Sánchez condemns Russia, offers hope in UNGA speech

United Nations, Sep 22 (EFE).- Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez used his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City to condemn the war in Ukraine, but also offer a message of hope.

“Rarely have the foundations of this institution been shaken as strongly as in the early hours of twenty-fourth February when cities throughout Ukraine felt the terror of Russian bombardments,” he began.

“More than six months later we are still witness to the horror of an invasion that takes us back to times that we believed we had left behind.”

The war has robbed the people of Ukraine the right to live in peace and freedom, and has condemned the world to an era of uncertainty “right when we were on the cusp of well-deserved optimism” emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.

The food and energy crises caused by the war, and the resulting inflation “threatens to leave the world’s poorest even poorer.”

Faced with this situation, Spain’s leader acknowledged that it’s not hard to understand why many people have had enough – especially “young people born at the start of this new millennium” who live under the climate emergency and the world they will inherit.

“But despite all that, I am certain that there where danger lies, there too lies our salvation. That is why today I would like to extend an unequivocal message of trust and confidence. Trust in the capacity of the international community to overcome any adversity, and confidence in the strength of an institution such as the United Nations to rise up against challenges that know no borders,” he said.

Sánchez presented five main challenges – health, the food crisis, the ecological transition, the digital transition and gender equality – and for each of them he presented an example of how Spain is helping to provide solutions.

In health, he explained that his government will contribute 15 million euros ($14.8 million) to the Financial Intermediary Fund for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response, in addition to another 130 million euros ($128 million) to the global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Regarding the food crisis, Spain will mobilize 151 million euros in donations and 85 million euros in loans for this cause over the next three years.

The fight against the climate crisis led him to announce that Spain and Senegal will support the creation of an international alliance for drought resilience to promote innovation, technology transfer and resource mobilization. The initiative will be presented at COP27 in Egypt this year.

Sánchez, who took the opportunity to defend the measures approved in Spain to lower the price of electricity and protect the most vulnerable against inflation, said that his country also wants to assume a leading role in the digital transition by hosting a UN technology center in Barcelona for the digitization of education.

He also affirmed that Spain is at the forefront of the fight for gender equality, and announced that it will contribute 100 million euros over the next three years to organizations that work in this field, such as UN Women. EFE


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