H. E. Mr. Robert Mugabe, President
25 September 2008
© UN Photo
Click for caption and to enlarge
ROBERT MUGABE, President of Zimbabwe, said that the current food crisis, and attendant escalating food prices, caused suffering to the majority of poor people in many developing countries. Compounded by the energy crisis, it had caused devastating social and economic consequences for the most vulnerable. The crisis was a humanitarian emergency requiring global solidarity to provide speedy assistance with food, water and energy needs.
The crisis competed with scarce resources for development and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, especially with declining ODA and foreign direct investment. National efforts to address the global food and energy crises must be complemented by international interventions, among them, debt cancellation for low-income, food-deficient developing countries. He urged support for food production programmes, research into better seed varieties, assistance in irrigation technology and improved water harvesting methods necessary to mitigate the effects of climate change on agriculture.
He called for an open, rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory trading and financial system and the removal of trade barriers, and expressed dismay at the collapse of the Doha Round of World Trade Organization talks. He further stressed the importance of just land ownership patterns, and said that sustainable development was impossible without agrarian reform. Zimbabwe had created a foundation for sustainable food production through its land reform programme, and had empowered its rural people to be masters of their own destiny. However, the effects of climate change “and the illegal, unilaterally imposed sanctions on [the] country have hindered Zimbabwe’s efforts to increase food production.” He appealed to the world community to pressure the United Kingdom, the United States and their allies to lift the sanctions.
Mr. Mugabe said that some permanent members of the Security Council had sought to invoke Chapter VII of the Charter so that its sanctions could be applied against his “small country, which by any stretch of the imagination is no threat to international peace and security”. He called the act abuse of the Charter. Further, he asked what protection small countries had from false allegations of violations of the rule of law and human rights by those who “are themselves international perpetrators of genocide, acts of aggression and mass destruction”. Those who had invaded Iraq under false pretences, in “blatant violation of the Charter” and at the cost of the lives of “masses of innocent men, women and children” must be made liable for them, he declared.
He also recognized the important role of the good offices of the Secretary-General in assisting Member States to resolve political and other problems, and noted that international civil servants must serve with neutrality without pandering to the whims of the mighty against the weak. He called on some members of the Security Council to desist from using the Secretariat to promote their political interests.
“The Secretary-General and his staff should be allowed to serve all Member States without fear or favour.” Democratization of the Security Council would prevent its manipulation by powerful countries. He reiterated his support for the Ezulwini Consensus, which called for Africa to have two permanent and two non-permanent seats on the Council, and further called for the revitalization of the General Assembly.
In closing, he reported the success of negotiations, which had led to the formation of an all-inclusive Government in Zimbabwe. That had been achieved, he noted, entirely through African mediation, which demonstrated that Africa was “capable of solving her challenges and problems […] often the remnants of colonialism”. He extended his thanks to former South African President Thabo Mbeki, SADC, the African Union and others who had supported the mediation initiative, and pledged to abide by the spirit and letter of the agreement. Finally, he called again for the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe so that it could focus on its economic turnaround programme.