Seize opportunity of Arab Spring, Cameron urges UN

 

David Cameron: "The United Nations needs to be united in action"

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The international community must seize the "massive opportunity" of the spread of democracy in the Arab Spring, David Cameron has told the UN.

In his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly, the UK PM urged the UN to be "united in action".

"To fail to act is to fail those who need our help," he told the Assembly in New York, saying the UN needed a "new way of working".

Mr Cameron has also had talks with President Barack Obama in the US.

In his address, the prime minister said nations must be prepared to act and not just sign resolutions. He said the UN had played a vital role in Libya but it was only effective when nation states were prepared to enforce its wishes.

Mr Cameron said: "My argument today is that Libya and the Arab Spring shows the UN needs a new way of working.

"Because the Arab Spring is a massive opportunity to spread peace, prosperity, democracy and vitally security, but only if we really seize it."

He went on: "The UN has to show that we can be not just united in condemnation, but united in action, acting in a way that lives up to the UN's founding principles and meets the needs of the people.

"You can sign every human rights declaration in the world, but if you stand by and watch people being slaughtered in their own country, when you could act, then what are those signatures really worth?".

'Responsibility'

The prime minister said the people of the Arab world had made their aspirations for greater freedom, more accountable governments and an end to corruption clear.

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While voting no would open Mr Cameron to criticism that the UK is behaving as America's poodle, abstaining might not exactly soothe Arab opinion either”

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"As people in North Africa and the Middle East stand up and give voice to their hopes for more open and democratic societies, we have an opportunity - and I would say a responsibility - to help them," he said.

He also said the UN had a responsibility "to stand up against regimes that persecute their people" and singled out Yemen and Syria as being in need of reform.

"Above all, on Syria, it is time for the Members of the Security Council to act.

"We must now adopt a credible resolution threatening tough sanctions. Of course we should always act with care when it comes to the internal affairs of a sovereign state. But we cannot allow this to be an excuse for indifference," he said.

Mr Cameron also told UN delegates that Palestinians had a right to a "viable state of their own" and that the international community should help them achieve this.

But Mr Cameron said that no resolution could provide the "political will" needed for lasting peace and called on both Israel and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table for direct talks.

The BBC's Mark Urban said the Libyan intervention fitted well with Mr Cameron's campaign pledge to restore greater independence to Britain's foreign policy.

But he said many people at the UN listening to the speech would have regarded the UK action as "business as usual" by the West.

As he met Mr Obama at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York earlier, Mr Cameron said that Libya was moving to a "good conclusion" after the ousting of Col Gaddafi.

He added that the UK and US were working closely together on Afghanistan and the Middle East peace process, and said the transatlantic relationship was as "strong as it's ever been".

The US president called it an "extraordinarily special relationship", adding: "I am very fortunate that over the last year or two David and I have been able to, I think, establish an excellent friendship as well."

 

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  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 157.

    the arab spring is not about democracy but about getting rid of corrupt politicians etc

    we are supposed to be democratic in this country but there is litle evidence of this.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 156.

    Although we now have much better communication systems, albeit many news and media sources restricted by the influence of those in power, be it politically or financial, the electorate are still regarded as idiots. (I know many are and that is a totally different discussion)
    Many are not and are getting even more educated as to what is ACTUALLY happening in the way that our world now works

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 155.

    Well done David. Now let's see some action and put an end to people shooting each other and blowing each other up.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 154.

    Not a huge fan of Cameron but do respect what he's trying to do. Unfortunately whatever stance you take in the Middle East is invariably "wrong". We should at least try to make it less worse.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 153.

    May i just point out that we could of , as a species, just proven one of our theories used as the foundation of how the universe works incorrect. neither of these "countries" have achived anything in their short history except to diverty energy and money from more worthwhile projects
    Please keep this in mind when typing out your pointless arguments for whichever of the non-nations you're backing

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 152.

    Unless your a Palestinian obviously......

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 151.

    David Cameron you are an embarrasment to the people of the United Kingdom. How can you stand there and preach about saving lives when Nato killed and wounded thousands of civilians in Libya. The UN mandate was to protect civilians or did you not read it.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 150.

    Our 'great and glorious leader' telling a packed UN to be "united in action" in the middle east.
    Democracy is obviously a good thing according to our Dave. A good thing thing for everybody except Palestinians. Palestinians need to continue living in an apartheid state, give up aspirations of statehood and hope Israel is nice to them from now on.
    Well done DC, you're quite the statesman!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 149.

    If you want to strengthen the UN and make it able to act decisively how about giving it a permanent standing army as was the original intention when it was being founded.
    Then it wouldn't have to beg troops off the (mostly third world) member states and the peacekeeping forces can't be accused of having ulterior motives.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 148.

    Dave mate the solution to the Palestinian / Israel / West bank problem is in the palm of your hand. Show the world your leadership here again, Tony Blair eat your heart out

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 147.

    79 psy-warrior Absolutely spot on I mentioned the dreaded z.... t word in a post yesterday & had the affrontery to criticise the treatment of P......s in the same post. The post was blocked, I appealed and the repsonse was that my post would cause offence. Really what the h..l do they think that the state with some of the worst examples of brutality have been doing. The BBC is in the pockets of Z

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 146.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 145.

    It's alright Cameron egging up all this democracy and talking about we should not ignore the violence.. then why has he NOT denounced other arab states and Israel, every time they kill innocent women and children ???????????

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 144.

    Uh oh!! I admit that I have not read any of the previous comments, but I really do believe that Cameron is completely out of his league. Freedom and democracy is a nice ideal, but we hardly have real democracy in the UK do we? Just a few parties controlled by the rich and powerful. I would go on but auntie beeb says my essay must be in less than 400 characters

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 143.

    Lets stop worrying about the rest of the world .Intervening in foreign wars is a waste of time, money ,and blood .Let the well meaning journalists pickup their guns and fight the damn wars themselves..Long term who is more important to us ?.The whole of the middle east or Israel.?.Lets make our decisions based on whats good for us not the BBC's conscience.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 142.

    As if anyone listens to what the UK says!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 141.

    He mentioned democracy, breathtaking arrogance, the leader of one failed empire hugging the leader of a failing empire, deciding how to invade another country to pillage its oil or resources. ... and he uses the smoke screen of supporting democracy to disguise his and his freinds real intentions. The last war which was fought truthfully over democracy, was Worl War 2 any others were opportunism

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 140.

    MR.TRUCULENT SAYS!
    Cameron told UN delegates that Palestinians had a right to a state of their own"And where will this state exist? At the end of WW2,British were bad to the Jews migrating from europe to Palestine, they would not let them in but inturned them in camps in Cyprus.Israel was created because of Stalin and Truman UK abstained in the UN vote. Hence Israel terrorist at Kng David Hotel.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 139.

    The state of Isreal is the route of many problems, that go well beyond the region. The Palestinians need some justice. Religious fundementalism anywhere does not aid peace & tolerance.
    Money-power loves conflicts between the dispossed- it makes them easier to exploit, religious/ethnic intolerance is one of their tools.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 138.

    David Cameron, Prime Minister of the UK urges democracy?

    This country is headed by an unelected monarchy, has an unelected second house and the only elected part of government is headed by a leader who did not recieve a majority in the elections.

    The UK has a long way to go before we are truly democratic. Perhaps he should follow his own advice and create a republic.

 

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