Statement by H.E. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi before the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly
Thursday، 24 September 2020 - 03:51 PM
In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate and the Most Merciful
At the outset, it is a great pleasure to extend my thanks to Mr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande for his remarkable efforts as the President of the previous session of the UN General Assembly, wishing you success in conducting the work of the current session, wisely and objectively.
The holding of the high-level General Assembly session this year is of paramount importance. It coincides with the seventy-fifth anniversary of the UN foundation and with the whole world affliction by the Novel Coronavirus pandemic which has taken tremendous toll of human casualties and resulted in adverse economic and social impacts so far.
By virtue of its history, location, affiliation to the African, Arab, Islamic and Mediterranean communities, and as a founding member of the UN, Egypt has its own vision on the approach to be adopted to improve the performance and to develop the effectiveness of the international multilateral system with a special focus on the UN.
I would like to take this opportunity to review some practical measures to achieve our common goals in the three pillars of the UN:
The first pillar; with respect to the maintenance of international peace and security, it has become essential that we all adopt an approach that ensures the implementation of Resolutions issued within multilateral frameworks, giving priority to the application of the stable and consistent rules and principles in the UN Charter and the International Law. This necessitates that the states should have the needed political will to respect and implement the Resolutions and to conduct the tasks of the UN on two main levels. The first is to diligently follow up the implementation of what is agreed upon and to take all necessary measures to help states abide by obligations and build capacities, paying due regard to the principle of national ownership. The second level is to ensure that the states, deliberately violating the International Law and the UN Resolutions, particularly, those of the Security Council, are going to be held accountable.
In this context, it is no longer acceptable that the counter-terrorism binding Security Council Resolutions, which provide the necessary legal framework to address this devastating plague, should not be effectively implemented or fully committed by some countries, which believe that they will not fall subject to accountability for political reasons.
Regrettably, the international community is turning a blind eye to the support of a handful of states for terrorists, whether in funding, weapons, or by providing safe havens, media and political platforms. Moreover, they facilitate the flow of terrorist militias to conflict areas, especially to Libya and previously to Syria.
Egypt’s keenness on stabilizing international peace and security extends to spare the peoples the scourge of armed conflicts. This is done by launching comprehensive political operations based on the references included in the relevant Security Council Resolutions.
Regarding the crisis in Libya, Egypt clings to the path of political settlement under the UN leadership, based on the Sukhairat Political Agreement, Berlin Conference outcomes and “The Cairo Declaration”, launched by the Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives and the leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA). The Agreement is considered a comprehensive joint political initiative to end the conflict in Libya, and includes special steps and a clear schedule to restore order and to establish a consensus government that fulfills the Libyans’ aspirations.
The crisis’ repercussions are not limited to Libya itself but also affect the neighboring countries’ security and international stability. Egypt is determined to support the Libyan brothers to free their country from terrorist organizations and militias. It is also determined to put an end to blatant interference from some regional parties that intended to bring foreign fighters to Libya to fulfill well-known greedy ambitions and past colonial illusions.
Therefore, we have declared and we are still reiterating that continuing fights and crossing “Sirte-Jufra” red line will be faced by Egypt to defend its national security and the safety of its people. We also renew the invitation to all parties to return to the political path for achieving peace, security and stability deserved by the brotherly Libyan people.
If we are truly pleading for implementing international resolutions and achieving lasting peace and security in the Middle East, there is nothing more important than the Palestinian question. The Palestinians have been aspiring for the most basic human rights; namely living in their independent state side-by-side with the other countries in the region.
Attaining this right has squashed generations and overlooked many resolutions to an extent that overwhelms the human conscience.
There is no way to get rid of this burden or to open up horizons of peace, cooperation and coexistence except by achieving the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state, with East Jerusalem to be its capital so that peace and security would prevail in the whole region.
The international community has to activate its commitment to achieve the long-awaited peace and face procedures that seize the lands of the Palestinians and undermine the bases of a settlement and the two-state solution adopted by the international resolutions upon which the peace process was established. Egypt has embarked on this peace process seeking to realize comprehensive, just and lasting peace.
Moreover, the comprehensive political solution to the Syrian crisis became urgent in order to end the erupting war and to implement all elements of political settlement according to the Security Council Resolution No. 2254, without fragmentation or procrastination. Furthermore, this can be done in a way that achieves Syria’s unity, regional and institutional safety, and its people’s aspirations, as well as total eradication of terrorism.
By the same logic, the time has come for a decisive stance to end the crisis in Yemen through implementing the terms of reference of the conflict settlement in accordance with the Security Council Resolution No. 2216, the Gulf initiative and the outcomes of the comprehensive national dialogue. This should be done in a manner that respects the legitimacy, guarantees the unity and independence of Yemen, and stops the exploitation of its lands in order to attack neighboring countries or to hinder the freedom of navigation in Bab Al-Mandab Strait.
As regards the issue of the Renaissance Dam, I would like to convey the heightened concern of the Egyptian nation about this project that a neighboring and friendly country is building on a river that has given life to millions of people over thousands of years.
We have spent nearly a full decade in painstaking negotiations with our brothers in Sudan and Ethiopia, seeking to reach an agreement that regulates filling and operating the dam. Moreover, the agreement achieves the required balance between the development requirements of the friendly Ethiopian people and safeguarding Egypt's water interests and ensuring its right to life.
Over the course of the current year, we have gone through successive rounds of intense negotiations where the government of the USA made appreciative efforts to bring the three countries’ positions closer, through the talks it sponsored with the aid of the World Bank over a period of several months. We have also sincerely engaged in the discussions made by my brother, the Prime Minister of Sudan. This is followed by the negotiating rounds called for by the Republic of South Africa, as being the current president of the African Union. Unfortunately, these efforts did not lead to the desired results. The River Nile is not an exclusively limited to any party, and its waters are, for Egypt, a necessity for survival without infringing the rights of the brothers.
The Security Council’s response to Egypt's call to hold a consultation session on the twenty-ninth of last June confirmed the seriousness and importance of this issue and its direct connection with preserving international peace and security. Thus, the responsibility is put on the shoulders of the international community to push all parties to reach the desired agreement that achieves our common interests. However, the negotiation period should not be extended indefinitely in an attempt to impose a fait-accompli because our peoples yearn for stability, development and a promising new era of cooperation.
As for the second UN pillar; achieving sustainable development, Egypt firmly believes that advancing development efforts is a prerequisite for strengthening international peace and security and establishing a stable global order. This is the best means for preventing extremism and reducing armed conflicts and humanitarian crises.
Egypt has supported the adoption of the sustainable development agenda for the year 2030 and played a pivotal role to support the Secretary General efforts to reform the development system, believing in the importance of enhancing the organization’s ability to achieve these ambitious goals.
The severe crisis imposed by the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic requires providing support for the developing countries, especially the African ones. This is achieved by presenting promoting packages for their economy, easing the burden of accumulated debts, and benefiting of the available tools in the international financial institutions. This will contribute in creating a suitable environment that helps those countries to contain the impacts of the pandemic and to deal with the existing problems, such as terrorism, the irregular migration and the causes of conflicts.
Regarding the third UN pillar, the international agenda for human rights gains an increasing importance due to its direct effect in promoting human development, improving the quality of the provided services, preserving people’s rights to a decent life, and dealing with the challenges at all levels. Meanwhile, this would reinforce the stability of the international system at the same time.
We have strengthened our march in human right field at all levels; political, economic and social, believing in the necessity of their integration under the umbrella of the Egyptian Constitution, the amended articles guaranteeing rights and freedoms of the coming generations. Moreover, these articles guarantee establishing the Egyptian Senate due to its role in supporting the democratic system; ensure that women are adequately represented in the House of Representatives by at least one quarter of the seats. Additionally, they organize the work in the state institutions and its bodies, separate powers and establish the principle of the succession of power.
There were also many aspects of work to enhance citizenship, achieve justice, equality and equal opportunities without discrimination for any reason, exert the efforts to empower the Egyptian woman, combat the manifestations of violence against her in all forms. Among the aspects are the call for renewing the religious speech and assuring the freedom of belief, as well as the state’s role in building the places of worship without discrimination. Moreover, the state empowers people of special needs and invests in youths, especially through engaging them in the decision-making process, holding direct dialogues with them through periodic youth forums, implementing initiatives of training and rehabilitating them for the effective participation in the public work.
On the economic level, in line with the comprehensive perspective of "Egypt 2030" vision, it is true that without the support of Egypt’s people to state institutions, it would not have been possible to overcome the difficulties and the hard stages of the structural reform program, whose success has contributed significantly to fortifying the economy and reducing its losses as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. We are among the few countries that have been able to achieve positive growth rates despite the pandemic. Furthermore, the reform program controls inflation rates, decreases unemployment to its lowest levels in 20 years, establishes mega national projects in the fields of infrastructure, provides appropriate housing and energy, as well as carrying out social programs. It targets lower-income people to provide the necessary protection and alleviate the side-effects of reforms on them, focuses on the priority of health care as a key right through the adoption of many initiatives, as well as implements the comprehensive health coverage program for all Egyptians. Such efforts are considered a direct contribution in order to maintain the citizen’s right to a decent life.
Amidst all the above-mentioned, I cannot fail to frankly indicate that, we have never failed to fulfill our humanitarian duty towards the nearly six million migrants and refugees who have been forced to leave their countries due to wars, political crises or difficult economic conditions. Egypt currently hosts them on its land among its people, where they enjoy all the services provided by the State to Egyptians without any help or significant support from our international partners, despite their acknowledgment of the importance of the rights of these migrants.
It is necessary to tackle the issue of the equitable geographical distribution in the Security Council to be more expressive of our reality today and the current balances of power that are totally different from what it was during the time of the formation of the international system.
Egypt highlights the importance of expanding the Security Council; permanent and non-permanent, in a way that enhances its credibility and achieves a fair representation of Africa to correct its historical injustice and to respond to its legitimate demands stipulated in the "Oslweni Consensus" and the "Sirte Declaration”.
Facing the daunting challenges due to the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus, as well as the existing regional and international problems, made it incumbent to uphold the principle of international cooperation and solidarity to face these challenges more than ever before and to avoid rivalry and polarization.
If "hope is born out of pain," then we could find in the current crisis what motivates us to breathe fresh air into our relentless efforts and activate international multilateral action. The role of the UN would be its locomotive.
As a founding member of this organization and contributing to the human civilization since the dawn of history, Egypt spares no effort to achieve the vision of renewal and reform. This is based on a firm belief that "the land can embrace all", as long as abandoning conflicts, peace-making and international cooperation are the foundations governing relations between states and peoples to achieve development, security, stability and prosperity for both the current and future generations on equal footing.
Thank you, Mr. President