UN / GA OPENING WRAP

16-Sep-2008 00:02:59
Includes: opening of the 63rd Session of the General Assembly, comments from outgoing GA President Srgjan on yesterday's decision to open intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform. Miguel d'Escoto Brockman gives his first press conference as the new GA president. UNTV

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STORY: UN / GA OPENING WRAP
SOURCE: UNTV
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH/ SPANISH/ NATS

DATELINE: 16 SEPTEMBER 2008, NEW YORK CITY/ FILE

SHOTLIST:

FILE – RECENT, NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, exterior UN building

16 SEPTEMBER 2008, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, General Assembly Hall
4. Med shot, Nicaraguan delegation
5. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann, President of the 63rd session of the General Assembly:
"At the United Nations the word 'democracy' is becoming increasingly empty, with no real meaning or substance. Take for instance the 45-year-old United States embargo against Cuba. Even with a majority as overwhelming as 184 votes to four, this patently unjust and universally repudiated embargo remains firmly in place. If the opinion of more than 95 per cent of the membership of the United Nations can be so casually ignored, of what use is the General Assembly?"
6. Med shot, Cuban delegation
7. Wide shot, press conference
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Srgjan Kerim, President of the 62nd session of the General Assembly:
"We made last night this breakthrough which will for sure give dynamics to the process on one hand, but on the other hand, member states I think agreed yesterday –which is very important- that whatever will come or be the outcome of such negotiations, the solution must be one which will garner the widest possible political acceptance by the membership. That means again a sort of general agreement or consensus among member states on the solution itself on the way how the Security Council should be shaped."
9. Wide shot, press conference
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Miguel D' Escoto, Srgjan Kerim, President of 63rd General Assembly:
"I want to get the hearts of people. I open my hearts to them and I say, 'look brothers and sisters we are not going in the right direction'. We must also, I think it's imperative, when we talk about new attitude to do away with dreams and hopes about planetary domination; all imperial dreams and behaviors are totally against the spirit and letter of our Charter and certainly are things that would only lead us to our extinction."
11. Wide shot, press conference


STORYLINE:

Incoming General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann today opened the 63rd session of the world body's parliamentary organ.

During his opening speech to a plenary meeting of the General Assembly, Mr. d'Escoto said that "at the United Nations the word 'democracy' is becoming increasingly empty" and brought up the 45-year-old United States embargo against Cuba, asking rhetorically "if the opinion of more than 95 per cent of the membership of the United Nations can be so casually ignored, of what use is the General Assembly?"

Before concluding its 62nd session yesterday (15 September), the General Assembly adopted a resolution deciding to open intergovernmental negotiations on the reform of the Security Council, to begin early next year.

Outgoing President of 62nd General Assembly Srgjan Kerim told journalists at a press conference today (16 September) that whatever the outcome of these negotiations, "the solution must be one which will garner the widest possible political acceptance by the membership".

At another press conference today (16 September), incoming General Assembly President d'Escoto responded to a question on how he would deal with the contentious atmosphere among members states lately. He said he wanted to reach people's hearts by saying "look brothers and sisters we are not going in the right direction".

A veteran politician, community leader and priest, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann is currently Senior Adviser on Foreign Affairs, with the rank of Minister, to Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega Saavedra, a post he has held since 2007. From July 1979 until April 1990, he served as Nicaragua's Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Mr. d'Escoto is an advocate of multilateralism and respect for international law, and sees the principles of active non-violence, solidarity and social justice as the cornerstones of his political life.

He was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1933; he spent his childhood years in Nicaragua but returned to the United States in 1947 to pursue his studies. He entered the Catholic seminary at Maryknoll in New York in 1953 and was ordained a priest in 1961.
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