Foreign Minister Slams UN Over Palestine, Syria - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Foreign Minister Slams UN Over Palestine, Syria

Published October 1, 2012

In a speech given to the United Nations Security Council, Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson criticised the organisation for their inactivity over Syria and Palestine.
The speech was delivered last Saturday in New York. The points raised by Össur include:

I have visited Gaza. I met with fishermen who are not allowed to go fishing in the waters out of Gaza. I met the children of Gaza whose lives are made impossible by poverty, violence and a blockade that by others than myself has been described as an open door prison. I have seen for myself how the human rights of the people of the West bank are violated every day by a man-made barrier cutting through their roads, their lands, their lives, When I was in Qalqilya the words of a former statesman we all know rung in my head. Mr. Netanyahu – tear down this wall!

I listened to Mr. Netanyahu’s speech on Thursday, and I have a comment to make on behalf of the Icelandic people: Don’t bomb Iran. Don’t start another war in the Middle East. At the same time I say to President Ahmadinejad and the Iranian leadership: Don’t build a bomb. Let diplomacy work, not rabblerousing or fearmongering. Let’s work for peace together.

Sadly, there is no spring in Syria. Thousands of innocent people, not least innocent children, are loosing their lives due to an oppressive regime. The international community must unite to end the violence and we must make a better effort to seek a political and peaceful solution for the sake of the Syrian people. … The Syrian problem is also a wake-up call for the UN with regard to the Security Council. Syria has demonstrated how arcane the Council is, and how out-of-tune it is with the needs of the modern world. The truth is that the Security Council has become an obstacle to international efforts to address and solve situations such as in Syria. We must reform it, so as to make it a tool, not a hindrance, for progress in situations such as in Syria this year, or – as we saw last year – concerning the Palestinian application.

The speech in full can be read here (.pdf file).

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