Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, stated that the strategic and sovereign decision of the UAE to announce the signing of a peace accord with Israel that stipulates Israel’s suspension of its annexation of Palestinian territory is a success and an important step towards achieving peace while meeting the demands of all involved countries and the international community.
One of the objectives of the Arab Peace Initiative is to reach a fair and sustainable solution to the Palestinian issue, he added, while stressing that the accord will not violate the rights of the Palestinian people.
In his speech at the 154th edition of the Arab League Council, held remotely on the level of ministers of foreign affairs, Gargash pointed out that there is a unique opportunity to revive peace efforts to end the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Below is the transcript of his speech: “First of all, I would like to congratulate Dr. Riyad Al Maliki, Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs, for heading the meetings of the 154th ordinary session of the Arab League Council while wishing our Palestinian brothers and sisters success in presiding over this session. I would also like to thank and appreciate Oman for its significant efforts to serve Arab causes during its presidency of the 153rd session.
I would like to congratulate Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamood Al Busaidi for being appointed as a Minister of Foreign Affairs of Oman, and he is with us today at this meeting. I wish him luck and success in his duties.
I would also like to thank Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of the Arab League, for his distinguished efforts to hold this session.
Your Highnesses and Excellencies, Our meeting is being held today amidst rising challenges and crises facing our Arab region, which requires joint action and increased cooperation and coordination to address these challenges in a reasonable, wise and balanced manner that favours political settlement over confrontation, to establish the foundations of development, security, stability and peace in the region, and advance Arab joint action.
The Palestinian cause is the central and pivotal cause of the Arab region and the UAE is stressing its fixed stance in support of the establishment of a Palestinian state based on its borders of 4th June, 1967, with its capital in East Jerusalem, in compliance with the legitimate international resolution and the Arab Peace Initiative. The UAE supports all efforts aimed at achieving this objective, which is also supported by all international and Arab parties and is continuing to provide assistance to the Palestinian people and their cause under all circumstances.
The UAE’s policy is unchanged, as it supports the efforts to solve the Palestinian issue and the Arab-Israeli conflict, to achieve peace and stability in the region. This is one of the solid foundations of the UAE since its establishment by late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who said, “Our support for the Palestinian people will continue until they achieve their aspiration to establish an independent country.”
The UAE’s sovereign and strategic decision to announce the signing of a peace accord with Israel entails the latter’s acceptance to suspend the annexation of Palestinian lands, which represents an achievement and is a key step in the peace process in the region and is in implementation of one of the demands of all involved countries and the international community. One of the objectives of the Arab Peace Initiative is to reach a fair and sustainable solution to this issue, and this accord will not violate the rights of the Palestinian people.
It should be stressed that the UAE’s decision to normalise its relations with Israel is a sovereign decision, is not aimed against any party, and is not related to the current polarisations taking place within the region, unfortunately. However, the UAE believes that normalising its ties with Israel will open new prospects for supporting prosperity and stability in the region.
Under this framework, we are highlighting the UAE’s respect and appreciation for the Palestinian community in the country and their positive contributions to the development process. The UAE and its leadership has allowed them, over five decades, to achieve outstanding stories of success that contributed to growth and development, and strengthened the ties between the Emirati and Palestinian peoples. It is worthy to again reiterate that the UAE will always support the Palestinian people.
Your Highnesses and Excellencies, There are still foreign interventions in the internal affairs of Arab countries, which have led to the eruption of new crises, increased extremism and terrorism, and supported terrorist groups and armed militias that threaten security and stability in the region.
Turkey’s intervention in the internal affairs of Arab countries is a clear example of negative interventions in the region. It has continued its direct and provocative actions in Arab countries or by proxy through the militias it backs. These are in addition to its statements that threaten the sovereignty, security and stability of Arab countries, and its continuous threats to navigation in the Mediterranean Sea, which violate all relevant international laws and treaties.
Iran’s interventions in the internal affairs of Arab countries are continuing, through its support for armed militants and terrorist groups in some Arab countries. It is also continuing to threaten the region’s maritime navigation and energy supplies on its waterways. We stress our condemnation and denunciation of these interventions, which have increased tensions in the region and hindered development efforts.
Countries should respect their legal obligations and the principles of good neighbourliness, which will always be the UAE’s key demand. Under this framework, the UAE reiterates its call to Iran to positively respond to its ongoing requests to reach a peaceful settlement to the issue of the three occupied Emirati islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Moussa, by direct negotiation or through the International Court of Justice.
Your Highnesses and Excellencies, The UAE is closely monitoring developments in Yemen, and we reiterate our position to support the alliance for legitimacy led by Saudi Arabia while urging all parties in Yemen to implement the provisions of the Riyadh Agreement, avoid escalation and agree to a cease-fire. The Riyadh Agreement represents the foundations of future political action. We also stress our support for the United Nations, UN, Special Envoy in Yemen, Martin Griffiths, who aims to reach a sustainable and peaceful settlement to the Yemeni crisis. At the same time, the UAE is continuing to support the Yemeni people by providing development, humanitarian and charity aid, to help them overcome the challenges they are facing.
We strongly condemn the terrorist actions of the Iranian-backed Houthi militias against Saudi Arabia and their attacks on the kingdom’s civil facilities, which are severe violations of international humanitarian law. We also reiterate our demand for an end to the frequent attacks on the kingdom, as well as for cooperation in securing international navigation and energy supplies. We aim to seek solutions based on respecting the sovereignty of countries and refraining from intervening in their internal affairs.
The UAE affirms that a political settlement is the only solution to end the crisis in Syria, and is continuing to support the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Syria, Geir O. Pedersen, and any related efforts.
We would like to point out that the absence of any effective Arab work in Syria will lead to more foreign interventions and complicate matters further. Therefore, we stress the importance of reinforcing our Arab role in the country, to enable it again to become actively involved in the region.
On the Libyan front, the UAE highlights the importance of the international community’s support for outcomes of the Berlin Conference and the efforts of the UN to reach a political settlement to the Libyan crisis, through serious and practical steps. The UAE has welcomed the ceasefire declaration and the end of military operations in Libyan territories, considering this resolution as an important step towards a political settlement. It also supports the aspirations of the Libyan people to create a stable, peaceful and prosperous future, in line with the outcomes of the Berlin Conference, the Cairo Declaration and the Skhirat Agreement.
At the same time, we highlight the necessity of halting foreign interventions in Libya and the key role of Arab countries in supporting the peace efforts and political process.
On the Sudanese front, the UAE reiterates its support for achieving security and stability in Sudan, to ensure the success of the transitional process and achieve development and prosperity. The UAE welcomes the signing of a peace accord between the Sudanese government and the Revolutionary Front, supported by the UAE on 31st August, 2020.
Your Highnesses and Excellencies, The circumstances and challenges facing the region have not hindered the UAE’s achievements, which could also be considered as Arab achievements. On 20th July, 2020, the country launched the Hope Probe to Mars as part of a space discovery mission.
On the other hand, under the framework of the country’s peaceful nuclear energy use, the UAE declared, on 1st August, 2020, that it successfully began operating the first peaceful nuclear energy reactor in the Arab region at the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in Abu Dhabi, which is an inspiring local and regional achievement.
We would like to point out that the UAE, as a nation that loves peace, is continuing its endeavours to promote the culture of tolerance, moderation and coexistence among the world’s peoples. We stress that the UAE is following its approach to supporting all efforts to achieve security and stability in the region.
The UAE’s courageous decision to make peace with Israel is based on a realistic vision. Its leadership decided to normalise its relations with Israel to develop vital economic and development sectors in the region, as well as to create new opportunities for cooperation in this strategic area of the world, which will benefit its peoples.
We again thank everyone who has worked hard to make this session a success and advance the process of joint Arab action, and we are looking forward to overcoming the challenges facing the region and achieving security, stability and dignity for our peoples. We hope that this meeting will lead to positive steps that will meet the aspirations of our Arab people.”