President of 67th session of the UN General Assembly Vuk Jeremic announces the closing of the General Assembly 67th session at the UN headquarters in New York, the United States, on Oct. 1, 2012. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)
by William M. Reilly
UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- The week-long UN high-level debate ended here Monday after attendees discussed issues ranging from the Syria crisis to climate change and sustainable development.
The annual General Debate of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly, which opened last Tuesday, also covered Iran's nuclear issue, woes of small island nations and problems in Africa.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday urged UN members to help bridge divisions in the UN Security Council over Syria and promote a return to the Geneva agreement outlining the steps for a peaceful transition in the Middle Eastern country.
"We have consistently called for consolidated efforts of the international community to compel the (Syrian) government and its opponents to immediately cease violence and come to the negotiating table," Lavrov said.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Thursday that there was a need to ensure that international relations were based strictly on the principle of non-interference in each other's affairs.
"Mutual respect and equality are basic norms governing international relations. All countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community," he said. "Respect for each other's sovereignty, core interests and choice of social system and development path is a fundamental principle guiding state-to-state relations."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday called on the international community to set a "clear red line" for taking action, by next summer at the latest, to prevent Iran from completing the second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb.
"I believe that faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down," he said of the nuclear program that Iran says is for peaceful energy production but which Israel and the United States believe is aimed at producing a nuclear weapon.
Later on the day, an Iranian representative used his right to reply to refute what the Israeli prime minister said at the General Assembly, reiterating that the Iranian nuclear program is only for peaceful purpose.
Minutes later, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he would seek non-member state status this year, accusing Israel of apparently rejecting the internationally endorsed two-state solution.
BID FOR TOLERANCE
Vice Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Prince Addulaziz bin Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz said Friday that member states must spread a culture of tolerance and understanding to prevent conflicts.
"We must disseminate and deepen the dialogue with a view to achieve peace between human beings, to avoid conflicts, to put an end to acts of aggression and arrogance, to respect religious, cultural...and to encourage pursuit of positive interaction between civilizations, cultures, and religions," he said.
Many nations' representatives condemned attacks on diplomatic missions and the killing of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, in Benghazi, Libya, last month.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday, "Like his fellow foreign service officers, he built bridges across oceans and cultures, and was deeply invested in the international cooperation that the United Nations represents."
Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti on Saturday highlighted his country reaching a key framework agreement for cooperation, particularly in security, the common border and economic relations, with South Sudan, at talks this week in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.
South Sudan became independent from Sudan in July last year. However, peace between the two countries has come under threat over recent months by armed clashes along their common border and outstanding post-independence issues that have yet to be resolved.
Somalian Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali on Thursday thanked the United Nations and the African Union for all its help during the two decades of factional strife in his country, acknowledging that it is now up to Somalis themselves to forge a peaceful and prosperous future.
However, despite the recent advances in its peace and national reconciliation process, Somalia is still dealing with the Al-Shabaab militant group, which has been pushed out of Mogadishu but still controls some areas, primarily in south-central regions of the country.
Tanzanian Foreign Minister Bernard Kamillius Membe pointed to the food insecurity problem on Friday, saying that "we must work collectively to address food insecurity, and we must increase food production and productivity on a sustainable basis."
S.M. Krishna, the Indian foreign minister, said Monday that developing countries were still recovering from the global economic downturn, with their quest for poverty eradication and sustainable development an uphill task.
He said India is committed to addressing climate change through a comprehensive, equitable and balanced outcome based on the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities.
Tuvalu's minister of foreign affairs, Apisai Ielemia, said Saturday that much work remains to be done in devising an international response to the challenges faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Climate change related rise in sea levels poses the greatest threat to small island states, he said, adding that his country's elevation of only four meters above sea level "pronounces us as extremely vulnerable" to this.
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- China and the United States should maintain the momentum of dialogue and cooperation and work hard to expand common interests, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said here Thursday. Full story
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu here on Thursday urged the world to draw a " clear red line" over Iran's nuclear program.
"At this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs and that's by placing a clear red line on Iran's nuclear weapons program," Netanyahu said to the UN' s 67th session of the General Assembly's General Debate. Full story
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Senior UN officials on Friday called for greater international cooperation and a stronger legal framework to contain the possibility of nuclear terrorism.
"The prospect of terrorists acquiring nuclear materials is one of the most unnerving threats imaginable," said UN Secretary- general Ban Ki-moon at the High-Level Meeting on Countering the Threat of Nuclear Terrorism, held on the margins of the annual debate of the UN General Assembly. Full story