H.E. Mr. Lawrence Gonzi, Prime Minister
26 September 2008
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LAWRENCE GONZI, Prime Minister of Malta, agreed with the Secretary-General that the international community needed to implement the outcomes of the Assembly’s 2005 World Summit to protect humanity from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and other crimes against humanity. The fight against terrorism must remain high on the agenda. He commended the work of the International Criminal Court, and welcomed the work of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict.
He also praised the Assembly’s work on climate change, and reiterated Malta’s conviction that the world had a common obligation to stop and reverse the accumulation of greenhouse gases, which were causing detrimental global warming. Small island States were especially vulnerable to the negative effects of the phenomenon. He acknowledged the peace efforts in Cyprus, the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the indirect negotiations between Israel and Syria with Turkish mediation, the formation of a national unity Government in Lebanon and improved relations between Lebanon and Syria. He urged all Member States to support the efforts of the Secretary-General and the diplomatic Quartet in resolving the issue of Palestine refugees and the permanent status of Jerusalem, as well as issues of settlements, borders and water and security in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
He highlighted all initiatives aimed at creating a bond between Europe and Mediterranean countries. An important development in the “Euro-Med” partnership had been the launch, last July, of the Union for the Mediterranean. Malta was looking forward to working constructively with the other members of the Union to deal with development issues on water, food security and energy. He also said Malta had been among the countries faced with an unprecedented influx of African immigrants. It had been difficult to deal with the increasing population, especially because of Malta’s small size. Malta had consistently called for help in tackling that problem through the principles of solidarity and sharing of responsibilities.
Africa, he said, presented a challenge for the international community. Progress in Africa was lagging and it needed the world’s help in achieving sustainable development. Rising food and energy prices, along with the unstable world financial markets and climate change, presented huge obstacles to achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Meeting the Goals remained a priority on the global agenda, and he encouraged the Assembly to work towards positive reform of the United Nations and its organs.