United Nations General Assembly
U.S. Demands that World Submit to its Gangsterism
Speaking recently at the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama affirmed that the U.S. will continue to use force in resolving conflicts and basically called on the United Nations to do the same. Obama asked whether the UN "can meet the tests of our time," and then defined that as being willing to go against the principles established in the UN Charter such as that of upholding sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs and punishing crimes of aggression.
For example, Obama sanctioned the continued use of drones by the U.S. — which go against sovereignty and are responsible for massacres of civilians in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and elsewhere. In an effort to redefine when force against other nations can be sanctioned, he said the U.S. "reviewed" its use of drones and determined they are acceptable whenever the U.S. decides that "They target only those who pose a continuing, imminent threat to the United States, where capture is not feasible, and there is a near certainty of no civilian casualties." That is, sovereignty is not a principle to be respected and the U.S. military can decide who poses a threat and assassinate them and anyone near them. Drone strikes are notorious for the certainty that civilians are killed.
Similarly, the U.S. is to decide what spying, including on foreign governments and heads of state, is acceptable. Any such spying is a violation of sovereignty. But we are to accept that upholding sovereignty is not a principle but rather a matter of doing a better balancing act. Obama said, "Just as we reviewed how we deploy our extraordinary military capabilities in a way that lives up to our ideals, we've begun to review the way that we gather intelligence, so that we properly balance the legitimate security concerns of our citizens and allies with the privacy concerns that all people share." Obama said this in the face of the broad denunciation and opposition by "our citizens and allies" to the massive spying and megadata collection in the U.S. and abroad.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, speaking right before Obama at the UN, openly condemned U.S. spying on her and others in Latin America and worldwide. She called on the UN to address the matter so as to defend sovereignty and the UN Charter (see article below on "The Need to Uphold the Sovereignty and Equality of Nations and Renew the UN"). Obama remained silent on this proposal and instead demanded that all accept continued U.S. spying and intelligence gathering of all kinds. He is not calling for an end to this interference in the internal affairs of other countries, but rather that this spying be accepted as legitimate.
Obama then used the conflict in Syria to directly demand that the UN join the U.S. in its international gangsterism. He said the Syria situation goes "to the heart of broader challenges that the international community must now confront," including responding to conflicts within countries. Then he uses the usual gangster method of making an offer you cannot refuse: "How do we address the choice of standing callously by while children are subjected to nerve gas, or embroiling ourselves in someone else's civil war." He goes on, "What is the role of force in resolving disputes that threaten the stability of a region and undermine all the basic standards of civilized conduct? What is the role of the United Nations and international law in meeting cries for justice?" He responds that the UN "must enforce the ban on chemical weapons," and specifically must accept the legitimacy of U.S. military strikes. He reiterates that it is only with the threat of U.S. use of force that Syria and the Security Council took action.
Two things stand out here in terms of principles and international law. The first is that as a result of the peoples' victory over fascism in World War II, the UN and international law, such as the Geneva Conventions and Nuremberg Principles resolved the issues Obama raises. These developments reflected the determination of the peoples to block aggressive wars and settle matters without the use of force. Upholding sovereignty is a principle, enshrined in the UN Charter — not something to be trampled on in the name of high ideals. Problems are to be resolved without the use of force, with various UN and other forums available for this. Threatening and preparing for aggressive war, such as putting U.S. battleships in the region to carry out Obama's "limited strikes" against Syria is itself a crime, which the UN should be the first to stand against.
There is also a clear process and norms in place for dealing with any use of chemical weapons, such as under the Chemical Weapons Convention. All of these mechanisms specifically recognize sovereignty as a principle and stand against interference and use of force. They also provide the means to investigate incidents and punish those responsible.
Obama is using his speech at the UN to demand that the UN member states all abandon these principles, abandon the UN charter and instead accept U.S. gangster dictate. It is an announcement that the U.S. considers the UN and international law finished and will act accordingly. And in case anyone was unclear Obama emphasized, "The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests," in the Middle East, Africa and anywhere in the world. Through out his speech he uses language like "we will confront," "we will ensure," the UN "must enforce," etc. Use of force and Might Makes Right are given as the means to solve all problems, when they have shown that they solve none.
The second feature Obama's statements show is that the U.S. will continue to try to justify its use of force by invoking high ideals, like protecting children, and the age-old claim that peoples of the Middle East and Africa are uncivilized. It is up to the U.S. to use force to "civilize" them. Anyone who opposes the U.S. is "callous," and refusing to respond to the "cries for justice."
In this manner, when U.S. lies and disinformation about weapons of mass destruction or use of chemical weapons are exposed, then the humanitarian card of protecting children and “civilizing” Africans and Arabs is played. It is imperialist gangsterism through and through and has no place in the world community of nations.
President Obama has often used the claim of “removing tyrants” to justify use of force against other countries. This was true for Iraq and Libya and now for Syria. The content concerning “tyrants” is part of an effort to divert attention from U.S. crimes while generating confusion about how to solve problems. “Something has to be done,” to remove such “tyrants,” or “far worse” will occur is the refrain, by Obama and the monopoly media. The actual problem that exists — U.S. aggression and use of force worldwide — gets turned on its head. It is removal of the “tyrant” that is posed as the problem, and U.S. aggression the solution. Further, those opposing such aggression are the ones branded as supporters of “mass graves.” Anyone caught up in this notion of removing tyrants should consider these two points: 1) Is there a single example of U.S. aggression solving problems in favor of the people? And 2) Is it not up to the people of each country to determine their own affairs, free from foreign interference?
There are no examples where U.S. aggression and wars have solved any problems in favor of the people— not in Iraq or Libya, not in Palestine, not anywhere. The same is true in the past. U.S. aggression against Korea and Viet Nam, its genocide of slavery and that against the Native peoples, its occupation of Puerto Rico and wars against Mexico — none solve problems in favor the of the people. They did serve U.S. imperialism, its criminal aggression and empire building.
The “far worse” Obama claims he can avoid are in reality the wars waged by the U.S. in the name of “saving” the peoples. Obama, speaking at the UN, said this directly. Speaking of Libya he said, referring to the U.S./NATO invasion, “Because of what we did there, countless lives were saved, and a tyrant could not kill his way back to power… It’s far more likely that without international action, Libya would now be engulfed in civil war and bloodshed.” Obama admits there are now “armed groups, in some places extremists, ruling parts” of Libya. A new government has not been established. Conditions of violence and anarchy are widespread and continue to worsen.
The invasion solved no problem and served directly to block the Libyan people from solving their internal difficulties themselves, without foreign interference. Why is it that the peoples of a given country are always rendered powerless to act, while the imperialist aggressors are to be applauded as saviors?! The claim of tyrants is used both to disarm the people of the particular country and world public opinion, while justifying the crime of imperialist aggression.
In his UN speech Obama repeatedly sanctioned use of force in the name of “preventing far worse.” The stand advanced by humanity is that war preparations and aggression are crimes and that political means exist for resolving problems like use of chemical weapons or genocide. Sovereignty is a principle to be vigorously defended as a contribution to peace and international relations. It is not something to be tossed aside in the name of preventing “far worse.”
Obama said, “The principle of sovereignty is at the center of our international order. But sovereignty cannot be a shield for tyrants to commit wanton murder, or an excuse for the international community to turn a blind eye…Should we really accept the notion that the world is powerless in the face of a Rwanda or Srebrenica? If that’s the world that people want to live in, they should say so and reckon with the cold logic of mass graves. But I believe we can embrace a different future. And if we don’t want to choose between inaction and war, we must get better — all of us — at the policies that prevent the breakdown of basic order. Through respect for the responsibilities of nations and the rights of individuals.” He added that there should also be sanctions and that the “international community will need to acknowledge that the multilateral use of military force may be required to prevent the very worst from occurring.”
It is not the peoples and those who stand for sovereignty that are responsible for mass graves — it is the imperialists and those they back and fund. It is the U.S. that brought Pinochet to power in Chile and is directly responsible for the mass graves there. It is the U.S. that massacred civilians in Korea and Viet Nam and is responsible for mass graves there. It is the U.S. that is responsible for civilian massacres in Iraq and Libya and elsewhere and for the massive numbers of refugees fleeing wars it instigates and funds.
Individual rights cannot be respected absent respect for collective interests and the general interests of society and international relations. Respect for sovereignty contributes to respect for the rights of individuals in the given country because it acts as a block to foreign interference and the violence and chaos it unleashes.
Preventing “the very worst from occurring” means staying the hand of U.S. imperialism. It means rejecting the call to “remove tyrants” and instead standing with the peoples fight against the U.S. and all its crimes.
We are One Humanity Rising Against Imperialism and War!
Pressure to Legitimize Use of Force in International Relations
One of the outstanding issues in international relations today is the issue of the use of force and the threat of force to settle disputes. This was brought into sharp relief by the interventions at the UN General Assembly's General Debate.
The vast majority of countries in the world consider the doctrine of Might Makes Right outmoded, illegitimate, a threat to national sovereignty and peace, a violation of international law and counter to the UN Charter. This accords with the demands of the world's peoples following World War II for principles that would ensure that another world war would never occur. However, the U.S. and its allies have been using the situation in Syria along with alleged concern about human rights to try and legitimize the use of force. The latest example is the negotiations leading up to the Security Council resolution regarding chemical weapons in Syria that was passed on September 27, which were fraught with intrigue dictated mainly by the U.S. to include provisions for the use of force against Syria. Below are some of the interventions by UN member countries on the issue of the use of force at this year's General Debate.
U.S. President Barrack Obama was the second speaker on the first day of the General Debate, September 24. He used his address to present justifications for the U.S. reliance on force to settle international disputes. Obama asserted that it was only because of the threat of the use of force by the U.S. that peace was possible, claiming that the recent negotiations regarding chemical weapons in Syria proves this point.
He argued the necessity for the violation of sovereignty in certain cases on the basis of U.S. exceptionalism. "Some may disagree, but I believe that America is exceptional," he said. He said his belief is justified "in part because we have shown a willingness, through the sacrifice of blood and treasure, to stand up not only for our own narrow self-interest but for the interests of all."
He outlined U.S. imperialism's policy towards the Middle East and North Africa. He said the U.S. is prepared to "use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure these core interests in the region." It would confront external aggression against its allies and partners, as it did in the Gulf War, and ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world. It would dismantle terrorist networks that threatened its people and work with its partners to address the root causes of terror. It would "take direct action" to defend the United States against terrorist attacks. Finally, it would not tolerate the development or use of weapons of mass destruction, and it rejected the development of nuclear weapons that could trigger a nuclear arms race in the region and undermine the global non-proliferation regime.
The unprincipled legitimization of the use of force was also evident in what Obama did not say. At no point did he take responsibility for arming of the opposition groups in Syria to foment a military conflict, which also constitutes the use of force. These opposition forces include organizations the U.S. considers extremists or terrorists, and contradicts his claims that the U.S. wants to dismantle terrorist networks. Furthermore, these arms shipments have undoubtedly increased the civilian casualties which Obama claims to oppose and increased the instability in the region, which is in no one's interests, including those of the U.S.
French President François Hollande on September 24 similarly claimed in his intervention that the threat of military force had prompted negotiations in the Security Council to ensure the verification and destruction of chemical weapons. Furthermore, he advocated that the Security Council resolution (which had not yet been passed when he spoke) had to include coercive measures (i.e., military force) under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to deal with non-compliance on the part of the Syrian government. He termed this "holding to account" those who commit such crimes. France, following the U.S. lead, has taken the unfounded position that the Syrian government is responsible for the chemical weapons attacks, which it cites as justification for the use of force.
Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov pointed out that such arguments as those of the U.S., France and others are increasingly promoted as of late to prove that the use of force is the most effective method to address problems such as those in Syria. However, all the experience of such interventions has demonstrated that they are ineffective, meaningless and destructive, he added. This is an extremely dangerous path what will lead to the erosion of the foundations of the present world order, he warned. Threats to use military force to ensure one's own interests in the Middle East under the pretext of the "demand for leadership" were unacceptable, said Lavrov.
China's intervention was presented by its Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi. The Minister said that outdated cold war-era mentalities had no place in the new era of globalization. Historically, the Chinese people had always embraced international exchanges and trade, not foreign aggression and expansion, he said, adding that China adheres to the patriotic resolve to defend its homeland rather than the colonialist doctrine to seize new territories.
The intervention from Mali also brought to the fore the question of the use of force. Early in 2013, Mali was the scene of a foreign military intervention by France, which was assisted by Canada and others ostensibly to protect democracy and neighboring countries from terrorists and extremist militants that they said had occupied northern Mali. For Canada at least, the intervention had to do with securing the interests of mining monopolies in the region. At the General Debate, Boubacar Keita, President of Mali, expressed thanks for the foreign military intervention by the country's former colonial master France and others. Keita did not mention that this problem in Mali was due to the huge destabilization throughout North Africa caused by the imperialists' use of force to carry out regime change in Libya. In other words, the use of force in Libya has only created more problems and the pretext for further use of force.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parilla spoke on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which includes all the countries of the Americas with the exception of the U.S. and Canada. He reaffirmed CELAC's commitment to international peace and security, and to reinforce the climate of peace prevailing in Latin America and the Caribbean. In sharp contrast to the position of those who advocate the "use of force" in diplomacy, Rodriguez elaborated that CELAC is committed to consolidating a zone of peace in the entire region to ensure that differences between nations will be resolved peacefully, through dialogue and negotiation, in conformity with international law.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that Japan had also been actively promoting the concept of "human security" in the UN's collective security measures. Note that the "human security" agenda has long been promoted by NATO and others to justify military aggression against sovereign countries, with such euphemisms as "humanitarian intervention." Speaking to the issue of the "use of force," Abe said that since Japan's national interests are "firmly connected to the stability of open seas, changes to the maritime order through the use of force or coercion could not be condoned under any circumstances." Preserving public spaces ranging from outer space and cyberspace to the skies and the seas as global commons governed by rules and laws were imperative for Japan, he said. As concerns the fact that the use of force in general violates the rule of international law and that Japan ought to oppose it under all circumstances, Abe did not make any comment.
A fundamental issue for international relations raised throughout the General Assembly debate is the need to uphold the principles of the sovereignty and equality of all nations in international relations in general, but also within the UN's own bodies. Again, the U.S. and other countries in the imperialist system of states find themselves an isolated minority because of their promotion of American exceptionalism and justifications for the use of force and other self-serving violations of international law, couched in humanitarian language of the "human security agenda" and the "responsibility to protect."
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff drew attention to the actions of the U.S. security agencies that were recently revealed to be at the head of a global network of electronic espionage against other countries including Brazil. She explained that despite U.S. claims the espionage is justified for security reasons, much of what is collected is the personal data of Brazilians, including the President herself, as well as corporate information of high economic and even strategic value, as well as diplomatic information. "Tampering in such a manner in the affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and an affront to the principles that must guide relations among them, especially among friendly nations," she declared.
She pointed out that an important principle to guide international relations is that the right to safety of citizens of one country can never be guaranteed by violating fundamental human rights of citizens of another. In the absence of respect for sovereignty, there was no basis for the relationship among nations, she added. She demanded that the U.S. government explain itself, apologize and guarantee that such procedures would never be repeated.
For its part, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Nations (CELAC) reiterated its strong support for the "legitimate rights of Argentina in its dispute over the sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands," and the region's permanent interest in the resumption of negotiations between Argentina and Britain for a peaceful and final solution to that dispute. Notably, CELAC includes all the countries of the Americas with the exception of the U.S. and Canada, who have not been invited to join because of their refusal to uphold the principle of sovereignty of all nations.
Representatives of various countries and regional groupings made a point of speaking out against the U.S. unjust and anachronistic embargo on Cuba which not only violates Cuba's sovereignty but that of other countries seeking to trade with Cuba. For 21 consecutive years, the General Assembly has overwhelmingly demanded the U.S. immediately end this blockade.
Bolivian President Evo Morales Ayma highlighted his country's progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, noting that in the eight years of his presidency, Bolivia's economic growth had increased by 4.8 per cent. He said that all this progress was due to the fact that Bolivia was no longer subjected to the blackmail of the U.S. empire aimed at forcing it to give up its resources to international private companies. "When we feed ourselves politically and economically, we do better," he added. Gas and oil were now the property of Bolivians, whereas in the past, it had been claimed that Bolivians owned only underground resources. The same resources above ground had belonged to so-called "title bearers," which amounted to robbery, said Morales. Since nationalizing its natural resources, Bolivia's economic situation had started to improve, he said.
The absence of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro from the General Debate underscored the problems facing the UN and blackmail of the U.S. imperialists. Elias Jaua Milano, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, said that President Maduro was not present because of a range of delays, conditions and a lack of guarantees imposed by the U.S. in flagrant violation of the UN Headquarters Agreement. In his remarks he noted that the Security Council had been taken hostage by the hawks of war. When they could do so, certain countries would justify the attacks from their seats at the UN. However, the purpose of the UN is to preserve international peace and security. But this could not be accomplished by arming terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, which were linked to terrible acts such as the destruction of the twin towers in this very city. He asked why members of the Security Council would sponsor and support such groups, trying to disguise them as political opposition.
Jaua asked the Assembly whether or not the U.S. is equal to other member states. In doing so, he questioned why sanctions were not imposed on a country which regularly commits torture at its military base in Cuba and that had admitted to illegal espionage activities against the Heads of State and Government convened at the UN Headquarters in New York. Furthermore, he was curious as to why the international community had not considered the U.S. unmanned drone warfare that has taken the lives of civilians in North Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia as a crime against humanity.
Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, strongly condemned the economic sanctions imposed on his country by the U.S. and European Union, saying they violated UN's fundamental principles on state sovereignty and non-interference in domestic affairs. He also called for reform of the Security Council, asking, "How long must Africa be denied the right to play a pivotal role in that body to determine measures to address conflicts within its own borders?" The Council must be democratic, transparent and accessible to the wider membership of the UN, he said. The glaring injustice of Africa's historical under-representation has been made clear, he said.
President of Iran Hassan Rouhani stated that the era of "zero-sum games" in international relations was over. Coercive economic and military policies, practices used to maintain old forms of domination, and the practice of globalizing Western values negated peace, security and human dignity, as did the persistent "cold war mentality" he said. There was no guarantee that the period of quiet among big powers would remain immune from violent discourse, practices and action, he said, warning that the impact of violent and extremist narratives must not be underestimated.
In regards to Iran's nuclear research, he stated that Iran sought to resolve problems, not create them. He stressed that acceptance of his country's inalienable right to conduct nuclear research and develop nuclear energy was the best solution to this issue. Underlining the exclusively peaceful nature of his country's nuclear program, he said nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction had no place in Iran's security and defense doctrine.
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se used part of his intervention to spread disinformation about the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as the source of tension on the Korean Peninsula. In response, the DPRK's Foreign Minister Pak Gil Yon pointed out that the DPRK had been living with the threat of nuclear weapons for decades. He recounted that starting in 1957, the U.S. brought nuclear weapons to the Korean peninsula, and by the 1970s those weapons numbered 1,000. In 2002, the U.S. government proclaimed the DPRK a member of the "axis of evil," which meant that it should be eliminated, and listed it as a candidate for a "nuclear pre-emptive strike." Under that situation, to prevent nuclear weapons from being used against it, the DPRK had to equip itself with nuclear deterrence. He also pointed out that the south Korean delegate erroneously claimed the DPRK held a nuclear test this year and must have been referring to the launch of a peaceful satellite last December. He said that launch was fully within the sovereign right of the DPRK. He pointed out that while all countries are "equal" under the UN Charter, the Security Council resolution against the DPRK for the satellite launch was adopted in flagrant violation of his country's sovereignty. He pointed out the double standard applied to the DPRK, that when south Korea launched a satellite immediately after the DPRK's launch, the issue was not taken before the Security Council because the south is an ally of the U.S.
That was an abuse of power by the U.S. as a permanent member of the Security Council and undermines the credibility of the United Nations and the Council, said Pak. The DPRK has been the only country brought before the Council for launching a satellite, and it rejected the resulting resolution as illegal, he said. Nuclear development and safeguarding the peace and security of its people is the best way for the DPRK to ensure an environment for peaceful economic development, he added.
While the U.S. and its allies in the imperialist system of states try to legitimize the use of force in Syria and elsewhere, the majority of countries consider that the rule of law must be respected and thus the only way forward is to work out a political solution to the situation.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that from the very beginning of the turmoil, the Russian Federation has called for a common international approach. This would combine support for the Arab people in their transformation, and the understanding that objectively those processes would be lengthy and sometimes painful, and that it would be quite important not to harm them through "rude outside interference." It was important to take into account the complex developments associated with a strenuous search for compromises among various ethnic and religious groups making up the mosaic of Arab societies, he said.
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for an immediate end to hostilities and violence in Syria so as to create necessary conditions for the verification and destruction of chemical weapons. He called for the early convening of the Geneva II conference and faster progress in a political resolution of the Syrian issue. He said that China seeks no self-gain in Syria, is not taking sides and will respect the aspirations and choice of the Syrian people.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg spoke on behalf of the United Kingdom. Following his government's inability to pass a resolution in Parliament approving a military strike on Syria, Clegg refrained from advocating the use of force and said, "our priority is to help bring about a political settlement." However, he used his platform to spread the disinformation that it is a known fact that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical weapons attacks.
Speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parilla reiterated CELAC's call for peace and the observance of the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law, including international humanitarian law, and demanded the creation of the necessary conditions to move towards a negotiated political solution to the conflict in that country.
Kamla Persad-bissessar, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, in her capacity as Chairperson of the Conference of the Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), voiced grave concern on the escalating humanitarian crisis in Syria. She said a solution would have to be found through dialogue. If there was evidence that individuals had committed war crimes within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, steps should be taken to bring those individuals to justice.
Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, spoke on behalf of the European Union. He recalled last year's General Debate, which had seen unity among States deploring the civil war in Syria. A year later, 100,000 people were dead and refugees numbered 2 million he stated. "What will the situation be when we meet next year?" he asked. Prolonging the "paralysis of the international community" was untenable, particularly in light of the chemical weapons attack in Damascus, he added. Syria's agreement to destroy those weapons helped the world avoid setting a precedent on their use. Once the inventory is complete, the Security Council and OPCW must destroy Syria's stocks swiftly. Following the agreement on chemical weapons in Syria, he said there was more hope than before. He called for a follow-up to last year's Geneva conference on Syria and to push all parties to the negotiating table. Time, courage and perseverance were needed to prevent the destruction of Syria, he said.
Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa said of the situation in Syria, that any political transition must be Syrian-led and not the result of force of arms. He welcomed the recent developments, such as the decision by Syria to accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention and the ongoing bilateral consultations between the Russian Federation and the U.S. The international community is being presented with an opportunity to demonstrate that matters of such nature were handled correctly through existing instruments within the multilateral global governance system, he added.
President of Iran Hassan Rouhani stated that expansionist strategies and attempts to change the regional balance through proxies could not hide behind humanitarian rhetoric. He added that the global community must work quickly to end the killing of innocent people. Welcoming Syria's acceptance of the Chemical Weapons Convention, he said that extremist groups' access to such weapons, which was the greatest danger to the region, must be considered in any disarmament plan. The illegitimate, ineffective threat, or actual use, of force would only exacerbate violence and crisis in the region, he stated. Violence and the use of drones against innocent people in the name of combating terrorism should be condemned, he said, adding that unjust sanctions were inhumane and contrary to peace.
President of India Manmohan Singh stated, "There is no military solution to this conflict. We must intensify efforts to end the conflict and seek a political settlement. It is essential that the Geneva-2 conference be convened at the earliest."
Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, strongly condemned the conflict in Syria. He said that his country called for an immediate cessation of violence, initiation of political dialogue and an improvement in humanitarian conditions.
VOR is posting below the statement by Walid Al-Moualem, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Head of the Delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic, at the General Debate of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Last year, when I addressed this august Assembly, our world was facing many events that ravaged it and its nations. We were all [hoping] that the scene will change for the better this year, but unfortunately, the situation remains the same, and in some parts of the world the situation became even worse. Many countries are still facing political, economic and financial crises that exceed their ability to confront them alone. While the peoples of the world are looking forward to see effective international efforts exerted to overcome those crises, we witness today indications of exacerbating and increasing problems, since hegemony and domination on the capabilities of peoples have escalated in a way that contradicts blatantly the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of International Law. Instead of settling regional and international conflicts by peaceful means, some known countries continued pursuing aggressive policies against certain nations.
Political hypocrisy increased to intervene in the domestic affairs of states under the pretext of Humanitarian Intervention or the Responsibility to Protect; and when those aggressive policies did not prove beneficial for some countries, like my own country, Syria, these well-known states revealed their true face, and threatened with blatant military aggression outside the mandate of the Security Council, and certainly away from any international consensus.
This comes as those same countries imposed immoral, illegal and unilateral coercive measures. This is in addition to suspicious policies that aim at spreading sedition and turmoil within the fabric of multiple and harmonized national communities that lived for hundreds of years in harmony, unity and understanding.
Worst of all, some countries destructive major wars under the pretext of combating terrorism, while, at the same time, they are the ones supporting terrorism in my country, in contradiction of all United Nations' resolutions and all human and moral values. Here, again, I pose the same question I have already posed last year: was the international consensus on combating terrorism a serious commitment undertaken by the Member States of this organization, or was it just mere rhetoric?
What is happening in my country has become clear to everyone. Yet, some countries do not want to recognize that Al-Qaeda, the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world, and its many offshoots, like Jabhat Al-Nusrah, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the Brigade of Islam and many others, are fighting in Syria. The scenes of murder, manslaughter and eating human hearts were shown on TV screens, but did not touch blind consciences. In my country, Mr. President, there are innocent civilians whose heads are put on the grill just because they violate the extremist ideology and deviant views of Al-Qaeda.
In Syria, Ladies and Gentlemen, there are murderers who dismember human bodies into pieces while still alive and send their limbs to their families, just because those citizens are defending a unified and secular Syria.
In my country, those terrorists violate, on daily basis, human rights, citizens' rights in living and livelihood and the citizens' religious beliefs and political affiliations. Any Syrian citizen who does not belong to this obscurantist and takfiri ideology is doomed to be killed, slaughtered, or the women of his family are taken as captives on the basis of perverted concepts of religion that have nothing to do with Islam.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
There is no civil war in Syria, but it is a war against terror that recognizes no values, nor justice, nor equality, and disregards any rights or laws. Confronting this terror in my country requires the international community to act in accordance with relevant resolutions on counter-terrorism, particularly, Security Council resolution 1373 (2001), and to take necessary and prompt measures to compel those well-known countries that finance, arm, train and provide a safe haven and passage for terrorists coming from different countries of the world.
The people [of] New York have witnessed the devastations of terrorism, and were burned with the fire of extremism and bloodshed, the same way we are suffering now in Syria. How can some countries, hit by the same terrorism we are suffering now in Syria, claim to fight terrorism in all parts of the world, while supporting it in my country? The claims about the existence of moderate militants and extremist militants have become a bad joke. Terrorism means only terrorism; it cannot be classified as moderate terrorism and extremist terrorism.
Therefore, I would like to ask you, what do you call those who kidnap children in order to sell their body organs outside the country? How would you describe those who recruit children and prevent them from going to schools, and instead train them on shooting and killing? How would you describe those who spread perverted fatwas such as "Sexual Jihad" and "Incest Jihad"?
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are the ones who were targeted by poisonous gases in Khan Al-Assal, near Aleppo. We have asked for an Investigation Mission, and demanded to include in its mandate the ability to determine who used chemical weapons, however, the United States and its allies, France and United Kingdom, are the ones who prevented that, and insisted, then, to limit the functions of the Mission to only decide whether chemical weapons were used or not.
We, in Syria, waited five months for the Mission to come, and when it arrived in Syria, it was withdrawn before the completion of its work, as certain states began beating the drums of war on Syria. My country has accepted the initiative graciously launched by H.E. President Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation. Syria, by acceding to the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, proves its commitment against the use of such weapons, while at the same time calls on the international community to shoulder its responsibility against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
Syria is known for fulfilling its obligations and commitments; therefore, I assure you [of] Syria's commitment to the full implementation of the provisions of the Convention, and to cooperate with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as a state party to the Convention. However, there remains the challenge that is facing all of us whether those who are supplying terrorists with these types of weapon will abide by their legal commitments, since terrorists, who used poisonous gases in my country have received chemical agents from regional and Western countries that are well known to all of us.
The cessation of aggressive policies against Syria is the first step on the road towards the solution in my country. Any political solution in light of the continued support of terrorism, whether through supplying arms, funding or training, is mere illusion and misleading.
Syria has repeatedly announced that she embraces a political solution of its crisis; it is now for those who claim to support a political solution in Syria to stop all hostile practices and policies against Syria, and to head to Geneva without preconditions. On the basis of the peoples' right to self-determination the Syrian people [have] the exclusive authority to choose its leadership, its representatives, and decide its future and the political system that accommodates all walks of the Syrian society, including those who were deceived and pushed to take a wrong path. We, in Syria, do not bet on any party but the Syrian people who [are] determined, with all its components, to reject all forms of foreign interference in its domestic affairs, and to defeat the advocates of sectarianism, extremism and terrorism. In my country, Syria, there is a solid connection between state policies and the aspirations of the people. Ballot boxes for free and fair elections remain the only solution to decide on the options of the Syrian people in determining their own future away from the pressures of terrorism and foreign dictations.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
There remain those who do not want a political solution and always resort to aggression, either directly or through their agents on the ground. Syria has committed itself to a political solution, but our commitment to a political solution does not mean allowing terrorism to hit innocent civilians; it does not mean watching our mosques and churches destroyed, as is happening in Homs and Aleppo, and is happening now in the town of Maloula the only place in the world whose people still speak the language of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him. What is happening to the churches and mosques is affecting, as well, all the historical heritage of Syria and humanity. Do the representatives of the Member States in this august Assembly know that terrorists from more than 83 countries are engaged in the killing of our people and our army under the appeal of global Takfiri jihad? On the other hand, are some of the Member States entitled to demand the Syrian state ignore its constitutional responsibilities to protect its citizens and to preserve the country's unity, sovereignty and independence?
The war on terror is not only Syria's war. One day, those terrorists will return to their respective countries, and then no country in the world will be immune of this terrorism, which recognizes no borders nor geography.
Events in Syria have resulted in growing humanitarian needs in several key sectors. The immoral and inhuman unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union led to worsening of the living conditions of Syrian citizens, at a time my Government is working, in collaboration with the United Nations and international organizations within the framework of the Response Plan, to meet the basic needs of citizens, particularly those who were forced to leave their homes. It should be noted here that a great number of our people were forced to resort to some neighboring countries due to the activities of armed groups in border areas. Regrettably, those displaced Syrians were put, in some countries, in military training camps or in what resembles places of detention. I appeal, from this platform, to Syrian citizens to return to their towns and villages where the state guarantees their safe return and their livelihood away from the inhuman conditions they suffer in those camps. I would like to assure our readiness to exert all efforts to deliver aid from international organizations to all Syrian citizens without any discrimination wherever they are, in conformity with the General Assembly Resolution 46/182, while respecting the sovereignty and independence of Syria.
Those developments in my country should not make us lose sight of Palestine and the Syrian Golan. The Syrian Arab Republic confirms its natural right to fully restore the occupied Syrian Golan up to the line of June 4th, 1967, and emphasizes its rejection of all measures taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to change its natural, demographic and geographic features in a clear violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolution 497 (1981). Syria reconfirms its support for the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, in particular their right of return and self-determination, and to establish their independent state on their land, with Jerusalem as its capital.
After Syria's accession to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, my country renews its call for international community to work on establishing a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. In this regard, we would like to remind the international community of the Syrian initiative at the end of its non-permanent membership in the Security Council in 2003, and calls on the Security Council to adopt it.
Syria stresses that establishing a zone free from weapons of mass destruction in the region is unachievable without the accession of Israel, the only nuclear power in the region, to all treaties banning such weapons, and to put its nuclear facilities under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). At the same time, we emphasize the right of all countries to acquire and develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes in accordance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Syria condemns the continued blocking by the United States and Israel of holding the International Conference on the Establishment of a Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East, which was scheduled to take place in 2012.
My country calls on the United States and European Union countries, and others, to refrain from adopting immoral, unilateral economic measures that contradict the rules of international law and the principles of free trade. Accordingly, we call for the lifting of the blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for decades. We also renew our call to lift and stop all unilateral coercive measures imposed on Syria and the peoples of other countries, such as Venezuela, Belarus, Iran and the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea.
We hope that the United Nations will lead the peoples of the world towards a better future, in order to achieve the aspirations of those peoples in prosperity, development and food self-sufficiency away from all forms of tension, confrontation and wars; for the full implementations of the principles and [purposes] of United Nations' Charter that upholds the sovereignty and the equality of rights and duties of all Member States. In this regard, my country looks positively at the efforts exerted by the United States and Iran to bridge the gap of mistrust between the two countries, and it hopes that this will be reflected constructively on the stability of international relations.
Thank you Mr. President.