Statement of Saudi Arabia in the 70th Session UN General Assembly
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir
70th Regular Session of the UN General Assembly
New York, New York
In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Mr. President of the General Assembly
His Excellency the Secretary General of the United Nations
Ladies and gentlemen
May peace, mercy and blessings of God fall upon you
We meet today after 70 years since the establishment of our organization, recalling together the main objectives and principles of the United Nations Charter, of which the Kingdom was one of the signatory and founding members in 1945.
We all realize that the United Nations has come into being against the background of two world wars, which resulted in huge material and human costs, enough to make us convinced of the importance of adhering to the principles of our Charter, which aims primarily to achieve security and stability of our world, and to prevent any new wars and devastating conflicts. The most important thing we must remember here, is the goal of maintaining international peace and security, which could not be achieved unless there is justice and equality for our people and our nations and respect for the principles and provisions of international law, especially the respect of the sovereignty of each State, which rules were put forth by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, which recognized the independence and sovereignty of nations and set the foundations of the contemporary international system.
The Palestinian issue remains a permanent item on the UNGA agenda, despite all the ideas and initiatives that have been put forward so far, resulting in the continued suffering of the Palestinian people, who are still deprived of their right to live in dignity, in defiance of the principles of international law and resolutions of international legitimacy.
Today we desperately need to find a solution to the Arab -Israeli conflict, based on Security Council resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative that my country put forward more than 13 years ago that was adopted by the Arab and Islamic worlds, and received wide support from the international community, so as to achieve the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Having said that, we must repeat our denunciation of the continuing Israeli violations on the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque, in policies aimed at dividing it in time and space, which poses a serious escalation in the conflict, which worsen the violence and feeds extremism in the world.
While the Syrian crisis is entering its fifth year, the international community is still incapable of making critical decisions to save the Syrian people from the machinery of killing, destruction and displacement operated by Bashar al-Assad. The crisis led to the killing of more than three hundred thousand and displacement of more than twelve million Syrians, and the destruction of the country, in one of the worst humanitarian disaster witnessed by our contemporary history.
We realize that the only way to end this crisis is through a political solution, based on the Declaration of Geneva 1, which aims to preserve the unity of Syria as a nation, both nationally and regionally, and the preservation of civil and military state institutions, and the formation of a transitional governing council, with no room for Bashar al-Assad or those whose hands have been stained by the blood of the Syrian people. My country will continue to push forward for this solution, as it remains at the forefront of countries supporting the Syrian people to meet their humanitarian needs and alleviate their suffering.
The Coalition forces in support of legitimacy in Yemen have made great achievements in liberating numerous areas from the grip of insurgents, including the port city of Aden, which allowed for the legitimate government to return. The latest of these achievements was to regain control over the Bab al-Mandab, yesterday, and secured international navigation (maritime).
The military intervention was the Kingdom’s last option and the Coalition came after a coup was made by the Houthi-Saleh power to overthrow the government by taking over the country, seizing the presidential palace in Aden, and threatening the legitimate president. Military intervention was conducted at the request of the legitimate government in Yemen in accordance with Article (51) of the UN Charter.
The goal of military operations in Yemen is to reduce the risk of militias, protect our borders and find a political solution based on the Gulf initiative, and the output of the national dialogue and UN Security Council Resolution 2216. We recognize that the Houthis are part of the social fabric in Yemen, but that does not give them the right to possess militias outside the framework of the state of Yemen or at the expense of the Yemeni people.
There are parties that are trying to escalate the crisis in Yemen through incitement and attempts to smuggle arms to the rebels. For example, on Saturday, September 26, 2015, an Iranian vessel loaded with weapons was stopped for inspection set out according to Security Council Resolution 2216. This was not the only case of Iranian attempt to smuggle arms to the rebels.
Currently, the Kingdom and coalition partners are intensifying efforts with international organizations to deliver humanitarian aid to Yemen. The ‘King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid’ is playing a significant role in providing assistance to the Yemeni people directly, or through international relief organizations. Moreover, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, issued an order to correct the status of the Yemenis who are currently residing in the Kingdom illegally, to enable them to work, and take advantage of the health care and education system.
Stemming from its keenness to achieve the purposes of United Nations Charter in maintaining the security and safety of the people of the world, the Kingdom has been at the forefront of those countries supporting to ensure that the Middle East is a nuclear free zone and free from all weapons of mass destruction. This is why we welcomed all efforts in achieving this goal, including the agreement reached by the (P5 +1) countries with Iran, which prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
We hope that after the deal is reached, Iran abandons its negative interference in the affairs of Arab States, which shall be faced firmly. At the same time, my country confirms its commitment in building better relations with Iran, based on good neighborliness, mutual respect, and non-interference in the affairs of neighboring countries. In this regard, the Kingdom calls Iran to end its occupation of the three islands belonging to the UAE.
In the context of our response to terrorism and extremism, it is important to emphasize that we realize that no one is far from the effects of this dangerous phenomenon and that it should not be attributed to any religion, culture or race. We are all targets and we are all at risk. The land and people of Saudi Arabia have been – and are still – targeted by terrorists, and we are determined to eradicate it from its roots. My country is at the forefront of those countries fighting terrorism from all sides; intellectual and security and drying out its financial resources. In this regard, we strongly condemn the attempt of terrorists to attribute their crimes to Islam, while Islam calls for love and peace, tolerance and moderation.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia attaches great importance to development issues and in supporting efforts in developing countries. We believe that the success of the development process depends on the international community to respect the privacy of historical, religious and cultural inheritance prevailing in different countries, and this means that the achievement of sustainable development must be linked to specific goals for each state and their current level of development. That is why the Kingdom was keen on having an active and direct role in the formulation and the development of the Millennium Development Goals.
In conclusion, I would like to stress that the changes in our current world, and the challenges we face (militarily, economically, intellectually, environmentally health issues and others) compel us to strengthen the role of the United Nations and activate its institutions, and make all efforts to reform our international organization (the UN), so that it can keep up with developments in the international arena.
May peace, mercy and blessings of God fall upon you.