THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

REMARKS TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL

ON THE MAINTENANCE OF INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY:

COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

New York, 25 June 2018

 

[As delivered]

 

Mr. President,

Members of the Security Council,

I thank the Russian Federation Presidency for convening this debate at a crucial juncture for the people of the Middle East and North Africa.

The region faces profound divisions, troubling currents and a tragic shredding of its diverse religious, ethnic and cultural fabric.

Decades-old conflicts, together with new ones, as well as deep-rooted social grievances, a shrinking of democratic space and the emergence of terrorism and new forms of violent extremism, are undermining peace, sustainable development and human rights.

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Today, in a region once home to one of history’s greatest flowerings of culture and coexistence, we see many fault-lines at work, old and new, crossing each other and generating enormous volatility.  These include the Israeli-Palestinian wound, resurgent Cold War-like rivalries, the Sunni-Shia divide, ethnic schisms and other political confrontations.

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The Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains central to the Middle Eastern quagmire.

Achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting two-state solution that allows Palestinians and Israelis to live side-by-side in peace, within secure and recognized borders, is essential for security and stability in the entire region. The recent tensions and violence in Gaza are a reminder of the fragility of the situation.

International support is critical to create an environment conducive to launching meaningful direct negotiations between the two parties.

I remain deeply committed to supporting efforts towards this end.

Later today, I will preside over a pledging conference to address severe funding gaps facing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees.

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In Gaza, Syria and Yemen, the international community must remain mobilized in order to ensure a strong humanitarian response to millions of people in dire need.

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