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New York, 11 January 2012

H.E. Mr Mourad Medelci, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria,
H. E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
H. E. Ambassador Mourad Benmehidi, Permanent Representative of Algeria to the United Nations, incoming Chairman of the Group of 77 .
Mr. Mourad Ahmia, Executive Secretary of the Group of 77
Distinguished Guests,

The President of the General Assembly, His Excellency Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, regrets that he could not join you for today’s handover ceremony. As his Chef de Cabinet, I am pleased to deliver the following message on his behalf.

Please allow me to start by wishing you all a happy New Year. May 2012 bring peace and prosperity upon us all.

As President of the General Assembly, it is a great honor for me today to address the Group of 77 and China on the occasion of the handover of the Chairmanship of the Group from Argentina to Algeria. It brings to me the thrilling memories of eight years ago when I myself was assuming the chairmanship of the Group of 77. Indeed, holding that office is both a privilege and a responsibility.

Let me also convey my deepest gratitude to the members of the Group for all the support they have given me during these first months at the Presidency of the General Assembly. This expression of trust and confidence reinforces my commitment to the ideals and objectives of the United Nations, as well as to the main pillars of my vision for the work of the General Assembly during this session.

Furthermore, it has given me great pleasure working with the Chairmanship of Argentina. I thank Ambassador Jorge Argüello for his friendship and constructive engagement. He has indeed led a very successful chairmanship of the Group of 77 in New York. However, in my own experience, a successful Chairmanship of the G-77 requires full backing and engagement from the capital as well. In this regard, I would like to pay tribute to the significant efforts made by the Government of Argentina, in carrying out this Chairmanship over the past year. The wisdom, political will and sense of duty showed by the whole Argentinean team strengthened and empowered the Group in accomplishing its aspirations, while also making important contributions to the work of the United Nations. I wish also to seize this opportunity to express our sincere congratulations to Mr. Mourad Ahmia, Executive Secretary of the G77 for the well deserved appreciation award in recognition of his outstanding work and dedicated service.

I am confident that Algeria, as the new Chair, will consolidate the Group’s achievements. Algeria has a very rich experience and a remarkable diplomacy, with a long and successful track record in promoting South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue. I recall that the first Ministerial Meeting of the G77 was held in Algiers in October 1967, when the Charter of Algiers was adopted. Besides its historical significance the Charter remain the cornerstone and guiding document of the work of the G77. Therefore, I am convinced that, under the able leadership of Algeria, the Group will continue to effectively promote the United Nations’ development agenda and the views of the developing countries and further strengthen South-South ties of friendship and cooperation.

My Presidency will continue to provide the Group of 77 with its full support. In particular, the need to redouble our joint efforts to surmount the challenges and obstacles faced in the advancement of the UN’s development agenda. Together, we must ensure that programmes and activities directed to address the needs of the developing countries are accorded the appropriate resources. As the date set for the achievement of the MDGs rapidly approaches, we must work together to secure the progress achieved so far and build upon hard-won economic and development gains achieved so far.

In coordinating that collective effort, the upcoming UNCTAD 13 will play an important part. As you all know, UNCTAD 13 is scheduled to be held from 21 to 26 April 2012 in Doha, Qatar, under the theme "Development-centred globalization: Towards inclusive and sustainable growth and development". Since its creation, UNCTAD has been the institution that best translated the struggle and aspirations of developing countries for expanding trade, and for developing their capacities and potential. As the first major United Nations ministerial conference on trade and development since the beginning of the economic crisis, it will provide an opportunity for much needed reflection on the impact of the crisis on trade and development, in particular for developing countries.

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable development (Rio + 20), to be held on June 2012, constitutes another important event for which we will work together this year. As one of the key promoters of the UN’s development agenda, I deeply believe that the G-77 and China will play an important role at this major meeting. A coordinated action by the G77 is essential for a successful Rio+20.

 I am convinced that under the strong leadership of Algeria the Rio plus 20 negotiations will lead to a successful outcome and will be an opportunity to give effect to a new vision. One based on a concrete programme of action for addressing gaps in means of implementation in the sustainable development agenda, as well as on efforts to address new and emerging challenges.

I will continue to provide my full support and encouragement to this process.

Having had the honor of serving as President of the UN General Assembly High-Level Committee on South-South Cooperation, I am well aware of the importance the G-77 attaches to the issue of South-South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation. Although the long-term prospects for continued growth of the South and expansion of South-South Development Cooperation remain positive, major challenges lie ahead. I am committed to the full implementation of Member-States decision, in GA resolution 64/222, to expand South-South Cooperation and to strengthen the institutional mechanisms to promote it. To that end, I intend to initiate consultations with all interested parties.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate the members of the Group of 77 for having chosen Algeria as their Chair for the current year. It was a very wise choice. I wish Minister Medelci, and Ambassador Benmehidi all the best in the coming months and I wish Ambassador Argüello the best of luck in his new endevours.

Thank you very much.


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