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Brazil’s arms open to welcome refugees: President

Brazil’s arms are open to welcome refugees, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff told the 70th anniversary meeting of the UN General Assembly here on Monday.

“Brazil is a welcoming country — a country which was ultimately made up by refugees — we have received Syrians, Haitians, men and women from all over the world,” said Rousseff, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We remain open, we have our arms open to welcome refugees,” she said, adding: “We for more than a century now have provided shelter to millions of Europeans, Arabs and Asian citizens.”

She was the first to speak at the General Debate of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, a significant anniversary for the organization set up in the wake of the end of World War II 70 years ago. The week-long annual high-level debate kicked off here Monday morning.

Rousseff described both the success and challenges facing the 193-member organization.

She said that the UN’s successes included supporting the process of decolonization and a broadening of its initiatives to include the new Sustainable Development Goals — which recognize the connection between economic, social and environmental development.

However, she said that the new goals require a commitment from countries to confront climate change.

Brazil has committed to increase its renewable energy to 45 percent of its energy mix, she added, noting that worldwide only 13 percent of energy comes from renewable sources.

Rousseff also noted that the UN is also facing challenges addressing the problems posed by regional conflict and terrorism.

“The proliferation of regional conflicts — some with high destructive potential — as well as the expansion of terrorism, that kills men, women, and children, destroys our common heritage and displaces millions of people from their secular communities, show that the United Nations is before a great challenge,” she said.

“This situation explains, to a large extent, the refugee crisis that humankind is currently experiencing,” added Rousseff.

During her speech, Rousseff welcomed the opening up of diplomatic relationship between Cuba and the United States and the Iran deal — which she said would restore the hope of peace for the whole Middle East region.