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
    +1

    Comment number 217.

    Mr Cameron,

    Can i just say, i dont care about what the middle east does? Frankly they can kill each other in fighting. Sounds harsh i know!!!

    What i do care about how people like my 70 year old mum is going to heat her house this winter. Why all my bills are increasing but you still insist inflation is at 4% and what future my children have in this crumbling country.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 216.

    Cameron's rhetoric at the UN sounds hollow when he fails to support the Palestinians in their request for Nation Status. For him the arab spring stops at the occupied territory borders of Israel.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 215.

    cameron speaks as an exemplifier of how oppertunists can and do operate at every level of any society. that is what we are designed to do, ranges from mild oneupmanship to full blown dictatorship in opposition to the norm.
    yes there are new arab frontiers to expolit, why not go for it, after all that is what we britts are best at, exploiting others at every oppertunity. rock on dave, let's party

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 214.

    Could I suggest that if 'Slick Dave' wants us all to seize democracy he should call a general election to guage whether is own people believe he is on the right track?
    Surely he's doing such a great job he'd get back in with a 'thumping' majority and could get rid of the Lib Dem thorn in his side.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 213.

    "Green Future
    And we can begin by installing democracy in this country. A democracy where people have a real say."

    But everyone wants different things, many of which have no basis in reality. If you think democracy means getting your own way on everything then that doesn't sound especially democratic.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 212.

    We intent to David.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 211.

    Careful what you preach Cameron. The cosy little arrangement which is keeping you in number 10 is not the will of the people of the UK. Its a political arrangement and as such is hardly democratic.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 210.

    I hope there was a surgeon on hand to extract him from up his own.......

    He's beginning to get the Blair god complex, god save us all!!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 209.

    Democracy ? Where ? Tell me and I will go there.
    The term has been abused rather too often over the decades and although
    we are not killed and tortured in this country the delusion that we have
    a democracy remains for the gullible.
    As taxpayers we do have a value - just.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 208.

    "ady
    Mr Cameron needs to read up about democracy.

    In a democratic institution no one member can veto a majority vote."

    But, according to some, removal of national vetoes in some areas in the EU is somehow undemocratic?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 207.

    And we can begin by installing democracy in this country. A democracy where people have a real say.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 206.

    Mr Cameron needs to read up about democracy.

    In a democratic institution no one member can veto a majority vote.

    The LAST thing the UN is, is a democratic institution.

  • Comment number 205.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 204.

    Cameron took a side swipe at the UN over too much jaw jaw and wringing of hands which is correct.However, those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.Our so called democracy is not the perfect model for others to follow.There is a great deal of inequality and poverty in the UK which has never been addressed by successive governments.Cameron should get his own house in order first.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 203.

    " Fed up with the greed and lies
    Can we have some democracy in the UK please - perhaps by holding the EU referendum each party has promised since way back?? "

    We had that in 1975 (on membership that is. No main party has promised one on that since then). Perhaps you could explain how Britain's sovereignty is enhanced outside the Eurozone when Cameron has to send begging letters to Sarkozy?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 202.

    Cameron you are no Churchill more of a daffy duck leave the speeches to someone who can pull it off.

  • Comment number 201.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 200.

    I do not understand that Cameron can make a passionate plea rightly condemning UN apathy with the killing of innocent people in their own country and in virtually the same moment abstain from the recognition of one country that has endured such brutality for over 50 years! The innocent Citizens of Palestine! Utter hypocrisy!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 199.

    British people's sovereignty in the regime must be established so that your talks have got any value. Otherwise, you all talk rubbish. We must start from the opening ceremony of the Parliament. Dictator appointed non elected members of the parliament must stand and wait at the door while the elected MPs seat when Queen make speech in the Parliament. I can no longer bear the dictator's insult.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 198.

    "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." (John Adams)

    "Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for the appointment of the corrupt few." (George B. Shaw)

    "Stay out of the business of others and put ones own house in order." (Beam)

 

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