H.E. Mr. Moctar Ouane, Minister for Foreign Affairs
27 September 2008
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MOCTAR OUANE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mali, said the global food crisis was a concern for Mali, as it was a potential source of generalized social and political instability.
His Government had “granted pride of place” to combating poverty, taking measures to temporarily suspend import duties and taxes on rice, flour, oil and milk, as well as subsidize gas and hydrocarbons. Indeed, Mali was firmly determined to achieve food self-sufficiency and, to that end, had made agriculture the principle axis of an accelerated growth strategy. It had also created an agricultural law that included, among other things, the launch of a “rice initiative” -- a structural response to the “dizzying” increase in product prices -– and the establishment of an agricultural fund, land commission, marshlands programme and high council for agriculture.
On fighting corruption, he said Mali would seek a comprehensive understanding of that phenomenon and define a plan of action. The African Peer Review Mechanism would help Mali take stock of progress in the field of political governance, among other areas, and draw up recommendations to address it. On human rights, he said Mali had been examined by the Human Rights Council, and he reiterated Mali’s commitment to turn the Council’s recommendations into action.
Mali believed in preventing conflicts though peaceful means, which guided its decision to find a lasting solution to insecurity that had existed in the north-east since 2006. In that connection, he said the 2006 Algiers Accord preserved territorial integrity and national unity, while enabling Malians to fully participate in national construction efforts. Similarly, security in the Sahelo-Saharan region was closely linked to the peoples sharing the place. “Conflict in one country could very rapidly spread throughout the region,” he said. Mali would organize a conference in Bamako focusing on security, peace and development for the Sahelo-Saharan region, which would provide Mali with adaptive responses to security, terrorism and the trafficking of arms, drugs and humans.
It was a global duty to undertake “vigorous” actions to secure peace, and he welcomed progress in settling conflicts in Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan, Somalia and the Great Lakes region. He also urged resuming talks in the Middle East, and the creation of a sovereign Palestinian State.
On climate change, he called for undertaking measures commensurate with the nature of the problem, explaining that Mali was a party to the Kyoto Protocol and eager to make contributions to the 2009 meeting in Copenhagen. On HIV/AIDS, he urged stepping up efforts to implement the 2001 declaration on commitments, among others. On the situation of land-locked developing States, a significant global challenge, he said Mali would actively participate in the high-level meeting on the follow-up to the Almaty Programme of Action.
Turning to United Nations reform, he said the expansion of the Security Council was a “pressing necessity” to restore historic injustices, including the fact that Africa did not have a permanent seat in that body. Only a reformed and democratized United Nations could serve as a “crucible” for a universal collective conscience.