Delegates Prevent Madagascar Leader from Addressing UN General Assembly


<!-- IMAGE -->

Several African leaders addressed the U.N. General Assembly Friday as the annual debate continued for a third day. But there was drama on the floor late in the afternoon when some African nations challenged the right of Madagascar's self-appointed president to address the assembly.

Madagascar's self-proclaimed president Andry Rajoelina was supposed to take the podium on Thursday, but did not appear after members of the South African Development Community (SADC) met with the President of the U.N. General Assembly and raised the issue of his participation.

Both the African Union and SADC have rejected Mr. Rajoelina's transitional government which came to power in March in a military-backed coup.

In a rare intervention in the Assembly hall, the foreign minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Alexis Mwamba, representing SADC, protested allowing Mr. Rajoelina to speak. "SADC would like to express its protest against the decision to invite Mr. Andry Rajoelina to take the floor at the general debate of our august assembly," he said.

He insisted the matter be voted on under the rules of procedure and the assembly decided Mr. Rajoelina should be deferred from taking the floor. But confusion reigned both during and after the vote, and it remained unclear whether the decision was the final word on the matter.

Earlier in the day, Somalia's President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed addressed the assembly for the first time since taking office in February.

He appealed for international support and assistance on the humanitarian and security fronts, and asked for more African Union peacekeepers in his conflict-torn country.

He said his government is determined to continue political dialogue that includes all Somali stakeholders, including armed groups. He is heard here through a translator. "We are determined to sit down at the table to negotiate with all these different stakeholders, even those who are against the government. And this could take place wherever most appropriate, in order to bring an end to the conflict in our country. We will spare no effort to bring an end to the political conflict, to find a lasting solution to protect our sovereignty, the security of our people and of our territory," he said.

<!-- IMAGE -->

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe demanded that the United States and European Union lift sanctions on his government, which he said are "illegal."  "If they will not assist the inclusive government in rehabilitating our economy, could they please, please stop their filthy, clandestine, divisive antics?"

Mr. Mugabe, who has held power since 1987, entered into a unity government with former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February. But Mr. Tsvangirai has accused politicians loyal to Mr. Mugabe of continuing to violate laws and ignore international treaties, and critics say human rights violations and other abuses continue to take place.

Meanwhile, Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo assured the international community that there is "no political reason" why repeatedly delayed presidential elections will not go ahead in November. "And I would like to share with you our desire to do everything in our power to get out of this crisis via the ballot box," he said.

Beyond Africa, Pakistani President Ali Asif al-Zardari said "democracy is beginning to achieve successes in the fight against militancy" in his country. "Pakistan has firmly responded to the challenges of extremism and militancy. Democracy has given people ownership to fight against terrorism. Today our nation stands fully united in this struggle," he said.

He said the early return of peace and stability in neighboring Afghanistan is critical, and called for an end to the flow of weapons and money to militants across the region.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs