Thank you Mr President,
Time and time again, the small windows of peace that emerge in the Middle East have been shattered shut by wanton violence and destruction. The region still remains volatile, torn apart by deep divisions. Human development and societal advancement are at risk of being stunted. And the international community remains unable to facilitate a lasting solution for the situation in the Middle East.
The Republic of Maldives welcomes the report of the Secretary-General on the situation in the Middle East. My delegation also extends its deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to the family of Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Ansari, Cultural Adviser at the Iranian embassy, and to the families of the victims of this latest travesty. The Maldives strongly condemns new and recurring acts of violence against diplomatic and consular representatives. We also express our sincere condolences to all families of the victims of the recent bombings in Egypt and Iraq.
The Maldives once again, reaffirms that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes a serious threat to peace and security. We call on all perpetrators of violence to be brought to justice in accordance with international obligations.
Justice is one of the basic prerequisites for building strong democratic foundations. The Arab Spring was meant to be the springboard upon which the populations of the region could exercise their legitimate right to determine their own systems of governance. It is unfortunate, that nations were unable to make significant headway. And it is unfortunate that we, as the international community, were unable to help them towards a democratic process.
Alas, the most important prerequisite for democracy is peace and stability. The bombing of the Iranian Embassy in Lebanon reminds us that the conflict in Syria is one that inherently affects the wider region. With cross-border gunfire, the conflict’s spill-over effects are undeniable and inevitable. Additionally, the resurgence of transnational terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda, is deeply concerning, as is the death toll that has now exceeded 100,000. And with over 2 million refugees and more than half the country displaced by the on-going civil war, the situation is growing dire.
The Maldives urges the international community to ensure that assistance to these refugees are adequate, and that support for their host countries is maintained. With Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq experiencing massive inflows of refugees, we would like to take a moment to recognize their effort, and that of the Arab League in mobilizing humanitarian assistance.
Unfortunately, many refugees are met with hostility. The Maldives is especially concerned by reports of arbitrary arrests and the indefinite detentions of refugees. We urge the concerned authorities to work with the international community to find long-term solutions. Without the ability to meet the needs of refugees, the deteriorating situation in the region will only be exacerbated. International and humanitarian law must prevail. And the international community must ensure, as is its obligation, that these laws are upheld.
These very laws have been flouted for decades in the occupied Palestinian territories and the Syrian Golan. Since 1967, the territories have been occupied illegally, without regard to national sovereignty or international instruments and standards. This Assembly’s warnings and advice have gone unheeded. Basic human rights are being constantly flouted in the name of stability. Human dignity and humanitarian concerns forgone. Cycles of violence and hatred are being perpetuated through occupation, without any progress towards a lasting solution.
The de facto annexation of the Syrian Golan, illustrated by the decision of Israel on 14 December 1981, to allow the occupying power to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration, combined with settlement construction and expansion, are flagrant violations of international law, conventions and resolutions, especially the Geneva Conventions related to the Protection of Civilian Persons in a Time of War.
The necessity of a political solution is becoming crucial, as yet another generation is born into uncertainty and violence. A lasting and comprehensive peace can only be maintained through the protection of territorial integrity and the de-occupation of sovereign territories. The interests and concerns of both parties must be met. The Maldives believes firmly in a two state solution where an independent Palestine on the borders of 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital lives side by side and at peace with Israel. The basis for fruitful international dialogue is always compromise, and above all trust. And therefore, while Maldives commends the newly initiated dialogue between both nations, we call upon Israel to suspend the expansion of settlements, so that the talks could be given a chance of success. The world, and most importantly, the people of those nations still eagerly await the status quo giving way to progress and peace.
The Maldives commends the efforts made in Geneva with regards to easing of sanctions on Iran in return for nuclear transparency. Sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran represent a clear threat to the situation of human rights in the country, and Maldives urges all stakeholders to continue to work towards ending these devastating economic measures. Sanctions have negatively impacted a burgeoning economy, and the Maldives encourages steps being taken to reduce this burden on the country. The sanctions’ contribution to inflation, its determent to the provision of health care, and adverse impact on vulnerable populations are concerning. In spite of this handicap, the country appears to have made some progress in areas such as women’s education, health, youth development, and access to basic services. Further, with the election of President Rouhani, we welcome what the Secretary General referred to as “positive signs of dynamism in the country’s civil and political life.”
Like every other person, living in every other part of the world, the people of this troubled region deserve to live their lives with dignity. They deserve to have peace, stability, and room for economic advancement. They also deserve to enjoy the dividends of democracy: have a say in the way their governments are run. Men and women alike deserve to have access to opportunity, education and to find their own paths to prosperity.
The Maldives believes that the people of this region understand and remain committed to supporting the universal values and principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The international community must stand ready to support them and ensure the progress of our global community. It is only through a peaceful resolution to the many conflicts raging around the globe, through meaningful dialogue, mutual understanding and honest discussions that we, as a community of nations can take a step forward for the benefit of generations to come.