At UN Assembly, Gulf, Mid-east leaders call for urgent action against terrorist groups
28 September 2015 – Taking the podium at the 70th United Nations General Assembly today, leaders from Gulf and Middle East countries appealed to world leaders to unite against the growing threats from Islamic religious extremists, and also drew attention to a wide range of issues including the Syrian crisis, the ongoing Israel-Palestine dispute and the European refugee crisis.
King Abdullah II of Jordan stressed that radical terrorism has been on the rise and that terrorists prey on differences between communities to spread their radical ideas through fear, violence and anger. "They target religious differences, hoping to kill cooperation and compassion among the billions of people, of all faiths and communities, who live side-by-side in our many countries. These outlaw gangs use suspicion and ignorance to expand their own power," he said.
He also pointed out that the emergence of terrorism in conflict-prone regions has led to a 'third world war,' which is not being responded to appropriately by the international community.
"What if they were not defeated? What would our world look like? Can we tolerate a future where mass murder, public beheadings, kidnapping and slavery are common practices? Where the persecution of communities is law? Where humanity's cultural treasures, preserved for thousands of years are systematically destroyed? I've called this crisis a third world war and I believe we must respond with equal intensity. That means global collective action on all fronts," he added.
He introduced a seven-step process through which such issues can be tackled. These include respecting one another's faith, curbing radical ideas that spread violence, integrating our value system into everyday life, moderating the use of advanced media by extremists, recognizing the motives of radicals, being intolerant to intolerance and bringing communities together through advanced methods of communication.
Jordan's King Abdullah also called on world leaders to increase humanitarian assistance to regions affected by the refugee crisis.
"It is the world's obligation to find solutions and provide relief for the millions of refugees in my region. Today we are still facing huge shortfalls, cuts, threats to vital UN programmes and agencies, including the [UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East], the [Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the [World Food Programme]," he added.
King Abdullah also commented on the lack of assistance Jordan has received since it began providing refuge to Syrians four years ago.
"Support to our country has been small fraction of the cost we have endured. It is high time that the international community acts collectively in facing this unprecedented humanitarian crisis, and support countries like Jordan and Lebanon which have been carrying the brunt of this burden over the past four years," he said.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Amir of Qatar reiterated the need to take a strong and collective stance against terrorism in his speech while addressing the annual General Debate at the UN.
"The phenomenon of terrorism with its dire consequences imposes grave political, security and economic challenges before nations and peoples. There is so doubt that tension and conflict zones have contributed to the emergence of terrorist organizations."
In addition, the international community's failure in addressing the hotbeds of tension and conflict has also contributed to creating an environment that advocates the execution of terrorist operations, he said.
The Qatari leader also stressed the need to arrive at a faster solution to the Israel-Palestine dispute. "The just and lasting solution of Palestinian cause, which remains an issue of people displaced from their land, and are still under the yoke of occupation, cannot be delayed to the next generation," said Sheikh Tamir.
"Allow me to send a message to all major parties of the international community in general that the continuation of the Palestinian cause without a permanent and just solution is a stigma at the face of humanity," he added.
Sheikh Tamir also spoke of the catastrophic consequences that have ensued due to untimely responses and lack of action to end the Syrian crisis.
"It was incumbent on the international community to stop the massacres at the right time, and provide the conditions for the Syrian people to put forward a rational, civil and fair alternative to tyranny. But is there a tyranny in the world that could acknowledge an alternative? Is it possible for a tyranny to allow an alternative to grow and develop under its shadow?" he questioned at the Assembly.
He urged the international community to cooperate and impose a solution to the Syrian crisis.
"I call for cooperation in order to impose a political solution in Syria that would end the rein of tyranny and replacing it with a pluralistic regime based on equal citizenship for all Syrians defeat radicalism and terrorism and insulate Syria from them, repatriate the displaced to their homes, and allows reconstruction of Syria."
The 70th General Assembly opened this year with the adoption of Agenda 2030 and 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Made up of all the 193 Member States of the United Nations, the Assembly provides a forum for multilateral discussion of international issues covered by the UN Charter.
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