Open Debate of the Security Council

on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

Statement by:

H.E. Mr Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations

21 October 2014

Madam President,

My delegation wishes to thank Argentina, in its capacity as President of the Security Council, for convening this open debate in connection with the agenda item on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. I would also like to extend our appreciation to the secretary general for his briefing and his dedicated efforts towards a solution on the conflicts in the middle east.

Madam President,

Once again the Maldives takes the floor at this august Council to join the global chorus of voices condemning the violence in the Middle East, and especially in the State of Palestine. For the past few decades, the international community has expended time, energy and resources towards the realization of a two-State solution based on relevant UN resolutions, the Madrid Principles, the Arab Peace initiative and the Quartet Roadmap. However, time and time again the progress made, ends to the sound of gunfire, rockets, missiles and bombs. Time and time again it ends to the cries of the innocent, who unwillingly give their final measure, in what we so nonchalantly refer to as collateral damage.

Generations grow up under the oppression of occupation and learn both hatred and violence, though there has been longstanding consensus on the parameters for a solution. UN resolutions and subsequent negotiations have made clear that the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 has no place in the modern world, and that the State of Palestine must be recognized. It must be granted full independence with its pre-1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital. As elaborated in these resolutions, the issues of refugees, borders, settlements, security, natural resources, prisoners and East Jerusalem must be addressed if there is ever to be hope for peace.

Yet with peace only a distant hope, the international community must first rally to keep this latest induced despair and human misery at bay. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) now estimates that 600,000 Palestinians were affected in the latest bombings that destroyed 100,000 homes, and the need for more aide is dire.  Yet, with the current restrictions on movement, trade, employment, and aid, the effort at rebuilding is severely hindered. A resolution from this Council ensuring the reopening of the Gaza Strip based on the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access, an end to the blockade, and guaranteed protection of civilian populations is long overdue and much wanted.

This is the first step in easing the situation, the first step in rebuilding. Without giving this population back their God-given right to human dignity the cycle of hatred and violence will continue, not only in Palestine but around the world. Hatred breeds violence, contempt, extremism, and the very worst that humanity has to offer.

Madam President,

We have seen this hatred infect young people from every nation, race and creed. Yet today it spreads across the Middle East and threatens the future stability of the entire region. It is a threat facing the Islamic Ummah. Terrorist organizations, including the so-called Islamic State, are among the greatest emerging threats to the global community. President of Maldives Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and the Government of Maldives condemn, in the strongest terms, these groups, their ideologies, and activities. The Maldives welcomes initiatives that emphasize the global will to jointly address the issue of foreign fighters, including the Resolutions adopted by this Council, 2170 and 2178 of (2014).  Unfortunately, far more needs to be done.

It is deeply concerning to note that an estimated 1.8 million Iraqi citizens have been internally displaced this year alone.  It is deeply concerning that every day, thousands of refugees are fleeing for their lives, and that the refugee crisis is only worsening with no end in sight. More than 3 million Syrians have been registered as refugees outside of the country, with another 6.5 million estimated to be internally displaced since the Syrian Civil War began.

The need for continued aid is ever present. The ongoing violence in the region is once again creating a generation without access to basic needs including food, water, shelter, education, healthcare, peace and stability. Once again a generation will grow up in fear and will learn hatred, unless we begin to take steps that will address them in a holistic and longsighted manner. It is time we stopped repeating our mistakes.

Thank you Madam President.