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UN General Assembly ends annual session with many accomplishments: president

(Xinhua)

10:10, September 13, 2011

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- The UN General Assembly on Monday concluded its 65th session, with its outgoing president reporting progress on a number of development-related issues and highlighted need for the United Nations to do more to respond to the real concerns of people worldwide.

"We have accomplished much," Joseph Deiss, the president of the General Assembly's 65th session, said in his closing remarks to the 193-member body as he outlined some of the highlights of the past year.

The session kicked off last September with a high-level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight ambitious targets set that aim to slash hunger and poverty, maternal and infant mortality, a host of diseases and lack of access to education and health care, all by 2015.

The 66th session of the General Assembly opens on Tuesday and will be presided over by the incoming president, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of Qatar.

"We sent a strong message about our determination to keep our promise to halve poverty by 2015 and achieve all the other goals for the millennium," said Deiss. "Five years away from the deadline, it was vital to clearly reaffirm our will to redouble our efforts to succeed."

Development-related topics, including AIDS and youth, were highlighted throughout the year, as well as issues such as the green economy and sustainable development. The Assembly also took up the plight of Haiti and the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire, and admitted the newly independent nation of South Sudan as its 193rd member.

While the General Assembly has much to be proud of, "we could have done more," Deiss said. "The situation in the Middle East remains unstable; in many parts of the world, conflicts are ongoing; far too many human beings on this planet are living in precarious conditions."

"In all these situations, we do not have the right to remain indifferent," he said.

The General Assembly president made a number of recommendations which he said would help the UN be "strong and capable of making a difference." This included determining the common interest, defending basic values, and responding to the real concerns of peoples.

"To be more present in the major issues of our time, the common interest must prevail over national interest," he stated. "The major challenges before humankind can be solved only insofar as we are able to determine a common interest and a common strategy for achieving it."

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