Respect for international law the cornerstone in international relations

Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, addressed the 68th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations on 30 September 2013.

In his address the Minister touched upon a variety of issues, at the outset condemning recent terrorist attacks in Kenya, Iraq and Pakistan. In the context of the use of chemical weapons in Syria the Minister underlined the fundamental importance of international law and the role of the International Criminal Court. Minister Sveinsson emphasized that respect for international law is the cornerstone for relations between states and said that disputes should always be settled by peaceful means.

The Minister underscored the importance of development cooperation and the Millennium Development Goals in Iceland’s foreign policy. He said that Iceland has much to contribute in the fields of geothermal energy, sustainable fisheries management, restoration of fertile land and the promotion of gender equality.

Minister Sveinsson welcomed the renewed peace talks between Israel and Palestine and commended Secretary of State Kerry for his commitment in this regard. „We must respect the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, as well as Israel‘s right to exist in peace with its neighbours“, the Minister said.

Finally, the Minister spoke about the necessity to protect and conserve the living marine resources and the Arctic, saying that “we who live in that corner of the world know how urgent it is to act and plan for the future. The delicate environment must be protected, economic opportunities developed and the needs of the people who live in the Arctic respected“.

Further information on the Minister’s address can be found on the website of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

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