Sheikh Abdullah delivers UAE's message of regional co-operation for peace in Middle East

The foreign minister urges the 'restoration of reason' in address to the UN General Assembly in New York

Instability in the Middle East should be tackled by greater regional co-operation, the UAE's Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed said on Saturday, as “rogue states” are exploiting the existing global order.

In an address to the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York, Sheikh Abdullah said that although the UAE supports the concept of multilateralism, it was not effective enough and there was a need for the UN to work more closely with the Gulf Co-operation Council and the League of Arab States.

Mentioning the September 14 attacks on Saudi Aramco oil facilities, which the US, Europe and Arab states have attributed to Iran, he said the UAE was committed to efforts that would ease tension in the region, noting the disruption that had been caused to the global economy.

And the actions of Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and the Houthi rebels in Yemen had been enabled by the ability of such groups to gain access to weapons, he said, because it was becoming normal to see "the willingness of some states to interfere in the affairs of other states".

Such a threat to security was partly because of weak enforcement of UN Security Council resolutions and “the inability to take a strong stance against the activities of some states”.

“The UAE believes that multilateralism is the best way to solve disputes,” Sheikh Abdullah said. “But it has not succeeded.”

Citing the Iran nuclear deal as an example of an inadequate international agreement, he said the 2015 accord “did not achieve the expected change in Iran's behaviour”.

“It should have taken into account the views of the countries in the region,” and addressed Iran's ballistic missile programme, he said.

“We are speaking here about a country that seeks to export its revolution.”

Similarly, Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE wanted to peacefully resolve its sovereign right over three islands occupied by Iran, however calls for dialogue “have not been answered”.

The decision of the UAE to join an Arab Coalition in 2015 in Yemen was taken to try and restore the country's legitimate government, he said, but the conflict can only be solved under a political path led by the United Nations.

“The chaos that enveloped the Arab world in the past decade has made us more conscious” of the need for dialogue, Sheikh Abdullah told the UN, noting that “the Palestinian issue will remain the central issue”.

On domestic matters, he praised the first UAE astronaut, Hazza Al Mansouri, and said his success was a symbol of a new era in which the country had contributed to space science.

Sheikh Abdullah also hailed the visit to Abu Dhabi earlier this year of Pope Francis and the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity by the pontiff and Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar.

Sheikh Abdullah is leading the largest delegation the UAE has yet sent to the UN summit.

Earlier on Saturday, he met with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the event.