Remarks by UAE Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, at the 72nd U.N. General Assembly (Excerpts)

September 22, 2017

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile

Related Country: 

  • United Arab Emirates

Mr. President,

Let me begin by congratulating you on your presidency of this session of the General Assembly. We are confident that your deep experience in international affairs will contribute to its success, and we stand ready to provide you with all the support and cooperation you need. I also wish to thank your predecessor, Mr. Peter Thompson, for his stewardship of the last session.

Let me also take this opportunity to express my country's appreciation for the efforts ofthe Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, to reform the United Nations' work in conflict prevention and the achievement of peace and security. We fully support his vision, which will require United Nations member states to cooperate more closely on both existing and emerging global challenges.

The foreign policy of the United Arab Emirates is guided by principles consistent with the Charter of the United Nations and international law: a spirit of partnership, support for the rule of law, good-neighborliness and non-interference in the internal affairs of other States. These principles lead us to support a stronger role for the United Nations, and its reform, so that it can fulfill its mandate to maintain international peace and security and to bring about development and prosperity.


The common factor in all crises suffered in the region and the real obstacle to any concrete progress in resolving these crises remains the hostile and expansionist policy of Iran in the region. That policy is one of interference in the internal affairs of other states, and of arming and supporting terrorist groups, such as the Houthis and Hezbollah, as well as terrorist groups and cells in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom of Bahrain and Kuwait. Iran has not only committed blatant violations of the principles of sovereignty, but also continues to exploit the crises in the Arab world to undermine regional security by inciting and fueling conflict. Iran must realize that peaceful co-existence based on respect for sovereignty in the region is the best basis for a harmonious relationship with the states of the Arabian Gulf.

We reaffirm from this podium the UAE's firm position and its legitimate right to sovereignty over its three islands: Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa, which are occupied by Iran in violation of the provisions of international law and the Charter of the United Nations. We will not abandon our demand for Iran to return the occupied islands to their rightful owners, either voluntarily or through the peaceful means that are available for the resolution of international disputes, particularly through the International Court of Justice.

Two years have passed since Iran's nuclear agreement, with no sign of change in its hostile behavior in the region or any desire to abandon its nuclear ambitions. Instead, Iran continues to develop and conduct more ballistic missile tests in a deliberate violation of the spirit of the nuclear agreement. Therefore, we support enhancing controls on Iran's nuclear program and continued assessment of the agreement and its provisions. We view the similarly provocative behavior of North Korea, through its continued development of its nuclear program and ballistic missiles, as a part of the destructive efforts of these states to pursue their nuclear ambitions and threaten global security and stability. The aggressive policies of Iran and North Korea are inconsistent with their membership in an international organization whose primary concern is the maintenance of international peace and security.