Thank you, President, and Secretary General of the Arab League, Mr. Aboul Gheit, and Under Secretary-General of DPPA, Ms. Rosemary Dicarlo, for interesting and timely briefs.
Thanks also to Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi for his statement and for personally chairing this important meeting today. I also welcome the presence of Anwar Gargash, Minister of state for Foreign Affairs of the UAE, at this meeting.
Norway believes that more inclusive deliberations of issues on the Security Council’s agenda will benefit the Council’s situational awareness and decision-making. Engaging with regional and sub-regional organizations is therefore important. We strongly support the cooperation and dialogue between this Council and the Arab League on key matters related to peace and security in the region.
The political and security situation in the MENA-region remains deeply complex, and in several countries, volatile. The conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen are still ongoing, and the situation in Western Sahara is more tense now than it has been in long time.
While we welcome recent developments from the GCC Summit and prospects to restore GCC unity, tensions in the Gulf region are still running high. Furthermore, ISIL and other terrorist groups continue to pose a grave threat to regional peace, stability, and prosperity. The absence of a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict also remains a source of unrest in the region.
We see a new regional dynamic with several members of the Arab League recently having normalized relations with Israel. At the same time, support for the Palestinian cause in the Arab world remains strong. This new dynamic might present an opening for a renewed attempt at reaching a negotiated two-state solution. We encourage more coordination between the League of Arab States and this Council to support such a process.
Organizations like the Arab League are important in order to facilitate dialogue, building consensus and bridge differences between states. We encourage the Arab League assuming a more prominent role in promoting stability, peace, and reconciliation in the region- in cooperation with other regional and international partners.
I would like to highlight the engagement of the Arab League in the Libya Quartet, together with the UN, African Union and the European Union; and the Quartet’s efforts in support of the Libyan-led political process.
Furthermore, we fully support and encourage efforts to intensify contact and coordination between all relevant UN Special Envoys, and the Arab League, in addressing crises in the region. We encourage the two secretariats to continue working together to identify concrete, realistically achievable areas for cooperation, especially on peace and security.
One such area for further cooperation could be through supporting networks of women mediators. In the MENA region - as in so many places in the world - women remain underrepresented in political life and in peace and security efforts. This is why networks of women mediators are so important; they demonstrate the competence and capacity of local women leaders.
We are very pleased that the Arab League and UN Women have launched the Arab Women Mediators Network to mobilize efforts to promote the participation of women in peacebuilding and peacekeeping. We also welcome the joint efforts of UN Women and the Arab League, to support Member States in developing and implementing National Action Plans for Women Peace and Security.
Yemen is a country where women’s participation in local and national peace and stability processes is of utmost importance. The National Strategy for Women, Peace and Security is a good tool, and we encourage support to Yemen’s implementation of this plan.
We also welcome cooperation between the Arab League and the UN on issues related to climate and security, including through the Climate Security Mechanism.
In closing, I am encouraged by the statements made today, and hopeful that the cooperation between the Council and the League can be further deepened towards greater peace and security in the region.