Delivered By: Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
I would like to join others in thanking Under-Secretary-General Griffiths for his informative briefing today.
Mr. Griffiths, your sobering report is not only a reminder of the importance of why we are here, but what we must do our utmost to avoid: Losing our sense of urgency surrounding this conflict. Neither should we stand idly by as this war transforms into a protracted conflict of several years. The consequences are too great for all of us.
Yet fighting has been continuous and unending, with the price being paid by civilians, who bear the brunt of the suffering.
The scale of devastation and the dire humanitarian situation in Ukraine cannot be truly conveyed in the numbers we have heard today.
In the past fourteen months of war, there have been over 23,000 verified civilian casualties and the actual figure is likely to be considerably higher.
18 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, more than 8 million people are refugees across Europe, and an additional 5 million people have been displaced inside Ukraine.
Humanitarian access must therefore be ensured in order to allow much needed aid to reach civilians caught in the fighting.
In recent weeks, there has been a noticeable uptick of missile and drone strikes that have damaged or destroyed civilian infrastructure.
Humanitarian facilities have been hit.
Last week, a Ukrainian Red Cross warehouse and mobile health clinic were destroyed.
We once again reiterate our call on the parties to the conflict to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law. Civilian objects must never be the target of an attack.
The UAE continues to provide humanitarian assistance to those impacted by the conflict, including a donation of ambulances recently. We also continue to support civilian energy needs. We have sent 2,500 generators and are sending additional energy efficient power supplies in the coming period.
The war in Ukraine has had far-reaching consequences beyond the battlefield as the ripple effects have exacerbated global food crises.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative has proven vital against this backdrop. The world has seen the safe export of over 30 million metric tonnes of grain and foodstuffs from Ukraine since the beginning of the Initiative.
These efforts thus far have successfully contributed to alleviating the mounting pressure on global food prices and the inevitable knock-on effects of a destabilised food system on the world’s poorest.
We are encouraged that this vital Initiative continues and commend the earnest efforts of the United Nations and Türkiye to bring all parties to the table in order to find solutions on the outstanding issues, and we’re pleased to hear that the UN will continue to work closely with all sides to ensure the smooth operation of the BSGI.
At the same time, we continue to call for the full implementation of the MOU on Russian fertilizers and food products and continue to support efforts to this end.
While the importance of Black Sea Grain Initiative is widely appreciated for its practical benefits, in reality it is also, we hope, a trust building mechanism.
Reaching an agreement, again, on this Initiative and other successful negotiated outcomes, such as exchanges of prisoners of war, demonstrate that there remains some degree of willingness to negotiate a pathway forward.
We are cautiously hopeful that such efforts can be a conduit for building trust between all parties and may serve to remind all parties of the benefits of peace.
The UAE has consistently held that there is no viable military solution to this war, and we will not waver in this belief.
We call for de-escalation, diplomacy, and dialogue as the way forward.
The international community should rally behind all efforts that lead to the cessation of hostilities and pave the way for a just and lasting peace – one that respects Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity.
Thank you, Madam President.