JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
IT’S THE UNITED NATION’S ANNUAL General Assembly this upcoming week. They say New York gets annoyingly busy on this occasion. Fareed Zakaria is a New Yorker and knows it better. He once wrote, “You can count on a few things during the U.N.’s annual General Assembly. The traffic will be bad, the speeches will be worthy (if a bit dull)—and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will say something absurd”. It seems the main focus will be Syria this year. And it must be, because the international community is still much divided on this issue. Even though much progress has been made, Russia along with China, continue to be very protective of the Al-Assad’s regime. What’s the motive of these two countries behind all of this? I wonder. Earlier on, they said that the international community ought to wait for the United Nation’s Inspectors Report on the August 21st chemical weapons attack before intervening in Syria. But they’ve disputed that report since its release, still claiming the rebels were responsible for the horrific attack of the August 21st, even though the facts point straight to the Al-Assad’s regime. And now that there’s something to work on (a deal to put Al-Assad’s chemical weapons under international control), they insist any resolution by the United Nations Security Council should not include any military threat. To me it all looks like geopolitics. I honestly do believe that the Russians are still stuck in cold war mentality. Whatever happens, let’s hope something does come out of this assembly even though the Security Council is currently much divided.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will not attend, as he’s no longer the President of Iran. At least we won’t hear his absurd speech. Instead, the new president, Hasan Rouhani, will represent Iran. I think it is this time that we’ll hear a constructive Iranian perspective of the world. His recent actions make him seem like a guy who wants to reach out to the world, notably with respect to the Iranian nuclear programme. His recent op-ed in the Washington Post, I’m told, highlights his willingness to work with the international community to solve global problems of today. And he’s not ruled out having a one-on-one meeting with Barack Obama. Let’s not be too optimistic though, we can never predict the future, but for now, Rouhani signals willingness to take Iran to a new direction. Unlike that destructive character – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Oh! Hugo Chavez, the former president of Venezuela won’t be there as well, because he’s dead. The new guy, Nicolas Maduro, will represent Venezuela. Well, I doubt there’ll be any surprises in this case. Ever since he took office, Maduro has continued with the policies and absurd rhetoric of his predecessor. PM
© PHUMLANI M. MAJOZI