UNGA: Abraham Accord has paved way for 'peace in region', UAE foreign minister says

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed says political decision to resolve crisis in Yemen rests with Yemenis

The UAE froze Israeli annexation of Palestinian lands and opened "prospects to achieve a comprehensive peace in the region” by signing the Abraham Accord, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, said on Tuesday.

“My country has made persistent efforts using all available diplomatic channels to affirm our total rejection of the annexation of Palestinian territory,” Sheikh Abdullah said during an online address to the UN General Assembly.

He also announced the UAE’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2022-2023.

“With the signing of a historic peace accord with Israel supported by American efforts, my country was able to freeze the annexation decision and open broad prospects to achieve a comprehensive peace,” Sheikh Abdullah said.

He affirmed his belief that peace in Yemen could be restored but said a political decision to resolve the crisis there must be made by Yemenis.

"Although illegal interference has destabilised Yemen's security for years, we strongly believe that stability in Yemen can be restored, especially within the current environment that could lead to a complete ceasefire and a permanent political solution under the auspices of the United Nations," he said.

"My country also commends the tremendous efforts made by the brotherly kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

Sheikh Abdullah reinforced the UAE's legal right regarding its sovereignty over three islands, Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa, which were taken by Iran on the eve of the Emirates' Federation.

He said the UAE "will not give up its demand that Iran return these islands", which have been under Arab rule since ancient times.

Iran has ignored calls for peaceful resolution over the islands through direct negotiations or the International Court of Justice, he said.

Sheikh Abdullah raised concern over the effect on regional stability of Turkey's actions in Libya.

"My country expresses its deep concern regarding Turkey's military interference in Libya, which is an alarming part of the regional interference in Arab affairs that has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis, undermined efforts to reach a peaceful solution and destabilised the entire region," he said.

"Therefore, my country supports the repeated calls for an immediate ceasefire in Libya."

On the wider security threat posed by extremism in the region, Sheikh Abdullah called for UN-led political solutions to tackle the threat.

"Mr President, solving crises, especially in our Arab region, requires taking a unified international position: a position that rejects the violation of the sovereignty of states and interference in their internal affairs; a position that seeks UN-led political solutions and addresses threats posed by terrorist groups such as the Houthis, ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.

"In this context, the United Arab Emirates reiterates its support for the Secretary General's appeal for a global ceasefire."

He warned that some conflicts were becoming dangerously radicalised and highlighted the growing influence of extremist groups.

"Threats of cyber war are rising and the use of sophisticated weapons to attack strategic areas are increasing," Sheikh Abdullah said.

"Despite these mounting global threats, the UAE believes that we can transform unprecedented challenges into great opportunities."

He called for co-ordinated action to provide humanitarian and economic assistance to states affected by conflicts or other issues, such as climate change and the pandemic.

The UAE has been at the forefront of the global pandemic response, providing assistance to international institutions and sending aid to communities around the world, Sheikh Abdullah said.

"During these critical times, states must set their differences aside and focus on strengthening their co-operation to develop and provide access to vaccines and treatment for all people," he said.