President attends UN General Assembly official opening

President Mugabe

President Mugabe

Tendai Mugabe at the UNITED NATIONS, New York
President Mugabe yesterday joined several leaders, among them royalty, for the official opening of the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The President also attended the launch of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development that replaced the Commission on Sustainable Development. President Mugabe is expected to address the General Assembly tomorrow.

The opening of the 68th session was dominated by the Syrian crisis where Western sponsored rebels are fighting to unseat President Bashar al Assad.

In his opening speech, UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki Moon bemoaned the massacre of civilians in Syria in a civil war that has stretched for over two years.

He said families in Syria were under siege as a result of the war, while most towns and cities were destroyed. As a result of the intense war, Mr Ban said more than 100 000 people had died, while more than seven million others, which is half of the Syrian population had fled their homes.

Mr Ban urged rival parties in Syria to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. “They must lift all obstacles to humanitarian access and end unconscionable targeting of medical facilities and personnel,” he said.

“They must release the tens of thousands of men, women and children whose detention has no basis at international law.”
Mr Ban said although it was important to destroy Syrian chemical weapons, it was equally crucial to stop the war that had culminated in serious bloodbath in the war torn country. He said the Syrian crisis required a political settlement rather than military solution.

“Military victory is an illusion,” said Mr Ban. “The only answer is a political settlement. I appeal to the government of Syria and the opposition and Excellencies, I appeal to all those in this hall with influence over them to make the Geneva II conference happen.”

Turning to world development, Mr Ban said the year 2015 was important since it was set as the target for the realisation of Millennium Development Goals.

“It is the year in which we will adopt a new development agenda,” he said. “And it is the year in which you have agreed to complete a global legal agreement on climate change. 2015 is a historic opportunity.”

United States President Barrack Obama, who initially agitated for military intervention in Syria, insisted that the Assad regime was responsible for the use of chemical weapons that killed more than 1 000 people in Syria last month. Mr Obama claimed while addressing the general assembly that the evidence was there to prove that president Assad used chemical weapons. This is despite that the Assad regime last week handed over evidence to the Russian government implicating the rebels in the use of chemical weapons.

Russia said it would soon present that evidence to the UN Security Council.

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