26 September 2011, GA, Foreign Minister's Statement at The General Debate of The 66th Session
Mr. President, I would like to seize this opportunity to congratulate you and the brotherly State of Qatar for your election as President of the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I am confident that your experience in international political and diplomatic fields will contribute to the success of this session’s work, and I wish Your Excellency all success. I would also like to commend your predecessor, H.E. Joseph Diess for his outstanding leadership of the previous session, and also to congratulate H.E. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, for the renewed confidence in him and his re-election as Secretary-General of this international organization for a second term.
I would also like to seize this opportunity to congratulate the Republic of South Sudan for joining our international organization as a member state, as well as the people of Libya for the Transitional National Authority taking Libya’s place in the United Nations.
Mr. President, addressing the great International challenges depends on the extent of consolidated and collective work, and the participation of all states, including the small and developing nations, in international decision-making structures, institutions and mechanisms, based on the principles of equality, justice and transparency.
Therefore, my country has undertaken extensive preventive diplomatic efforts in order to contain tensions and disputes occurring in its surroundings and beyond. The UAE vigorously seeks to promote its humanitarian and economic assistance programs to several developing countries, with a particular focus on those countries which suffer from conflicts or natural disasters, in addition to its other effective contributions to peacekeeping operations, protection of civilians, and re-building efforts, which represents the significant partnership the UAE has with several parties, and its dedication to achieve the noble objectives of maintaining and consolidating international peace and security.
Mr. President, the solid strategic political approach adopted by the United Arab Emirates is not limited to bilateral and regional cooperation; it is also evident in the way of its handling of all of its issues. My country seeks to establish peace and security, eliminate tensions from the region and enhance confidence building measures. We apply the same approach in dealing with the occupation by the Islamic Republic of Iran of the three UAE islands: Abu Musa, and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs.
Since the illegitimate occupation of these islands in 1971, the UAE has adopted a flexible diplomatic approach to resolve this matter by peaceful means, either through direct bilateral negotiations, or by referring the matter to the International Court of Justice.
This has been our approach that we have followed persistently throughout the last four decades. However, the UAE expresses its deep concern over not achieving any progress in direct, regional, and international contacts made with the Islamic Republic of Iran in relation to reaching a peaceful, just and permanent solution. The actions taken by the Islamic Republic of Iran with the aim of changing the legal, physical and demographic situation of the islands are null and void and have no legal effect whatsoever. Those Iranian actions also constitute a violation of International Law and the UN Charter. Therefore, the UAE demands of the Islamic Republic of Iran to enter into serious and direct negotiations between the two countries, or to refer the issue to the International Court of Justice in the light of its continuous illegal occupation of the three islands which are an integral part of the territorial sovereignty of the United Arab Emirates.
Mr. President, the UAE has been closely monitoring the developments and the major complications surrounding the Palestinian issue, which unfortunately resulted in halting the efforts and chances of resuming peace talks. It is time for resolving this issue in all its humanitarian, legal and political aspects, and the core of the solution for this issue lies in the establishment of a full fledged sovereign State within the June 4th 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The comprehensive and just peace between Arab countries and Israel would greatly assist in reducing tension and depriving voices of radicalism and violence from using this ongoing issue as one of the major justifications to promote their extremism and violence.
Mr. President, the UAE has been closely monitoring the recent events in the brotherly Kingdom of Bahrain, which have adversely affected its peace and stability. While we are extending every required support to the Government of Bahrain, we denounce any external intervention in Bahrain’s internal affairs.
The UAE believes that the measures and good efforts undertaken by His Majesty Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain, to promote national dialogue among all segments of the Bahraini society are important to maintain peace and stability in the Kingdom, preserve domestic peace, strengthen national unity and to pursue reforms and progress, in order to realize the hopes and aspirations of all people of Bahrain.
We emphasize that the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Bahrain are an integral part of the security and stability of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council, and also part of the responsibilities of the Council in the region, where all members of the Council are keen to consolidate good-neighborly relations with all states based on the principles of international law and other international covenants.
Mr. President, the UAE reaffirms through this platform its full commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and national unity of Libya. The UAE also stresses its commitment to the Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973 of 2011 with regard to the protection of civilians. Since the beginning of the Libyan crisis, the UAE’s focus has been on the humanitarian aspect and the protection of civilians, and we have realized these goals within the efforts of the international community.
We will continue supporting Libya and its people in the upcoming reconstruction phase. We believe that the people of Libya and its leadership are capable of identifying the next phase so as to enhance the stature of Libya within the international community, and strengthen its development and stability after its long suffering. The UAE also appeals from this platform to its international partners to intensify their efforts to release the remaining of the frozen Libyan funds.
Mr. President, the UAE has made direct substantial contributions for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, restoring peace and stability in the country, and for alleviating the suffering of its people, especially that the success in this regard will be a focal point in countering extremism, radicalism and international terrorism in the region. In addition, peace and stability of Afghanistan directly affects regional security including the Arabian Gulf region.
From this platform, I call upon all Afghani parties to cooperate in achieving comprehensive national reconciliation and extending the control of the Government over all Afghani regions. I also look forward to the international conference on Afghanistan to be held in Bonn next December.
Mr. President, food security is one of the biggest challenges facing the world today. It is estimated that in 2010 more than 900 million people worldwide suffered from famine and chronic hunger. The recent tragedy in the Horn of Africa demonstrated the urgent need for concrete efforts by the international community in times of crisis to ensure protection for the most vulnerable peoples.
Upon seriously discussing the issue of food security, we cannot overlook the significance of water security, especially when we know that agricultural production consumes around 70% of freshwater resources globally. Therefore, the UAE deems it important to place the issue of scarcity and security of water in future plans aiming at increasing water resources and food production in the world.
Located at a region suffering from water scarcity makes us more aware of its importance, and prompts us to stress the need of the international community to face this challenge in a decisive and urgent manner.
Mr. President, my country celebrates its 40th anniversary next December. One of its major successes is the positive indicators of human development achieved in the UAE, where the empowerment of Emirati women is one of the major accomplishments of the UAE’s independence and the federation. The Emirati women, through the support extended to them by our leadership and society, have been able to make the optimum combination between our traditions and the requirements of development and participation in building our society.
In this context, I would like to seize this opportunity to commend the establishment of the United Nations for Women (UN-WOMEN), and in support of this newly established and promising organ, the UAE hereby declares its contribution of US$ 5 millions for the UN-Women Fund.
Mr. President, in conclusion, we hope that our deliberations in this session will contribute to the promotion and development of all forms of understanding, solidarity and international cooperation aimed at addressing the global issues on our agenda.