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New York

Michael D Higgins invokes spirit of Good Friday Agreement in address to UN General Assembly

The UN is holding a two-day summit on ‘peacebuilding and sustaining peace’.

Áras an Uachtaráin / YouTube

IRISH PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has addressed the United Nations General Assembly, and invoked the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement as a template for world peace.

Addressing the President of the Assembly Miroslav Lajčák, President Higgins described as “an affront to humanity” the fact that, although the western world has “the capacity to abolish all forms of human poverty, we share a planet with hundreds of millions who are, even as we speak here today, deprived of their most fundamental rights, deprived of a dignified existence”.

The address comes at a two-day summit in New York at which the UN is reflecting on the concept of ‘peacebuilding and sustaining peace’.

“Is it not nothing less than a moral outrage that our boundless capacity for creativity and innovation, and the fruits of new science and technology, are turned, not to the promotion and preservation of peace, but to the pursuit and prosecution of war?” the President said.

He reflected on the fact that Ireland’s own fragile peace process could not have been brought about without “engaging with the experience of the other”.

The Northern Ireland peace agreement, signed on Good Friday twenty years ago, demonstrates some of those conditions which you (Lajčák) have identified as essential for successful peacebuilding: direct engagement by the two governments involved in the negotiations; sustained financing for peacebuilding activities; strong support from the European Union; and generous and patient backing from other members of the United Nations, most particularly from those with a connection to Ireland such as the United States,” he said.

“Yet while we celebrate the end of violence, the lives saved and the futures transformed, we are reminded daily of the challenges of sustaining peace,” the president added.

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