Erdogan Focuses on Syria, Palestine, Kashmir Crisis at UNGA

Published September 25th, 2019 - 09:56 GMT
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds up a photo as he speaks during the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York, September 24, 2019. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds up a photo as he speaks during the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York, September 24, 2019. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)
Highlights
World leaders have assembled at the 74th UN General Assembly, where they grapple with issues of climate change, trade wars, regional conflicts, and a dispute in the Gulf region with wide-reaching impact.

Erdogan pitches for deeper Syria peace corridor to resettle refugees.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called on UN members to back Ankara's efforts to ensure security in Syria's Idlib to avoid mass migration and massacres.

He said, Turkey is "the most generous country" with humanitarian aid, hosting five million displaced people fleeing conflict, starvation, persecution. 

"In 2019, Turkey saved 32,000 irregular migrants from drowning at sea, repatriated 58,000, not including Syrians," Erdogan added.  

Holding a picture of Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi, Erdogan said the beached toddler was "quickly forgotten by the world," reminding the world leaders that "the same situation may happen to you one day."

Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York, Erdogan also said "efficient functioning" of the Constitutional Committee is "critical for political and territorial unity of Syria".

Turkish and US military officials agreed August 7 to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home. 

The PKK/YPG terror group, which is operating under the disguise of so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Northern Syria, must be dealt with for safety and security of the region, said, Erdogan.

The Turkish president also criticised the international community for failing to pay attention to the Kashmir conflict, which has awaited a solution for 72 years.  

"In order for the Kashmiri people to look at a safe future together with their Pakistani and Indian neighbours, it is imperative to solve the problem through dialogue and on the basis of justice and equity, but not through collision," said Erdogan.  

Erdogan also requested the UN to designate March 15, when the Christchurch attack was carried out in New Zealand, as "International Day for Solidarity against Islamophobia."

The Turkish president said the entire international community and the UN should provide concrete support to Palestinians beyond mere promises. "What is the role and point of the UN if it fails to implement its own resolutions against Israel?" Erdogan asked.

Show courage to build peace – Macron tells US, Iran

The US and Iran need to take a leap of faith and show some courage to build peace, French President Emmanuel Macron said, as he urged them and key powers to negotiate to avoid a wider conflict across the Middle East.

"The attacks on Saudi Arabia have changed the situation. Today the risk is (that things) flare-up because of a miscalculation or a disproportionate response," Macron said in a speech at the UN General Assembly.

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"More than ever, the time has come to restart negotiations between the US, Iran, the parties to the JCPOA (nuclear deal) and concerned regional powers."

He said he was neither naive nor believed in miracles, but said it was time to build peace.

"It takes courage to build peace," he said, adding that he would continue his recent efforts to bring all sides to the negotiating table.

Trump warns sanctions will be 'tightened' unless Iran behaviour changes

US President Donald Trump said that sanctions on Iran would be further increased unless it halts its "fanatical" weapons drive and "aggression" in the Middle East.

"Hoping to free itself from sanctions, the regime has escalated its violent and unprovoked aggression," Trump said.

"As long as Iran's menacing behaviour continues, sanctions will not be lifted –– they will be tightened." 

Trump also put China on notice, declaring the time of trade "abuses" by Beijing was "over" and calling on the country to protect Hong Kong's "democratic ways of life."

The president implored the world's leaders to prioritise their own nations, with strong borders and one-on-one trade deals, rejecting sweeping transnational organisations and alliances.

Fallacy to say Amazon is heritage of humankind  – Bolsonaro

Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has come under attack for wildfires that are raging in the Amazon, told the UN the rainforest is his country's sovereign territory.

"It is a fallacy to say that the Amazon is the heritage of humankind, and a misconception confirmed by scientists to say that our Amazon forests are the lungs of the world," he said.

Bolsonaro then hit out at detractors, saying that while every country had problems, sensational reporting in the international media "aroused our patriotic sentiments."

He also defended his record on the treatment of indigenous people and said many backed him.

World splitting into two - Guterres

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned global leaders of the looming risk of the world splitting in two with the two largest economies, the US and China, creating rival internets, currencies, financial rules "and their own zero-sum geopolitical and military strategies." 

The UN chief said, "We must do everything possible to avert the Great Fracture," and maintain a universal economy in a multipolar world.

Guterres painted a grim picture of a deeply divided and anxious planet facing a climate crisis, "the alarming possibility" of a Gulf conflict, terrorism, and rising inequality.

"We are facing the possibility of an alarming armed conflict in the Gulf that we cannot bear the consequences of. The attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities is unacceptable. We need to do everything we can for common sense and sobriety, given that a small miscalculation can lead to a major crisis," he said.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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