Delivered by: Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative
Thank you, Mr President.
First, the United Arab Emirates extends its heartfelt condolences to Poland for the two civilians killed in yesterday’s incident. The news of missiles hitting Polish territory, and the increases in strikes across Ukraine, seemed to signal the frightening escalation many of us have talked about in this very room. It perfectly demonstrated the fact that as the fighting continues, each day becomes a gamble in which there cannot be any winners.
The humanitarian situation in Ukraine is a source of profound concern. With winter’s onset, 40% of the country’s power system is reportedly damaged, and 30% of its power stations are destroyed – potentially compounding the humanitarian crisis with a lack of heating.
Around the world, governments continue to warn of the war’s consequences on the global food supply – most recently at the G20 summit in Indonesia. In addition to the export of grains, the supply of ammonia and fertilizers, which are crucial to ensure adequate crop yields for next year’s harvest, are also a priority. As the Secretary-General has said, we cannot let this year’s crisis of affordability become next year’s crisis of availability.
We join the call to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative, and we urge the stakeholders to reach a solution that ensures the extension of these agreements – a critical breakthrough for which we are grateful to the UN and Türkiye. Similarly, we commend OCHA and the other humanitarian actors for their tireless efforts to provide Ukrainian civilians with essential supplies, including the recent convoys to southern Ukraine.
As humanitarian assistance and efforts to renew the Grain Initiative continue, we must acknowledge that this is not enough. Only a sustainable and peaceful resolution of the war will put an end to the suffering it has caused. We are encouraged by the recent public statements discussing the contours of a possible peace agreement. This Council must play its part to support any efforts at talks, and we must focus on measures that can bring the sides together rather than further apart.
Last month marked the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Back then, pragmatic and inventive diplomacy brought the world back from the brink. Public statements, which counselled calm and restraint in response to the news from Poland, and which emphasized the need to establish facts on the ground, helped avoid further escalation in the last 24 hours. But the overall episode was an unnerving warning of the risks inherent in the continuation of the war. This cannot be the new normal – too much is at stake, not least of which for Ukraine.
We recall here the statement that came out of the G20, we must uphold international law and the multilateral system, defend the UN Charter, and adhere to international humanitarian law. Beginning with urgently needed de-escalation, we must encourage confidence-building measures and open channels of communication to end this conflict, and to ensure that today’s era is not an era of war.