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Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the League of Arab States Summit, delivered by Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, Special Envoy for Yemen, in Nouakchott today:
I am pleased to convey my greetings to the twenty-seventh Summit of the League of Arab States and I thank Mauritania for hosting this important gathering.
I congratulate Ahmed Aboul-Gheit on assuming the post of Secretary-General of the League of Arab States and wish him all success. I also thank his predecessor, Nabil Elaraby, for his strong leadership and partnership.
Sadly, conflicts continue to afflict many countries in the Arab region.
Syria is still being torn apart by a brutal civil war, and huge numbers of Syrians continue to flee bombs and missiles, alongside the threats posed by ISIL [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant]. My Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, is working on the preparations for the next round of intra-Syrian talks. I call on all of you to use your influence with the parties so that they put the interests of the Syrian people first and bring an end to this senseless violence.
On Yemen, the United Nations remains actively engaged in efforts to bring about a permanent end to the fighting and enable the resumption of a peaceful political transition.
Dialogue is the only viable way to bring peace to countries torn apart by prolonged civil wars. I appreciate the support of members of the League of Arab States for UN-led diplomatic and mediation efforts.
In Iraq, I welcome the progress in retaking areas from ISIL, including Fallujah. I call on you to step up your support. The Government of Iraq must ensure that all measures are taken to protect civilians during military operations against ISIL.
On Palestine, the report of the Middle East Quartet made clear that the prospects for a two-State solution are becoming more distant as negative trends continue on the ground. I urge Palestine and Israel to work with Quartet members on implementing the recommendations to restore hope in a political solution. Israel must immediately stop illegal settlement. Palestinian factions must overcome their divisions and condemn terror in all its forms. And donors must make good on their Cairo pledges to help with the reconstruction efforts in Gaza.
Lebanon remains a model of coexistence and diversity and is generously hosting a record number of refugees. I again urge Lebanese leaders to ensure stability and uphold their country’s example of peaceful consensus by overcoming their differences and electing a President.
In Libya, the United Nations continues to urge the formation of a Government of National Accord, in line with the agreement signed in December 2015. The political and security vacuum has only benefited ISIL, which threatens Libya and the wider region.
I want to take this opportunity to express appreciation to Mauritania and its neighbours for playing a leading role in addressing the root causes of instability in the Sahel.
In Sudan, I urge all parties, particularly the Government of Sudan, to take concrete steps to build confidence and to move towards a credible and inclusive national dialogue. I call on those who have not signed the road map proposed by the African Union panel to do so.
Last but not least, problems relating to the record numbers of refugees and migrants are affecting many Arab States which are countries of origin, transit and destination. In September, world leaders will gather at the United Nations during the General Assembly to hold a high-level meeting on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants. I count on your active participation at the highest level.
The adoption of the Paris Agreement last year marked a historic turning point in the world’s response to climate change. I hope you will work closely with the incoming COP [Conference of the Parties] President, Morocco, and I encourage you to ratify the Paris Agreement this year.
I would also like to express my appreciation for your support for the recent General Assembly resolution marking the tenth anniversary of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
In the past several years, cooperation between the United Nations and the Leagues of Arab States has increased significantly, culminating in the historic consultative meeting in Cairo between members of the UN Security Council and the League of Arab States.
We look forward to strengthening such cooperation. The League of Arab States is our indispensable partner for peace, security, human rights and sustainable development.
I wish you a successful meeting.