Page last updated at 19:11 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 20:11 UK

In quotes: UN General Assembly

The following are key quotes from international leaders gathered for the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York as they make their addresses.


How is it conceivable that negotiations can be held on the borders and on Jerusalem at the same time that Israeli bulldozers are working to change the reality on the ground with the aim of creating a new reality and imposing borders as Israel desires?

Mahmoud Abbas demands Israel stop building settlements

How can one conceive holding negotiations without agreement on the terms of reference and the objective and goal of these negotiations that the whole world has unanimously agreed upon - namely ending the Israeli occupation of the territories occupied in 1967, establishing the state of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital, achieving a just and agreed-upon solution to the question of Palestinian refugees on the basis of resolution 194 of 1948, and achieving peace on all Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese tracts as affirmed by the Arab peace initiative which provides a precious opportunity that must be seized upon to achieve peace.


The Western countries - in particular the United States and the European Union - who imposed illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe have to our surprise, and that of SADC (Southern African Development Community), and the rest of Africa, refused to remove those sanctions.

Robert Mugabe demands western countries drop sanctions

We wonder what their motives are and we ask what they would want to see us do.

Indeed some of them are working strenuously to divide the parties in the inclusive government.

If they will not assist the inclusive government in rehabilitating our economy, could they please, please stop their filthy, clandestine, divisive antics.


To eliminate militancy you must strike at its roots. Surgery alone will not be enough.

We need to address the cause of the deprivation, poverty and illiteracy.

We need to adopt a dialogue, development and a wise use of force as our strategy.

Mr President, Pakistan has firmly responded to the challenges of extremism and militancy.

Democracy has given people ownership of the fight against terrorism.

Today our nation stands fully united in this struggle.


[Mr Chavez had branded former US President George W Bush "the devil" in a previous UN General Assembly speech.]

It doesn't smell of sulphur. It's gone. It smells of something else. It smells of hope and you have hope in your heart. [...]

What would it be like in Latin America today if the Americans had not imposed their model with firepower and blood? [...]

Obama, come and join the socialists. We invite you to join the axis of evil.


Today, the firm defence of democracy has a name, and a country: Honduras.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero adressing the UN, 24 September 2009
The Spanish prime minister spoke out against a recent coup in Honduras

There, our brothers from Latin America - who have seen democracy and the expectations of well-being consolidated in the last few years - have decided with the support of Spain and the international community that they are going to win this challenge, the challenge of Honduras.

We are not going to accept an anti-democratic coup. We are not going to accept it and democracy must return to Honduras.


As deeply connected as we are to our homeland, we also recognise that the Palestinians also live there, and they want a home of their own.

Benjamin Netanyahu issues warning on Iran

We want to live side-by-side with them: two free peoples living in peace, living in prosperity, living in dignity.

We want peace. And I believe that with goodwill, and with hard work, such a peace can be achieved. But it requires from all of us to roll back the forces of terror led by Iran, that seek to destroy peace, that seek to eliminate Israel, and to overthrow the world order. [...]

Now perhaps some of you think that this man [Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] and his odious regime - perhaps they threaten only the Jews. Well, if you think that, you're wrong - dead wrong.

History has shown us time and time again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually ends up engulfing many, many others.


As we advance the liberalisation of trade and investment, international co-ordination is necessary in order to forge systems to rein in the issues of poverty and economic disparity, which are difficult to co-ordinate by simply leaving them to market mechanisms, as well as excessive money-making games.

Japan will play a role as a "bridge" in international fora, including the G20, towards the formulation of common rules to that end.


The global economic meltdown has dealt a heavy blow to world efforts to eradicate poverty. But it should not diminish our resolve. The United Nations must play a significant role in finding solutions to the global economic crisis.

Developed countries bear the greatest responsibility for climate change and its impact. We must therefore strike a balance between adaptation and mitigation.

Our goal should be to significantly reduce emissions across the globe without constraining development in the countries of the south.


Our nation is prepared to warmly shake all those hands which are honestly extended to us.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President Ahmadinejad attacked Israel in his speech

How can one imagine that the inhuman policies in Palestine may continue? How can crimes of the occupiers against defenceless women and children and destruction of their homes, farms, hospitals and schools be supported unconditionally by certain governments?

It is not acceptable that some who are several thousands of kilometres from the Middle East should send in troops for military intervention and to spread war, bloodshed, aggression, terror and intimidation in the Middle East, in our region, while blaming the protest of nations within the region, that are concerned about their fate and their national security.


We plan to consolidate our role as a world power in green energy. Developed countries must set emission reduction roles that go far beyond those set to date. We are also deeply concerned that funding for technological innovations needed to protect the environment in developing countries as announced to date is totally insufficient.

The issues at the core of our concerns - like climate change - have one strong common denominator - the need to build a new international order that is sustainable, multilateral and less asymmetric, free of hegemonies and ruled by democratic institutions.

This new world is a political and moral imperative. We must be midwives to the future. This is the only way to make repairs for so much injustice and to prevent new tragedies.


I took office at a time when many around the world had come to view America with scepticism and distrust. Part of this was due to misperceptions and misinformation about my country. Part of this was due to opposition to specific policies, and a belief that on certain critical issues, America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others. This has fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism, which too often has served as an excuse for our collective inaction.

"All of us [must] take responsibility for a global response to global challenges"

Like all of you, my responsibility is to act in the interest of my nation and my people, and I will never apologise for defending those interests. But it is my deeply held belief that in the year 2009 - more than at any point in human history - the interests of nations and peoples are shared.

[...] Today, I put forward four pillars that are fundamental to the future that we want for our children: non-proliferation and disarmament; the promotion of peace and security; the preservation of our planet; and a global economy that advances opportunity for all people.

[...] The United Nations does extraordinary good around the world in feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, and mending places that have been broken. But it also struggles to enforce its will, and to live up to the ideals of its founding.

I believe that those imperfections are not a reason to walk away from this institution - they are a calling to redouble our efforts [...] The United Nations can be an institution that is disconnected from what matters in the lives of our citizens, or it can be indispensable in advancing the interests of the people we serve.

We have reached a pivotal moment. The United States stands ready to begin a new chapter of international co-operation - one that recognises the rights and responsibilities of all nations.


The preamble [to the UN Charter] is different from the provisions and the articles and the international procedures. The preamble... says the nations are equal whether they are small or big. Are we equal in the permanent seats? No, we are not equal. Do we have the rights of the veto? The preamble says we are equal. The charter is against the veto. We do not accept it and we do not acknowledge. [...]

Colonel Gaddafi calls for the reform of the UN Security Council

The Security Council is an executive body for resolutions taken by the General Assembly only - the Security Council should just be a representative for all nations [...] The General Assembly is the parliament of the world [...] Here we all have equal votes, we should also be equal next door in the Security Council. We should not accept any resolution that comes out of the Security Council right now. We should resort to the majority of the votes of the General Assembly alone.

Democracy is not for the rich or for the one who is more powerful. All nations should have an equal footing. This is political feudalism for those who have a permanent seat. It shouldn't be called the Security Council, it should be called the Terror Council. [....] The Security Council has not provided us with security, it has provided us with terror and sanctions.


Black Africa has been wandering in the desert of underdevelopment for much of the years following independence... We can no longer be held to ransom by foreign funding for vital infrastructure. It is amazing and indeed shameful to see the low levels of electrification in Africa. How can we expect growth and transformation in such a situation? The whole of Africa needs to wake up and find a solution.

In China, it costs $12 to transport cargo between Shanghai and Beijing; in East Africa, it costs $65. There are two other bottlenecks - exporting raw materials and developing our subsistence agriculture, it has been recognised as a modern slavery. In Uganda, we are transforming subsistence agriculture into modern agriculture. We know we cannot do all this sustainably if we continue to neglect the environment. [...]

At last, we have graduated from the desert of under-development, we are finally doing what we ought to have done. We are entering into the phase of growth and transformation... We have a double challenge - the struggle to transform our economies and to cope with the problems caused by others such as the global financial crisis and environmental degradation.


We are right in the middle of an unprecedented financial and economic crisis, we are on the threshold of a planetary ecological disaster. We must, right now, invent a new world where the follies of the yesterday will no longer be possible.

There are a million human beings who suffer from hunger and hundreds of millions who have no access to water. [...] It is up to us heads of state - our duty - to restore hope to these millions of beings. [...] We owe them an answer and France's answer is clear - things have to change, we cannot accept that things can go on in the same way.

After such a strong disavowal of our way of thinking, the task before us is as great as the men of goodwill who joined here to lay the foundations of a new world order. The generation that preceded us was able to discharge its response - will we do the same? The only question that remains is - is the world going to change because we will be wise, intelligent and bold, or because further crises are going to occur if we fail to take the wise path of radical change.

France has come to say - we have no more time. I hope that 2009 will be the year when a new world order will be established - one that we will all be comfortable with.


We face five urgent challenges that demand momentous decisions - decisions that I would argue are epoch-making on climate change, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, poverty and shared prosperity.

Once again, we are at a point of no return. And just as the collapse of the banks focused our minds a year ago - so we must now grasp this next set of issues.

Brown: Iran and North Korea must know the world will be even tougher on proliferation

If we do not reach a deal at Copenhagen - if we miss this opportunity to protect our planet - we cannot hope for a second chance some time in the future. There will be no retrospective global agreement to undo the damage we will have caused. This is the moment, now, to limit and reverse the climate change we are inflicting on future generations.

Not later, at another conference, in another decade, after we have lost ten years to inaction and delay.

[...] Let there by no ambiguity: Iran and North Korea must know that the world will be even tougher on proliferation and we are ready to consider further sanctions. Britain will insist that the onus on non-nuclear states is that, in future, it is for them to prove they are not developing nuclear weapons.

Second, Britain will offer civil nuclear power to non nuclear states ready to renounce any plans for nuclear weapons: helping non-nuclear states acquire what President Eisenhower so memorably called "atoms for peace."

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