Sunday, September 18, 2011

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe Arrives in New York for UN General Assembly

President arrives in New York for UN summit

Saturday, 17 September 2011 22:22
From Morris Mkwate in New York
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

PRESIDENT Mugabe arrived here yesterday to attend the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and the historic High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) which kicks off tomorrow.

He was received at the JFK International Airport by Zimbabwe’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Chitsaka Chipaziwa, and embassy officials.

First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe, Foreign Affairs Minister Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and his Health and Child Welfare counterpart, Dr Henry Madzorera, are part of Cde Mugabe’s delegation.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces will join other world leaders at the two-day NCDs Summit before addressing the General Assembly on Thursday.

Among the key issues to be presented before the main plenary are the reform of the UN Security Council; the use of sanctions as a foreign policy instrument and increasing the powers of the General Assembly.

In an interview yesterday, Cde Mumbengegwi said Zimbabwe would strongly advocate the democratisation of the Security Council.

“Several issues will come up during the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. There is the reform of the United Nations, in general, and the Security Council, in particular,” he said.

“This is an ongoing debate. We think pressure needs to be exerted to democratise the Security Council. At the moment, it only has 15 countries; so it should be expanded.

“The total membership of the UN is now 194. We think a bigger council will, therefore, be more representative.”

Cde Mumbengegwi said the Southern African state wants all regions of the world to be represented among the permanent members.

Africa is demanding two of those seats in line with the Ezulwini Consensus, he said.

“Africa also believes the veto should be done away with. If it remains in place, then the permanent seats have to be reconsidered.”

The minister urged the international community to resist efforts by superpowers to abuse the Security Council in pursuit of their individual interests.

He said the scope of the General Assembly should be widened to include countering questionable decisions of the organ.

“There have been efforts (by big powers) to use the Security Council to advance their own interests, yet the council was established to ensure international peace and security.

“In 2008, they tried to get some members to vote for sanctions against Zimbabwe, but our friends, China and Russia, voted against this proposal. Zimbabwe has never been a threat to international peace and security.

“The same is happening in Libya. Nato has gone to wage war against Libya to effect regime change. This is total abuse of UN Resolution 1973 and violates international law. In our view, this must be resisted.”

Cde Mumbengegwi added: “The General Assembly is big and, therefore, should be accorded more powers and responsibilities.

We believe the proposed reforms must enable it to override some of the decisions of the Security Council.

“We can’t have 15 countries, or one country, making decisions for 194 nations.”

The Sunday Mail

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