Jamal Al Musharakh Image Credit: WAM

New York: The UAE has called for the resolution of conflicts in Syria and Yemen and said Iranian interference continues to cause tension and instability in the region.

Jamal Al Musharakh, deputy permanent representative of the UAE to the United Nations, delivered the UAE’s statement at the Security Council’s open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.

The debate was chaired by Nikki Haley, Permanent Representative of the US to the UN.

In her remarks, Haley emphasised the need for focus on Iran and Hezbollah as key threats to peace and security in the region. In the past, the council had failed to pay sufficient attention to Iran and Hezbollah’s direct actions in destabilising the Middle East, including training deadly militias in Iraq and arming Al Houthi militants in Yemen.

Al Musharakh called for resolving the conflicts in Syria and Yemen where, he emphasised, the common denominator was Iran’s interference. Iran continued to cause tension and instability in the region, posing an existential threat through its expansionist policies, exporting its revolution across borders, and its clear disregard for international sovereignty by interfering in the domestic affairs of neighbouring countries, he said.

Al Musharakh said, “Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism in our region — from Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria to Al Houthi militia in Yemen, and terrorist groups and cells in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.”

On Yemen, he stated that not only were Al Houthi militia endangering peace and security within the country, but also carrying out attacks across Saudi Arabia’s borders, therefore threatening peace and security in the region. He noted that the only way to ending the conflict in Yemen was through a political process, based on Security Council Resolution 2216, the initiative of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the outcomes of the National Dialogue. He reminded the council that ensuring humanitarian access to civilian populations must remain a priority until peace is achieved.

Al Musharakh said finding a resolution to the Palestinian question remained a fundamental priority for the UAE. The UAE is deeply concerned about the violence in the Occupied Palestinian territories and the absence of a just resolution, which provides the Palestinian people their inalienable rights.

He stated the UAE wants the international community and the Security Council to support a two-state solution, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State based on the June 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Madrid Conference’s principles. Echoing Resolution 2334, he called on Israel to cease its illegal colony activities, which constitute a major obstacle to the two-state solution.

Regarding the conflict in Syria, Al Musharakh expressed the UAE’s deep concern about the continued and deplorable use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime, and reiterated the UAE’s support for the recent US military actions against military targets in Syria. He called on the parties concerned to ensure that non-state actors and extremist militias are not in control of Syria, and urged the UN-brokered peace talks to move forward.

Musharakh noted that the promotion of security and stability in the region is of paramount importance for the UAE, and offered three prescriptions in this regard. Firstly, he called for the Security Council and its Sanctions Committees to continue their efforts to investigate, report, and act on Iran’s sanctions violations. Secondly, he urged the international community to pay special attention to the plight of youth across the region, who in the absence of economic opportunities are vulnerable to exploitation by terrorist organisations in the region. Lastly, he called for more engagement with regional organisations and actors to build the necessary momentum for a peace process, adding that it was necessary for Member States to comply with the decisions of the Council in accordance with Article 25 of the UN Charter, as well as respect international law.