Secretary-General's remarks at press stakeout following meeting with Mr. Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States
Cairo, Egypt, 21 March 2011SG: Ladies and Gentlemen,
Secretary-General Moussa and I have just discussed the dramatic events sweeping the Arab world.
A strong partnership between our two organizations will be crucial if we are to enable democracy to take hold across the region, as its people are demanding.
Much of our conversation focused on Libya. The support of the Arab League figured prominently in the Security Council's adoption of an historic resolution authorizing the use of all necessary measures to protect civilians and save lives, including a no-fly zone.
Now, it is imperative that the international community continue to speak with one voice to fully implement the Security Council resolutions. Thousands of lives are at stake. We could well see a further humanitarian emergency.
We are moving quickly to take effective action. On Saturday in Paris, I and Secretary-General Moussa met with world leaders to coordinate our plans. Secretary-General Moussa, I welcomed your contributions and that of the other Arab leaders who attended that session.
Egypt and the Arab League are standing with the international community and the United Nations at this critical time for the region.
The UN will continue working urgently to bring an end to the fighting and provide humanitarian relief.
I am also closely following the situation in Yemen. I strongly condemn the use of live ammunition by the security forces against demonstrators in Sana'a.
The Government of Yemen has an obligation to protect civilians. I call for the utmost restraint and end to violence. There is no alternative to an inclusive dialogue on political, social and economic reform to address Yemen's political crisis and maintain its national unity.
The same holds true for Bahrain, where the violence is also on the rise.
The United Nations is in touch with all the Bahraini parties on the ground, including the Government and key opposition parties. I appeal to all concerned to exercise maximum restraint.
All involved, include Bahrain's neighbours and the wider international community, should seek peaceful means to ensure national unity and stability, and to create an environment conducive for credible reform.
The United Nations stands ready to help in all of these situations – to end the violence, protect civilians, and promote necessary reforms.
It can be hard to see beyond the escalating violence. But there is no holding back the movements for reform and democracy that have taken root.
Leaders must listen to the legitimate aspirations of their people.
Open and inclusive dialogue is crucial. So is respect for human rights.
People are eager to build prosperous, inclusive, democratic societies under the rule of law.
Here in Egypt and in Tunisia, those transitions are well under way.
At this historic moment, it is in the interest of the international community and the United Nations to help – here and wherever else such yearnings are felt.
Thank you. Now I would be happy to take one or two questions.
Q: Mr Secretary-General of the United Nations, you said that the Arab League will be held to support all the measures of the United Nations Security Council. While the Arabs have fully supported a no-fly zone over Libya, they do not support intervention. So what is meant as direct call to intervention leads to more bloodshed; this is one thing. And what do you think about the role of the United Nations? Why aren't we seeing a real role played by the United Nations in other issues, such as the Israeli-Palestinian occupation?
SG: I will answer. First of all, as I said, the strong recommendation by the League of Arab States to take decisive measures, including the establishment of a no-fly zone, figured prominently in the adoption of the Security Council resolution. With that strong recommendation and strong commitment of the whole League of Arab States, the international community has been able to take decisive measures. This decisive measure is meant to protect the civilian population, who are being killed by Colonel Qadhafi and his regime, which was totally unacceptable and strongly condemned all across the world. There are many other provisions in the Security Council and I have been urging, and I am urging again, that the Libyan authorities fully comply with all the provisions of Security Council resolution 1970 and 1973, starting from immediate cessation of hostilities against civilians. Thank you. As for Palestine – let me concentrate on Libya.
Off-the-Cuff on 21 March 2011