Doha, Qatar: The 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 78) is loaded with thorny files and deep disagreements looking for urgent solutions because of their significant impact on global security and for their role in forming new geopolitical and geostrategic reality and balances, whose frameworks and borders are governed by military alliances and economic interests that the international community is unfamiliar with since the end of World War II in the 40s of the last century.
World public opinion is looking forward to the results of the discussions of the world leaders on the simple and complex crises facing the international community and the understandings and directions that will result from the discussions.
The Russian-Ukrainian war and its disastrous consequences on international peace and security tops the agenda of the next UNGA session, amid calls to bring it to an end to spare the blood of the two peoples, avoid further human and material losses, prevent further “militarization” of Northern Europe, and avoid a new cold war between Moscow and Washington, a war that the world thought it was gone for good.
International calls are escalating to silence the voice of the war machine between Russia and Ukraine that has been going on for 16 months, claiming the lives of thousands of victims, both civilians and military, as well as destroying infrastructure estimated to cost hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild, and significantly threatening global food security, especially after Moscow stopped working with the Black Sea Grain Initiative on July 17, and ships loaded with grain were prevented from sailing towards world markets.
Several countries, including the State of Qatar, hope that the UNGA and leaders’ discussions will constitute an occasion to crystallize clear plans that lead towards resolving the crisis between Moscow and Kyiv and push the two parties to the conflict to sit at the negotiating table to find diplomatic solutions that stop the fighting, in compliance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law, including obligations under the Charter to settle international disputes by peaceful means.
In this context, the State of Qatar’s stance stands out, which was asserted by Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani during his last visit to Kyiv in July. During the visit, H E reiterated the State of Qatar’s firm stance that it made since the beginning of the crisis by emphasizing the importance of respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders, reaffirming the need to abide by the Charter of the United Nations and international law, including obligations under the Charter to settle international disputes by peaceful means, calling for refraining from the threat of force or the use of violence and condemns such actions.
He said at the time that Qatar has warned on many occasions of the repercussions of the crisis, expressing its full readiness to contribute to any international and regional effort to reach a peaceful and immediate solution to the crisis and that Qatar is certain that the only way to succeed is to keep all channels of communication open, stressing that stopping the fighting and ensuring the protection of civilians is one of Qatar’s top priorities, fully corroborated by its stance on respecting the international law and global order and that resolving the Russian-Ukrainian crisis requires continuous and intensive cooperation.
Since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, the world has got alerted that everyone would pay the war bill through the disruption of supply chains, while international markets are facing great difficulty in being supplied with Ukrainian grain, which accounts for 9 percent of the global market need, and corn, which Ukraine provides 16 percent of the global production, and sunflower oil, of which Ukraine produces 42 percent. Voices warning of the continuation of the crisis rose due to growing fears of an expansion of the global famine circle and a rise in grain prices to record levels, which happened over the months that followed the outbreak of the war and preceded the Black Sea Grain Initiative on July 17, signed in Istanbul July 2022. When Moscow stopped working with the agreement, the crisis returned, and an acute famine crisis became threatening according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), about 47 million people in Africa and Asia in particular.
Discussions of the participants of the upcoming UNGA will not be limited to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis only, as other security issues are no less important due to the size of their impacts on millions of people, especially the situation in the Sahel region, particularly after the series of coups that toppled regimes that reached power through the ballot box, as in Niger a few weeks ago, and in Burkina Faso, Chad, and Mali – where the UN forces (MINUSMA) are preparing to leave at the end of this year. The discussions will also include the Sudanese crisis, which is causing a major humanitarian crisis internally and on the country’s borders.
The State of Qatar is mobilizing regional and international efforts aimed at the need to find a quick and effective solution to the Sudanese crisis, to protect defenseless civilians and preserve the country’s unity and cohesion, appealing to the international community to provide the necessary assistance to the Sudanese people, especially as Qatar launched on May 5 – in implementation of the directives of the Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani – an airlift linking Doha with Port Sudan airport.
Illegal immigration appears to be a separate item on the agenda of the UNGA discussions during August and a topic that has become a major concern for many countries, whether those representing a starting point or those considered as port of arrival, and the file includes countries of Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, and the Caribbean.
The energy issue also constitutes a major item on the discussion agenda of UNGA 78, given its recurring crises over the past three years. The energy crises started with the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions on the global economy and decline in global demand for crude oil, followed by the Moscow-Kyiv crisis, which resulted in the halt of gas flow through Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines, forcing consumers to find new supplying routes, whether from producing countries in northern Europe, Middle East, United States, or some African countries, such as Algeria and Nigeria. Considering these fears, Western capitals are pushing for a unified option regarding the supply of either oil or gas from new markets.
In light of the failure of the industrialized countries to fulfill their obligations to reduce their carbon emissions and greenhouse gases in the medium term and the failure of Antonio Guterres’ efforts to reach binding agreements in successive climate conferences (COP), the Secretary-General of the United Nations will find himself once again forced to remind the world of their responsibilities in preserving the planet and engaging in work to reduce gas emissions as soon as possible and advance the dates that were previously set in the (third millennium) due to the growing threat to humanity and its life.
Regarding this item of discussion, during His Highness’s speech at the opening of the 5th UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) in March, the Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani pointed out that Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt made an achievement in establishing a fund for compensation for losses and damages allocated to developing countries, saying “Based on our commitment to combating climate change and the internationally approved policies in this regard, we aspire that the advanced industrial countries fulfill their legal and moral responsibilities in taking more effective and efficient decisions and measures on emissions.” Another file that is no less important than all other files is anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. The topic will grab the attention of Arab and Islamic countries, especially after the recent events caused by the incidents of burning copies of the Quran in Sweden and Denmark, the growing attacks on mosques in Western countries, and linking Islam and Muslims in particular to terrorism.