Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 29 October 2020

UN General Assembly

UNGA 2020: France's Macron heaps praise on 'courageous' UAE

President says accord with Israel brings hope for peaceful future in Middle East

French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the Middle East and tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean during his speech for the UN General Assembly. Bloomberg
French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the Middle East and tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean during his speech for the UN General Assembly. Bloomberg

French President Emmanuel Macron praised the “courageous negotiations” of the UAE and Bahrain in helping to bring stability to the region.

In a UN speech that covered many aspects of the Middle East, Mr Macron said he was pleased the two Arabs states were normalising relations with Israel.

“It's a legitimate recognition and it's also a gauge of hope for the future for lasting and fair peace,” he told the UN General Assembly.

“First and foremost, it requires decisive negotiations that will allow Palestinians to finally enjoy their rights.

"There is no alternative to courageous negotiations, which will in turn require an agreement on the most thorny issues.”

Mr Macron said that for Palestine, Israel and Syria “a credible, lasting political solution is the only way to eradicate terrorism and bring regional peace to the Middle East".

"It's a requirement first for the Israelis and the Palestinians, but also for all of us," he said.

In his 45-minute speech, Mr Macron spoke of bringing about a "Pax Mediterranea", or Mediterranean peace, with Turkey and Greece are growing increasingly hostile over maritime territory.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier indicated in his UN speech that he would ignore international law.

Mr Macron replied: “We respect Turkey, we are ready for dialogue with Turkey but we expect Turkey to respect European sovereignty, international law and to provide clarification about her actions in Libya and in Syria.”

He said insults would achieve nothing and had “no place in responsible relations between states”.

Europe was ready for dialogue with Turkey to build peace in the Eastern Mediterranean, “but not at the price of intimidation”.

Mr Macron said France would always be strongly engaged in the Middle East “supporting Iraqi sovereignty and will stand at the side of its partners in the Sahel” in defeating ISIS.

But he said the “end of the territorial caliphate is not the end of the war” against ISIS and France would continue to fight extremists alongside its regional partners.

“I also recall the essential role played by Iraq and Iraqis, and the role that they will continue to play in the struggle," Mr Macron said.

"This is why France supports all initiatives that Iraq is undertaking today and will continue to do so for its sovereignty and its role in the fight against terrorism.”

Hinting at Hezbollah’s damage to Lebanon, he condemned the “misguided ways of the Lebanese political class”.

But Mr Macron declared his support for the Lebanese people in finding peace.

“Lebanon is a treasure for all of humanity because it's a kind of exception of democracy and pluralism, in a region that is pushed around by terrorism and hegemonic powers,” he said.

He said that if the nuclear deal between world powers and Iran was discarded, as it has been by the US, it would “further exacerbate tensions in the region”.

“It is up to us to make sure that Iran never has access to a nuclear weapon, but also to ensure that we bring a response to Iran's ballistic activities and to its destabilisation in the region,” Mr Macron said.

Updated: September 23, 2020 08:19 AM

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