Lithuanian President urges development based on free will and country-specific context

Dalia Grybauskaitë, President of Lithuania. UN Photo/Ryan Brown

26 September 2013 – Free choice, democracy and fundamental human rights are key to progress on the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and a sustainable agenda that will follow them after 2015, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitë today told the United Nations.

In her statement to the 68th General Assembly debate, Ms. Grybauskaitë stressed that “Development cannot be imposed, development must be promoted.”

She noted that the international community has an obligation to offer support – based on principles of ownership and empowering, but instead, there are still Member States who seek to enforce a specific course of development on others by “economic pressure, energy levers or cyber tools, by distorted information, or threats.”

Addressing heads of State and Government and other high-level officials, Ms. Grybauskaitë called for an end to power games. “The 21st century must be the age of solidarity, equality and sustainable development. It cannot be an age of power show-off, zero-sum games or buffer zones.”

Turning to the experience of Lithuania and the Baltic State region, she said that for many years, these countries worked hard to reach national agreement on reforms.

A path that would have been easier if their free will had been respected and their decision supported in good faith and with encouragement by those who could provide such support, Ms. Grybauskaitë said instead of facing trade restrictions, bans on goods, price manipulation for energy supplies, the use of pressure and open disrespect displayed in information space.

Ms. Grybauskaitë is one of scores of leaders to speak at the annual session at which heads of State and Government and other high-level officials will present their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance.

This year’s theme focuses on accelerating progress towards the MDGs and on laying the foundation for an ambitious post-2015 development agenda. The General Debate wraps up on 1 October.

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