Delivered by: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative
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I would like to thank Assistant Secretary-General Kehris for her briefing, and we listened carefully to the remarks of Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Anthony.
This topic is of particular importance to the United Arab Emirates, which recognizes interreligious dialogue and understanding as essential to peaceful coexistence. Creating a culture of religious tolerance is also a core element of sustainable conflict prevention, resolution, and reconstruction and is an important consideration for the Security Council. We all have a responsibility to ensure that respect for cultures and religions is a global norm.
The UAE is firmly committed to the principles of the culture of peace. We are aware of the inherent risks of allowing religion to be misused as a tool for those preaching violence and division. In our own region, we have seen the consequences of extremism or unchecked incitement to violence masquerading as religious faith. Our belief in the moral imperative to ensure that different faith communities can live together peacefully is why we find the recent events in Ukraine particularly distressing. The politicization of religion is another sign of the damage the conflict is inflicting on the country’s social fabric.
In times of conflict, we must all work to protect the sanctity of religious sites. It is imperative that such properties are treated with respect and maintained with care. Security Council Resolution 2347 deplores the unlawful destruction of cultural
heritage, including religious sites, while emphasizing that such destruction can exacerbate conflict and hamper post-conflict reconciliation. It also stresses the role of member states in protecting cultural heritage and safeguarding cultural property in the context of armed conflicts. This is of particular importance because places of worship are a center of gravity for communities of faith and can serve as important platforms for post-war national healing.
As this conflict continues, there are fewer and fewer areas of life in Ukraine that remain unaffected. Religious leaders and communities of faith can play an important role in building peace and providing comfort in times of war.
We are following the terrible news out of Dnipro with deep sorrow and concern. We mourn the 45 people reportedly killed in the airstrike on Saturday. The horrific human cost of this single attack underscores the scale of the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine. The UAE once again urges the parties to abide by international law, including international humanitarian law, and firmly reiterates its call for a cessation of hostilities throughout Ukraine, as well as its readiness to support all efforts at de-escalation and dialogue towards a just, lasting, and peaceful resolution of the war.
Thank you, Mr. President.