Delivered By: Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
I would like to thank all our briefers today for their sobering remarks: SRSG Perthes, thank you for providing us with the most recent updates. And I join others in expressing our hope that the UN team is holding up and staying safe under such difficult circumstances, and I add our voice to all those who have offered their gratitude for your hard work and the condolences of the UAE to the families of UN colleagues who have lost their lives in service.
Like many countries around the world, the UAE has been focused on urgently getting our citizens and those of other nations to safety since the outbreak of conflict on April 15th. Thus far, we have evacuated individuals from 19 countries out of Khartoum to Port Sudan. And in collaboration with Egypt, helped secure the safe return of Egyptian soldiers in Sudan. But at the same time, as we focus on the evacuation of international citizens and diplomats, we must not forget those who remain, and the safety of Sudanese civilians is of equal priority to the United Arab Emirates.
We mourn the 427 lives already accounted for as having been lost to this conflict. And due to the lack of data on the ground, these numbers could be much higher as SRSG Perthes has just said in his briefing.
It is now more important than ever to halt the hostilities and maintain the 72 hour ceasefire that began at midnight last night, because the agreement brokered by the United States will help pave the way for crucial humanitarian relief. But we also need assurances of full implementation by all forces on the ground, and this remains – according to our information on the ground – a challenge.
We commend the dedication of regional leaders to de-escalating this crisis, and we need to maintain the momentum; last week the statements of the African Union, IGAD and the League of Arab States decisively called for a ceasefire. As regional actors and international actors work together to support Sudan, we must all be focused on preventing any regional spillover, and we should ensure that the Security Council’s own work is aligned with and reinforces these critical efforts. The regionalisation of this conflict will only succeed in making a dire situation worse.
Our briefers today have also highlighted the critical situation that millions of Sudanese people are facing. Khartoum is under fire and life has become unsustainable. With no food and water, unreliable electricity and connectivity, people are desperately fleeing to safety. Meanwhile fighting continues unabated in other parts of the country leading to further displacement. This crisis has crippled aid operations serving nearly 10 million Sudanese people and is preventing aid agencies from responding to the needs of the newly displaced. Almost one third of Sudan’s medical facilities are now out of service, while others have come under fire or have been looted. This demonstrates the dangerous conditions that Sudanese medical professionals find themselves in. I would like to commend here the heroic efforts of those who continue to do their life-saving work and call for full assurances for their protection as they conduct these necessary activities.
We are also extremely concerned today about reports that technicians cannot access the National Public Health Laboratory and secure potentially hazardous biological material. We call upon parties to allow unhindered access for the WHO and local public health officials in order to secure and verify the safety of the material.
Aid workers and diplomatic staff are in danger – five Sudanese aid workers have been killed since the outbreak of violence. And in the past 24 hours, Mohamed Al-Gharawi, an official at the Egyptian Embassy in Khartoum, also lost his life. We offer our condolences to Egypt for this loss. We also unreservedly condemn these actions and share our condolences with all grieving families in Sudan today and in the days ahead.
The UAE is taking concrete steps to both help alleviate the urgent humanitarian situation on the ground, while also providing evacuation support for all those requesting it.
As an immediate measure, we are contributing 50 million US dollars in emergency humanitarian aid.
Prioritising the most vulnerable – including women and children, the sick and the elderly during the evacuations – the UAE will continue providing care and accommodation assistance to the evacuees who come to our country.
We also remain actively involved in efforts to de-escalate the situation on the ground. And alongside our partners, including the AU, IGAD, the League of Arab States, the Quad, the EU and neighbouring countries to Sudan, the UAE will continue to support all efforts to de-escalate and make the space for dialogue as we have been doing in the past two weeks.
To conclude, stability will not come from violence. Rather, fighting will cause further unbearable suffering and lead to greater numbers of casualties. There is no military victory in this conflict, and only Sudanese civilians will pay the price.
This is why all actors – regional, national, and international – must unite efforts and remain resolute in our calls for a permanent ceasefire with a view to bringing this crisis to an end.
We support the Secretary-General’s efforts in this regard, and we will continue to work tirelessly for an end to the conflict.
Thank you, Mr. President.