Transcript: Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s speech at the U.N. General Assembly

Editor’s note: English translation provided by C-SPAN. Transcript does not include introductory remarks, prayers and acknowledgements in the first 4 minutes of Morsi’s speech.  

Transcript of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 26, 2012:

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 26, 2012. SOURCE: C-Span.org

Mr. President, my presence here today in the General Assembly has multiple significance. I am the first Egyptian civilian President elected democratically and freely following a great peaceful revolution hailed by the inside world.

This revolution established a genuine legitimacy through the effort of all Egyptians inside and outside Egypt and with the grace of God.

Today, every Egyptian shares this sense of self confidence allowing all of them to claim a higher moral ground. We have taken several steps on the road to establishing the modern state the Egyptians aspire to see – one that is in tune with the present based on the rule of law, democracy and respect for human rights. A constitutional state that does not compromise the values firmly embedded in the souls of all Egyptians. A state that seeks justice, truth, freedom, dignity and social justice.

The Egyptian revolution that was founded on the legitimacy that I represent – the legitimacy that I represent before you today – was not the product of a fleeting moment or a brief uprising nor was it a product of the winds of change of spring or autumn.

Rather, this revolution and all the ones preceding it and following it in the region were triggered by a long struggle of genuine national movements that sought a life of pride and dignity for all citizens.

It is thereby reflecting the wisdom of history and sending a clear warning to those attempting to place their interests before those of their people.

Mr. President, the vision of the new Egypt that we strive to realize for our nation – God willing – also constitutes the frame of action we present to the world and which should guide our cooperation with the international community in a spirit of equality and mutual respect entailing non-intervention in the affair of other states as well as the implementation of international principles, agreements, and conventions. Today, we reiterate our commitment to them, particularly the United Nations Charter, which Egypt took part in drafting.

Through continued work to settle problems and dealing with the root causes without relinquishing the principles of law or well-established values, which if compromised can lead to grave consequences for the international community if those who were rational and reasonable in the world would not pay heed.

Mr. President, the first issue which the world must make all effort to resolve on the basis of justice and dignity is the Palestinian cause.

Long decades have passed since the Palestinian people expressed their desire to restore all their full rights and to build their independent state with Jerusalem as its capitol.

Despite the continued struggle of this people through all legitimate means to attain their rights and despite the acceptance of the representatives of the resolutions adopted by the international community as the basis for resolving their problems – despite all of this, this international legitimacy remains unable until now to achieve the hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people.

These resolutions remain far from being implemented. The fruits of dignity and freedom must not remain far from the Palestinian people.

It is shameful that the free world would accept that a party in the international community may continue to deny the rights of a nation that looks to independence over decades.


No matter what justification, it is also shameful that settlements continue on the territory of this people – the Palestinian people – and prevarication continues over implementing international resolutions.

From a premise of defending truth, freedom, and dignity and from my duty to support our Palestinian brothers and sisters, I place the international community before its responsibilities which require the achievement of a just and comprehensive peace and putting an end of all forms of occupation of Arab lands and the implementation of relevant international resolutions. I call for immediate movement – serious movement – as of now to put an end to colonization, occupation, and settlement and the alteration of the identity of occupied Jerusalem. I call for a peace that would establish an independent Palestinian state – sovereign Palestinian state, a peace that would achieve the security and stability long sought by the people of the region.

On the same basis, I assure you of Egypt’s full support to any course of action Palestine decides to follow in the United Nations.

I call upon you all – just as you’ve supported the revolutions of the Arab people – I call upon you to lend your support to the Palestinians and their endeavor to gain the full and legitimate rights of a people struggling to gain its freedom and establish an independent state. – an independent state of Palestine based on the inalienable rights of the Palestinians.

We will continue to work next to the Palestinian people, supporting them until they get all their rights with their free will for all the Palestinians and every constituent of the Palestinian people.

Mr. President, while are we talking here in this international forum, we have to address a question that remains a source of concern for the whole world – namely, the bloodshed and the tragedy – the human tragedy – in Syria. The bloodshed that must be stopped immediately is our main concern, our first concern.

The blood that’s being shed on the land of beloved Syria is far too dear to continue to be shed day and night. The Syrian people, dear to our hearts and the hearts of every Egyptian, deserve to hope for a future of freedom and dignity.

This has been the essence of the initiative I proposed in the holy city of Mecca during last Ramadan and I have reiterated on subsequent occasions to avoid the worst – to avoid the worst – and to prevent the continued suffering of the Syrian people and the conflict turning into a full-scale civil war, God forbid, with negative effects extending beyond Syria and its immediate neighbors.

Egypt, along with the three other countries involved in our initiatives, has held meetings that have shown that there are many areas of commonalities. We will continue to work to put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people and provide for them with an opportunity to choose freely the regime that best represents them.

After this regime – the current regime comes to an end – the regime that kills its people day and night – after this regime comes to an end, the Syrian people will choose with their own free will a regime that represents and places Syria in its right place among democratic countries so that it can continue to contribute to its Arab common march and its regional and international role based on solid legitimate foundations.

I would like to emphasize here that this initiative is open to all. It is not just the purview of its starting parties but it is open to all who wish to contribute positively to resolving the Syrian crisis. This crisis we’re all responsible for. This suffering – we all have to move the world over to put an end to this tragedy. It is the tragedy of the age and our duty is to end this tragedy.

Egypt is committed to pursuing the sincere efforts it has been making to put an end to the tragedy in Syria within an Arab regional and international framework – a framework that preserves the unity of this brotherly state and it would involve all sections of the Syrian people without discrimination based on race, religion, or sex. It would spare Syria the danger of foreign military intervention which we oppose, of course.

Egypt is also committed to supporting the mission of Mr. Brahimi, the joint special representative of the U.N. and the League of Arab States to Syria, and continuing the current efforts aiming at unifying the Syrian opposition and encouraging it to propose a comprehensive unified vision of the steady, democratic organized transfer of power in a manner that preserves the rights of all constituencies in Syria and maintains the essential places in the new Syria. The new Syria after the new Egypt, God willing.

I cannot fail here to reiterate that Egypt will work so that this Arab nation would occupy its rightful place in the world. This nation – this Arab nation – is an integral component of Egypt’s vision of its national security, of the larger homeland that extends from the Arab gulf to the Atlantic ocean. And it’s a huge field for the opportunities of cooperation and interactions with the countries of the whole world.

Egypt also considers the extremely valuable contribution of the Arab world with the wider Islamic sphere is vital to promoting joint action within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Egypt will make every effort to ensure that the next OIC conference due early next year in Egypt – Egypt will make sure that this will strengthen mutual understandings between the Islamic countries and the rest of the world and would set in motion the principles of dialogue of civilizations to eliminate the causes of misunderstanding employed by fanatics on both sides to wrongly prove that the differences between us are great to achieve political goals completely unrelated to the noble ideals of religions or human values and ethics.

Mr. President, our brothers and sisters in the Sudan need more than ever today your support. This country seeks to achieve stability and development and works on building healthy and ideal relations with South Sudan.

This nascent state, which we believe is qualified along with our brotherly Sudan, to become the center of cooperation between the Arab World and African countries.

Sudan has made great sacrifices in its quest for peace and stability. It has committed itself to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, otherwise known as CPA. It was also the first country to recognize the nascent state of South Sudan.

But let me be frank. It – that is, the Sudan – has not received the support it deserves. It is now high time for the international efforts to rally in support of the Sudan and work on settling differences between the Sudan and its neighboring South Sudan to resolve all outstanding issues.

Mr. President, the success of the difficult transition phase that the Somali people have gone through by electing his excellency Hasan Sheikh Mohamoud as their President is a positive step toward stability and unity after a very difficult period.

I call upon the United Nations to continue supporting the efforts made by the Somali government and to fend off those who seek to hinder the efforts and to achieve stability and to construct public institutions and achieve the aspirations of the Somali people for a better future.

Mr. President, the principles of justice and righteousness are linked to achieving security and stability, particularly in the Middle East.

Over many years, some have wrongfully sought to obtain stability through oppression and tyranny. Some of us, alas, have applauded their bad deeds.

But now that the people of the region have obtained their freedom, they will not tolerate and they will not allow being deprived of their rights whether by their own leaders or outside forces.

The will of the people, especially in our region, no longer tolerates the continued non-application of any country – any country – to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the non-application of the safeguards regime to their nuclear facilities, especially if this is coupled with irresponsible policies or arbitrary threats.

In this regard, the acceptance by the international community of the pre-emptiveness or the attempt to legitimize it is in itself a serious matter and must be confronted to avoid the prevalence of the law of the jungle.

Cognizant of the danger that the status quo represents for the security of this important region with its natural resources and trade corridors, Egypt stresses the need to mobilize international efforts to hold a conference on declaring a Middle East free of nuclear weapons zone and all other weapons of mass destruction before the end of the current year 2012 with the participation of all concerned without exception. Let me say it perfectly clear – perfectly clearly. The only solution is to get rid of nuclear weapons. There’s no other alternatives. All weapons of mass destruction.

Meanwhile, we also emphasize the right of all countries of the world – all countries of the world and all countries of the region – of course, including Egypt, that they have the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy within the framework of the NPT. And with a commitment – a commitment by all these countries – to honor their obligations in this respect, providing the necessary guarantees to the countries of the region so as to remove any suspicion surrounding the peaceful intentions of these programs.

Mr. President, the concepts of justice, truth and dignity encompass, in our view, the frameworks that govern international relations.

There’s no doubt that a review of these international relations would undoubtedly reveal the extent of the injustices inflicted upon the African continent. I don’t think I need to go through the previous commitments that were made in this hall to bolster development and economic growth in Africa through aid and investments.

The world has a responsibility – the world has a responsibility – to support Africa’s efforts beyond mere promises through providing assistance needed to restore the treasures of African countries stolen over consecutive eras – the last of which was when some thought that supporting unjust regimes would assist in achieving a fake stability that protects their interests while these regimes were spreading corruption and smuggling the wealth of these countries outside the homeland.

I’m aware that achieving the desired goals can only be done through the active participation of the people of this continent and the assumption of the responsibilities.

This is something that we, as Africans, are ready and willing to do in our quest for a better future for our countries.

Today, we as Africans have to achieve for our continent a new set of ambitious goals that would ensure that Africans are on the right track toward sustainable development and achieve the aspiration for a better future and a re-participation for Africa in the international economic order.

I assure you that Egypt will continue to work in support of its brothers and sisters in Africa. Egypt is ready to cooperate with any stakeholder or party in or outside the continent to raise the living standards of Africa through the exchange of expertise and best practices.

We look at the current international system and feel that we need to work seriously to repair this international order based on the principle that would renew its legitimacy and maintain its credibility. This is a legitimate demand of people, of nations that express themselves and would like to participate in a new world for a new future for its sons and daughters.

The effective role of the General Assembly as a democratic forum that would express the will of the international community and the change in the structure of the Security Council, which still represents an era that’s completely obsolete as far as our count was concerned. Both the General Assembly and the Security Council must be reformed, must be reformed as an outmost priority that has to be dealt with the necessary seriousness.

I would like to emphasize the need for the United Nations to give special attention to supporting issues of women and youth. I have proposed during the [incomprehensible audio translation] movements a new initiative to establish a U.N. body solely dedicated to youth issues, giving particular attention to the issues of education, training, employment, and improving youth’s participation in political life. This would bolster the capacity of future generations to achieve their aspirations.

Mr. President, Egypt stresses that the international system will not be fixed as long as we have double standards. We expect from others as they expect from us: that they respect our cultural specificities and religious references and not to seek to impose concepts or cultures that are not acceptable to us or politicize certain issues and use them as a pretext to intervene in the affairs of others.

But Muslims and migrants are going through a number of countries in certain regions in the world in terms of discrimination and violations of their human rights and vicious campaigns against what they hold sacred is unacceptable.

This is unacceptable the behavior by some – some individuals. And the insults heard on the Prophet of Islam Muhammad is rejected. We reject this. We cannot accept this, and we will be the opponents of those who do this. We will not allow anyone to do this by word or deed. This runs against the most basic principles of the organization of where we meet today, and unfortunately today it has now acquired a name, which is Islamophobia.

We all have to work together. We must join hands in confronting these regressive ideas that hinder cooperation among us. We must move together to confront extremism and discrimination and incitement to hatred on the basis of religion or race.

The General Assembly as well as the Security Council has a main responsibility in addressing this phenomenon that is starting to have implications that clearly affect international peace and security.

The obscenities that I have referred to from a recently released as part of an organized campaign against Islamic sanctities are unacceptable and require a promise of firm stance. We have a responsibility in this international gathering to study how we can protect the world from instability and hatred.

Egypt respects freedom of expression – freedom of expression that is not used to incite hatred against anyone – not a freedom of expression that target a specific religion or a specific culture. A freedom of expression that tackle extremism and violence – not a freedom of expression that deepens ignorance and disregards others.

But we also, as we have said before and reaffirmed before, we also stand firmly against the use of violence in expressing objections to these obscenities.

Mr. President, before I conclude, I must say the severity and recurrence of financial economic crises – must lead us to review the international economic decision-making process that affect the fate of people that do not participate in their preparation yet they’re the first to bear the negative consequences of growth, trade and the environment as well as on the social fabric of society as a result of unfair trade rules and conditionalities imposed on the transfer of technology and access to the necessary finances to development.

There is a need for a new global economic governance. I say there’s an urgent need for a new global economic governance centered on people and aiming at consolidating cooperation between partners in the development on the basis of mutual benefits and interests.

Mr. President, I have laid before you our vision – a vision shared by the Egyptian people. I’ve also attempted to briefly outline Egypt’s views on the main issues – the visions of the young and the children, women and the men in Egypt on all important questions that the Middle East, Africa, and the world. From this perspective, I am sure that the United Nations is capable of assuming its intended job in addressing all global and regional challenges through dialogue, understanding, and joint cooperation in accordance with the principles of international law.

Egypt, post-revolution, will spare no effort in dealing sincerely with all the members of this organization. We will always remain at the forefront of international endeavor aiming at achieving freedom, justice and dignity of all peoples as well as social justice for all peoples including security and stability for all our countries.

I look forward – I look forward with optimism – great optimism, and I see the peace that we all call for prevailing all over this world. Peace that is based on justice. A peace that would give all their rights undiminished. A peace that does not discriminate between one and another for any reason.

This peace will not prevail until we all cooperate, until we all realize that we are all equal and that we share many aspiration and ambitions. A peace whose message I bring to you – a peace of right and justice, stability and development, inter-dependence, love and mutual respect.

I don’t believe that this is difficult for all of us if we extend our hand – our hand of cooperation, a sincere intention, and a righteous work. God, as our witness, we are all hopeful that we will see a better future for this world.

I thank you all and peace and prayers be upon you.

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