Vice-President Dr. Mahmoud El-Gamal,
Dr. Walid Kodehaa
Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to join you this evening at the opening of the Cairo International Model United Nations (CIMUN) and to address you about the role of the United Nations in a changing world. Over more than 25 years, Cairo International Model United Nations has proven to be among the leading student simulation activities on international affairs, based on the welcoming environment of the American University in Cairo and its role as a crossroad for cultural exchange and dialogue among civilizations.
Furthermore, the wide and diverse cultural and political pool of Cairo, as a leading hub of international affairs, has provided the International Cairo Model with an ideal setting to observe multilateralism. Few other international cities can offer such diversity, which makes Cairo a leading center of the South, a key African capital, the heart of the Arab World and a major player in multilateral diplomacy.
Therefore, I believe that your views and ideas will represent an informal track that can contribute to the ongoing discussions about the evolving role of the United Nations and the future of the international multilateral architecture, which requires an in-depth analysis to tackle the multi-dimensional challenges that the international community faces, particularly terrorism, unresolved conflicts, political and economic fragility, resources scarcity, environmental degradation and climate change.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Over the past seventy years since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945, the world has changed profoundly. New challenges have emerged, and so have new opportunities that are coupled with unprecedented levels of interdependence and connectivity, which make problems and solutions increasingly shared.
Most of these changes have led to improvements in the human condition, but too many people have yet to feel that sense of progress in their daily lives. Therefore, the United Nations has recognized the need to adapt new strategies, so that it can continue to make a positive difference in people’s lives, such as the Post-2015 Developmental Agenda that aims to respond to new realities, build on the MDGs achievement over the last decade and concentrate on poverty alleviation and common but differentiated responsibilities between developed and developing countries.
At the same time, the fundamental principles and purposes enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations remain as valid as the day they were signed. More than ever, people need a universal organization that brings together all member States in pursuit of the overarching goals identified in our founding document; peace, justice, economic and social progress and human rights.
As a founding member of the United Nations, Egypt has played a significant role in realizing such goals and has been always committed to strengthening international endeavors to achieve collective security and uphold the lofty goals of the Charter. Egypt remains fully dedicated to a multilateral system of governance based on a strong United Nations, and has historically been committed to supporting actions taken by the Organization to promote peace and settle conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America.
In recognition of such a significant and constructive role in restoring peace and stability on both regional and international spectrums, Egypt was elected as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for four terms, and is pursuing membership for a fifth term.
Achieving international peace and security through the United Nations represents one of our major objectives. As a global actor for peace Egypt has actively engaged in endeavors aiming at addressing the root causes of conflicts and bringing stability to its international and regional spheres, including conflict prevention, mediation support, peacekeeping and peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflicts.
Within this perspective, Egypt has actively supported the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations since the establishment of the first mission UNTSO in the Middle East in 1948. Egypt’s has contributed to 37 UN peace missions that involved over 30,000 Egyptian peacekeepers, deployed in 24 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe, and is considered one of the major troop-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping. It currently provides 2659 military and police personnel who serve under the flag of the United Nations in eight peace missions.
In addition to peacekeeping, we remain convinced that peace and security are unequivocally linked to rebuilding national capacities and advancing development in post-conflict countries. As such, Egypt joined the UN Peacebuilding Commission, since its establishment in 2005, for four terms, and strongly supports peacebuilding activities undertaken by the United Nations in post-conflict situations.
An effective international partnership with the African Continent, with the United Nations at its center, would contribute towards addressing Africa's common security challenges, breaking the cycle of violence, minimizing the space in which some African countries may relapse into conflicts and laying the foundations for transition to sustainable peace and development.
As you know, the global security environment with its new trends and dynamics represents a priority for the United Nations in combating threats that jeopardize international stability, as the line is increasingly blurred between criminals, hostile groups and peace-spoilers, including extremists with transnational strategies and sophisticated tactics.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As an advocate for the valuable role played by the United Nations to bring peace, Egypt has exerted devoted efforts to promote the organization’s function in areas of conflict prevention and mediation and will continue to contribute to strengthening such capabilities and applying successful experiences of the United Nations to relevant regional organizations under Chapter VIII of the Charter, including the African Union and the League of Arab States.
Egypt will continue to give great attention in that regard to matters related to peace and security in the Middle East and North Africa at the United Nations, particularly ending the illegal Israeli occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and restoring the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the establishment of the independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital based on Security Council resolutions and the agreed terms of references of the peace process.
The conflict in Syria and the crisis in Yemen also represent an issue of great concern for Egyptian foreign policy at the United Nations, where we contribute to the efforts of the international community to bring an end to the violence in the Syria and restore stability in Yemen.
Similarly, the situation in Libya represents a major concern and threat to regional peace and security and requires a consolidated engagement by the international community represented by the Security Council to fight terrorism, support the political process and restore the authority of the State over its entire territory.
It is thus that Egypt presented an Arab draft resolution to the Security Council to review the measures applied on the legitimate Government of Libya regarding the arms embargo, in order to allow it to combat terrorism. There is a pressing need to combat threats of international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and International Law. This comes at the forefront of Egypt’s endeavors to restore security and stability in Libya and other countries threatened by the arch of transnational terrorism that extends from West Africa and the Sahel Region to Afghanistan, passing through the Mediterranean.
Therefore, it is crucial for the United Nations to reaffirm its determination to combat terrorism by all means and urge member States to actively cooperate in that regard. Egypt, for its part, has effectively participated in enhancing the United Nation’s role in countering and eliminating terrorism, including the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and relevant resolutions adopted by the Security Council.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Undoubtedly, the complex and interdependent challenges of the 21st century, including the cross-cutting threats to international peace and security, require an enhanced global governance to boost multilateralism by reforming the United Nations to reaffirm its central role in global governance and to make the Security Council more effective, equitable, representative and democratic.
Egypt continues to play its part in enhancing mutual understanding on United Nations reform and supporting the legitimate aspirations of Africa in being fully represented in the Security Council with both permanent and non-permanent categories based on the Common African Position contained in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration.
It is crucial for all the main stakeholders to take stock of the deep challenges that confront today's multilateralism, and to commit ourselves for a stronger and more effective United Nations. As founding member of the Organization, Egypt believes that member States must step up to take all necessary measures in that regard.
Just this afternoon, I had a meeting with H.E. Sam Kutesa, The President of the United Nations General Assembly, in which we had a fruitful discussion regarding the aforementioned issues, and Egypt’s role in consolidating a shared vision and confronting the challenges ahead.
We need all to work together to articulate a shared vision on the best way forward to enhance the United Nations at its 70th anniversary this year to be able to better respond to future challenges.
I thank you,