Radio Islam International | 07 October 2018
Every year in September, global leaders gather at the United Nations headquarters in New York for the U.N. General Assembly. This year the big talkshop called the General Debate spanned between September 25 – October 1. There is no actual debating that takes place, rather it is a time for each country to address whichever topics deemed most important to their governments.
Radio Islam International has been sifting through this cloud of words and we present to you some notable excerpts.
The sentiments are those of the speakers alone. We reproduce them for information purposes.
Jordanian King – Abdullah II
“How long must Jerusalem, a holy city to more than half the world’s people, face dangers to its multi-faith heritage and identity? How can we accept a status quo of continuing crisis and bigotry? Palestinian families displaced for generations, their children’s very identity denied.
“..Above all, we need to safeguard the heritage an peace of Jerusalem, a holy city to billions of people around the world. The Hashemite Custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem is a duty that Jordan is proud to carry, and we will counter any attempts to change the holy city’s historic Arab Christian and Muslim identity. But Jerusalem’s future is not Jordan’s concern alone; it is yours. There are global implications when religious worship is threatened and international law is undermined.” – An impassioned plea to recognise the dark clouds gathering over Jerusalem
“And what could possibly be the f ture of what some propose: a single, bi-national state, whose very foundation is a rejection of the equality of its own people? That’s the ugly, undemocratic reality of the one-state idea. It is by no means an alternative to a two-state peace settlement, it is an abandonment of peace, a new way to go AWOL from the work of reconciliation, and the
opposite of what both sides need, and have sought for so long.” – Rejecting the one-state solution idea
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad ath Thani – Qatari Amir
Cyril Ramaphosa – South African President
“We must act with the same urgency to resolve some of the world's most protracted and intractable disputes. The fact that the people of Palestine have endured occupation and suffering for nearly as long as the United Nations has existed, makes their plight no less pressing, nor their suffering any less acceptable.
“We must similarly intensify our efforts to secure the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination and full national sovereignty.” – South African Solidarity with Palestine and Western Sahara
Bakir Izetbegovic – Bosnia and Herzegovina chair of Presidency
“The same applies to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has lasted for more than half a century, and which has brought about immense human suffering. Holding a region hostage, as individual national interest compromises the interests of civilians who are caught in the endless cycles of violence, is unacceptable. The national interest of any country cannot be justified when the most basic services and means to sustain life are lacking for a large segment of the population.” – On Israel holding the Middle East hostage
Michel Temer – Brazilian President
“In South America, we are in the middle of a large migratory wave. It is estimated at over one million Venezuelans have already left their country in search of dignified living conditions. Brazil has received all those who come to our territory. These are tens of thousands of Venezuelans to whom we seek to give our full assistance. With the collaboration of the High Commission for Refugees, we have built shelters to support them in the best way. We have promoted their resettlement to other regions of Brazil. We have issued documents that allow them to work in the country. We have offered schools for children, and vaccination and health services for all. But we know that the solution to the crisis will only come when Venezuela rediscovers the path of development.” – On the effects of the crisis in Venezuela
Hage G. Geingob – President of Namibia
“Namibia is a child of international solidarity, midwifed by the UN. We relied on the solidarity of the nations of the world to call on South AMca to give us our right to self-determination. Equally, we call on the implementation of the UN resolutions and decisions, which will lead to a positive, peaceful and permanent solution that meets the aspirations and will of the people of Western Sahara. In the same vein, we reaffirm our support for the people of the Occupied Territory of Palestine, in their pursuit of self-determination, justice, freedom and independence, through political, diplomatic, peaceful and non-violent means.” – Affirming Namibian support for Palestine and Western Sahara
Michel Aoun – Lebanese President
Theresa May – Prime Minister, United Kingdom
“In Burma, following the damning report of the United Nations fact-finding mission, we should show the same confidence to hold accountable those responsible for the appalling atrocities repeatedly inflicted by the Burmese military on the Rohingya, Shan and Kachin peoples since 2011.” – Calling for accountability for perpetrators of Rohingya genocide
Uhuru Kenyatta – President of Kenya
“There is increasing evidence that Africa is a net exporter of much needed capital to the world through illicit outflows. Conservative estimates indicate that between 1980 and 2009, illicit money outflows from Africa ranged between 1.2 to 1.4 trillion dollars, roughly equal to Africa s current GDP and surpassing by far the money it received from outside over the same period.” – On money illegally leaving the African continent
Emmerson Mnangagwa – Zimbabwean President
“In the spirit of leaving no one behind, our efforts to promote global partnership for peace and development would never be complete unless we address the plight of people living under occupation. It is most saddening that some of us continue to turn a blind eye to the suffering of the people of Palestine.” – On the plight of Palestine
Erna Solberg – Prime Minister of Sweden
“Our oceans offer us enormous renewable resources. A source of great promise and economic potential. Almost half of the world's population already depends on the oceans for nutrition and employment. But in order to ensure a sustainable ocean economy, we must produce more from the oceans.
“However, the sustainability of our oceans is threatened. By 2050 they could contain more plastic than fish. Marine litter is one of the fastest growing environmental concerns. Since I started speaking, a further 200 tonnes of plastic will have ended up in the sea.
“The UN Environment Assembly has taken a bold step and adopted a vision of zero discharge of plastic litter into the ocean. Now we must translate this into action. Managing our oceans sustainably is crucial. Increased global funding is imperative.” – On the grave dangers facing the ocean
Miguel Bermudez – President of Cuba
“Today we have come to reiterate what Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz said on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the UN, which summarizes the most noble aspiration of the majority of the humanity, and I quote: "We want a world without hegemonistic practices, without nuclear weapons, without interventionism, without racism, without national or religious hatred, without violations of the sovereignty of any country, with respect for independence and the free self-determination of peoples, without universal models that do not take into account the traditions and cultures of all components of humanity at all. Without cruel blockades that kill men, women, children, the young, and the elderly like silent atomic bombs".
“More than 20 years have elapsed since that demand was made and none of those ills have been cured; in fact, they have exacerbated. We have every right to ask why. And we have the duty to insist on effective and equitable solutions.” – On global injustice
“We reiterate our unrestricted support to a comprehensive, just and lasting solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the basis of the creation of two States, allowing the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and to have an independent and sovereign State based upon the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. We reject the unilateral action of the United States to establish their diplomatic representation in the city of Jerusalem, which heightens even more the tensions in the region. We condemn the barbarities of the Israeli forces against civilian population in Gaza.” – On Cuban support for Palestine
Recep Tayyip Erdogan - Turkish President
Mahmoud Abbas – Leader of Palestinian Authority
“This racist law talks about what is called the "land of Israel". Can you ask the Israeli government what exactly constitutes the "land of Israel", what the "borders" of the State of Israel are? I challenge anyone to tell us what they are.” – On the Israeli Nation State law
“Peace in our region cannot be realized without an independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and not some place in East Jerusalem as its capital, and with all of its holy sites. There is no peace otherwise. There is no peace with a state of temporary borders. There is no peace with an alleged state in Gaza. The path to peace is enshrined in your resolutions, including resolution 67/19 of 29 November 2012, which was adopted by an overwhelming majority and refers to the State of Palestine on the basis of the 1967 borders.” – On his basis for peace
“After all that I have said in my statements before this distinguished General Assembly, let me sum up:
- We are not a people that can be excluded on this earth; we are an indigenous people and our roots are deep across five thousand years. We insist on fairness towards us and the implementation of your resolutions.
- We have concluded agreements with Israel and they have abrogated all of them. Either Israel abides by these agreements, or else we will renege on them. Israel will bear the responsibility and consequences of this.
- There are also agreements with the US administration, but why have they reneged on all of them, and how should we address this? Please answer me. Either it respects its commitments, or we are not going to comply with any of these agreements. We will also not accept sole American mediation in the peace process because the US administration has lost its eligibility due to its recent decisions.
- We have also concluded agreements with Hamas. Either they implement them fully, or we will distance ourselves from any agreements or measures that are concluded without our approval and will not bear any responsibility.
- Lastly, allow me to reaffirm to you that we will not revert to violence and terror, no matter what the situation or conditions are.” – A series of ultimatums
Benjamin Netanyahu – Israeli Prime Minister
“This may surprise you, but I have to admit that the Iran deal has had one positive consequence, an unintended one, but a positive consequence. By empowering Iran, it brought Israel and many Arab states closer together than ever before, closer together than ever before, in an intimacy and friendship that I’ve not seen in my lifetime and would have been unimaginable a few years ago.
“And you know, when you form friendships around a threat, around a challenge, you quickly see opportunities, not only for security, but how to bring a better life for our people which Israel can help and wants to help do.” – On Israeli relations with Arab regimes
Muhammad Jusuf Kalla - Indonesian Vice President
“Central to peace and stability in the Middle East is the long-standing question of Palestine.. Indonesia will continue to stand with the people of Palestine... until the day Palestine is truly independent.” – On Indonesian support for Palestine
Sheikh Hasina – Prime Minister of Bangladesh
“The 1.1 million Rohingya hosted in Bangladesh are living in an uncertain situation. To the best of our ability, we have made arrangements for their food, clothing, healthcare, child-care and security. Many countries and organizations including the UN, the Commonwealth, and the QIC have shown solidarity with the Rohingya and extended support and assistance for them. I extend my appreciation and thanks to the international community.
“So long the Rohingya are not able to return home, they should, as a temporary arrangement, be able to live in a good and healthy condition. With this in mind, we have started working on a new housing facility for them with all arrangements for their education, health care and other needs. I call upon international organizations to join hands with us in this initiative. I also seek their assistance to help relocate the Rohingya to the facility.” – On Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh
“Bangladesh is perhaps the world’s only country, where in its National Parliament, the Speaker, the Leader of the House, the Deputy Leader of the House, and the Leader of the Opposition are all women. In the present Parliament, there are 72 elected female members. 33% seats are earmarked for women in local government bodies in order to promote women’s political empowerment at the grassroots.” – On women in government in Bangladesh
Mahatir Mohamad – Malaysian Prime Minister
“What are the root causes? In 1948, Palestinian land was seized to form the state of Israel. The Palestinians were massacred and forced to leave their land. Their houses and farms were seized.
“They tried to fight a conventional war with help from sympathetic neighbours. The friends of Israel ensured this attempt failed. More Palestinian land was seized. And Israeli settlements were built on more and more Palestinian land and the Palestinians are denied access to these settlements built on their land.
“The Palestinians initially tried to fight with catapults and stones. They were shot with live bullets and arrested. Thousands are incarcerated.
“Frustrated and angry, unable to fight a conventional war, the Palestinians resort to what we call terrorism.
“The world does not care even when Israel breaks international laws, seizing ships carrying medicine, food and building materials in international waters. The Palestinians fired ineffective rockets which hurt no one. Massive retaliations were mounted by Israel, rocketing and bombing hospitals, schools and other buildings, killing innocent civilians including school children and hospital patients. And more.
“The world rewards Israel, deliberately provoking Palestine by recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“It is the anger and frustration of the Palestinians and their sympathisers that cause them to resort to what we call terrorism. But it is important to acknowledge that any act which terrify people also constitute terrorism. And states dropping bombs or launching rockets which maim and kill innocent people also terrify people. These are also acts of terrorism.
“Malaysia hates terrorism. We will fight them. But we believe that the only way to fight terrorism is to remove the cause. Let the Palestinians return to reclaim their land. Let there be a state of Palestine. Let there be justice and the rule of law. Warring against them will not stop terrorism. Nor will out-terrorising them succeed.” – On Palestine and ‘terrorism’
“Wars are about killing people. Modern wars are about mass killings and total destruction countrywide. Civilised nations claim they abhor killing for any reason. When a man kills, he commits the crime of murder. And the punishment for murder may be death.
“But wars, we all know encourage and legitimise killing. Indeed the killings are regarded as noble, and the killers are hailed as heroes. They get medals stuck to their chest and statues erected in their honour, have their names mentioned in history books.
“There is something wrong with our way of thinking, with our value system. Kill one man, it is murder, kill a million and you become a hero. And so we still believe that conflict between nations can be resolved with war.
“And because we still do, we must prepare for war. The old adage says “to have peace, prepare for war”. And we are forever preparing for war, inventing more and more destructive weapons. We now have nuclear bombs, capable of destroying whole cities. But now we know that the radiation emanating from the explosion will affect even the country using the bomb. A nuclear war would destroy the world.
“This fear has caused the countries of Europe and North America to maintain peace for over 70 years. But that is not for other countries. Wars in these other countries can help live test the new weapons being invented.
“And so they sell them to warring countries. We see their arms in wars fought between smaller countries. These are not world wars but they are no less destructive. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, whole countries devastated and nations bankrupted because of these fantastic new weapons.
“But these wars give handsome dividends to the arms manufacturers and traders. The arms business is now the biggest business in the world. They profit shamelessly from the deaths and destructions they cause. Indeed, so-called peace-loving countries often promote this shameful business.
“Today’s weapons cost millions. Fighter jets cost about 100 million dollars. And maintaining them cost tens of millions. But the poor countries are persuaded to buy them even if they cannot afford. They are told their neighbours or their enemies have them. It is imperative that they too have them.
So, while their people starve and suffer from all kinds of deprivations, a huge percentage of their budget is allocated to the purchase of arms. That their buyers may never have to use them bothers the purveyors not at all.” – On wars and the proliferation of weapons
“In Myanmar, Muslims in Rakhine state are being murdered, their homes torched and a million refugees had been forced to flee, to drown in the high seas, to live in makeshift huts, without water or food, without the most primitive sanitation. Yet the authorities of Myanmar including a Nobel Peace Laureate deny that this is happening. I believe in non-interference in the internal affairs of nations. But does the world watch massacres being carried out and do nothing? Nations are independent. But does this mean they have a right to massacre their own people, because they are independent?” – On the genocide of the Rohingya
U Kyaw Tint Swe – Representative of Myanmar
“As you will also be aware, the government of Myanmar has resolutely rejected the ICCs ruling of 6 September 2018 in connection with Rakhine State. Our position here is clear: Myanmar is not a party to the Rome Statute, and the Court has no jurisdiction over Myanmar whatsoever. The ICC decision was made on dubious legal grounds and applied to a situation here domestic remedies have not yet been exhausted.” – Rejecting ICC pronouncements on crimes against the Rohingya
Olof Skoog – Swedish representative
“The suffering of the stateless Rohingya population of Myanmar continues. The UN Fact-Finding Mission recently presented solid evidence of the gravity of atrocities committed by the Myanmar military, amounting to the worst crimes under international law. Since Myanmar systematically has failed to condemn, investigate and prosecute perpetrators, the international community must shoulder its responsibility and act to end impunity.” – On crimes against the Rohingya
Marc-Andre’ Blanchard – Canadian representative
“Canada has become home to refugees and new Canadians for decades. While we are very proud to have welcomed over 50 000 Syrian refugees over the last three years, we are fully aware that many countries have also shown great leadership in welcoming many more.
“I must say, one of the things that makes me very proud is that 40% of the Syrian refugees we have welcomed – some 20,000 people – have been directly sponsored by private citizens who choose to personally contribute.” – On Syrian refugees in Canada
Sheikh Khalid al-Khalifa – Bahraini Foreign Minister
Walid al-Moualem – Syrian Deputy Prime Minister
“The United States also sought to prolong the crisis in Syria by releasing terrorists from Guantanamo prison and sending them to Syria, where they became the effective leaders of the Nosra Front and other terrorist groups.” – Syrian regime claim
Ahmed Isse Awad –Somali foreign minister
“Somalia enjoys the double blessings of a strategic location on the Horn of Africa, and a vast wealth in natural resources. Significant oil reserves, natural gas, and iron ore, arable and productive fields, as well as Africa's second longest coastline after the island of Madagascar provide enormous opportunities for sustainable output.” – On Somalia’s strategic location
“It should no longer be business as usual when year in, year out we are losing hundreds of young productive men and women to the Mediterranean, ostensibly in search for better living prospects.
“It is even ironic that this happens as the world focuses on Africa for its resources, markets, and labour.”- On Africans dying trying to reach Europe
Donald Trump – US President
“In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country. America’s — so true. (Laughter.) Didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s okay. (Laughter and applause.)” – Trump, laughing stock of the world
“We have secured record funding for our military — $700 billion this year, and $716 billion next year. Our military will soon be more powerful than it has ever been before.” – On American warmongering
“This year, we also took another significant step forward in the Middle East. In recognition of every sovereign state to determine its own capital, I moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
“The United States is committed to a future of peace and stability in the region, including peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That aim is advanced, not harmed, by acknowledging the obvious facts.” – On his move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem
“OPEC and OPEC nations, are, as usual, ripping off the rest of the world, and I don’t like it. Nobody should like it. We defend many of these nations for nothing, and then they take advantage of us by giving us high oil prices. Not good.
“We want them to stop raising prices, we want them to start lowering prices, and they must contribute substantially to military protection from now on. We are not going to put up with it — these horrible prices — much longer.” – On oil supplying countries
“There is India, a free society over a billion people, successfully lifting countless millions out of poverty and into the middle class.
“There is Saudi Arabia, where King Salman and the Crown Prince are pursuing bold new reforms.
“There is Israel, proudly celebrating its 70th anniversary as a thriving democracy in the Holy Land.” – Singing the praises of India, Saudi Arabia and Israel
Hassan Rouhani – Iranian President
“Iran has served as the link between east and west and will continue to do so; remaining a meticulous guardian for a world free from violence.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is the same state that understood the fascistic nature of the Ba’athist regime in Iraq before anyone else in the world, and bravely resisted its aggression against us. We fought against the Ba’ath Party of Iraq before Kuwait was occupied by it.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is the same state that was on the forefront of the struggle against Taliban terrorism, and gave up martyrs in that struggle. We fought against Al-Qaida and the Taliban before the attacks on New York and Washington.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is the same state that fought against Daesh – a fake, distorted representation of Islam. We were engaged in the fight against Daesh before their operations in Paris, London and Brussels.
Appreciate these historical realities about Iran. Quit imposing sanctions and end extremism. The world will not have a better friend than Iran, if peace is what you seek.” – Outlining Iran’s record in fighting ‘terrorism’
Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi – Pakistani Foreign Minister
“Consider the issue of striking the right balance between freedom of expression and sentiments of a people.
“Where there ought to be empathy, understanding and compassion, we see caricatured, ill informed, jaundiced judgments.
“Recently, Muslims across the world, were pained at a planned competition of cartoons of our Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). This deeply hurt Muslim sentiments and sensibilities.”- On hate-speech directed at Muslims
“For seventy years the people of occupied Jammu & Kashmir have struggled for their rights of self-determination in the face of overwhelming oppression and gross violations of their fundamental human rights by the Indian occupation forces.
“There can be no lasting peace in South Asia without a just settlement of the Kashmir dispute based on the UN Security Council resolutions and the will of the Kashmiri people.
“Pakistan welcomes the recently released report by the Office ofthe UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The report rightly lifts the veil from decades of obfuscation and chronicles the massive ongoing violations of human rights in Indian Occupied Kashmir. It vindicates our position. No longer the excuse of terrorism can be used to continue to systematically oppress the Kashmiri people.” – On the Kashmiri plight
“Pakistan has hosted the longest protracted refugee presence of modem times.
“Our role and sacrifices can perhaps be better appreciated when juxtaposed against the rising tide of anti-immigrant sentiments in nations, more resourceful and developed than ours, that have faced the brunt of fewer immigrants, over a shorter timescale.” – On Pakistan’s efforts in hosting refugees
“Pakistan continues to face terrorism that is financed, facilitated and orchestrated by our eastern neighbour. We wanted to sit with India to discuss all issues, including terrorism, that have created violence in our cities and towns, and have led to tens of thousands of casualties of innocent Pakistanis. Pakistan shall never forget the mass murder of more than 150 children in a Peshawar School, the terrible Mastung attack and many others that have links with terrorists supported by India. And we will never forget the terrorist attack in India against Samjhota Express carrying innocent Pakistanis -and now its confessed perpetrators are being allowed to walk free.
“We wanted to share this evidence with India and the international community on who supported these acts of violence and terrorism. We have already shared this evidence with the UN. We have in our custody a serving Indian Naval officer, Commander Kalbhushan Yadav, who has provided us with the most incriminating evidence by accepting that he, on the instructions of his government, financed, planned and executed acts of terrorism and violence in Pakistan. This is but one Indian state sponsored official terrorist. Many more are launched inside Pakistan to create terror and mayhem by our eastern neighbour.
“And it is India, that in plain sight ofthe international community, perpetrates state sponsored terrorism in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of India. It is the concern of the United Nations, as Jammu and Kashmir remains on the agenda of the UN Security Council. And it is a matter of concern for the international community as humanity is being crushed and human rights being violated all over India, where people have stood up against oppression, occupation and to demand their fundamental rights.
“It is also a matter of concern of the international community that India has sponsored terrorism and aggression against all its neigbours.” – Allegations of Indian State Terrorism
“The Kashmiri wife who lost her husband; the Kashmiri school boy who lost his eye sight and his future to pellet gun Injuries; the Syrian father who saw his child drown, the Palestinian girl who suffocates under siege, the African migrant willing to risk all for a better life, continue to look to this, the United Nations for support and succor.
“Let us not fail them any longer.”
(All quotes sourced from official UN transcripts)