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67th United Nations General Assembly


67th United Nations General Assembly

Mohamed Yousef El-Magariaf, president of the General National Congress of Libya, addresses the UN General Assembly on Sept. 27, 2012, in New York City.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
In the last week of September 2012, leaders from around the world gathered at the United Nations for the 67th General Assembly. The lineup reflected a sea change from pre-Arab Spring gatherings, with no Moammar Gadhafi tearing up the UN charter and Egypt's first democratically elected president since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. It also came at a time of post-Arab Spring challenges, as the U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed on Sept. 11, 2012, in an attack on the consulate in Benghazi. Here are some highlights from the 67th UNGA.

"As we Germans have experienced what it is to lack freedom in the course of our own history, we will always stand by those who, wherever they are in the world, thirst (ph) for freedom -- for freedom of opinion and for freedom of religion, for freedom of the press, and for artistic freedom. Freedom has a daughter. It is tolerance. And freedom has a son. It is respect. Respect for other people. Respect for what is important to others. Respect for what is sacred to others. Freedom, therefore, does not mean freedom from responsibility. Freedom always means freedom to shoulder responsibility." -- Germany Minister for Foreign Affairs Guido Westerwelle

"The new tripartite coalition government in Greece is implementing an ambitious economic adjustment program in order to improve its macro economic outlook and achieve fiscal adjustment, while at the same time addressing structural reforms aiming for growth and job creation. This effort has produced impressive results; namely, the primary deficit has been significantly reduced. At the same time, the Greek economy has regained more than 50 percent of its competitiveness towards its global trade partners, while the business and investment climate is on a positive path. We are determined to continue along this path, bearing in mind that Greek people are suffering tremendously from the austerity program implementation." -- Greece Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos

"We believe that food security is not a privilege, but a basic right of each and every citizen in South Sudan. No citizen should go hungry. As the saying goes, 'A hungry man is an angry man.' It will not be good for the stability of the country if we have many hungry and angry men. In our endeavor to achieve food security, we are diversifying the economy by utilizing the oil revenue to fuel agriculture and build the necessary basic infrastructure. This is the only way we would benefit from our vast fertile agricultural lands that our country is immensely endowed with." -- South Sudan President Riek Machar

"China encourages cross civilization dialogue and exchanges. We should replace confrontation with dialogue and bridge differences with inclusiveness to make the world a more harmonious place, ensure common progress for mankind. We should seek common security among growing interdependence. No country is immune to the complex and multiple security threats and challenges in the world." -- China Foreign Minister Jiang Jiechi

"I stand before you today representing the Libyan people, a people that is building the institutions of democracy following the fall of dictatorship. ...In our revolution for freedom and in the challenge of establishing democracy, the conscience of the world was with us, both in deeds and in thoughts. Support was offered from everyone and from everywhere. Among those offering help was Ambassador Chris Stevens, a voice of reason and conscience, a man of love, a messenger of friendship who came to Libya following the outbreak of our freedom revolution, one who touched the people's feelings, who traveled from Tripoli to the western mountains and back and all across Libya." -- Libya President of the General National Congress Mohamed Yousef El-Magariaf

"At this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs. And that's by placing a clear red line on Iran's nuclear weapons program. Red lines don't lead to war. Red lines prevent war. Just look at NATO's charter. It made clear that an attack on one member country would be considered an attack on all. And NATO's red line helped keep the peace in Europe for nearly half a century. President Kennedy set a red line during the Cuban Missile Crisis, that red line also prevented war. And helped preserve the peace for decades. In fact, it's the failure to place red lines that's often invited aggression. If the Western powers had drawn clear red lines during the 1930s, I believe they would have stopped Nazi aggression and World War II might have been avoided." -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

"The current abysmal situation of the world and the bitter incidents of history are due mainly to the wrong management of the world and the self-proclaimed centers of power who have entrusted themselves to the devil. ...Continued threat by the uncivilized Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation is a clear example of this bitter reality." -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

"The General Assembly as well as the Security Council has a main responsibility in addressing this phenomenon that is -- is starting to have implications that clearly affect international peace and security. The obscenities that I have referred to were recently released as part of an organized campaign against Islamic sanctities are unacceptable and require from us a firm stand. We have a responsibility in this international gathering to study how we can protect the world from instability and hatred. Egypt respects freedom of expression, freedom of expression that is not used to incite hatred against anyone. Not a freedom of expression that targets a specific religion or a specific culture. A freedom of expression that tackles extremism and violence, not the freedom of expression that deepens ignorance and disregards others." -- Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi

"The attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America. They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded – the notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully; that diplomacy can take the place of war; and that in an interdependent world, all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens. If we are serious about upholding these ideals, it will not be enough to put more guards in front of an Embassy; or to put out statements of regret, and wait for the outrage to pass. If we are serious about those ideals, we must speak honestly about the deeper causes of this crisis. Because we face a choice between the forces that would drive us apart, and the hopes we hold in common." -- U.S. President Barack Obama

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