UN - United Nations

09/21/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/21/2023 09:40

General Assembly: General Debate

General Assembly: General Debate

Note: A full summary of today's General Assembly general debate will be made available upon completion.


RASHAD MOHAMMED AL-ALIMI, President of the Presidential Leadership Council of Yemen, commending the international community's unified position on the constitutional legitimacy of his country, acknowledged the solidarity of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. "Their positions represented a strong fence to prevent the collapse of institutions," he underscored. Recalling that his Government had to re-establish the Presidential Leadership Council, he lamented that "peace remained elusive". "We do not have enough time or compromises to make to convince the Houthi militias to change their positions," he stressed, pointing out that they use peace agreements to delay matters further and acquire more resources.

Urging the international community to support the legitimate Government, he said that the "superpowers" must send a clear message to the Houthi militias that they should not overturn constitutional legitimacy. To restore trust and achieve progress in the "Yemen dossier", the track based on international humanitarian intervention should be reconsidered to also combat terrorism, rebellion and armed groups. In this context, he welcomed United Nations efforts to move from relief interventions to sustainable development. Underlining the importance of recognizing Yemen's Central Bank to strengthen the national currency and ensure that funds don't fall in the militias' hands, he pointed out that this track contradicts the international rhetoric, which calls for the improvement of the country's economic indicators at a time when international operations are going through institutions under the Houthis' control. They impose arbitrary measures to violate the independence of the banking service, the confidentiality of its operations, turning the sector into a money-laundering network, he added.

He went on to report an increase in threats from Al-Qaida and Da'esh, supported by the militias and Iran with money, weapons and intelligence services, observing: "They also share the same Takfiri ideology." Recalling that the public budget had been in good shape since the start of the war, he lamented that this "momentum" stopped as a result of the Houthis attacks on oil facilities. Was it not for Saudi Arabia's grant of $1.2 billion to support the public budget, the Government would have been unable to ensure salaries disbursement. Further, he commended humanitarian and development pledges of the United Arab Emirates, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and other regional partners. However, despite humanitarian intervention, the Houthis have targeted navigation routes in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait and the Aegean Sea; used them as military areas; tested new weapons; and targeted commercial ships and tankers, he reported.

In this regard, he reaffirmed the need for guaranteeing the freedom of international navigation; combating extremism, terrorism and piracy; and supporting measures to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, notably Iran's nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and their role in sabotaging the region. Calling on the international community to condemn Teheran's interventions in Yemen's affairs, he also urged Member States to commit to an arms embargo and prevent that country from providing the militias with ballistic missiles and drones, used against civilians. Recalling that his Government established an independent national committee to investigate human rights violations, he observed that the agreements, signed by the Houthis with the UN, have not been implemented.

FAUSTIN ARCHANGE TOUADERA, President of the Central African Republic, said that the entire world "followed with great dismay" in recent days, the arrival of thousands of African migrants to the island of Lampedusa in Italy. "These young people represent the present and the future of our continent of Africa," he added. This escalation of the migrant crisis is one of the terrifying consequences of the looting of the natural resources owned by the countries made poor by slavery, colonialism, Western imperialism, terrorism and internal armed conflict, he said. Turning to Sudan, he said an internal armed conflict erupted in April - at a time when the country was well on the way to normalization. The Central African Republic has already hosted 15,000 Chadian and Sudanese refugees. He urged the international community to take into account the impact of this crisis and the effect it is having on regional geopolitics.

It is also deeply concerning that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict continues to play out on the ground with no prospects for a peaceful settlement, he continued. The increase in the number of hotbeds of tension throughout the world raises questions about the effectiveness of certain global mechanisms. The UN's primary mission is to guarantee international peace and security. "These question marks are why we forcefully reaffirm the common African position regarding Security Council reform," he said. That position seeks to increase the number of permanent and non-permanent members on the Council and for a permanent seat to be granted to Africa, "which is the only right and just thing to do". For its part, the Central African Republic is pondering how it can expedite the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at a time when certain States wield political, economic and military might and exercise coercive diplomacy.

In July, the people of the Central African Republic learned to their great distress of the renewal of an arms embargo which was brought about by trumped up reports, he said. This "cynical decision" betrays the unspoken intention of the members of the Council. Arms embargoes and diamond embargoes happen in parallel with the suspension of budgetary and economic support. "Both of these factors are real obstacles for my country's achievement of the realization of the 2030 Agenda," he said, also adding: "Here we repudiate this denial of our right to self-determination and permanent sovereignty over our wealth and natural resources." These trumped-up mechanisms are a "thinly veiled" desire to allow insecurity to reign and to continue a stranglehold over that country's natural resources for the benefit of foreign Powers.

Turning to climate change, he urged wealthy countries to live up to their commitments. He decried the disinformation and smear campaigns waged by certain Western media against the Central African Republic. On 30 July, his country adopted a new Constitution. And with that vote, the people of the Central African Republic reaffirmed their commitment to self-determination, the stability of their institutions, to peace, to security, to national unity and to development. "I wish to recall that beyond the Constitution, the national policy of decentralization is the expression of a deeply harboured will of the Central African Republic," he continued. It is also an essential component of the peace agreement and of the Luanda Joint Road Map. Local elections are scheduled to take place in October 2024. "For us, this is a fundamental step in our journey towards ensuring local ownership of democracy, the promotion of participatory governance and local development," he added.