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."