Oil is the real reason behind all conflicts in the Middle East while Syria is just the latest victim of this struggle, Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl told the UN General Assembly in a speech she started in Arabic.
The very existence of the modern Middle Eastern states have been “shaped by oil business,” Kneissl told the UNGA. A Middle East expert herself went on to explain that the borders of the states that were established following the breakdown of the Ottoman Empire were “based on pipelines.”
All the wars the region witnessed over the recent decades are just a continuation of this fight for the control over the fossil fuels that still “dominate the energy mix” in the world, the foreign minister said, adding that Syria, which has been engulfed in a bloody seven-years conflict, is “a victim of instability created by all these wars.”
This was the first time an Austrian top official made such statements at the level of the UN General Assembly.
Kneissl also surprised the gathering in New York as she started her speech in Arabic – a move she explained by her respect to the people, who fight for their lives in a region ravaged by wars. She switched to French, Spanish and English as well in the course of her statement.
She also criticized the international community and the UN in particular for losing real effectiveness behind the “flurry of meetings, which some diplomats turned into a comfortable endless game full of litanies and mantras.”
“We settle for these hackneyed arguments when we discuss Syria and Yemen. We get carried away with such words as reconstruction and stabilization while populations – children – are just trying to survive,” Kneissl said. Following these words, the foreign minister announced that Austria would like to “contribute to financing” the mine clearing operations in Syria.
Vienna is also “ready to increase its humanitarian commitment” to help the Yemeni people, Kneissl said as she called the Yemeni crisis, which is often neglected by the western media and officials, “the greatest tragedy of our time.”
In her speech, Kneissl also condemned the use of chemical and biological weapons as well as called for nuclear disarmament and urged the international community to do more to fight for the rights of women.
The foreign minister also criticized the US for its withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal, even though she avoided calling Washington by name. While hailing the agreement itself as a “result of multilateral action” and a “subject to independent verification system” that should be preserved, she said that “one country’s” withdrawal from its “weakens the mutual trust” and disrupts measures aimed at “confidence building.”