It gives me great honor to convey to you the warm brotherly greetings of H.E. Isaias Afwerki, President of the State of Eritrea, who wished us all success in our deliberations. I would also like to congratulate the Group for this Third Ministerial Meeting and the Political Declaration before us. My deepest gratitude further goes to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela who successfully steered our works and for graciously hosting us at its esteemed Mission.
In a period of time when the lofty ideals of the UN Charter are being blatantly dented and unilateral coercive measures, as opposed to multilateral principles, have become the norm, the Third Ministerial Meeting of our Group of Friends in the Defense of the UN Charter signifies both practical and symbolic importance. Sovereign equality of nations – small or big; poor or rich –, as envisioned in the UN Charter, has been severely undermined by unilateral coercive measures, unwarranted sanctions and interventions. These illegal acts do not only erode the Charter fundamentals, but they are also intended to subdue nations, foment chaos, and impoverish societies. As a spill-over effect, the spirals of assorted conflicts, including proxy wars, geopolitical tensions, terrorism, cross-border crimes, and so on are jeopardizing regional and international peace and stability. Apparently, these legacies of the ‘uni-polar’ global order are sliding us into another cycle of a ‘cold war’ theatre.
Startlingly, acute inequalities, exacerbated by the Covid pandemic, are also hitting the roof and millions have been forced into a destitute state. Besides, the dangers of climate change are hideously inflicting human and socio-economic calamities.
It is against these injustices and daunting collective challenges that the vision and actions of our Group of Friends need to be cogently articulated and executed. Above and beyond, the sacrosanct tenets that constitute the UN Charter and international law namely, sovereign equality, independence, territorial integrity, and non-interference – should be resolutely upheld. The core purposes of the Charter –international peace and security, development, and human rights – equally remain crucial and indispensable in realizing the collective aspirations of humanity. Thus, the existing global order and its institutional architecture – as unfair as it is designed – need sweeping and comprehensive reform. And to this end, a conspicuous vision and coordinated actions are plausible imperatives in laying a level-playing field, whereby the intergovernmental and multilateral nature of any UN processes are ensured.
Within the one-year period, our Group of Friends has managed to galvanize the requisite groundwork for future collective endeavors, wherein the level of commitment and goodwill of member States is of essential imperative. While assessing past undertakings and sketching plans, thus, it is vital to embrace a more ambitious and achievable action plan that addresses and counters existing and evolving challenges. In this regard, a qualitative expansion of our membership is needed to strengthen and deepen the works of the Group. However, any numerical increase should not temper the core principles and purposes that the Group was established for. Besides, coordination of activities needs to be equally operationalized in all chapters where multilateral fora are situated.
Finally, I would like to assure you that Eritrea remains steadfastly committed to upholding the objectives of our Group of Friends and looks forward to the first meeting of the ‘National Coordinators’ to be held in Tehran in November.