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Secretary-General António Guterres issued a wake-up call that the world is on the edge of an abyss and “moving in the wrong direction”, as he called on leaders gathered for the annual General Assembly high-level debate today to urgently restore trust and act in unison to tackle myriad challenges.

 

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In charting a path to a brighter future, he urged Governments to surmount the obstacles to peace, including in Myanmar, the Sahel and Yemen, and beyond to Libya, Syria, Israel and Palestine.

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Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President of Egypt, called for a just, lasting and comprehensive Middle East peace solution, with a Palestinian State along the 1967 border and East Jerusalem as its capital.  The international community must help improve Palestinian living conditions, he said, adding that there is no alternative to the inclusive nation-State when tackling the region’s many challenges.  As multilateralism is the only refuge from escalating conflicts, “let us arm ourselves not with the logic of force, but the force of logic,” he said.

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Opening Remarks

ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations, opened the seventy-sixth session with a wake-up call.

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Describing six great divides, he turned first to the “peace divide”, stressing that peace and stability remain a distant dream for far too many, stretching beyond Afghanistan and Ethiopia, to Myanmar, the Sahel, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Israel and Palestine.

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IBRAHIM MOHAMED SOLIH, President of Maldives…He further reaffirmed his country’s solidarity with the Palestinian people, and that it will continue to fight for the full recognition of an independent Palestinian State.

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SHEIKH TAMIM BIN HAMAD AL-THANI, Amir of the State of Qatar,…

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Noting that the Middle East region has been, in large part, a source of the burdens and challenges faced by the United Nations, he emphasized his country’s commitment to settle differences through constructive dialogue in the Gulf region, including the disagreements and differences in viewpoints with Iran.  This also applied to the matter of returning to the nuclear agreement with Iran.  Pointing to numerous Israeli violations in the occupied East Jerusalem, he also called on the international community to take responsibility for achieving a comprehensive and just peaceful settlement of the Palestinian issue, ending the occupation of Arab territory and finding a just solution to the refugee issue.

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SEYYED EBRAHIM RAISI, President of Iran,…Yet, it is the oppressed people in Palestine, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan — as well as United States taxpayers — who pay for this lack of rationality.

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On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict he underscored that as long as the persecution of the Palestinian people continued, lasting peace and stability in the Middle East would not be possible.  “Occupation, annexation and illegal settlement policies must absolutely and immediately be brought to an end,” he added.

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ABDEL FATTAH AL SISI, President of Egypt,…

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He called for a just, lasting and comprehensive Middle East peace solution, with a Palestinian State along the 1967 border and East Jerusalem as its capital.  The international community must help improve Palestinian living conditions, with donors supporting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).  To that end, his Government was providing $500 million for reconstruction efforts.

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