Text Size:
Updated On: Tuesday, 23 July 2019

UN chief reaffirms commitment to untying ‘Gordian knot’ of Middle East conflict and instability

Content by: UN News Centre

Multilateralism works. I am deeply convinced that there is no other way to deal with global challenges than with smart, evidence-based global responses, organized in a multilateral way to benefit all.

My remarks to the @WEF: https://t.co/gF4bsDBTnE#MENA19pic.twitter.com/CFDy8lXZFv

— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) April 6, 2019

The UN chief’s comments were made on Saturday, during the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting on the Middle East and North Africa, held by the Dead Sea in Jordan on April 05 and 06. As an example of the regional conflicts that, he said, must be resolved, Mr. Guterres cited the implementation of a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, “living side by side in peace with secure and recognized borders, and with Jerusalem as capital of the two countries.”

The Secretary-General, who has been visiting several Middle Eastern states, said that he was able to report positive progress in certain cases, such as the first free municipal elections in Tunisia, where “the democratic transition continues to advance”; his talks with the Grand Imam of Al-Alzhar Mosque in Egypt, with whom he discussed ways to advance tolerance and mutual respect; and the development of UN plans to combat hate speech, and safeguard religious sites worldwide.

A region of opportunities

Thanking King Abdullah II and Queen Rania Al Abdullah for hosting the meeting and championing peace, Mr. Guterres described Jordan as a “fundamental pillar of regional stability,” and a country with large private-sector opportunities.

With its large youth population, said the UN chief, Jordan – a “driving force” behind a landmark Security Council resolution highlighting the importance of including the voices of young people – is poised to “reap a demographic dividend.”

The Middle East and North Africa, he added, should not only be looked at as an area of conflict, but also a region of opportunities which, given the right internal approaches, and support from the international community, could unleash “remarkable dynamism and capacity.”

Mr. Guterres noted that several countries in the region have integrated political demands made by their citizens, such as social protection, good governance and human rights; efforts have been made to tackle violent extremism; and steps against gender-based discrimination, including domestic violence legislation and penalties for sexual harassment, have been implemented.

On this score, Mr. Guterres emphasised the economic importance of empowering women: it has been shown that full and real gender parity would have a major impact on the region, increasing the gross domestic product by some $2.7 trillion by 2025.

 

GET CONNECTED WITH US

Subscribe to our newsletter