Statement by H.E. President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah El Sisi at the 71st session
Thursday، 22 September 2016 - 11:57 AM
(New York- 20 September 2016)
Mr. Peter Thomson;
I would like to congratulate you over the chairmanship of the United Nations General Assembly in its 71st session. I wish you all good luck and success. I would like also to express my appreciation to Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, the president of the former session for his efforts and contributions.
The current session of the United Nations General Assembly is held after we have launched a new phase for achieving sustainable development with its ecological, economic and social dimensions through adopting the 2030 Development Agenda and Addis Ababa document for financing development last year. There is no doubt that peoples' aspirations, especially the developing peoples, for decent life and steady growth is the major responsibility that we shoulder as leaders in whom peoples have put their trust. Our peoples have entrusted us with the responsibility out of the humanitarian principles that are governing our efforts. But challenges and limited potentials of the developing countries are hampering the achievement of the aspirations mentioned in the Development Agenda where the developing countries lack enough opportunities to achieve sustainable development. They need a suitable international context represented in a bigger share of international trade and financing mechanisms along with technology transfer and flow of investments in addition to handling debts and creating a propitious atmosphere for development at the national level.
Egypt is calling for supporting the role of the State to guarantee a balance between the dimensions of sustainable development, especially those related to the viability of social protection networks, and enhancing the national ownership of development. Egypt is also underlining the importance of capitalizing on the international financing system for creating a fair international economic order which would provide equal opportunities for development and help minimize the gap between the developed and developing countries. The United Nations is the best forum for handling these issues. Therefore Egypt was one of the first 22 countries that requested a voluntary review of its development plans last July.
We have reached last year an agreement which is based on the principles of the United Nations agreement on climate change. I confirm, in my capacity as the coordinator of the group of African heads of state on climate change, Africa's commitment to confronting climate change according to its potentials. I also confirm its desire to activate mechanisms for implementing the agreement on technology transfer and sustainable finance. This is why Egypt has set up a track for a renewable energy initiative and put it forth within the framework of its leadership of the committee of African leaders on climate change in implementation of the related African Union resolutions. Egypt confirms its importance for channeling finance to Africa and that confronting the climate change should take into consideration fairness and right to development along with commitment to the international law principles the most important of which is not harming of and enhancing cooperation with all countries in the proposed projects in line with regulating rules of the international finance institutions atop of which comes the World Bank.
After the world has become a small cosmic village thanks to the positive effects of the revolution of technological communication and the freedom of movement of capital and investments along with international trade, we still observe another face of globalization with its results leading to social and economic challenges as it was associated with poverty and the widening gap of inequality along with shaking the social covenant in several developing countries. All these factors together constituted a pressure on the cohesion of the institutional entity of these countries. These challenges and pressures may represent the biggest incentive for the international community to work seriously for providing the best means for institutions in each country so that they could undertake their duties and meet the needs and aspirations of their peoples.
Amid these challenges that are plaguing the world order, the Egyptian people managed to impose their will for establishing stability and protecting the State and its institutions and also defend the society against division and spiraling into chaos. The Egyptian people have adopted a new constitution that protects rights and freedoms that were mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights where the constitution guaranteed equality of rightson the basis of citizenship and stipulated the protection of the impoverished segments. This state of affairs allowed women to win unprecedented number of seats in the House of Representatives and enlarged the representation of youths in the House. The House has already started exercising its legislative powers and monitoring the executive authority. At the economic level, Egypt is forging ahead with implementing an ambitious plan for economic reform that takes into consideration the social dimension and the requirements of decent life for the Egyptian people. Also, Egypt is implementing mega national projects for expanding the road network and setting up power plants and renewable energy stations along with upgrading the infrastructure and widening the arable land in addition to enhancing manufacturing capabilities.
The Middle East region is still rife with bloody conflicts. Even though, Egypt was capable to maintain its stability amid a very volatile regional context thanks to its solid institutions and the awareness of its people about their deep cultural heritage. The international community should be aware of this situation for serving the region and the whole world at large so that Egypt would maintain its role as a main pillar of stability in the Middle East taking into consideration that Egypt has never spared any effort for undertaking its natural role in working with regional and international parties to restore security and stability in the Middle East.
Atop of these bloody conflicts in the region comes the painful situation through which Syria is passing over the past years which left hundreds of thousands dead and millions either refugees or displaced. Those include half a million received by Egypt as brothers who are receiving the same services such as health care, education and housing like any Egyptian. The continuation of bloodshed in Syria while no political solution is looming on the horizon is no longer acceptable. What is required is clear; namely, an immediate and complete halting all hostilities in all parts of Syria paving the way for a political solution that stems the bloodshed and maintains the unity of Syria and its territorial integrity and its State institutions while achieving the aspirations of the Syrian people and prevent the continuation of the state of chaos that only led to the spread of terrorism. Within this context, we welcome the agreement on cessation of hostilities that was reached through commended efforts by Russia and the US. We are looking forward to an immediate and serious action by the international community to resume negotiations on Syria as soon as possible to reach a comprehensive settlement to the crisis.
Within the same volatile context, the Arab-Israeli conflict remains the core of instability in the Middle East. This situation requires consolidating efforts of regional countries and the international community to reach a last and comprehensive solution to the conflict. Egypt is exerting strenuous efforts for pushing up the peace process for reaching a last settlement and durable and fair peace which is based on the two-state solution. Egypt also welcomes efforts that are based on genuine desire to improve the situation in the Palestinian territories in light of the suffering of Palestinians from a state of affairs that should be addressed while focusing on ending the occupation and restoring the rights of the Palestinians through a peace agreement in accordance with international legitimacy resolutions that guarantees for the Palestinians their rights to their own State and for Israel its security amid natural relations in its regional context.
Egypt confirms that the hand of peace is still stretched through the Arab Peace Initiative. Egypt also asserts the necessity of working to take constructive steps towards ending the Israeli occupation and starting the final status negotiations that go side by side with halting all acts that harm the Arab heritage in Al-Quds Al-Sherif.
Allow me to forward a call to the Israeli people and leadership, through this forum which represents the voice of the world, on the importance of hammering out a solution to this issue. We have a real opportunity to write down a luminous chapter in the history of the region through moving towards peace. The Egyptian experiment in this regard is marvelous and unique and could be repeated for settling the Palestinian issue and setting up the Palestinian State side by side with the Israeli State for establishing security and safety for the Palestinians and security and safety for the Israelis while achieving for the
Palestinians stability and prosperity and for the Israelis stability and prosperity as well.
Meanwhile, the Libyan issue is affecting the Egyptian national security. Libya is passing through a critical situation and a deep political crisis. Although we have achieved progress last year by signing the Sukhirat agreement, its implementation is still facing impediments. Egypt is undertaking an active role for uniting the rival Libyan parties and supporting the implementation of the agreement as a means of restoring the unity and power of the Libyan State on its territories and operating through its legitimate institutions represented in a presidential council, a national unity government, a House and a national army. Egypt also hosts meetings of the Libyan brothers for facilitating the implementation of the Sukhirat agreement and forming a national unity government, representing all Libyans, to be endorsed by the Libyan House so that it could start rebuilding Libya while the national army would be able to stand up to terrorism. Also, the arms embargo on the Libyan army should be lifted as soon as possible to end the presence of terrorism and militias in Libya as it is high time to restore the institutions of the Libyan State.
As for Yemen, Egypt does not spare any effort for supporting the unity of Yemen and its territorial integrity and reinstating the legitimate government. We are supporting the efforts of UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Sheikh and supporting his plan to end the crisis that was approved by the legitimate government for maintaining the national interests. We confirm the necessity of resuming negotiations and that all other parties concerned should announce their commitment to the plan of the UN envoy for reaching a comprehensive settlement in Yemen in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions atop of which comes resolution 2216. Egypt will continue supporting settlement efforts and extending assistance to the Yemeni brothers while undertaking its main role in protecting and guaranteeing the freedom of navigation at Bab el-Mandab strait and the Red Sea.
Most of the Arab crises are a reflection of a state of international conflict. I confirm Egypt's rejection of foreign interference in the Arab affairs and assert the necessity of commitment to the principle of good neighborliness while stressing Egypt's solidarity with the Arab countries in the face of any foreign interference as the Arab national security, including the Arab Gulf national security, is associated with the Egyptian national security. I also confirm the necessity of standing up to all attempts to ignite sectarian sedition in Arab countries.
Adhering to the same commitment, Egypt is shouldering its responsibility towards the stability and security of the African continent. Egypt is the current chairman of the African Peace and Security Council and is keen on enhancing cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations at a time when the trans-border threats, including terrorism and organized crime, are growing. This is meant to achieve progress in handling disputes in accordance with the principle of "the national ownership and leadership" for rendering peace building efforts a success. Egypt was keen through its membership in the African Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council to coordinate stances between the two bodies. This has been positively reflected on African issues in the UN Security Council where Egypt has placed African issues on top of priorities during its chairmanship of the UN Security Council.
Egypt has worked for supporting the African peace and security structure; especially through activating the African Standby Force. Egypt has intensified its participation in UN peacekeeping missions in Africa where it restored its status as one of the big 10 countries contributing to these missions. Egypt is calling for adopting a comprehensive vision for fighting terrorism through an approach that does not include only the security dimension but also includes the intellectual side as well. Therefore, Egypt will host the center for fighting terrorism which is affiliated to the Sahel and Sahara Grouping. Egypt also confirms the importance of studying any new sources for tension taking into consideration the phenomenon of desertification and scarcity of water along with the development needs that are related to the trans-border water management.
At the level of our African continent, Egypt is confirming the importance of providing support for the Somali government to complete the elections during this year.
In Burundi, Egypt is seeking to reach solutions to the political crisis there through the African Peace and Security Council and, with a greater degree, through the UN Security Council. Egypt is seeking to address the crisis in the appropriate way for calming down the political situation and empowering all parties concerned in Burundi to enhance political dialogue and steer away from violence.
Also, since the outbreak of the crisis in South Sudan, Egypt has been working to participate within regional frameworks to address the crisis. Egypt has been contacting the two parties to the conflicted and regional and international parties concerned for establishing peace there. Egypt is also seeking through its chairmanship of the African Peace and Security Council that the Council would contribute with a wider role to the establishment of peace there and enhancing cooperation with the joint observer and assessment mechanism. Egypt is calling for working within the framework of a South Sudanese transitional national unity government in a way that will help restore stability to Juba.
As for Sudan, Egypt is highly appreciating the Sudanese government's efforts that resulted in signing the road map that was proposed by the high-level African mechanism last April.
The phenomenon of terrorism, with what it represents of aggression on the right to life, became more of a threat to international peace and security given the fact that terrorism is threatening the entity of the State in favor of extremist ideologies that are committing barbaric acts and tampering with the potentials of peoples under the cloak of religion. This situation requires an intensified regional and international cooperation. Egypt has always been keen on confirming that fighting terrorism will not bear fruit except through addressing its root causes and through firm confrontation with terrorist organizations along with standing up to the extremist ideologies which constitute the base of terrorism and fighting also those who are spreading these ideologies. I would like to highlight at this point Egypt's initiative during its chairmanship of the UN Security Council in May for crystallizing an international mechanism for fighting the ideologies feeding terrorism.
Egypt is calling on the international community to take all required measures to prevent terrorism from using technological and information progress that contributed to adding more dangerous dimensions to the phenomenon of terrorism and intellectual extremism that led to its spread in today's world. This state of affairs requires pooling all efforts together for halting the transmission of channels and electronic websites instigating violence and extremism.
The world is passing through a crossroads where the threats to international peace and security are no longer traditional. Rather, they became affecting the inalienable principles of human civilization. Also, humanitarian, ecological, economic and development challenges are no longer restricted to international borders. Rather, they became global and neither intellectual guardianship nor monopoly of knowledge and information could be viable.
I would like to make reference that the charter of the UNESCO mentions that "wars are born in the minds of people and that "inside these minds edifices of peace should be built". I confirm before you from this podium that the scourge of this age is terrorism which is disseminating ideas of extremism and violence in the minds of people. Therefore, we have to inculcate in these minds the values of coexistence and accepting the other.
Since culture is a reflection of the system of values of man, we have to harness culture and technological capabilities to the best interest of development and establishing peace. Therefore, I urge the United Nations to attach more interest to addressing the cultural sides that are related to development and establishing peace and ending the destructive thought through adopting measures for technology transfer and standing up to extremist ideologies. This could be achieved via the participation of UNESCO whose role in today's word is very much appreciated by Egypt. Egypt is calling for enhancing UNESCO's role to contribute to creating an inclusive and more secure and stable world.
Ladies and gentlemen;
Mankind should restore the core of their humanity through sharing knowledge, information and technology without any monopoly. They should unite in the face of threats. Since Egypt has always been an example of the accumulation of civilizations, she renews before you today her commitment to continue its contribution to enhancing coexistence inside the international family with a view to creating a world that is more secure and prosperous for our coming generations.