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H. E. Mr. Leonard Edwards, Deputy Foreign Minister

29 September 2008

Statement Summary

LEONARD EDWARDS, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada, recalled that his country had helped develop the concept of peacekeeping, noting that it was contributing to peace and security today in places as diverse as Afghanistan, Haiti and the Sudan.  With 2,500 Canadians supporting the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, the country continued to call for safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all those in need there.  Although the Government of Afghanistan and the international community were all too familiar with the tactics seen in the 14 September attack against members of a United Nations convoy in the Kandahar Province, they would not be swayed in their efforts to improve the lives of ordinary Afghans.  Canada had announced an additional $600 million contribution at the International Conference in Support of Afghanistan in Paris, bringing its total contributions close to $2 billion.

In Haiti, Canada was taking a comprehensive approach to reconstruction and development, he continued, outlining the country’s provision to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) of civilian police officers, military staff officers and corrections experts.  Canada was also the second largest bilateral donor to Haiti.  As a long-standing partner of United Nations efforts in Africa, it was committed to building sustainable peace in the Sudan.  To that end, it was important to implement fully the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.  Canada called also upon the Sudanese authorities and rebel movements to end the violence in Darfur, facilitate the deployment of UNAMID, cooperate with the International Criminal Court, and respect human rights.

Stressing that the current crisis in Georgia called for a unified international response, he expressed support for the democratic and legitimate Government of Georgia, as well as the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.  Canada called on the Russian Federation to fulfil its international obligations, and cooperate fully with the international community in resolving the crisis.

Taking up the work of the United Nations, he reiterated his country’s support of proposals for greater accountability and transparency in the Security Council.  Canada welcomed the General Assembly’s decision to launch negotiations on that body’s reform.  The Organization was a key partner in delivering Canada’s humanitarian assistance, he said, the country was on track to meet its international assistance commitments by doubling international assistance to $5 billion by 2010-2011.  It would further deliver on its promise to double aid to Africa in 2009.  In response to the global food crisis, Canada was providing an extra $50 million for food aid.

Climate change was the world’s most pressing challenge, he said, emphasizing that the United Nations must play a central role in meeting it.  While the responses to all global challenges began at home, the sum of national actions must drive a collective effort at the international level.  Indeed, among the most important components of the Bali road map was its recognition that no country could effectively address climate change on its own, and that countries in a position to act should do so.

In the year of its sixtieth anniversary, there was much work left to do in meeting the “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations” embedded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he said.  As a member of the Human Rights Council, Canada was working hard to help that body live up to the reform objectives that had guided its creation two years ago.  Canada also supported the creation of the Universal Periodic Review, and would continue to strive for fundamental freedoms and human rights, in order to fulfil the ideals of the Universal Declaration.

[Source: GA/10758]


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