United Nations Security Council
Open debate on the Situation in the Middle East
Statement by H.E. Mr. Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives
to the United Nations
New York, 19 October 2016
Let me begin by thanking the Russian Presidency of the Security Council for convening this quarterly open debate on the situation in the Middle East. The debate is taking place at a timely juncture when the world is at a trepidation over the grave humanitarian situation in Syria, particularly regarding the escalating violence in Aleppo. We also recognize the Council's Arria-formula meeting that took place last week on illegal Israeli settlements organized by Malaysia, Egypt, Senegal, Angola, and Venezuela.
It is with great concern, my delegation joins many other states in noting the inability of the Security Council in exercising the duties that it has been entrusted with by the international community, through the UN Charter; in the maintenance of international peace and security.
The targeted attacks which are taking place in Aleppo completely disregard civilian populations and infrastructure, and have resulted in the deaths of hundreds, including children and aid workers. Schools, hospitals and basic infrastructure have been annihilated, depriving an entire population of their basic rights and necessities. Decades of growth and development have been wiped out in the blink of an eye, with their future looking increasingly dark.
We expect the Security Council to use all appropriate means to protect innocent civilians, end the escalating violence in flagrant violation of international law, and ensure accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The failure to act, resulting in the dire humanitarian crisis in Syria, sets a dangerous precedent for the role of the Security Council in addressing future conflicts.
Therefore, the Maldives calls upon all members of the Security Council to ensure compliance of all states with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council. In a similar vein, we also call upon the international community to enhance humanitarian aid, and the concerned actors to ensure unimpeded, continuous and complete access of this aid to those in need. We must undertake all efforts to alleviate and end the suffering which has been unjustly inflicted on the innocent civilians in Syria.
We also strongly urge all concerned parties to engage constructively in political dialogue to bring a sustainable and peaceful solution to the crisis, and refrain from resorting to further acts of violence, which will fuel and escalate the conflict.
The perpetuating hostility and conflict in the occupied Palestine, which has compromised peace and security in the region for decades, is another result of the Security Council's imparity, and failure to exercise its responsibilities.
The facts are clear: The excessive punitive measures and continuous brutal violence by the Occupying Power, Israeli against the Palestinian people have not only denied their fundamental human rights, but also claimed numerous lives. The expansion of Israeli settlements through constructions and designation of land for exclusive Israeli use is in clear violation of international laws, including the right to self-determination. These activities extinguish any prospect of development or a stable future for the Palestinian people.
While Israel continues with the façade of having committed to a two state solution, their actions clearly demonstrate the exact opposite. This year alone, the settlement activities have expanded at an alarming rate, with the demolition of not only Palestinian homes and property, but also humanitarian infrastructure established by the international community. The Maldives reaffirms solidarity with the Palestinian people, and reiterates the call upon Israel for an immediate cessation of their settlement activities that are illegal.
Although we do believe that the agreed two state solution to the conflict is ultimately a political one, which can only be reached by the parties concerned, we also believe that it is the responsibility of the Security Council to facilitate this, by setting the parameters which are necessary to maintain conditions on the ground to enable them to work towards this goal in good faith. The current state of affairs, with the expansion of illegal Israeli settlement, coupled with continuing violence is steering the conflict further away from the two state solution.
The Maldives commends and welcomes the numerous initiatives which have been undertaken by various member countries and the international community, including civil society, to address the situation in the Middle East. Undoubtedly, these initiatives have substantially assisted in alleviating the suffering of people impacted by the conflict.
At the same time, we wish to emphasize that this duty primarily lies with the UN Security Council. If the Council is unable to take adequate measure to maintain international peace and security, there is a need to reevaluate and change its current methodologies and strategies. The Maldives is ready to play its part in such an exercise.
Thank you Mr. President.