The Speech of the Kingdom of Bahrain before the United Nations General Assembly UNGA -73 in New York
In the name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate
At the outset, may I sincerely congratulate you, and your friendly country the Republic of Ecuador, on your election to preside over this session. Holding this important position reflects your skill and merit. My sincere appreciation also goes to your predecessor, His Excellency Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, for his valued efforts in conducting the business of the previous session in a highly professional manner.
I also wish to express the great appreciation of the Kingdom of Bahrain for His Excellency Mr. António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, and his relentless efforts, to reforming the Organization’s structure and enhancing its role in the fields of sustainable development, dispute resolution, preservation of international peace and security, and many other human issues of interest to all states of the world. These are tangible efforts and enjoy our full support and backing.
May I also recall here, with great affection, the role of the late diplomat Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, and his endeavours to reform the Organization and develop solutions to international crises. I offer my sincerest condolences to his family, and to the international community at large.
Under the leadership of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and with the support of 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 is keen to implement all programmes and plans to raise the standard of living and development of its citizens and residents, and to keep up with international efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, taking advanced steps in this regard, so that all shall enjoy a decent living and a secure life.
Indeed, the Kingdom of Bahrain has been classified for many years in the category of highly advanced countries in human development. It has succeeded in mitigating the impact of the economic challenges, thanks to its economic diversification efforts, fiscal and monetary policies and investment incentives. This has impacted positively on the Bahraini economy, which is now classified, according to the International Monetary Fund, as one of the fastest growing economies in the region. In addition, the discovery of the largest oil and natural gas reserves since the first discovery of oil in 1932 shall, God willing, constitutes a strong impetus to Bahrain’s economy in the future.
As part of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s cooperation with the United Nations, His Royal Highness the Prime Minister issued a decree establishing the Follow-up and Coordination Committee between the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain and United Nations agencies as an outcome of the strategic partnership framework for the years 2018-2020. This was signed by both parties to support the efforts of the Kingdom of Bahrain to achieve its development objectives and the Sustainable Development Goals in accordance with the Bahrain Economic Vision 2030.
Determined to highlight and document these efforts, a few weeks ago my Government presented, to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development here in New York, its first Voluntary National Review on the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
The election of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the membership of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations for the period 2019-2022, reflected international appreciation for the policies pursued by His Majesty the King to consolidate rights and liberties and to advance our common efforts towards achieving the objectives and purposes of the United Nations.
Consistent with its international contributions and keen interest in cooperation with the various bodies of the United Nations, the Kingdom of Bahrain presented its candidature for the membership of the Human Rights Council for the third time for the period 2019-2021. This candidature reaffirms its policy of enhancing respect for human rights and the preservation of freedoms in line with international standards, building upon the progress already achieved in various fields.
Furthermore, last March, during the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women, nominations were invited for Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa Global Award for Women’s Empowerment. This Award aims to highlight achievements in the field of equal opportunities between women and men in the world.
The Kingdom of Bahrain’s ranking among Tier 1 countries in the 2018 US State Department Report on Trafficking in Persons, issued last June, makes it the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to attain this high status, confirming the great accomplishments of the Kingdom of Bahrain in this field.
Tribute was paid by the US State Department to Mr. Ausamah Abdulla Al Absi, CEO of the Labour Market Regulatory Authority, Chairman of the National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons in the Kingdom of Bahrain, among ten international personalities, in appreciation of his extraordinary contribution to the fight against trafficking in persons.
The Kingdom of Bahrain is always looking to contribute to the construction of a more prosperous future for the peoples of the world. It is fully aware of the importance of alliances to preserve regional security to firmly address the challenges and threats to the stability of countries, their development, and the prosperity of its peoples, particularly in the Arab Gulf region, a central component of the Middle East and the world.
We are therefore convinced that achieving lasting peace and security, and sustainable development in the countries of the region is a collective responsibility that requires building a robust political, economic and military alliance between responsible countries of the region, that understand the threats of the moment and the requirements of the future. They have a genuine desire, serious will and wise policies that make such responsibility an indispensable element - in collaboration with allied countries - to safeguard the security and safety of their states and peoples and deter whoever is tempted to threaten the stability of this strategic region of the world, a region which is confronted with many dangers, notably from the Iranian regime with its policy of destruction, overthrowing states and their institutions. While supporting terrorist and extremist groups and interfering in the internal affairs of other states, Iran falsely accuses neighbouring countries of instigating events that take place in Iran. It aspires to impose its hegemony on the region by packaging and exporting its miserable revolution under which the Iranian people suffer from tyranny, oppression and injustice. It disseminates an extremist ideology that has become a constant feature of its foreign policy and is threatening the aspirations and ambitions of peoples who have coexisted for many centuries - as we ourselves did with Iran, its friendly people and its ancient civilization, living side by side in an environment of shared heritage, culture, commerce and others.
The situation in the Republic of Yemen is a case in point. The Iranian regime backs the militias behind the coup d’état in Yemen to be able to continue its criminal and hostile activities threatening neighbouring countries by means of ballistic missiles against civilian populated areas in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
This is confirmed by the major countries concerned with the security of the region as well as by the reports of the United Nations, including the fifth report of the UN Secretary-General on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2231(2015). The report clearly indicates that Iran is the origin of those missiles that constitute serious threats to peace and security in the region as well as to the major international shipping lanes, the Strait of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandeb.
At a time when it is imperative to establish common mechanisms for collective security in the Middle East, we are confronted with another source of impediment to these efforts that threaten the security and stability of the region, which is Qatar. It maintains its policies and practices that contradict the concept of collective security through a dangerous tendency to spread and feed terrorism with a view to toppling national governments, striving to destroy them, and drowning them in anarchy. My own country was thus a target of Qatari plans beyond even the events of 2011. Qatar provided financial, informational, and logistical support to acts of violence and terrorism. Far beyond that, Qatar throughout its history, repeatedly attacked its neighbours, including our own territory in 1937 and 1986, and on the borders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1992. We reacted with wisdom and far-sight to prevent our two peoples any harm. We and the Qataris are one people, we were under a single leadership and we are united by origin, family ties, history, and a common objective and destiny. Our relations will remain close and impervious to all attempts to divide or alter this everlasting reality.
We still hope that Qatar will return to its senses, prove its good intentions and its desire to become a positive member of the region by responding to the conditions of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Arab Republic of Egypt. Those conditions are consistent with the solid basis of international law, good neighbourliness, mutual respect and the respect of the sovereignty and independence of states. They aim to put an end to the support and financing of terrorism, and to implement its commitments under the agreements it has signed, notably the Riyadh Agreement of 2013 and its Executive Mechanism and the Supplementary Riyadh Agreement of 2014.
The Kingdom of Bahrain endeavours to put into action the various frameworks of constructive cooperation with its partners and friends in the world. It effectively participates in many alliances including the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, the International Coalition against ISIS, and the Arab Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen. We reiterate our support to all initiatives aimed at establishing peace and security in the world, and in our region in particular, beginning with the efforts of the United States of America, under the leadership of His Excellency President Donald Trump in this regard, most notably: cooperation with the countries of the region to establish the Middle East Strategic Alliance, the designation of some terrorist groups supported by the Iranian regime on the Government of the United States lists of terrorist organizations, the American strategy vis-à-vis the Iranian regime, and the withdrawal from the incomplete nuclear agreement with Iran. We express our commitment with our allies to support the security and stability of the region.
In this respect, we renew our demand for an end to the occupation by Iran of the three United Arab Emirates islands (Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Mussa) and for Iran to respond seriously to the efforts by the United Arab Emirates to restore its sovereignty on its territory and to resolve this issue through negotiations or referral to the International Court of Justice.
I would be remiss not to commend the significant role and constructive efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the regional and international levels, using its prominent status and strategic role to consolidate international peace and security. We were all witness to the sponsorship by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, of the Jeddah Peace Agreement between the Republic of Eritrea and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
The preservation of the state and its institutions is the main guarantee of the stability of peoples and the revival of communities to prevent them from falling into the abyss of anarchy and terrorism. I want to recall here the words of His Excellency President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, in his statement before the General Assembly a few days ago.
“There can be no way forward towards achieving an effective international order, if its main constituent unit, the nation-state, which is premised on the notions of citizenship, democracy and equality is in danger of disintegration…The disintegration of nations as a result of civil strife or regression to sectarian loyalties is responsible for the most dangerous phenomena in our contemporary world.”
In line with our consistent position, we reaffirm the need for a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis with effective participation and a strong Arab role to enable the state to exercise control and sovereignty over the totality of its territory, to eliminate terrorist groups of all kinds, particularly those supported by Iran such as Hezbollah and others. We also stress the need to prevent regional interferences that harm Syria’s present and future, and to realize the aspirations of the Syrian people for a peaceful and stable life. We welcome the Russian – Turkish Truce Agreement on Idlib. We reaffirm our support for the efforts of Mr. Staffan De Mistura, the United Nations Special Envoy to Syria.
Regarding the Republic of Yemen, the Kingdom of Bahrain is committed to its participation as an active member of the Arab Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen, since its inception. The Coalition is committed to restoring peace and security to Yemen and to assisting the people of Yemen in all areas, most particularly the humanitarian aspects. The Coalition is moving forward in its mission to guarantee Yemen’s unity, independence and territorial integrity, and to put an end to foreign interference in its internal affairs, notably by the Iranian regime until a political solution is reached with the participation of all, on the basis of the GCC Initiative and its Implementation Mechanisms, the Outcomes of the National Dialogue, and Security Council resolution 2216.
If we really wish to have peace and security throughout the Middle East, Jerusalem must remain, as it has always been, the historic symbol of coexistence and harmony among religions. The continuation of the conflict is not an unavoidable destiny and the achievement of peace is an attainable objective. For this we need to exert further efforts to reach a just and comprehensive peace that offers the Palestinian people, like all other peoples, the right to a decent life and to an independent and sovereign state, based on the 4 June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and guarantees the return of refugees on the basis of the two state solution and in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and relevant international resolutions. We stress here the importance of the commitment not to alter the legal status of East Jerusalem and the need for the international community to act in order to put an end to all Israeli measures concerning the inhabitants of Jerusalem, sacred sites, and their places of worship.
We also stress the need to offer all possible assistance to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), to preserve it and to enable it to discharge its noble duties to improve the situation of Palestinian refugees and alleviate their suffering.
The peace and stability of the Republic of Iraq, and the preservation of its sovereignty and the prosperity of its people is what we wish for this authentic Arab country. We are hopeful that Iraq will resume its leading role in its Arab, regional and international environment. We stress the necessity of stopping regional interference in its internal affairs, particularly by the Iranian regime and its diverse tools such as armed militias and terrorist groups, so that its people may enjoy security and prosperity.
Regarding Libya, we reiterate the Kingdom of Bahrain’s consistent position in support of all efforts towards the reconstruction of the state and the unification of the military institution to enable it to protect Libya and confront all forms of terrorism, to preserve its unity and territorial integrity, and to satisfy the aspirations of the Libyan people to achieve stability, development and progress.
The Kingdom of Bahrain stands by the Kingdom of Morocco against the flagrant Iranian plotting and interference in its internal affairs. Bahrain supports the serious and credible efforts by the Kingdom of Morocco to reach a political solution to the question of the Moroccan Sahara, on the basis of the Moroccan initiative of autonomy and relevant Security Council resolutions, and within the framework of the sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco.
Your choice of the theme of this session, entitled “Making the United Nations Relevant to All People, Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies” sends one message, namely that realizing these objectives means that we will fulfill the aims of the entirety of the United Nations Charter and achieve our desired goals.
The Kingdom of Bahrain, believes in this message and implements it as it continues its development path. It perseveres in its efforts to enhance the security and stability enjoyed by its people. It will never abandon its role in consolidating the spirit of tolerance, the values of coexistence and the principles of dialogue between states, peoples, cultures and religions. We have all witnessed here in New York the High-Level meeting convened by the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence entitled: “Towards Peaceful and Inclusive Communities” in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal 16. I want to also mention the “Bahrain Visions Forum: Shared Visions for a Successful Future - National, regional and global challenges and opportunities”. These initiatives reflect the policy of the Kingdom of Bahrain and its faith in partnership and cooperation with the international community to overcome all challenges.
A state based on an open and diverse society, welcoming all those who walk on its land and live among its people, and which has offered, in the past as in the present, a successful model to be followed of what can be achieved under this rich diversity and positive openness, can only remain faithful to all international covenants and conventions. It is a model of a state that cares for its people’s interests and those of the region to which it belongs. This approach will continue to be built on the commitment of all, to the principles of good neighbourliness, mutual respect and restraint from inflicting harm on others or jeopardizing their security. Whoever goes astray and betrays their promise, whoever rejects those principles and frameworks, international law guarantees the redrawing of a peaceful path that ensures the security and stability of our states and the return of normality for the sake of a stable, prosperous environment with peaceful countries and secure peoples in a prosperous peacefully coexisting world.
Thank you Madam President