Delivered by: Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative

Mr. President,

At the outset, the United Arab Emirates aligns itself with the statement delivered by Bahrain on behalf of the Arab Group.

We’re here today to discuss the veto of a Russian amendment that was originally part of the UAE’s draft resolution 2720 to deliver urgent humanitarian aid to Gaza. This was one of 10 vetoes over the course of our term on the Security Council, the largest number over a two-year period since 1988 to 1989.

Time and again, as many Member States have said today, the misuse of the veto has blocked the Security Council from following a vital course of action against the will of the majority of member states.

No single context demonstrates more clearly the failings and limitations of the current Security Council system than the situation in Palestine, with 37 vetoes cast on this file since 1972.

This dynamic was painfully evident in preventing the Council from calling for a humanitarian ceasefire that would have brought an end to Gaza’s devastation, in violation of the expressed will of the UN Secretary-General and 153 UN Member States.

But this is not a novel development. We’ve seen it play out time and again, and we saw it play out during our first Council term over forty years ago. Meaningful action to rectify one of history’s greatest injustices was repeatedly prevented when dozens of vetoes were cast by three permanent members during the course of South Africa’s apartheid regime.

Mr. President,

We cannot normalize the degradation of the Council to an arena where the protection of national interests trumps the maintenance of international peace and security.

This is particularly concerning during this current period of global polarization and fragmentation. If the Council once again becomes a forum for intensified great power competition, its inability to fulfill its mandate will only grow.

To mitigate against that, we have tools at our disposal, and we, as member states, have choices that we can make here today in this room.

122 UN Member States, including the UAE, have joined the ACT Group Code of Conduct, pledging to not vote against any credible Security Council action that would prevent mass atrocities.

And this practice, established by resolution 76/262, which is the reason we’re here today, will increase scrutiny and encourage restraint, and it is a novel approach.

But we clearly still need to establish further guardrails against the misuse of the veto.

From the UAE’s perspective, the veto should not be cast if one of the following three conditions are met:

First, when the international community speaks with one voice. The Security Council’s action should be guided by the demonstrable will of an overwhelming majority of its members, or the General Assembly’s members.

Second, the view of the Secretary-General should be given the weight it deserves. There is no better example than the rare invocation of Article 99.  

Third, the veto should not be used to undermine international law. International law is the foundation of our international order, enabling peace, enabling stability and prosperity. It cannot be selectively applied.

Mr. President, 

Should we continue on this current trajectory, the consequences for the international community are clear and they are alarming. A diminished Security Council, a fragile international order, increased threats to international peace and security, and a resurgence of the principle that “might is right.”

And while it may be true that the first victims of that will be smaller states, the great powers will also suffer the consequences of volatility and disorder on their watch.

Change is urgent, it is necessary, and it must start now, because around the privileges that the UN Charter gives the permanent members also come responsibilities.

I would like to end on the following note. The situation in Palestine is a case study not just of the consequences of unimplemented resolutions, but also the misuse of the veto. Let it also be the case study for why reform is so urgently needed.

Thank you.