Check against delivery.

At the outset, I thank you, Minister Anniken Huitfeldt, for presiding over this important debate, and I welcome the distinguished ministers present today. We also thank the Special Coordinator, Mr. Tor Wennesland, for his valuable briefing as well as Nada Majdalani and Gidon Bromberg for highlighting the importance of addressing the negative impacts of climate change.

Madam President,

Today’s debate comes at a crucial and pressing moment. Despite several positive developments to bring stability and prosperity in the Middle East in the past period, there are still treacherous attempts to spread chaos and terrorism in the region. In particular, we refer to the recent crimes committed by the terrorist Houthi militias, which include the recent attacks against civilians and civilian facilities in the UAE. My country reiterates its strong condemnation and denouncement of this criminal escalation and expresses its condolences to the families of the three victims and wishes the injured a speedy recovery. We also thank those who have supported us, including more than 90 countries that have joined us in condemning these terrorist acts.

Despite persistent challenges in the region, we believe that opportunities still exist to achieve peace. In our first open debate on this agenda item since we joined the Council, we would like to highlight the importance of actively striving to counter terrorism and end the region’s crises and conflicts, extending from Palestine and Yemen, through Iraq and Syria, to Lebanon and Libya.

In this context, my country reiterates its commitment to support the Palestinian people and their right to establish an independent and sovereign Palestinian state based on the borders of 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and in accordance with the Madrid terms of reference, the Arab Peace Initiative, and all other agreed upon international terms of reference.

To these ends, I would like to focus on the following issues: First, it is necessary to stop all illegal practices in the occupied Palestinian territories and for Israel to comply with its responsibilities under international law. We refer here to the construction and expansion of settlements, the confiscation and demolition of Palestinian property, and the forced displacement of residents as we have seen today in Sheikh Jarrah. We stress the need to maintain the historical and legal status quo in Jerusalem.

Second, we stress the need to prevent or ease any escalation that may occur, considering the fragility of the situation. We also need to maintain the latest ceasefire, and we value here the continuous efforts of our close friends, the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. We also underline the urgent need to break the current stalemate and re-launch a credible peace process. We hope that the recent high-level meeting between the parties will lead to new opportunities to engage in dialogue.

Third, we emphasize the importance of providing assistance to the Palestinian people who continue to suffer from difficult conditions. Humanitarian needs rose significantly because of the pandemic. For its part, the UAE recently sent vaccines and medical aid to the Gaza Strip, in addition to helping it respond to the water crisis. The UAE also supported the construction of a new UNRWA school. In this context, we commend the efforts of the United Nations agencies and other donors.

In conclusion, Madam President,

My country believes that striving to achieve a just, lasting, and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian question will block attempts to exploit the conflict and prevent any attempts to sow division and spread extremist ideologies in the region.

The Security Council must work to create an environment that fosters peace to achieve a stable future for our region and come up with unified positions to address its issues. Additionally, we reiterate the importance of full compliance by all parties with Council resolutions. It is also critical for the international community to work today toward fundamentally resolving crises rather than simply managing them. We are aware that doing so will not be easy, but we will work diligently in cooperation with Member States to restore security and stability to the region.

Thank you.