UAE minister Reem Al Hashimy speaks during the 78th United Nations General Assembly.
There have been many speeches at the 78th United Nations General Assembly this week by world leaders, but many of them were spoken from the partisan perspective of their respective national interests and priorities. United Arab Emirates’ Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Al Hashimy’s speech stood out because of its universal appeal. She presented the UAE’s perspective but with an international appeal. It kept in mind that the United Nations was an internal forum and it has to reflect the international spirit. She also stressed the positive aspects of the situation where efforts are being made to build a better future for all. And it appealed to people and nations across borders. She did not glide over the strife-torn present, but stressed the need to resolve them through peaceful ways. She said, “Our region is ravaged by armed conflicts and extremist ideologies. The UAE continues to exert efforts to reduce escalations and call for dialogue and diplomacy to resolve differences.” And she emphasizes the futility of conflict: “Resorting to the use of force instead of relying on political solutions and dividing the world into an ‘us against them’ mentality is a zero-sum game.” Referring to the three UAE islands – Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa under Iranian occupation, she said, “Our legitimate right to these islands has not diminished and time will not diminish or extinguish our sovereignty over these islands. We will continue to seek a resolution, either through direct negotiations or through the International Court of Justice. This has been our firm stance for decades.” It was so important and necessary to drive home the point that peaceful resolution is the only way to resolve conflict at a time when war is raging in Ukraine and in many parts of Africa and Asia, and when many leaders chose to take a stance of supporting one side or the other which will only allow war and violence to continue. This was the time to make an unequivocal call for peace to end conflicts, and Al Hashimy’s address makes it its central message.
Reem Al Hashimy referred to the UAE’s vision for the future. She said, “The UAE declared this year as the Year of Sustainability, under the theme “Today and Tomorrow” to honour our shared responsibility to present and future generations, who deserve to live in safe, and prosperous environments. We also seek to honour and build upon the efforts of our founding fathers, who strived for the advancement of our nations. Our responsibility is to preserve our planet, our natural resources and our cultural heritage.” This is an ideal appeal from the local to the global because without the local roots there could be no meaningful movements towards the inclusive future.
This was indeed the message that was most relevant at the United Nations, which is desperately seeking to bring nations from different continents and facing different developmental challenges to come together to find acceptable solutions, and the task seems to be impossible given the clash of interests across the board. UAE’s Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Al Hashimy struck the right notes of peace and harmony, of looking to the future to make the planet habitable for the future generations, and of making it an international collaboration. The theme of her speech was soothing and looked beyond borders and divisions, and showed how at the end of the day all the nations have to live on this planet together as a global community. The language used in the speech was clear and direct. It did not resort to rhetorical flourishes which may be high sounding but lack depth and sincerity.
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