H.E. Mr. Abdullah Gül, President
23 September 2008
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ABDULLAH GÜL, President of Turkey, said the United Nations provided a political and moral compass for joint efforts towards a just international order. The most pressing need before the international community was to bridge the enormous gap between the wealthiest and least fortunate. While considerable progress had been made towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals, the fight against poverty, illiteracy, epidemic diseases, child mortality and climate change was far from over.
Volatile fuel prices, the food crisis and the global economic slowdown had intensified the need to combat terrorism, racism, xenophobia and all forms of religious discrimination and extremism. He said the Alliance of Civilizations, an initiative Turkey co-sponsored with Spain under the auspices of the Secretary-General, was an important instrument to help avoid the risk of further alienation between different cultures and regions.
A priority for Turkey was addressing the problems of the developing world and Turkey had provided greater development assistance and was now recognized as an “emerging donor country”. Turkey was also committed to combating global warming and paid special attention to the water crisis. He hoped the fifth World Water Forum, being hosted in Istanbul next March, would inspire new thinking and concrete action on that issue.
Turning to the region’s political issues, Turkey had launched an initiative to prevent additional conflicts in the recently traumatized South Caucasus by proposing the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform, which could provide a framework for building a climate of confidence in the region. On the Middle East, Turkey supported all efforts to bring a lasting solution to the problem and alleviate the plight of the Palestinian people.
He went on to say that Turkey stood firmly with the Iraqi people and their Government and the Iraqi people needed to settle their differences through dialogue and compromise on controversial issues, among them the final status of Kirkuk. The nation also advocated an urgent and peaceful settlement of the question of Iran’s nuclear programme, in conformity with IAEA and Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) obligations, and respected Iran’s right to peaceful use of nuclear energy.
He also backed diplomatic efforts for a political settlement in Cyprus and firmly supported the comprehensive settlement negotiations recently started between the two leaders under the auspices of the Secretary-General. It was long past time to end the unfair isolation of the Turkish Cypriots who had voted in favour of the United Nations Comprehensive Settlement Plan in 2004.