Published On: Sun, Apr 15th, 2018
Published in Category: International

UN secretary general says the Cold War is ‘back with a vengeance

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NEW YORK: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Friday that the Middle East is in such “chaos” that it has become a threat to international peace and security — and Syria “represents the most serious threat.”

The UN chief told an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council that the highly volatile situation in the region risks “escalation, fragmentation and division as far as the eye can see, with profound regional and global ramifications.” “The Cold War is back — with a vengeance but with a difference,” Gutteres warned.

And he said the safeguards and mechanisms that managed the risk of escalation between the US and the Soviet Union in the past “no longer seem to be present.”

Russia called the council meeting to focus on the threat to international peace and security from possible military action against Syria by the United States and its allies. But the secretary-general took a much broader view of the often-interlinked factors escalating the chaos and threatening peace in the Middle East.

Guterres cited the Palestinian-Israeli divide, the Sunni-Shiite divide “evident from the Gulf to the Mediterranean,” opposing attitudes on the Muslim Brotherhood and the status of the Kurds, threats to communities that have lived in the region for millennia, and other factors.

“This multiplicity of divides is reflected in a multiplicity of conflicts with different degrees of interconnection, several of them clearly linked to the threat of global terrorism,” he said. Guterres warned that “many forms of escalation are possible.” The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is deepening again, he said.

And in what appeared to be implicit criticism of Israel for its use of force against protesters, Guterres said, “The recent violence in Gaza has resulted in many needless deaths and injuries.” He also reiterated his call for “an independent and transparent” investigation of the incidents.

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