Note: A complete summary of today’s General Assembly general debate will be made available after its conclusion.
NICOS ANASTASIADES, President of Cyprus, said that the collective and shared failure to decisively tackle global challenges, had “let down and disappointed many people across the world, whose fundamental human rights and dignity were not adequately protected”. “Selfish interests hinder the founding principles of the United Nations, in which humanity has vested its hopes for a prosperous and peaceful future,” he stated, noting that the only way forward was through multilateralism, tangible solidarity and stronger partnerships. In this context, he expressed his country’s “unwavering support” to the reform of the United Nations that would give real hope to those in need of international protection, collective security, peace and development.
Recalling that his country still endures the consequences of a “blatant violation of the fundamental principles of the United Nations”, he challenged Turkey’s statements about “exhausted efforts for a compromise” and calls for a settlement based on the so-called “realities on the ground”. Detailing “the true realities on the ground”, he went on to warn that “Turkey’s end game is not to solve the Cyprus problem, but to turn Cyprus into its protectorate”. Pointing to the Conference on Cyprus at Crans Montana, he blamed “Turkey’s inflexible stance and insistence on maintaining the anachronistic Treaty of Guarantee, the right of intervention and a permanent presence of troops” for the unsuccessful outcome of the negotiations. With that in mind, he stated that a compromise was not possible because “one side deviates from the United Nations framework or annuls agreements reached and aspires to a different form of settlement, contrary to the agreed basis”.
A compromise becomes even more difficult to reach when new ideas ‑ put forward at the request of the Secretary-General to move the process forward ‑ are rejected, he said, highlighting his proposals for the decentralization of powers and establishment of a parliamentary system with a ceremonial Head of State and rotating Prime Minister, among others. For its part, Cyprus is determined to set the negotiation process back on track based on the United Nations framework and the agreement reached in Berlin on 25 November 2019. The only way forward is “a settlement that will equally benefit all Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, fully respecting their human rights and contributing to the peace and stability of the region,” he declared.
On climate change, he cited a regional action plan, consisting of two components: a scientific and an intergovernmental one. Taking note of the recent events in Afghanistan, he declared: “We share a collective responsibility to uphold international humanitarian law, particularly as regards the protection of women and minorities.” “We also need to ensure that Afghanistan does not become a safe haven for terrorism and extremism, or a breeding ground for organized crime, weapons and drug trafficking and renewed waves of illegal migration,” he added. As a strong proponent of stability and peace in the Eastern Mediterranean and the greater Middle East, Cyprus strives to actively promote an enhanced network of regional cooperation.
MUHAMMADU BUHARI, President of Nigeria, thanked the United States, Turkey, India, China and the European Union, as well as the international community for their work on the COVAX Facility, however he called for a more equitable distribution of vaccines to all countries.
Turning to other issues including the illicit trade, transfer and circulation of small arms and light weapons in Africa, he urged the world to enforce the Arms Trade Treaty. Pointing to the erosion of democratic gains, he fully supported the efforts from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and stressed that countries should adhere to their Constitutional provisions on term limits to avoid fueling tensions in the region. He went on to say that terrorism remains a major threat to the world’s security and Nigeria has spared no efforts to fight Boko Haram and that it will continue to do so with the support of United Nations counter-terrorism bodies.
Deploring illicit financial flows, he asserted that the return of illicitly acquired assets was a priority in the context of COVID-19 recovery. He invited the international community to support the recommendations for systemic reforms made by the Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda Panel. He indicated that Nigeria would advocate for a global coordination mechanism at the Economic and Social Council to “systematically monitor illicit financial flows and strengthen financial integrity for sustainable development”.
Noting that developing countries faced unsustainable debt burdens, he praised the ongoing initiatives from international institutions and the Group of 20 (G20) to mitigate the economic impact. He requested that the Debt Service Suspension Initiative be expanded to all developing countries facing fiscal and liquidity challenges and for a review of the eligibility criteria for debt suspension including outright cancellation for countries facing the most severe difficulties. He underscored that fair and equitable trade would be critical to eradicating the need for aid. He called for a reform agenda that will accelerate economic recovery, build resilience and pursue transformative development strategies to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.
On human rights, he called for collective global action through a treaty to end all forms of violence against women and girls. He went on to say that the recent adoption of the resolution on the establishment of the Permanent Forum of People of African Descent was a step in the right direction. He urged the international community to accelerate the reform of the Security Council referring to the Elzuwini consensus and the Sirte Declaration. He concluded by encouraging “Israel and Palestine to re-engage in a dialogue based on relevant United Nations resolutions and initiatives”. The two-State solution has the support of the international community and is widely considered as a solution to lasting peace.