UAE to push for moderation and de-escalation during UN General Assembly

Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, will this month lead the largest delegation the UAE has yet sent to the New York summit

De-escalation and moderation will be the UAE’s message to world leaders at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, a senior UAE official said on Sunday.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, will lead the largest delegation the UAE has yet sent to the UN summit later this month.

“The UAE will go to New York as a determined and responsible promoter of regional peace and security and as a committed champion against extremism and hate,” Hend Al Otaiba, director of strategic communications at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation told reporters.

Ms Al Otaiba set out the UAE’s nine priorities for the delegation at the assembly in New York that emphasise the country’s “deep and sustained commitment” to UN-led initiatives.

They include the strengthening of multilateral cooperation and the role of international organisations like the UN, supporting regional stability, promoting tolerance and interfaith dialogue, mitigating climate change and empowering women.

On the political front, Ms Al Otaiba said the UAE will support “diplomatic solutions that look to resolve conflicts instead of merely managing them.”

In Yemen, the UN is attempting to put in place an already agreed-to ceasefire for the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, the main entry point for desperately needed food and medical supplies.

The truce, which was brokered in Sweden last December by UN Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths, was regarded as a first step towards achieving a political resolution to the four-year conflict.

However, over nine months after the deal, the full agreement still has not been implemented.

“The UAE is fully committed to Martin Griffiths and the Stockholm Agreement. We believe the UN-led process offers the best path to peace,” she said.

Diplomatic solutions are at the core of the UAE’s values, she said.

This can be seen in the country’s support for Mr Griffiths efforts in Yemen, especially as "we continue our drawdown of military forces in the country."

Officials from the UAE and Saudi Arabia said they are working closely with the various parties to put the ceasefire into effect in preparation for talks on ending the conflict.

Yet, the implementation of the Stockholm agreement has been delayed because of a lack of trust between the warring sides.

In terms of humanitarian assistance for Yemen, the UAE has so far provided over $5.59 billion (Dh20.53bn) over the last four years.

“Meeting our full aid commitment for this year, the UAE will continue as one of Yemen’s largest provider of humanitarian and development assistance,” Ms Al Otaiba said.

Diplomats will also emphasise the importance of tolerance and interfaith dialogue, which are the foundation of the UAE’s foreign policy.

“The UAE is home to approximately 40 Christian churches, two Hindu temples, a Sikh temple, and a Buddhist monastery, all of which welcome multinational congregations. A Jewish community also meets and practices in Dubai,” she said.

Officials from Abu Dhabi will also discuss ways to empower women and to ensure their voices are heard in the international arena.

“The UAE will advocate for ‘gender markers’ and other measures to ensure that the UN system considers the needs of women and girls – and actively involves them in the design and implementation of projects and programmes,” Ms Al Otaiba said.

She said helping women succeed is a top priority for the UAE, where women hold over 25 per cent of Cabinet positions.

With these themes, the UAE will continue to press UN member states to address the most vital challenges in the region, she said.

Updated: September 18, 2019 10:49 AM


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