National Statement at UNSC Briefing on Cooperation Between the UNSC & the League of Arab States
Statement18 January 2021
Thank you very much indeed Mr. President and I wanted to begin by thanking you Minister for organizing today’s meeting.
I want to give a warm welcome to Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit. Ireland has worked closely with the Arab League and its member states over time and we very much appreciate the important role that the League plays regionally. Ireland believes that in drafting the Charter, the UN founders recognised the reality, frankly, that regional organisations, regional arrangements, such as the League of Arab States, have a central and often critical role to play in maintaining peace and security.
While progress has been made, and we have heard much of that this morning, in bringing Chapter VIII to life, it is clear that much needs to be done to fully exploit the potential of regional organisations to deliver on our collective goals. So, it is in that spirit Mr. President that we welcome this opportunity today. Before looking to some of the specific regional challenges, I would like to make a few general remarks.
Mr. President, coming from Europe, a region transformed - through regional cooperation - from a post-war wasteland to a thriving and peaceful Union of states, Ireland strongly supports, indeed we advocate for regional cooperation. We firmly believe that cooperation on addressing common challenges faced by states, from water management, to threat of climate change, from the role of women in sustaining peace, to of course the current common challenge we have of COVID-19 – can build confidence and trust, promote solidarity and lay importantly the foundations for peace.
Mr. President, in framing today’s debate, Tunisia rightly welcomes the progress achieved on cooperation between the League of Arab States and the UN, and its contribution to regional stability. The thoughtful briefings this morning by USG DiCarlo and Secretary-General Aboul Gheit underline the shared ambition and indeed the need to build on this further.
Ireland encourages both organisations to actually invest in strengthening the relationship. We welcome the establishment in 2019 of the UN Liaison Office to the League of Arab States, and urge the Secretariat to ensure that the office is staffed at a senior level to facilitate enhanced dialogue and cooperation between the organisations. Ireland strongly supports Tunisia’s suggestion for intensified coordination between the League of Arab States and UN Special Envoys in addressing current crises in the region, very mindful of the interconnected nature of the challenges and the nature of the conflicts in the region. We echo Tunisia’s call for support for efforts undertaken by both organisations on conflict resolution, on conflict prevention, on mediation, on peacekeeping and on peacebuilding.
Mr. President, Ireland firmly underlines also the urgent need for lasting political solutions to disputes and conflicts in the region, we have heard every speaker say that this morning. We are ready to play our part as a Security Council member in supporting that work here at the Security Council but also in working to support the efforts by the League of Arab States and by its member states.
We welcome the Al-Ula Declaration of 5 January by the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Egypt. The Declaration we see represents a key milestone in the development of closer regional integration, cooperation, stability and prosperity. We just hope that the progress made in Al-Ula will be built on in the months to come.
We underline our welcome for the ceasefire agreement in Libya in October and the Secretary General's December report on ceasefire monitoring options. The European Union and its Member States remain ready to support the monitoring of that ceasefire. Ireland is concerned, that key elements of the agreement remain unimplemented, especially around the withdrawal of foreign fighters. Ireland looks forward to fulfilment of the political road map to December elections, thanks to the ongoing work of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF). Women participants in that dialogue forum have played a critical role. Ireland welcomes their recommendations for improving women’s participation in the political process and in governance. We hope this can be usefully drawn on elsewhere in the region, but we also hope that the League of Arab States will continue to assist in that process.
We all know that we must redouble our efforts to bring to an end the terrible conflicts in Yemen and Syria. We recognize that there are no military solutions to those conflicts and we share the ambition to agree political pathways forward. We also know that sustained peace will require respect for human rights and that those responsible for violations of international law and international human rights law need to be held accountable. Collectively we must also continue to do everything to support humanitarian workers reaching those in need. Today, on behalf of Ireland, I renew our call for the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid to all in need particularly in conflict areas.
Mr. President, as a leading troop contributor to UNIFIL since 1978, Ireland remains resolutely committed to the stability of Lebanon, as its people grapple with complex political and economic challenges. We welcome the strong support and solidarity of the Arab League for Lebanon. We also recognise that there are 9 peacekeeping operations under the League of Arab States’ regional watch. Peacekeeping is an important and I would say a noble function, and Ireland supports the work of the League to reinforce regional capacity in that regard.
Finally, Mr. President, as Secretary General Aboul Gheit is all too aware, a key element for regional and global security is a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting two-State solution is not just critical for the Israeli and Palestinian peoples we know, but to unlock a better, more peaceful future for the region as a whole.
Ireland welcomes the Presidential decree issued by President Abbas on 15 January on the holding of elections. This is an important step in renewing legitimacy. The European Union stands ready to support the electoral process.
We welcome the normalization agreements between Israel and a number of countries in the region. We sincerely hope that this will be followed by inclusive engagement to support tangible confidence building measures with and by the parties, and a reinvigorated role for the Middle East Quartet to achieve progress towards a just and lasting peace.
In conclusion, I wish to thank you Minister and the Tunisian Presidency for organising today’s important discussion. Thank you very much Secretary General Aboul Gheit. Ireland will continue our committed partnership with you, the League of Arab States and its member states in tackling peace and security issues as a Member of this Council over the next two years. Secretary General, you have an important and onerous responsibility. You can count on Ireland.
Thank you Mr. President