General debate of the sixty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly

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General debate of the sixty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly
Host country United Nations
Dates 25 September - ~1 October 2012
Venue(s) United Nations Headquarters
Cities New York City

The general debate of the sixty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly speaking schedule in the General Assembly Chamber from 25 September 2012 were as follows:

Organisation and subjects[edit]

The order of speakers is given first to member states, then observer states and supranational bodies. Any other observers entities will have a chance to speak at the end of the debate, if they so choose. Speakers will be put on the list in the order of their request, with special consideration for ministers and other government officials of similar or higher rank. According to the rules in place for the General Debate, the statements should be in one of the United Nations official languages of Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian or Spanish, and will be translated by the United Nations translators. Each speaker is requested to provide 20 advance copies of their statements to the conference officers to faciltate translation and to be presented at the podium. Though there is no time limit for speeches, a voluntary guideline of 15 minutes is requested.[1][2]

In addition to commenting on issues of individual national and wider international relevance, the President of the General Assembly Vuk Jeremić chose the theme: "Adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means." Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also said: "This year's General Debate will be among[st] our busiest ever. This reflects the tumultuous time in which we live -- a time of turmoil and transition." The General Debate will commence with the opening of the session on 25 September and continue until 1 October.[1]

25 September[edit]

Morning schedule[1]
Afternoon schedule[1]

26 September[edit]

Morning schedule[4]
Afternoon session
Evening session

Right of Reply[edit]

Member states have the option to reply to comments on the day (or even to the days prior), but are limited to 10 minutes for the first response and five minutes for the second response. All speeches are made from the floor, as opposed to the podium for the General Debate.

Iran responded to Kuwait's assertion of UAE sovereignty over the Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa. The delegate added that Iran was willing to talk over the issue to avoid misunderstanding, but added that sovereignty was non-negotiatable. He further added that the international name of the body of water for the Persian Gulf was misrepresented as the Arabian Gulf.[6]

27 September[edit]

Morning schedule[7]
Afternoon session
Evening session

Right of Reply[edit]

Iran responded to Netanyahu. Japan responded to China, China reciprocated and both used their second right of reply as well. [6]

28 September[edit]

Morning schedule[8]
Afternoon session

Right of Reply[edit]

Bolivia responded to Chile's comments about the maritime dispute, which Chile then countered. Then North Korea responded to the South Korean comments about its nuclear weapons programme. Iran then responded to claims of sovereignty over the islands by the UAE, and in Arab solidarity over the issue, as well as the Persian Gulf naming controversy. Bolivia took the stand again and was duly followed by Chile. UAE followed up its counter points to Iran's reply; it was then followed, in turn, by Iran's rebuttal and UAE closed out the session in its second reply.[6]

29 September[edit]

Morning schedule

1 October[edit]

Morning schedule[9]
Afternoon schedule

Right of Reply[edit]

Pakistan responded to India's claim to Kashmir. Iran then responded to a "Western delegation" statement on its nuclear issue and criticised Israel. Azerbaijan responded to Armenia's comments and was then, in turn, replied to by Armenia. Eritrea then responded to Djibouti before Pakistan replied to India's reply and was then followed by Azerbaijan. At second responses, India briefly rebutted Pakistan's comment, before Armenia responded to Azerbaijan. President of the session, Vuk Jeremić, then closed out the meeting.[6]

Sideline events[edit]

During the events around the General Debate, the Contact Group for Syria was scheduled to meet, according to Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, whose country recently invited Iran to join the group,[10] who was speaking alongside Turkey's Ahmet Davutoğlu and Iran's Ali Akbar Salehi. Salehi added: "To expect a quick solution from one meeting is unrealistic. We must be patient. But I confirm to you that the things we agree on are greater than our differences. [We could table a proposal that] we hope, God willing, will produce a result that satisfies everyone...But this needs more talks." The UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said he would make his next report to the Security Council and Arab ministers who will be attending for the General Debate.[11] The meeting on 26 September, unnamed Arab foreign ministers met Brahimi. Tunisia's President Moncef Marzouki then suggested "a peacekeeping operation by Arab nations is something we could well imagine. We have really pushed for a peaceful solution, but if it is necessary, it must be an Arab peacekeeping force, yes." He also called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "a bloodthirsty dictator." The previous day, though Qatar's Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani told the General Debate of an Arab intervention, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby said he did not interpret this as a "fighting force" and added that he told the UNSC it must support Brahimi by enforcing its resolutions on Syria as "binding on all parties."[12]

In regards to the Senkaku Islands dispute and the recent purchase by Japan of three uninhabited islands from a private Japanese citizen which also led to anti-Japanese protests in China, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told his Japanese counterpart Kōichirō Genba on 25 September that Japan had "severe[ly] infringement" its sovereignty. He added that China–Japan relations would remain strained until the purchase was reversed. A statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry later read: "The Chinese side will by no means tolerate any unilateral action by the Japanese side on the Diaoyu Islands [sic]."[13] The same day, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said after the UNGA meeting: "So far as the Senkaku islands are concerned, they are an integral part of our territory in the light of history and of international law. It is very clear and there are no territorial issues as such. Therefore there cannot be any compromise that could mean any setback from this basic position. I have to make that very clear. The resolution of this issue should not be by force, but calmly, through reason and with respect for international law."[14] The dispute re-arose after Yang spoke about the issue at the General Debate and Japan then responded during the Right of Reply and was countered by China, leading to rebuttal by Japan and another statement by China.

At the same time, on the first day of the General Debate, discussion involved the recently passed controversy over Innocence of Muslims and the violent protests that followed. Discussions included how to regulate freedom of speech in regards to religious sensitivities and where to make some speech illegal. Opponents suggested such proposals for regulation could be misused in order to silence dissent.[15] Similarly, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan added during his speech that religious denigration and incitement should not occur. U.S. President Barack Obama also condemned the video, but added such violent protests that led to deaths should also be condemned.[16] Yemen's Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi also condemned the film and the violent protsts, while also criticising the facade of freedom of expression that is cited to produce such films.[17] Liberia's Ellen Johnson Sirleaf also criticised the incitement to Muslims,[18] as did Egypt's Mohamed Morsi in criticising Islamophobia and calling the release of the video as an "organised campaign against Islamic sanctities" which requires a "firm stand." At the same time, he called for rejecting violent protests.[19] They were joined by Kuwait's Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah who criticised the violent protests and the incitement, while mentioning Kuwaiti's Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah's call for keeping all religious symbols above the purview of freedom of express.[20] Australia's Julia Gillard added: "Denigration of religious beliefs is never acceptable...However, our tolerance must never extend to tolerating religious hatred and incitement to violence.[21] The sentiment was echoed by Guatemala's Otto Pérez Molina,[22] Latvia's Andris Bērziņš,[23] Belgium's Elio Di Rupo,[24] Niger's Mohamed Bazoum,[25] Romania's Titus Corlățean,[26] Bosnia and Herzegovina's Bakir Izetbegović,[27] Comoros' Ikililou Dhoinine,[28] Brunei Darussalam's Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah,[29] Maldives' Mohammed Waheed Hassan,[30] Albania's Bujar Nishani,[31] Antigua and Barbuda's Winston Baldwin Spencer,[32] Lebanon's Najib Mikati,[33] Greece's Dimitris Avramopoulos,[34] Bahrain's Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa,[35] Saint Lucia's Kenny Davis Anthony,[36] Turkey's Ahmet Davutoğlu São Tomé and Príncipe's Patrice Emery Trovoada,[37] Morocco's Moulay Rachid,[38] Saudi Arabia's Saud Al-Faisal,[39] UAE's Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan,[40] Azerbaijan's Elmar Mammadyarov,[41] Oman's Yousef Bin Al-Alawi Bin Abdulla,[42] India's S. M. Krishna,[43] Djibouti's Mahamoud Ali Youssouf,[44] Costa Rica's Enrique Castillo,[45] Botswana's Phandu T. C. Skelemani[46] and Sierra Leone's J. B. Dauda.[47] While some said violence is never recourse to the right to free speech; and other said religious should not be abused; yet others called for the inviobility of diplomatic missions to be respected in line with the Vienna Convention.

Myanmar's Thein Sein met U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the sidelines of the summit. She announced the lifting of some sanctions against his country, namely the allowing of imports from the former to the latter after support for the move from the government and the opposition in Myanmar. In turn Sein thanked her and the U.S. saying the gesture was approved by his people.[48]

Under the behest of Saudi Arabia, a "Friends of Yemen" summit was held to support new Yememi President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi's call for a national dialogue in his country amidst the 2011–2012 Yemeni uprising.[35]

A high-level discussion was also held amongst member states, the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs and NGO's on the topic of "Women, disarmament, non-prolifertation and arms control" during the first week of the General Debate. A joint statement was signed by all members for promoting the equitable representation of women in decision-making; and a General Assembly resolution is expected during this session.[49]


  1. ^ The President of Palestine was under dispute between Fatah and Hamas at the time of the speech.
  2. ^ Abbas got a partial standing ovation from the assembly, the president and a hug from the president, which others did not get.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d "General Assembly of the United Nations : General Debate of the 67th Session". 19 September 2012. Archived from the original on 25 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
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  3. ^ "Obama to urge UN to confront roots of Muslim rage". Archived from the original on 2013-02-09. Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
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  5. ^ UN General Assembly General Debate of the 67th Session - Iran (Islamic Republic of). (2012-09-26). Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  6. ^ a b c d e United Nations TV. 25 September-1 October 2012. 22:40 EST.
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  10. ^ "Morsi: Iran 'vital' to ending Syrian crisis". Al Jazeera English. 2011-10-04. Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  11. ^ "UN envoy Brahimi says Syrian crisis worsening". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  12. ^ UN Assembly remains divided over Syria - Middle East. Al Jazeera English. Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  13. ^ China accuses Japan of 'severe infringement' - Asia-Pacific. Al Jazeera English. Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  14. ^ Japan vows no compromise on islands row - Asia-Pacific. Al Jazeera English. Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  15. ^ Anti-blasphemy law sharply debated at UN - Americas. Al Jazeera English. Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  16. ^ Confronting the roots of Muslim rage - Inside Story Americas. Al Jazeera English. Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  17. ^ UN General Assembly General Debate of the 67th Session - Yemen. (2012-09-26). Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  18. ^ UN General Assembly General Debate of the 67th Session - Liberia. Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  19. ^ UN General Assembly General Debate of the 67th Session - Egypt. Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  20. ^ UN General Assembly General Debate of the 67th Session - Kuwait. (1967-06-04). Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  21. ^ UN General Assembly General Debate of the 67th Session - Australia. (2012-09-26). Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  22. ^ UN General Assembly General Debate of the 67th Session - Guatemala. (2012-09-26). Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  23. ^ UN General Assembly General Debate of the 67th Session - Latvia. (2012-09-26). Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  24. ^ UN General Assembly General Debate of the 67th Session - Belgium. (2012-09-26). Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  25. ^ UN General Assembly General Debate of the 67th Session - Niger (The). (2012-09-26). Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
  26. ^ UN General Assembly General Debate of the 67th Session - Romania. (2012-09-26). Retrieved on 2013-12-06.
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