Statement by Palestinian President Abbas on the Occasion of the Handover Ceremony of the Group of 77

H.E. Mr. Sameh Shukri, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt
H.E. Ms. Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the United Nations General Assembly
H.E. Mr. António Gutteres, Secretary General of the United Nations
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentleman,

I am honored, on behalf of the Palestinian people and the State of Palestine, to assume the Chairmanship of the Group of 77 for the year 2019. It is undoubtedly an important mission and a great responsibility that Palestine will undertake with humility, commitment, dedication and determination to uphold and defend the interests of the Group and to strengthen the positions of its members in the United Nations.

I assure you that the State of Palestine will spare no effort to ensure that we are collectively able to build upon the achievements of the Group across the span of the past 55 years.

From the outset, I would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to all the members of our esteemed Group, in particular the Asia-Pacific Group for supporting our candidacy, for entrusting us to bear this important responsibility and to pursue this great legacy. We also extend our appreciation to the Group and to the Member States of the United Nations that have supported the adoption of the General Assembly resolution enabling the State of Palestine to effectively exercise all of its duties as the Chair of G77.

Allow me to also seize this opportunity to express our deepest appreciation for the exceptional role that has been played by the Arab Republic of Egypt, under the leadership of President Abdelfattah Al-Sisi and the able efforts of Minister Sameh Shukri and of the Egyptian team headed by Ambassador Mohammed Edrees, in leading the Group of 77 over the course of 2018. We would also like to thank Mr. Murad Ahmia, Executive Director of the Group of 77, and his team for their efforts.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The founding principles of the G77 are interconnected with the principles that form the international consensus and with the purposes, principles and goals of the United Nations. These principles constitute the strongest pillar for upholding the multilateral system and its institutions, as well as the rule of international law, and mutual cooperation, especially in the context of the assaults underway against this system.

We will strive during our chairmanship of the Group to confront such challenges through the preservation of the multilateral international order and by strengthening the ties that unite the G77 and all our partners in the United Nations, on the basis of respect for national sovereignty, support of the development agenda, and protection of the interests of the South and of the developing countries and their just causes. We are honored to serve such noble goals of protecting the human being and preserving our planet, for the benefit of humanity and future generations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We will work together during our chairmanship to reinforce South-South cooperation and to continue pursuit of the initiatives undertaken to implement the 2030 Agenda for development, including as they pertain to financing for development and solidarity through development, as complementary to, and not as an alternative to North-South cooperation and to triangular cooperation, given the key role of the international community and partners in the field of development in advancing the implementation of the development goals.

Solidarity and cooperation between the countries of the South has gained more prominence in helping to promote the realization of the internationally-agreed development goals and this is, in large part, a result of achievements advanced by many of the developing countries in line with their commitment to ensure that “no one is left behind”. We thus recognize the importance of the upcoming second United Nations High-Level Conference on South-South Cooperation, which will be held in Buenos Aires in March, forty years after the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action, and we will strive our utmost to ensure its success.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

People are the real treasure for nations, and real and sustainable development can only be achieved when opportunities are enhanced to ensure for all people full and free participation in all relevant matters in life. Sustainable human development is development by the people and for the people and with their participation, and the right to development is a right we shall strive to strengthen and realize, together with all other human rights enshrined in international law and in the G77’s founding and central documents.

In this regard, we must ensure and preserve this right also for peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation, in line with the decisions of the Group, including the Johannesburg Plan of Action, and in accordance with the relevant provisions of international law, including international humanitarian law, and the relevant United Nations resolutions. Palestine cannot be an exception.

With the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the international community as a whole has endorsed an action plan to achieve prosperity for all peoples of the world and considers the elimination of poverty in all its forms and dimensions as an indispensable requirement for achieving sustainable development in line with the principles adopted at Rio+20, including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. This issue will be at the top of our priorities throughout this year.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Climate change has negative and destructive implications and dangerous ramifications for our peoples more than any others, despite the fact that we are far less responsible for emissions and pollution than others. Addressing this situation requires bold decisions, without delay, to preserve the future of our peoples and our planet. This urgent matter, and the concerns and interests of the Group in this regard, will be at the top of the priorities of the Palestinian chairmanship of the Group.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Sustainable development and community building is a long-term investment in peacebuilding, and in strengthening our world’s immunity to crises, disasters, conflicts and wars, on the path to a world that upholds human rights, advances solidarity through development, as well as knowledge sharing, capacity building and technical assistance. This must include enhanced developmental assistance and economic resources towards eliminating poverty and hunger, addressing the digital gap, providing decent work, advancing sustainable development, ensuring justice, eliminating child labor, slavery and human trafficking, and ensuring benefit sharing and a just distribution of economic prosperity and growth, including for women and youth.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Members of our Group has also played a pivotal and principled role in defending the inalienable rights of peoples, including their right to self-determination and national independence, and many countries in the South continue to suffer from conflicts, wars, violence and terrorism, aggression and occupation. The State of Palestine will continue to work together with the Members of the Group to confront these challenges.

In this regard, the establishment of peace and security in the Middle East will significantly enhance the opportunities for realization of sustainable and stable development for all countries of the region. Regrettably, however, Israel’s continued colonization and occupation of the State of Palestine undermines our development and capacity for cooperation and coordination and obstructs cohesive future development for all peoples of the region. Here, I reaffirm the State of Palestine’s commitment to international law and legitimacy and to a peaceful solution that brings an end to the occupation and the realization of the independence of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel on the basis of the 1967 borders, and the just resolution of all final status issues, including for the plights of our refugees and prisoners in accordance with the relevant international resolutions.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In conclusion, we assure you that the State of Palestine, in representing the Group of 77 and China on all matters relevant to the Group’s agenda, will pursue the path paved by previous Chairs, and will strive to carry forth the legacy and traditions of our Group in addressing the challenges before us for achieving progress and prosperity for our peoples and States. We will dedicate our efforts to protecting the interests of the Group in all its geographical components, guided by the principle of unity in diversity, including Africa, and with the needed attention for the Least Developed Countries, Small Developing Island States, Middle Income Countries, and peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation, so as to ensure no one is left behind.

I thank you.


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