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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Foreign Minister focuses on human rights, climate change and economy at UN General Assembly

OS-65-SThÖssur Skarphéðinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, urged Israel not to prevent humanitarian assistance from reaching the needy in Gaza and asked president Ahmadinejad of Iran to spare the life of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, in his speech at the 65. General Assembly of the United Nations.

Minister Skarphéðinsson gave the General Assembly a brief update on where Iceland stands, two years after the financial crisis hit, and stressed the core-values of democracy and human rights.

The Minister spoke on the plight of the Palestinians and the people of Gaza. "As I speak, we have Icelandic humanitarian workers being held up in Israel, trying to bring prosthetic limbs to people in Gaza. People that urgently need assistance," Minister Skarphéðinsson said. "This is not acceptable to Iceland. This is not acceptable to the world. This is inhuman, unjust. We urge Israel not to prevent humanitarian assistance from reaching the needy in Gaza."

He reiterated Iceland's high priority on gender equality and used the opportunity to ask president Ahmadinejad of Iran to spare the life of an Iranian woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who has been sentenced to death by stoning.

Minister Skarphedinsson also spoke about climate change, calling for a more radical action than that agreed in Copenhagen, as otherwise "the future will see our generations as serial offenders against the human rights of peoples in need."

Minister Skarphéðinsson's speech

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