H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of The United Arab Emirates
Since the last session of the General Assembly, we have witnessed various actions and developments that have left their negative impact on international joint efforts to address the threats and challenges that still face our world, particularly in the areas of security, stability and sustainable development.
Among the most notable implications of those challenges, whose consequences transcend national borders, are the international financial crisis, deterioration of the environment, the increase in unemployment and poverty, the outbreaks of infectious diseases, lack of security and stability in a number of countries, and the stalemate in the Middle East peace process.
The United Arab Emirates would like to seize this opportunity to express its pride that the international community has selected Masdar City in Abu Dhabi as a seat for the International Renewable Energy Agency. In that context, we renew our commitment and readiness to cooperate fully in providing all facilities and technical resources required for the success of this international agency.
We wish to stress that the United Arab Emirates’ interest in developing a programme for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy stems from its desire to meet its growing energy needs in the future. By developing a peaceful nuclear energy model that complies with the highest standards of operational transparency while fulfilling the highest requirements of nuclear safety and security and non-proliferation, in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and other responsible and experienced States, the United Arab Emirates hopes that a new course will be charted for the safe and beneficial use of nuclear energy.
The United Arab Emirates’ commitment not to enrich uranium and reprocess fuels locally is among the most salient features of this model, which is one supported by enhanced international transparency and cooperation mechanisms.
The United Arab Emirates renews in this forum its disappointment at the continued occupation by the Islamic Republic of Iran of the three United Arab Emirates islands: Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa since 1971. The United Arab Emirates demands the return of those islands under conditions of full sovereignty, including their regional waters, airspace, continental shelf and their exclusive economic zone as integral parts of the national sovereignty of the United Arab Emirates.
The United Arab Emirates also affirms that all military and administrative measures taken by the Iranian Government on those islands are null and void and have no legal effect, regardless of how long the occupation might last. In that context, we call upon the international community to urge Iran to respond to the peaceful and sincere initiatives of the United Arab Emirates. These initiatives were supported and adopted by the Gulf Cooperation Council and the League of Arab States, and they call for a just settlement of that issue.
This could be done either through direct and serious negotiations between the two countries or by referring the issue to the International Court of Justice, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the provisions of international law.
We also hope that the Iranian Government will respond positively and fairly to this sensitive and important issue. Such action would strengthen good-neighbourly relations and create a base for confidence-building measures in the Arab Gulf region.
We note with satisfaction the gradual withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq and the extension of the national authority of its Government over all its territory. In this context, we reaffirm our long-standing support to the people and the Government of Iraq. In particular, we support their efforts to expedite the rebuilding of their security, legislative and economic institutions as well as their efforts to achieve national reconciliation.
However, we are also deeply concerned at the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Iraq, and we strongly condemn the recent terrorist bombings in that brotherly country. In that context, we call for respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Iraq and non-intervention in its internal affairs. Its Arab and Islamic identity must be upheld; we condemn all attempts to divide or dismember the Iraqi State.
The United Arab Emirates expresses its disappointment at the state of the peace process in the Middle East, which has deteriorated owing to continuing Israeli aggression against and occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories. This includes the harsh blockade imposed on the Palestinian people, in particular in Gaza, the ongoing confiscation of land, property and homes of the Palestinian people, and the building of more settlements and the separation wall in the occupied territories. That is all carried out with a view to Judaizing occupied East Jerusalem and changing its Arab identity in flagrant violation of international law and resolutions of international legitimacy.
The United Arab Emirates welcomed the positive positions expressed by United States President Barack Obama in this Hall on 23 September. We believe that his address (see A/64/PV.3) set out a firm basis for negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israeli Government. We hope that Mr. Obama will continue to closely pursue that important issue.
We also welcome the cautious positions stated by the European Union, the other members of the Quartet and the international community regarding the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. However, we believe that those positions are not sufficient. More effective efforts are needed in order to resume serious negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
In that context, we emphasize that the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East requires an end to the Israeli occupation of all occupied Arab and Palestinian territories and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, with Al-Quds as its capital, based on the principle of land for peace and in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and resolutions of international legitimacy.
The United Arab Emirates will continue to stand by the Palestinian National Authority and the Palestinian people and to support their just cause. In that context, we commend His Excellency President Mahmoud Abbas for his tireless efforts to restore the legitimate rights of his people, to establish a Palestinian State with Al-Quds as its capital and to achieve development and peace there. The United Arab Emirates also supports all ongoing efforts, particularly those undertaken by the sisterly Arab Republic of Egypt, with a view to achieving national reconciliation in Palestine.
The United Arab Emirates attaches particular importance to African countries. It is strengthening its cooperation and partnerships with those countries in line with the United Nations Millennium Declaration (resolution 55/2), with special focus on goals to combat poverty and to ensure that Africa, which represents the largest part of the South, receives a fair and equitable share of global prosperity. The United Arab Emirates reiterates its decades-long energy policy, which is based on maintaining the volume and flow of its energy supplies without restriction or political or non-political impediment.
Furthermore, the United Arab Emirates has long and consistently been pursuing a foreign policy based on the principles and purposes of the United Nations, in particular with regard to the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means, non intervention in the internal affairs of States and the protection of national sovereignty. In that context, we affirm our continued commitment to the one-China policy.
The United Arab Emirates, as an active member of the international community, is always ready to reiterate its commitment to respecting the principles of human rights in the light of its human values and national principles and in line with the provisions and machinery of relevant international conventions. The universal periodic review on the United Arab Emirates was adopted by the Human Rights Council in Geneva last December.
The United Arab Emirates attaches great importance to the conditions of migrant workers and the protection of their full rights, in accordance with the constitution of the United Arab Emirates, national legislation and the standards of the International Labour Organization. My Government has recently adopted a set of policies and measures aimed at enhancing many aspects of labour protection. It has taken steps to intensify regional cooperation among labour-exporting and labour-importing countries in Asia with what is known as the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, which aims to promote the protection of workers at all stages of contractual labour. Also, the United Arab Emirates actively participates in the International Forum on Migration and Development and supports its activities and research work. The forum was initiated by the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, held on the sidelines of the General Assembly in the autumn of 2006.
Women and children occupy an important place among the national priorities of the United Arab Emirates Government, in particular with regard to education, health, knowledge and human development. The empowerment of women and the care and protection of children are among the major success stories of our national development project. The United Arab Emirates has also made efforts to combat all forms of violence, extremism, crime, violation of human rights and human trafficking through partnerships that are based on equality and mutual respect and contribute to achieving peace, stability and sustainable development.
In conclusion, we hope that our deliberations on the items on the Assembly’s agenda this session will lead to positive results that will enhance our joint efforts to establish a more just, peaceful, tolerant and developed world.