Mugabe's address to the 64th UN General Assembly

FULL TEXT: The following is full text of Robert Mugabe's address to the 64th UN General Assembly in an empty house deserted by many leaders who are now used to the same boring tirade from the Zimbabwean tyranny.

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Your Excellency, President of the 64th Session of the General Assembly, Mr. Ali

Abdulsalam Treki;

Your Majesties;

Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government;

Your Excellency, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki Moon;

Distinguished Delegates;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Comrades and Friends.

Let me begin by extending our warmest congratulations to you, Mr Treki, on your

election as President of the 64th Session of the General Assembly. Your election to this high office is a befitting and eloquent tribute to the personal and diplomatic

qualities that we have witnessed in you over the years. We are, indeed, proud of thehonour that has been bestowed upon the African continent as a result of your

election. We are confident that, under your wise stewardship, we will make

pleasing progress on the important agenda before us.

In the same vein, I wish to commend your predecessor, the President of the 63rd

Session, Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, for having brought his experience and wisdom to bear upon the various meetings and conferences that he presided over during the last year. He brought integrity, transparency and credibility to the

deliberations of the General Assembly. Indeed, we share his assertion, that the G-192, that is, the General Assembly, being the most representative body of the United Nations, is the best forum to tackle global issues which include the current financial and economic crises. We commend him for standing up for what is right and for upholding the right of each Member State to be heard, no matter how small.

Mr. President,

Over the years, my delegation has underlined the need for the United Nations and other international bodies to truly serve the collective interest of all Member States.

Our unchanging conviction is that all international institutions should abide by the

universal principles which underlie multilateral processes of decision-making,

particularly, the principle of equality among States and the right to development. It is in this context that we welcome the appropriate, indeed, timely, theme of this

Session: "Effective global responses to global crises, strengthening multilateralism and dialogue among civilizations." It is our hope that we will have a candid and holistic debate on the global responses to the crises that currently affect our world.

Mr. President,

Zimbabwe supports the revitalisation of the General Assembly to make it more

effective and thus enable it to fulfil its mandate. As the pre-eminent deliberative

and policy- making body of the United Nations, the General Assembly should play a more active role in mobilising action against such challenges today as peace and security, the financial and economic crises, economic and social development, and climate change. Accordingly, the encroachment of other UN organs upon the work of the General Assembly is of great concern to us. We therefore reiterate that any process of revitalisation should strengthen the principle of accountability of all principal and subsidiary organs of the United Nations to the General Assembly.

Mr. President,

It is our hope that the current negotiations on the reform of the United Nations

Security Council will break the deadlock that has for some time now prevented us

from making progress in an area of strategic interest for Africa. The reform of the

Security Council is not only desirable but imperative, if it is to ensure the successful implementation of its global mandate to maintain international peace and security on behalf of all Member States. The fact that Africa, a major geographical region, remains under-represented and without a permanent seat on the Security Council is not only a serious and antiquated anomaly whose time for address is overdue. It is also clearly an untenable violation of the principle and practice of democracy in international relations. The reform of the Security Council should urgently take full notice of the African position which demands two permanent seats, with complete veto power, plus two additional non-permanent seats.

Mr. President,

The UN Conference on the Financial and Economic Crises held in June 2009 rightfully positioned the United Nations at the centre of efforts to deal with the global financial and economic crises. The devastating effect of the current global crisis has clearly exposed the folly of leaving the management of the global economy in the hands of a few self-appointed countries and groupings. My delegation, therefore, fully supports the setting up of a follow-up working group under the aegis of the General Assembly. It is urgent and critical that the working group reaches an early agreement on immediate policy actions to be taken by the international community in support of developing countries, who have suffered the most as a result of this global financial meltdown. Such actions should include the development of a global stimulus plan to respond to the crisis and other issues related to it.

Mr. President,

These measures will not achieve the desired objectives unless accompanied by a

comprehensive reform of the Bretton Woods institutions which, among other things, would include representation of sub-Saharan Africa on the Executive Boards of these institutions. We are glad that our unequivocal call for their reform is beginning to bear fruit. We, therefore, welcome the recent decision by the World Bank to establish three seats for Africa on its Executive Board. We are similarly pleased that, earlier this month, the IMF finalised the re-allocation of Special Drawing Rights on the basis of the US$250 billion pledged by the G20 at its meeting in April 2009.

Regrettably, only a mere US$18 billion of this money was allocated to low income

countries, while the developed countries, which caused the crisis, got the lion’s

share.

Mr. President,

The need to ensure global food security has been raised and re-stated at many

international forums. We reiterate our call for an urgent and substantial increase in investment in agriculture in developing countries. It is critical that provisions of

agricultural inputs, seeds, fertilisers and chemicals be put in place for small scale

farmers, particularly, women. To achieve this, there is need to channel more

support towards agriculture, which has dwindled over the last few decades. In

addition, we call upon the developed countries to remove or reduce their agricultural subsidies and to open up their markets for agricultural products from developing countries.

Mr. President,

In the area of health, efforts to reduce maternal and child mortality, and combat HIV and AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, still fall short of targets despite the commitments made at the national and international levels. Over the last few years, Zimbabwe has made great strides in the fight against the HIV and AIDS pandemic, our limited resources notwithstanding. The country has witnessed a drop in the adult prevalence rate of 20 per cent in 2000 to 11 per cent this year. However, the country still faces a major challenge in increasing the availability of affordable anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs). We, therefore, continue to urge the international community, in cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, to assist in increasing access to affordable essential drugs, particularly for people in Africa.

Mr. President,

People living with HIV and AIDS expect delivery on the commitments we have made. For sub-Saharan Africa, malaria presents yet another still formidable challenge. The commitment of the international community and national governments therefore needs to be strengthened so as to eradicate the scourge of malaria from our part of the world.

We warmly welcome the renewed enthusiasm by Russia and the United States to

pursue actions to achieve a world free of nuclear arms and we urge other nuclear

weapons states to do the same. In this regard, Zimbabwe is honoured to have

chaired, in May this year, the Third Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Nuclear

Proliferation Treaty Review Conference and takes this opportunity to thank all

members for their support. We are hopeful that, having secured agreement on the Conference agenda, members will produce a renewed commitment to the three pillars of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty; namely, nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Mr. President,

May I now turn to the developments in my country. Since its formation in February this year, the Inclusive Government in Zimbabwe has demonstrated a conviction and unity of purpose, and an unwavering commitment to chart a new vision for the country and to improve the lives of the people in peace and harmony. In the Global Political Agreement, we have defined our priorities as the maintenance of conditions of peace and stability, economic recovery, development, promotion of human rights and improvement of the condition of women and children.

Regrettably, while countries in the SADC region have made huge sacrifices and given Zimbabwe financial and other support at a time when they too are reeling from the effects of the global economic crisis, the western countries, the United States and the European Union, who imposed illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe have, to our surprise, and that of SADC and the rest of Africa, refused to remove them. What are their motives? Indeed some of them are working strenuously to divide the parties in the Inclusive Government. If they will not assist the Inclusive Government in rehabilitating our economy, could they please stop their filthy clandestine divisive antics. Where stand their humanitarian principles when their illegal sanctions are ruining the lives of our children?

We similarly call for an immediate end to the coercive, illegal and unjustified fiftyyear economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba which is estimated to have cost Cuba so far a total of US$96 billion, causing untold suffering on that country and its people. My delegation joins other Non-Aligned Movement countries which have repeatedly condemned the use of unilateral coercive measures as a flagrant violation of the norms of international law and international relations, especially as they govern relations between States under the UN Charter.

Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me conclude by reiterating the need for effective and comprehensive

multilateralism to promote the global partnership for peace and development. The

United Nations and other international organisations which carry the legitimacy of

multilateralism should play a leading role in directing the course of events and

developments, taking into account the interests of the majority of its members in an inclusive, peaceful, just, universal and democratic manner. It is our hope that

through our unity, solidarity, cooperation and commitment, the challenges facing the international community could be addressed. Let us rise to the occasion and

demonstrate our political will and ability to work together for the good of humanity.

Zimbabwe is willing and ready to play her part.

I thank you.