Luxembourg's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, signes the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea; Credit: MAEE

From Sunday 17 to Wednesday 20 September 2023, Luxembourg's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, participated in the high-level week of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

Minister Asselborn took part in several high-level meetings, including a ministerial dinner on the Middle East peace process, organised by the International Peace Institute (IPI), and a ministerial meeting on peace in the Middle East, organised by the European Union, the Arab League, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. This meeting centred around the "Peace Day" effort (launched on Monday 18 September 2023) and placed new emphasis on the peace process in the Middle East. Minister Asselborn welcomed this new joint initiative, emphasising how important it was to finally find a lasting peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. He added that Luxembourg will continue to support every effort in favour of the two-state solution and of peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

After attending the opening of the General Debate of the UNGA, Minister Asselborn participated in another high-level event, organised by Luxembourg and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect at the Permanent Mission of Luxembourg to the United Nations, aimed at addressing systematic gender-based discrimination against women and girls in Afghanistan.

Luxembourg's Foreign Minister then participated in the High-level Dialogue on financing sustainable development. He emphasised the need to redouble efforts in order to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Luxembourg participates in this global effort by devoting 1% of its gross national income to public development assistance and by promoting innovative partnerships involving sustainable finance players such as the European Investment Bank, the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and the private sector.

Minister Asselborn also participated in an informal meeting, hosted by Germany, on issues related to accountability for crimes committed in Ukraine, particularly regarding the establishment of a special international tribunal for the crime of aggression in Ukraine.

On the sidelines of the UNGA, Luxembourg's Foreign Minister signed the new United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

The UNGA high-level week was also an opportunity for Minister Asselborn to have several bilateral meetings with fellow ministers and senior officials of international organisations. According to Luxembourg's Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, these meetings made it possible to strengthen the Grand Duchy's relations with the countries and organisations concerned, as well as to exchange views on the latest international developments and issues of common interest.

Minister Asselborn had bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Uzbekistan, Ecuador, Malaysia, Jamaica and Kosovo, as well as with the High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Miguel Moratinos. He also met with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to discuss the situation and prospects of the Belarusian opposition to the Lukashenko regime, as well as with the President of the World Bank, Ajay Banga, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, and the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach.