New York - President Paul Kagame yesterday put it to the UN General assembly that debates seeking solutions to global issues must not be a monopoly of a few nations, but should rather include poor countries, as they have valuable contributions to make.
The President made the remarks while addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Kagame said that if the true spirit of multilateralism is to prevail, then the current debates on crises such as the global financial meltdown and climate change must be broadened to include many nations that are most affected by the decisions of the few.
“We in developing nations appreciate the corrective measures by the G8 and G20 to accelerate global economic recovery – but it is evident that most of their proposals fall short of the concrete steps needed to address challenges that are specific to Low Income Countries,” Kagame told the Assembly.
Since these global crises have no boundaries, Kagame said the G-20 which has been playing a critical role in restoring economic stability needs to be broadened to accommodate more countries.
“This is the time to embrace “true multilateralism,” Kagame said. “All nations should be part of these important discussions, because they have valuable contributions to make.”
He added that multilateralism, a sound principle that has been tested, and on which the United Nations is based, has to be embraced as a key tenet in forging a “fairer international community” based on “equitable global governance”.
Addressing a wide range of issues, Kagame also touched on the thorny and controversial issue of universal jurisdiction.
Without mincing words, Kagame, reiterated his stand, insisting that international justice must not be selective but fair to all.
“International justice should be fair to all – rich and poor; strong or weak,” Kagame told his colleagues.
The President said he was looking forward to resolutions from last year’s general assembly which debated at length the issue of international justice.
At the time, Rwanda and most African nations pushed for a comprehensive review of the increasingly controversial issue which Africa has unanimously criticised.
He also returned to the subject of climate change that he had earlier discussed at a special summit convened by the UN Secretary General.
Kagame said this year’s UN session provides an important platform for preparing for the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit.
He said time had come to address issues to do with how much industrialized nations will reduce greenhouse emissions and at the same time, how much developing nations will limit the increase of emissions.
At the Copenhagen summit, Kagame said a strategy must be reached on how to finance and support efforts that conserve energy, mitigate risk, and build green technologies that counteract the impact of climate change in the developing world.
“Every nation should have equal status and be considered “A Concerned Nation” at the forthcoming summit,” he said.
Recently, Rwanda hosted an African preparatory meeting for the Copenhagen Summit that encouraged a common African position at the December summit.
On issues of peace and security in the Great Lakes region, the President told the assembly that the region was witnessing a new era of stability, largely due to home-grown solutions.
“The leaders of this region recognize that most crucially, home-grown solutions, beginning with a joint regional effort, can bring about sustainable peace.
“It is in this context that we, together with our colleagues and neighbours in the Democratic Republic of Congo, are dealing with the root cause of instability in our area,” Kagame said.
As chairman of the EAC, the President also touched on the progress of building a fully integrated market in this region of 130 million people.
He said the region was preparing to inaugurate an EAC Common Market by January next year that would facilitate trade, investment and free movement of people.
“We believe that there is no better mitigation strategy to economic difficulties than building larger regional markets that bring improved productivity, which increases purchasing power, and in turn, strengthens our societies.”
On the sidelines of the UN meeting, Kagame held a series of bilateral talks with several leaders, including the Belgian ministers of Cooperation and Foreign Affairs, and the EU Development Commissioner, Karel de Gucht.