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I thank both the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres, and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, His Excellency Ahmed Aboul Gheit, for their valuable briefings on the status of cooperation between their respective organizations. We also thank the civil society representative, Ms. Razan Al-Aqeel, for shedding light on the issues and aspirations of Arab youth.
Today’s session is particularly important, because many of the issues on the Security Council’s agenda are Arab issues. As a result of the international community merely managing these crises rather than resolving them, several of these issues have been on the Council’s agenda for decades. The ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict and other crises in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Somalia have imposed a high political, economic, and humanitarian cost on the region, which further increases the risk of drastically escalating the situation across the region and the world.
Furthermore, the current challenges and crises, with their complex and inherently cross-border aspects, require all parties to make collective efforts at both regional and international levels. This need for close collaboration underscores the importance of our meeting today, which we hope can help enhance cooperation between the Security Council and the League of Arab States to address the outstanding issues facing the Arab region.
The League of Arab States has a long history, as of yesterday extending back 77 years since its founding in 1945. The LAS also possesses a deep knowledge of regional challenges as well as the concerns of its member states, which enables it to play a leading role in supporting the implementation of the Security Council’s core mandate to maintain international peace and security.
Therefore, it is important to increase coordination and consultation between the Council and the LAS and institutionalize this relationship. Doing so will require establishing mechanisms for the exchange of information and viewpoints on how to address various regional challenges from a realistic and practical perspective.
To this end, the UN Liaison Office at the League of Arab States must be strengthened and empowered with the necessary resources and means to achieve its objectives. This includes facilitating cooperation between UN entities and the LAS and its various subsidiary organs, with a focus on capacity building and experience sharing.
In this context, we support enhanced cooperation and complementarity in mediation activities between the envoys of the United Nations and of the League of Arab States. We also support strengthening trilateral cooperation between the League of Arab States, the United Nations, and the African Union.
We emphasize the need for any Security Council approach to resolve regional issues to reflect the concerns of Arab countries and consider their views. These countries can present a unique perspective to the Council on ways to break the current stalemate in various political processes. In this regard, we stress the importance of working according to the principle of seeking Arab solutions to Arab issues. This requires, first and foremost, demanding an end to foreign interference in Arab affairs. We also stress the importance of states’ compliance with their obligations under international law and the Charter of the United Nations, particularly the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and good neighborliness.
As we seek to address the issues of the region, we recommend that special attention be given to the following issues:
First, more initiatives and programs to strengthen the role of Arab women in peace and security issues are needed. We are pleased by the appointment of Ms. Sima Bahous as the first Executive Director of the UN Women from our region. At the national level, the UAE has launched the Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Women Peace and Security Training Initiative, and a women’s empowerment programme in the fields of security and peacekeeping, in which a group of Arab women participate.
Second, it is necessary to focus on empowering youth to play a leading role in addressing existing challenges in the region and participating in peace building efforts, especially since approximately 60% of population in the region is under 25 years old. Listening to Ms. Razan today is an example of offering a platform for young people to express their opinions and concerns on important issues and how to take their views into consideration when developing solutions for those issues.
Third, considering the threats posed by extremism and terrorism to the region, we stress the need for the two organizations to strengthen joint efforts to combat extremism and terrorism and to work on supporting initiatives that encourage peaceful coexistence and dialogue among religions and cultures in the region.
Fourth, the Arab region needs expanded economic opportunities and projects that can achieve development and prosperity for its peoples and build resilience in the face of security and political challenges. We also believe that collaboration between the two organizations should invest in the future of youth by focusing on areas such as artificial intelligence, outer space, and renewable energy, which can unlock promising opportunities for the region and help it pivot away from conflict and war.
In conclusion, we stress the need for the two organizations to enhance their cooperation in solving Arab issues based on clear criteria and an equal basis as well as through using available diplomatic tools and constructive engagement to end the crises in the region. We also need to apply wisdom obtained from our past experiences to respond effectively to current challenges and move toward achieving stability and security in the region.