UAE Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed speaking to the 73rd session to the United Nations General Assembly. Image Credit: WAM

New York: Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, called upon nations to pursue a comprehensive approach that would address the different threats in the region.

Shaikh Abdullah, speaking before the General Debate of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, addressed the challenges the Arab world is facing and the UAE's increasing role in the region. “We realise that we are not isolated from our surroundings and that our success has increased our humanitarian and overall responsibilities as an Arab country towards a region that faces numerous challenges”

Shaikh Abdullah told the UN General Assembly that an “increasingly dangerous” situation had developed through the unprecedented level of Iranian aggression in the region and the rise of armed terrorist groups.

“The first challenge is foreign interference in the affairs of the Arab world, where certain regional countries, particularly Iran, seek to undermine the security of the region by spreading chaos, violence, and sectarianism. Iran's interference in Arab affairs has reached an unprecedented level.”

He added: "The second challenge the region is facing is the spread of extremism and terrorism, and the exploitation of modern technology by extremist and terrorist groups to disseminate their dangerous ideologies,"

The war in Yemen

On Yemen, the Foreign Minister explained why the Coalition interfered against Houthis, “Certain regional countries, particularly Iran, seek to undermine the security of the region by spreading chaos, violence, and sectarianism”

He added: “We could not afford to remain mere spectators when these threats reached Yemen and the brotherly nation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which continues to be subjected to a barrage of Iranian ballistic missiles. The security of countries in the region is interdependent, and our security is tied to the security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Therefore, we responded as part of the Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen in order to put an end to the Houthi coup and to address Iran's nefarious interference.”

In his speech, he blamed the Houthi's failure to attend peace talks in Geneva for the worsening humanitarian situation in Yemen, despite the UAE aid efforts.

“Obstructing humanitarian assistance, the Houthis are receiving arms from Iran, planting landmines and recruiting children to fight,” Shaikh Abdullah said.

Shaikh Abdullah reaffirmed the UAE's demand for its legitimate right to sovereignty over its three islands: Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa, which Iran has been occupying for 47 years in flagrant violation of international law and the UN Charter.

The UAE's Foreign Minister stressed the role the country is playing in counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and pioneering Artificial Intelligence and space technologies.

Calling upon all nations to have a united stand against Iran aggression, he added: “We reiterate the importance of a united international position against Iran that addresses its development of ballistic missiles, its support to terrorist groups, and its use of proxy wars to undermine regional and international security.”

"Lastly, we believe that the deterioration of economic, social, and humanitarian conditions is one of the main challenges that the region is facing. Therefore, my country's foreign policy has developmental, humanitarian, and cultural dimensions to support the needs of peoples and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals."

Concluding his speech, he said, “I would like to emphasise that the UAE's vision for the region is based on the values upon which it was founded, the real accomplishments achieved at the national level, and the actualities of our regional experiences side by side with our brotherly nations, particularly with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with whom we share a vision that drives towards hope with an aim towards achieving a brighter future for the region and for all peoples. Thank you!"