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H. E. Mr. Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, President

25 September 2008

Statement Summary

AHMED ABDALLAH SAMBI, President of Comoros, called for Member States and their political leaders to be responsible and concerned for the challenges facing the global community, and to step up their defence of the ideals of peace, justice and solidarity.  Moreover, privileged nations needed to show a greater concern for developing countries struggling daily with hunger, disease and conflict.  He specifically noted that the crises sparked by food and energy shortages required a new surge of international solidarity, and said multilateralism and the reform of the United Nations were essential to that end.

He noted that last March, Comoros’ democratic actions had ended a conflict on the island of Anjouan, and enabled free and transparent elections there in June.  The establishment of a local government in Anjouan without bloodshed had been possible because of the financial, material and moral support of the African Union and the League of Arab States, among others.  He also announced the organization of a national and international conference in Comoros to bring together political entities, civil society, local government and international partners to study and improve the national institutes.

Stressing that environmental problems impacted small islands, developing States and Indian Ocean islands more severely than other nations, he called on Member States to support the Indian Ocean Commission and the Maurice Strategy so that successful development continued in the region.

He concluded by expressing his concern for the situation regarding the Island of Mayotte.  Following talks with French officials and meetings with President Nicolas Sarkozy, he had not planned to discuss the issue in his address.  However, he noted that the intentions of French authorities for a referendum in 2009 to transform Mayotte into a department didn’t favour open dialogue.  He reminded the Assembly that when Comoros had been admitted into the United Nations in 1975, it included Mayotte and that there had been no opposition from France at the time.

The official declaration of France to make Mayotte a department was, thus, not in line with international law.  He, therefore, requested that the vote on Mayotte to become a French department be considered null and void.  His confidence in President Sarkozy, who had successfully found solutions and resolutions to other problems, was strong, and he appealed to the French Government to preserve a favourable climate for dialogue, so that a settlement reflecting the concern of the people of Mayotte could be found.  The unity of Comoros was essential for harmonious development.

[Source: GA/10754]