Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
September 13, 2021
Good afternoon and thank you for the introduction. It really is an honor for me to be here today to celebrate this historic event. And I’m delighted to be here with the ambassadors of UAE, of Morocco, and Bahrain. And I want to thank, particularly, Ambassador Erdan for organizing this important event.
The normalization agreements we are commemorating today have demonstrated real progress toward a more peaceful region. But perhaps what is most remarkable is that in the past year, we have gone from ink on a page to concrete improvements between countries. Since the accords were signed, Israel has opened embassies in the UAE and in Bahrain. And both the UAE and Bahrain have appointed their first ambassadors to Israel. Congratulations. And just last month, Israel and Morocco agreed to upgrade their missions to full embassies within two months.
Meanwhile, Etihad Airlines has launched flights from Abu Dhabi to Israel, while El Al airline is planning two flight routes to Morocco. Dubai hosted a global investment conference prominently featuring Israeli investors and businessmen. And perhaps most importantly, both the UAE and Bahrain for the first time observed Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Clearly, we want to build on this model and replicate this success. And let me be clear, the United States is committed to strengthening and expanding on these agreements. That means pushing for more headway among those who have already signed the agreements, such as those here at the table and Sudan, and also reaching additional agreements with more Arab and Muslim countries to extend the circle of peace. I am also determined to explore how we can translate these agreements into progress within the UN system. Events like this point us in that right direction.
At the same time, I want to be clear that as we continue to pursue normalization between Israel and neighboring countries, we remain committed to a two-state solution. We firmly believe Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal measures of freedom, dignity, security, and prosperity, and U.S. diplomacy will remain focused on practical steps to advance that vision in the immediate term. It is our hope that these agreements, which are important in and of themselves, also generate momentum between Israel and the Palestinians.
Peace begets peace and friendships begets relationships. And that is what we are here to commemorate and to honor today. So, thank you ambassadors. Thank you, everyone for being here today, for choosing the path toward peace. I hope that this time next year, we are celebrating even more positive steps toward a more peaceful region and the world.
Thank you very much.