CAIRO, 14th February, 2023 (WAM) -- Khalifa Shaheen Al Marar, Minister of State, has headed the UAE delegation to a high-level conference in support of the occupied city of Jerusalem, which was held at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States (Arab League) in Cairo.
The conference comes as part of the implementation of Resolution No. (781) issued during the 31st ordinary session of the Arab League Council at the summit level, which stipulated the convening of a high-level conference to support and protect Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine, and its people at the political, legal, and developmental levels.
In his speech at the conference, Al Marar stated, "We meet today in light of the critical situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, which has reached a very volatile and perilous stage due to unilateral measures and illegal practices against the Palestinian people, the city of Jerusalem, and its holy sites."
He added, "In light of the current conditions, we first underscore the urgency of ending the ongoing tensions in and around the holy sites and putting an end to the escalation of inciteful speech regarding them. Here, we renew our rejection and condemnation of any violations or provocative measures to change the historical and legal status quo in the city of Jerusalem, as well as the repeated storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard, and threats of its recurrence.
"We also reaffirm the need to respect the role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan's custodianship of the holy sites and endowments in the city of Jerusalem and reaffirm our support for Jordan's Custodianship of the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, and that it has the legal authority to manage the affairs of Al-Aqsa Mosque, especially in light of concerning developments, the most recent of which was the Jordanian Ambassador to Israel being stopped from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque."
Al Marar continued, "Second, we call for ceasing the demolition of Palestinian property and the forced displacement of the Palestinian people from their homes. Third, we urge the need to prevent settlement operations that have reached unprecedented levels. We stress that building and expanding settlements and their roads constitutes a violation of international law and resolutions on international legitimacy and those issued by the Security Council.
"Fourth, while we stress the need to stop all these violations, we hold the Israeli occupation authorities accountable in accordance with international law. Fifth, it is vital to re-establish peace and create political prospects, supported by measures to improve the situation on the ground, paving the way for the re-introduction of the peace process in the Middle East."
Al Marar underscored the UAE's firm stance on the need to provide full protection for Al-Aqsa Mosque, stop serious and provocative violations therein and all illegal procedures and practices in the occupied Palestinian territories, including in East Jerusalem, and support the role of Egypt and Jordan to reach outcomes that meet the aspirations of the Palestinian people and eliminate existing hurdles that hinder stability and peace.
He noted that the UAE appreciates the efforts of the Al-Quds Committee, chaired by King Mohammed VI of Morocco, highlighting the committee's important role in mobilising Arab and Islamic support in defending the city of Jerusalem, and the need to support and enabling it to play its vital role.
Al Marar indicated that the UAE supports all regional and international efforts to advance the peace process in the Middle East based on the two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state according to the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, in line with international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, and to create a conducive environment for re-launching serious negotiations towards a just and comprehensive peace.
He went on to explain that, based on its ongoing, historical, and firm commitment to support the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights as guaranteed by international law, the UAE continues to provide the necessary support to meet the needs of the Palestinian people, enable them to build their state, and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a right to which all peoples are entitled.
Al Marar noted the UAE's signing of a US$25 million cooperation agreement in October 2022 in support of Al Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem, in cooperation with the World Health Organization and in coordination with the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
In December 2022, the UAE sent 85 tonnes of medicines and medical supplies to hospitals in the Gaza Strip at a value of $10 million, he further noted, highlighting the UAE's overarching support for the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
The UAE Minister of State stressed that the country is carrying out its role in supporting the Palestinian position through its non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council for the 2022-2023 term and through coordination with the Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, as well as the permanent missions of Arab countries and the League of Arab States.
In conclusion, Al Marar expressed his hope that this conference would achieve the desired results through measures and steps to support the Palestinian people in these difficult times.