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H.E. Ms. Aïchatou Mindaoudou, Minister for Foreign Affairs

27 September 2008

Statement Summary

AÏCHATOU MINDAOUDOU, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Niger, said that the main debate of the Assembly session, the high price of food, was crucial, as it impacted people and organizations around the world.  The challenge was to initiate steps to address hunger. Niger had taken steps to mitigate food prices, but the country faced a serious drought and needed long-term solutions to deal with hunger and provide adequate crops.

She said the financial crisis that affected the world was exacerbated by globalization and required united efforts, initiatives and solutions from everybody.  If a rich country feared an economic recession, a poor country feared hunger.  The poorest countries also paid the most dearly for the dangers of climate change, and Niger called on the international community to combat climate change.

If the food, energy and financial crises were at the forefront of today’s challenges, the threats to international peace and security in countries shaken by conflict were also a scourge impacting harmonious development, she continued.  International terrorism, drug trafficking and the illicit trade in light weapons and small arms were also scourges for many nations.  She welcomed efforts and commitments by the international community were needed to help countries in conflict or emerging from conflict, such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau and the Central African Republic.  Those countries had been helped by peacebuilding efforts.  She also welcomed the peace and reconciliation process in Côte d’Ivoire since the accord of Ouagadougou of 2007.  She was also pleased with the resumption of talks under the Manhasset cycle and its attempts to reach a politically and mutually acceptable solution on the question of Western Sahara.

Regarding the Sudan, she said Niger welcomed the nomination of the joint mediator of the United Nations and African Union, Djibril Yipènè Bassolé, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso.  That provided new momentum to improve the situation in the country.  She also hoped the Palestinian-Israeli talks in Annapolis would continue the momentum towards peace in the Middle East, where there would be two States living side by side with mutually recognized boundaries.

The disarmament and eradication of the trade in light weapons was very important and the challenges to international peace and security remained numerous and threatened progress in development, she said.  The current year was crucial for pushing development forward, as it was marked by the standstill of the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization talks, and the recent high-Level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals.

Small, landlocked countries demanded special attention, such as financial assistance, aid and technical help, and she thanked the Secretary-General for his recognition of their needs.   Niger’s development priorities included the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, she added.

She said the United Nations must be the vehicle for the international community to look at issues of both certainty and uncertainty.  The United Nations system must be reformed.  But change would be incomplete without a reform of the Security Council that included fair representation and the Council’s working methods.  Other issues under scrutiny were an assessment of system-wide coherence and revitalization of the General Assembly.

[Source: GA/10757]


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