UN Summit

Reinfeldt focused on equality in UN speech

Gender equality and the plight of women in the world were some of the themes raised by Swedish Prime Fredrik Reinfeldt in his speech yesterday at the 66th General Assembly in New York. His speech drew heavy criticised from the opposition, Swedish News Agency TT writes.

The first week at UN assembly centred on Palestine’s attempt to become recognized as a member of the United Nations, but Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt focused on the Millennium development goals, ending extreme poverty, the need for universal access to clean water and several other development-related issues, TT reports.  

Reinfeldt cited statistics that women perform two-thirds of the work in the world, earn only 10 percent of the income generated and own only 1 percent of the property in the world.

“This is not just, fair, or reasonable!” Reinfeldt said.

Reacting to Reinfeldt’s speech, the content of which had already been published earlier in the day, the opposition said there was nothing wrong with Reinfeldt’s priorities, but that it was just empty talk.

“I only wish that it would be turned into policy. Bildt has barely uttered a word about women’s rights since he became foreign minister,” Urban Ahlin, spokesperson for the Social Democrats, told TT.

Hans Linde, a spokesperson for the Left Party, said Reinfeldt’s focus on gender equality was unexpected. “Unfortunately, it’s a lot of rhetoric without much substance,” he said.

On the subject of Palestine, Reinfeldt said in his speech that the European Union is concerned about the peace process and ensuring that international law is abided.

Afterwards, he reflected that Abbas’ and Netanyahu’s “enflamed” words were illustrative of how far apart they stand.

“All experience indicates they need help from outside,” Reinfeldt said.

Reinfeldt also noted that President Barack Obama’s position has weakened and that his focus now is on winning next year’s election. “That gets noticed, and it means he loses ground in terms of his ability to influence as a world leader.”