Statement by H.E. Dr. Ali Naseer Mohamed, Ambassador and Chargé d'affaires of the Permanent Mission of the Maldives to the United Nations

at the United Nations Security Council open debate on ‘the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question’

24 January 2024


Thank you, Mr. President,

I would like to thank France, the President of the Council for the month of January, for convening this important open debate on the Middle East.

I also wish to congratulate and welcome the newly elected members to the Council: Algeria, South Korea, Guyana, Sierra Leone, and Slovenia. It is heartening to see Guyana, a fellow small island developing State, on the Council. I have no doubt that you will continue to champion the interests of SIDS on the Council, including a close examination of the security dimension of the climate emergency that the world is going through now.

The Security Council has failed. That is a fact that even the P5 should acknowledge. And its failure is most clearly seen in Israel’s on-going war of aggression against Palestine, most recently since 7 October 2023.

What is most astonishing is that the Security Council, which is responsible for maintaining global peace and security, is refusing to call for a ceasefire. With that refusal, it is perpetuating a potentially genocidal war by the most powerful military in the Middle East against Palestinians.

Over a month has now passed since the adoption of resolution 2720 (2023), the second such Security Council resolution since the beginning of the war in last October. The resolution was viewed as the first step towards peace, and supported by many countries, including the Maldives.

Over the course of the past month, we have not seen a cessation of hostilities. We have not seen an end to the collective punishment imposed on the Palestinian people. We have not seen the adherence of Israel to international law and international humanitarian law.

The Council needs to enforce its resolutions, and universally implement its mandate, or we risk losing faith in the United Nations system as a whole, and the weakening of multilateralism.

The Council should send a clear and unmistakable message to the Middle East. The message should say to Israel to immediately and unconditionally accept and implement a ceasefire; open humanitarian corridors; release the prisoners; return to the negotiation table; and pay for the reconstruction of Gaza.

The Maldives is encouraged that many powerful supporters of Israel have come out in recent weeks and called for the establishment of an independent, sovereign State of Palestine in the lands currently occupied by Israel. Such calls should also include the fact that lasting peace can only be achieved in the Middle East with the establishment of an independent state of Palestine, based on pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Maldives also welcomes South Africa's application to the International Court of Justice on 29 December 2023 requesting to declare that Israel is in breach of the 1948 “Convention of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide”. An expedited response by the Court will undoubtedly enable to take urgent action against all acts and measures that are in breach of the international human rights and international humanitarian law.

Mr. President,

Tension in various other parts in the Middle East have also resulted in attacks, including massive bombardments and substantial loss of lives.

We would like to see a deeper engagement by the UN, especially the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, in promoting dialogue, mediation, and other preventive diplomacy tools.

We would like to believe that the DPPA and other UN agencies have accumulated a substantial amount of knowledge on conflict resolution and management in the Middle East.

We call on the Council members to use such resources. For such knowledge can generate evidence on what policies and tools have worked and what have failed in preventing conflicts and sustaining peace.

The enduring conflicts in the Middle East stand as powerful symbols of the failures of this Council.

The Maldives, therefore, urges the Council to uphold its obligations in maintaining international peace and security. We reiterate our calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, and allow immediate and urgently needed humanitarian aid and assistance to the Palestinian people.

I thank you.