Delivered by: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative

I join others in thanking Assistant Secretary-General Khaiari for his second briefing today.

We meet today following one of the largest waves of airstrikes across Ukraine since the start of the war nearly two years ago.

These deadly strikes have killed scores and left more than 150 people injured. Hospitals and schools were hit. Towns and villages across Ukraine were hit. No region was spared.

The laws of war require the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure. Civilians and civilian objects must not be the target of attacks, and conflict parties must take constant care to spare civilians from their military operations.

Special protections are afforded to hospitals that give care to the wounded and sick, and in no circumstances, may they be the targets of attacks.

As this year comes to a close, civilians around the world find themselves under aerial bombardment. Peace is nowhere in sight.

2023 has seen new escalations in existing conflicts, such as in Ukraine, and fresh outbreaks of seemingly frozen conflicts, such as in Gaza. It has seen precious few conflicts resolved.

It is an unfortunate truth that war is sometimes easier than peace. Not easier for the civilians and communities left devastated, but for the powerful who take such monumental decisions.

Making peace is hard work. Dialogue and diplomacy require serious and sustained efforts. Compromises are always required. Risks are high and success is far from guaranteed.

Yet without dedication to peace, the world will further spiral into violence and disorder. The war in Ukraine continues to reverberate around the world. Ending it is necessary for the people of Ukraine and to prevent a further slide into regional and global instability.

Over the past two years, there has been no movement towards such an outcome.

We are deeply concerned that this escalation takes us further from those efforts. We reiterate our consistent position in support of all serious efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace, one that preserves Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity in line with the UN Charter.

It is our sincere hope that 2024 is a more peaceful year than 2023. But that will not happen without bold and courageous decisions that prioritize peace over escalation. We encourage all member states to redouble their efforts towards dialogue and diplomacy. Many around the globe today are yearning for a more peaceful, safe, and prosperous world. They deserve no less and it’s up to us all to deliver on these aspirations.

Mr. President, as this is likely our last statement during our Council term, on behalf of the entire UAE team, I want to end by congratulating Ecuador on how it has ably conducted this Council’s presidency. I also wish to thank all Council members for their partnership and cooperation over the last two years and wish the very best to the incoming five.

Thank you, Mr. President.