H E Dr Ali Naseer Mohamed, Permanent Representative
At the UNSC Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East, including the
Question of Palestine
22 January 2019
Thank you, Mr President,
My Delegation wishes to thank the Dominican Republic for convening today’s Open Debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Question of Palestine. I also wish to take this opportunity to congratulate the newly elected members of the Council, Belgium, Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia, and South Africa, who have assumed their membership of the Council this month.
The Government and the people of the Maldives attaches great importance to the issue of the Middle East and especially to the question of Palestine. I wish to reiterate my Government’s steadfast support to the Council as well as to the Secretary-General in all ongoing efforts to bring a lasting peace to the Middle East.
The conflict in Palestine has been going on for seven decades, despite the numerous discussions, debates, and Resolutions passed at the United Nations, including those adopted by this Council. To this day, the illegal occupation of Palestine continues; with demolitions and seizure of Palestinian-owned property; building of illegal settlements, and the gross violation of basic human rights of the Palestinian people.
The Government of Maldives condemns these acts of aggression and calls on Israel to lift the blockade it had imposed on the civilian population in Gaza, and to cease the disproportionate attacks on Palestinian civilians, including women and children. The restrictions imposed on the movement of people and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip must be lifted immediately to ensure safe delivery of humanitarian assistance. The Security Council needs to take urgent action to protect civilians and deliver basic humanitarian assistance much needed by millions of Palestinians.
This Council has, declared null and void, through Resolutions 476 and 478 (1980), the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the annexation of the Holy City of Jerusalem, shifting of the Israeli capital to Jerusalem, and the decision by any country to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and shifting their embassies to Jerusalem. Through the Resolution 2334, the Council called upon all States to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967. Yet, we are witnessing that some countries are ignoring the Council’s own resolutions.
The Maldives has always believed that an independent and sovereign State of Palestine, established on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its Capital, living side-by-side, in peace and harmony with Israel, is the best, and the only solution to the conflict. It is depressing to see that this solution, to which all sides in the conflict once prescribed to in the past, seems to move further and further away.
The Maldives, therefore, calls on Israel to fully implement the Resolutions of this Council and respect the legal obligations under the United Nations Charter. We also urge the Security Council and the entire UN membership to redouble its efforts, to end the conflict, to bring meaningful and lasting peace to the people of Palestine, as well as Israel.
The conflict in Syria has already claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, including children. It has leveled entire cities and towns to the ground and reduced them to rubble. The resulting environment of fear and uncertainty has caused millions of Syrians to flee the country. Neighboring Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey struggles to cope with this mass exodus of refugees, further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis faced by the Syrian people. Yet, the conflict is locked in a stalemate with no end in sight.
We are encouraged by the recent discussions including the Brussels Conference on Supporting the future of Syria and the region, co-chaired by the European Union and the United Nations in April 2018. We acknowledge that the Conference provided an opportunity to gather political support for the peace process and mobilise aid for the Syrians. However, the UN and the international community must do more, to reinvigorate talks to reach a peaceful settlement of this conflict.
The war in Yemen has affected millions of civilians and children are the hardest hit. The Maldives supports the UN mediated ceasefire agreed to by all the parties in December last year, and the establishment of humanitarian corridors supervised by the UN. The Maldives is encouraged by the Council’s decision to adopt 2452 on 16 January to establish a special political mission to support implementation of the ceasefire agreement of 13 December 2018.
Conflicts, such as those in Yemen and Syria are breeding grounds for terrorism, a global menace which pays no heed to borders, do not distinguish between the young or old, women or men, nor respect any religion or culture. It is a global threat to peace and security, and hence requires a global solution, rather than a local one. The international community needs better coordination, information sharing, and cooperative strategies to tackle the threat of terrorism.
The Security Council is the most vital body of the United Nations. It has the responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. It therefore needs to do more to ensure that its authority and legitimacy are not compromised. The Council needs to step up its efforts to ensure that its decisions are respected by everyone, every Member State, and every Member of this Council.