Delivered by: Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Thank you, Mr President. I also thank the Secretary-General for his briefing, and I welcome the participation of Ukraine’s foreign minister in this meeting today.
We cannot begin except with an expression of deep sorrow for the lives lost and shattered in the war in Ukraine. We mourn the at least 8,000 civilians killed, and we share in the grief of their loved ones.
We are appalled, as we mark one year of this cruel war, that we do so in the knowledge that it enters its second year.
Over the past two days, from the podium of the General Assembly, we heard a virtually uninterrupted appeal for peace.
A global, diverse, and representative majority issued an unambiguous message: Enough.
This majority is united by neither allegiance to one side nor hostility to the other.
They come together not to preserve geopolitical gain or reverse loss.
They are not motivated by petty grievance or grand ambition.
They have no interest or ability to wade into great power conflict.
In the historical processes and events that forged today’s Europe – they were, for the most part, observers, too often unwillingly impacted.
Yet, the incontestable fact is that an overwhelming majority of Member States are rising to the defence of the UN Charter.
It is the Charter that upholds sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity.
It is the Charter that rejects wars of aggression, conquest, and annexation.
It is the Charter that organises our open and cooperative international order.
The question is simple, and it is settled.
Those truths, however self-evident, are nonetheless challenged by the war still raging on Ukraine. Military setbacks have been met with military escalation, while the front lines are little changed.
The costs, however, have only grown.
In Ukrainian lives and livelihoods; in the damage to cities and towns; in the destruction of civilian infrastructure.
The war’s reach has extended far beyond Ukraine.
Disrupting food and energy markets; worsening the global debt crisis; and weakening international norms, rules, and laws.
Exactly one year ago today, the global call for diplomacy and peace went unheeded as the war broke out.
Now, we risk its escalation as more battalions mobilise for new offensives.
Yesterday, Member States renewed their urgent and sincere call for an end to this war. Leaders across the world are responding with mediation efforts and peace plans.
Now is the time to invest in inclusive and imaginative diplomacy by truly leveraging this global majority for peace.
We must reinforce the Secretary-General’s offered role as a mediator with consistent, robust, and determined backing.
The post-war vision must also incentivise Russia and Ukraine to the negotiating table, not to the battlefield. The war will not end if either side is more threatened by the alternative.
Steered by the Charter and history, we can dedicate ourselves towards a peace that is neither vindictive nor callous.
We are under no illusions that this effort will be easy – too much blood has been spilt, too much damage has been done.
But all of us should dread, with equal certainty, what looms in the wake of its failure.
Richard Holbrooke once described an effort to end a different war in Europe as “something like a combination of chess and mountain climbing”.
Reaching the summit at which this war ends will require a series of small moves.
Renewing the Black Sea Grain Initiative, realizing the MOU on Russian fertilizer and food products, preserving the non-proliferation regime, enhancing humanitarian assistance, continuing prisoner exchanges, and refraining from turning multilateral institutions into a battlefront.
To achieve all of that, we must aspire for coordination in our approaches, not conformity.
And we must encourage, indeed nurture, all efforts motivated by a genuine desire to peacefully resolve this war.
To do that, we must value, not vilify, open lines of communication.
That is the path the UAE has chosen; it is the path we have pursued in defence of the UN Charter for a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine, preserving its sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
Thank you, Mr President.