Monday, September 29, 2014

African Leaders Speak at 2014 UN General Assembly - Part III

Nearly every sitting African head of state has spoken during the opening debate of the 69th United Nations General Assembly, or is scheduled to do so.

Here are brief excerpts from the speeches delivered on Friday, September 26, with links to the full reported remarks, in chronological order.

For the speeches by African leaders that were delivered on  Wednesday, September 24, see this previous post. For those from Thursday, September 25, see this post.

His Excellency Hifikepunye Pohamba

President, Republic of Namibia

"Namibia supports the participation of women in peace-keeping and peace-building efforts around the world. In this context, we call for the full implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security. Presently, Namibia has deployed one of the largest female police contingents to the African Union/United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur."

His Excellency Alassane Ouattara

President, Republic of Côte d'Ivoire

[UN summary] "Africa could not become 'the forgotten continent' in the struggle against terror, he said. Thanking bilateral and multilateral partners that had assisted his Government, he conveyed special thanks to the people of the United States for 'bold and outstanding' measures taken to assist West Africa in conquering Ebola. On the issue of climate change, he noted that final efforts were needed to achieve an agreement in 2015. Today his country was a nation at peace and work. Côte d’Ivoire had regained the confidence of its partners, and thanks to the cohesion of its citizens, economic growth was strong."

His Excellency Alpha Condé
President, Republic of Guinea

[UN summary] "Ebola was a serious epidemic, but it was not necessarily a death sentence. Guinea welcomed the nomination of a United Nations system coordinator in the ongoing struggle against Ebola, and thanked the World Health Organization (WHO), Médecins sans Frontières, the Red Cross and political figures for their support. There was an urgent need to move forward in fighting the disease. On development challenges, the international community had to put an end to poverty which was continuing to hold nearly 2 billion people hostage. That was a question of dignity, justice and equality. While progress had been achieved on the Millennium Development Goals, the digital divide remained, and progress was needed on tackling malaria and HIV/AIDS-related issues."

His Excellency Denis Sassou Nguesso
President, Republic of the Congo

[UN summary] "Africa needed increased support from the international community, he said. That assistance was needed so that Somalia could escape the abyss, Mali could recover its unity, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo would not plunge again into violence. The continent also required help to halt maritime piracy, developing dangerously in the Gulf of Guinea, and reduce the spread of terrorism from the Sahel to the south of Africa. In Central Africa, insecurity was often not only the result of wars and armed violence, but of poverty and diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and Ebola. He was pleased by the solidarity shown by the international community in helping those African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak."

His Excellency Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

President, Federal Republic of Somalia

"For many, I fear that their experience of Somalia is confined to films like the recent 'Captain Phillips' or re-runs of 'Black Hawk Down'. It is confined to the YouTube scenes of the horrific Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya. It is narrowed down to yet another title on a library bookshelf including the words, 'failed state'. It is limited to reference of a 'long war'.

"But if we were to shrink our gaze to just this small glimpse we would miss the beauty of a very different picture that we are painting right now in Somalia."

His Excellency Ali Ahmed Karti
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Republic of the Sudan

[UN summary] "ALI AHMED KARTI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sudan, described his country's political transition, noting that President Omer al-Bashir had established national dialogue on such topics as rights, foreign relations, and the economy. The Government and opposition were aiming to agree on a way forward for Sudan. Sanctions against the country should be lifted and its debt forgiven, he stressed, describing the positive role Sudan was playing in the peace and security of its neighbours. There had been no interference when conflict broke out in South Sudan, he noted. Instead, Sudan had provided humanitarian aid and accepted 100,000 internally displaced persons. Efforts were also made to help resolve conflicts in the Central African Republic and Libya, while cooperation with Ethiopia and Egypt continued to ensure universal benefits from the Blue Nile. On Palestine, he urged support for Palestinian demands, saying that failure to protect them fuelled global extremism."

His Excellency Harry Kalaba
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Republic of Zambia

"Zambia is also concerned about the insecurity currently being experienced as a result of the instability in Ukraine. We have followed the counter accusations which point to the deep seated divisions and suspicions of a bygone era. Sadly, the human loss has been heavy, as the ordinary Ukrainian is caught in the middle of a crisis that is strongly influenced by foreign factors.

"Innocent civilians from other nations have also been drawn in, through the loss of lives on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. We share in the sorrow of the families and the nations that lost their loved ones in this human inflicted catastrophe. Zambia believes that the ordinary Ukrainian citizens are of the same view and desire nothing but peace, harmony and prosperity for their country. They should be allowed to enjoy these basic human conditions."

Saturday, September 27, 2014

African Heads of State Speak at 2014 UN General Assembly - Part II

Nearly every sitting African head of state has spoken during the opening debate of the 69th United Nations General Assembly, or is scheduled to do so.

Here are brief excerpts from the speeches delivered on Thursday, September 25, with links to the full reported remarks, in chronological order.

For the speeches by African leaders that were delivered on  Wednesday, September 24, see this previous post.

His Excellency Mahamadou Issoufou

President, Republic of Niger

[UN summary] "The fight against inequality must be made a priority and placed at the centre of the post-2015 development agenda, he said. With its high economic growth rate, Africa was the continent of the twentieth century. Indeed, it would be the continent of the twenty-first century when it converted its own raw materials into manufactured goods and took its place in global industrial production, when its relations with other nations were governed by fair trade, not by Official Development Assistance (ODA), and when a broad middle class would arise thanks to good political and economic governance. The vision contained in the African Union’s 2063 agenda indicated that Africa was on the right path. It was in the international community’s interest to mainstream the continent’s priorities."

His Excellency John Dramani Mahama
President, Republic of Ghana

"At the root of all of the world's major religions exists the call for compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, peace, and love. Nevertheless, the use of religious dogma and extremism as a weapon of violence persists.

"In this age of terrorism and political turmoil; national, regional and ethnic conflict, it may be tempting to use the actions of a few to justify prejudice toward many. It may be tempting to combine the faithful with the fanatical.

"But those of us who envision a just and peaceful world cannot and should not yield to those temptations. Time and time again, history has shown us that the changing of a world begins with the power that rests in the hands of people, ordinary individuals. Or, in the words of one of the greatest teachers and leaders of nonviolence, Mahatma Gandhi, 'You must be the change you wish to see in the world.'

"Today our Jewish brothers and sisters are celebrating Rosh Hashanah, their New Year. To them, I say, 'L'Ashana Tova.'

"Next week, our Muslim brothers and sisters will be celebrating Eid-al-Adha, Festival of the Sacrifice. To them, I say, 'Eid Mubarrak.'"

His Excellency Hery Martial Rajaonarimampianina Rakotoarimanana

President, Republic of Madagascar

[UN summary] "Five per cent of the world's biodiversity was located in Madagascar, he said. His country had sought to preserve that wealth and to ensure better management of it for future generations. For example, Government authorities were working on a zero-tolerance policy on all kinds of trafficking of natural resources and wildlife. Madagascar’s strategic location meant that it had to protect fishing areas and marine reserves. Due to the increased potential for piracy, terrorism and trafficking, international cooperation was needed to protect such areas."

His Excellency Robert Mugabe
President, Republic of Zimbabwe

"Because Zimbabwe has thus been pre-occupied with the empowerment of its people economically, she has become a victim of the evil machinations of Western countries who continue to apply unilateral and illegal sanctions as a foreign policy tool to achieve short-term political objectives, particularly regime change. Mr President, regime change is a diabolical illegal policy of interference in the domestic affairs of my country and no good can come from undermining our economy, or depriving our citizens of the necessities of life. Why, I ask, should Zimbabweans continue to suffer under the yoke of unjustified and unwarranted illegal sanctions. These evil sanctions violate the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter and should be condemned by the international community. We once again call for their immediate and unconditional removal."

His Excellency Hailemariam Dessalegn

Prime Minister, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

"Conflict, Mr. President, is not an exclusively African phenomenon. What is becoming obvious lately is how much the global security situation is becoming a source of concern. Never since the end of the cold war has the global security situation been as fragile as it is today. The threat of terrorism has affected ever greater and wider areas of the world. At no time over the last many decades has the need for effective cooperation at the international and regional levels been as pressing and as urgent as it is today. That the issue of 'Foreign Fighters' has become a source of major concern to many is very obvious. What is required to make progress in addressing the challenge is readiness to forge cooperation which brooks no double standards. We need to be resolute in our determination to work together."

His Excellency Al Hadji Yahya Jammeh

President, Republic of the Gambia

"In the same vein, the UN General Assembly should be commended for the passage two years ago, of the World interfaith Harmony Week urging member states to designate the first week of February each year as the interfaith Week when the messages of goodwill and tolerance are spread through mosques, churches and other places of worship. While this was a good beginning for promoting peace and harmony among religions and peoples of different belief systems, the UN must do more to match the continuing attacks on Islam in particular by people who do not even believe in the existence of a supreme creator CALLED ALLAH. These infidels have no moral high ground to describe any religion worthy of high praise more so one that is as authentic, pure and noble as Islam."

His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba
President, Gabonese Republic

"Never has the terrorist threat been as strong as in recent times, jeopardizing the survival of the institutions of countries affected by this odious phenomenon.

"In Africa, the activism of BOKO HARAM forces a whole population to live far from their original homes in terror, insecurity, and despair.

"In the Middle East, the so-called Islamic State has expanded its disastrous reign to eastern Syria and northern Iraq. This expansion was accompanied by a long procession of rape, summary executions, beheadings, and punishments of all kinds perpetrated against anyone who, in the eyes of these extremists, symbolize resistance to radicalization."

His Excellency Joseph Kabila Kabange

President, Democratic Republic of the Congo

[UN summary] "He looked back 13 years, when the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was bad, but added that things had improved significantly and the country was now standing tall again. Peace was strengthening every day and the country had a dynamic economy, marked by low inflation, growth above the African average and constantly increasing reserves. The country was being rebuilt at an unprecedented rate, with new roads, schools, and hospitals always under construction. The Government’s priorities were strengthening democracy and national cohesion, and success was apparent. Elections would be held under the auspices of an independent electoral commission and everything had been done to ensure that the country emerged from the balloting more at peace with itself and stronger. Efforts would continue to re-establish peace in the country’s East and to improve relations with neighbours, he said, pointing to an improved business climate and stressing the importance of stability to achieving that."

His Excellency Arthur Peter Mutharika

President, Republic of Malawi

[UN summary] "He said his country had always rendered political support for the disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction. He was disheartened by the continuing violence and loss of life and property in the Middle East, owing to the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and believed that the two-State solution was the only viable path to lasting peace in the region. He encouraged both sides to denounce violence, exercise utmost restraint, and employ dialogue to reach a political settlement."

His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete
President, United Republic of Tanzania

"United Nations reforms are long overdue. Reports that consultations and negotiations are not showing encouraging signs of progress are very frustrating, indeed. We should remain steadfast and vigilant not to allow the momentum to be lost. We humbly request you, Mr. President, to use your good offices and longstanding diplomatic skills to revitalize the process. We must keep the flame glowing."

His Excellency Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Republic of Cameroon

[UN summary] "He cited the deteriorating security situation in the neighbouring Central African Republic, which eliminated any hope of development. In the north, attacks by Boko Haram, more interested in imposing Sharia law than improving the lot of the population, had driven thousands of displaced persons into his country. While Cameroon would like to continue to host them, if the situation were to continue, the country’s means would simply not permit it. He called upon the parties to find a peaceful solution, as Cameroon had done in its conflict with Nigeria over the Bakassi Peninsula. That had enabled the two countries to resolve their disagreement in keeping with international law and to seal a friendship between them."

His Excellency Mankeur Ndiaye
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Republic of Senegal

[UN summary] "He described several international issues, including terrorism in the Sahel and West Africa, and the democratic transition in Guinea-Bissau. Elsewhere in Africa, the Ebola epidemic posed a risk to the entire world. He was reassured by the United Nations response in the form of its emergency mission and urged support for affected countries. For its part, Senegal had established a secure aerial humanitarian corridor. He reaffirmed his commitment to brotherly links between countries of the Maghreb and supported Morocco’s decision to grant a large degree of sovereignty to Western Sahara. Stressing the importance of the International Criminal Court to restoring peace to countries in regular crisis, he noted the honour given to Senegal in the appointment of Sidiki Kaba as President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Court. Senegal continued to contribute troops to peacekeeping operations, and the United Nations needed reform if it was to deal with the severe crises now facing the world. He welcomed the French initiative to suspend the veto in cases of mass atrocities."

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Speeches by African Heads of State at 2014 UN General Assembly - Part I

Nearly every sitting African head of state has spoken during the opening debate of the 69th United Nations General Assembly, or is scheduled to do so.

Here are brief excerpts from the speeches delivered on Wednesday, September 24, with links to the full reported remarks, in chronological order.

His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
President of the Republic of Uganda

"One bottleneck that has bedeviled Africa has been the espousing of the pseudo-ideology of sectarianism of religion or tribe as well as chauvinism vis a vis the women. It is this pseudo-ideology that has fuelled most of the conflicts in Africa. We are also witnessing the same pseudo-ideology causing havoc in the Middle East and North Africa. When uninformed outsiders link-up with these pseudo-ideologists, the permutation is most tragic. The sectarian ideology is pseudo and bankrupt because it is at variance with the people's real interests of symbiosis, exchange of goods and services as well as integration for mutual benefit. Only parasites revel in such schemes. This pseudo-ideology should be banished and treated with the contempt it deserves."

His Excellency Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz
President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

"The Sahel was one of the first regions to experience the phenomenon of terrorism. But thanks to the close security cooperation between the countries of the region and the international solidarity, the terrorists were pushed back and the activities of illegal trafficking networks were paralyzed. Africans [have] rigorously faced a difficult situation in North Mali. Thus, several countries of the continent, along with international friendly forces fought against terrorist groups. The risk of terrorism was removed from the vital areas which served as a base for the launching of criminal terrorist operations. The French intervention was determinant and appropriate. Likewise, history will retain the great sacrifices made and which are still made by the brave soldiers from Tchad. But the region is still exposed to security risks which are for now relatively contained."

His Excellency Paul Kagame
President, Republic of Rwanda

[UN summary] "To manage diversity in societies, politics must be international in scope, he said, adding that negative experiences of nationalism had created doubt about patriotism and national identity. Today, it was evident that national identities were too weak. Regionalism and religions had become the dominant forces, tearing nations apart. In Rwanda, the focus had been on building Government institutions that were held to account and on renewing the dignity of the nation. As a result, Rwandans were the most optimistic people in the world, with faith in their Government and institutions. It was up to the international community to not just manage conflicts, but to help prevent and end them."

His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta
President, Republic of Kenya

"On the continent of Africa the development model of the past 50 years has run its course. This outmoded model was defined by negative trade relations, paternalistic global governance regimes and an over reliance on Official Development Assistance (ODA). Moreover it was driven by external prescriptions for development that were heavy on political instruction but light on economic and social transformation.

"We now know better Mr. President. We know that our social and economic transformation shall come first from within our nations, our region and our continent and only secondly from the compliment of external ideas and resources. Equally important, these external contributions must recognize the primacy of our aspirations and ideas. They must value and safe guard, rather than simply exploit and consume our domestic resources and the product of our people's labour."

His Excellency Goodluck Ebele Jonathan

President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

"Mr. President, the violent and criminal activities of Boko Haram have continued to pose a potent challenge to the government and people of Nigeria. Through a wave of terror, assassinations, bombings, and now abductions and kidnappings predominantly in the North East of the country, Boko Haram is attempting to truncate development, by murder and mayhem, in these areas. In April, our innocent daughters were abducted from a Secondary School, in Chibok-North East Nigeria. This callous and criminal act has attracted empathy and support for Nigeria across the globe."

His Excellency Jacob Zuma
President, Republic of South Africa

"Given our history and heritage, we are mindful of our historic and moral responsibility in the global struggle against racism, racial discrimination and other intolerances.

"We will in this regard, continue to be at the forefront of efforts to eliminate all forms of racism, racial discrimination and any other intolerance including xenophobia and anti-Semitism....

"We will continue to support the struggles for freedom and self-determination, including the struggles of the peoples of Palestine and Western Sahara who continue to experience occupation and colonialism of different forms.

"The people of Cuba also hold a special place in our hearts because of that country's sacrifice for African freedom. We will therefore continue to support their struggle for economic liberation."

His Excellency Idriss Déby Itno
President, Republic of Chad

[UN summary] "Chad would continue to support the processes of dialogue and reconciliation throughout Africa, he said. Regarding the new Libya, which had barely begun to exist after the fall of Qadhafi’s regime, the violence had doubled in intensity and populations lived in constant fear. However, Libyans must resolutely commit to a political resolution process, which was the only proper path to ensure peace, unity and territorial integrity for Libya. Chad, as well as Nigeria, Sudan and the Central African Republic, had welcomed hundreds of thousands of refugees who had fled armed conflicts or terrorist threats. There were more than 500,000 refugees from neighbouring countries in Chad, including many repatriated Chadians and displaced Chadians."

His Excellency Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
President, Equatorial Guinea

[UN summary] "Democracy was not an imported product, he said, and could not be designed in the offices of other countries. Democracy was formed through the application of positive values characterizing a society, and only the people were able to define the model that best suited them. Equatorial Guinea was being made into a modern democratic State, in which politics were now at their peak. The transfer of power was guaranteed through equal rights for all political options, the administration of public affairs was carried out with transparency, and human rights were monitored by reliable institutions."