Cablegate: Un General Debate Continues (September 23 Pm):

Published: Fri 9 Oct 2009 09:46 PM
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1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The September 23rd afternoon session of the
General debate saw the U.S. delegation walk out of Iranian
President Ahmedinejad's fiery diatribe against the U.S. and
Israel. The Iranian President derided capitalist economic
systems, defended recent election results, and condemned both
the U.S. and Israel for a wide array of recent global ills.
President Morales of Bolivia followed with stinging remarks
against U.S. military intervention in Latin America. China
pledged support for those countries hit hard by the economic
crisis, while affirming its support for non-proliferation
efforts. Russia's President blasted Georgia for its actions
in South Ossetia, while lauding President Obama for his
decision to reverse plans on the U.S. missile defense system.
Many leaders used their time to call for countries to take
immediate steps to curtail climate change, to bemoan the
plight of developing countries, to call for structural
reforms in the wake of the financial crisis, and to offer
support for steps aimed at nuclear non-proliferation. A
number of countries offered optimistic comments on the
direction the U.N. might take under President Obama. Full
text of statements available on
at, video archives are at END SUMMARY.
2. (U) SWEDEN: Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, speaking on
behalf of the European Union (EU), welcomed the U.S.'s wish
to work with multilateral institutions. He highlighted the
EU's climate change goals to reduce emissions by 25-40
percent from 1990 levels by 2020. Reinfeldt reaffirmed the
EU's commitment towards human rights, the empowerment of
women and gender equality (UNSCR 1325/1820), the
International Criminal Court, the Millennium Development
Goals (MDG), and support for U.S. efforts in the Mideast
peace process. Reinfeldt also urged the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea to renounce nuclear weapons and called on
Iran and Burma to ensure human rights. Finally, he
reaffirmed the EU's support for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and
the Alliance of Civilizations. His statement that the EU
continues to call for the worldwide abolition of the death
penalty was met with applause,
3. (U) ITALY: Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi provided a
summary of the July 8-10 G-8 meeting in L'Aquila July 8-10
and the issues to be discussed at the G-20 meeting in
Pittsburgh. In L'Aquila, the G-8 focused on
banking/financial regulation, climate change, food security
(including the creation of a USD 20 billion fund for
agricultural development), and countering stock market
speculation and the manipulation of commodity and energy
markets. Berlusconi also proposed a global system of
strategic commodities reserve to prevent speculation and he
criticized tax havens. Finally, with regard to UN Security
Council reform, "new national permanent members would simply
increase the sense of exclusion of all countries that
4. (U) UNITED KINGDOM: Prime Minister Gordon Brown began his
speech, in contrast to Qadhafi's (Libya), stating "I stand
here to reaffirm the UN Charter, not to tear it up," which
drew immediate applause from the members. He identified five
global challenges requiring global "momentous" decisions:
climate change, terrorism, nuclear non-proliferation, shared
prosperity, and poverty/MDG's. Brown highlighted the
importance of the Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen and
announced that he plans to attend and asked other world
leaders to as well. He called for an "Afghanization"
strategy requiring Afghanistan taking a greater
responsibility for its security. He characterized the UNSC
Summit resolution (September 24) on nuclear non-proliferation
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as a "vital" move towards the April 2010 Global Nuclear
Security Summit. He warned Iran and the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea that the world will be tougher on
proliferation and that further sanctions could be possible.
To help non nuclear countries that are ready to renounce
nuclear weapons, Brown said that the UK will sponsor a
uranium bank to support civil nuclear power as well as a new
nuclear center of excellence to develop a low carbon nuclear
fuel cycle. With regard to shared prosperity, Brown said the
G-20 must ensure the economic recovery does not falter and
that stronger economic coordination is necessary. This must
be done through comprehensive reforms of the financial sector
(specifically targeting tax havens). Finally, Brown exhorted
member nations not to forget about the MDGs and applauded the
free universal health care plans announced by Burundi, Sierra
Leone, Malawi, Nepal, Liberia, and Ghana.
5. (U) ARGENTINA: President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
stated her intention to talk about the current socioeconomic
crisis but recent developments in Honduras had forced her to
change it; several days ago, Argentina's Embassy in Honduras
(as well as the Brazilian Embassy) had its power cut off
because of its support for ousted President Zelaya. She
criticized Iran for not allowing the extradition of several
Iranian suspects sought in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish
community center in Buenos Aires (one of whom is now a
minister in the Iranian government). Kirchner highlighted
several encouraging developments: the recent visit of the
Inter American Commission on Human Rights to Argentina to
review crimes under the previous dictatorship; and the recent
bill to protect freedom of the press.
6. (U) TAJIKISTAN: President Emomali Rahmon focused his
speech on what his country has done to promote disarmament,
prohibit land mines, and stop illicit drug trafficking.
Rahmon supports stability in Afghanistan and an integrated
approach in the use of natural resources to combat climate
7. (U) CHINA: President Hu Jintao promoted globalization and
mutual cooperation. He said that China continues to stand
for the complete prohibition and destruction of nuclear
weapons and promotes peaceful use of nuclear energy. Hu
believes the UN needs to advance development and counter the
financial crisis by increasing trade and completing the Doha
Round. According to Hu, food, energy and public health
security as well as climate change are all global problems
which need to be addressed through international cooperation.
China will increase its support to countries hit hard by the
financial crisis and will continue efforts to reach the MDGs.
8. (U) MONACO: H.S.H. Prince Albert II emphasized Monaco's
support for the implementation of the MDGs by 2015. He said
that economic assistance to countries hit hard by the
financial meltdown must increase during this crisis, not
decrease. Prince Albert reiterated Monaco's commitment to
the Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen and supports the
goal to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020.
Finally, he called on the G-20 to resolve the financial
crisis and for the United Nations to continue its
peacekeeping operations.
9. (U) COLUMBIA: President Alvaro Uribe Velez focused most
of his speech on Colombia's advances against drug traffickers
and guerillas. Uribe stated that Colombia has dismantled
"paramilitarism" and regained its ability to combat criminals
and deliver justice to terrorists. Colombia plans to take a
tough stance not only on drug production but on drug
consumption. He blamed the current economic crisis on
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speculation and is worried about a new era of protectionism.
Colombia supports the Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen,
as it is a net producer of oxygen, and is in favor of
stricter international conventions with effective binding
10. (U) RUSSIAN FEDERATION: President Dmitry Medvedev
divided his speech into five themes: (1) the timing of UNGA,
(2) existing problems, (3) disarmament, (4) regional
security, and (5) human rights. Medvedev said this session
was taking place during a crucial time in history (the "first
wide-scale crisis of the globalization era"). He listed
disruption of the MDGs, unemployment and social problems as
current dilemmas and suggested increased donor assistance,
improved energy security, and reform of the Security Council
as possible solutions. Medvedev explained the Russian
Federation's support for disarmament such as the
Russian-Chinese initiative on the prevention of the
deployment of weapons in outer space and the recent treaty
with the U.S. He also lauded President Obama's change in
policy towards a missile defense system. With regard to
regional security, Medvedev promoted regional peace and
criticized Georgia for its use of force in South Ossetia.
Finally, he emphasized the protection of human rights and
called for the establishment of a High Level Group on
Interreligious Dialogue. He closed his remarks by
disparaging those who attempt to "whitewash Nazism, to deny
the Holocaust, (or) revise the decisions of the Nuremberg
11. (U) SOUTH AFRICA: President Jacob Zuma observed that
2009 marks the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of
resolution 44/27 which signaled UN support for the
eradication of apartheid. Zuma, like others, commented that
developing countries did not cause the economic crisis yet
they are bearing the brunt of it and that it should not be an
excuse to delay the MDGs. He urged conclusion of the Doha
Round, promoted nuclear non-proliferation and called for the
lifting of the trade embargo on Cuba. Zuma blamed climate
change on the developed countries and wanted Copenhagen to
result in quantified, legally binding emission reductions.
He also called for the expansion of both permanent and
non-permanent members of the Security Council. Finally, he
advocated for a resolution to declare 18 July as Nelson
Mandela day.
12. (U) CZECH REPUBLIC: President Vaclav Klaus argued that
the economic crisis will lead to protectionism and set the
blame squarely on governments, not markets. Too much
regulation, he cautioned, would be a tragic mistake; business
cycles will always exist. He also briefly mentioned Czech
Republic support for Security Council reform.
13. (U) EL SALVADOR: President Carlos Mauricio Funes
Cartagena described his new government's efforts to
strengthen democracy within El Salvador; he is committed to
raise the country out of the economic crisis and move it
toward social inclusion, peace and security, and fair
economic distribution. He noted the contributions by
overseas El Salvadorans and is looking forward to the Third
Global Forum on Migration and Development in Athens November
4-5. He backed exiled Honduran President Zelaya and stated
that the world cannot permit such a setback in the region.
Funes supported the MDGs, called for the reform of the UN's
principal organs, promoted the conclusion of the Doha Round,
and agreed that climate change needs to be addressed.
14. (U) EQUITORIAL GUINEA: President Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Mbasogo's remarks urged nations to consider a reordering of
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the global economic system in order to more equitably
distribute wealth and to alleviate conditions of poverty in
developing countries. Mbasogo pointed out that only 20% of
the Millennium Development Goals have not been met. Mbasogo
bemoaned that his country had become a victim of attacks and
attempts to control the country's natural resources despite
the claim that Equatorial Guinea has always been a
peace-loving country that has worked towards international
15. (U) DOMINICAN REPUBLICAN: The remarks by President Leonel
Fernandez Reyna were focused mostly on economic themes, with
a particular emphasis on the grave impacts that the financial
crisis has had on vulnerable communities and developing
countries. Reyna called for the international community to
work towards creating a greater distribution of wealth to
take strides at alleviating poverty. On the matter of the
recent coup in Honduras, the President expressed strong
support for the Zelaya government and remarked that his
actions have been, "a great show of personal courage and
audacity." Prodding the international community to take a
strong stance against the coup, Reyna said, "We must show the
same level of commitment."
16. (U) IRAN: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech was
pointedly anti-U.S. and anti-Israel, while taking particular
aim against capitalist economic systems. The President's most
injurious remarks conjured up the anti-Semitic concept of the
Protocols of the Elders of Zion, noting that, "It is no
longer acceptable that a small minority would dominate the
politics, economy and culture of major parts of the world by
its complicated networks, and establish a new form of
slavery, and harm the reputation of other nations, even
European nations and the U.S., to attain its racist
ambitions." (See notes below on U.S. delegation walkout.)
Ahmadinejad often referred to the U.S. in a thinly guised
veil, at one point noting that, "It is not acceptable that
some who are several thousands of kilometers away from the
Middle East would send their troops for military intervention
and for spreading war, bloodshed, aggression, terror and
intimidation." At no point did Ahmedinejad refer to the U.S.
by name, but continued to offer stinging comments, clearly
referring to the U.S. military budget, it's powerful role in
the Security Council, and his assessment that America is
responsible for a host of global ills. The President spent
considerable time decrying the capitalist system of the West,
referring to capitalism as an "unfair system of thought."
Ahmedinejad pressed nations to move towards greater faith and
religiosity, portraying Iran as a successful country owing to
its piousness. Referring to the recent hostilities in Gaza,
Ahmadinejad called this a "22-day barbaric attack by the
Zionist regime." Speaking of the recent and highly
controversial Iranian Presidential election, Ahmedinejad
defended the results, firmly declaring that "our nation has
successfully gone through a glorious and fully-democratic
alluding to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was agreed to
have crossed the previously established Redlines for the U.S.
delegation to exit the speech. The U.S. left at the point
that this line was spoken and was then followed almost
immediately by other countries. Canada had walked out at the
start of the speech. Immediately following the walk-out by
the U.S. and other delegations, delegates convened on the
sidelines and compared notes regarding the Redlines, as well
as comparing the list of the countries that had left. Based
on observation and discussions with delegates, at least 17
countries walked-out including: Argentina, Australia, Canada,
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Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, New
Zealand, Palau, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, the United Kingdom,
Uruguay, and the United States. Notably, the delegations of
Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden remained.
Conversations indicated some countries had made the decision
to leave based on pre-established red-lines, while others
decided to follow the lead of other delegations.
18. (U) BOLIVIA: President Evo Morales Ayma had harsh words
for the U.S. in the already charged atmosphere following
Ahmadinejad's speech. (Note: The Iranian leader remained
present for his speech). Morales focused his criticism on
U.S. military bases in Latin America, on economic blockades
and tariffs that he claimed are "direct interference of the
United States" in the affairs of sovereign countries and then
declared, "We know what uniformed personnel of the Unites
States can do in a country." Morales strongly defended the
right of his country to grow coca, saying "the coca plant is
one thing, cocaine is another." Morales echoed the support of
other regional leaders for the ousted Honduran President
Zelaya and urged the U.N. to "issue an ultimatum" to the de
facto government in order to restore Zelaya's power. Despite
a rhetorical theme of criticizing the role of the U.S. in
Latin America and beyond, Morales noted that, "I have great
hope for President Obama." He specifically praised the
decision of the U.S. to close the detention center at
Guantanamo Bay, but then called for the blockade against Cuba
to be lifted. Morales urged the U.N. to reform the Security
Council, emphasizing a need to end the veto.
19. (U) UKRAINE: President Victor Yushchenko focused on the
themes of freedom in the early part of his speech, reflecting
on the history of the U.N. and lamenting on how far the world
and his country have come since the bipolar order dominated
the agenda. He noted that "As a free nation, we shall not
accept any forms of interference into the internal affairs of
sovereign countries." Yushchenko emphasized the need for
countries to maintain territorial integrity and to reject
authoritarianism and interference. The President devoted
several minutes of his speech to the fight against piracy,
pointing out the risks, and urging that the issue be
considered not only a local matter, but a global one. He
clearly stated Ukraine's commitment to combating piracy in
all ways necessary.
20. (U) POLAND: President Lech Kaczynski encouraged members
to take advantage of the new direction the U.N. may take
while President Obama is in office, declaring that "this will
be a phase of its (the U.N's) greatness." Kaczynski
commented that President Obama's promise to take a new
direction with the U.N. also implied a responsibility for the
other member states to embrace the moment. He used much of
his time to address ways of working through the financial
crisis and suggested that that the Bretton Woods organization
be reformed. He added that U.N. institutions including the
ILO could be better used in addressing global economic
stress. Kaczynski also spoke about the importance of
territorial integrity, emphasizing Georgia's case as an
example of where the use of force has been used illegally.
21. (U) AUSTRALIA: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called on member
states to think seriously about climate change, urging them
to reach a "grand bargain" to avoid its most catastrophic
effects. Rudd laid out the conflict between developing and
developed countries on this issue and recognized that
competing claims make forging an agreement challenging. He
agreed that the arguments of both sides have validity, but
that countries must look beyond their self-interest if any
progress can take place. Rudd spoke about the financial
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crisis and suggested that a restructuring of the economic
system is necessary, asking members to "reform the
institutions of global government." Rudd finished his speech
by imploring nations to cooperate on key issues and reminded
nations that the U.N. is a collective, "the U.N. is not a
place, it is not an institution, it is us." Rudd urged
leaders to take steps for a better future, reminding them
that, "the challenge of leadership is to imagine a future
worth having."
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