Concern over UN overlooking crises in Arab region - GulfToday

Concern over UN overlooking crises in Arab region

Ahmed Aboul Gheit

Ahmed Aboul Gheit. (File Photo)

Speaking at the session organised by the United Arab Emirates as president of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in March, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit expressed concern that the UNSC should not ignore the other conflicts in the wake of the new ones like the war in Ukraine. He felt that the UNSC is likely to overlook the decades-old crises in Palestine, in Syria, in Libya and Yemen which are crying out for solution.

Gheit said that he hoped “the disastrous confrontational situation currently taking place in the world will not have negative effects on the Security Council’s handling of issues and crises at the level of the world in general and at the level of the Arab region in particular.” In a candid speech, Gheit said, “The Arab region is still suffering from the consequences of the major shock that it was subjected to in 2011. There are still conflicts raging within countries such as Syria, Libya and Yemen, with all the humanitarian costs, economic depletion, and threat to security in our region.”

He pointed out that new developments in the world are forcing the Arabs to look at the situation in Palestine with a new eye, where the people are suffering repression, violation of freedoms and rights for seventy years and there is still no prospect of a solution to the problem. Similarly, the people of Syria are suffering immensely, whether they are living in areas controlled by the regime, or by other forces. And he said that the latest international crisis – a crisis in Ukraine involving a confrontation between the United States and Russia – is likely to have a negative impact on the situation in the country. Russia has been supporting the Bashar Al Assad regime while the Americans have been propping up the anti-Assad forces. As Russia is involved in a serious war in Ukraine, it would not be able to play an effective role in Syria, and it is possible that the Americans and its allies might want to take advantage of it. But this may not happen because the focus of the Americans and Europeans is solely on the war in Ukraine, and they will ignore the problems elsewhere. Gheit observed that it was the involvement of foreign forces and elements that is making the divisive situation in Libya more difficult than ever.

Making a special reference to the Houthis in Yemen, Gheit said that it was the UAE that has forced the Security Council to adopt Resolution 2624 which imposed sanctions on the Houthis and classified them as a terrorist organisation. He also said that regional powers were playing politics in the Yemen crisis.

The concerns expressed by Gheit are justified because in the one month since war broke out in Ukraine, the UN General Assembly, the Security Council, and the Human Rights Council had all passed resolutions on the situation in Ukraine.

There has been a flurry of activity because of the big countries involved in the crisis. In contrast, the situation in Palestine, Syria, Libya and Yemen are of similar importance and the humanitarian crises that have been unleashed in these countries due to the internal wars affecting millions of people seems to be ignored by the UN and its various organisations. It seems that the UN members would only sit up if there is a war in Europe and would pass over far worse problems in other parts of the world, especially the Arab region.

The UAE-convened meeting about cooperation between the League of Arab States and the UNSC is timely and it should serve as a timely reminder that the burning problems in the Arab region need to be addressed with a similar sense of urgency that is being witnessed with regard to the situation in Ukraine.

Related articles