Against the backdrop of increasing donor fatigue and the spiralling economic repercussions of the war in Ukraine, the Security Council today adopted a presidential statement emphasizing the urgent need for funding to address ongoing crises in the Middle East and North Africa, while praising cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States in a range of critical areas.
According to the presidential statement (to be issued as document S/PRST/2022/1) — which was issued by the United Arab Emirates in its capacity as President of the Council for March — the 15-member organ welcomed strong cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States and reiterated its intention to consider further steps to collaborate in the fields of conflict early warning and prevention, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, sustaining peace, promoting respect for international law and addressing root causes of conflicts.
Members recognized that organizations such as the League are well positioned to understand the root causes of armed conflicts in their regions, while noting the dire humanitarian consequences of ongoing conflicts in the Arab world and emphasizing the urgent need for funding to address those challenges.
Briefing the Council at the meeting’s outset, Secretary-General António Guterres said the need for solutions to crises across the Middle East and North Africa has become all the more acute against the profound ramifications of the war in Ukraine. Many nations across the Arab world — including Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — import at least half their wheat from Ukraine or the Russian Federation, while, across the region, supply chains have been disrupted and food, fuel and fertilizer prices are skyrocketing. Emphasizing that the poor are being hardest hit, he warned that the confluence of factors is “planting the seeds for political instability and unrest around the globe”.
He also cited clear evidence that the war in Ukraine is draining resources and attention from other trouble spots in desperate need. At a recent humanitarian pledging conference for Yemen, he was deeply disappointed that the United Nations appeal for assistance to some 20 million Yemenis in need received less than a third of the funds so urgently needed. Meanwhile, political instability is once again flaring in Libya and the Syrian people feel abandoned by the world as they enter an eleventh year of war. Outlining a range of other matters — from economic challenges in Lebanon to the ongoing transition in Sudan — he praised the deepening cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States, stressing that peaceful multilateral solutions are needed now more than ever.
Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, said today’s meeting is taking place against the backdrop of a major shift in the global geopolitical landscape. A prompt and peaceful outcome to the crisis in Ukraine would avert “disastrous consequences” for the economies of developing countries, he said, voicing concern that the Arab world “will be overlooked or forgotten”. Addressing the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, the Occupied Palestinian Territory and elsewhere, he also drew attention to Iran’s ongoing interference in the affairs of States across the region. While the League seeks a good relationship with Iran based on the principles of sovereignty and non‑interference, he cautioned that “unfortunately, this goal is still not within reach”.
Also briefing the Council was civil society member Razan Farhan Alaqil, who described herself as a Saudi Arab youth and emphasized that young people represent 60 per cent of the population of the Middle East and North Africa. Stressing the need to include youth in all aspects of the United Nations work — from efforts to prevent, manage and settle conflict, to post-conflict peacebuilding and programmes to ensure the non-recurrence of conflict — she said young people are effective and efficient actors and deserve a seat at the decision-making table.
As Council members took the floor, many welcomed today’s presidential statement, as well as the growing cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations more broadly. While united in their calls for the peaceful resolutions of conflicts across the Middle East and North Africa, speakers voiced divergent opinions on the specifics of particular situations, including the drivers of — and preferred solutions to — conflicts in Syria, the Occupied Palestinian Territory and elsewhere.
Khalifa Shaheen Almarar, Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates and Chair of today’s meeting, said in his national capacity that the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict and crises in Libya, Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere have had high costs for the region. Demanding an end to foreign interference in Arab affairs, he called for more efforts to strengthen the role of Arab women in peace and security issues and for the further empowerment of youth. Meanwhile, more work is needed to combat terrorism and violent extremism and encourage peaceful coexistence among religions and cultures in the region, he said, calling for more collaboration between the League of Arab States and the United Nations in such crucial areas as artificial intelligence, outer space and renewable energy.
The representative of Yemen, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, underscored the important role of regional organizations working alongside the United Nations to resolve regional crises. Calling a new mechanism for promoting cooperation between the United Nations and the Arab Group in New York, he also urged the holding of informal meetings with the Arab Summit Troika and other means of finding “Arab solutions to Arab problems”. Meanwhile, the Security Council must “speak with one voice” and limit its veto use on questions related to Arab crises, he stressed, also calling for an urgent end to all foreign intervention in internal Arab State affairs.
The United Kingdom’s delegate said regional cooperation has a vital role to play in conflict‑prevention. Welcoming the League of Arab States’ continued suspension of Syria’s membership and stressing the responsibility of President Bashar al-Assad for the suffering in that country, he also condemned the ongoing Houthi terrorist attacks emanating from Yemen, and said the League’s members must remain steadfast in support of a two-State solution in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Meanwhile, he underlined the collective role of all States in tackling climate change — which is a driver of conflict — and echoed concerns that the conflict in Ukraine has contributed to a bleaker humanitarian context in the Arab region.
The representative of the Russian Federation, striking a different tone on Syria’s suspension from the League of Arab States, said Damascus should be reinstated as all States must be able to participate in that platform on an equal footing. Noting that many crises remain unresolved due to foreign interference and the legacy of colonialism, he stressed the need to overcome the stalemate on the region’s central conflict, that between Israel and Palestine. He called on States to seek diplomatic solutions and reject the use of sanctions, while spotlighting his country’s concept of Collective Security in the Persian Gulf as important initiative in which the League of Arab States could play an important role.
Also participating was the Minister for Foreign Affairs of India, as well as the representatives of Mexico, Ireland, Norway, Ghana, Albania, Brazil, United States, Kenya, France, China and Gabon.
The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 12:13 p.m.
ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations, described strengthening the United Nations cooperation with regional organizations as a sine qua non for bolstering multilateralism globally. Across the Middle East and North Africa, the League of Arab States is a critical partner as the United Nations pursues multilateral solutions to the cascading challenges facing the Arab world and beyond. Stressing that those efforts have an added urgency against the backdrop of the profound global ramifications of the war in Ukraine, he said many nations — including Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — import at least half their wheat from Ukraine or the Russian Federation, while, across the region, supply chains have been disrupted and food, fuel and fertilizer prices are skyrocketing.
“All of this is hitting the poorest the hardest and planting the seeds for political instability and unrest around the globe,” he warned. In addition, there is clear evidence that the war in Ukraine is draining resources and attention from other trouble spots in desperate need. At a humanitarian pledging conference for Yemen last week, he was deeply disappointed that the United Nations appeal for assistance received less than a third of the funds so urgently needed. “I cannot overstate the severity of the suffering of the people of Yemen,” he said, noting that 20 million of the country’s people need life‑saving humanitarian assistance and protection, and appealing to the generosity of the members of the League of Arab States in that regard.
Turning to the situation in Libya, he welcomed the League’s engagement in helping to preserve the unity and hard-won stability achieved since the signing of the ceasefire agreement in October 2020, and urged its members to continue prioritizing agreement on a comprehensive political process. Meanwhile, in Sudan, the League and the United Nations have been working closely together to encourage meaningful dialogue towards an inclusive and peaceful transition. In Syria, the two organizations stand united in support of the Syrian people, “who feel abandoned by the world as they enter the eleventh year of a war that has subjected them to human rights violations on a massive and systematic scale, and left the country in ruins”. The only way to break that deadlock and alleviate the suffering is through a credible political process that forges a sustainable peace and lets the voices of all Syrians be heard.
Outlining a range of other regional situations, from economic challenges in Lebanon to recent elections in Iraq, he said the United Nations and the League remain committed to finding a path for the peace process to flourish between Israelis and Palestinians and to ending the long-standing occupation. Voicing his support for a two-State solution, he warned that political, economic and security conditions across the Occupied Palestinian Territory are deteriorating as Palestinians experience dispossession, violence and insecurity. At the same time, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) again faces an existential financial crisis that affects the rights and well-being of Palestine refugees across the region. “I reiterate my call on Member States to increase their financial support to the Palestinian people and their contributions to UNRWA, a vital pillar of regional stability,” he said.
He praised the regular meetings between United Nations special envoys and officials of the League, emphasizing that their relationships are broadening and deepening, and the opening of a new United Nations Liaison Office to the League of Arab States. That new cooperation channel is particularly focused on building stronger partnerships in the areas of youth, women, peace and security, and disarmament, mediation and peacebuilding. “Today, more than ever, we need to come together and stand together in support of multilateral peaceful solutions,” he stressed, adding: “That is why our relationship with the League of Arab States and the strong support from its membership have never been more essential — or more appreciated.”
AHMED ABOUL GHEIT, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, said today’s meeting is taking place against the backdrop of a major shift in the global geopolitical landscape, with a serious escalation between major Powers. Expressing hope that they will reach solutions in the interest of all parties, and which meet the security requirements of all, he said a prompt and peaceful outcome would avert “disastrous consequences” for the economies of developing countries. Expressing concern that the crises of the Arab world “will be overlooked or forgotten” — and could in fact be further aggravated by the economic repercussions of the new conflict in Europe — he said the ongoing intra-State wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen already have high monetary and humanitarian costs, and threaten regional peace and security.
Meanwhile, he said, the suffering of the Palestinian people — ongoing for more than 70 years — has also come into a new focus in the last year. The Council has adopted a two-State formula as a path to end the Israeli occupation and establish a sovereign Palestinian State; however, the occupying Power refuses to re-enter negotiations to that end, despite many appeals by the Palestinian President. “The international order […] cannot be based on double standards or discrimination,” he stressed, calling on countries around the globe to shoulder their responsibility and help impose respect for international law.
Turning to the conflict in Syria, he said the situation is at an impasse, with an obstructed political track and worsening living conditions across the country. “This is not a viable situation,” he warned, adding that it causes unspeakable suffering for millions. In Libya, he expressed fear that more division will occur amid the continued proliferation of foreign fighters and mercenaries. Cautioning that more foreign intervention will only further complicate and prolong the crisis, he advocated for free and fair elections and offered the League of Arab States’ help in monitoring them. In Yemen, the Houthis refuse negotiations and instead have increasingly begun to threaten their neighbours in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with drones and missiles. Commending the Council for recently adopting resolution 2624 (2022) — which imposed fresh sanctions on the Houthis and designated them as a terrorist group — he said a political solution is the only path to peace in Yemen.
Spotlighting Iran’s intervention in the affairs of Arab States, which has been ongoing for more than a decade, he stressed the need to reach a new agreement on that country’s nuclear programme, as well as on a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, as Tehran’s missile programme remains a source of legitimate concern for members of the League of Arab States. The League seeks a good relationship with Iran based on the principles of sovereignty and non-interference in the affairs of sovereign States. “Unfortunately, this goal is still not within reach,” he said.
Against that complex backdrop, he said the League looks forward to enhanced cooperation with the Security Council based on past presidential statements, as well as the one to be adopted today. He outlined the League’s strong work in the area of youth, peace and security, expressing support for the Secretary-General’s proposal to upgrade the status of his Special Envoy on youth and to establish a specialized youth agency, with which the League would work closely. Moreover, he said, the positive momentum created by the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda report is the optimal path for joint work going forward, “if we forget about the past and focus on the future”. He also voiced support for the 2023 summit, proposed by the Secretary-General, in support of future generations who deserve a brighter future.
RAZAN FARHAN ALAQIL, civil society briefer, who described herself as a Saudi Arab youth, said she brings a message of peace and hope on behalf of the 100 million young people across the Middle East and North Africa, where they represent 60 per cent of the population. Recalling the Council’s unanimous adoption of resolution 2250 (2015) on youth, peace and security, she called for the inclusion of young people in decision-making. “Youth must participate in all levels of UN action,” she stressed, whether through efforts to prevent, manage and settle conflict, or engage in post-conflict peacebuilding and initiatives to ensure the non-recurrence of conflict.
“The inclusion of youth means giving us a just chance based on our knowledge and our rights,” she said, underscoring that youth are active members in development. “You have to perceive us based on our professional capabilities, not only on our age,” she said, emphasizing that young people are capable of participating “side by side” with Council delegates. In addressing various Arab dossiers, and in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, young people are effective and efficient actors. “Include us,” she insisted.
She went on to note that the success of various initiatives, notably those of Arab Youth for Sustainable Development and the Arab Youth Platform for Sustainable Development, hinge on support for young people’s involvement in devising national and regional development plans. She stressed the importance of their participation in effectuating action across the three United Nations pillars. “We, the Arab youth generation, are conveying a message to leaders in this Chamber and the world,” she said, reiterating the call to settle the Arab challenges before the Council. She also called for young people’s participation in addressing challenges related to international peace and security, development and fundamental freedoms, as well as in setting policies, notably through Arab and international mechanisms. “We are your sons and daughters,” she said.
KHALIFA SHAHEEN ALMARAR, Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates and President of the Security Council, speaking in his national capacity, said that, as a result of the international community merely managing rather than resolving these crises, several issues have been on the 15-member organ’s agenda for decades. The ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict and other crises in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and Somalia have imposed a high political, economic and humanitarian cost, further increasing the risk of drastically escalating the situation across the region and the world. He voiced hope that the meeting can enhance cooperation between the Council and the League, calling for a United Nations Liaison Office at the League of Arab States to be strengthened and empowered with a focus on capacity-building and experience‑sharing, as well as trilateral cooperation among the League of Arab States, United Nations and the African Union.
Demanding an end to foreign interference in Arab affairs, he called for more initiatives and programmes to strengthen the role of Arab women in peace and security issues, noting the appointment of Sima Bahous as the first Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) from the region. Youth must also be empowered to play a leading role, since approximately 60 per cent of the population in the region are under the age of 25. He stressed the need for stronger joint efforts to combat extremism and terrorism and initiatives that encourage peaceful coexistence and dialogue among religions and cultures in the region. The Arab world needs expanded economic opportunities and projects, and collaboration between the two organizations should focus on areas such as artificial intelligence, outer space and renewable energy, which can unlock promising opportunities for the region and help it pivot away from conflict and war. “We also need to apply wisdom obtained from our past experiences to respond effectively to current challenges,” he said.
HARSH VARDHAN SHRINGLA, Foreign Secretary of India, said that, for over a millennium, the Arab world has been a cradle of civilization, and challenges in the region have a critical bearing on international peace and security. Trade had flourished between India and the Arab world for centuries before the advent of modern commerce, and the Arab world is host to more than 9 million Indians. He cited the memorandum of understanding which led to the India and League of Arab States Forum, collaborating on issues including energy, environmental protection and food security. Arab States are among the largest donors of humanitarian assistance to States in conflict in the region, he noted. Citing the United Nations Liaison Office in Cairo, he called for greater policy synergy between the Organization and the League, particularly on peace and security. The aim should be to achieve comprehensive cooperation at the field level, involving Special Envoys and the League. Collaboration between the United Nations and the League should involve post-conflict peacebuilding, and ensure the stability of the countries concerned, especially vulnerable women and minorities, and is further crucial in reactivating the Middle East peace process in line with the two-State solution. India will continue to partner with the League for regional peace and security, including fighting terror and promoting tolerance and pluralism.
JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom), noting that regional cooperation has a vital role to play in conflict prevention, said war and conflict sadly continue to scar the Middle East and North Africa. Welcoming the League of Arab States’ continued suspension of Syria’s membership and stressing the responsibility of President Bashar al-Assad for the suffering in that country, he also condemned the ongoing Houthi terrorist attacks emanating from Yemen, and said the League’s members must remain steadfast in support of a two-State solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Meanwhile, in Libya, there is a real risk that progress made will unravel, resulting in additional suffering. All partners should facilitate a path towards the elections for which the Libyan people are waiting. Underlining the collective role of all States in tackling climate change — which is a driver of conflict — he went on to echo concerns that the conflict in Ukraine has contributed to a bleaker humanitarian picture for the Arab region.
DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation), noting that a number of acute crises in the Middle East remain unresolved due to foreign interference and the legacy of colonialism, said those are only worsening terrorism and extremism. There is a need to overcome the stalemate on the region’s central conflict, that between Israel and Palestine. In that vein, he called on his Middle East Quartet colleagues to positively respond to the Russian Federation’s call to hold a ministerial meeting as soon as possible. Welcoming the establishment of a new United Nations Liaison Office in Cairo, he expressed Moscow’s desire for a stronger League of Arab States and for enhancing the organization’s role in preventing and resolving conflicts. That must include returning Syria to its membership in the League, as all States must have an equal footing. He also called for more dialogue on the conditions of Christians and other ethnic minorities affected by conflict, while calling on States of the region to seek diplomatic solutions and reject the use of sanctions. In addition, he spotlighted the Russian Federation’s concept of Collective Security in the Persian Gulf as an invitation to dialogue in which the League could play an important role.
JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMÍREZ (Mexico) acknowledged the League’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring the importance of working in a coordinated manner to resolve long-standing disputes in Yemen, Syria and Palestine. Efforts must ensure that, on 15 May, elections will be held in Lebanon, and he applauded the League’s creation of the Elections Observation Mission, as well as other efforts in Iraq. Pointing also to the League’s co-chair role within a working group on Libya, he said its support is essential to United Nations mediation efforts to resolve the political stalemate in that country. “The timely intervention of regional organizations is ever-more important,” he said, welcoming the contributions by League members to humanitarian response plans in the region. He welcomed the recent appointment of a Director for the United Nations Liaison Office in Cairo as an important step for the institutional strengthening between both organizations. He called for redoubled efforts to fight terrorism, combat illicit arms flows and enforce arms embargoes, as well as to implement the women, peace and security agenda, and that for youth, peace and security.
MARTIN GALLAGHER (Ireland), noting that his country values the contributions of regional organizations based on its own history, welcomed today’s presidential statement, as well as the appointment of a Head of the United Nations Liaison Office to the League of Arab States. Citing the link between climate change and security as one area for potential increased cooperation, he echoed calls for innovative approaches to strengthen conflict‑prevention and mediation in the region. In Libya, the deterioration of the situation since the postponement of elections in December 2021 is of grave concern, and all actors must safeguard the progress achieved so far by the Libyan people. In Yemen, innocent civilians have suffered for far too long, and negotiations and de-escalation are urgently needed. It is also crucial that the parties in Syria adhere to a permanent ceasefire, as that conflict enters its eleventh year. He also voiced concern that those countries and others in the region are seeing an increasingly bleak humanitarian picture as the Russian Federation’s illegal invasion of Ukraine has driven up food and commodity prices for millions.
MONA JUUL (Norway) voiced her country’s strong support for enhanced cooperation and dialogue between the Council and the League of Arab States as an essential part of peace and security in the region. Norway would welcome a more prominent role played by the League in promoting stability, peace and reconciliation, in cooperation with other regional and international partners. Offering several suggestions for avenues of enhanced cooperation, she called for more attention to the youth, peace and security agenda; enhanced collaboration on children and armed conflict, including more efforts to protect education and prevent grave violations against children; coordination on issues related to climate and security; and renewed efforts to implement the women, peace and security agenda. Women in Arab States must play a crucial role in building regional peace and security, she stressed, spotlighting such existing joint efforts as the Arab Women Mediators Network and the Emergency Committee for Protection for Women in Conflict.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana) said regional arrangements, and their invaluable knowledge of the regions they represent, contribute to collective security efforts. Ghana will continue to support Council initiatives to cement such partnerships, including with the League, on a range of issues, such as on early warning conflict‑prevention, mediation, peacebuilding, addressing the root causes of conflict and in addressing the climate emergency. He welcomed commitments made to peace and security agendas for women and youth, noting that the League’s continued engagement will be critical to containing any new conflicts or flareups in the region. He encouraged its greater diplomatic engagement in conflicts, in collaboration with the Council. Commending the trilateral cooperation framework, he said deepened partnership with the League will help to effectively tackle peace and security issues in the region. By using avenues for regular consultations with the League, the Council can be more effective in discharging its mandate. Ghana will work to enhance the complementarity with regional organizations, he added.
ALBANA DAUTLLARI (Albania) said regional organizations serve as “building blocks” for ensuring the world’s security and peace. Her country values the role of the United Arab Emirates in enhancing the League’s cooperation with the United Nations and she called for ways to strengthen efforts related to conflict prevention, diplomacy, counter-terrorism and the promotion of women and youth in international peace and security. She expressed support for proposals by the youth briefer, noting that the League can promote inclusivity and a bigger role for civil society in its work. She encouraged it to promote women’s participation in decision‑making at all levels and to engage with civil society in a transformative and constructive manner. Albania welcomes enhanced trilateral cooperation among the United Nations, African Union and the League on transnational security issues, she said, underscoring that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is already impacting the Arab region, threatening food security — “the daily bread” of millions of people. “We must be united in our resolve to confront aggression and violent conflict, everywhere,” she stated, stressing that Albania stands ready to work with the League to enhance its cooperation with the United Nations, and the Council in particular.
RONALDO COSTA FILHO (Brazil) said his nation and Arab countries share deep social, cultural and economic ties, as well as similar views on many topics on the international agenda. The League of Arab States is a traditional partner, having opened its first permanent delegation in Brazil in 1956, and his country now has embassies in capitals of 17 of 22 member States. He voiced support for the Security Council’s initiative to recognize its positive influence in preventing and mediating regional conflicts, as well as strengthening cooperation and strategic coordination between the United Nations and the League in peacekeeping. Many of the conflicts in the Arab world have been created or exacerbated by forces outside the region, he noted, while the interests and well-being of Arab peoples are usually side-lined. The League has raised its voice in favour of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member States, and the Council must draw on this experience and its wisdom to find balanced solutions to the region’s problems. He cited the United Arab Emirates delegation for the presidential statement adopted today by the Council, as it reflects the organization’s relevance to the preservation of peace and security.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States) voiced support for cooperation between the League of Arab States and the Security Council as the latter fulfils its critical responsibility to respond to the scourge of war and threats to international peace and security. Welcoming the League’s activities — including its continued efforts to push back on Iran’s destabilizing activities, its work in the coalition to defeat Da’esh and its fight against the pandemic — she said the United States leads the world in supporting the global COVAX Facility, having donated more than 38.5 million doses to League of Arab States members alone. Noting that COVID-19 remains an immediate priority for both organizations, she said they must also stay laser focused on the grave threat posed by the climate crisis.
She went on to voice support for the region’s strides in developing and implementing national action plans on women, peace and security, and deepening its engagement with youth, while expressing regret that today’s meeting comes as the Council’s ability to address threats to international peace and security has been undermined by one Council member. In that vein, she condemned in the strongest possible terms the Russian Federation’s illegal war in Ukraine and welcomed the fact that a majority of League of Arab States members voted in favour of the resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 2 March. She also thanked the League’s Secretary-General for his reminder today that “we cannot focus on one challenge and forget about the others that we need to deal with”.
MARTIN KIMANI (Kenya) described as “sobering” the fact that the Arab world still faces transboundary and security threats, calling for intensified coordination and partnership at all levels between the Council and the League on issues of mutual concern. New strategies and policies are needed to address the peace, security and humanitarian challenges at hand. He called for mediation, support for political transitions, reconciliation between and among countries, and the use of tools to counter transnational terrorist groups. Noting that African countries constitute nearly half of the League’s members, he called for enhanced trilateral cooperation among the United Nations, African Union and the League on cross-regional peace and security issues. He advocated support for a Libya-led peace and political transition and the implementation of the political agreement in Sudan, as well as for the Federal Government of Somalia. Strengthened counter‑terrorism support in the Horn of Africa, Lake Chad Basin region and the Sahel is also needed, as is coordination of maritime security measures in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
NATHALIE BROADHURST (France) said the region is still riven by major threats, particularly terrorism, due to the resurgence of Da’esh. The international community must adapt its action on the ground, in the fight against financing of terrorism and use of the Internet for terrorist purposes. Climate change also exacerbates vulnerabilities, and desertification, droughts and water insecurity must be mitigated as part of the fight for international peace and security. The Russian Federation is waging a war against Ukraine, but it will impact all who depend on it for their food, she stated. Welcoming cooperation between the United Nations and the Arab League on the Iraqi legislative elections of 10 October 2021, she noted free and transparent elections in Lebanon on 15 May 2022 are also crucial to stability in the region. On Syria, she said that the war is far from over, and without a solid political process, her delegation remains opposed to any rehabilitation of the Syrian regime. She defended the two‑State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and called on the League and its members to take their full share of the UNRWA budget. Resolving the Yemen conflict will require a comprehensive and inclusive political solution, she stressed, with all parties engaging in good faith in the negotiations, particularly the Houthis. The political crisis in Libya can only be resolved by continuing political dialogue, with a new road map for the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections as soon as possible. Turning to Sudan, she voiced support for efforts by the United Nations, African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to establish dialogue between the parties.
ZHANG JUN (China) said security and development have long been goals pursued by Arab countries, and the international community should play a constructive role in assisting them to independently pursue them. The League of Arab States has a deep understanding of the region affording it a unique role, and the United Nations must deepen cooperation, encourage a regional approach to settlement of disputes and forge synergies. He stressed that the question of Palestine should not be marginalized under any circumstances, voicing support for recent high-level contact between the parties to reinvigorate the peace process and dialogue. He commended the League’s just position on the issue, urging the United Nations to coordinate peace efforts to advance the process. Noting the 11-year Syrian conflict puts enormous pressure on neighbouring countries, he called for a Syrian‑led and -owned peace process, voicing support for the League’s position on the return of Syria to its fold. Noting momentum in Libya has slowed, he urged all parties to remain committed to consensus, peace and elections. China and Arab countries fought side by side for the goal of independence, he said, and have been cooperating on vaccine production and free-trade zones for a post-COVID-19 recovery.
MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon) recalling the January 2021 debate on the Council’s “indispensable partnership” with the League of Arab States, said that this cooperation has grown since 1945. Citing the establishment of the United Nations Liaison Office in Cairo and recent appointment of a representative, he said the scope of challenges calls for greater cooperation with the League in addressing situations in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and the peace process in the Middle East. Underscoring the importance of trilateral interactions among the United Nations, African Union and the League of Arab States on cross-cutting peace and security concerns and recalling that almost half of the Arab population lives in Africa, he described a “shared destiny” and a “shared narrative” on the application of internal solutions to crises. Cooperation with the League must remain at the core of the global crisis‑settlement agenda. The partnership must rest on complementarity and comparative advantage, he explained, and must be supported by better coordination and communication. Management mechanisms must be established to settle crises with tasks of various actors clearly defined. He called for a strengthened cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, including interregional partners.
ABDULLAH ALI FADHEL AL-SAADI (Yemen), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said crises in Arab countries represent threats to international peace and security, and underscored the League’s contributions in resolving them. He emphasized the important role of regional organizations working alongside United Nations to resolve regional crises, as they are equipped to better understand the nuances of the problems at hand. He called for intensified consultations, as well as for formal and informal meetings between the Council and the League. Citing presidential statement 5 of 2019 and presidential statement 2 of 2021, he said the Group values the holding of the annual high-level meeting to assist the Council in understanding Arab crises.
He said a mechanism for promoting cooperation between the United Nations Secretary-General and the Arab Group in New York must be found, and called for holding informal meetings with the Arab Summit Troika, among others, on the margins of the high-level segment of the General Assembly. He went on to stress the importance of finding “Arab solutions to Arab problems” and recommended more cooperation in the selection of United Nations Special Envoys to the region, and further, between those Special Envoys and the League. “The Council must speak with one voice,” he said, and limit its veto use on questions related to Arab crises. It is likewise important to end foreign intervention in internal Arab State affairs and to create a zone free from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. He underscored the importance of preventive diplomacy. The United Nations Liaison Office must be augmented to maximize cooperation. He also welcomed proposals in the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda report on enhancing the role of the Special Envoy for Youth.