Essentially, Honourable President, we must understand what ‘development cooperation’ and its genesis mean. The real thinkers of Europe – those who really created the European Union were very alert to a divided world in the 1960s and saw the dangers after the second world war. That Europe had to develop and it had to have partners, sources of raw materials [and] minerals to be able to continue with their industrialisation process. And they were very creative in creating the Yaounde and Lome Conventions ensuring preferences, ensuring subsidies of agricultural products and minerals because they knew they were gaining huge benefit from value added. As a result, they wanted to share that profit so that we also benefit from then from development.
So, it was sharing basis and not the narrow nationalist sentiments thinking that you are taking European tax money [and] giving it to ACP states.
Those people were ingenious. They calculated. They show that Europe was gaining from our economies and it was also for Europe to give back. But that mentality is disappearing with this new generation. I don’t know how creative this new generation is but they need to reinvent their cooperation strategies.
We live in a world where, Honourable President, we first started a revolution – what we call a national revolution of states becoming sovereign. The national revolution lead to the sovereignty of states but we have strong leaders who did not involve the people and a new revolution has to be taken, a revolution for the sovereignty of the people.
We started the process. Just look at ECOWAS. We came to a point where we were controlling the executive with two-term limit. There were only two countries left before the new evolution of coup d’etat. There were term limits.
I belong to a generation which fought for change. I came to this Assembly to replace honourable Netty Baldeh, who was even your co-President because I was leading a Coalition. I was the Spokesperson of our Coalition. I was also the Spokesperson of the President who won in the Coalition. I was faced with the same critical situation as the President of Ukraine.
We had a transition. I was there handling our country and the danger of death was there. And I had to make crucial decisions. [ We were] faced with the question as to whether we will win an election and enter war. That was our situation we were faced with. And I know that war is politics by other means.
We cannot afford to win an election and lose it by war.
Essentially, what I am emphasising is that all of us must have a heart that beat in unison with the heart of the people of the world. All of us must feel the suffering of the world. All of us must be allowed to seek conscience.
What we must avoid is Europe thinking that we are going to be their sphere of influence. There are no superpowers. My last words. Otherwise, Afghanistan would not be left in the hands of those controlling it today if America was a superpower. There are no superpowers, that is why Syria is what it is today. Look at Iran. Look at all the world today. There are no superpowers. China-Taiwan. There are no superpowers. We should abandon the superpower ideology and we should abandon the sphere of influence ideology. We should begin a cooperation of equality knowing that in all parts of the globe there are people of conscience but they are not yet in power. How do we empower all these people so that we leave this world of tyrants – people who do feel the suffering of the people – who do not mean to change the world.
Is not that your interpretation is correct that African countries do not want to condemn Russia. We do not want to be part of your foreign policy. We do not want you to use us. We want to be free to determine for ourselves whether we will condemn or not condemn and when we will condemn. It is important for you to change your mentality that we are all equal and sometimes we are more advanced than you in thinking about what should be done about the world. Thank you very much.