dialogue: Guarantee for Peace” — whose adoption would serve as a commitment by all Member States to peaceful negotiation-based methods of resolving conflicts, no matter how difficult. Voicing concern over the current threats to global food security, she urged the international community to ensure global food market stability is sustained and to jointly search for solutions to the complex problem of providing food to the most vulnerable countries. To this end, she proposed holding an international forum on food security in Turkmenistan. In Central Asia, climate change and water issues are of crucial importance, she underscored, calling for the establishment of a regional centre for climate technology for Central Asian States. In this context, she reiterated her country’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The impacts of the pandemic call for coordinated efforts, she said, highlighting the importance of combatting COVID‑19 infection and creating tools for medical diplomacy.
MARIA DE JESUS DOS REIS FERREIRA (Angola), noting that world peace will only come about through peacebuilding efforts, stressed that her country continues to contribute to peace and stability in Africa. She emphasized that through its role presiding over the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, her country has made efforts in that regard towards the Central African Republic, while also working on the border dispute between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as between Uganda and Rwanda. Underscoring that her country continues to uphold the rights of all States to strengthen their defence capabilities against external threats, she reiterated her call for the lifting of the arms embargo imposed on the Central African Republic. She also called for an end to the economic embargo against Cuba, while reiterating her support for the lifting of sanctions and coercive measures against Zimbabwe and Venezuela. Pointing out that negotiations towards Security Council reform have not produced the results that most of the Member States expected, she emphasized that such a reform should consider an equitable representation that reflects the current configuration of the Organization.
MOHAMED AL HASSAN (Oman) called on the international community to be guided by truth, justice, cooperation, peace and security. Noting his country’s efforts to achieve peace in Yemen through constructive cooperation, he appealed to all Yemeni parties to come to terms with the past in order to focus on creating a unified, secure future based on the Gulf Initiative, the “Yemeni-Yemeni” dialogue and relevant United Nations resolutions. Oman will continue to support the efforts of United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, as well as the United States’ Envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, in the peace process. “My country affirms that it will also continue to provide all possible facilities and humanitarian assistance to the various Yemeni regions and governorates without exclusion,” he said, expressed hope for an end to Yemen’s suffering. On the question of Palestinian, he voiced support for a two-State solution in accordance with international resolutions and the Arab Peace initiative. Noting developments in Libya, Syria and Sudan, he expressed hope that differences will be resolved. Further, he called on the international community to redouble its diplomatic efforts to resolve the Russian-Ukrainian crisis. Turning to sustainable development and climate change, he detailed Oman’s national strategy. The country has set up a National Committee for Climate Change and the Protection of the Ozone Layer aimed at mitigating the effects of climate fluctuations and reducing carbon emissions by 7 per cent by 2030 — a move toward net-zero emissions. Encouraging investment in the green hydrogen sector, Oman founded a National Alliance for Hydrogen, making use of its abundant solar and wind energy sources. Though successive crises and conflicts currently challenge the United Nations, he called on the international community to strengthen itself through partnership, and “move forward with a positive vision for a promising future for all mankind”.
MOHAMED SIAD DOUALEH (Djibouti) expressed his country’s support for the Secretary-General’s plan to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals. Less developed countries should be prioritized as they continue to face major economic obstacles including external debt difficulties, international trade marginalization, electricity access and catastrophic climate impacts. In thanking Qatar for hosting the fifth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries, he welcomed Egypt’s focus on a fair transition and the mobilization for financial resources at the upcoming COP27, and acknowledged the United States’ role in the seventh replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He then spoke of his country’s national development plan, the Voluntary National Review in July and Djibouti’s high-level event in partnership with the African Union and the Mastercard Foundation on public health in Africa. In expressing his country’s deep concern over the stalemate between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, he echoed the call for de-escalation, adding “This is not a play fight with wooden swords. The conflict has led to innumerable loss of life and destruction of infrastructure including hospitals and schools." The intensified war efforts, risk of a stalemate and the threat of use of nuclear weapons undermine out potential peaceful settlement of the dispute.” Djibouti advocates for Africa’s improved representation in international bodies and the Security Council and proposes that Member States request an advisory opinion on the use of the veto from the International Court of Justice. He then called upon neighbours to dismantle the Anda Ali camp and Eritrea to speed up the normalization of relations and resolve pending issues on border disputes and prisoners of war. He also pledged his country’s continued assistance to Somalia as a troop-contributing country, called for a lasting ceasefire in Yemen and reaffirmed Djibouti’s support for the Palestinian people.
JOSIE ANN DONGOBIR (Nauru), speaking on behalf of President Lionel Rouwen Aingimea, thanked partner countries for their assistance in responding to the pandemic. Speaking on the transformation of the global food system, she said that eradicating malnutrition is key. Commending Cuba for their longstanding commitment to strengthening Nauru’s health sector through the work of their medical brigades, she called on the United States not to forget the friendly people of that country who are struggling not only under the pandemic, but also from the economic, commercial and financial embargo. Reiterating Nauru’s call for a Special Representative on climate and security, she asked major emitters to take greater action on combating climate change. She also sought financial and technical assistance for an initiative aimed at ensuring her country’s ability to reclaim what is currently unusable land. In addition, she spoke of her country’s priority to identify viable energy alternatives. Disappointed that the work of the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction was not completed, she encouraged States to overcome divergence and asked them to reach a consensus on benefit sharing on the high seas, especially as it relates to marine genetic resources. As “Nauru, like many small island developing States, faces barriers to sustained economic growth”, she underlined the importance of the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index and urged States to universally agree and adopt it once finalized. Finally, she encouraged those Member States who have yet to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to do so to build a world free of such arms.
CSABA KŐRÖSI (Hungary), President of the seventy-seventh session of the General Assembly, delivered closing remarks, stating that in the general debate, the Assembly heard from 190 speakers, including 76 Heads of State, 50 Heads of Government, 4 Vice-Presidents, 5 Deputy Prime Ministers, 48 ministers and 7 Heads of Delegations — of which 23 were women. He highlighted that there were some commonalities in the statements delivered. Sensing a growing awareness that humanity has entered a new era, he underscored that the international community has reached a time of a paradigm shift. “Because the movements, the adjustments that we see around us cannot be called mere modifications any longer: they are significant transformations in the making,” he added.
He further noted that another reverberating message was that the war in Ukraine should end. The war has led to concerns of shortages, inflation and the impact of refugees as well as the safety of nuclear plants. It is one of nearly 30 armed conflicts worldwide, he stressed, and none of these situations are improving. Turning to climate change, he highlighted that the Assembly heard calls to achieve net‑zero emissions and appeals to assist countries most affected by climate change, while pointing out that “some of us are still not convinced that growing our economies can be balanced with limiting emissions and preserving biodiversity.” Also noting that there were calls for improving the state of human rights, he underscored that the freedom of speaking out is strongly supported.
On modernizing the Organization, he shared that such calls are in line with his conviction that the Assembly should be able to respond better to the interlocking crises, while the Security Council must reflect the realities of this century. Finally, he stated that the international community is all in agreement on the main challenges — it wants a peaceful post-COVID‑19 world with increased trust where it can work together to mitigate and adapt to climate change. “To deepen solidarity, we must build trust,” he concluded.
Right of Reply
The representative of Armenia, responding to the statement made by the delegate of Azerbaijan, said that that country, through its blatant disinformation, was attempting to distract the international community’s attention away from its policy of use of force and threat of force to achieve its expansionist goals in the region. He said that Baku’s latest military offence earlier this month killed 200 people, with 20 servicemen captured and 8,000 people temporarily displaced. Atrocities, including against women, were video recorded and celebrated on social media in Azerbaijan. It is imperative to fully investigate such atrocities and bring perpetrators to justice. While the Security Council appealed for no military or violent solution to the conflict, Azerbaijani troops continue to remain inside the territory of Armenia. “In the absence of proper accountability measures, policies of aggression are likely to continue and increase — this must be stopped and condemned at all levels,” he stressed. Azerbaijan opposes an international monitoring verification mechanism to identify ceasefire violations, while that country’s policy of ethnic cleansing and genocidal intent is the reason the conflict erupted in the first place, he said.
The representative of Serbia, responding to the statement by the Prime Minister of Albania, called it regretful that he had called for the recognition of the unilaterally declared so-called “Republic of Kosovo”, as well as disturbing and counterproductive to ongoing dialogue. As Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) states, Kosovo is an autonomous province within Serbia, he explained. Serbia’s position remains that it fully supports attempts at resolving all pending issues with the authorities in Pristina to find peace and stability in the region.
The representative of Kyrgyzstan, responding to the statement made by Tajikistan’s delegate, said that Dushanbe presented its own version of the conflict on her country’s border. Tajikistan’s delegation, shifting blame, did not admit guilt, she asserted, describing the conflict that took place between 14 and 17 September as a pre-planned military aggression of Tajikistan against Kyrgyzstan. Tajikistan violated basic international principles, such as territorial integrity, the peaceful settlement of disputes, the non-use of force or the threat of use of force, and respect for human rights and freedoms, enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. As a result of Tajikistan’s unprovoked aggression, during which armed forces and heavy military equipment were employed, 62 Kyrgyzstani citizens were killed and about 200 injured, including 13 children. Furthermore, 140,000 people have been evacuated from their permanent residence and forced to become internally displaced persons. Condemning Tajikistan’s groundless accusations and misinformation campaign, she pointed to evidence of the aggression, including video recordings.
The representative of the Republic of Korea, in response to the statement made by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on the security situation in the Korean peninsula, recalled the latter’s actions. It is the only country, he pointed out, to have conducted nuclear tests in the twenty-first century and has launched a total of 32 ballistic missiles this year, the most recent on 25 September 2022. Reminding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea of its obligation to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, he highlighted the unlawful and serious threat to peace and stability in the region. The international community will not recognize any of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s justifications for its position and potential use of a nuclear weapon.
In response to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s threats, the Republic of Korea and the United States have conducted joint defence and deterrence exercises. Such measures, he explained, arise from their duty as responsible Governments. He then stated that the development of nuclear weapons and missiles is not inevitable, adding that “it is a choice that cannot be justified.” The Republic of Korea strongly urges the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to comply with Security Council resolutions to stop all kinds of provocation and return to denuclearization talks.
The representative of Morocco, replying to the statements of Algeria, stated that the issue of Moroccan Sahara relates to recovering the territorial integrity of Morocco, not to decolonization. Morocco recovered the land through peaceful negotiations based on General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, she said, that led to the signing of the Madrid Agreement in 1975. She pointed out that the Council treats it as a regional dispute, not as decolonization. Stressing that the region is, has always been and will always be Moroccan, she said that people there are living in stability and full enjoyment of their rights. In addition, the Council has determined the parameters for the political solution, which 18 consecutive Council meetings since 2017 outlined further. The solution must be political, realistic, pragmatic, lasting and compromised-based in nature, and the Moroccan Autonomy Initiative embodies that, she emphasized. Moreover, the round table process is the only framework put forward by the Security Council on the issue since 2018. That body’s resolutions define the four participants of those round tables — Morocco, Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguía el-Hamra y de Río de Oro (Frente POLISARIO), Algeria and Mauritania — making “this phantom entity” the Algerian side mentioned this morning not recognized by the United Nations, nor a party to this process. The Moroccan Government calls upon Algeria to resume its place at the round table as it did previously and in the same format, she said.
The representative of Iran rejected Albania’s unfounded claims that his country committed a cyberattack on Albania’s infrastructure. Cyberattacks have disrupted public services and government functions, he asserted, stressing that cyberspace must be used by Albania for peaceful purposes. He condemned the illegal entry of Albanian police forces into Iran’s diplomatic mission in Tirana. In response to the 24 September 2022 statement delivered by the delegate of the United Arab Emirates that referred to three islands in the Persian Gulf as belonging to that country, he rejected these baseless claims as a violation of good neighbourliness and non-interference in the domestic affairs of other States. The three islands of Abumusa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb in the Persian Gulf are part of Iran’s sovereign territory, he emphasized, reiterating Iran’s claim over them. Expressing continued determination to maintain bilateral diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates, he described his country’s sovereignty over the three islands as non-negotiable. Recalling the tragic death of an Iranian woman, he said preliminary findings based on video footage show no evidence of police misconduct and rejected false claims in that regard, urging Member States not to interfere in the domestic affairs of other sovereign States.
The representative of Azerbaijan, responding to the false narratives presented by the delegation of Armenia, said Armenia’s leaders invented the outrageous concept of ethnic incompatibility of Armenians and Azerbaijanis, unleashed aggression against Azerbaijan and ordered the killings of thousands of Azerbaijani civilians, total ethnic cleansing of the ceased territory and the destruction of hundreds of cities, towns and villages. After the end of the conflict, in November 2020, Azerbaijan initiated the process of normalizing relations with Armenia and pushed for concrete results on the delimitation and demarcation of the border between the two countries, the conclusion of a peace treaty and the opening of transport communications in the region. Despite the strong support of the international community and efforts made to move the normalization agenda forward, Armenia obstructed the process. Drawing attention to border escalation by Armenia this month, he underscored that Azerbaijan took proportionate measures to neutralize the threat against its sovereign territorial integrity. These measures were limited and targeted at military objects, he added.
The representative of Albania, in response to the statements from Serbia and Iran on the Western Balkans, reiterated her country’s stance that there is no other future than one of mutual understanding, cooperation and close partnership. This she continued is true for Albania and “for every other country in the Western Balkans, including Kosovo”.
Responding to Iran’s justification of the unjustifiable, she pointed out that Tehran “has been caught red-handed” in their attempt to damage core Government infrastructure by disrupting public services, creating chaos and fomenting tension. While this is not the first time Iran has engaged in unprovoked and unlawful activity, such attempts, she declared, have failed and will continue to fail. Urging all to condemn their rogue behaviour, she then reaffirmed the remarks made earlier in the debate by her country’s Prime Minister.
The representative of the United Arab Emirates, replying to statement by the speaker for Iran, said that the three islands in the Arab Gulf are an integral part of the United Arab Emirates and that his people categorically refuse the ongoing Iranian occupation of these islands. He reiterated his call to find a peaceful settlement for this dispute, through direct negotiations or via the International Court of Justice.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea rejected the provocative, baseless statement by the Republic of Korea’s delegate. As his delegation explained during the general debate earlier, Pyongyang is bolstering its national defence capabilities due to the United States’ persistent pursuit of a hostile policy against the country, compelling his Government to acquire nuclear defence capabilities. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is not dealing with the Republic of Korea on the issue of the Korean Peninsula. Nobody can dispute his country’s sovereign rights, he stressed, calling on the international community to pay attention to the United States’ actions, which plunge the Peninsula into a vicious cycle of tension.
The representative of Armenia, speaking in second exercise of the right of reply to respond to the unwillingness of Azerbaijan to refrain from the use of force and engage in constructive dialogue, said the massive concentration of Azerbaijan’s troops reveals the premeditated nature of its large-scale aggression. Cities and densely populated areas in Armenian territory came under heavy fire, he stressed, voicing concern over the heavy toll of this unprovoked aggression on Armenia’s servicemen and civilian population. Cautioning against Azerbaijani expansionist plans, he said Azerbaijan’s historic narratives deny the very existence of the Armenian people in their historical homeland. On the so-called hatred in Armenia against Azerbaijan, he said these allegations of Azerbaijan are not reinforced by any international document. Meanwhile, the State-led policy of dehumanizing Armenians, creating fertile ground for atrocity crimes, is well‑documented, he said.
The representative of Iran, taking the floor again in response to the statement of the United Arab Emirates, which repeated baseless claims, reiterated his country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over the three islands in the Persian Gulf. Noting that his country has always rejected any false narrative which claim otherwise, he added: “No claim, no matter how many times it is repeated will be able in any way to dent or undermine our resolve to refute such claims.” Iran’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over the islands are not negotiable. He then emphasized the islands’ Iranian histories which predate the establishment of the United Arab Emirates.
In response to the statement from Albania, he repeated his country’s categorical rejection of alleged cyberattacks and highlighted the illegal and forceful intrusion of Iran’s diplomatic premises in Tirana by Albanian police forces on 8 September 2022. He deplored such actions as violations of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and reminded Albania of its responsibilities under the Convention.
The representative from Azerbaijan, taking the floor again, said that the Armenian side delivered standard fabrications and distortions again instead of responding, which is illustrative of their unwillingness to engage in dialogue. Armenia will face responsibility for its crimes, racist ideologies and policies that it is still pursuing, he said. The consistent patterns in grave human rights abuses demonstrate Armenia’s objective to expel, terrorize, kill and fully erase Azerbaijani heritage. The United Nations, European Union and other international organizations have expressed concern about the spirit of intolerance in Armenia, he said, expressing hoped that Armenia will not miss the post-conflict opportunity to address its misdeeds. Azerbaijan is firm in its determination to advance post-conflict peacebuilding, ensure justice and eliminate by legitimate means all threats against the well-being and safety of its people and to Azerbaijani sovereignty and territorial integrity, he stressed.
The representative of the United Arab Emirates said the three islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa are Emirati. He called upon Iran to engage with the country and settle the conflict in good faith or else his country will call upon the International Court of Justice to settle the dispute.