RUMEN RADEV, President of Bulgaria, said that a “resurrected ghost of self-destruction”, as a result of the full-scale war in Europe, is a nightmare his generation wrongly believed would be a “bygone phase” in human history. While the hopes for rearranging the broken societal and economic links brought some optimism post-pandemic, the war in Ukraine exacerbated crises and destroyed that optimism. Also pointing to the erosion of democracy, human rights and the rise of authoritarianism, he said that the rules of the internationally-adopted world order — forged in the green-marble General Assembly Hall — are now vehemently contested. Reiterating his country’s condemnation of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine, he also expressed concern over Moscow’s decision to withdraw from the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The bombings of Kyiv’s port infrastructure and the navigation restrictions in the Black Sea led to escalation of global food insecurity in the Global South, where the price of war is particularly high.
Underscoring that human lives are equally precious around the globe, he called on parties of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to resume direct negotiations conducive to the two-State solution. He also noted that a political solution to Syria’s conflict is the only way ahead and reiterated Bulgaria’s support for Yemen’s unity and sovereignty. While emphasizing the importance of preventing terrorist threats and irregular migration in Afghanistan, he also voiced support for the European path of the Western Balkan countries as a way of attaining regional stability. Bulgaria is a staunch supporter for further strengthening of global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, he added, calling for dialogue on confidence-building among nuclear weapon States. Observing that Moscow’s intention to deploy nuclear weapons to Belarus undermines strategic stability, he called on the Russian Federation to adhere to the Joint Statement of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear-Weapon States on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races.
He went on to say that access to financing and strong partnerships with international financial institutions are key for sustainable development, also reporting that his country provides financial support to countries in need. Welcoming the adoption of political declarations at three health summits during the high-level week, he said these documents will foster a one-health approach and strengthen national health systems. Further, he called for decisive climate action and highlighted the need for reversing biodiversity loss. To this end, he welcomed the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund.
He also highlighted that Bulgaria, as a co-Chair of the Group of Friends for Children and Sustainable Development Goals, advocates for gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, while promoting the rights of people with disabilities and tackling discrimination and hate speech. Additionally, in 2023 it has commemorated the eightieth anniversary of the rescue of more than 50,000 Jewish people during the Second World War. “This remarkable episode of our modern history inspires us to continue efforts to affirm tolerance and understanding as core values of modern democracy,” he asserted.
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