29 March 2017 – Addressing the League of Arab States Summit in Jordan today, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the importance of unity among the countries in the region to confront the challenges it is facing.
“Divisions in the Arab world have opened the door to foreign intervention and manipulation, breeding instability, sectarian strife and terrorism,” said Mr. Guterres.
“At this time of transition and upheaval, unity will be critical,” he said, emphasizing: “I appeal to your leadership in shaping a new Arab world able to address and solve, by itself, differences through dialogue and cooperation.”
In his remarks, the Secretary-General also underscored the importance of partnership between the UN and the Arab League and said that it was his responsibility to use his good offices, in cooperation with Member States, as an added dimension for conflict resolution.
“It is time to end the fighting in Syria,” he said, expressing hope that the Astana process can achieve an effective ceasefire.
“By now it should be clear to all involved that while fighting terrorism is essential, any success will prove ephemeral without a political solution that allows the Syrian people to freely decide their own fate,” he added, underlining the need, also, to support Syrian refugees in their hour of need.
Further, welcoming the progress in retaking territories held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), the UN chief expressed hope that the violence in Yemen and Libya can be resolved soon.
Turning to the peace process in the Middle East, Mr. Guterres underscored that the two-state solution is the only path to ensure that Palestinians and Israelis can realize their national aspirations and live in peace, security and dignity.
“There is no Plan B,” he stated.
Concluding in his address, the Secretary-General highlighted the importance of addressing youth unemployment as well as empowerment of women – both as a matter of human rights as well as a spur to human development.
“Let us recognize the power and responsibility that lies in our hands to improve the lives of the people we serve.”