[Following is the full Statement by H.H Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates before the General Debate of the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 28 September 2012].
Mr. President, At the outset, I would like to congratulate Your Excellency for your election as President of the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I am confident that your experience in international affairs will enable you to guide the work of this session wisely and ably, and I wish Your Excellency success.
I would also like to commend your predecessor, H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, for his successful leadership of the 66th session of the General Assembly, and also to commend H.E. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, for his enormous efforts in revitalizing the role of this international organization in promoting international peace, security and development.
Mr. President, Security and stability in the Gulf region represent a high priority in our balanced policies, which derive their principles from the Charter of the United Nations and the provisions of international law, especially those calling for peaceful coexistence, confidence-building, good neighborliness, mutual respect, non-interference in the internal affairs of the State, and pursuing peaceful means in resolving conflicts and disputes.
On the basis of these principles, my Government expresses, once again, its regret regarding the continued Iranian occupation of our three islands: Abu Musa, and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs, and demands for the restoration of the UAE’s full sovereignty over these islands. We emphasize that all actions and measures taken by the Iranian occupation authorities are null and void, and are contrary to international law and to all norms and common human values.
Therefore, we call upon the international community to urge Iran to respond to the repeated peaceful, sincere calls of the United Arab Emirates for a just settlement of this issue, either through direct, serious negotiations or by referral to the International Court of Justice to settle this dispute in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the provisions of international law.
We hope the Iranian Government will deal with this sensitive and important issue in a positive and just manner, in order to establish good neighborly relations, build bridges of cooperation, preserve the common interests between our two countries, and strengthen security and stability in the region as a whole.
Mr. President, What is happening in Syria is heart-breaking, and exceeds all limits and humanitarian norms. The United Arab Emirates is following with deep concern the escalating acts of violence, killings and displacements perpetrated by the Syrian regime against its people, which made the regime lose its legitimacy. From this platform, we call upon the international community to consider with seriousness and commitment to what is happening to our brothers in Syria, and to shoulder its humanitarian and political responsibilities towards stopping the heinous tragedies committed against the peaceful people of Syria. We are convinced that the solution to this crisis will only be achieved through an orderly transition of power.
This severe humanitarian crisis requires us to support the people of Syria, particularly the refugees, displaced and wounded persons. The United Arab Emirates has shouldered its obligations and will continue to do so towards the people of Syria by providing ongoing relief operations round the clock in Turkey and Jordan, and urges all States to contribute to these humanitarian efforts.
With respect to the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates believes that peace and stability cannot be achieved without resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. This is the central and vital issue to the people of the entire region, and reaching a just solution is the key for bringing peace and stability to the whole region, which cannot be realized without putting an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian and Arab territories through Israel’s withdrawal to the lines of the 4th of June 1967, including from East Jerusalem, the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and the remaining occupied Lebanese territories, and through achievement of a just and comprehensive peace in accordance with resolutions of international legitimacy, the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Mr. President The United Arab Emirates welcomes the considerable progress achieved in the political process in Somalia through the completion of the transitional phase, the convening of its Constituent Assembly, the adoption of the Constitution of Somalia and the election of His Excellency Hassan Sheikh Mahmud as the new President of Somalia. We also reaffirm our support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Somalia, and look forward to working with its government towards achieving security and stability and countering piracy.
Mr. President, In the United Arab Emirates, we remain committed to supporting the security and stability of Afghanistan, and confirm the continuation of our humanitarian and developmental support to this distressed country. In this context, we welcome the outcome of the donors’ conference that was held in Tokyo, hoping that the pledges announced in that conference would contribute to the process of reconstruction of Afghanistan.
As we are approaching the year 2014, we look forward to closer international cooperation to ensure a future free of violence, extremism and terrorism for Afghanistan.
The United Arab Emirates expresses its deep concern about the violence against the Rohingya Muslims community in Myanmar, and calls upon the international community to move towards urging the Government of Myanmar to stop acts incompatible with the principles of fundamental human rights, which are recognized by international conventions.
Mr. President, We reaffirm our commitment to all requirements of nuclear non-proliferation, and renew our support for the efforts aiming at making the region of the Middle East, including the Gulf region, a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. We also demand for Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and subject its nuclear facilities to the comprehensive safeguards system.
In this regard, we urge the Islamic Republic of Iran to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and implement its international commitments in order to dispel all fears and suspicions surrounding its nuclear program. We look forward to a peaceful solution to this crisis that ensures removing tension and crises from our region, guarantees the transparency of Iran’s nuclear program and confirms its peaceful nature.
Mr. President, The United Arab Emirates has started developing a nuclear energy program for peaceful uses in 2009 to meet the growing demand for energy and support economic development projects, and ensured that the rules and regulations of this program are based on the highest standards of sustained safety and security measures and principles of non-proliferation. I take this opportunity to call upon the States of the region to draw on the experience of the United Arab Emirates in this field, and study the aspects of transparency, technology and safeguards upon which this program is based.
We would like to emphasize the importance of addressing the implications of climate change and developing renewable energy technologies to achieve sustainable development and provide clean energy for developing countries, which are among the goals advocated by the United Arab Emirates in providing various types of humanitarian and development assistance.
Mr. President, The United Arab Emirates renews its firm condemnation of all acts of terrorism, illicit trafficking in drugs and arms and organized crime, which are interlinked phenomena, and reaffirms its resolve to continue cooperating with international and multilateral efforts aiming at total elimination of these negative phenomena, which pose a direct threat to international peace and security. The UAE announced the establishment of the “Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism”, in collaboration with several friends and actors, which will begin its work in Abu Dhabi at the end of this year.
Mr. President, Moderation and tolerance are basic principles in guiding our political orientation and represent lofty values to the citizens of the United Arab Emirates and to our society as a whole.
In this sense, the United Arab Emirates has been and will remain committed to moderation in its approach, and accepts other communities as part of a diverse world built on mutual respect. It is these human values which formed our convictions with regard to many issues such as counter- terrorism, human rights, empowerment of women and coexistence among peoples and communities.
The United Arab Emirates emphasizes the importance of consolidating values of tolerance, moderation and respect for religions, as well as the importance of protecting religions against defamation and contempt, and stresses the need to develop the necessary legislations in this regard. The UAE strongly condemns abuses against Islam, as freedom of expression should not undermine any religion or belief, whatsoever. We also condemn the violent reactions to such abuses.
Terrorism poses a challenge to international peace and security and leads to violating the human rights of ordinary people by depriving them of living in peace and prosperity. In this context, and based on our commitment to the principles of human rights, we renew the support of the United Arab Emirates for international efforts aiming at ensuring peace, security and prosperity for all the peoples of the world, and look forward to expanding our engagement in this area.
The United Arab Emirates has also been focusing its efforts on reducing gender discrimination. Therefore, we look forward to taking an active role in the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), based on our successful national experience in empowering the women of the United Arab Emirates, who actively participate in managing the affairs of the State as well as the community.
In the light of the UAE’s quest to gather all parts of the world on issues of innovation and sustainability, we would like to mention the candidature of the United Arab Emirates to host the World Expo 2020 in Dubai under the slogan “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, and we look forward to have your necessary support, especially since this is the first time that this exhibition will be held in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region.
Thank you Mr. President,
New York, 29 Sept. 2012 (WAM)