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UAE Foreign Minister addresses United Nation General Assembly's 63rd ordinary session

posted on 28/09/2008: 814 views



UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has called for a full compliance with the principles of the UN Charter and international legitimacy to tackle the enormous challenges that currently face the international community.

Addressing the 63rd Ordinary Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday in New York, Sheikh Abdullah also outlined country's position and views with regards to a number of regional and international issues.

In his speech, Sheikh Abdullah pointed out that United Arab Emirates has made major progress internally in a number of spheres, such as, for example, in the representation of women in its executive and legislative bodies and to enhance their role and participation in the labour market.

"We are also developing our national legislation and laws pertinent to the preservation of human rights and we are exerting major efforts to improve the welfare of those with special needs', said the minister.

In keeping with the country's commitments under the relevant bilateral and international agreements, UAE is also increasing its efforts to combat trafficking in human beings, protecting the victims of such trafficking and providing them with all necessary support, Sheikh Abdullah said.

In terms of the environment, the United Arab Emirates launched earlier this year, in association with the Worldwide Fund for Nature, the Masdar City, a sustainable development project which will be the first carbon-free city in the world", he noted.

"Foreign aid occupies an important place on our national agenda. We have continued to provide various types of financial and humanitarian assistance as well as other forms of aid to many countries. This is intended to help them to fund their development programmes", Sheikh Abdullah stressed.

He said that the pattern of the development of the United Arab Emirates provides a living example of tolerance and co-existence.

Shedding light on the country's progress in the educational field, the minister said that UAE attaches great importance to the development of and radical re-structuring of its educational system.

"In the process of education lies the hope that we can break the evil cycle represented by poverty and ignorance that, in turn, leads to the creation of fertile soil in which terrorism and extremism can take root and grow" he asserted.

Sheikh Abdullah reiterated UAE's sovereignty over the three islands occupied by Iran.

"In this forum, I would like to state that we adhere to our position of demanding a full restoration of the UAE's sovereignty over the three occupied islands, their territorial waters, their air space, their continental shelf and their Exclusive Economic Zone", he stressed.

The minister also repeated UAE's call for progress to be made in multi-lateral negotiations on strategic disarmament, particularly on nuclear weapons.

At the same time, he reiterated UAE's firm conviction of the undeniable right of countries to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Speaking on Iraq, Sheikh Abdullah said: "We firmly believe that security and stability in our region can never be re-established until it once again becomes possible for Iraq to re-assume its vital role in affairs at a regional and an international level".

Noting UAE's help to rebuild Iraq, the minister also urged all political groups in Iraq to abandon all types of sectarian strife and to become actively involved in the current political process.

Sheikh Abdullah expressed his dismay over Israel's growing lack of interest in peace negotiations, and called on UN Security Council to exert further pressure on Tel Aviv. "The United Arab Emirates has strongly supported the Palestinian - Israeli peace process, as laid down within the framework of the Annapolis Understanding. In that context, we would wish to draw particular attention to our concerns about Israel's growing lack of interest in negotiations".

"We call upon the International Community and, in particular, the United Nations Security Council and the Middle East Quartet of powers, to exert further pressure on Tel Aviv", he said.

Speaking on Sudan, he said that UAE calls on all parties to work to put an end to their differences in order to reach a political settlement.

Sheikh Abdullah also called for acceleration of efforts to end violence in Somalia.

"We look forward to a multiplication and acceleration of regional and international efforts at mediation and to an increase in various support to bring an end to the devastation caused by violence in Somalia", he said.

He reiterated UAE's support to root out terrorism, and noted several steps made by the country in this regard. At the same time, he called for dialogue between faiths. "At the same time, we re-emphasise our support for all those initiatives that are being undertaken to promote a dialogue between civilisations and to promote a spirit of tolerance among all faiths".

Sheikh Abdullah underscored, "Pursuant to our firm conviction of the undeniable right of countries to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, in accordance with the safeguards framework of the IAEA, we urge the developed nations to support the legitimate needs of developing countries for access to such energy by providing them with the best possible access for the acquiring of tools, devices, nuclear materials and the technological know-how applicable for peaceful purposes".

He added that the UAE believes peaceful nuclear programme represents a practical and responsible example of transparency "in pursuit of our objective of meeting our energy needs while, at the same time, committing ourselves not to engage in enrichment or re-processing of nuclear fuels.

"The United Arab Emirates, with the support of some friendly countries and organisations, and under the supervision of the IAEA, and under the supervision of the IAEA, has begun to lay down the basic framework for the development of a peaceful nuclear energy programme. We are committed to full transparency in this process and to abide by all relevant measures related to nuclear non-proliferation", She Abdullah said.

Before concluding his speech, Sheikh Abdullah stressed the need for the reform of United Nations, and said: "I would like to emphasise our belief in the necessity for an enhancement of the current process of reform of the United Nations and for an invigoration of the role of its institutions and specialised agencies. We are deeply concerned that no progress has been made regarding the issue of fair representation on the United Nations Security Council and an enlargement of that body".

The following is the full text of his speech:

Mr. President, On behalf of the United Arab Emirates, it is a pleasure for me to express to you and to your country our sincere congratulations on your election as President of the current Ordinary Session of the General Assembly.

I would also like to extend my thanks and congratulations to your predecessor, His Excellency Srgjan Kerim, for his successful tenure of the post of President of the 62nd General Assembly.

I should also take this opportunity to express my gratitude to His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General, for his unceasing efforts to strengthen this organisation and its role in global affairs.

Mr. President, Please permit me to outline to you my country's position and views with regards to a number of regional and international issues. These require, in our view, the mobilisation of all necessary resources and efforts if they are to be solved in accordance with international law and with the UN Charter.

The United Arab Emirates itself has made major progress internally in a number of spheres, such, as, for example, in the representation of women in its executive and legislative bodies and to enhance their role and participation in the labour market.

We are also developing our national legislation and laws pertinent to the preservation of human rights and we are exerting major efforts to improve the welfare of those with special needs. We are also developing legislation to regulate the organisation of the recruitment of labour from overseas and to ensure that the full rights of the labour force are safeguarded.

In keeping with our commitments under the relevant bilateral and international agreements, we are also increasing our efforts to combat trafficking in human beings, protecting the victims of such trafficking and providing them with all necessary support.

In terms of the environment, the United Arab Emirates launched earlier this year, in association with the Worldwide Fund for Nature, the Masdar City, a sustainable development project which will be the first carbon-free city in the world, completely dependent on renewable and clean technologies, such as solar energy, which will be used for power generation and the desalination of water.

Foreign aid occupies an important place on our national agenda. We have continued to provide various types of financial and humanitarian assistance as well as other forms of aid to many countries. This is intended to help them to fund their development programmes and infrastructural projects. At the same time, we provide help to those who have suffered from natural disasters, both directly and indirectly, through the UAE's membership of the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs and through our contributions to the UN's specialised agencies and programmes.

This aid takes several forms, and is distributed through a number of organisations, including the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the Khalifa Humanitarian Foundation, the Zayed Humanitarian Foundation, the UAE Red Crescent, the Mohammed bin Rashid Humanitarian Foundation. Another channel is the recently announced Noor Dubai initiative, which seeks to provide treatment for more than one million people suffering from eye disease, mainly in Africa and Asia.

Mr. President, The pattern of the development of the United Arab Emirates provides a living example of tolerance and co-existence. We hope, through our education and cultural programmes, to enrich and enhance these values, because we strongly believe that interaction between different nations and peoples is of fundamental importance, and is, indeed, an essential pre-requisite for the achievement of stability, prosperity and security in our region.

It is for that reason that the UAE attaches great importance to the development of and radical re-structuring of its educational system, so that it is in line with innovations in technology and education and so that it meets the needs and requirements of our development programmes.

In addition, we believe that providing education for all is one of the major issues that face us. It is essential that the adequate resources are allocated to it, since in the process of education lies the hope that we can break the evil cycle represented by poverty and ignorance that, in turn, leads to the creation of fertile soil in which terrorism and extremism can take root and grow.

This belief in the fundamental importance of education has been behind several initiatives taken in the UAE, including 'Dubai Cares', which is a campaign primarily intended to provide primary education to over four million children in 14 countries in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East, through partnerships with multi-lateral and other agencies from many parts of the globe. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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