10 February 2017 – Underscoring the enormity of the plight of refugees, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today appealed for effective burden-sharing in supporting those who have been forced to flee their homes, as well as to those providing them refuge.
“This is a moment to launch an appeal – when we see so many borders being closed and when we see so many escaping their responsibilities – […] for effective burden-sharing and to make sure that the integrity of the international refugee protection regime is maintained,” Mr. Guterres said at a press encounter in Istanbul alongside Binali Yildirim, the Turkish Prime Minister.
“One area is [supporting] the countries of first asylum, support to the host communities, support to projects that can help […] both refugee populations and the host communities,” he explained.
“The second area of burden-sharing is the resettlement of refugees […] because the protection of refugees is not only the responsibility of neighbouring States of a crisis; it is a collective responsibility of the international community,” added Mr. Guterres.
The UN chief, on his first official visit to the region, also thanked the Turkish Government and people for their large humanitarian support to Syrian people as well as to those from other parts of the world.
In particular, he expressed his appreciation for the role of Turkey in convening and orienting the Astana conference on Syria and that it would lead to the Geneva talks in which the political solution dimension will be at the centre of the discussions.
“The role that Turkey has played has been, in our opinion, extremely positive and we are very grateful and very appreciative for that fact,” he said.
Mr. Guterres also thanked Turkey for its role in convening of the Astana Conference and said: “It is now very important to have in Geneva discussions that go to the substance of the issues and allow for a political solution to start [being] built.”
Recalling the country’s contributions to the international multilateral system, he noted that Turkey is one of the guarantor powers in the UN-supported Conference for Cyprus for the unity of Cyprus, and expressed hope that the efforts of the two communities that go on meeting at the highest level and the efforts of the guarantor powers will allow for a breakthrough in the near future.
“A breakthrough able to fully respect the concerns of the Turkish Cypriot community about its security but, at the same time, compatible with the concerns of the Greek Cypriot community,” added the Secretary-General, pledging the support of the UN to the two communities and the guarantor powers to support the search for a solution that is acceptable for all.
The UN chief also noted the importance of political solutions in which people feel “duly represented at the political level” for successfully fighting terrorism.
Secretary-General Guterres also said there is no “plan B” but for the two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and underscored: “It is absolutely essential to avoid unilateral actions that undermine the possibility of that two-state solution.”
He also noted that his discussions in Istanbul included the situation in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan as well as the on importance of rule of law and protection of human rights.