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H.E. Mr. Omar A. Touray, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

27 September 2008

Statement Summary

OMAR A. TOURAY, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Gambia, said that, increasingly today, the legitimacy of multilateralism was being questioned.  That principle was at the core of the United Nations work.  To that end, although there had been some progress in revitalizing the Organization, the only way to ensure that multilateralism and broad cooperation remained central to its endeavours was to carry out thoroughgoing reforms, especially towards equitable geographical representation on the Security Council.

Regarding current global challenges, he noted that the “usual pattern of convening meetings” and “too many false promises and unfulfilled commitments” from the international community would not help to end poverty, the food and energy crises, nor ensure the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.  The food crisis was attributed to the international community’s neglect of agriculture sectors in developing countries, which had, over time, collapsed due to competition from heavily subsidized farmers in the developed world.  More concrete measures in the form of agricultural inputs like up-to-date machinery and fertilizers were needed.

On domestic matters, he said that Gambia continued its efforts towards gender parity and the empowerment of women, in conjunction with the “Group of 77” developing countries and China.  It was also participating in peace missions, including contributing troops to the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).  “Peace dividends” were in evidence throughout Africa, he said, as were signs of hope in Sierra Leone and Liberia, among others.

He went on to call for the admission of Taiwan into the United Nations, the lifting of sanctions against Cuba, especially in the wake of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, and the humane and tolerant management of phenomenon of migration from Africa to European countries.  Specifically on that matter, he said that Africa realized migration was linked to myriad issues, including lagging development and youth unemployment.

He said that, while the international community worked out a just and comprehensive solution to that “conundrum”, it must also consider ways to empower youth through ob creation, and skills and vocational raining.  He also called for more attention to be paid to the concept of compensation for the flight of African-trained professionals to more advanced countries, which had resulted in serious challenges to the continent’s efforts to combat the scourges of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other infectious diseases.

[Source: GA/10757]


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