At UN, Gulf State Ministers stress importance of ‘good neighbourliness’ in Middle East

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, the Foreign Ministers of Bahrain and Oman today expressed concerns about instability in the Middle East region, citing the links between peace and development, and emphasizing the importance of being good neighbours to each other.

"Development goes hand in hand with the security and stability of the citizens and society at large," Bahrain's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, told the Assembly's annual debate. "Neither can be achieved in separation from the other, and neither can be attained without a stable and secure state, with good governance and solid and effective institutions," he added.

He said his country attaches great importance to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the leadership of King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, and has already started achieving the targets as documented by among others, the International Labour Organization's (ILO) report for this year, which ranked Bahrain in first place worldwide for the highest growth rate of women's participation in economic activities.

Bahrain has also launched 'Economic Vision 2030,' clearly affirming that the wellbeing, happiness and stability of its citizens are the main pillars of development in all fields and that the Government's efforts to achieve the international development goals go in parallel with its national economic vision, the Government Action Plan, and Bahrain's Country Programme Document between Bahrain and the UN Development Programme.

However, he underscored the enormity of the challenges facing the wider Middle East, which are considered grave threats to international peace and security. "It is for this reason that the protection of the foundations of the nation-State in our countries and preventing their collapse in other countries is the basis for sustaining security, development and prosperity. It deserves to become the major objective of all actors and groupings of the international community without double standards or hidden agendas," he explained.

Anti-terrorist measures will not be effective through legislation and laws that contravene the UN Charter and the principles of international law, such as the step taken by the American Congress in passing the 'Justice Against the Sponsors of Terrorism Act,' which jeopardizes international relations based on the principle of equal sovereignty of states and their sovereign immunity, he noted.

"It constitutes a dangerous precedent in relations between nations, and a threat to the stability of the international system, which in turn adversely affects international efforts to combat terrorism," he warned.

On Syria, he called on all states with some leverage on the crisis there, notably the United States and Russia, to join efforts towards the achievement of a political solution to the crisis along the lines of the Geneva Communique and UN Security Council resolution 2254 (2015).

As for the situation in Yemen, Bahrain, as a member of the Arab Coalition to Restore the Legitimacy in Yemen, will continue its steadfast efforts.

Concerning Iran, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a political and economic alliance of six Middle Eastern countries - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman - and all Arab countries, have spared no effort to build with this neighbouring country the best possible relations on the basis of good neighbourliness and respect for State sovereignty.

"However, all these efforts and sincere wishes were met with no serious response from Iran, and always ended either in an impasse or by the fabrication of new problems and crises to return us to square one," he said, expressing concern over "Iran's attempts to jeopardize our security and social peace through support provided to groups and militias under its authority such as the terrorist Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps."

He stressed that the Middle East has made tremendous human contributions and great civilizational achievements, and these were only made possible "because all who lived in this region did so in full security and harmony, away from the dividing lines of ethnicities, ideologies and religions."

Also addressing the Assembly this morning, Oman's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah, said "every problem has its own solution, if interests converge and if the political will exists, and if concerted efforts are exerted."

Oman has been among the countries that adopted the policy of dialogue, negotiation and conciliation to settle disputes by peaceful means, based on the provisions of UN Charter VI, and norms and recollections of human heritage.

"Our country has managed to establish friendly relations and cooperation with all countries of the world," he said.

He stressed the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian issue for the stability in the Middle East, renewing his country's call to the international community to intensify efforts through a new perspective that would enable the concerned parties to reach a comprehensive and just settlement that would end this long conflict.

Believing in the importance of adhering to the principle of dialogue to resolving disputes by peaceful means, Oman has sought to reconcile points of views that cause conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Libya. Oman, in coordination with the UN, has hosted several meetings in that vein.

He went on to state that since the onset of those crises, Oman has worked with the parties concerned to reconcile their points of view, while encouraging them to reject differences and resume negotiations. Highlighting, in particular, the efforts of Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, to bring the Yemeni parties together, he emphasized the need for joint international supporting action.

Source: UN News Centre.