Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘United Nations General Assembly’

UN Makes First Staff Cut Since 1945 in Budget Deal.


UNITED NATIONS  — The United Nations authorized a staff cut for the first time since the international body was created in 1945, yielding to pressures from member states to reduce spending as governments suffer from financial strains.

The U.N. General Assembly Friday approved a net reduction of 219 positions, or 2 percent of all U.N. posts. It also approved a one-year freeze in compensation and a two-year freeze on benefits allowance.

Major contributors to the U.N. budget such as the United States, the largest donor, in 2010 began pressuring the New York-based United Nations to reduce its spending as they endured austerity measures to recover from the global financial crisis. Negotiations pitted major developed countries that pay most of the bills against developing nations that seek to increase UN development spending.

The U.N.’s staff cut is “crucial” and will “eliminate unnecessary, duplicative or outdated posts,” Joe Torsella, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for management and reform, told the General Assembly Friday.

“At a time when the budgets, crucial services of many common system organizations have been squeezed, these measures will hold compensation costs in place, until we can act in the next session,” Torsella said.

The staff cut is part of the 2014-2015 U.N. budget and a settling of accounts for this year’s extra-budgetary spending. The U.N.’s 193-member states approved $5.53 billion for the next two years, a 1 percent decrease from the previous two-year period.

The United States had also sought in vain to reduce the amount retroactively billed by the UN for 2013. The U.N. Secretariat is allowed to report additional yearly expenditure through a mechanism called “recosting,” to account for fluctuations in exchange rates, changes in yearly budget appropriation and cost of living adjustments for U.N. staff.

While there were no “recosting” reductions, the General Assembly instead ordered an independent study of possible options to change the recosting system.

The budget doesn’t include peacekeeping, which for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, is about $7.54 billion, or the costs to operate several major U.N. agencies funded by voluntary contributions from member states.

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Iran’s Rouhani Eyes Rebuilding Relations With US.


BERLIN — Iran wants to improve bilateral relations with the United States and other Western powers, President Hassan Rouhani said in an editorial published in a German newspaper on Monday, broaching an issue he has so far avoided since he took office.

Rouhani won a landslide election victory in June promising a policy of engagement with the West and has had regular diplomatic contacts with the United States, but they have been limited to negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program.

“We want to rebuild and improve our relations to European and North American countries on a basis of mutual respect,” he wrote in a contribution for the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

“We are striving to avoid new burdens on relations between Iran and the United States and also to remove the tensions that we have inherited,” said Rouhani, who has promised to reduce Tehran’s isolation and to win an easing of sanctions.

Tehran and Washington severed relations after Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.

Iran cannot forget everything that has affected relations with the United States over the last 60 years, he said, but added: “We must now concentrate on the present and orientate ourselves towards the future.”

Rouhani’s diplomatic pragmatism has already resulted in significant progress. While in New York for the United Nations General Assembly in September, Rouhani held an historic telephone call with Barack Obama, the first time the presidents of the two nations have spoken in more than three decades.

“REMOVING DOUBTS”

Iranian officials subsequently emphasized the call was to support a diplomatic resolution of Iran’s nuclear program and did not concern direct bilateral ties. Two months later Iran and world powers signed an interim deal to curb part of Iran’s nuclear activities in return for some sanctions relief.

Rouhani, a former nuclear negotiator, said he was doing whatever he could to end tensions over Tehran’s nuclear activities, which have raised concerns in the West that Iran is seeking to develop an atomic weapons capability. Iranian officials have repeatedly denied such suggestions.

“We have never even considered the option of acquiring nuclear weapons,” Rouhani said. “We’ll never give up our right to profit from nuclear energy. But we are working towards removing all doubts and answer all reasonable questions about our program.”

Iran agreed under the Nov. 24 accord to stop its most sensitive nuclear work — uranium enrichment to a fissile concentration of 20 percent — and cap other parts of its activities in exchange for some limited easing of sanctions, including trade in petrochemicals and gold.

On Sunday, world powers and Iran suspended their technical talks in Geneva on how to implement the agreement until after the Christmas holidays following slow progress.

In a posting on Facebook on Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said they would resume early next week but he described all stages of the talks as complex.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Will Iran Dialogue Include Apology for ’53 Coup?.


Image: Will Iran Dialogue Include Apology for '53 Coup?

Picture dated Nov. 20, 1953 of Iranian ex-Premier Mohammad Mossadegh making a point during a military tribunal trying him for treason.

By John Gizzi

As President Barack Obama moves closer to a dialogue with Iran, discussion mounts in Washington over whether the administration soon will make a formal apology for one of the most controversial events in the history of this country’s relations with Tehran.

If so, then the next question is whether it will mean anything to the Islamic rulers now in power.

In his address to the United Nations General Assembly last month, the president made a much-watched gesture by acknowledging the U.S. role in the overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953.

With CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt (grandson of Teddy) overseeing street demonstrations and contacts with the Iranian military in Tehran, Mossadegh was deposed and the Shah of Iran — then in exile in Rome — returned to power and ruled until the Islamic revolution of 1979.

Mossadegh was found guilty of misuse of power and remained under house arrest in Ahmadabad until his death in 1967 at age 84.

Referring to the long mistrust of the U.S. by Iran, Obama told the UN, “This mistrust has deep roots. Iranians have long complained of a history of U.S. interference in their affairs, and America’s role in overthrowing an Iranian government during the Cold War.

“I don’t believe this difficult history can be overcome overnight,” he added. “The suspicions run too deep.”

With those words, the president made the highest official U.S. acknowledgement of the controversial CIA-backed coup. In 2000, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright did acknowledge U.S. “interference” in Iran in 1953.

Six days later, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani telephoned Obama and the two had a 15-minute discussion. Since then, speculation has been rampant that the U.S. will issue a formal apology to Tehran for the overthrow of Mossadegh and this will open the door to the nuclear arms talks long sought by Obama.

“But the U.S.’ history is one of limited apologies and you can never make a limited apology for something,” Brown University Professor Stephen Kinzer, historian and onetime New York Times foreign correspondent, told Newsmax recently.

Kinzer is author of “All The Shah’s Men,” an in-depth account of the 1953 coup.

He believes that the coup was a mistake, that the reason for it had less to do with the West’s conflict with the Soviet Union and more to do with Mossadegh’s nationalizing of the prosperous British oil company known as Anglo-Iranian in 1951.

“The U.S. was responding to various economic and strategic fears, most of which were exaggerated,” Kinzer told Newsmax. “Mossadegh was in no way a Communist or sympathetic to communism. He hated the Tudeh (Iranian Communist) Party and was a true nationalist, nothing else.”

Kinzer, however, acknowledges in “All the Shah’s Men” that “the crucial question of whether the American coup was necessary to prevent the Soviets from staging a coup of their own cannot be conclusively answered.”

Like many fellow historians and some politicians — notably former Republican Rep. Ron Paul of Texas — Kinzer believes the U.S. role in the 1953 coup produced the “blowback” that resulted in Iran’s Islamic revolution 26 years later and the resulting bad relations between Iran and the U.S. since.

Recalling how the U.S. has issued formal apologies in the past — notably the resolution enacted by the U.S. Senate in 1993 apologizing to native Hawaiians for the overthrow of their kingdom in the 19th century — he pointed out “Americans have to make nuanced apologies.”

“We don’t do it the way [British Prime Minister] David Cameron did [in 2010], straight out and from the heart, when he said he was ‘deeply sorry’ for ‘Bloody Sunday,'” when British soldiers fired upon civil-rights demonstrators in Londonderry in 1972, calling it “unjust and unjustifiable.”

“Our apologies have too many ‘ifs,’ ‘ands,’ and ‘buts.'”

The key to an open door with Iran, Kinzer said, is “a recognition of both the 1953 coup and Iran’s seizure in 1979 of American hostages at the embassy in Tehran. That is as much a sore spot with Americans as the overthrow of Mossadegh is with Iranians.”

Rather than a “nuanced apology,” Kinzer advocates a joint statement, from Washington and Tehran, recognizing the errors that each country made in the coup and the hostage crisis.”

“A very senior Iranian official with ties to its religious leaders should sit down with a U.S. official who is above politics,” he said. “I think Tom Pickering [career diplomat and U.N. ambassador under George W. Bush] would be outstanding for a job like this. Let’s send him to Iran and let him go from there.”

Kinzer cited current problems in Iran, including its controversial ties to the Assad regime in Syria and the growing cases of drug addiction stemming from the narcotics tide into Iran from Afghanistan. A relationship with the U.S. is needed, he said, “and, rather than an apology, a good way to start is a sincere statement saying ‘we both made mistakes.'”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Syria Imbroglio: Applicability Of International Law Rules And Practice By Dr. Theophilus Olusegun Obayemi, I.


I.    Introduction

We re-examine the United States-led intervention in Syria. First, our thesis is that within the context of the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”)’s decision in Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), Jurisdiction and Admissibility, 1984 ICJ REP. 392 June 27, 1986.—there has actually been “interventions” by the United States and its allies inside the Syrian borders.

Second, we argue that the United Nations General Assembly (“UNGA”) ought to have requested the ICJ to issue an Advisory Opinion on the legality and/or lawfulness of the United States and French-led intervention in Syria.

Third, humanitarian intervention towards preventing genocide and serious violations of humanitarian rights is now a jus cogens, which does not need a United Nations Security Council’s Resolution.

In a nutshell, the UNGA should have taken over the jurisdiction of the Syrian case over and above the need for a Chapter VII Security Council Resolution.

In September 2013, many international law observers had expected a full-blown attack by the United States armed forces against the Assad Syrian government. In an attempt to avoid being dragged into an unpopular military action as occurred in Vietnam and Iraq, President Barrack Obama sought ratification and support from the Congress. In the midst, Vladmir Putin, Russian Head of State offered to negotiate the peaceful surrender of chemical weapons by Assad. Salutory as the efforts to avert military confrontation may seem, international law practitioners are concerned that the rules of international law were not followed and were neither referenced in solving the impasse.

II.    Origin of the Syrian Revolution

The Arab Spring consumed the entire Arab world in 2011. A wave of civil wars, revolutionary demonstrations, protests and riots dubbed the “Arab Spring” started in December 2010 and spread across North Africa and into the Middle East in 2011. As of October 2013, rulers have been forced from power in Tunisia, Egypt (twice), Libya, and Yemen. In addition, civil uprisings have erupted in Bahrain and Syria. Further, major protests broke out in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Sudan. We also witnessed minor protests in Mauritania, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Western Sahara, and the Palestinian Authority.

Of particular importance is that in March 2011, Pro-democracy protests in Syria started in earnest when a group of 200 mostly young protesters gathered in the Syrian capital Damascus to demand reforms and the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a ‘Day of Rage.’ A Facebook group called “The Syrian Revolution 2011 Syrian revolt against Bashar al-Assad” garnered more than 41,000 fans, while Syrian Twitter users tweeted for the world to pay attention. Video footage emerged showing the protests. Between March 2011 and September the Assad government battled rebels who gained significant inroads into the political control of the Syrian landmass. Then came the use of chemical weapons.

Syria has always had a “long-standing chemical warfare program”, which was first developed in the 1970s. A recent report from the US Congressional Research Service said Syria probably began stockpiling chemical weapons in 1972 or 1973, when it was given a small number of chemicals and delivery systems by Egypt before the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Further, Damascus started acquiring the materials and knowledge necessary to produce chemical weapons in the 1980s, with the help of the Soviet Union. Equipment and chemicals were also procured from European companies. While the exact size of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal is not known, in June 2012, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Deputy Chief of Staff Maj Gen Yair Nave described it as “the largest in the world”. In addition, according to a French intelligence assessment published in September 2013, Damascus has more than 1,000 tonnes of chemical agents and precursor chemicals, including:

Several hundreds of tonnes of sulphur mustard
Several hundreds of tonnes of sarin
Several tens of tonnes of VX

According to a report by UN chemical weapons inspectors, there is “clear and convincing evidence” that surface-to-surface rockets containing sarin were fired at suburbs to the east and west of Damascus in an attack on 21 August that killed hundreds of people. Further, according to US, British, French and Israeli officials, there is also evidence that Syrian government forces used sarin against rebels and civilians on several previous occasions. Finally, French intelligence said analysis of samples taken from the northern town of Saraqeb and the Damascus suburb of Jobar in April showed that munitions containing sarin had been deployed.

III.    What is “Intervention” Under International Law

To a layman, intervention would be equated to Operation Desert Storm under general Arnold Schwarznopf in 1991 or the 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom. The ICJ’s decision in Nicaragua v. United States of America shows that intervention could be direct and/or indirect. Therein, the financing of rebels, aids given to insurgents, military assistance, logistics and instructors. Just as in Nicaragua in 1984, United States aided the Syrian Freedom Fighters, in recruiting, training, arming, equipping, financing, supplying and otherwise encouraging, supporting, aiding, and directing military and paramilitary actions in and against Assad.

Thus, the actual threatened direct full-scale attack against Syria was actually not the initial intervention by the United States.

IV.    Right of Humanitarian Intervention

Under contemporary rules of international law, the three paradigmatic cases justifying humanitarian intervention are genocide, slavery and widespread torture.  Thus, the notion of jus cogens in international law encompasses the notion of peremptory norms in international law. In this regard, a view has been formed that certain overriding principles of international law exist which form “a body of jus cogens.” These principles are those from which it is accepted that no State may derogate by way of treaty. As a result they are generally interpreted as restricting the freedom of States to contract while ‘voiding’ treaties whose object conflicts with norms which have been identified as peremptory.

Assuming arguendo that the Assad government used chemical weapons against its citizens, then the United States and the allieds are justified in carrying out both direct and indirect attacks against Assad’s regime.

Before the customary international right of humanitarian intervention can be exercised, there are “safeguard factors” to be observed:

• The violation of humanitarian rights is severe
• A large number of people are involved
• More than one state is involved in the use of force
• There is no gain or material self-interest on the part of the intervening states

V.    The United Nations Security Council

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action. Its powers are exercised through United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The only problem with the UNSC is the veto right by the permanent members. Under Article 27 of the UN Charter, Security Council decisions on all substantive matters require the affirmative votes of nine members. A negative vote, or veto, also known as the rule of “great power unanimity”, by a permanent member prevents adoption of a proposal, even if it has received the required number of affirmative votes (9). Abstention is not regarded as a veto despite the wording of the Charter. Since the Security Council’s inception, China (ROC/PRC) has used its veto 6 times; France 18 times; Russia/USSR 123 times; the United Kingdom 32 times; and the United States 89 times. The majority of Russian/Soviet vetoes were in the first ten years of the Council’s existence. Since 1984, China and France have vetoed three resolutions each; Russia/USSR four; the United Kingdom ten; and the United States 43.

During the Syrian crisis, Russia consistently showed that it would not support armed attack against Syria.

VI.    ICJ’s Advisory Opinions

Advisory Opinions were intended as a means by which UN agencies could seek the ICJ’s help in deciding complex legal issues that might fall under their respective mandates. Advisory Opinions were intended as a means by which UN agencies could seek the ICJ’s help in deciding complex legal issues that might fall under their respective mandates.

Based on the Syrian impasse, this author’s view is that the only alternative is the use of the United Nations General Assembly requesting the ICJ to issue an Advisory Opinion on the legality and/or lawfulness of the United States and French-led intervention in Syria. It has been argued that even though the Security Council is probably seized of the Syrian matter, that doesn’t prevent the General Assembly from asking the ICJ for an opinion on whether there is a general right to humanitarian intervention, or whether member states can use force in the absence of a Chapter VII Security Council Resolution.

Generally, the United nations General Assembly requests an advisory opinion. On receiving a request, the ICJ decides which States and organizations might provide useful information and gives them an opportunity to present written or oral statements. While, in principle, the ICJ’s advisory opinions are only consultative in character, they are influential and widely respected. The legal reasoning embodied in them reflects the ICJ ‘s authoritative views on important issues of international law and, in arriving at them, the ICJ follows essentially the same rules and procedures that govern its binding judgments delivered in contentious cases submitted to it by sovereign states.

VII.    Conclusion

It is clear that Assad regime will not hand over the chemical weapons in its possession. With compelling evidence of violations of anti-genocide and anti-torture laws, the United States and Syria submit the matter to the ICJ as to whether the current levels of intervention should be elevated to “direct armed strike” by US armed forces against the Syrian territory. The advantage is that an advisory opinion will produce a reasoned judgment as to the current state of the laws towards balancing demands of non-interference and prevention of humanitarian violations.

The United Nations Charter of 1945 certainly could not have envisaged the capability of nuclear and chemical attacks of 2013.

Dr. Theophilus Olusegun Obayemi, II is the author of Legal Standards Governing Pre-Emptive Strikes and Forcible Measures of Anticipatory Self-Defense under the U.N. Charter and General International Law, 12 ANNUAL SURVEY OF INTERNATIONAL & COMPARATIVE LAW, 19 (SPRING 2006)

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Weekly Standard’s Hayes: Netanyahu UN Speech ‘Blistering’ Attack on Obama.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s Tuesday speech before the United Nations in which he said Israel is willing to stand alone to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons was a “blistering, paint-peeling attack” on President Barack Obamasays The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes.

Appearing on Fox News Channel’s “Special Report with Bret Baier,”  Hayes said the speech clearly indicated that Netanyahu didn’t get an offer of support when he met with President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday.

Urgent: Should GOP Stick to Its Guns on Obamacare? Vote Here. 

“Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told the U.N. General Assembly in New York. “If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone.”

“Would he have given that speech if he had heard from President Obama yesterday that there’s no chance Israel will have to stand alone?” Hayes asked.

“Obviously, that’s not what he heard,” Hayes said. “So he felt the need to make this speech, and to basically say, this is on us.”

Fellow panelist Charles Krauthammer added, “The Israelis now understand they are alone in the world like the Czechs in 1938, and that’s how they see it. And they will not allow themselves to go the way of Czechoslovakia.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Greg Richter

Calling Nigeria ‘Work In Progress,’ Jonathan Declares Economy ‘Robust’.


By SaharaReporters, New York

President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday set up an advisory committee on National Dialogue to establish the modalities for a National Dialogue or Conference.  The Committee will also design a framework and recommend the form, structure and mechanism of the process.

Mr. Jonathan was speaking on the occasion of Nigeria’s 53rd independence anniversary.

In what appeared to be an abrupt decision, he said the committee will be chaired by Dr. Femi Okurounmu while Dr. Akilu Indabawa will serve as the Secretary. He said he expected the report to be ready in one month, a complete surprise considering that full membership was yet to be announced.  Following the receipt of the committee’s report, he said the nation will be briefed on the nomenclature, structure and modalities of the Dialogue.

“In truth, Nigeria is still a work in progress and we are challenged everyday to keep building in spite of the various obstacles that we face,” he told Nigerians.  “Our strength has been in our diversity. If we look back over the years, we can say confidently that there is every reason to celebrate.”

In another claim that is bound to be controversial, he said Nigeria on its journey to greatness has built an economy that is robust and erected enduring infrastructure and institutions of democracy.

“Our social system is now more inclusive, open and compassionate. We are waging a steady battle against poverty, unemployment, and corruption. Our sense of community, solidarity and shared expectation is strong and capable of withstanding the present social, economic and political challenges that still confront us.”

He called on Nigerians to begin to align their political utterances and conduct solely to the nobler passions that unite our people, stressing that ordinary folks, not politicians make a nation.

Why he tried to rally Nigerians against extremism, he curiously mentioned corruption only once, claiming to be “waging a steady battle” against it along with poverty, and unemployment, and corruption.  In a new line in his recent speeches, Mr. Jonathan has stated that the menace of corruption is exaggerated in Nigeria, and he did not dwell.

On extremism, he said, “I implore every Nigerian – wherever you are, whatever language you speak, whatever your religious persuasion, whichever Political Party you support -: let us join together to fight this evil of extremism.”

Full text of the address:

Address by
His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR
On the Occasion of
Nigeria’s 53rd Independence Anniversary
Tuesday 1st October, 2013

FELLOW NIGERIANS,

1.           Today marks 53 years of our Independence as a nation.
First and foremost, I would like to say congratulations to us all.
Through thick and thin, we have built this country together. Through
triumphs and trials, we have developed a Nigerian identity in our own
way.

2.           In truth, Nigeria is still a work in progress and we are
challenged everyday to keep building in spite of the various obstacles
that we face. Our strength has been in our diversity. If we look back
over the years, we can say confidently that there is every reason to
celebrate.

3.           Today’s Independence anniversary is unique because it is
the last before we mark our centenary. On January 1, 2014, Nigeria
will be 100 years old as a country, following the amalgamation of the
Protectorates of Southern and Northern Nigeria in 1914.

4.           Beloved country men and women, traditionally, the
Presidential address on this symbolic day has served two purposes.  It
has, quite rightly, been used to remind all Nigerians about our
heritage.  It has also allowed my predecessors and I to comment on our
stewardship to the nation and make political capital out of a state
occasion.

5.           But this year, I will not. Because, today of all days, we
should not be scoring political points. On the contrary, in this last
year of the first century of our Union, we should be addressing our
future as a Nation and a people!

6.           I admit that these may not be the best of times for our
nation. Our people are divided in many ways – ethnically, religiously,
politically, and materially. I cannot hide from this reality. I cannot
hide from my own responsibilities.

7.           As we prepare to mark the centenary, therefore, today
offers us an opportunity to reflect on our long journey to nationhood
and the progress we have made so far. Whatever the challenges that we
may face, we have every reason to be proud of our national
accomplishments; we have every reason to remain proud and optimistic.
Our collective national journey has witnessed great watersheds, thanks
to our spirit of endurance, perseverance and sacrifice.  Getting the
rest of the job done with determination and courage is just a matter
of time. We are Nigerians, a nation of talented people, endowed with
resources, potentials, and Divine Grace.

8.           In our journey to greatness as a nation, we have built an
economy that is robust and erected enduring infrastructure and
institutions of democracy. Our social system is now more inclusive,
open and compassionate. We are waging a steady battle against poverty,
unemployment, and corruption. Our sense of community, solidarity and
shared expectation is strong and capable of withstanding the present
social, economic and political challenges that still confront us.

9.           In saying this, I am reminded of the comments I made a
week ago to a cross-section of Nigerians in New York during the 68th
United Nations General Assembly. I declare now as I declared then: we
have a duty as Nigerians, whatever may be our differences or
prejudices, to always put Nigeria first.

10.       Our politics should be an art of patriotic labour and
selfless service to the community, particularly by the political elite
who are placed in positions of great trust and responsibility.
Politics has its own high moral principles which abhor distracting and
divisive rhetoric. As men and women in leadership, we must continually
focus on service, duty, responsibility, and the next generation. Those
who are elected to govern at all levels must focus on improving the
lives of our people, not selfish ambition.

11.      In the words of the American theologian and author, James
Freeman Clarke, ‘a politician thinks of the next election; a statesman
of the next generation’. Whether we are Muslims or Christians; rich or
poor; from the North or the South; East or West; regardless of our
political affiliations, this is the time for every one of us to be a
statesman!

12.      My clarion call therefore, on this special day, is that we
should begin to align our political utterances and conduct solely to
the nobler passions that unite our people. Politicians do not make a
nation; ordinary folks do.

13.      Our nation is made great by the big and small efforts of
regular citizens. These are the teachers and men and women in
academics who inculcate the knowledge and wisdom that transform into
tomorrow’s wealth; the traders and market women who tend to our
everyday needs; the farmers whose labour feeds the nation; the
artisans whose work ensures that our homesteads are well maintained;
the doctors, pharmacists, nurses, accountants, bankers, engineers, and
other professionals who add value to our lives; the sportsmen and
women and those in the creative industry who bring honour and fame to
our nation;

14.      And the men and women of our armed forces and security
services who toil day and night so that you and I may live in a safe
and secure nation.

15.      It is the individual and collective heroism of these regular
folks that has placed our nation on the path of greatness. Politics
and politicians sometimes distract the people and create unnecessary
tension.

16.      But our independence celebration is about the same people,
the people of Nigeria: their industry, sense of mission and purpose,
and their patience and perseverance as we navigate historical turns in
our march towards prosperity and self-sufficiency. Today, I salute the
people of Nigeria.

17.      My Compatriots, history has proven that nations take time to
evolve. We should rejoice in our democracy because it enables us to be
united by our differences, not destroyed by them. And, there is no
more crucial time for us to be united than now.

18.      The threats we face may be real and immediate. But we are not
alone in this regard. It is a difficult season for much of the world:
industrialized or developing; rich or poor. What matters are the
lessons we learn, the wisdom we demonstrate, and the victory we snatch
from the jaws of likely defeat.

19.      And I tell you, more than anything else, there are lessons to
learn, and every cause to be thankful. If I must cite one example,
take Syria. As we all pray and work for a return to normalcy in Syria,
it would be helpful for us to reflect on the fact that Syria was once
a peaceful, thriving, multi-cultural nation which played host to a
mosaic of religions and ethnicities.

20.      But that once idyllic nation has today become a theatre of
human misery of unimaginable proportions as a result of the activities
of extremist forces.

21.      Fellow Nigerians, the spectre of extremism haunts every
democracy in every corner of the globe. While we celebrate our
independence and good fortune, our hearts must grieve for those who
have lost loved ones in numerous terrorist activities around the
world.

22.      Back home, I admit being overtaken by deep feelings of grief,
whenever news reached me of the appalling atrocities in some of our
States, especially the North Eastern part of our country. Just two
days ago, terrorist elements attacked the College of Agriculture in
Gujba, Yobe State killing a number of innocent students of the
institution and other residents in cold blood, most of them in their
sleep.  This act of barbarism is a demonstration of the extent to
which evil forces will go to destabilize our nation. But I assure you,
they will not succeed.

23.      My heart goes out to the families of all those who have
fallen victim of these dastardly acts. Our Administration will not
rest until every Nigerian is free from the oppression of terrorism. I
reassure you that no cost will be spared, no idea will be ignored, and
no resource will be left untapped in the quest to enable our people
live without fear.

24.      On this day, I implore every Nigerian – wherever you are,
whatever language you speak, whatever your religious persuasion,
whichever Political Party you support -: let us join together to fight
this evil of extremism.

25.      On behalf of us all, I commend our Armed Forces and security
agencies for their dedication and bravery in the face of grave danger,
and in the name of our collective liberty.

26.      Fellow Nigerians, this is a time to pull together behind the
national cause: the cause of our freedom, and our future. We must
rekindle the spirit of Nigeria, to ensure that every democrat and
every lover of peace in this great nation continues to live in a free,
peaceful, and secure Nigeria.

27.      On my part, I re-dedicate myself completely to the service of
this great country. I was elected President to continue the process of
building a prosperous nation where hopes, dreams and aspirations would
be fulfilled. Nigerians, home and abroad, want a country they can be
proud to call their own.  I am pleased to affirm that, no matter the
challenges we face, we are on the right path to greatness. Our
Transformation Agenda, which is part of the overall vision of making
Nigeria a land of greatness, has been delivering positive and
encouraging results.

28.      On May 29th this year, I presented to the nation a mid-term
report of my Administration’s Transformation Agenda. This was
conceived as an integrated policy aimed at reconstructing not only
institutional governance for effective and efficient service delivery,
but also a re-orientation of national norms and values.  The document
captured the essence of our agenda in relation to core objectives and
achievements.

29.      I have been consistently mindful of the weight of public
expectation to find solutions to the challenges that confront us
because the mandate we have is a free and sacred one. In all that I
have done, I have been guided by this sacred obligation, to work hard
for the good of Nigeria and to make life better for Nigerians. I want
to assure everyone that Nigeria, under my leadership, will not fail.

30.      Exactly 53 years ago today, Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa
urged us to ‘move with quiet dignity to our place on the world stage’.
I am sure that there have been times when every one of us must have
questioned how closely we have followed that injunction.

31.      But again, I can reassure you that Nigeria’s place on the
world stage today is strong and safe, and it is certainly a place of
dignity and respect. We must continue to build on this by remaining a
nation and a people committed to ideals, the noblest humanitarian
values, and the rule of law.

32.      Our Constitution is anchored ultimately on the idea of
freedom and fundamental rights: freedom of expression; freedom from
discrimination; freedom to vote and be voted for, and the right to
human dignity. These are the core values of a true democracy. These
are the values of which we must never lose sight.

33.      In my address to the UN General Assembly last week, I
emphasized the crucial role of democratization in improving the
fortunes not just of this country, but of our entire continent.
Democratic values encourage diversity. They encourage discourse. They
encourage disagreement. This is the joy of democracy.

34.      It enables us to have an opinion. And ultimately, the ballot
box gives us all the opportunity to instigate change. When democracy
works, it does not destroy a nation. It unites and defines it.

35.      Fellow Nigerians, our Administration has taken cognizance of
suggestions over the years by well-meaning Nigerians on the need for a
National Dialogue on the future of our beloved country. I am an
advocate of dialogue. When there are issues that stoke tension and
bring about friction, it makes perfect sense for the interested
parties to come together to discuss.

36.      In demonstration of my avowed belief in the positive power of
dialogue in charting the way forward, I have decided to set up an
Advisory Committee whose mandate is to establish the modalities for a
National Dialogue or Conference. The Committee will also design a
framework and come up with recommendations as to the form, structure
and mechanism of the process.

37.      The Committee will be chaired by Dr. Femi Okurounmu while Dr.
Akilu Indabawa will serve as the Secretary. The full membership of the
Committee will be announced shortly.

38.      I expect the Report to be ready in one month, following which
the nation will be briefed on the nomenclature, structure and
modalities of the Dialogue.

39.      Fellow Nigerians, the past 53 years have seen Nigeria evolve
on an epic scale.  Our progress since independence has not always been
smooth. This is, after all, our Fourth Republic; but despite all its
flaws, it has lasted longer than all the previous three put together.
That is progress and it proves that, our differences – real and
imagined – notwithstanding, we are, in every sense, a united nation.

40.      This is no time for the harmful clutches of parochial
sentiments and the politics of bitterness, impunity, arrogance and
unhelpful indiscipline. We must stand as one, with absolute commitment
and resolve to resist any force that threatens us and the sanctity of
our union.

41.      I want to thank all our country men and women who have stood
by this Administration in the midst of mounting challenges and
enormous expectations.

42.      I recognize that it is not easy to keep believing in the
possibilities of our greatness when our faith is constantly
challenged. But let me assure you that, if we do not despair, we shall
reap the reward of our labour in due season.

43.      It is my prayer that, another 53 years from now, our children
and grand-children will look back on our effort and be thankful that
we kept the faith.

44.      May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

45.      I wish you all a very happy 53rd Independence Celebration.

46.      I thank you.

Full Text Address by His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR.


FELLOW NIGERIANS,

1. Today marks 53 years of our Independence as a nation. First and foremost, I would like to say congratulations to us all. Through thick and thin, we have built this country together. Through triumphs and trials, we have developed a Nigerian identity in our own way.

2. In truth, Nigeria is still a work in progress and we are challenged everyday to keep building in spite of the various obstacles that we face. Our strength has been in our diversity. If we look back over the years, we can say confidently that there is every reason to celebrate.

3. Today’s Independence anniversary is unique because it is the last before we mark our centenary. On January 1, 2014, Nigeria will be 100 years old as a country, following the amalgamation of the Protectorates of Southern and Northern Nigeria in 1914.

4. Beloved country men and women, traditionally, the Presidential address on this symbolic day has served two purposes. It has, quite rightly, been used to remind all Nigerians about our heritage. It has also allowed my predecessors and I to comment on our stewardship to the nation and make political capital out of a state occasion.

5. But this year, I will not. Because, today of all days, we should not be scoring political points. On the contrary, in this last year of the first century of our Union, we should be addressing our future as a Nation and a people!

6. I admit that these may not be the best of times for our nation. Our people are divided in many ways – ethnically, religiously, politically, and materially. I cannot hide from this reality. I cannot hide from my own responsibilities.

7. As we prepare to mark the centenary, therefore, today offers us an opportunity to reflect on our long journey to nationhood and the progress we have made so far. Whatever the challenges that we may face, we have every reason to be proud of our national accomplishments; we have every reason to remain proud and optimistic. Our collective national journey has witnessed great watersheds, thanks to our spirit of endurance, perseverance and sacrifice. Getting the rest of the job done with determination and courage is just a matter of time. We are Nigerians, a nation of talented people, endowed with resources, potentials, and Divine Grace.

8. In our journey to greatness as a nation, we have built an economy that is robust and erected enduring infrastructure and institutions of democracy. Our social system is now more inclusive, open and compassionate. We are waging a steady battle against poverty, unemployment, and corruption. Our sense of community, solidarity and shared expectation is strong and capable of withstanding the present social, economic and political challenges that still confront us.

9. In saying this, I am reminded of the comments I made a week ago to a cross-section of Nigerians in New York during the 68th United Nations General Assembly. I declare now as I declared then: we have a duty as Nigerians, whatever may be our differences or prejudices, to always put Nigeria first.

10. Our politics should be an art of patriotic labour and selfless service to the community, particularly by the political elite who are placed in positions of great trust and responsibility. Politics has its own high moral principles which abhor distracting and divisive rhetoric. As men and women in leadership, we must continually focus on service, duty, responsibility, and the next generation. Those who are elected to govern at all levels must focus on improving the lives of our people, not selfish ambition.

11. In the words of the American theologian and author, James Freeman Clarke, ‘a politician thinks of the next election; a statesman of the next generation’. Whether we are Muslims or Christians; rich or poor; from the North or the South; East or West; regardless of our political affiliations, this is the time for every one of us to be a statesman!

12. My clarion call therefore, on this special day, is that we should begin to align our political utterances and conduct solely to the nobler passions that unite our people. Politicians do not make a nation; ordinary folks do.

13. Our nation is made great by the big and small efforts of regular citizens. These are the teachers and men and women in academics who inculcate the knowledge and wisdom that transform into tomorrow’s wealth; the traders and market women who tend to our everyday needs; the farmers whose labour feeds the nation; the artisans whose work ensures that our homesteads are well maintained; the doctors, pharmacists, nurses, accountants, bankers, engineers, and other professionals who add value to our lives; the sportsmen and women and those in the creative industry who bring honour and fame to our nation;

14. And the men and women of our armed forces and security services who toil day and night so that you and I may live in a safe and secure nation.

15. It is the individual and collective heroism of these regular folks that has placed our nation on the path of greatness. Politics and politicians sometimes distract the people and create unnecessary tension.

16. But our independence celebration is about the same people, the people of Nigeria: their industry, sense of mission and purpose, and their patience and perseverance as we navigate historical turns in our march towards prosperity and self-sufficiency. Today, I salute the people of Nigeria.

17. My Compatriots, history has proven that nations take time to evolve. We should rejoice in our democracy because it enables us to be united by our differences, not destroyed by them. And, there is no more crucial time for us to be united than now.

18. The threats we face may be real and immediate. But we are not alone in this regard. It is a difficult season for much of the world: industrialized or developing; rich or poor. What matters are the lessons we learn, the wisdom we demonstrate, and the victory we snatch from the jaws of likely defeat.

19. And I tell you, more than anything else, there are lessons to learn, and every cause to be thankful. If I must cite one example, take Syria. As we all pray and work for a return to normalcy in Syria, it would be helpful for us to reflect on the fact that Syria was once a peaceful, thriving, multi-cultural nation which played host to a mosaic of religions and ethnicities.

20. But that once idyllic nation has today become a theatre of human misery of unimaginable proportions as a result of the activities of extremist forces.

21. Fellow Nigerians, the spectre of extremism haunts every democracy in every corner of the globe. While we celebrate our independence and good fortune, our hearts must grieve for those who have lost loved ones in numerous terrorist activities around the world.

22. Back home, I admit being overtaken by deep feelings of grief, whenever news reached me of the appalling atrocities in some of our States, especially the North Eastern part of our country. Just two days ago, terrorist elements attacked the College of Agriculture in Gujba, Yobe State killing a number of innocent students of the institution and other residents in cold blood, most of them in their sleep. This act of barbarism is a demonstration of the extent to which evil forces will go to destabilize our nation. But I assure you, they will not succeed.

23. My heart goes out to the families of all those who have fallen victim of these dastardly acts. Our Administration will not rest until every Nigerian is free from the oppression of terrorism. I reassure you that no cost will be spared, no idea will be ignored, and no resource will be left untapped in the quest to enable our people live without fear.

24. On this day, I implore every Nigerian – wherever you are, whatever language you speak, whatever your religious persuasion, whichever Political Party you support -: let us join together to fight this evil of extremism.

25. On behalf of us all, I commend our Armed Forces and security agencies for their dedication and bravery in the face of grave danger, and in the name of our collective liberty.

26. Fellow Nigerians, this is a time to pull together behind the national cause: the cause of our freedom, and our future. We must rekindle the spirit of Nigeria, to ensure that every democrat and every lover of peace in this great nation continues to live in a free, peaceful, and secure Nigeria.

27. On my part, I re-dedicate myself completely to the service of this great country. I was elected President to continue the process of building a prosperous nation where hopes, dreams and aspirations would be fulfilled. Nigerians, home and abroad, want a country they can be proud to call their own. I am pleased to affirm that, no matter the challenges we face, we are on the right path to greatness. Our Transformation Agenda, which is part of the overall vision of making Nigeria a land of greatness, has been delivering positive and encouraging results.

28. On May 29th this year, I presented to the nation a mid-term report of my Administration’s Transformation Agenda. This was conceived as an integrated policy aimed at reconstructing not only institutional governance for effective and efficient service delivery, but also a re-orientation of national norms and values. The document captured the essence of our agenda in relation to core objectives and achievements.

29. I have been consistently mindful of the weight of public expectation to find solutions to the challenges that confront us because the mandate we have is a free and sacred one. In all that I have done, I have been guided by this sacred obligation, to work hard for the good of Nigeria and to make life better for Nigerians. I want to assure everyone that Nigeria, under my leadership, will not fail.

30. Exactly 53 years ago today, Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa urged us to ‘move with quiet dignity to our place on the world stage’. I am sure that there have been times when every one of us must have questioned how closely we have followed that injunction.

31. But again, I can reassure you that Nigeria’s place on the world stage today is strong and safe, and it is certainly a place of dignity and respect. We must continue to build on this by remaining a nation and a people committed to ideals, the noblest humanitarian values, and the rule of law.

32. Our Constitution is anchored ultimately on the idea of freedom and fundamental rights: freedom of expression; freedom from discrimination; freedom to vote and be voted for, and the right to human dignity. These are the core values of a true democracy. These are the values of which we must never lose sight.

33. In my address to the UN General Assembly last week, I emphasized the crucial role of democratization in improving the fortunes not just of this country, but of our entire continent. Democratic values encourage diversity. They encourage discourse. They encourage disagreement. This is the joy of democracy.

34. It enables us to have an opinion. And ultimately, the ballot box gives us all the opportunity to instigate change. When democracy works, it does not destroy a nation. It unites and defines it.

35. Fellow Nigerians, our Administration has taken cognizance of suggestions over the years by well-meaning Nigerians on the need for a National Dialogue on the future of our beloved country. I am an advocate of dialogue. When there are issues that stoke tension and bring about friction, it makes perfect sense for the interested parties to come together to discuss.

36. In demonstration of my avowed belief in the positive power of dialogue in charting the way forward, I have decided to set up an Advisory Committee whose mandate is to establish the modalities for a National Dialogue or Conference. The Committee will also design a framework and come up with recommendations as to the form, structure and mechanism of the process.

37. The Committee will be chaired by Dr. Femi Okurounmu while Dr. Akilu Indabawa will serve as the Secretary. The full membership of the Committee will be announced shortly.

38. I expect the Report to be ready in one month, following which the nation will be briefed on the nomenclature, structure and modalities of the Dialogue.

39. Fellow Nigerians, the past 53 years have seen Nigeria evolve on an epic scale. Our progress since independence has not always been smooth. This is, after all, our Fourth Republic; but despite all its flaws, it has lasted longer than all the previous three put together. That is progress and it proves that, our differences – real and imagined – notwithstanding, we are, in every sense, a united nation.

40. This is no time for the harmful clutches of parochial sentiments and the politics of bitterness, impunity, arrogance and unhelpful indiscipline. We must stand as one, with absolute commitment and resolve to resist any force that threatens us and the sanctity of our union.

41. I want to thank all our country men and women who have stood by this Administration in the midst of mounting challenges and enormous expectations.

42. I recognize that it is not easy to keep believing in the possibilities of our greatness when our faith is constantly challenged. But let me assure you that, if we do not despair, we shall reap the reward of our labour in due season.

43. It is my prayer that, another 53 years from now, our children and grand-children will look back on our effort and be thankful that we kept the faith.

44. May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

45. I wish you all a very happy 53rd Independence Celebration.

46. I thank you.

SOURCE! http://newsinigeria.blogspot.com/2013/10/full-text-of-address-by-his-excellency.html

Tag Cloud