In his address at the high-level general debate of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last night, the President said Zimbabwe was committed to building a better world, but nations needed to respect each other’s sovereignty and equality. He said the illegal economic sanctions imposed on the country must be removed as they were stifling the country’s economic growth.

There is no better way of achieving a peaceful and stable world than through mutual respect, genuine multilateralism buttressed by much needed reforms and respect for international law. Recommitting ourselves to these ideals will pave the way for the just world that we all yearn for.

The President called for the unconditional removal of illegal sanctions that were unilaterally imposed on the country by the United States and some Western nations in the European Union (EU).

Various African Heads of State including HE Ramaphosa the RSA President who is also the current AU Chairperson have also called for the immediate removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

He dismissed claims of human rights abuse and emphasised his government’s commitment to political reforms, unity and dialogue.

My administration places great importance on fostering national unity and cohesion. The culture of dialogue across all sectors is taking root, with activities and programmes under the auspices of our home-grown Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD), gaining momentum,” he said.

President Mnangagwa has called for mutual respect among nations, genuine multilateralism buttressed by the much-needed reforms in the United Nations (UN) to achieve a peaceful and stable world.

The President said although the UN continues to make gratifying qualitative difference in the lives of many people, the sad part for this year’s 75th jubilee is that it has been marred by the Covid-19 pandemic that forced the annual conference to be held virtually.

The theme of the 75th session is “The Future We Want; the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism” he said.

Today humanity is at crossroads as we are confronted by complex challenges that do not respect any borders. Multilateralism is under increasing threat from the blind pursuit of narrow interests. We must therefore strengthen international amity and goodwill as well as uphold mutual respect and observe the sovereign equality of States,” President Mnangagwa said.

The President told the assembly that Zimbabwe is now on a new path towards achieving sustainable development but like all nations, the country has not been spared by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the devastating effects of unjustified illegal sanctions imposed by some Western nations.

Zimbabwe is on a new path. Like other nations in the region, we are facing humanitarian challenges which in our case have been worsened by illegal sanctions, the negative impact of climate change, and compounded by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

The President added that the illegal economic sanctions pose a threat to the country achieving sustainable development.

Recently, the UN Secretary General; the High Commissioner for Human Rights; and the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, all acknowledged the deleterious effects of the illegal economic sanctions on our country. These are a breach of international law and compromise Zimbabwe’s capacity to implement and achieve Sustainable Development, especially SDGs 2, 3, 8, 9 and 17. We, therefore, call on the General Assembly to strongly pronounce itself against these unilateral illegal sanctions,” said the President.

Looking at the Covid-19 scourge, the President reiterated on his administration continue commitment on the implementation measures to curb the spread of the global pandemic. These measures include phased lockdowns as well as providing a US$720 million economic stimulus package.

Zimbabwe welcomes calls by the UN Secretary General and the Director of the WHO, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, for the Covid-19 vaccine to be treated as a global public good with guaranteed fair distribution and mechanisms to ensure equal access.

We are encouraged by the ongoing cooperation between the UN Secretary General, the G20 and the Bretton Woods institutions towards finding solutions to developing countries’ debt and related issues. While the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have supported a debt standstill up to the end of the year, more needs to be done.

In the same vein the Zimbabwean government is committed to, “strengthening public health systems, towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and to achieve that, international solidarity and partnerships are critical” he said.

The President also touched on the subject of gender in line with the world’s preparation for October 1 celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the 4th World Conference on Women.  Zimbabwe has “taken major steps in implementing the Beijing Declaration,” he said.

He also counted on the measures that Zimbabwe has taken towards implementing the Beijing Declaration. These measures include the adoption of a gender responsive Constitution, establishment of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission and also the enactment of several pieces of legislation to outlaw all practices that infringe on the rights of women and girls, such as forced and child marriages and discrimination against women inheritance matters.

Turning to international cooperation, peace and security, President Mnangagwa castigated the current structure of the UN Security Council where Africa remains without a permanent representative.

The President in his address questioned why a continent that bears 16% of the world population remains without a permanent Security Council seat. The time to reform the UN is now to ensure that Africa has its own place under the sun.

It is now more than 15 years since the adoption of the Ezulwini Consensus, reaffirmed in the Sirte Declaration. It is deeply regrettable that reform of the Security Council and implementation of Africa’s position has not been achieved. We cannot continue with a situation where over 16 percent of the world’s population does not have a voice in decision making. This is a serious indictment to our avowed commitment to multilateralism and the basic principles of natural justice, fairness and equity.

President Mnangagwa further called for the UN intervention and end the continued illegal occupation of Western Sahara. He invited the UN Secretary General to appoint without delay a special envoy for Western Sahara.

 “…self-determination and independence are intrinsic and fundamental rights that should be enjoyed by all without distinction,” he said.

He further challenged the African states to unite in the pursuit of independence for all territories from all forms of bondage including illegal occupations and illegal sanctions.

Credit: ZANU-PF Information Department

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