H.E. Mr. Jean Asselborn, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration
26 September 2008
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JEAN ASSELBORN, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Luxembourg, said there could be no development without security, and no security without development, especially this year, when the world was celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
While there was concern that Africa’s efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals had been mixed, he highlighted some progress, among others, a 27 per cent drop in the infant mortality rate, the lifting of 400 million people out of extreme poverty and improvements in gender equality and education. At the same time, the international community needed to redouble its efforts to ensure that Africa achieved agreed development targets, especially in light of increasing food and oil prices.
He said Luxembourg was committed to eradicating poverty and donated 0.92 per cent of its gross national product to development and was working towards increasing that amount to 1 per cent. He noted that European Union member States accounted for 55 to 60 per cent of all international development assistance.
On the issue of climate change, he said it was essential to conclude in Copenhagen in 2009, a post-Kyoto regime which did not hamper sustainable economic development. Its mechanisms should ensure efficient transfer of technologies and appropriate financial resources, he said. He added that climate change was a complex issue that should be dealt with in a timely fashion and that the United Nations was the best place to lead the global response.
He noted that the many conflicts in Africa were working against its development. On the situation in Darfur, he said international efforts at mediation would be in vain if there was no commitment to a lasting solution. Effective measures were important in responding to humanitarian needs in that region of Sudan and in bringing to justice the perpetrators of the conflict. He said peace and justice went hand in hand, and the world could not close its eyes to the crimes in Darfur.
He also expressed concern about the conflict in Georgia and said the European Union was prepared to provide observers, and would hold talks on the situation in Geneva soon. He called for an independent investigation into the Georgian conflict.