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Yes to dialogue, no to sanctions

22 Sep 2016 at 06:42hrs | Views
Statements by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, R.G. Mugabe, to the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly debate and on the occasion of the High-Level Meeting of the 71st UN General Assembly on Anti-microbial Resistance in New York on September 21, 2016.

YOUR Excellency Mr Peter Thomson, President of the 71st Session of the General Assembly; Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government; Your Excellency Mr Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; distinguished delegates; ladies and gentlemen; comrades and friends.

Let me begin by congratulating you, Ambassador Thomson, on your election to the Presidency of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I also extend our deep appreciation to your immediate predecessor, Mr Mogens Lykketoft, for his able stewardship of this Assembly during the 70th Session.

Mr President,

We all vividly recall the momentous occasion in September last year when we adopted the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals "Agenda 2030". This Assembly provides us with a unique opportunity to review the measures we have taken thus far at both international and national levels in line with our commitments to global socio-economic transformation.

While compromises were un- avoidable, even inevitable, in developing this important agenda, compromises or half-measures have no place in its implementation phase. We need sincere, genuine and total commitment by all to the implementation of this agenda if it is not to join many other previous well-crafted global agendas that ended in failure and non-delivery. We feel that this time around this agenda will meet a better fate.

We are encouraged that since September last year, foundational steps have been and are being taken at various levels to implement Agenda 2030. In this regard, we note the convening of the Global Infrastructure Forum in April this year, the convening of the Multi-Stakeholder Science, Technology and Innovation Forum here in June, the launch of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism and activation of its online platform.

We also note the follow-up meetings pertaining to the development of concrete actions for the implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development. These activities at the global level have been equally matched at the national level, with virtually all member states reporting preparations to implement this universal agenda.

Mr President,

On our part, I am happy to inform you that we have established national multi-stakeholders and multi-sector structures to domesticate and implement the 2030 Agenda in a co-ordinated and integrated manner with our national development programme, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset).

Our task of domesticating Agenda 2030 has been made relatively less challenging in that the vision and aspirations of our national economic blueprint and the global agenda are basically the same. Our biggest impediment to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda is the burden of the punitive and heinous sanctions imposed against us by some among us here.

My country, Zimbabwe, is the innocent victim of spiteful sanctions imposed by the United States and other powers and these countries have for some reason maintained these sanctions for some 16 years now.

As a country, we are being collectively punished for exercising the one primordial principle enshrined in the United Nations Charter, that of sovereign independence. We are being punished for doing what all other nations have done, that is, possessing and owning their natural resources, and listening to and responding to the basic needs of our people.

Those who have imposed these sanctions would rather have us pander to their interests at the expense of the basic needs of the majority of our people. As long as these economic and financial sanctions remain in place, Zimbabwe's capacity to fully and effectively implement Agenda 2030 is deeply curtailed.

I repeat my call to Britain and the United States and their allies to remove the illegal and unjustified sanctions against my country and its people. We must all be bound by our commitments to Agenda 2030, under which we all agreed to eschew sanctions in favour of dialogue.

Mr President,

This session of the General Assembly will elect the next Secretary-General of our organisation. We have witnessed commendable efforts aimed at making the selection process of the next Secretary-General inclusive and transparent. The greater involvement of the General Assembly, and therefore of the majority of our membership, does not, however, mask the opaqueness of the process at Security Council level.

We expect the current experience to lead to a more inclusive and transparent process in the future.

Mr President,

For over 20 years, many of us have come to this rostrum, pleading and demanding for reforms of the Security Council. Today we are no closer to achieving that goal than we were 20 years ago. This is so in spite of the universal acknowledgement of the injustice, unfairness and inappropriateness of the current composition of the Security Council.

We now have an opportunity, in the ongoing negotiations, in the intergovernmental negotiations, to redress this unjustifiable and unjust situation in the interests of a strong and more united organisation capable of delivering on its mandates.

Mr President,

Our common commitment to leaving no one behind demands that we address the plight of peoples still living under colonialism and occupation. The people of Palestine have lived under occupation and persecution for over 49 years. It is high time that the United Nations, in particular the Security Council, fulfils its Charter duties and obligations by implementing its resolutions, including Resolution 181, Resolution 242 and Resolution 338.

The two-state solution, based on the pre-June 1967 border, should now be pursued within set parameters and set timelines. This is the only way to achieve durable peace in the Middle East.

On our own continent, the United Nations is duty-bound by the principles of the Charter to redouble efforts to ensure full realisation of the right of self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. Agenda 2030 recognises that sustainable development cannot be achieved without the full realisation of the rights of people living under colonial and foreign occupation.

We urge the holding of the independence referendum for the Saharawis without much further delay.

Mr President,

Let me conclude by thanking the Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, for the tremendous work he has done during his tenure. We have appreciated his presence at the Africa Union summits and his visits to Africa as clear testimony to his commitment to and partnership with Africa.

We particularly applaud the Secretary-General's leadership in mobilising the entire United Nations system and indeed the international community to partner with Africa in stopping and rolling back the Ebola epidemic which claimed thousands of lives and undermined socio-economic development on our continent.

He has indeed been an indefatigable advocate for self-determination and a persistent champion for inclusive development, peace and building coalitions to deal with humanitarian and other crises. We wish him well in all his future endeavours.

I thank you.

Source - Robert G Mugabe
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