Quotes from general debate of UN General Assembly

Updated: 2013-09-25 03:25


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UNITED NATIONS -- The following are quotable quotes from the general debate of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly held in New York Tuesday.

"Let us empower the United Nations to be more than a first responder or a last resort. Change is inevitable, but progress is not. Leadership makes the difference." -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

"The annual gathering of world leaders and dignitaries should not just be seen as another September routine or tradition; rather, it serves and should serve another larger and better purpose: that of recommitting ourselves and our countries to the noble ideals that lie at the organization's core." -- John William Ashe, president of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly

"Personal data of citizens was intercepted indiscriminately. Corporate information -- often of high economic and even strategic value -- was at the center of espionage activity ... Tampering in such a manner in the affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and is an affront of the principles that must guide the relations among them, especially among friendly nations. " -- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff

"For decades, the United Nations has, in fact, made a difference from helping to eradicate disease to educating children to brokering peace. But like every generation of leaders, we face new and profound challenges, and this body continues to be tested. The question is whether we possess the wisdom and the courage as nation states and members of an international community to squarely meet those challenges, whether the United Nations can meet the test of our time." -- U.S. President Barack Obama

"Some years ago, a 16-year-old Bulgarian boy, writing a school report on the Millennium Development Goals, compared the world's development models to a colorful carpet in which some colors, threads and stitches were missing making it look unfinished, patchy and ragged." -- Rosen Plevnelive, president of Bulgaria

"The inability of a state to meet its development targets conceived and agreed upon in this Magnificent House represents a collective failure of the entire international community because such targets are a shared responsibility of all states. Otherwise, why would we set international targets, which are later incorporated in national agendas, if these are not to be met?" -- Armando Emilio Guebuza, president of Mozambique.

"The international community faces different problems related to peace and security in addition to the challenges facing the efforts made to solve disputes peacefully.  This calls for reinforcing the capacity of the United Nations to tackle these challenges and problems." -- Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Amir of Qatar.

"This emergent Africa will require the continued support and partnership of the international community. An Africa that is no longer merely a destination for aid but that is involved in constructive, multi-sectoral exchanges on the global state " -- Goodluck Jonathan, the president of Nigeria.

"My generation has not seen one single day of peace, and my dream is for my children and the children of all Colombians to have the change to see it. I hope the guerrilla understands that the time has come to leave this 50-year confrontation behind; that the time has come to change from bullets to votes, from weapons to argumentations; that the time has come for them to continue their struggle, but within democracy." -- Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, the president of Colombia.

"Our region can be, must be, a House of Peace and Prosperity: With strong pillars of good governance and wide-open doors to opportunity, especially for our young people. This is Jordan's blueprint, and we are not alone."  -- Abdullah II, King of Jordan.

"For Africa in particular, the future development agenda should address poverty eradication, income inequality and job creation." - - Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa.

"Costa Rica remains peacefully and firmly committed to the well- being and safety of our population. We promote a model of development based upon harmony with nature; solidarity and social inclusion; economic and trade opening; development of our human resources, and innovation." -- Laura Chinchilla, the president of Costa Rica.

"The theme of sustainable energy as an item of the Post-2015 Agenda is of particular significance to us. A new, inclusive approach to this issue has to ensure comprehensive consideration of security, social and environmental aspects." --  Viktor Yanukovych, the president of Ukraine.

"The Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to have been overshadowed by the upheavals in the region.  I have followed events there for almost 40 years. I am convinced that what is needed for a solution is not only the willingness to negotiate in good faith but also to take into account the needs and sensibility of the negotiating partner. I, for one, just cannot believe that the value of settlements for Israel is bigger than the damage these settlements do as an obstacle to peace." -- Heinz Fischer, the president of Austria.