UAE awaits the long-cherished UNSC moment


Dubai - If elected, the UAE will win the ‘Arab seat’ in the 15-nation Security Council by replacing Tunisia.

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Anjana Sankar

Published: Fri 11 Jun 2021, 6:24 AM

After months of intense diplomatic efforts and campaigning, the UAE’s long-cherished UN moment is here as the General Assembly will vote to pick its five non-permanent members to the Security Council on Friday.

The 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly will hold a secret ballot session to elect five new non-permanent members of the Security Council for the period 2022-2023, with the UAE running for the seat of the Asia-Pacific Group.

When a young country — born just five decades ago — is seeking entry into the world’s most powerful diplomatic club, invariably all eyes are on the UAE.

The Emirates is betting on its track record in inclusivity, peace building, resilience and innovation as it vies for a seat on the UN’s top table. As a lynchpin of regional peace and stability, the country vows to work to “reinvigorate global cooperation and leverage the UN system to realise its full potential to create more resilient institutions and societies”.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, announced the candidacy last year
 saying the UAE is ready to shoulder the “significant responsibility”.

If elected, the UAE will win the ‘Arab seat’ in the 15-nation Security Council by replacing Tunisia, the current representative member. The last time the UAE was in the UNSC was in 1986-87.

The “dynamic and forward-looking country” has a lot more to offer to the world by bringing to table its nothing-is-impossible spirit of innovation and conflict resolution, according to its leaders.

“It is now the UAE’s turn to prove that we can help address the challenges the world is facing. We are a dynamic and forward-looking country in our region, a bridge builder, a humanitarian leader, and a global hub of commerce, trade, and innovation,” Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE’s Permanent Ambassador to the UN, said on Thursday.

The UNSC has five permanent members — the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia — who can veto decisions taken by the assembly. The permanent members are the heavy weights who can take legally-binding decisions like imposing sanctions and sanctioning military actions. Other 10 non-permanent members serve over-lapping two-year terms and are represented across regions.

If the scrutiny begins at home, one need not look further than the UAE’s multicultural, multi-racial society where more than 200 nationalities cohabit peacefully. It is the first Arab country that hosted a Catholic Pope and is building an Abrahamic Family House that will include a church, synagogue and a mosque.

The UAE’s parliament that has 50 per cent representation by women will speak volumes for its commitment for gender parity and inclusion. Innovation and resilience are in the country’s DNA as is evident from the UAE’s bold Mars mission, its smart, futuristic ministerial portfolios for Artificial Intelligence and Happiness.

Its commitment to fighting climate change, Covid-19, and billions offered in humanitarian aid are just some of the achievements that the UAE camp has highlighted in its campaign titled ‘Stronger United’ for the UNSC seat.

On the global stage, the UAE’s track-record as a peacemaker and crisis manager lends itself to a strong case.

Dr Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Adviser to the President, and the UAE’s former minister of State for Foreign Relations, said country has been a “bridge builder” and understands that achieving peace requires building consensus, disarmament, and non-proliferation.

Omar Al Bussaidy, Non-resident Fellow at Trends Research, said the UAE deserves a seat at the table because it is a proven model of tolerance and coexistence. The recent events have shown how the country can be a key player in resolving regional conflicts and disputes.

“The UAE has great relationships with most countries around the world and leveraging these relations in fostering peace is what the country will bring to the table.”

Dr Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, professor of political science at UAE University, said there is no other country that is more deserving to be at the Security Council.

“The UAE has established itself as a force for stability, tolerance, moderation, multilateralism and women empowerment. So, if these are the values that the UN wants to represent, the UAE should get the vote,” said Dr Abdulla.

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