UAE ambassador to the UN Lana Nusseibeh on Tuesday vowed to work towards global unity and peace at a UN Security Council flag-raising ceremony at the start of the country’s two-year term in the chamber.
Ms Nusseibeh said council membership was an “honour” and that the UAE would try to bridge differences in the frequently divided body while seeking ways to fight climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.
She spoke at a ceremony during which the council’s new members — the UAE, Albania, Brazil, Gabon and Ghana — installed their national banners outside the chamber, replacing the flags of the five nations whose terms had expired.
“The UAE’s conduct on the council will reflect who we are as a country and a people — open, inclusive and bound by belief that we are stronger united,” said Ms Nusseibeh.
“We will seek a convergence of views and a unified council voice so that its decisions are met with the broadest possible support.”
The UAE will push for “consensus” in tackling wars and “move from the mindset of conflict management to conflict prevention and resolution”, said the ambassador, who was elevated last week to the rank of minister.
“We will promote women's empowerment and common responses to the global challenges … including climate-related security threats, security threats related to terrorism and, of course, pandemics,” she added.
The five newcomers on Saturday began their two-year terms on the UN Security Council, the world’s top body for addressing threats to international peace and security. Each was elected unopposed by UN members in June.
The council on Tuesday agreed on the schedule for meetings in January.
The agenda features “important discussions” about having more women serve on UN peacekeeping missions and protecting civilians in the world’s war zones, the UAE mission posted on social media.
Members are also set to discuss the conflicts in Libya, Yemen and Syria, the deepening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, and hold minister-level talks on the decades-old dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.
The UAE has served on the council once previously, from 1986-1987. Brazil has served 10 times, and Gabon and Ghana three times each. Albania is serving on the council for the first time.
The UAE’s route back to the council was years in the making. Its candidacy was endorsed by the Arab League in 2012 and by a group of Asia-Pacific nations in 2020.
It has the seat typically reserved for Arab nations, replacing Tunisia.
The Security Council has 10 seats for temporary members, but it is dominated by its five permanent members — Russia, China, the US, Britain and France — which hold the power of veto.
UAE diplomats are seated between the UK and Russia at the chamber’s horseshoe-shaped table, with seats allocated alphabetically.
The council makes the ultimate decisions on resolutions to impose sanctions, authorise the use of military force and launch peacekeeping missions, but is often deadlocked on issues where the permanent members disagree, such as Syria, Myanmar and Ukraine.
Members take turns holding the council’s presidency each month, during which they manage the agenda, preside over meetings and decide on topics for debate. The UAE will assume that role in March.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated the UAE on assuming its Security Council seat during a phone call on Tuesday with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation.