Delivered by: Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Thank you, Madam President.
I begin by extending the UAE’s heartfelt condolences to Syria and Türkiye over the devastating earthquake this morning. We have dispatched search and rescue teams and field hospitals to both countries and offer our full support at this difficult time.
I also thank USG Griffiths for his informative and sobering briefing.
This month marks one year since the war in Ukraine began, and these meetings serve as an important reminder of the price being paid. In that time, the war has killed more than 7,000 civilians and a third of the Ukrainian population has fled their homes. Ongoing strikes against critical infrastructure have damaged Ukraine’s power system, making life particularly grim as the country’s notoriously tough winter drags on.
The statistics paint an appalling picture: in 2023, 17.6 million people will rely on humanitarian assistance. Nearly 14 million are displaced. 4.4 million returnees need assistance, and 3.6 million are at risk of gender-based violence.
These numbers are likely to grow amidst freezing weather conditions and severely damaged electricity and heating infrastructure across the county.
It is therefore all the more necessary to continue support for the response by Ukraine’s neighbours, the UN, donor countries, and humanitarian actors. On the ground, aid workers are carrying out their vital work in difficult and often dangerous settings. The war has seen hospitals, aid convoys, and distribution centres damaged in military attacks. In this context, we underscore the urgent need to ensure the respect and protection of humanitarian personnel and operations.
As stated by Martin Griffiths, we need to insist on respect for international humanitarian law, and, in particular, the special protections accorded by the Geneva Conventions. Additionally, the conflict’s impact beyond Ukraine’s borders is well documented, as it exacerbated an already acute global food crisis. Accordingly, we reaffirm the importance of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the MOU between Russia and the UN to facilitate the export of fertilizers. These efforts are alleviating considerable pressure on global food prices and supplies. In this context, we recall to this chamber the World Food Programme’s dire warning that failure to address global food insecurity may result in “mass destabilisation around the planet.”
We strongly urge the BSGI’s swift renewal next month. We also encourage the removal of any obstacles to the BSGI and the MOU between Russia and the UN to facilitate the export of fertilizers.
The UAE recognizes the scale of the humanitarian devastation in Ukraine. We are working on the delivery of 100 million dollars of an assistance package that we announced late last year. We remain in close contact with Ukraine on support for post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction.
We also strongly commend the international effort to alleviate the suffering of the Ukrainian people, in particular, Ukraine’s neighbours who have provided a vital lifeline to civilians affected by the conflict. The remarkable international solidarity on display since the outbreak of the war has sheltered and saved millions, and it reminds all of us of the urgency, consistency, and generosity that all humanitarian crises, without distinction, demand.
Nevertheless, we stress, once again, that there is no alternative to a peaceful resolution to this conflict. Ukrainian civilians will continue to bear the brunt of this devastating war until the hostilities in Ukraine cease, and the pursuit of complete military victory by both sides is abandoned and peace talks begin.
To that end, the UAE reiterates its readiness to continue assisting through constructive mediation efforts that produce tangible, positive outcomes – as has happened over the weekend with the most recent prisoner exchange. We must support all efforts that put us on a path towards a just and lasting peace – one that respects Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, and establishes sustainable regional security and stability.