Wednesday, September 21, 2016

World Leaders Addressing the U.N. General Assembly

Italian President Matteo RenziClosing out the first day of the United Nations General Assembly’s annual general debate, Italy’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, echoed the earlier statement of the United States President, highlighting how the world has become divided into one of fear and another of courage; between anger and opportunity.

Terrorism menaces cities and everyday life, threatening not just conventional targets but a theatre, a museum, a stadium, a restaurant, he told the Assembly. Pandemics and environmental risks are also very real. All of that makes the future look like a moment of concern rather than hope, and the problems are not theoretical but very real, in the faces of the victims and survivors. Those challenges no longer have borders.

Italy, he continued, contributed its voice through the actions of its military and coast guard, who saved thousands and thousands of lives in the Mediterranean every day. It contributed its voice through its leadership in culture and scientific research. But it also gave through its history and values, including those of The Aeneid, in which Aeneas travelled not to return to his home but to a new land to create a new civilization.

“Without compassion for others, we are not worthy of being called a community,” said the Prime Minister.

The Mediterranean is the sea which thousands of people cross to escape war, poverty and hunger. It is essential that Europe and the international community unite to deal with the issues of that part of the world, he said.

The threat of terrorism has come not just from war zones but also from the abandoned and forgotten outskirts of cities, and investing in human capital is essential to defeating this scourge, he said. Italy has, in response, approved a law matching every euro for security and policing with one euro for culture and education.

Italy will tackle the challenges of 2017 by participating in the Security Council, in a year that will also see a new Secretary-General, he said. Italy will also host, on 25 March 2017, the countries of the European Union at the sixtieth anniversary of the signature of the treaty that formed the bloc. And Italy will also host the Group of 7 in Sicily, a place noted for its culture and values and history.

Italy plans to use the Group of 7 meeting to reflect on cultural values and to highlight the challenges of food – both food insecurity and health awareness. Many of the issues facing the Security Council, Europe and the Group of 7, emanate from the same matrix, he said, stressing that it is essential to create a world based on hope, not resentment, hatred and fear.

(UN Press Release)

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