The statement of the Kingdom of Bahrain before the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York
Your Excellency Mr. Miroslav Lajčák,
President of the General Assembly,
I wish at the outset to congratulate you wholeheartedly, and your country Slovakia, on your election as President of the current session of the General Assembly, and to pledge our full cooperation in the discharge of the duties with which you are entrusted. We are fully confident that, thanks to your insight and clear vision, you will successfully conduct the business of this session.
I also wish to praise your choice of the theme of our session which is “Focusing on People—Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet”. This important theme meets the expectations of all countries and nations.
I avail myself of this opportunity to express my deep appreciation for your predecessor His Excellency Mr. Peter Thomson for his able and competent presidency of the previous session.
I renew my congratulations to His Excellency Secretary-General António Guterres, and applaud his tireless efforts as reflected in his valuable report on the work of the Organization in which he demonstrated his resolve to reform its structure and management, to enhance its role in the consolidation of international peace and security, and to support sustainable development in response to the challenges and changing circumstances confronting us. In this respect, I also applaud the efforts of His Excellency President Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, to support the reform of the United Nations. The Kingdom of Bahrain was among the first countries to sign the Political Declaration initiated by His Excellency in support of the Secretary-General’s reform plan for the United Nations.
I would be remiss not to express the heartfelt condolences of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United States of America, Mexico and the Caribbean nations on the natural disasters to which they have been subjected to and which caused numerous fatalities and material damage. I reiterate our solidarity with them and pray that they will soon recover from their impact.
Under the leadership of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain; His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister; and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, the Kingdom of Bahrain remains faithful to its consistent policy of enhancing partnerships with the United Nations and its various bodies and entities in expression of its firm belief in the role that our Organization is playing in achieving a more stable and prosperous world.
Accordingly, this current year witnessed numerous initiative of fruitful cooperation, notably the launching of King Hamad Youth Empowerment Award to Achieve the SDGs, aimed at consolidating the efforts of governmental and private entities to enhance the contribution of young people to the process of sustainable development.
In March of this year, the Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa Global Award for Women Empowerment was officially launched. This award, named after the wife of His Majesty the King and President of the Supreme Council for Women, is in full conformity with the objectives of the United Nations in enhancing the role of women in development. It reflects the pioneering experience of Bahraini women, nationally and internationally.
Similarly, the International Youth Conference to Achieve Sustainable Development was held under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Representative of His Majesty the King for Charity Works and Youth Affairs, in collaboration with the UNDP Office, with a focus on raising awareness amongst youth of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and enhancing the role of youth in achieving them.
In the context of Bahrain’s keen interest to pursue its efforts aimed at achieving the SDGs, and to maintain its leading position among countries with very high indicators in the field of human development according to international sources, Bahrain looks forward to the forthcoming signing of a strategic partnership framework with the United Nations for the period 2017-2020. My country has also made strides towards the elimination of forced labour and human trafficking and ratified the relevant international agreements and protocols. It further issued an act prohibiting all forms of human trafficking, with severe sentences imposed on the perpetrators. It also implemented the national referral system for the victims of trafficking, the first of its kind in the region which provides a mechanism to monitor and redress this illegal practice.
Recently, the Kingdom of Bahrain issued the Unified Family Law, which constitutes a key legislative tool for the consolidation of the family’s stability and the preservation of all its rights without exploitation or mistreatment. This is based on the noble teachings of Islam and the principles enshrined in the Bahraini Constitution that the family is the foundation of society. This act equally exemplifies Bahrain’s commitment to international instruments related to the family and women including most importantly: CEDAW.
In support of the United Nation’s endeavors to address global warming and its implications in the field of climate change, my country deposited in December 2016 its instrument of ratification of the Paris Agreement, thereby renewing its commitment to this historic agreement which we hope will consolidate international efforts to address this perilous phenomenon.
The Kingdom of Bahrain firmly believes that maintenance of stability and security in the Middle East and in the entire world requires a strong and common political will as well as serious collective efforts to guarantee respect for the basic principles underlying relations among states, such as good neighborliness, non – interference in the internal affairs and compliance with international conventions and instruments so that we can address the greatest challenge facing us, namely terrorism, and deter those individuals or entities supporting and financing it.
All the more so now, that terrorism is no longer confined to terrorist organizations that we can confront and eliminate. Rather, it has become a tool in the hands of states determined to create crises in other countries in pursuit of their own agenda. They thus become a full partner in the terrorist acts and a factor of destabilization of international peace and security.
Considering the strategic importance of peace and security for our vital region, my country is keen to establish strategic partnerships within its own region and with its allies. As partners, we can work together to preserve the security of the Gulf region, to combat terrorism and to provide protection for international navigation and commerce routes, notably through close cooperation between the Bahrain Defense Force and the American Fifth Fleet, based in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The GCC - US summit held in May of this year in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the ensuing Memorandum of Understanding to establish a Centre charged with combatting the financing of terrorism, as well as the Arab Islamic American Summit, all constitute an important landmark in the war against terrorism in that they establish a strategic and effective partnership between the US, the GCC and the other Arab Islamic countries. We reaffirm that the Global Center to Fight Extremism known as I’itidal “moderation”, inaugurated in the city of Riyadh on the sidelines of the aforementioned Summit will contribute greatly to the fight against extremist ideologies and will enhance the values of tolerance and co-existence in the world.
In this context, I commend the General Assembly’s resolution establishing the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism which constitutes an important step towards the consolidation of international efforts to address this scourge.
It is no longer acceptable that among us, there are rogue countries occupying others’ territories, violating the sovereignty of states, threatening international peace and security, supporting terrorism, and spreading hate and anarchy. It is no longer possible to allow these countries to become parties to our efforts to bring an end to struggles, resolve conflicts and put an end to complex humanitarian tragedies. Those countries were behind the aggravation of these situations. We should not allow them the opportunity to be among us and to misuse their presence among us to satisfy their ambitions and hostile objectives. Confronting these countries is a duty and a responsibility that the entire international community must shoulder. Either they respect their commitments and catch up with the collective international will to achieve peace, development and welfare, or be held clearly accountable, and suffer isolation and the severe consequences of international resolutions and laws.
Against this backdrop, and to consolidate anti- terrorist and anti- extremist efforts, the Kingdom of Bahrain, together with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Arab Republic of Egypt, with the support of many other countries, availed themselves of their sovereign right under international law to sever relations with Qatar after a lengthy period of patience during which we exhausted all available means to halt Qatar’s policies that violated all brotherly relations of good neighborliness and non-interference in the internal affairs of states, provided financial support and safe haven to terrorists and fugitives, and disseminated a discourse of hate and extremism via its media and the individuals and institutions supporting it; all of whom we have placed on a unified terrorist list, most of which are also included in international terrorist lists, in order to make the situation clear to the entire world, after the effects of this terrorism, spread to many countries, among them, my own.
Qatar has supported systematic terrorist acts which we have suffered from in the Kingdom of Bahrain and which have cost us the lives of many innocent civilians and security personnel, with a view to undermining national security and social peace and overthrowing the government system with the help of parties associated with them.
It is therefore our collective responsibility to protect our states and nations against those who seek to harm them, and to confront them firmly. If Qatar is serious, by act and not only through words, to engage in a dialogue and reclaim its place among us, it must respond positively and commit itself in all transparency to our just demands, based on the principles enshrined in the declaration issued by the meeting of the four countries in Cairo on 5 July 2017, in full conformity with international covenants and instruments. In this regard, we highly appreciate the tireless efforts of the good offices of His Highness Shaikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amir of Kuwait.
We stress the fact that all actions taken against Qatar are directed neither against our peoples nor the Qatari people for whom we have nothing but respect and affection and with whom we are tied by religion, family relations and common history. We will continue to stand by the Qatari people and support their security and stability and for that purpose, our countries have taken a number of measures to accommodate humanitarian cases, notably family relations and health conditions as is amply demonstrated by the latest facilities provided to Qataris by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia including for Hajj and Umra. This confirms the solid ties and refutes assertions of blockade or violations of human rights.
I wish here to express my country’s congratulations to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the great success of the Hajj season, which has been widely praised by all those participating in this major Islamic rite, and is a strong response to all those who seek to politicize the Hajj and make it a season of conflict and sedition. The Saudi Government, consistent with its highest objective, thus demonstrated its outstanding ability to protect the Two Holy Mosques and other sacred sites as well as all the visitors performing Hajj or Umra.
Those regimes that constantly seek to disseminate anarchy and evil are instruments of destruction and will be the biggest losers as they drift away from the values of collective cooperation among nations. As is the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran, where the people suffer from oppression, misery, and poverty, while gallows are hoisted in the streets. Living conditions are harsh and have taken this people, rich in history and civilization, tens of years backward while wasting the people’s resources to feed violence and undermine the region’s security, for the sake of realizing Iran’s hegemonic and expansionist ambitions, through its Revolutionary Guard and its satellite organizations such as the terrorist Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria and the militias in Yemen or the terrorist cells and groups in Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq as well as other countries that have suffered at length from these adversarial actions. We believe that the statement by His Excellency President Trump here before the General Assembly of the United Nations presents an accurate interpretation that clearly denounces the dangerous nature of the Iranian rogue regime that undermines peace in the region. The world is obliged to confront this regime and to stop it from pursuing its policies and its support of terrorism and obliging it to respect its neighbors’ sovereignty.
And because we always aspire to peace, we affirm that establishing normal ties with Iran is subject to the latter dropping its hegemonic, sectarian, and ideological policies. It must respect the national values of peoples and refrain from exporting its revolution based on a theocratic system or government. It must abide by the principles of good neighborliness and non-interference in the internal affairs. We call on Iran also to end its occupation of the three Emirati islands (Greater Tunb, Smaller Tunb and Abu Musa) and to respond favorably to the peaceful demarches by the United Arab Emirates to recoup sovereignty over its territories either through direct and serious negotiations or by referral to the International Court of Justice.
On the other hand, the Republic of Iraq, that has suffered for so long, and is still suffering, from foreign interference, has recently achieved, with the means available to it, the liberation of Mosul and Tal Afar from the grip of Daesh. This would not have been possible without the immense sacrifices by the Iraqi armed forces and the determination of the Government under His Excellency Dr. Haider Al Abadi, as well as the support provided by the international coalition to combat Daesh of which Bahrain is an active member. We reaffirm our constant support for all efforts aimed at restoring peace and security throughout Iraq and preserving its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
As regards to the situation in the Republic of Yemen, we reiterate our firm position of support for the legitimate government under the leadership of His Excellency President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi, President of the Republic of Yemen and we do so through our participation in the “Arab Coalition to support legitimacy in Yemen” and through our support for the measures taken by the legitimate government to extend its authority over the totality of the Yemeni territory, to put an end to the coup d’état militias supported by foreign powers, to reach a comprehensive political solution on the basis of international mandates, notably the GCC Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism, the outcomes of the National Dialogue, and Security Council Resolution 2216. This will terminate all forms of foreign intervention and put an end to the critical humanitarian situation of the Yemeni people. We reaffirm that we do not side with any one Yemeni party against the other but rather, we oppose foreign interventions that seek to harm this beloved country and we appreciate the efforts of Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen.
In the Arab Republic of Syria, we urge the international community to exert greater efforts towards protecting civilians and saving their lives, compelling all parties to abide by the cease fire decision and the establishment of de-escalation zones, guaranteeing access to besieged areas for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and intensifying support to countries hosting large numbers of our Syrian brethren, most notably the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In addition to pushing forward all efforts aimed at achieving a political solution that would preserve Syria’s unity and territorial integrity while ending foreign intervention in its internal affairs. The solution should also see the abolition of all terrorist organizations and provide peace and security to all Syrians so that they are enabled to actively participate in the determination of their own future on the basis of the communiqué of the First Geneva Conference and Security Council resolutions 2254 and 2268. We reaffirm our support for the Astana talks and the action of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura in the hope that they will contribute to the resolution of this protracted crisis.
In Libya, we applaud the liberation of a number of major cities from the hands of terrorist groups. We reaffirm our full support to the efforts exerted by all actors to achieve consensus among all Libyan parties and the implementation of the political agreement signed in Skhirat. Among these efforts are those deployed by Libya’s neighboring countries, the meetings held in UAE and France between Mr. Faiez Serraj, President of the Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord of Libya and Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, Commander –in-Chief of the Libyan army. We hope that such efforts shall continue with a view to preserving Libya’s unity and territorial integrity consistent with the aspirations of the people for development and progress. We welcome the appointment of Mr. Ghassan Salamé as Special Representative in Libya and wish him every success.
As regards to the question of the Moroccan Sahara, the Kingdom of Bahrain reaffirms the need to support the negotiations aimed at achieving a consensual and final political solution to this problem in the context of Moroccan national sovereignty and on the basis of relevant Security Council resolutions that confirm the seriousness of Morocco’s self-government initiative. We urge all parties to fully cooperate with the United Nations in this respect.
We reiterate our total objection to the plight of Muslims in Myanmar as a result of excessive use of force and we call on the Myanmar Government to assume its responsibilities in protecting the Rohingya Muslims and facilitate their access to all forms of relief and assistance so as to put an end to this human tragedy.
The Palestinian question comes on top of foreign policy priorities of the Kingdom of Bahrain which has always stood with the Palestinian people in their legitimate aspirations to enjoy all their legitimate rights, including an independent state, with East Jerusalem as its capital and within the borders of 4 June 1967, in conformity with the relevant international resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and the two states solution.
In welcoming the positive steps lately taken by Palestinian factions to end their divisions in favor of the vital Palestinian interests through political work and non-violence, we commend the pivotal role played by His Excellency President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of the Arab Republic of Egypt in this respect. This confirms the central role of Egypt in the support of causes related to the Arab nation of which it constitutes the strategic depth and the main pillar of peace and security.
The Palestinian question is not a religious issue. Palestine is the cradle of religions on which all lived in perfect harmony. Rather, it is a political issue par excellence, an issue of territorial occupation that must end, and the return of a people to their homeland. Rights confiscated must be returned to their owners and this precisely is what Israel, notwithstanding all its security concerns, should understand, for it will achieve peace for its people, and for itself, only when it abandons all forms of violence against Palestinians, and refrains from confiscating rights and property. It should halt its settlement activities and stop violating the sanctity of religious sites, especially what is happening in the blessed Al Aqsa mosque in the form of repeated aggressions and provocative acts that enrage Muslims all over the world and impede the resumption of the peace process and all supporting regional and international initiatives.
We wish to express at this juncture our sincere appreciation for the commendable work of UNRWA and the substantial assistance it provides the Palestinians inside the territory and in the neighboring countries.
The Kingdom of Bahrain stresses the need to achieve the universality of adherence to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, taking into account the right of all peoples to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes. Israel should implement the resolution issued by the Review Conference of the Parties to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty of 1995 pertaining to the Nuclear-free Middle East. Equally, we stress the need for Iran to implement Security Council Resolution 2231(2015) pertaining to the nuclear deal including those parts concerning ballistic and related weapons or else face severe sanctions should it violate in any manner its commitments by virtue of this resolution and the international safeguards system under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency. We welcome in this respect Security Council Resolution 2375 pertaining to new sanctions on DPRK in view of its continued nuclear and ballistic tests that threaten its neighbors and international peace and security.
Since its inception as an Arab and Islamic entity in 1783, the Kingdom of Bahrain firmly believes in the importance of collective action in the pursuit of security, development and prosperity. It orients all means towards the service of its people, its region and the world at large, since time immemorial. Allah has blessed it with wise leadership that has inherited an acute sense of responsibility for the achievement of the ultimate objectives of ideal relationships with its neighbors. It perseveres in following this path and will never go astray. It shall remain an effective member of the international community, a trusted partner in its Arab and Islamic setting and shall hold tight to this approach as the solid foundation of our foreign relations. We will remain open to all cultures and peoples in the spirit of tolerance and moderation and shall pursue the path to progress and development with determination and perseverance to safeguard our achievements, development and prosperity.
I thank you Mr. President.