Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin 09USUNNEWYORK925 2009-10-19 15:38 2011-08-24 01:00 UNCLASSIFIED USUN New York
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E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PREL PGOV ECON KPKO UNGA UN AF AM AO BB CD EC, GM, GV, HO, IC, ID, KN, MR, MY, MZ, NI, PO, ST, TT, UZ, YM SUBJECT: U.N. GENERAL DEBATE CONTINUES (SEPTEMBER 28, PM): HONDURAN PRESIDENT SPEAKS FROM BESEIGED CAPITAL, DPRK, AFGHANISTAN AND OTHERS
¶1. (U) SUMMARY: The continuation of the U.N. General Debate saw an impassioned and unscripted speech by the Honduran Foreign Minister calling on the United Nations to restore order and democracy in her besieged country. To highlight the point, she called Honduran President Zelaya on her cell phone while at the podium via speakerphone. He addressed the hall, while still holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, calling for leaders to take a stand and restore order. The Democratic People,s Republic of Korea defended its nuclear program as merely a deterrent and blamed the United States for raising the stakes. Security Council reform, climate change, the financial crisis, non-proliferation, and development issues were central themes; the following countries spoke: Mauritania, Iceland, Barbados, Chad, St. Lucia, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Mozambique, Armenia, and Guinea, Ecuador, Angola, Timor-Leste, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Honduras, the Democratic People,s Republic of Korea, Portugal, and Germany. Full text of statements available on at www.un.org/ga/64/generaldebate; video archives are at www.un.org/webcast/2009.html. END SUMMARY.
¶2. (U) MAURITANIA: Minister of Foreign Affairs Mouknass thanked the Presidents of Libya and Senegal for calling for peace in Mauritania. She reiterated her country's commitment to uphold stability and the rule of law and then expressed solidarity with the Maghreb Union, the Arab League, and the African Union. Mouknass also called for United Nations reform, including the Security Council, adding that Africa and the Arab world should have permanent seats. Mauritania said that the arrest warrant for the Sudanese President, Omar Bashir, hindered peace and was counter to international law.
¶3. (U) IRELAND: Minister of Foreign Affairs Power supported the cooperation of the United States and Russia on their post-START policies. He commended the United States Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell, for his efforts at achieving peace for Israel and Palestine and felt particularly fortunate to have the benefit of Mitchell,s skills in Ireland. Power called for Iran to protect basic human rights, cease uranium enrichment, and "to answer satisfactorily all questions regarding its nuclear activities, particularity in light of the latest revelations regarding the previously undisclosed nuclear site at Qom."
¶4. (U) BARBADOS: Minister of Foreign Affairs McClean called for United Nations and Security Councilreform, adding that Barbados would not take part in any effort to marginalize the United Nations or join with those questioning its legitimacy.
McClean was also concerned about the decision making powers
of a limited group of countries, stating that "No exclusive group of countries, no matter how big, powerful or rich, have a monopoly on solutions." McClean called for the lifting of the Cuba embargo and reintegration of Cuba into hemispheric affairs, and hoped that U.S.-Cuba relations would be normalized.
¶5. (U) CHAD: Minister of Foreign Affairs Mahamat mentioned the trade embargo with Cuba and hoped that the new United States Administration would lift it in the near future. He also blamed developed countries for global warming and the economic crisis and urged them to "step up their efforts."
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¶6. (U) ECUADOR: The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Integration Fander Falconi Benites stressed the need for greater multilateralism, emphasizing the benefits of regional collectives such as the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) as helpful to "promote democracy and welfare in a collective and consensual manner." Benites criticized the United States for its embargo on Cuba and the OAS for blocking Cuba's membership. The FM offered his support for the ousted government of President Zelaya and declared that "The international community has categorically and unanimously rejected this attack against democracy." With respect to the financial crisis, the FM noted the need to create financial architecture that more adequately addresses the needs of the developing world, noting that the recently agreed upon "Constitutive Agreement of the Bank of the South" will help to "fortify human development in the South." The FM also noted the commitment of Ecuador to preventing further climate change, protecting refugees, and to the MINUSTAH mission.
¶7. (U) ANGOLA: Minister of External Relations Assuncao Afonso Dos Anjos stated that food security is a major priority for Angola and that it is necessary to develop national and integrated strategies to keep food costs in check. Anjos reminded delegates that between 2004 and 2007, Angola had a period of explosive growth, nearly doubling the value of its GDP, and that the nation has seen a steep rise in its GDP/human development ratio. He called for Security Council reform and noted that the institutions of the United Nations in general must "adapt to the modern world." The Angolan FM spoke out against the continuing embargo against Cuba, considering it a violation of the United Nations charter. Anjos spoke in favor of greater multilateralism in addressing climate change, eradicating poverty, and fighting disease.
¶8. (U) TIMOR-LESTE: Minister for Foreign Affairs Zacaria Albano da Costa noted the importance of the United Nations continuing mission, UNMIT, in building the security apparatus of the country and stated that its role is "still needed for ensuring long term peace and stability in our country." The FM quoted President Obama,s line "to search for our own path" in reference to Timor-Leste,s period of transition. He noted his country,s opposition to the economic sanctions placed on Cuba by the United States. The FM stressed the importance of Timor-Leste,s relations with Indonesia and explained that his country has, "based relations on reconciliation." He expressed strong support for efforts to combat climate change, even in spite of Timor-Leste not being in as imminent danger as some other island nations. He offered support for nuclear non-proliferation and for the G20,s efforts to revamp the financial system in the wake of the crisis.
¶9. (U) MALAYSIA: Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman pushed leaders to adopt strong measures in Copenhagen, asking states to sacrifice, stating "Let me be absolutely clear on this: there will not be a deal in Copenhagen, when some are keen to
steal the deal.'" Aman addressed the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict as an area of particular concern and said that he "looks to the U.S. to undertake the role of an honest broker," but added a cautionary hope that "the reality of the action by the U.S. matches its rhetoric." The FM strongly supported the latest non-proliferation efforts, Security
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Council enlargement, and a reform and strengthening of the Bretton Woods Institutions. The FM reminded the audience of Malaysia's long commitment to the United Nations and remarked on its placement of troops in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations since 1960.
¶10. (U) AFGHANISTAN: Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta raised regional and global concerns before dealing with the challenges within Afghanistan. Spanta noted the 40th anniversary of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference and said that the Muslim community still faces significant challenges, and that Islamophobia is an issue that Western nations in particular need to address. Spanta spoke optimistically about some of the more encouraging signs in his country, including an expansion of health care services, education for both girls and boys, growth of media, and the holding of provincial and presidential elections. Acknowledging the difficulties of the recent elections, he warned the audience not to "assess a young terrorist-inflicted democracy with the criteria of stable, prosperous, and centuries-old democracies." Spanta stated that "Afghanistan fully endorses President Obama's new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as the new assessment by General McChrystal, particularly the emphasis on a comprehensive and long-term strategy."
¶11. (U) NIGERIA: Minister for Foreign Affairs Ojo Maduekwe checked poverty, food security, development goals and health issues as critical to the work of the United Nations. He pointed to ongoing efforts of African countries to tackle malaria as the beginning and not the end of the struggle to eliminate the disease. The FM gave a nod to the non-proliferation process, noting an appreciation for the engagement of the United States and Russia on the issue. He then diverted the discussion to the more immediate issue of small-arms reduction, commenting that these weapons have killed far more than have nuclear bombs. The FM called for Security Council reform, asking members to consider enlarging the body. He noted Nigeria's interest and commitment to peace-making in neighboring African countries including Niger and Guinea Bissau.
¶12. (U) HONDURAS: Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas engaged the audience with an impassioned speech in which she called for the international community to take immediate steps to restore the rule of President Zelaya. She revealed a cell phone to the audience with an open line to Zelaya, holed up inside the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. The announcement was greeted by a standing ovation by several delegations. President Zelaya told the audience that a dictatorship was now in place and the rights of the Honduran people were being suppressed. "Today Channel 36, the only media opposed to the government (the coup) had their transmissions cut, this is a serious crime when people are silenced. I call on the United Nations to restore the rule of law, to provide freedom, to provide support, to provide a firm position against barbarity." The Foreign Minister continued by describing offenses of the new government including sending people to concentration camps. She feared that many people including the President himself - despite the protection that ought to be in place from the diplomatic position of the Brazilian embassy - may suffer violence at the hands of the military forces. Rodas called on the United Nations to take several
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actions, first suggesting that the General Assembly convene a special session since it has "the means to respond in emergency situations, to calm fears, and to take necessary actions" (she did not/not mention the role of the Security Council here, only the General Assembly). Second she called for a United Nations diplomatic mission to Honduras to assess the situation on the ground and to search for solutions. Third, she asked that the United Nations focus on the day to day crisis, particularly with respect to violence and Geneva Convention issues as they pertain to the matter of the encroachment on the Brazilian embassy where Zelaya was camped. Rodas continued with strong words warning of the dangers of doing nothing, calling on leaders to embrace democracy, and finally begging the audience "to ensure never again this sad story be perpetuated." The President of the General Assembly thanked her for her "moving words."
¶13. (U) DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA (DPRK): Pak Kil Yon, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs said that his is "a country in which national power is strong, everything is thriving and the people are living happily with nothing to envy in the world." He defended his country's nuclear capacity as being merely for the purpose of deterrence and said that any potential denuclearization "depends on whether or not the United States changes its nuclear policy towards Korea...the United States administration must discard the old concept of confrontation and show the 'change' in practice, as it recently stated on several occasions." Yon promised that the DPRK will continue its nuclear force as necessary and that "deterrence will be directly proportional to the threat on the Korean Peninsula, as in Europe and elsewhere." He called sanctions unfair and unequal. He went on to blast the Security Council as "the most anachronistic organ in the United Nations" and recommended urgent reforms to ensure that the body was more democratic and representative. He suggested that human rights matters must be focused more on "big countries, the west and European countries."
¶14. (U) PORTUGAL: Minister for Foreign Affairs Joao Gomes Cravinho focused on climate change and noted that "Portugal is strongly committed to renewable energy." On Honduras, Cravinho called for restoration of the Zelaya government, and for proper diplomatic immunity to be respected regarding the embassy of Brazil. The Foreign Minister also called for Security Council reforms, noting that the institution cannot be seen as fully representative if countries such as Brazil and India, along with all of Africa, have no permanent seat. The Foreign Minister also praised Guinea-Bissau and Timor-Leste as Portuguese speaking communities showing social and economic development.
¶15. (U) GERMANY: Ambassador Thomas Matussek raised concerns over the Iranian nuclear program, noting that "the belated admittance by Iran concerning the construction of a second enrichment plant underlines that our concerns are more than justified." Matussek urged Iran to comply with IAEA requirements and to "become an anchor of stability in its region." He advocated strongly in favor of meaningful Security Council reform; he offered a grim hypothetical that alternative bodies might be created to circumvent the Council, noting that, "such a rivalry would be detrimental to us all." He reiterated his country's commitment to climate change, development assistance, the non-proliferation
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process, stabilization of Afghanistan, and engagement in Africa. With respect to the Middle East peace process, Matussek remarked that, "Germany strongly supports President Obama's intensive commitment and regional approach."
¶16. (U) OTHER INTERVENTIONS: St. Lucia, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Mozambique, Armenia, and Guinea addressed the debate's favorite topics: climate change, the economic and financial crisis, security and peace, the Millennium Development Goals, and United Nations and Security Council reform. They reiterated that the international community needs to work together to solve these issues. Saint Lucia was appreciative of development assistance from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and others, but also stressed the importance of South-South cooperation as an effective development tool. Yemen noted that the blockade on Gaza disregarded the rights of the Palestinian people. Uzbekistan said that the largest countries were aggravating the economic crisis by pursuing protectionist and restrictive policies. Mozambique expressed concern over efforts to undermine the Maputo agreement and called for full implementation by political stakeholders. Armenia stated that "Azerbaijan consistently misrepresents the essence of the Nagorno Karabagh problem" and engages in violence against the people of Nagorno-Karabagh. Guinea said it was trying to recover from political and economic corruption and poor governance, having narrowly avoided social implosion upon the death of the former president.