In Week of Words it often looked like divided nations
They all spoke of unity, shared values and common enemies Covid-19 and climate change. But in speeches given last week by dozens of leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, many simply spoke to each other when it came to the many regional conflicts that were sweeping the world.
Intransigence, and sometimes even hardened positions, permeated the words of antagonists in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Europe. And that does not include any of the words that could have been spoken by government envoys from Afghanistan and Myanmar, who did not even address the rally due to disputes over who should legitimately speak on behalf of these plagued countries. conflicts.
While the General Assembly has always been a forum for voicing grievances, analysts watching speeches have seen fewer signs of compromise this year. Ian bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy organization, said stubbornness seemed to reflect a greater sense of impunity among dishonest actors “given less coordinated engagement and leadership from the United States and their allies ”.
Here is a sampling of what representatives of countries in conflict said at the annual United Nations convocation, founded 76 years ago to help avoid war.
Iran’s nuclear work
Iran and the so-called P5 + 1 powers – the five permanent members of the Security Council (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States) plus Germany – are at a standstill over how to save the 2015 agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, which canceled numerous sanctions against Iran in exchange for its verifiable guarantees of peaceful nuclear activity. President Donald J. Trump abandoned the agreement in 2018 and Iran stopped complying with it. President Biden wants to restore the deal.
President Biden: “The United States remains committed to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. We are working with the P5 + 1 to diplomatically engage Iran and demand a return to the JCPOA. We are ready to return to full compliance if Iran does the same.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi: “Today the whole world, including the Americans themselves, admitted that the plan to counter the Iranian people, which manifested itself in the form of a violation of the JCPOA and was followed by “maximum pressure And the arbitrary withdrawal of an internationally recognized agreement has totally failed. However, the policy of “maximum oppression” is still relevant today. We want nothing more than what is rightfully ours.
The Korean Peninsula
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as North Korea calls itself, has sent mixed signals to the Biden administration following the failed dialogue between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the predecessor of Mr. Biden. But North Korea’s recent missile tests – including on a Monday as its UN ambassador speaks at the General Assembly – point to a new stalemate in efforts to North Korea’s nuclear disarmament and an official end. of the Korean War, now 71 years old.
President Moon Jae-in of South Korea: “I hope to see that the Korean Peninsula will prove the power of dialogue and cooperation to foster peace. “
Ambassador Kim Song of North Korea: All US Dialogue Offers are “nothing more than flowery words to cover up their hostile policy.”
Israel, the Palestinians and the Middle East
A diverse coalition that ended an era dominated by Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, has shown little inclination to reconnect with the Palestinians on a two-state solution to their protracted conflict. In the General Assembly, Israel sought to avoid the problem, emphasizing the normalization of Abraham’s agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, attacking the commemoration of 20 years of the Durban Declaration against racism, which Israel and its Western allies regard as anti-Semitic, and focusing its criticism on Iran.
President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority: “There are still countries that refuse to recognize the reality that Israel is an occupying power, practicing apartheid and ethnic cleansing. These countries proudly declare that they share values with Israel. What shared values are you talking about? “
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett: “Over the past three decades, Iran has spread its carnage and destruction throughout the Middle East, country after country: Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Gaza. What do all of these places have in common? They are all falling apart. Their citizens – hungry and suffering. Their economies are collapsing. Like the Midas touch, the Iranian regime has the “mullah touch”. Every place Iran touches fails.
India vs. Pakistan
Neighbors with nuclear weapons have shown no sign of abating their bitter feud over disputed Kashmir territory, punctuated by mutual accusations that have escalated since India revoked Kashmir’s limited autonomy two years ago. While the Indian leader, in his address to the General Assembly, never accused Pakistan of promoting terrorism, the conclusion was clear.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi: “We belong to a country that gave the world not war but Buddha’s message of peace. And this is the reason why our voice against terrorism, to alert the world to this evil, rings with seriousness and indignation.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan: “India has a responsibility to create an enabling environment for meaningful and results-oriented engagement with Pakistan. “
The war in Syria
Now in its eleventh year, the conflict has displaced half of the prewar population and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, with no clear plan for the enormous reconstruction required. Russian-Iranian-backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has proclaimed victory, but Western powers and human rights groups see him as an outcast. Parts of the country remain under the control of foreign forces, including Turkey and the United States.
Syrian Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad: “Just as we have succeeded in eliminating terrorists from most of Syria, we will work to end the occupation with the same determination and determination, using all possible means under international law. History shows that Syria is still chasing the occupiers sooner or later.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: “While our country has nearly four million Syrians, we are also fighting on the ground the terrorist organizations that have drowned the region in blood and tears.
Ukraine vs Russia
Now in its eighth year, the war between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine has become a flashpoint in the East-West divide that has persisted since the Cold War era. . Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 was never accepted by the United States and its European allies.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei V. Lavrov of Russia: “When the right to self-determination goes against the geopolitical interests of the West, as it did in the case of the expression of free will of the people of Crimea in the 2014 referendum on reunification with Russia, it forgets everything and introduces illegitimate sanctions for the exercise of this right.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: “Yalta and Crimea have been occupied for eight years now. How do we want to revive the UN if the place of origin of the idea of the UN is occupied by a permanent member of the UN Security Council?
A $ 4.5 billion dam built by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile has seriously worsened relations with its neighbors Egypt and Sudan, who say the project, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, threatens their water rights.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi: Failure to resolve dispute reflects Ethiopia’s will “A manifest intransigence and an unjustified refusal to engage positively in the negotiation process in its successive stages, and rather to choose a unilateral approach and to impose facts on the ground”.
Demeke Mekonnen, Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister: “Our humble attempt to light up the homes of millions of Ethiopians and to create hope for our youth is politicized before global forums. This popular project has also received constant threats. Ironically, we are accused and threatened for drinking our water.
The implosion of Venezuela
Venezuela has fallen into economic ruin because of corruption and the discredited policies of the government, which largely blames the sanctions imposed by the United States. More than five million Venezuelans have fled since 2014, the biggest exodus in recent history from Latin America.
President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela: “We have taken the path of the deployment of the productive forces of a country subject to an infernal blockade, criminal persecution and cruel torture of its people.”
President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil: “On our border with neighboring Venezuela, the federal government’s ‘Welcome’ operation has already welcomed 400,000 Venezuelans displaced by the serious economic and political crisis caused by the Bolivarian dictatorship.