Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Kelly calls on society to play full part in helping the developing world

1 April, 2008

Sinn Féin Junior Minister Gerry Kelly, on behalf of OFMDFM, has called on the Assembly and society here to play a full part in helping the wider international community and those experiencing poverty and conflict.

Speaking today during an Assembly Debate on International Development, the Junior Minister said:

"There is a responsibility for this Assembly to reflect concerns about the developing world and on us, as a fully inclusive democratic society, to be willing to play our part in promoting the better well being of the wider international community.

"The measure of any society is in the support it offers the developing world and more specifically to those in poverty and experiencing conflict. There has always been a close affinity between the people here and the developing world - evident by the direct support given in disaster relief, humanitarian aid activities and supporting development.

"This wider global vision compliments our own growth and development and is exemplified by the contribution the International community made to our own peace and prosperity.

"The United States, the European Union and South Africa deserve particular mention for the international support they gave us over many years and it is particularly inspiring that a nation like South Africa, with its history and poverty, took time to support political developments here."

Mr Kelly said that although international development, is a reserved matter, the First Minister and deputy First Minister are responsible for dealing with and co-ordinating the work of the Executive on external relationships.

"We should not insulate ourselves from our international responsibilities. We must identify how and when we can be effective in aiding development and sharing our experiences as, there is no doubt, that we can have a direct influence in the promotion of conflict resolution.

"A number of Members have assisted internationally in this area and made the effort to share their experience and end conflict in Palestine and Israel, between Spain and the Basque nation and within Iraq and Sri Lanka.

"It is an area of work in which we will continue to have an increasing role and we are actively considering options in taking this forward," he continued.

The Minister also said it was only fitting and right that the Assembly endorses the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and supports the actions of the British and Irish Governments in their achievement by 2015.

MDGs range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015.

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