South Africa backs Palestine’s UN bid

22 September 2011

President Jacob Zuma told the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday that South Africa supported the Palestinian Authority’s bid for full UN membership as a sovereign State, and urged other countries to back the move.

“It is a decisive step towards achieving lasting peace, economic cooperation and prosperity for the millions of people in the Middle East, and urge that it be viewed favourable,” Zuma said in his address to the Assembly’s annual general debate.

Libya’s TNC ‘will need support’

On the situation in Libya, Zuma called for the cessation of hostilities and an end to Nato’s aerial bombardment. “We also call for the lifting of the no-fly zone, which was necessitated by the need for the protection of civilians.”

Zuma voiced concern over the proliferation of arms in Libya, adding that the transitional authorities there would need support to deal with the security challenges. He urged Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) to ensure the protection of migrant workers, especially those from sub-Saharan African countries, whose number he put at about 2.5-million.

“Immediate measures should be taken to put an end to the killings, arbitrary arrests and the detention of migrant and black Libyans.”

UN ‘should never allow itself to be used by any country’

Zuma noted that the African Union (AU) had tried to broker a peaceful solution to the Libyan crisis when it erupted early this year. “However, it is a matter of record now that the AU efforts were never given a chance. Military actions were preferred over peaceful means.”

The South African leader stressed that the UN should never allow itself to be used by any country. “All citizens of the world should feel confident and secure in the knowledge that the UN is above all interests and only serves those of the global citizenry.”

‘Lift embargo on Cuba’

He also reiterated South Africa’s call for the lifting of the economic and financial embargo on Cuba to help the Caribbean country’s people attain greater economic freedom.

Zuma also met with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the margins of the General Assembly’s debate on Wednesday, and the two leaders discussed developments in the southern African region, including the situation in Madagascar. They also talked about recent developments in Libya and Sudan.

Ban thanked Zuma for his contribution as a co-chair of the Global Sustainability Panel, and acknowledged the country’s leadership as the host of the 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban later this year.

Source: UN News Service