New York – The UAE has welcomed the adoption of Draft Resolution 70/40 on the Secretary-General’s plan of action to prevent violent extremism, saying that the plan needs to address factors that propel extremism, most notably foreign occupation and “State terrorism,” and address the issue of accountability for states that compromise the principles of sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of nations.

In a statement delivered by Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations, to the plenary debate of the General Assembly on the issue, she said that the Secretary-General’s initiative should be a blueprint for coordinating all efforts to combat extremism, and should support existing mechanisms, including the important work of United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre, supported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The UAE also believes that the plan should be evaluated and approved during the United Nation Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy review in June.

The Permanent Representative commended the plan’s recommendation to create regional plans of action to prevent extremism, as the phenomenon is a trans-border threat. That is why the UAE has joined 33 other Islamic countries in the first Islamic Coalition against Terrorism, led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the aim of eliminating extremist ideas and preserving the true nature of Islam.

She stressed the need for concerted international efforts to assist states in ending conflicts, which, along with civil wars and human right abuses, can be drivers of extremism. The ambassador also noted the damaging impact of the proxy wars waged by some states and which exacerbate the problem.

In line with the Secretary-General’s recommendations, She noted that the UAE has developed a national plan to prevent extremism from transforming into violent extremism. This includes promoting good governance and the rule of law, including local communities in meeting the challenge, and efforts to counter hate narratives.

Nusseibeh added that the UAE supports the Secretary-General’s initiative to involve youth in countering extremism. There are currently 1.8 billion young people in the world, and they make up 50% of the Arab population. She further noted the UAE’s work to integrate its own youth in decision-making and the prevention of extremism, including through the recent appointment of a 22-year-old female minister to preside over the UAE youth council.

The UAE’s Permanent Representative to the UN also stressed the country’s support of women’s role in combating extremism, and across society. Women in the UAE have leadership roles in many fields, including the recent appointment of the first Arab woman president of the country’s parliament. In this regard, she reaffirmed the UAE’s support for Security Council resolution 2242, which stresses the importance of women’s participation in maintaining international peace and security, and noted the UAE’s support for UN Women’s important work on countering violent extremism.

She emphasised the need to engage religious leaders in dialogue to promote the values of peace. In this context, she stated that extremism has no specific religion, nationality or culture, despite efforts by extremist groups to abuse this compassionate religion to justify their criminal acts.

She added that conquering extremists requires long-term strategies in order to win the war of ideas. The UAE is working on exposing messages from extremist groups through initiatives such as “Sawab,” an international centre focused on combating extremist propaganda which was launched by the UAE and the United States.

The ambassador concluded by saying that the UAE believes that achieving prosperity and lasting peace is dependent on the promotion of tolerance and pluralism, and confirmed the UAE’s commitment to supporting its partners in their fight against extremist groups, wherever they maybe.