Leaders also Highlight National Efforts in Education, Health Care
Multilateral cooperation remains an accepted and reliable method of managing relations between States, the President of the General Assembly emphasized today at the conclusion of the general debate of the seventy‑fourth session, as Member States exchanged their views on how to mobilize such collaboration to resolve conflict and achieve sustainable development.
“The world will not survive for long unless we cultivate the give‑and‑take spirit which is a distinct and defining attribute of multilateralism,” said Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad‑Bande (Nigeria), stressing that the number of world leaders who participated in this year’s debate and the quality of engagement are indisputable evidence of the strength of multilateralism.
While the countries of the world might disagree on how to organize themselves, they will eventually agree on the need for a rules‑based international order, he said. In a highly polarized world, multilateralism is the only guarantee of peace, security and sustainable development.
However, it is disheartening that only 16 speakers in the general debate were women, he said. “When we speak of a representative United Nations, this is clearly not what we mean,” he said, urging Member States to make it easier for women to participate in decision‑making at all levels. He added that the youth of the world, marching in the millions for climate action, also made their mark on the debate.
During the last day of the six‑day‑long general debate, world leaders continued deliberations under the theme, “Galvanizing multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion”.
The Foreign Minister of Timor‑Leste said that his Government is currently working on policies, laws and regulations related to climate change, including a policy on disaster risk management and a law on renewable energy. Poverty eradication is his country’s key target, which has been included in its national development plan. On environmental protection, Timor‑Leste adopted a zero‑plastic policy, which is one of its national campaigns against pollution. It is also establishing a plastic recycling plan that will turn the country “plastic neutral”.
Thailand’s foreign minister said universal health coverage, climate change and sustainable development represent causes that matter much to the livelihood of not only his country’s people, but also those around the world. Thailand now ranks sixth globally in terms of universal health coverage, he added, underscoring its commitment to a people‑centric policy that aims at leaving no one behind. On climate change, Thailand pressed successfully for its regional grouping to adopt a first‑ever collective stand on marine debris.
Eritrea’s foreign minister said that despite tribulations the country went through, it is focussing on its own growth, embarking on a substantive and sustainable programme to improve its infrastructure and develop its social sector. Eritrea is focusing on strategies to conserve water and improve food security, thereby mitigating the effects of climate change, including building more dams. However, they require innovative technologies to ensure that the water is efficiently distributed, he added.
Brunei Darussalam’s second minister for foreign affairs said his Government will present its first voluntary national review at the 2020 high‑level political forum on sustainable development, noting that his country is making progress in such areas as education, housing, health care and clean water.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said that it is vital for all Member States to create a peaceful environment in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, expressing solidarity with Syria, Cuba and Venezuela, which face threats to their sovereignty. For its part, his Government is making active efforts to attain the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Goals through the building of a powerful Socialist country. In 2020, the Government plans to submit its first voluntary national report on implementation of the Goals to the United Nations.
Also speaking today were ministers and representatives of Burundi, Uruguay, Afghanistan, Togo, Canada, Benin and Sri Lanka.
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of Iran, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
The Assembly will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Thursday, 10 October to hold a debate on several agenda items, including the strengthening of the United Nations system and United Nations reform.
OSMAN SALEH MOHAMMED, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Eritrea, said that positive developments are underway in the Horn of Africa, with conflict giving way to regional cooperation. Meanwhile, “in global terms, this is a sensitive and delicate period”, he said. “The economic power balance is inexorably changing, with a spike in attendant intense rivalries and upheavals.”
Recalling his continent’s “onerous” experience over the past quarter‑century, with its resources “plundered wantonly” and wars continuing to fester despite efforts at conflict prevention, he said that more than 1 billion Africans continue to be marginalized. For this, he blamed “the collusion of external predators, their local surrogates and corrupt entities of special interests”. This situation requires urgent attention, he stressed. Turning to the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, he said that hopeful developments of the 1990s were belied by continuing wars and conflicts, which turned them into “hotbeds of instability and impoverishment” and led to the proliferation of terrorists and other such “subversive actors”.
Nonetheless, Eritrea is hopeful that it can move on from these tribulations, by focussing on its own growth, he continued. In this regard, it has embarked on a substantive and sustainable programme to improve its infrastructure and develop its social sector. Through a balanced approach to development, it has made “modest strides” towards its Sustainable Development Goals and has made significant achievements in health‑related Millennium Development Goals, despite challenges due to limited resources and sanctions. Eritrea is focusing on strategies to conserve water and improve food security, thereby mitigating the effects of climate change, including building more dams. However, they require innovative technologies to ensure that the water is efficiently distributed, he added.
EZECHIEL NIBIGIRA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Burundi, said that his country is at an advanced stage for the holding of elections in 2020. National mechanisms to prepare for them are already in place, while the country works towards a favourable climate for the holding of free and transparent elections. Its Kayanza road map for the holding of these elections was adopted after broad consultations and a revised electoral code has been elected by Parliament, passing by 105 votes out of 108. Burundi has decided to fund all of the operational budget for the elections without recourse to external resources that are often unpredictable. The electoral process in Burundi is an internal matter that comes under the remit of national sovereignty, he said. Any support to the process must be requested by its Government, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. Any attempt to define a new role or redefine an existing role for the United Nations to address the Burundi elections would be a violation of national sovereignty and a breach of the Charter.
Turning to the measures to create an appropriate climate for the holding of elections, he noted the broadening of political space in Burundi through the establishment of new political parties. The President has decided to voluntarily renounce his constitutional right to stand for election in 2020. Burundi has provided for the integration and hosting of refugees and persons in political exile, who are returning in significant numbers, he said. On dialogue between the political parties, this is continuing in Burundi in a spirit of political tolerance. This permanent and effective dialogue led to the adoption of the Kayanza road map.
On the humanitarian situation there, he welcomed the return of refugees who fled the country in 2015. Seventy‑seven thousand refugees have been voluntarily repatriated within Burundi from United Republic of Tanzania, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is a return of trust and stability within the country, notwithstanding the words of foreign actors who have inflated the number of refugees still in exile.
His country is on the Security Council’s agenda for political reasons due to foreign interests that have nothing to do with the Burundi’s people, he said. The ongoing holding of meetings on Burundi that are not motivated by factors on the ground only lead to destabilization in the country. Such meetings promote the interests of the coup instigators in 2015, who fled the country and are being sought by justice authorities. He reiterated his call to withdraw Burundi from the Council’s agenda. He rejected the political and diplomatic aggression waged against Burundi by foreign Governments, which has been seen since the regime change in 2015.
ERYWAN PEHIN YUSOF, Second Minister for Foreign Affairs of Brunei Darussalam, noting that his country will present its first voluntary national review at next year’s high‑level political forum on sustainable development, said success in achieving the Goals will be a test of global cooperation, partnership and collaboration with action at the local, national and regional levels. In that regard, he said Brunei is working to advance a people‑centred Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Community that compliments the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
He reviewed the progress that his country is making in such areas as education, housing, health care and clean water, adding that in its quest for progress, it has learned about the costs associated with economic development. On climate change, he said its effect will only get worse, but technological advancements — such as carbon capture and negative emissions technology — make it possible to engineer modern solutions. More needs to be done to share and transfer technology so that everyone can move to proactive solutions to climate change, rather than reactive responses.
While the digital revolution has redefined social interaction, promoted e‑commerce and intensified the sharing of information, care must be taken to prevent its malicious use, he said. He went on to say that the perpetual struggle of the Palestinian people for statehood is continuously being neglected. Prolonged occupation, forced displacement and illegal settlements are depriving them of their human rights. The General Assembly keeps hearing calls for no one to be left behind, but the Palestinians have been left behind for as long as they have been fighting for their existence, he said, underscoring the United Nations unique role in ensuring a just solution that established a sovereign State of Palestine based on pre‑1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital.
RODOLFO NIN NOVOA, Minister for External Affairs of Uruguay, painted a picture of a time of great uncertainty around the world, which was being worsened by trade wars and ideological wars. He said he is “deeply worried” about the withdrawal of the United States from the “painstakingly negotiated” Iranian nuclear deal and urged parties to look beyond short‑term political interests and to reconsider their position. Equally concerning are the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and the spread of extremist ideology. Noting that some Latin American Governments had embraced such ideologies, he added, “We cannot allow non‑intervention to be a barrier when there are serious violations of human rights.” He went on to call for an end to the blockade in Cuba, which he called “savage” and “illegal”. It is impoverishing Cuba’s people and making their future uncertain, he said, calling on the United Nations to facilitate peaceful solutions and dialogue. He went on to underline his country’s commitment to multilateralism, as evinced by its contributions to peacekeeping forces, which, he added, were the “most important in the Western Hemisphere”.
Turning to the Sustainable Development Goals, he detailed progress made by Uruguay in addressing poverty elimination, climate change and education. Poverty is the “worst scourge of our world”, and his country is committed to eradicating it by 2030. This will limit damage to the environment and eliminate hunger and exclusion. Uruguay has driven down extreme poverty, which stands at 0.1 per cent, thanks to uninterrupted economic growth for 16 years, and an emphasis on equitable growth and aggressively protecting workers’ rights. “We’re the most equal country in Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said, adding that his country is one of the few in the region to have a robust democracy with strong institutions, and to be unaffected by the prevalent “wave” of corruption.
Emphasizing the importance of just and balanced policies in reducing societal divides, he highlighted recent trade agreements with Chile and Canada which promote women’s economic well‑being. On the environment, he called on Member States to address global warming, noting that climate change exacerbates poverty and inequality and threatens to displace 100 million people by 2050. Expressing concern about the “devastating fires” raging around the world, including in the Amazon forest, he urged countries to come together to protect the environment and to adhere to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. He went on to spotlight his country’s national energy policy, which generates 98 per cent of energy from renewable sources, making it globally among the most advanced in the field. Emphasizing that education is a human right, he noted that 98.6 percent of Uruguayans are literate and 100 per cent of their teachers are qualified. Moreover, Uruguay has implemented policies that reduce the digital divide, and is universalizing access to the Internet and laptops. It is among the D9 group of digitally advanced countries, but still requires greater cooperation to help overcome gaps, he said.
DON PRAMUDWINAI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand, recalled that his country — which currently chairs ASEAN — has adopted the theme “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability” as the core focus of the organization’s goals. It requires a mindset that turns conflicts into cooperation and entails inclusiveness and sustainable advancements. Universal health coverage, climate change and sustainable development represent causes that matter much to the livelihood of not only Thailand’s people, but also those around the world. Thailand now ranks sixth globally in terms of universal health coverage, he added, underscoring its commitment to a people‑centric policy that aims at leaving no one behind.
On climate change, Thailand pressed successfully for its regional grouping to adopt a first ever collective stand on marine debris. Recalling Thailand’s ratification of the Paris Agreement, he stressed that the environmental crisis is a global problem which demands a global solution. He went on to underline the importance of partnership and cooperation so that development and progress could be sustainable. “We shall sink or swim together, not alone and not at the expense of the drowning of others,” he noted.
Addressing the rising counter‑globalism movement, he said that movements such as ethnophobic populism stem mainly from people’s disenfranchisement of economic globalization that in many cases lead to what British economist William Forster Lloyd dubbed the “tragedy of the commons”. Each nation must put the balanced improvement of people’s livelihood at the top of its priorities, he added, underscoring that Thailand, a country that geographically straddles between two oceans, has maintained its centrality while promoting partnership via regionalism and multilateralism.
DIONÍSIO DA COSTA BABO SOARES, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor‑Leste, said that the planet needs to be saved from the effects of global warming. His Government is currently working on policies, laws and regulations related to climate change, including a policy on disaster risk management and a law on renewable energy. It has also formulated a national adaption action plan, the priorities of which are being implemented at the local and community levels.
In 2015, Timor‑Leste adopted the 2030 Agenda, he said. Poverty eradication is his country’s key target, which has been included in its national development plan. On environmental protection, Timor‑Leste adopted a zero‑plastic policy, which is one of its national campaigns against pollution. It is also establishing a plastic recycling plan that will turn the country “plastic neutral”. His country is blessed with a sea of high marine biodiversity, and a cetacean migration corridor, the protection of which forms an integral part of its tourism and blue economy policy. The second United Nations Ocean Conference to be held in 2020 in Lisbon, together with the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, will give his Government the opportunity to evaluate progress in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14.
The third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism is due to end in 2020, he said. After Timor‑Leste, it has not been possible to remove any of the other 17 non‑self‑governing territories from the list. Recognizing the efforts made by the current Personal Envoy of the Secretary‑General for Western Sahara, he expressed hope that when a new envoy is nominated, the rounds of talks can resume and that a political and legal solution can be found that will permit the people of Western Sahara to exercise their inalienable rights to self‑determination. His country continues to be concerned with the economic, commercial and financial embargo that has been imposed against Cuba for more than six decades, he said. He firmly supports the lifting of the embargo and also opposes any extraterritorial measures. Regarding Syria, he expressed hope that the agreement reached between Damascus and representatives of the opposition for the establishment of a Constitutional Commission can bring results to end the war.
Timor‑Leste’s young democracy continues to assert itself, he said. The numerous elections that have taken place confirm its evolution. As a peaceful democratic country, it continues to engage in building a State based on the rule of law, good governance, strengthening State institutions, promoting human rights and gender equality and combating poverty. In August, it celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the referendum of 1999, which was organized by the United Nations. Timor‑Leste has a historical connection with the United Nations due to the Organization’s support for its struggle, he said.
KIM SONG (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that unilateralism infringes on the sovereignty of many countries and the Security Council has been reduced into an instrument for the strategic interest of a specific country in total disregard of international justice, thus pursuing sanctions and pressure and even the regime changes in some countries. Consolidating peace and stability and achieving development on the Korean Peninsula depends on the full implementation of the Joint Statement by the United States and his country adopted on 12 June 2018. The two sides have made little progress and the situation has not come out of the vicious cycle of increased tension, which is entirely attributable to the political and military provocations perpetrated by the United States. Urging the United States to put aside its current method of calculation, he said: “It depends on the United States whether the DPRK-U.S. negotiations will become a window of opportunity or an occasion that will hasten the crisis.”
The historic inter‑Korean declarations are in a standstill, he pointed out, attributing the situation to the “double‑dealing behaviour” of the authorities in the Republic of Korea who performed the act of a “handshake of peace” before the world, but are introducing ultra‑modern offensive weapons behind the scenes and hold joint military exercises with the United States targeting his country. He called on the Republic of Korea to abandon its big‑Power worship and policy of dependence on foreign forces. Turning to sustainable development, he said that the Government and people of his country are making active efforts to attain the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Goals through the building of a powerful Socialist country. In 2020, the Government plans to submit its first voluntary national report on implementation of the Goals to the United Nations. It is vital for all Member States to create a peaceful environment in achieving the Goals, he said, expressing solidarity with Syria, Cuba and Venezuela, which face threats to their sovereignty.
HAMDULLAH MOHIB, National Security Adviser of Afghanistan, said that around 3 million of his country’s citizens on 28 September faced the threat of terrorism and risked their lives to vote in their young democracy’s fourth presidential election. He thanked the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces for protecting the right to vote, stressing that 70,000 of its troops protected citizens during this historic vote.
The international community, particularly the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Member States, has stood by his country over the past two decades as they recovered from war and rebuilt a new Afghanistan, he said. To the Taliban and their foreign sponsors, he sent a message from the Afghan people: “Join us in peace, or we will continue to fight.” The majority of his fellow citizens have spent three and a half decades of their lives in war, he said, adding that Afghanistan is a country driven by the expectations of its youth. In February 2018, President Ashraf Ghani extended an unconditional offer of peace to the Taliban and in June, the unthinkable happened — a nationwide three‑day ceasefire over the Eid holidays. This gave hope that peace is possible and proved the Government’s ability to negotiate peace with its enemies. Recalling President Ghani’s road map to peace, he underscored the role of Afghanistan’s women in uniting around the peace agenda. Stressing the need to extinguish the ideologies behind terrorism, he called for stronger institutional cooperation and collective security which takes into account the nexus of transnational criminal activities as a whole, including the flow of terrorist fighters, their recruitment and resources that allow them to remain lethal. He went on to underscore the effects of climate change and humanitarian crisis, saying that Afghanistan, a predominately agricultural economy, has felt tremendous adverse effects of climate change. Prolonged drought has been a matter of life and death, driving many out of their homes and into severe poverty, he noted, recalling the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) meeting in Chile in December.
KOKOU KPAYEDO (Togo) said that multilateralism and the pooling of efforts and experience is no longer an option but rather a crucial imperative. The responsibilities of the United Nations are numerous and its challenges more multidimensional. To act more effectively, the international community must realize there is no alternative to collective action. The scale of these new challenges is a call for the international community to wake up and take specific concerted action. He welcomes the theme of the present session of the General Assembly, which responds perfectly to current concerns and reflects the values of the Charter of the United Nations. Turning to the 2030 Agenda, he reiterated Togo’s full support for various initiatives and strategic plans to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. His country has a national development programme which is running from 2018‑2022. Through the three strategic axes of its national development plan, it hopes to become a middle‑income country that is robust and stable. This is already reflected in efforts that aim to establish a first‑class business hub in the West African subregion, he said.
MARC-ANDRÉ BLANCHARD (Canada) said that no State can succeed by acting in isolation or bilaterally and Governments acting alone cannot deliver the benefits of multilateralism. To deliver results to people everywhere, multilateralism must be more inclusive and innovative than ever, he noted, underscoring the participation of youth, women and indigenous peoples, among others. Recalling the high‑level week which began with youth from all over the world sounding the alarm over climate change and demanding urgent action, he said that their message was echoed in Montreal and throughout Canada on 27 September when hundreds of thousands of young people went on strike and marched the streets during the largest protest of its kind ever held in the country. Readily available solutions exist and could eliminate 70 per cent of global emissions, he said, underscoring the vulnerabilities of small island developing States and stressing the need to allocate financial resources to achieve sustainable development. To that matter, he noted, Canada — together with Jamaica — founded the Group of Friends of Sustainable Development Goals Financing and launched the Closing the Investment Gap initiative. The international community must do more to help people in Syria, Yemen and Venezuela, he said, recalling the high‑level events convened last week by the Government of Burkina Faso, Mali, Somalia and Sudan which demonstrate a desire for partnership in support of peace. If elected to the Security Council, Canada is committed to bringing innovative ideas to prevent and respond to crises and believes in the power of multilateral solutions. Since the creation of the first United Nations Peacekeeping Force, more than 125,000 Canadians have served in support of United Nations peacekeeping operations, he said. Climate change — “an existential threat like no other” — is a major cause of conflict, he said, pointing to the Blue Economy Conference Canada co‑hosted with Kenya and Japan. Canada will also use its seat on the Council to promote economic security, he said, expressing concern over the situation in Haiti and the Sahel.
JEAN-CLAUDE FELIX DO REGO (Benin) said that the current session of the General Assembly is important with regard to the 2030 Agenda as it marks the beginning of the fifth year of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Various high‑level events that have taken place, including the high‑level political forum on sustainable development, provided opportunities to mobilize efforts. Such forums should make it possible to put an end to all forms of poverty and combat inequality while ensuring that no one is left behind. His Government is convinced that the current climate situation is very serious, and it has developed a serious plan to contribute to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, including in the energy and agriculture sectors by increasing its production of renewable energy and sustainable agriculture. Benin has always strongly supported international initiatives aimed at preventing crises and maintaining peace. For example, it continues to contribute peacekeeping troops to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), which is an illustration of its commitment in this regard.
RAVINATHA P. ARYASINHA (Sri Lanka), endorsing the message of the Climate Action Summit that the world is on the brink of a climate emergency, said that the multitude of challenges brought about by it has also led to forced and unplanned displacement. Inequality‑driven push factors have a negative bearing on individuals and communities, forcing them to leave their usual habitats, resulting in mass scale migration, he said, stressing the need to implement the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. Turning to education, he said quality education remains the key to social progress and economic empowerment, and a means to eradicate poverty. Sri Lanka has a long‑standing policy of providing universal and free education at primary and secondary levels since 1945. Today, Sri Lanka’s literacy rate stands at 92 per cent, one of the highest in the world.
With change in the landscape of global politics, particularly with the emergence of non‑State actors, it is vital that Member States decisions on essentially domestic matters be respected, he continued. On 21 April, Sri Lanka’s peace was shattered by a terrorist attack, which took the lives of more than 250 citizens and foreign nationals, he said. This was an act of terrorists who were inspired by, and claimed allegiance to, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh). Despite the attempts of these terrorists to destroy the country’s social fabric, the resilience and trust between its communities and the law enforcement authorities ensured that citizens themselves warned of impending attacks and assisted in apprehending the culprits. This incident was a reminder that no country is immune to the bane of radicalization, extremism and terrorism. Sri Lanka has reaffirmed its resolve to fight this global menace.
Right of Reply
The representative of Iran said that the statement made by the Foreign Minister of the Israeli regime leaves him with no choice but to exercise his right of reply. The Israeli Foreign Minister tried to perform the same as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does yearly, but this amateur comedian made a couple of blunders in his first show. For example, he made several historical references and cited a Persian proverb out of its context: “You don’t count the birds until the end of the fall, meaning it isn’t over until it is over.” First and foremost, the Israeli regime should not consider drawing attention to such history because its shameful 70 years of history could be boiled down to a couple of words: occupation, brutality and massacre. Putting this adage in its correct context, his message to the Israeli regime is “it isn’t over until it’s over”. The Minister’s gaffes were comical enough that Mr. Netanyahu’s absence was not felt. Israel, the last apartheid regime and the only in the world that openly practices racism, pretends to be progressive. It cannot be ignored that Israel’s occupation and racism are at the heart of all conflicts in the Middle East. Regarding allegations by Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, those accusations are efforts to cover up blatant violations of the basic rights of the people of Bahrain, who are deprived of any meaningful voice in running their country. Noting that a few States have blamed Iran for the attack on Saudi oil facilities, he says that this claim is unsubstantiated. Iran will not hesitate to safeguard its security. Regional countries will remain neighbours long after foreign forces are gone.
The representative of Bahrain said that the aggressive attitude of Iran and its support of terrorism aims to shake peace and security in the region and around the world. The creation of terrorist cells in Bahrain that have been trained in Iran, with a direct link to Hizbullah and their terrorist attacks, are jeopardizing people in Bahrain. Campaigns were launched against Bahrain and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council through channels financed by Iran. Those countries that wish peace should confront the activities of Iran as well as terrorism in the region and around the world. Iran should respect the Charter of the United Nations and the rule of non‑interference in internal affairs.
The representative of the United Arab Emirates said that Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs in the Arab Gulf are part of the territories of her country. She rejects the continued Iranian occupation of these islands. The claims of Iran to ownership of these islands are unfounded. She called upon Iran to respond to calls from her country to peacefully settle this conflict.
The representative of Saudi Arabia said that the representative of Iran is attacking his country with a series of salacious accusations — for example, that violations were perpetrated by Saudi Arabia in Hodeidah — along with other accusations. He reminded the representative of Iran that the Houthi faction has rearmed during the truce and that the ceasefire was violated even after the Stockholm agreement. There were over 600 violations of the agreement, and he expressed surprise that Iran denied his country the right to defend its people by responding to the Houthi missile launch from Yemen. Iran is deluded if it believes it can carry on going down the pathway of hate.
The representative of Iran said that he clearly stated his delegation’s position on unsubstantiated allegations and careless remarks by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. It seems that these points were not well taken by those delegations. Repeating would be a futile exercise and would not help the issues to be understood and resolved.
The representative of Saudi Arabia said that he would like the representative of Iran to understand that he did not misunderstand what that representative stated. He asked if he should recite some of what Iran is involved in, including the expulsion of diplomats, among other activities that defy diplomacy or the work of the United Nations.
The representative of Yemen said that Iran is the first sponsor of terrorism in the world and it has customarily interfered in the affairs of the Arab world. This is clear because the slogan of the Iranian revolution is supposed to echo wherever terrorist actions take place. The presence of Iranian weapons and expertise is felt in Yemen. There is evidence of Iran’s support for terrorist organizations. On 17 August 2019 in Tehran, there was a recognition of the Houthi leader as Head of State. Those who welcome militias are official, shameless sponsors of terrorism. For this reason, Yemen is exercising its right of reply. The Arab Alliance and Yemen supposedly violated the Stockholm agreement on Hodeidah, but this is false information. The militias broke the ceasefire thousands of times, including daily violations that go as far as the Red Sea and target commercial shipping there. Iran is also working to impede the implementation of the Stockholm agreement.
TIJJANI MUHAMMAD-BANDE (Nigeria), President of the General Assembly, said that as he listened to this year’s general debate, he formed the distinct impression that multilateral cooperation, far from being an outmoded principle, remains an accepted and reliable method of managing relations between States. The number of world leaders who participated in the deliberations, and the quality of engagement, are indisputable evidence of the strength of multilateralism. Hopefully, that enthusiasm will prove invaluable as the seventy‑fifth anniversary of the United Nations approaches.
It is perfectly legitimate to question the essence of, and the need for, multilateralism, he said, but while the countries of the world might disagree on how to organize themselves, they will eventually agree on the need for a rules‑based international order. In a highly polarized world, multilateralism is the only guarantee of peace, security and sustainable development. “The world will not survive for long unless we cultivate the give‑and‑take spirit which is a distinct and defining attribute of multilateralism,” he said. The fact that 192 of the 193 Member States actively participated in this year’s general debate is a clear acknowledgement of inter‑dependence between and among States.
The Assembly is the Organization’s most representative body, but it is disheartening that only 16 speakers were women, he said. “When we speak of a representative United Nations, this is clearly not what we mean,” he said, urging Member States to make it easier for women to participate in decision‑making at all levels. He added that the youth of the world, marching in the millions for climate action, also made their mark on the general debate. “Let me assure you — we hear you,” he said, but that should not mean that the young people of the world should lower the volume. Rather, youth should keep making their voice heard at every opportunity.
The past week saw announcements on climate action and political declarations on universal health coverage and sustainable development, he said. Delegates also reflected on the Convention on the Rights of the Child on its thirtieth anniversary, celebrated the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, and marked the signing and ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The high‑level dialogue on financing for development put a spotlight on the need for an additional $2.4 trillion to implement the Sustainable Development Goals as well as the needs of small island developing States. “The general debate demonstrated that we have far more that unites us that that which divides us,” he said, emphasizing that the Assembly must take heed of that as its seventy‑fourth session continues.