UAE joins UN Security Council, Emirati ambassador calls membership an 'honour'
The 15-member council is the UN’s most powerful body, with members able to shape international approaches to peace and security across the world.
The UAE ambassador to the UN, Lana Nusseibeh, called membership an "honour" at the flag-raising ceremony marking the beginning of the country's two-year term on 4 January.
"The UAE’s conduct on the council will reflect who we are as a country and a people - open, inclusive and bound by [the] belief that we are stronger united," Nusseibeh said.
The Gulf state will push for "consensus" in tackling wars and "move from the mindset of conflict management to conflict prevention and resolution", the ambassador added.
The UAE has been involved in the war in Yemen, and connected to other conflicts in the region.
The reshuffled council is expected to discuss conflicts in Libya, Yemen and Syria, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, and longstanding disputes between Israelis and Palestinians over the coming months.
The UAE's inclusion on the council has been met with outrage by some.
David Haigh, the CEO of Detained International who was imprisoned in Dubai where he claims he was tortured, called the appointment “absurd”.
He told The New Arab that there was "no reason [the UAE] should be rewarded" given that they “clearly and evidently don’t follow the UN’s own laws and policy".
Haigh, who was detained in Dubai for 22 months, cited the kidnapping of Princess Latifa and the UAE’s involvement in the war in Yemen as flagrant examples of Emiratis "abusing" UN policy and "misleading" the international body.
China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US are permanent members of the UN security council, with the power to veto decisions.
Other members are elected by the 193-strong General Assembly for staggered two-year terms.
Estonia, Niger, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines, Tunisia, and Vietnam finished their tenure last Friday.
The council makes the ultimate decision to issue ceasefire directives, dispatch military observers, impose economic sanctions, sever diplomatic relations, and authorise the use of military force.
However, it is often deadlocked when members cannot agree, such as on issues related to Syria, Myanmar and Ukraine.