UK PM Calls For More Focus W On The “Building Blocks” That Took Countries From Poverty To Prosperity
The United Nations, he went on to say, needed to step up efforts to support the people of countries struggling to build their own democratic future. Progress had, in fact, been made, including elections in Libya to create a new Congress, and plans to integrate armed groups into the national police and army. The “right response” to the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens, which was a “despicable act of terrorism”, was to finish the work he gave his life to. The majority of Libyans supported this, with thousands, this past weekend in Benghazi, taking to the street to protest extremist acts. The Arab Spring also continued in Egypt where the President had asserted civilian control over the military, and in Yemen and Tunisia where elections had brought new Governments to power. Morocco had a new Constitution and a Prime Minister appointed on the basis of a popular vote. Somalia had just elected a new President. “None of it would have come about without people standing up last year and demanding change and this United Nations having the courage to respond,” he underscored.
He went on to challenge the idea that the removal of dictators unleashed new waves of violence, extremism and instability. Rather, he asserted that dictators had brought instability to the region through the denying of basic rights to their citizens, and the funding of terrorism overseas, among others. Those rulers dealt with frustrations within their own borders by “whipping up anger” against their neighbours, Israel and the West. Their citizens, denied jobs or a voice, were given “no alternative but a dead end choice between dictatorship and extremism”, he said. The events of Tahrir Square illustrated the Egyptian people’s rejection of “this false choice”.
He acknowledged that although Syria presented profound challenges, the Arab Spring was not to blame. “You cannot blame the people for the behaviour of a brutal dictator,” he stated, pointing out that Assad’s inflaming of sectarian tensions was similar to his father’s actions 30 years ago in the slaughter in Hama. A future for Syria could not include Assad who, through recent evidence, was shown to use children as target practice and schools as torture centres. “The blood of these young children is a terrible stain on the reputation of the United Nations,” he said. If the United Nations was to have any value in the twenty-first century, it needed to join together and support a rapid political transition. Security Council Members had a particular responsibility to support the United Nations appeal, and he announced that his country, already the third biggest donor, would be donating a further $12 million in humanitarian support to Syria.
The international community was also responsible for helping these countries reclaim stolen assets, noting return of billions of dollars to Libya. The Egyptian Government was also entitled, as well, and a new British Task Force was being created to work with the Government to pursue the return of stolen money. Concluding, he stressed that there was a fundamental difference between Islam and extremism, the former a great religion observed peacefully by over a billion people, and the latter a “warped political ideology” of a minority that sought to use religion for their own means. As seen in Turkey, democracy and Islam could flourish alongside each other and he urged that Governments not be judged by their religions, but by their actions. In that regard, he called for support to the new Governments of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya so that their success “strengthen democracy, not undermine it”. The Arab Spring represented a “precious opportunity” for people to realize their aspirations and he called for the United Nations to do everything it could to support them.
YOSHIHIKO NODA, Prime Minister of Japan, said his country would continue sharing lessons learned since the great east Japan earthquake hit his country in March last year. The Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, to be held at the end of the year, would provide one such opportunity. Numerous threats endangered human existence, some of which lay in advanced civilization itself and not just in nature. What was needed for the human species to continue to enjoy peace and prosperity? “Humans must get wiser,” he said, and one part of such wisdom was learning to act on behalf of future generations. By way of example, he said many countries had amassed huge fiscal deficits, and if spending was not cut, future generations would be forced to repay them. He also wondered if parliamentary democracy could ensure fairness, as it had no guarantees to represent future interests. The structure invited a type of politics that burdened future generations with deferred problems. “The challenges facing us must be resolved by our generation,” he said.
He said Japan had procrastinated in politics for 20 years and was considered a “country that delayed decisions”. He had staked his political career on reforming Japan’s social security and tax systems, by carrying out ambitious policies to maintain a stable financial base and pave the way for fiscal rehabilitation. Citing another “pearl of wisdom”, he said humanity, because it had obtained the perspective of “looking at the Earth from outside”, shared the sublime mission of protecting the environment. At the Rio+20 Summit, Japan had proposed that sustainable growth be explored without the supply-demand crunch of natural resources and energy. Japan would realize a low-carbon and sound material-cycle society and take the lead in solving common energy challenges. Also, the Japan-led resolution adopted by the General Assembly served to guide development from a human perspective.
A third “pearl of wisdom” was the manner in which they settled disputes, although people had failed to resist the temptation to resolve conflicts by force, even in modern times. He pressed the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to coordinate in urging the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran to take concrete actions vis-à-vis their nuclear and missile issues. Also, abductions by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea also violated basic human rights and Japan was committed to do its utmost to realize the return of all victims through strengthened coordination with Member States. It would work to resolve outstanding issues, settle “the unfortunate past” and normalize relations, in line with the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration. He urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to take positive steps.
Finally, he called for strengthening the rule of law and, on other legal fronts, said the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism allowed States to solve trade disputes through common legal language. Japan recognized the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and led the world in its personnel and financial contributions to international judicial institutions. There were a number of territorial and maritime disputes around the world and Japan was determined to settle disputes peacefully and in line with international law. On other matters, he condemned the violence in Syria, and said Japan would contribute to rule-making efforts to expand trade, build maritime order and create prosperity for the Asia-Pacific region. In closing, he said he had a belief that human beings would get wiser, would think about the future generations and learn to solve disputes peacefully. “Let us take charge of our responsibilities for tomorrow together.” (Hayden Roger Celestin images/NAN UN)