(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) While welcoming the change in stance of Iranian President Hasan Rohani, the UAE reiterated that the dispute over its three islands - Abu Mousa, and Greater and Lesser Tunbs - occupied by Iran, should be resolved peacefully through direct, serious talks or by referral to the International Court of Justice.
UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan urged Iran to settle the dispute either through direct, serious negotiations or by referral to the International Court of Justice in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter and the provisions of international law.
Shaikh Abdullah said before the meeting of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly that all actions and measures taken by the Iranian occupation authorities are null and void, and are contrary to international law and to all norms and common human values.
''On the basis of these principles, the UAE Government expresses, once again, its regret regarding the continued Iranian occupation of our three islands of Abu Mousa, and Greater and Lesser Tunbs, and demands the restoration of the UAE's full sovereignty over these islands,'' he said in his speech to the UN General Assembly.
On Iran's nuclear programme, he said Tehran should ''constructively cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in order to dispel all suspicions surrounding its activities in a transparent and clear manner and to avoid any negative consequences arising from the absence of such cooperation''.
''The UAE believes that peaceful use of nuclear energy has become an urgent requirement in order to meet the growing demand for energy. We are proud to have a successful pioneering experience in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, which is surrounded with all guarantees of security and safety,'' the foreign minister said.
He said the country had also opened the way for the production of renewable energy and development of clean energy techniques to tackle climate change.
The following is from the speech of Shaikh Abdullah before the General Debate of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York:
"First, I would like to join previous speakers in congratulating you on your election as President of the 68th Session of the General Assembly, and I am confident that your experience in international affairs will contribute to the success of this session. I would also like to commend your predecessor, Vuk Jeremic, for his wise leadership of the last session, and also thank Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and his staff, for the tireless efforts they have been making to promote global peace, security and development.
The UAE continues to deeply believe in the goals and principles of the United Nations, as enshrined in its Charter, calling for the protection of international peace and security, promotion of peaceful coexistence among nations and peoples through peaceful resolution of international disputes, and respect for provisions of international law and non-interference in the internal affairs of states. These goals have also called for creating a favourable climate for international relations based on tolerance, non-violence, recognition of the other, and respect for human rights and people. My country has followed this approach in its regional and international relations.
Nevertheless, we cannot conceal our deep concern at the recent events in the Arab Region which were associated with sectarian strife, escalated terrorist attacks and growing incitement to violence, which led the region into a state of extreme polarisation, whereby stability and development were severely impacted. In the Arab Gulf, we see how extremism and terrorism in Bahrain are seeking to sabotage security and stability, and destroy a history of tolerance free from any sort of sectarianism. The situation was more aggravated by the politicisation and exploitation of religion to exclude and marginalise the other spectrums of society after they all used to live in harmony and peaceful co-existence. All these have led to widespread fears about the fate of the national state and the implications of that, which include shaking the pillars of the State, wasting its resources, and undermining its economy. You must be aware that such difficult conditions put the young people of the region at risk of falling into the clutches of extremism and violence, especially in a climate of growing despair and unemployment.
This clearly affirms the paramount importance of the UAE's efforts aimed at promoting a culture of moderation and non-violence, and fighting extremism in all its forms. In this regard, I refer in particular to my country's initiative to establish the Hedayah Centre for Countering Violent Extremism. The UAE proposed its establishment at a meeting held within the framework of the United Nations.
In this context, I condemn with the strongest terms the cowardly terrorist attack committed against a commercial centre in Nairobi, Kenya, which resulted in the death of dozens of innocent victims.
The UAE is deeply disappointed at the inability of the international community until now to put an immediate end to the worsening tragedy suffered by the Syrian people caused by military actions and indiscriminate and systematic bombings by Syrian forces which have killed so far more than 100,000 people and injured and displaced millions of people, being to date the most serious violation of international law and international humanitarian law. We are deeply concerned about the growing serious implications of this conflict on Syria and the entire region, and we strongly condemn and reject all crimes against humanity committed by the Syrian regime, especially the chemical attack against Ghota, Damascus, which killed thousands of civilians and children.
We, therefore, call upon the international community to take all necessary measures to punish the Syrian regime for its massacres against its civilians. All of you must be aware of the frustration we feel and the majority of countries in the region feel regarding the disabling of the United Nations mechanisms from acting against the aggressive acts of the Syrian regime against its people. The failure to act by international organisations is directly responsible for the aggravating humanitarian tragedy we witness in Syria and for the threat against the Syrian State, community and people.
The UAE, which has fulfilled its duties regarding the ongoing relief operations for the Syrian people and continues to provide aid, hospitals, tools and the necessary medical teams, calls for concerted international and regional efforts to secure the humanitarian needs of the displaced Syrians inside Syria and across the borders to alleviate their suffering.