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President’s speech at the UNGA: welfare for all is our main goal

President Gitanas Nausėda delivered his first speech at the United Nations General Assembly. In his speech, the President focused on the importance of multilateral cooperation, consolidation of the principles of the welfare state and international security.

The President started his speech by reminding the international community of painful historical consequences that taught us to appreciate multilateral cooperation and build the Lithuanian state based on principles of democracy and respect for human rights: “The responsibility to seek peace, to protect human rights and to work towards general welfare is our main goal, rooted in our difficult history.”

The speech also covered security threats in Europe. Lithuania strongly condemns this prolonged violation of international law, i.e., Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and annexation of Crimea and reminds the aggressor that it has to respect the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act and bilateral agreements with Ukraine. “We will continue supporting Georgian and Ukrainian independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity; we will never recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea, the occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We hold that the implementation of the Minsk agreements is an absolute precondition for normalizing relations with Russia”, stressed the President in his speech.

The President reassured that Lithuania would continue its active participation in the UN peacekeeping operations as well as its contribution to military training and humanitarian campaigns in Mali, the Central African Republic and Somalia. “We actively support all efforts to strengthen UN peacekeeping forces, including Action for Peacekeeping and the Secretary General’s initiative to fight sexual exploitation in military conflicts.”

When addressing the UN General Assembly, the President also raised the idea of the welfare state which is currently threatened by new global challenges. This pivotal objective is threatened not only by increasing income inequality, social exclusion, climate change, and rising global trade tensions but also by nuclear safety, energy and cyber security issues. “At the international level, I would call on everybody to identify the biggest threats to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and to come up with adequate solutions. In Lithuania’s view, violations of a rule-based global order, the transformation of cyber space into a new field for arms race, disrespect for international environmental and nuclear safety standards, as well as neglect of climate change, should be considered as most serious impediments.”

The President drew the attention of the international community to the issues of climate change and environmental impact posed by chemical weapons dumped at sea.

The President concluded the speech with a quote by Kofi Annan claiming that development of states is not possible without security and universal respect for human rights.

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