Speech by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
Tuesday، 21 September 2021 - 12:00 AM
"In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,
Mr. Abdulla Shahid,
President of the Seventy-Sixth Session of the United Nations General Assembly,
At the outset, I would like to express my congratulations to you and your friendly country on your assumption of the presidency of this session of the United Nations General Assembly, wishing you all the success.
I would like to commend the constructive role played by the United Nations Secretary-General and his relentless pursuit to implement the principles of the UN’s charter which has served as a constitution and reference for international relations for more than seventy-five years. It is still held out as a hope for promoting a world order based on law and working to establish peace.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The global pandemic that has persisted for almost two years has once again proven that as mankind shares bonds of fraternity, it is also prone to sharing common challenges no matter how hard they are.
Hence, the importance of the topic of this year's General Assembly session has to be stressed. It has summed up what we need in today’s world: steadfastness in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and hope of recovery.
This sheds light on the importance of overcoming difficulties to vaccines provision to various countries and peoples of the world, ensuring that they are available in a fair and equitable manner, and even making them a top priority.
From this standpoint, allow me to present, in this important forum, Egypt's vision - as a founding member of the United Nations and a number of regional organizations - in the international arena and its contributions to facing the challenges our world is witnessing today.
The Egyptian state appreciates the seriousness of the divergence of countries' paths to economic recovery according to their ability to provide the necessary numbers of vaccines; developed countries account for the largest share of the world’s vaccine production.
Egypt, in particular, highlights the need for a rapid and effective response to the needs of the African continent; Africa has become the most affected continent by the impacts of the pandemic at a time when its people are facing other challenges no less dangerous than coronavirus.
Hence, Egypt has been keen to encourage the local manufacture the vaccine, not only to meet the needs of its citizens, but also to export to the African continent.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The current circumstances have only exacerbated a decades-long entrenched reality manifested in the shortcomings in regional and international cooperation and have also reflected the importance of broadening international support for the developing world to include the middle-income countries.
The demographic weight of this group of countries gives it a pivotal importance; it includes the majority of the world's population. Hence, it is an international major hub for goods and services consumption and a key driver of global economic growth.
With regard to the international move to issue about “650” billion dollars Special Drawing Rights by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Egypt sees great importance in exploring appropriate ways to employ these resources in order to serve the needs of the developing world, including low- and middle-income countries.
In this context, Egypt calls for reducing the burden of debts on developing countries, especially African and middle-income countries, easing the terms of borrowing from regional and international institutions by providing them with facilitated finance tools, encouraging investments and ensuring their flow into those countries. This is due to the vitality of these measures in supporting national efforts for development, in line with relevant regional and international development agendas.
We firmly believe that development includes a comprehensive framework of a broad set of necessary rights for the advancement of the individual and the provision of decent means of living for communities.
Egypt has therefore applied economic reform policies that enabled us to implement ambitious social programs for the benefit of the most deserving segments and succeed in achieving the sustainable development goals in various governorates across the country.
It has also reduced the development gap between urban and rural areas, stemming from the Egyptian State’s belief that extending the basic services to every corner of the country shall reinforce political and community participation. This, therefore, creates a healthy environment that helps free thinking and creativity to flourish and thus move forwards.
Egypt is well aware of the threat of environmental deterioration on different aspects of life and the future of the coming generations, even their mere existence, especially climate change and its clear negative effects. We have witnessed, over the past period, many harsh environmental phenomena in many countries, whether floods and heavy rains or the unprecedented hike in temperatures and wildfires. This was coupled with humanitarian, economic and social repercussions that constituted extra burdens on countries and governments to realize the welfare of their peoples.
Out of our joint ethical responsibility towards the coming generations, along with the goals of our national vision and international commitment, Egypt exerts its utmost effort to enhance coordination on climate issues in order to avoid reaching a point when returning to normal climate conditions would be difficult. A moment when it would be difficult to address the situation.
In light of Egypt’s active role in the climate change negotiations, we look forward to hosting the 27th session of the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in 2022.
Terrorism also remains one of the biggest challenges that face humanity. This phenomenon violates citizens’ basic rights, the right to life at the forefront, and hinders government efforts to attain the economic, social and cultural goals of their peoples.
Therefore, Egypt stresses that terrorism can only be eradicated by combating extremist ideology that is the cause of this heinous phenomenon, within a comprehensive approach that is not only limited to security confrontation with the terrorists and their organizations. This approach also includes economic, social, development and intellectual dimensions that dry up the sources of terrorism and addresses the conditions that push some towards this criminal path. It is an approach that requires national effort as well as international cooperation.
Here, I would like to underscore the need for all countries to respect their commitments under international law and the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.
In this regard, we stress the importance of holding state sponsors of terrorism accountable, as well as those who foster its elements, including foreign fighters and terrorists, provide safe havens and support, or facilitate their movement across their land, thus threatening international peace and security.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Egypt is keen on enhancing human rights for its citizens. It is exerting diligent efforts toward this end, within a framework of respect for the principles of citizenship and the rule of law. The State of Egypt fully realizes that the Egyptian citizen is in the heart of the comprehensive development process that it is committed to implementing, in order to uphold his dignity and safeguard his rights and freedoms.
The human rights system in Egypt reflected recently a vivid progress, in connection with the articles on ensuring public rights and freedoms encompassed in the Egyptian constitution and its amendments, which will reflect on the need to update relevant legislation. The Human Rights National Strategy, which Egypt launched a few days ago, based on societal consultations and contributions by the civil society, is the best testimony for the constructive and comprehensive approach that my country is adopting to address human rights issues and causes.
Egypt’s election to preside-over the current 15th session of the United Nations Peace building Commission, culminated an on-going course of Egypt’s effective contributions to enhance and reinvigorate the UN peace building structure since its establishment in 2005. It also embodies the international community’s confidence in Egypt’s ability to lead UN efforts in this regard, as Egypt is a major troop- and police- contributing country to UN peacekeeping missions, being the 7th largest contributor overall.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Egypt has repeatedly confirmed that there is no way to achieve stability in the Middle East without reaching a just, permanent and comprehensive peace for the Palestinian cause, which was and still is the central issue for the Arab nation. This shall take place through negotiations based on the resolutions of international legitimacy to establish an independent Palestinian state, along the June 4, 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Therefore, Egypt reiterates the importance of firming-up the cease-fire that was reached on May 20, 2021 and calls on the international community to take the necessary measures to improve the living conditions of the Palestinian people, deliver humanitarian aid, and urge the donor community to support The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). This aims to pave the way for the reconstruction process in the Gaza Strip, taking into consideration Egypt’s declaration to allocate 500 million dollars for Gaza reconstruction.
As the Middle East is enjoying an unparalleled geographic location, it is also ranked as one of the most troubled regions in the world. This adds, to the common global challenges facing the region’s countries, other challenges with specificities to each of these countries. This comes as the concept of a strong, cohesive nation state is now jeopardized by a multitude of destabilizing factors, the essence of which lies in division and fragmentation in its various forms, either sectarian, political or ethnic. This makes countries rich in their natural resources, history and ancient civilization like Iraq; in their culture and religious and ethnic diversity like Lebanon and Syria; in their resources, wealth and distinct location like Libya; or in their strategic location like Yemen, suffer this magnitude of formidable challenges. This confirms that upholding the all-encompassing concept of nation-state is indispensable; the concept of nation-state that does not differentiate between the people of the same homeland and that prevents interference in Arab affairs.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Egypt and Africa are firmly connected, which it highly values. It is connected not only geographically, but also physically to its existence. In this regard, I would like to assert that realizing cooperation among the continent’s countries will not be attained when one side determines the requirements of the other, but rather this process should be reciprocal. Egypt, which acknowledges the rights of its brothers for development, is one of the most drought countries and its people remain below the level of water poverty.
Throughout history, the Nile River has always been the principal artery of life in Egypt, which explains the overwhelming concern by the Egyptian citizen regarding the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
You might all be aware of the outcome of a decade-long cycle of negotiations among Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia as a result of clear intransigence and unjustified rejection to engage positively with the negotiations process in its successive stages, and instead choosing a unilateral approach and imposing facts on the ground. This is warning of a grave threat to the security and stability of the entire region.
In an attempt to prevent the situation from escalating into a threat to international peace and stability, Egypt resorted to the U.N. General Assembly to assume its responsibility regarding this dossier and support African mediation efforts through an effective role by observers from the UN and friendly countries. Egypt is still committed to reaching, as soon as possible, a legally-binding, balanced and comprehensive agreement on the filling and operation of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam so as to protect the existence of 150 million Egyptians and Sudanese, and in order to avoid immeasurable damage to the resources of the two peoples. This is based not only on the values of fairness and logic, but also on a solid, international and legal ground, that entrenched the principle of fair and equitable use of joint water resources in the basins of international rivers.
Mr. President of the General Assembly, honorable Attendees,
Before concluding my speech, I would like to specifically highlight the significance of multilateral cooperation. This importance is gaining momentum by time, given the increase in challenges, the surge in threats and the emergence of new hardships in our world. Therefore, multilateral work will remain the way for salvation from the gravity of the confrontations and the escalating conflicts.
The successive challenges in our world today require that we all pause for a review that aims to mobilize the necessary resources to address these challenges as a top priority to maintain the entire humanity. This is a call from Egypt to humanity at large. “Let us join forces to save ourselves before it is too late, counting on the power of reason, not the reason of power to achieve our goals.