TEODORO OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO, President of Equatorial Guinea, pointing out that the pandemic affected 200 million people and led to the death of almost 5 million, said that lasting solutions must be found and useful conclusions must be drawn. “Common problems are better tackled together,” he said. The international community needs to focus on a post COVID-19 era or on how to live with the pandemic, as the resultant health and humanitarian crisis has taken a toll on economic and social structures. The causes of the pandemic must be examined and economic and social recovery programmes designed to ensure that no countries are left behind. In that regard, the United Nations must play a leading role. He proposed holding an international conference on the pandemic that addresses its causes, consequences and how to assist the weakest nations, especially as the pandemic has exacerbated other ills such as extreme poverty, conflict and migration.
The pandemic has exacerbated the economic crisis caused by the drop in hydrocarbon prices on international markets, he said, adding that Equatorial Guinea had enacted economic diversification policies to revitalize other sectors that are not as vulnerable. Such efforts suffered a significant setback with the accidental explosions in Bata in March that caused over 100 deaths and injured hundreds of people. The substantial material damage forced his Government to review economic priorities and prospects. He thanked countries and international organizations, such as the IMF, for providing emergency assistance.
Underscoring that international security and stability are essential to make the world more just and prosperous, he said the international community must join forces to rid the world of conflicts and their root causes. He congratulated the Governments of Libya, Guinea-Bissau and the Central African Republic for their efforts to restore peace and stability. Equatorial Guinea is a sovereign State that does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and expects its national sovereignty to be respected. “We believe in the centrality of the United Nations, in the architecture of seeking solutions to the problems that affect us collectively,” he said, calling for reforms to demonstrate the Organization’s usefulness and legitimacy, as well as to make it a more effective instrument for collaboration and to strengthen cooperation with regional organizations, such as the African Union.
The Security Council needs to be reformed despite the strong opposition of some countries that benefit from the status quo, he said. Under these conditions, Africa cannot renounce the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, which reflect the African Common Position of Africa. “Equatorial Guinea, a member of the Committee of 10 of the African Union, will continue to defend what it believes to be fair,” he declared. He observed with great concern the dangerous tendency of some countries to impose foreign values on other nations. Democracy is a good form of Government, but it should not be imposed without considering the history and traditions of people, he said, adding: “Mutual respect for diversity is the cornerstone for the peaceful coexistence of peoples”.
He turned to the Central African subregion, especially the Gulf of Guinea, which is facing growing insecurity and instability due to piracy and terrorist activities. This situation deserves global attention, as coastal countries and international maritime safety are under threat and economic interests are at stake. “Terrorist and mercenary activity continues to be a serious challenge to our countries,” he stated, calling for an international event to address the situation in depth. Stressing that the commercial and economic blockade on Cuba has brought enormous damage to the Cuban people, he concluded by calling it to be lifted.
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