International relations: Grand Duke Henri has addressed the UN General Assembly in New York ahead of a key vote to be held next month.
Luxembourg’s head of state was one of several world leaders--including the presidents of Iran, Liberia and the US, and the prime ministers of Australia, Japan and the UK--who spoke during this week’s plenary session, which officially launches the UN’s 2012-13 calendar. The session is attended by senior government representatives of most of the 193 UN member states.
Henri (photo) took advantage of the global stage to encourage the international community to continue working on a solution to the problems in Syria and elsewhere. “This crisis is a challenge to our conscience,” the UN News Service quotes him as saying. “It puts our commitment to a hard test. Some are tempted to accuse the United Nations of inaction. But the guilt lies elsewhere.”
He later said: “Luxembourg firmly believes that those responsible for the terrifying violence, the war crimes, the egregious human rights violations and crimes against humanity committed in Syria, will one day have to answer for them.”
According to the UN, “more than 18,000 people, mostly civilians, have died in Syria” in the past 18 months, and more than 2.5 million Syrians are displaced.
Henri also called for renewed action on the Israel-Palestine question and in tackling poverty in the developing world.
The grand duke’s speech came in advance of the October 18 vote for two two-year, rotating seats on the UN Security Council. Luxembourg faces Australia and Finland in the election.
Henri and Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister, also are attending diplomatic events in New York hosted by Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, and Barack Obama, the American head of state and government.
The Grand Duchy’s foreign minister is also attending a mini-summit of NATO members being held on the sidelines of the UN opening session.
Asselborn talks more about the vote in the October print edition of Delano, to be released next Thursday.