NEW YORK: Khalifa Shaheen Al Marar, Minister of State, delivered the UAE’s statement at the United Nations Security Council High-level Open Debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian issue.

"The special status of the holy city of Jerusalem must not be compromised,” Al Marar stressed in his statement. “The historical and legal status quo and Hashemite Custodianship of the holy sites must be respected – both in word and in practice.”

Al Marar highlighted the alarming trajectory of current events, especially if Israel continues to embolden settlers, provide them with legal immunity, and utilize them as a tool to help confiscate additional occupied Palestinian land – all of which endanger the two-state solution that would end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Al Marar called on the international community to not be complacent in its approach to this protracted conflict and to maintain pressure to de-escalate the situation, which cannot withstand any further incitement of violence and hatred. He called for maximum restraint and avoiding unilateral steps. “This is the only solution in order to ensure that the two states of Palestine and Israel live side by side in peace, security, and mutual recognition," he stated.

Al Marar also underscored the UAE’s continued support for all regional and international efforts to ensure the implementation of the understandings reached by Israelis and Palestinians at the Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh meetings. Minister Al Marar further stressed the UAE’s unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian people to establish their independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

On the sidelines of his visit to New York, Al Marar held several key bilateral meetings alongside Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Political Affairs and UAE's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. This included a meeting with Riad Malki, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the State of Palestine, with whom they discussed the escalating situation in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Following the Security Council Open Debate, Al Marar and Ambassador Nusseibeh met with Tor Wennesland, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, to discuss the latest developments in the region. They also met with Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russian, to discuss the situation in the Middle East, as well as the bilateral relationship between the UAE and Russia and their multilateral cooperation, including on the Security Council.

Additionally, Al Marar and Ambassador Nusseibeh met with Geir Pedersen, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, to discuss the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic.