UN General Assembly September 2023

Lord Woodley Excerpts
Wednesday 18th October 2023

(9 months, 1 week ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, the noble Lord has wise insights from his time as our permanent representative at the United Nations. I agree with him about the reform that is needed, but I am sure he would agree with me that it has to go beyond words and papers being produced, and that we need practical delivery of the reforms. I want to move away from the division that is sometimes put forward about the global North and the global South. This should be a comprehensive review of understanding the equities, the strengths, the opportunities and also the challenges we have, and how we work in terms of partnership, particularly for developing nations. I talked about climate earlier; let us be quite real there. Climate change matters in certain respects to certain countries. If you are Vanuatu or Tuvalu—countries in the Commonwealth—climate change is an existential threat. It is vital that we look at the global impact of the decisions we make, but that needs fundamental reforms in the international rules-based system.

Lord Woodley Portrait Lord Woodley (Lab)
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My Lords, the Secretary-General of the United Nations has today called for a humanitarian ceasefire in Israel. We need the hostages home safely to their people, and we need to stop the unnecessary bombing of innocent men, women and children. Does the Minister agree?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, I have been very much engaged and quite heavily involved in the diplomatic efforts since the abhorrent crimes that were committed against the Israeli people and the Israeli nation. Let us be very clear from this House: Hamas itself is a proscribed organisation and its tactics, antics and impact on Israel shook that country to the core. Equally, I assure the noble Lord that we are engaging in all diplomatic efforts. He will have heard the statements of my right honourable friend the Prime Minister, and indeed those of the right honourable leader of the Opposition, that we as a country are at one. We do not want to see innocent lives lost, be they Israeli or Palestinian. I assure the noble Lord that we are working all diplomatic channels—bilaterally and collectively in the region—to ensure that this conflict, which has cost so many lives already, can be brought to a halt. We need the hostages back and we need humanitarian aid to enter to help the desperate people in Gaza.