H.E. Mr. Abdelwaheb Abdallah, Minister for Foreign Affairs
27 September 2008
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ABDELWAHEB ABDALLAH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, said an increasing pace in international events had disrupted the global balance and had created new challenges that had weakened the capacity of some countries to achieve progress in development. The rising price of oil and basic food prices threatened world food security and lowered the purchasing power of many nations, thus making it more difficult for many of them to achieve the Goals set out in the Millennium Declaration.
Overcoming such challenges would require the efforts of the entire international community, as well as the adoption of development strategies based on the “noble humanist dimensions of world solidarity”. He called on international financial institutions to establish and implement agricultural and production policies that would guarantee the fundamental right to food security for all. Meanwhile, it was crucial to intensify efforts to operationalize the World Solidarity Fund as a mechanism to address the issues of global poverty and to reduce the disparities among peoples.
Further, United Nations reforms would help the Organization enhance its ability to alleviate the negative impacts of the current food crisis and to turn globalization into a process that would help guarantee peace and development for all. Tunisia supported all efforts to establish new frameworks and mechanisms that would help the international community better respond to the many global challenges it faced, he continued, stressing that, among others, the scourge of terrorism in all its forms needed to be addressed. He called for an international conference, organized by the United Nations, to elaborate a code of conduct for the fight against terrorism.
Turning to climate change, he underlined the close link between the environment and development and the crucial importance of promoting cooperation and solidarity to meet the challenge of global warming. It was necessary to mobilize adequate financial resources to promote research in the field of climate observation, meteorology and the development of natural disaster early warning systems. Investments to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions were also urgently needed. On other issues, he said the success of national development efforts depended on the security and stability of the international environment. The international community should thus increase its efforts to find solutions to situations of conflict, specifically in the Middle East and Iraq.
On domestic issues, he said his country, due to its sound development choices and various development strategies, had already achieved many of the Millennium Development Goals. Tunisia was now keen on achieving a higher degree of integration on bilateral and multilateral levels. For instance, he said the Arab Maghreb Union was a “strategic and crucial choice for all peoples of the region” and similar efforts to enhance the capacity for joint Arab action should be promoted. Tunisia was also keen on strengthening and diversifying its cooperation with “sisterly African countries” through its contribution to achieving peace and security on the continent.
He also reaffirmed his country’s support for the African Union and its role in conflict resolution in Africa. Relations with the European Union were of equal importance and the building of the “Euro-Mediterranean cooperation space” remained one of Tunisia’s top foreign policy priorities.