Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on UN Cooperation with the League of Arab States

Ambassador Jonathan Cohen
Acting Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
June 13, 2019


Thank you, Mr. President. And welcome to the Secretary-General of the Arab League and Foreign Minister of Poland. Thank you all and Secretary-General Guterres for your contributions to today’s debate.

The United States supports continued cooperation between the League of Arab States and the UN, including on key issues such as counterterrorism, conflict-prevention, peacebuilding, post-conflict reconstruction, and natural resource management. We appreciate the UN’s efforts to establish a liaison office in Cairo to enhance coordination, and look forward to it opening soon.

Mr. President, the United States also values our important partnership with the League of Arab States, and we thank the League for working together with us on our vision of a stable, prosperous, and secure Middle East, including the League’s ongoing support of President Hadi and the legitimate government of Yemen as the UN mediates between the parties to reach a political settlement to end the conflict in Yemen. We also value the League of Arab States’ key support for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

Today, all of the territory ISIS once held in Iraq and northeast Syria has been liberated. The 75 nations and five international organizations of the Global Coalition should be enormously proud of this achievement. Working by, with, and through our allies and local partners, we have launched an unprecedented military, stabilization, counter messaging, and law enforcement effort to counter ISIS’s evil ideology and prevent attacks against our homelands, our personnel, our citizens, and our interests.

We also commend our friends and allies within the League of Arab States for standing firm on not re-admitting Assad’s Syria and not normalizing relations with his regime until a political settlement consistent with resolution 2254 has been achieved. International solidarity against normalizing relations is critical in helping bring the Assad regime to the realization that there is no military solution to the conflict – only a political solution as outlined in resolution 2254 will achieve long-term peace and stability for Syria and its neighbors.

Mr. President, Iran remains the most significant threat to regional peace and security, engaged in numerous malign activities in the region. The United States welcomes the League of Arab States’ May 31 statement following its meeting in Mecca calling out Iran for its destabilizing behavior. Iran has gone to great lengths to prolong regional conflicts that radiate instability across the region and that exacerbate human suffering.

The United States is pressing the Iranian regime to end its role in these conflicts and curtail its support for proxy militias. Individually, the region’s states are susceptible to Iran’s coercion, intimidation, and malign behavior. Indeed, Iran has deployed many of its resources to perpetuate its revolutionary ideology and malign activities in the region. It should be countered by a strong, unified front.

It is unacceptable for any party to attack commercial shipping. And today’s attacks on the ships on the Gulf of Oman raise very serious concerns. The United States government is providing assistance and will continue to assess the situation.

Turning to Middle East peace – The White House is working on a vision for peace that will offer a brighter future for all, and will release it when the time is right. We hope all stakeholders will read the plan with an open mind and be willing to engage constructively. We look forward to discussing ideas and strategies on how to achieve a more prosperous future for the Palestinian people with international stakeholders at the upcoming workshop in Bahrain later this month.

Mr. President, the United States supports continued cooperation between the League of Arab States and the United Nations, and looks forward to seeing a strong relationship advance progress towards a more stable, prosperous, and secure Middle East.

I thank you.