UN speeches end with silence from Myanmar and Afghanistan
LONDON (Reuters) – Mauritania’s foreign minister on Monday urged the international community to cancel African countries’ external debt amid an escalating global financial crisis.
In a speech before the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Mohamed Salem Ould Merzoug also called for support for the Sahel region in the fight against terrorism.
He thanked Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for his “diligent efforts to promote the UN and strengthen its role” in “very difficult and complex international conditions”.
Merzug pointed to a perfect storm of issues, from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict to the COVID-19 pandemic, to terrorism and natural disasters linked to climate change, noting how these events put disproportionate pressure on the poorest countries. , especially in Africa.
“These crises, and their economic, social and humanitarian repercussions, are unprecedented,” he said, adding that, for example, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict had affected food and fuel supply lines to countries in development.
He commended the international community for its work in securing agreements for the shipment of grain across the Black Sea, but called for “increased efforts to find solutions that would guarantee peace, security and dignity for all the peoples of the world,” which he says should include the cancellation of African debts.
“The Islamic Republic of Mauritania calls on the international community to assume its responsibilities towards developing and poor countries, to help them as quickly as possible to meet the challenges threatening their food security as well as to counter the other negative effects of these crisis,” he added. said.
Merzoug added that Mauritania has made progress on a series of issues, including “the restoration of the values of justice, equity, democracy, individual and collective freedoms, freedom of the press, and the adoption of dialogue and consultation to manage government affairs with the participation of civil society.
He highlighted the country’s efforts to protect human rights by combating human slavery and child trafficking, as well as illegal migration.
He also discussed government programs to support the poor and younger in society by building schools and medical centers and providing clean water.
“We have prepared programs to train young people and empower young people so that they are positive elements when they enter the labor market. We have also worked to promote women’s participation in politics,” he said.
Merzoug added that Mauritania has hosted and provided assistance to 85,000 refugees from neighboring Mali, but called for more efforts to resist instability and terrorism in the region.
“Mauritania has always taken care to establish a united approach to the fight against terrorism in all its forms,” he said.
“We believe that the countries of the Sahel represent a key force in resisting terrorism and establishing development throughout the region. Here, we call for the support of this group of countries as we move forward and overcome the obstacles they face today.
Merzoug reiterated Mauritania’s commitment to the environment and renewable energy, saying the country is focused on keeping 40% of its electricity from “clean and renewable” sources.
He added that Mauritania will make the most of its “enormous natural resources” in wind and solar potential to expand this weighting in the future.
“We have achieved significant results in our efforts to combat desertification through agricultural reforms in areas that have been affected by drought,” Merzoug said.
“We seek to improve our use of water resources and protect biodiversity. Here, we have great hopes for COP27, which is to be held in Egypt from November 6 to 18, and we hope that all States will honor their commitments there.
Merzoug stressed his country’s support for the “sovereignty and dignity” of the Palestinian people, calling for a “political solution that maintains the territorial integrity and independence of Palestine”.
He also called for support from “legitimate powers” in Mauritania’s “sister country”, Yemen, adding: “We call for a peaceful solution.”