Tuesday, 02 September 2014

UN in your language

European leaders call for support for Arab democracy building

rompuy

27 September 2012 – European leaders today urged the United Nations not to be put off by setbacks in the Arab Spring that overthrew long-entrenched dictatorships on the continent’s doorstep, and called for increased support for peoples seeking to build democracy.

 

“We in Europe, geographically so close, and with our societies so deeply involved with those in the countries experiencing these upheavals, we were also acutely aware that the changes, and the risks and opportunities that lay ahead, would directly affect us as neighbours,” President Herman Van Rompuy of the European Council told the General Assembly.

“Of course expectations ran high. It was tempting to read the events in Tunis or Cairo as the opening pages of a fairytale,” he said on the second day  (26 September) of the 67th Assembly’s General Debate, alluding to violence that has shaken some of the countries of the Arab Spring, as well as the ferocious fighting that is continuing in Syria.

He underscored the importance of tolerance and freedom of speech. Violence and killings, such as that of United States Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, can never be justified regardless of their motivations, he said. Along with others, Ambassador Stevens died in violence that erupted in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, reportedly in reaction to an anti-Islam video made in the US. Other countries across North Africa and the Middle East experiences similar violent reactions.

CameronIn his statement to the General Debate, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister David Cameron also called for patience.

“Some believe that the Arab Spring is in danger of becoming an Arab Winter,” he told the Assembly, citing the riots, Syria’s descent into civil war, frustration at the lack of economic progress and the emergence of newly elected Islamist-led governments.

“But they are in danger of drawing the wrong conclusion. Today is not the time to turn back, but to keep the faith and redouble our support for open societies and for people’s demands for a job and a voice,” he added. “We in the United Nations must step up our efforts to support the people of these countries as they build their own democratic future.”

The UK leader noted the “huge and sobering” challenges ahead, noting the “despicable” murder of Mr. Stevens and the danger of violent extremists exploiting the political transition.

“Islam is a great religion observed peacefully and devoutly by over a billion people. Islamist extremism is a warped political ideology supported by a minority that seeks to hijack a great religion to gain respectability for its violent objectives,” he said, and, citing Turkey as an example, added that, “democracy and Islam can flourish alongside each other.”

Prime Minister Cameron denounced the horrific atrocities that he said President Assad had inflicted on his own people, including children. “The blood of these young children is a terrible stain on the reputation of this United Nations,” he said.

MontiIn his remarks to the General Debate, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti noted that there was an element of self-interest in the support his country and the European Union are lending to the new governments of the Arab Spring.

“Instability around the Mediterranean impacts our own society,” he told the General Assembly.

“Conflicts and social unrest on the southern shore spill over to our own shores. Terrorism finds a new avenue to reach Europe. Trafficking in human beings has destabilizing effects on the countries of destination and often results in tragedies at sea that we can no longer accept,” he added, stressing Italy’s full support for Mr. Brahimi’s mission.

The European leaders are among the scores of heads of State and government and other high-level officials who are presenting their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends on 1 October.

externallinks-icon120x120 MDG Report 2014

MDG-2014-English-web-cover

Social Media

facebook32x32 Dblue twitter32x32 Dblue vimeo32x32 Dblue Issuu dark blue 32
UNRIC Social Media

 

infoPoint32x32 Dblue Latest Products:

 Backgrounders on Gaza, Ukraine
 Library Newsletter - August 2014
(new websites, information material, videos and publications)

 UNRIC Newsletter

pdfIcon tiny UNRIC Partnerships - Ed. No2, Spring 2014

externallinks-icon120x120External link (non-UN):

whatsinblue

When the Security Council approaches the final stage of negotiation of a draft resolution the text is printed in blue... What's in Blue helps interested UN readers keep up with what might soon be "in blue".

externallinks-icon120x120External link (non-UN):

securitycouncilreport