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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Minister Skarphéðinsson addresses the UN General Assembly


Össur Skarphéðinsson, Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, called for reform of the United Nations Security Council in his address to the UN General Assembly this weekend. The Minister criticized the Security Council for being arcane and out-of-touch with the needs of the modern world, arguing that the Security Council had become an obstacle to international efforts to address and solve the situation in Syria.

Minister Skarphéðinsson said that the international community must unite to end the violence in Syria that has already cost thousands of innocent people their lives, including many innocent children. Efforts must also be made to ensure that those, on both sides, who commit atrocities, will at the end of the day face their responsibility in an international court of law.

The Minister recalled that the Icelandic parliament had approved a resolution without a single vote against to recognize Palestine as a sovereign and an independent state. He invoked the words of US President Ronald Reagan in calling on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to tear down the wall cutting through the roads, and the lands, and the lives of people in the West Bank. The best way to ensure peace for both Israelis and Palestinians was through the two state solution.

Minister Skarphéðinsson also addressed Prime Minister Netanyahu on the issue of Iran, asking him to refrain from starting another war in the Middle East. At the same time, he called on the leadership of Iran to refrain from building a nuclear bomb. „Let diplomacy work, not rabblerousing or fearmongering. Let´s work for peace together,“ he said.

The Minister defended the rights of gays and lesbians in his speech, saying that from the point of view of human rights it is not acceptable that anyone is persecuted or mistreated because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.

Minister Skarphéðinsson´s speech at the UN General Assembly

Watch the Minister's speech on the UN GA webpage


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