24 September 2013

Africa: Gabon's President Urges International Support for Africa's Fight Against Terrorism

Photo: Flickr
President Zuma leads South African delegation to the UN General Assembly (file photo).

Citing the recent deadly terrorist attack at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, President Ali Bongo of Gabon appealed today from the podium of the United Nations General Assembly for full global support for Africa in the battle against terrorism.

"Africa, which is becoming a target for terrorism, must benefit from the full support and solidarity of the international community in its effort to combat this threat," he told the Assembly on the first day of its General Debate, noting that poverty nurtures extremism around the world and the battle against poverty must therefore remain at the centre of national policies.

Turning to the post-2015 development agenda, the theme of the 68th General Assembly, Mr. Bongo said attention must be paid to Africa's priorities, such as energy, access to potable water and sustainable agriculture, as well as the realization of those Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that are not met by the target date of 2015.

The MDGs seek to slash extreme hunger and poverty, boost access to health care and education, achieve gender equality and environmental stability, and reduce maternal and child mortality and the incidence of HIV/AIDS, all by the end of 2015, while Assembly President John Ashe says he hopes the focus on the post-2015 agenda will set the stage for sustainable development in the decades ahead.

Mr. Bongo underscored the need for predictable funding for development from public and private sources, the importance of combating climate change and the threat to wildlife and biodiversity, and voiced his concern over conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR), praising the efforts of the UN peacekeeping mission in the former country.

He repeatedly appealed for international support. "Africa cannot face all these challenges to peace and security alone," he declared. "Its efforts must receive greater support, because the destabilization of Africa will have implications for other regions."

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