Monday, 18 January 2021

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General Debate concludes with calls for a bold new development agenda

prime ministerDelegates from across the globe used the final day of this year's General Assembly General Debate (1 October) to keep up the drumbeat for the United Nations to fully play its vital role in ensuring world peace and setting the stage for a bold new programme to eliminate poverty and under-development.

From the Caribbean region, Dominica's Permanent Representative, Vince Henderson, voiced impatience at the slow pace of anti-poverty programmes. "We must resolve to take stock," he said. "We must be forever mindful, that those who are condemned still await our intervention; the over a billion people who have only known darkness at the end of each day, long for at least one light bulb in a rural home so that their children can have opportunities for a brighter tomorrow."

Denmark's Permanent Representative Ib Petersen stressed the UN's vital role at a time when strong multilateral cooperation is needed to cope with global challenges transcending national borders.
"In a globalized world, with dramatic shifts of power and influence, a strong United Nations is more relevant than ever," he declared. "We need the UN with its unique legitimacy and its universal membership. We need a UN which can contribute with common solutions to global challenges. We need a UN which reflects the changing political landscape - including through a reformed Security Council."

Togo's Permanent Representative, Kodjo Menan, said the Assembly's theme called for the UN set in motion a sustainable development programme that is valid for all countries. "If the United Nations principal vocation is the maintenance of peace and international security, it is obvious that these goals can only be reached in any lasting way if abject poverty and misery do not in their turn provide fertile soil for all sorts of instability in our societies," he said.

However, development issues were not highest on the agenda of all speakers and the situation in Syria and non-proliferation were a constant theme on the last day of the General Debate.
In his speech to the General Assembly Israel´s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that no radical changes were to be expected on Iran´s nuclear programme despite newly elected President Hassan Rouhani´s overtures. He stressed that Israel would not accept under any circumstances that Iran developed nuclear weapons, even if it had to stand alone.

"Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf's clothing. Rouhani is a wolf in sheep's clothing,'' Isreal's Prime Minister Netanyahu told the General Assembly.

Israel was the last country to address the General Debate of the 68th General Assembly which started 24 September.



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