Gerry Adams in South Africa
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking in South Africa today said:
I want to deal with the Irish peace process but before doing so I want to offer up some observations on the international situation.
Irish republicans have always been firmly internationalists - our roots lie in the French Revolution and the American Revolution. Our core political value is based on the right of human beings to be free citizens - liberated, empowered and equal.
The founders of Irish republicans saw themselves as citizens of the world and the Irish fight for freedom as part of a worldwide struggle of humanity. That remains Sinn Fein's view today.
For us the big central international struggle of our time is to assert democratic control by people over the decisions, which affect their lives. This means free nations working together on the basis of equality, to pursue this objective.
It means tackling the great social, economic and environmental problems, which face us, by means of co-operation between nations. It requires international cooperation amongst states for real human development. It means the developed world working in strategic partnership with the developing world - not as an act of charity- but as part of our duty and responsibility towards other human beings.
The problems on this continent are a result of colonialism. Irish people understand this. We were England's first colony. So we have a natural affinity with other colonised countries across the globe. We are delighted to see the decline of the old empires but we are conscious that the old imperial powers continue to seek ways to exploit their former colonies.
We are conscious that as the rich countries of the west get richer over one billion people live on les than a dollar a day. Eleven million children under the age of five die each year from preventable diseases. We know it is the poor who suffer most from the natural disasters - many caused by the environmental policies of richer countries. We know that the big powers do not conduct themselves in a globally responsible way.
We know that more money is expended on armaments and military projects than on aid or fair trade policies.
But we believe that another world - a world of equals is possible.
This requires a united nations which can assert an agenda which reflects the true needs and interests of the peoples of the world. In other words efforts to reform and democratise the un must continue.
We believe there should be an end to war, a settlement in the Middle East and an end to the occupation ofIraq.
We believe that foreign debts of developing countries must be cancelled.
We believe poverty can be eradicated.