On behalf of the United Arab Emirates, I congratulate the United States on its presidency of the Council, and appreciate its presiding over this quarterly debate. I want to thank Mr. Nikolay Mladenov, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, for his briefing earlier today.
The UAE associates itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Group of Arab States.
Allow me in my national capacity to make the following brief points.
The UAE is gravely concerned about the violence and counter violence in the Occupied Palestinian territories, and the absence of a just resolution that grants the Palestinian people their inalienable rights. The plight of the Palestinian people has endured for nearly seven decades, and it must stop.
To that end, we call on the international community and the Security Council to take all necessary measures to reach a two-state solution. Such an outcome must allow for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, based on June 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital, according to relevant resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative, and the Madrid Principles.
Finding a resolution to the Palestinian question remains a fundamental priority for the UAE. To that end, we echo the call in Security Council Resolution 2334 for Israel to cease its illegal settlement activities because they pose a major obstacle to the two-state solution.
The paramount aim for the UAE is the promotion of security and stability in our region. In Syria, we are particularly alarmed by the continued and heinous use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime, and we express our full support to the US military operations against military targets in Syria. We call on parties to work on ensuring that non-state actors and extremist militias are not in control of the country. The international community must work to create a space conducive for the Syrian people to determine their own future. To that end, we urge the UN-brokered peace talks to move forward towards a positive outcome.
In Yemen, the Houthi militias are not only endangering peace and security in the country, but also the international peace and security of the region, particularly through attacks across Saudi Arabia’s borders. The only way forward to resolving the conflict in Yemen is through a political process, based on UN Security Council resolution 2216, the GCC initiative, and the National Dialogue Outcomes. Until lasting peace is achieved in Yemen, it must be the priority to ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations.
The conflicts in Syria and Yemen share one common denominator: it is Iran. Iran has increasingly caused tension and instability in our region, posing an existential threat to the Middle East through its expansionist policies, exporting its revolution to other countries, and through its flagrant violations of international sovereignty, and its constant interference in the internal affairs of neighboring countries. We stress that Iran is a State sponsor of terrorism in our region – from Hizbullah in Lebanon and Syria, to the Houthi militias in Yemen, and terrorist groups and cells in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. And the list goes on.
The UAE offers three prescriptions with the aim of promoting security throughout the Middle East:
- First, in light of Iran’s rampant interference in the region and flouting of numerous relevant resolutions, we urge the Security Council and its Sanctions Committees to continue their best efforts to investigate, report, and act on Iran’s sanctions violations.
- Second, we call for special attention to be paid to the plight of youth across the region as a key priority. In the absence of economic opportunities, young people are being exploited in the region by terrorist organizations. This is especially true for the youth of Palestine, who are the future and would give a new life to the peace we all strive for.
- Finally, to build the necessary momentum for a peace process, we call for more engagement with regional organizations and actors, especially through multilateral fora, such as the United Nations. In this regard, respect for international law is key to stability, and we call on all Member States to comply with the decisions of the Security Council, in accordance with Article 25 of the UN Charter.
To conclude, the UAE confirms the importance of these quarterly debates and the urgency for efforts to drive peace in the region.
I wish the United States continued success in stewarding this chamber for the remainder of the month.