UN chief warns that Israel’s rejection of a two-state solution threatens global peace

UN chief warns that Israel’s rejection of a two-state solution threatens global peace
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. (AP)
Short Url
Updated 24 January 2024
Follow

UN chief warns that Israel’s rejection of a two-state solution threatens global peace

UN chief warns that Israel’s rejection of a two-state solution threatens global peace
  • Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warns risks of regional escalation of the conflict 'are now becoming a reality'
  • He points to Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Pakistan, urges all parties to 'step back' from the brink of a wider war

UNITED NATIONS: The UN chief warned Israel on Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ‘s rejection of a two-state solution will indefinitely prolong a conflict that is threatening global peace and emboldening extremists everywhere.
In his toughest language yet on the Israeli-Hamas war, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a ministerial meeting of the UN Security Council that “the right of the Palestinian people to build their own fully independent state must be recognized by all, and a refusal to accept the two-state solution by any party must be firmly rejected.”
The alternative of a one-state solution “with such a large number of Palestinians inside without any real sense of freedom, rights and dignity … will be inconceivable,” he said.
Guterres also warned that the risks of regional escalation of the conflict “are now becoming a reality,” pointing to Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Pakistan. He urged all parties “to step back from the brink and to consider the horrendous costs” of a wider war.
Netanyahu’s rejection of a Palestinian state in any postwar scenario opened a wide rift with Israel’s closest ally, the US, which says the war must lead to negotiations for a two-state solution where Israel and the Palestinians can live side-by-side in peace. That goal is supported by countries around the world, as ministers and ambassadors reiterated Tuesday.
Saudi Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed Elkhereiji told the council: “How can this tragedy continue with no serious action to bring an end to it and with no measures to halt the carnage and collective punishment against defenseless civilians in Gaza.”
Elkhereiji told the council that a lasting solution was the only way to ensure peace and regional stability.
“Any measure for regional security or to prevent threats cannot replace a resolution of the root causes the crisis in Palestine and finding a lasting solution,” he said. “You must act to ensure an immediate ceasefire and to restore peace to alleviate suffering and to allow the Palestinian people to safeguard their dignity and their legitimate rights.”

“This peace which we so desire must go via a credible, irreversible path toward creating an independent Palestine state which safeguards the dignity of the Palestinian people, allowing for their coexistence and common security as well as for stability and development for all.”
The health ministry said that at least 25,000 civilians have been killed, mostly children and women, as Israel continues to pound the densely populated Gaza Strip in its campaign to eradicate Hamas, after the group attacked settlements near the enclave killing 1,200.
“We categorically reject violations of international humanitarian law by any parties, in any circumstances. We condemn targeting of civilians and call upon this Council to adopt firm position to oblige Israel to respect international law and bring an end to this suffering.”
He also warned of the dangers of military escalation in the region and its impact of security and stability.
“Military operations in the Red Sea and the Yemeni republic are a source of concern. The necessary measure therefore must be taken to contain incidences and repercussions of this crisis, which is affecting neighboring countries and international peace and security.”

United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to the UN, Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, told the council: “We need an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. The overwhelming majority of the international community has called for this, repeatedly. It is time for the minority view to stop obstructing it from happening.”

She added: “The humanitarian imperative at this moment must be our top priority, in addition to the ceasefire, so that life-saving aid can enter at scale, and hostages can be allowed out and returned to their families safely.”

Pakistan said Israel’s actions in Gaza were genocidal and called for greater recognition of Palestine.

“It is time to admit Palestine as a full member of the United Nations,” said. Munir Akram, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN.

Uzra Zeya, the State Department’s under secretary for civilian security, democracy and human rights, told the council, “A key component of US diplomacy is to pursue a pathway both to a Palestinian state and normalization and integration between Israel and other regional states.”
“The goal is a future where Gaza is never again used as a platform for terror, and a future where Palestinians have a state of their own,” she said, reiterating the Biden administration’s call on Israel to do more to protect Palestinian civilians.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov countered that American diplomacy “oscillates between vetoing resolutions about the ceasefire and at the same time calling for a reduction in the intensity of hostilities in Gaza.”
“Without a doubt this serves as carte blanche for the ongoing collective punishment of Palestinians,” Lavrov told the council.
Secretary-general Guterres repeated his longstanding call for a humanitarian ceasefire — an appeal with overwhelming global support.
But Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan again rejected a ceasefire, saying Hamas, which carried out a brutal attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7, is committed to attacking again and destroying Israel, and a halt to fighting will only allow the militants “to regroup and rearm.”
He urged the Security Council to “eliminate the root” of the conflict, which he said was Iran.
Erdan strongly criticized the presence of Iran’s foreign minister at the council meeting, saying the country provides weapons to Hamas, to Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon and Houthi militants in Yemen, “and soon these acts will be carried out under a nuclear umbrella” and “Iran’s terror will reach all of you.”
Iran has long denied seeking nuclear weapons and insists its nuclear program is entirely for peaceful purposes. But the UN nuclear watchdog has warned that Iran has enough enriched uranium for nuclear bombs if it chose to build them.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian didn’t mention its nuclear program, but he warned Israel that it would not destroy Hamas, its stated goal.
“The killing of civilians in Gaza and the West Bank cannot continue on to the so-called total destruction of Hamas, because that time will never come,” he said. “Stopping the genocide in Gaza is the main key to security in the region.”
Riyad Al-Maliki, the Palestinian foreign minister, said Israel is carrying out “the most savage bombing campaign” since World War II, which is leading to famine and the massive displacement of civilians. “This is an assault of atrocities,” which has destroyed countless innocent lives, he said.
Al-Maliki said Israel doesn’t see the Palestinians as a people and a “political reality to coexist with, but as a demographic threat to get rid of through death, displacement or subjugation.” He said those are the choices Israel has offered Palestinians, calling them tantamount to “genocide, ethnic cleansing or apartheid.”
Al-Maliki said there are only two future paths: One starts with Palestinian freedom and leads to Mideast peace and security, and the other denies freedom and “dooms our region to further bloodshed and endless conflict.”
France’s new foreign minister, Stéphane Séjourné, whose country holds the council presidency this month, presided at the meeting and warned that “a regional conflagration is real.”
He said the world should unite and deliver different messages to the warring parties.
Israel must be told that “there must be a Palestinian state” and that violence against Palestinians, including by West Bank settlers, must end, Séjourné said. And the Palestinians must be told that “There can be no ambiguity regarding Israel’s right to live in peace and security, and to exercise its right to self-defense against terrorism.”
But Turkiye’s Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said the argument that the war is about providing security for Israel “is far from being convincing.” He said supporters of this view never talk about the Palestinians’ right to security and self-defense.
Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the “ideology of hate embraced openly by Israeli ministers is normalizing the mass murder of Palestinians” and urged the council to stop it with a binding resolution.
Israel must be held accountable for war crimes and for blocking a Palestinian state, Safadi said. “The future of the region cannot be taken hostage to the political ambitions and the radical agendas of Israeli extremists who described the Palestinians as human animals, unworthy of life, who enable settler terrorism against Palestinian people.”


Iran president to visit Pakistan, boost ties: Islamabad

Iran president to visit Pakistan, boost ties: Islamabad
Updated 5 sec ago
Follow

Iran president to visit Pakistan, boost ties: Islamabad

Iran president to visit Pakistan, boost ties: Islamabad
  • Ebrahim Raisi will be accompanied by ‘a high-level delegation comprising the foreign minister... as well as a large business delegation’
ISLAMABAD: Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi will travel to Islamabad on Monday to meet his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said, as the two countries seek to mend ties following deadly cross-border attacks this year.
Raisi will be accompanied by “a high-level delegation comprising the foreign minister... as well as a large business delegation,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
The tit-for-tat missile strikes in January in the porous border region of Balochistan — split between the two nations — stoked regional tensions already inflamed by the Israel-Hamas war.
Tehran carried out the strikes against an anti-Iran group in Pakistan the same week it targeted Iraq and Syria.
Pakistan responded with a raid on “militant targets” in Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province, one of the few mainly Sunni Muslim regions in Shiite-dominated Iran.
Both countries have in the past accused each other of sheltering militants.
A visit to Islamabad by Tehran’s foreign minister led to the two sides pledging to improve dialogue and install liaison officers in both countries.
Sistan-Balochistan province has for years faced unrest involving cross-border drug-smuggling gangs and rebels from the Baloch ethnic minority, and Muslim extremists.
Raisi will also visit Lahore and Karachi to meet provincial leaders, according to the statement.
The countries will further strengthen ties and enhance cooperation in “trade, connectivity, energy, agriculture, and people-to-people contacts,” it added.
Pakistan is counting on a joint gas project with Iran to solve a long-running power crisis that has sapped its economic growth.
A $7.5-billion Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline intended to feed Pakistani power plants was inaugurated with great fanfare in March 2013.
But the project immediately stagnated following international sanctions on Iran.
Tehran has built its own section of the 1,800-kilometer (1,100-mile) pipeline, which should eventually link its South Pars gas fields to the Pakistani city of Nawabshah, near Karachi.
In February, Pakistan’s outgoing caretaker government approved the construction of an 80-kilometer section of the pipeline, primarily to avoid the payment of billions of dollars in penalties to Iran due to years of delays.
Washington has warned that Pakistan could face US sanctions, saying it does not support the pipeline going forward.

Emir of Qatar begins Asia tour with state visit to Philippines

Emir of Qatar begins Asia tour with state visit to Philippines
Updated 14 min 46 sec ago
Follow

Emir of Qatar begins Asia tour with state visit to Philippines

Emir of Qatar begins Asia tour with state visit to Philippines
  • During his tour the emir will speak with the countries’ leaders and senior officials

DUBAI: The Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad began his state visit to Manila, the Philippine capital, on Sunday as part of his Asia tour, reported the Qatar News Agency.

Sheikh Tamim received a welcome at Maharlika Presidential Airport from a delegation including Rafael Perpetuo Lotilla, minister of energy; Ahmed bin Saad Al-Humaidi, ambassador of Qatar to the Philippines; and Lilibeth Velasco Puno, ambassador of the Philippines to Qatar, along with several senior officials from the Philippine government and members of the Qatari embassy.

Accompanied by an official delegation, Sheikh Tamim’s itinerary includes visits to Bangladesh and Nepal following his time in the Philippines.

During his tour, the emir will speak with the countries’ leaders and senior officials, focusing on ways to enhance cooperation and discussing issues of common interest.

Additionally, agreements and memoranda of understanding are expected to be signed across various fields.


Health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says war death toll at 34,097

Health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says war death toll at 34,097
Updated 21 April 2024
Follow

Health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says war death toll at 34,097

Health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says war death toll at 34,097
  • The tally includes at least 48 deaths in the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said

GAZA STRIP, Palestinian Territories: The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said Sunday that at least 34,097 people have been killed in the territory during more than six months of war between Israel and Palestinian militants.
The tally includes at least 48 deaths in the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 76,980 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the war began when Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7.


Sultan of Oman to visit UAE on Monday - WAM

Sultan of Oman to visit UAE on Monday - WAM
Updated 21 April 2024
Follow

Sultan of Oman to visit UAE on Monday - WAM

Sultan of Oman to visit UAE on Monday - WAM

DUBAI: Sultan Haitham of Oman will visit the UAE on Monday for talks with President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, state news agency WAM reported. 

During the visit, both leaders will discuss “the deep-rooted, historical relations between the UAE and Oman and cooperation in various fields,” the agency said. 

The two leaders will also discuss a number of regional and international issues of common interest. 


Kuwait’s PM will serve as emir’s deputy if emir is abroad - KUNA

Kuwait’s PM will serve as emir’s deputy if emir is abroad - KUNA
Updated 21 April 2024
Follow

Kuwait’s PM will serve as emir’s deputy if emir is abroad - KUNA

Kuwait’s PM will serve as emir’s deputy if emir is abroad - KUNA

DUBAI: Kuwait’s prime minister-designate Ahmad Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah will serve as the emir’s deputy when the latter is not in the country, state news agency KUNA said on Sunday, citing a royal decree.

Emir Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, who was sworn in December, has yet to choose a crown prince, who would usually be his deputy.

The Emir selected Ahmad Abdullah Al-Ahmad after the cabinet’s resignation earlier this month. 

The expected move comes after a new parliament was elected and is a procedural one as the current government has to submit its resignation before the legislature’s inauguration.