Amir addresses opening session of General Debate of 76th Session of UNGA

Amir addresses opening session of General Debate of 76th Session of UNGA By A Robin - September 21, 2021
Amir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani

Qatar’s Amir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani speaks during the 76th Session of the General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York

The Amir of Qatar HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani took part in the opening session of the General Debate of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which kicked off at the UN headquarters in New York Tuesday in the presence of heads of states, governments and delegations and representatives of regional and international organizations

The Amir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani delivered a speech at the General Debate of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The speech reads as follows:

In the Name of God, the Most Merciful,
the Most Compassionate

Your Excellency President of the General Assembly,
Your Excellency Secretary-General of the United Nations,

Honorable Audience,

I would like to congratulate His Excellency, Mr. Abdulla Shahid, for assuming the Presidency of the Seventy-Sixth Session of the General Assembly, wishing him success in his mission. I also express our appreciation to His Excellency Mr. Volkan Bozkir for his efforts in managing the deliberations of the Seventy-Fifth Session of the General Assembly.

I extend my congratulations to His Excellency Mr. Antonio Guterres on his re-election as Secretary-General of the United Nations. We affirm our support for him in accomplishing his mission.

Honorable Audience,

Our meeting which is being held today in-person rather than virtually under the theme "Restoring Hope" sends an important message about returning to normalcy, without, of course, abandoning the means of protection and precaution; this comes after a difficult time that the world has experienced and is still experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left behind millions of victims and countless humanitarian, social and economic crises.

This difficult test, which humanity is continuing to face, has revealed the flaws and vulnerabilities in our collective security system, meanwhile it has inspired us with many lessons, namely, the importance of balancing the concern for people's health and maintaining the economic cycle that secures at the same time their livelihoods, as well as the importance of integration between the indispensable role of the State within its borders, on the one hand, and its role in confronting cross-border issues and joint commitments to confront challenges, crises and disasters, on the other hand.

We affirm our support for achieving the priorities included in the vision introduced for this session, emphasizing the necessity of equitable distribution of vaccines, ensuring their accessibility to the countries in the Southern Hemisphere, and securing treatment for all, as well as the necessity of coordinating efforts to combat another pandemic, which is the pandemic of fake news, conspiracy theories and unprecedented skepticism about the feasibility of vaccines that also swept the world during this pandemic, which still hinders the necessary spread of vaccines against the backdrop of the continuation of this pandemic.

I point out here that the State of Qatar has taken a balanced and effective approach in addressing the pandemic and its impacts on health and economy at the national level. Experience has shown that success in this confrontation depends both on the policies and capabilities of the State, especially in the field of public health, and the citizens sense of responsibility, and their level of awareness.

Based on our partnership with the international community to confront global crises, the State of Qatar has not slackened providing support to the relevant international institutions and standing beside the countries affected by the pandemic; as we have continued to provide medical supplies and cater for other needs related to tackling the pandemic through the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi) and providing support to the World Health Organization and the Humanitarian Initiative to provide vaccines for the most vulnerable groups and the countries most in need.

Honorable Audience,
The issue of conflicts has kept the United Nations busy and placed many burdens on it since its foundation. Unfortunately, the Middle East region is a source of a large part of these burdens. Hence, Qatar considers contributing to the field of peaceful resolution of conflicts, including putting forward concepts of collective security, as one of its priorities. As there is no security, stability, development or decent human life under conflicts.

We have always been keen to establish an atmosphere of peace, stability and cooperation in the region. As an example, at the Gulf level, our immediate environment, we have repeatedly stressed the importance of the Cooperation Council for the Arab Countries of the Gulf and our commitment to settle any differences through constructive dialogue.

The Al-Ula Declaration, which was issued by the leaders of the GCC last January, came as an embodiment of the principle of resolving differences through dialogue based on common interests and mutual respect. We are confident of consolidating this concordance that has happened between brothers.

On the other hand, we see that there is no solution to the disagreements and differences in viewpoints with Iran except through rational dialogue based on mutual respect. This also applies to the issue of returning to the nuclear agreement with Iran. I do not think that anyone has an alternative to this approach, even those who oppose reverting to the agreement.

Honorable Audience,

This year witnessed numerous Israeli violations in the occupied East Jerusalem, and recurrence of attacks on Islamic and Christian sanctities, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, and the seizure of Palestinian homes in the context of Judaization and settlement policies. This was followed by a dangerous military escalation in the Gaza Strip, which caused hundreds of casualties among unarmed civilians, and caused aggravation of the already dire humanitarian situation in the Strip.

The international community bears responsibility for achieving a comprehensive and just peaceful settlement of the Palestinian cause by establishing a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, alongside the State of Israel, and ending the occupation of Arab lands, and a just solution to the refugee issue. This is what the international community has agreed upon for decades, yet it has not found its way towards implementation despite the risks posed by this issue if it has remained unresolved.

As a result of this continuous procrastination, there occasionally appear those who believe that the Palestinian cause can be marginalized on the international agenda or can circumvent such a deeply rooted national cause by suggesting ideas such as improving the economic situation of the population under occupation instead of eliminating the occupation.

Recently, the issue of evacuating the residents of the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhood, the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by the settlers and the Palestinian, Arab and international angry popular response came to reaffirm the centrality of the Palestinian cause and that there is no way to circumvent it.

Honorable Audience,

The American decision to withdraw from Afghanistan following negotiations with the Taliban constituted an extremely critical turning point for this country. The responsibility lies first on the Afghan people with all its factions and second on the international community, to work systematically and persistently to achieve a comprehensive political settlement and pave the way for stability in this country that has long suffered from the ravages of war.

As you know, Qatar has spared no effort in helping to evacuate thousands of individuals and families of various nationalities during the past weeks. This was our humanitarian duty. But the most important thing I want to refer to is that we were confident that war offers no solution and that there would be dialogue in the end. We had acted on this basis when we hosted the Taliban office when our international partners asked us to open and patronize a direct dialogue between them and Taliban in Doha. This position has been proven correct.

In coordination with our international partners, we will continue to do whatever we can to ensure that the tangible gains that have been achieved within the Doha path are maintained, and it is necessary that the parties abide by their commitments during it.

The State of Qatar affirms its firm position on the need to protect civilians, respect human rights, combat terrorism and achieve a comprehensive political solution to ensure security and stability for the benefit of the brotherly Afghan people.

We emphasize here the importance of the international community's continued support to Afghanistan at this critical stage and to separate humanitarian aid from political differences. We also stress the necessity of continuing dialogue with Taliban because boycott only leads to polarization and reactions, whereas dialogue could bring in positive results.

The issue in Afghanistan is not a matter of victory or defeat but rather an issue of failure to impose a political system from outside. Regardless of intentions, efforts made, and money invested, this experience in Afghanistan has collapsed after twenty years.

The world has reached correct conclusions in this regard. But it is necessary to avoid slipping into counter extremism by major powers when they abandon their duties regarding the issues of world peace, guaranteeing the implementation of international conventions and protecting civilians from war crimes. There is a difference between imposing trusteeship on other countries and carrying out duties by major powers to implement international resolutions and conventions. It is also unreasonable for major powers to impose by the force of arms on other countries a form of the political system that the major powers deem as appropriate on the one hand, and to give up, on the other hand supporting countries that have adopted the same system of government desired by the will of their peoples, and without external interference.

Honorable Audience,

A decade has passed since the start of the Syrian crisis, which unfolded with a peaceful uprising and then turned into a humanitarian catastrophe due to the war launched by the regime against its people and the extremist armed forces that took advantage of the situation. The continuation of the crisis poses immense perils, including the aggravation of the threat of terrorism to Syria itself and to the peace and security in the region and the world. The Syrian issue should not be neglected, nor should the international community turn its back on the suffering of the Syrian people, as is recently the case during the bombing of the city of Daraa and other areas. There may come a day when we may remember, with great regret, this neglect of human suffering from injustice.

The international community must redouble its efforts to put an end to this crisis through a peaceful solution in accordance with the Geneva-communique -1, the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2254 with all its elements, and to maintain the national unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Syria.

Regarding the Libyan issue, the positive developments that Libya had witnessed during the past year give rise to cautious optimism. The ceasefire and convening the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, and the election of representatives of the interim executive authority and winning a vote of confidence of the House of Representatives by the National Unity Interim Government, are all positive developments. We call on all Libyan parties to maintain these gains and to ensure the full implementation of what has been agreed upon on the political, economic and security tracks, and the successful holding of elections and working to achieve a comprehensive reconciliation.

With regard to the crisis in Yemen, where the war has led to a tragic humanitarian situation and risks of division that may, in turn, lead to the outbreak of other conflicts, the State of Qatar affirms its keenness for Yemen's unity and territorial integrity and its firm position that the only way out of the crisis is through negotiation between the Yemeni parties on the basis of the outcomes of the national dialogue, the Gulf initiative, and the relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular, resolution 2216.

Honorable Audience,

These days mark the fiftieth anniversary of Qatar joining the membership of the United Nations on September 21, 1971. During the past five decades, the relationship between Qatar and the international organization has been characterized by close cooperation and the establishment of exemplary partnerships in various fields. Qatar's bet on international institutions and multilateral cooperation is a strategic one. In this context, we affirm pursuing our contributions to supporting the United Nations entities and fulfilling our commitments to the issues identified by the international community as priorities at this stage.

We are pleased that Doha has become a hub of international multilateral action in our region, which is in dire need of the work and efforts of the United Nations agencies and international institutions, as their offices in Doha have started working. In this context, we look forward to inaugurating the United Nations House in Doha soon.

On the occasion of talking about the United Nations and the global issues facing humanity as a whole, which highlight the need for its role, I refer here to the participation of the State of Qatar in the international efforts to combat terrorism and address its causes through supporting education, addressing poverty and unemployment among youth, and resolving conflicts which also constitute a breeding ground for terrorism.

I refer also to the world's increasing dependence on information technology and modern communication in all aspects of life, from education, to security and the economy. But on the other hand, the world has felt the effects of the misuse of cyberspace, including breaching private domains of individuals and international piracy and the serious threat it poses to the security and stability of the international community. From this standpoint, we reiterate the call for the United Nations to lead the process of unifying the efforts to prevent the misuse of the scientific progress in cybersecurity and regularize these vital aspects according to the rules of international law.

Honorable Audience,

Climate change remains one of the most critical challenges of our time, as it brings with it disastrous impacts on all aspects of life for the current and future generations, which necessitates pursuing our joint efforts to confront these effects. We look forward to the upcoming United Nations COP26 conference, which will be held in Glasgow in the United Kingdom, to be a turning point towards realizing the ambitions of the international community.

In this respect, I want to indicate that the State of Qatar has placed climate change at the forefront of its priorities, and it continues to take the necessary measures to develop climate change-related technologies and clean energy, and we will present all that at that conference next November.

In conclusion, our joint responsibility and the shared destiny of humanity require dedication to the values of partnership in international relations to achieve the interest of our peoples and the good of humanity.

I thank you, and may the Peace, Mercy and Blessings of God be upon you.


By A Robin - September 21, 2021

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