NEW YORK: His Highness the Amir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani chaired Qatar's delegation in the opening session of the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which was held in New York on Tuesday.
The session was attended by heads of state and government and heads of delegations and governmental and non-governmental organisations.
In a speech delivered at the session, HH the Amir affirmed that Qatar will continue its efforts in facilitating and making peace.“The path to resolving conflicts through peaceful means is a long and strenuous path, but it is less costly than wars, and our commitment to continue our efforts in facilitating and making peace is a firm commitment deeply rooted in the core of our foreign policy,” HH the Amir said.
At the beginning, HH the Amir said, “At the outset, I congratulate His Excellency Mr Dennis Francis on assuming the presidency of the 78th Session of the General Assembly, wishing him success, also I express my appreciation to His Excellency Csaba Korosi for his efforts in presiding over the 77th Session. I commend the efforts made by His Excellency Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the personnel of the United Nations for fulfilling its noble goals.”
HH the Amir said, “Allow me first of all to offer my sincere condolences to His Majesty King Mohammed VI and to the brotherly Moroccan people for the victims of the devastating earthquake. I also extend my condolences to the government and people of the brotherly state of Libya for the victims of the floods there. We ask Almighty God for a speedy recovery for the injured and that the deceased be filled with His mercy. I affirm our full solidarity with them in this tragedy.”
“Mr President, God has bestowed a favour on us by living in an era of unprecedented accelerating progress, in which an innovative spirit prevails in the fields of medicine, technology and science in general, and wherein the human ability to exploit the resources enabling the provision of a decent life for all of humanity has multiplied. The sequent innovations have brought about productivity, prosperity, and a level of communication between humans in a way close to realizing science fiction visions.”
HH the Amir added, “Although this evolution has enabled us to realize many wishes, it has come at a cost for the people of the world, our planet and its resources. The average life expectancy and standard of living for the majority of humanity have risen, and this has clearly manifested itself in population growth. Nevertheless, poverty and unemployment rates have also increased, and there is a growing awareness of the lack of justice in wealth distribution, in addition to the dire consequences on the environment.
"In areas such as genetics and artificial intelligence, the possibilities for realizing the well-being of all humanity are increasing. But the gap between possibility and reality is also widening. However, as these possibilities are unfolding in the same era, there are people who are grappling with child labour, starvation, unemployment, and civil wars, while developed countries guard their borders against the influx of refugees fleeing this suffering as if the people on earth are living in two different eras.
"The rapid technical development and the growing reliance on it opens up unprecedented prospects for humanity to develop for the better. Undoubtedly, science and technology are crucial for increasing productivity and improving human life quality.
"But celebrating the means without responsible thinking about the ends for which they are used has led to major disasters such as using nuclear weapons, conducting dangerous experiments on humans, and the genocide in concentration camps."
HH the Amir continued, “It is incumbent on us to keep pace with the scientific and technical development and encourage it in our countries, and barriers between countries in this field must be removed. At the same time, it is not plausible to ignore the worsening risks in terms of reality falsification, invasion of personal privacy, educational process disruption by facilitating plagiarism, and the spiralling effect of disinformation and human deception ploys.
“Therefore, in addition to the necessity of cooperation and investment in developing these technologies, we reiterate the call for unifying the efforts to prevent the misuse of cyberspace and regulate this vital aspect on the basis of the rules of international law.”
HH the Amir added that in this context, the 'Web Summit 2024' will take place in Doha. The convening of this event constitutes an important opportunity to review development in the field of technology and create new cooperation opportunities in the realm of technology for the benefit of all humanity. This is an occasion to welcome everyone to Doha.
“We must not forget that there are people around the world, especially in our region, who are absorbed by the present tragedies, and who consider their involvement in the issues which I have mentioned as a sort of luxury. If we truthfully constitute an international community and not merely diverse entities, it must be our duty to strive towards ending the injustice afflicting them, at least in accordance with what is required by the resolutions of this body, and entailed by international law,” HH the Amir said.
HH the Amir added that it is not acceptable for the Palestinian people to remain prisoners of the Israeli settler occupation arbitrariness, and the rejection of any just political solution in accordance with the principles of international legitimacy by successive Israeli governments.
“You have to bear in mind that the failure of the international organisation to take actions against the occupation provided and continues to provide the opportunity for Israel to undermine the foundations of the two-state solution by means of settlement expansion until the occupation has brazenly taken the form of an apartheid regime in the broad daylight of the 21st century. Even some of Israel's close friends have taken notice of this.
“Israel also responds to Arab peace and normalization initiatives with more nationalist and ultra-orthodox intransigence and extremism that is reflected in government coalitions and further settlement expansion, in addition to the Judaization of Jerusalem, attacks on holy sites, besides using heavy-handed means against those languishing under the occupation, and tightening the noose on the Gaza Strip.”
HH the Amir said Qatar provides political, humanitarian and development support to the brotherly Palestinian people and contributes towards rebuilding the Gaza Strip which is reeling under the siege, in addition to its continuous contribution to UNRWA funds.
It also continues its adherence to the firm stance regarding the fairness of this cause, which has become a credibility test for world politicians in relation to the Middle East region.
In the case of Syria, HH the Amir said it is not permissible to condone the gross injustice that has befallen the brotherly Syrian people as if it's destiny. The crisis is still awaiting a comprehensive settlement through a political process leading to a political transition, in accordance with the Geneva Declaration-1 and the Security Council Resolution 2254, in a way that meets the Syrian people's aspirations while maintaining Syria's integrity, sovereignty and independence.
It is regrettable to witness the outbreak of violence in Sudan this year, which has left a dire impact on the brotherly Sudanese people and exacerbated the refugee crisis.
“We condemn the crimes perpetrated against civilians in the capital Khartoum and the Darfur region, and we call for holding perpetrators to account. We also call for the cessation of fighting, resort to the voice of reason, and spare civilians the consequences of fighting. We affirm our support for all regional and international efforts to facilitate reaching a ceasefire and hold a dialogue between the Sudanese political forces about the future of Sudan, with only one army charged with protecting rather than ruling the country,” HH the Amir said.
In brotherly Lebanon, where danger hangs over the state's institutions, HH the Amir said, “We stress the need for finding a sustainable solution to the political vacuum, introducing mechanisms that thwart its recurrence, and forming a government capable of addressing the aspirations of the Lebanese people and getting them out of their economic and developmental crises. The prolonged suffering of this brotherly people, caused by political and personal calculations, is regrettable.”
In Yemen, HH the Amir said, “We call for the crisis to be resolved in accordance with the resolutions of the National Dialogue, the Gulf Initiative, and the relevant Security Council resolutions.”
Concerning the Libyan issue, HH the Amir said, “We reiterate our unwavering support for the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, and his efforts to achieve tangible results to resolve the Libyan crisis. It is clear that the solution in all sisterly countries that I have mentioned lies in reaching consensus on state's entity and citizenship.”
Regarding the situation in Afghanistan, HH the Amir said, “We continue to coordinate international efforts and facilitate dialogue between the United Nations, the countries concerned, and the caretaker government of Afghanistan to ensure compliance with the Doha Agreement, in a way that ensures non-recurrence of past mistakes, in order to prevent Afghanistan from sliding into a difficult-to-manage humanitarian crisis or becoming a haven for terrorist individuals and groups and to ensure that the Afghan people receive the international support and assistance they need, and enjoy human rights, particularly minority rights and women's rights in education and work.”
In the context of talking about the region, HH the Amir said, “We reiterate our appreciation of the detente witnessed this year, as represented by constructive dialogue and re-establishment of ties between the sisterly countries, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Republic of Turkiye.”
HH the Amir added that the war in Europe drags on. Along with Russia and Ukraine, it has consumed the entire Europe and has been affecting the whole world in vital areas such as energy and food. In the absence of a prospect for a permanent political solution, and due to the ability to keep the war raging indefinitely by major international blocs engaging directly or indirectly in the war, a long-term truce has become the most looked-for aspiration by people in Europe and all over the world. However, this cannot be the basis for long-term stability.
“Based on the harm that befallen the peoples of the two countries and the peoples of the world, and because this status quo cannot be accepted, we reiterate our call on all parties to comply with the United Nations Charter and the international law, respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, and resort to a radical peaceful solution that is based on these principles,” HH the Amir said.
HH the Amir added, “Our region is awash with tremendous potentials and opportunities, and our peoples are tolerant, humane and peace-loving, a fact that has been distorted by stereotypes and preconceptions. During the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, there was an opportunity for interaction between peoples, and for the world to see our people as they are, to learn about some aspects of our culture and values, besides Qatar's stature as a global destination and nexus between East and West, and we emphasized the role that sport plays in building bridges of communication and rapprochement between peoples and cultures. I hope that we have contributed, through this tournament, to breaking the stereotypes, and presented a new exciting and safe tournament formula to the world.
“In Qatar, we have had a dream that our country would be one of the prosperous nations whose people would enjoy well-being and prosperity, and we invested decades of planning and comprehensive development work to make this dream come true. We have achieved a lot, thanks to God, and the solidarity of everyone in Qatar.”
HH the Amir said, “While investing in liquefied gas was a leverage to realize this dream, this investment has enabled us to play an important role in addressing the energy challenge around the world with a realistic vision that takes into account the world needs for a diverse mix of different energy sources by using the highest levels of advanced technology which is, at the same time, environmentally friendly.”
“We realize that energy export imposes obligations on us, as a reliable partner, towards the world countries, while at the same time, imposes obligations on us towards our people and the future generations as well. Hence, Qatar continues to develop its sovereign fund and diversify the sources of its income, including the investment in clean energy. Qatar pursues environmentally friendly policies and supports various projects for protection in this respect. It is in this context that we are going to host the Qatar Horticultural Expo next month.”
The responsibility also prompts the state to strengthen its role in providing humanitarian aid, exerting mediation efforts and resolving conflicts that affect our region.
HH the Amir said, “We affirm that we are proud of our partnership with the international organization, and there is no clearer evidence of this than the opening of the ‘United Nations House’, which includes twelve UN offices, in the presence of the Secretary-General of the United Nations last March in Doha until now. In March of this year, my country hosted the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, which is considered one of the most prominent international forums. It galvanized efforts to achieve the ambitious goals of the Doha Action Program for the benefit of the least developed countries for the decade 2022-2031.
“While we affirm that Qatar is a major and active partner in the endeavours to respond to the priorities and needs of these countries, we welcome the Sustainable Development Goals Summit held yesterday. We are pleased that Qatar is once again playing a leading role in major debates under the umbrella of the United Nations, the most recent of which is working with Ireland to facilitate government negotiations on the political declaration adopted by the Sustainable Development Goals Summit yesterday.”
HH the Amir added, “We believe that cooperation in these areas contributes to stem the waves of refugees, which have become a real problem for Europe as well as for African and Asian countries.
“Allow me to pinpoint the necessity for combating racism and campaigns of incitement against entire peoples, religions, and civilizations. On this occasion, I would say to my Muslim brethren that it is implausible for us to get distracted by an idiot or a biased person whenever it occurs to him to provoke us by burning the Holy Qur'an or by other forms of triviality. The Qur'an is too Holy to be desecrated by a witless person. God Almighty said: 'Embrace forgiveness and enjoin what is right and turn away from the ignorant.' At the same time, I would say to all those who seek to justify these hideous acts as freedom of expression: compromising the sanctity of others deliberately should not be seen as an example of the freedom of expression.”
HH the Amir said it is the duty of leaders to empower their people with the means to live in peace and security and to look forward to a better future for their posterity. There are obstacles at the level of the international community, mainly represented in the failure to subject contradictions and competition between major countries on transient issues to minimum binding principles owing to the variations in governance systems. These issues which concern all of humanity include climate change, environmental matters in general, poverty, and the blatant injustice represented by occupation, racism, and war crimes.
This is the consensus that must take place here in this international organization, so as to avoid getting bogged down in details, and so as to safeguard the future of entire peoples from loss due to the unwillingness of these countries to cooperate in implementing international law.
Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, and a number of members of the official delegation were in attendance.