Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

UN Secretary General meets GCC counterpart to discuss regional security

The pair agree the regional body has a role to play in finding a political solution to Yemen

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has a huge challenge ahead of him as the international community prepares for the Climate Action Summit. AP Photo
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has a huge challenge ahead of him as the international community prepares for the Climate Action Summit. AP Photo

Antonio Guterres held talks in New York on Sunday with Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, the secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council at the beginning of the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly.

The UN Secretary General hosted his counterpart as global attention focused on rising tension in the region. Mr Guterres and Mr Al Zayani are deeply engaged in the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan and wider issues of regional security.

The UN was gearing up for a Climate Action Summit on Monday, which would be followed by the UNGA meeting process on Tuesday. A spokesman said the two organisations are resolved to working closely together to address regional and international issues.

“They welcomed the strengthening of co-operation between the United Nations and the GCC, including in the area of peace and security,” a statement from the UN spokesman’s office said. “They also exchanged views on regional issues of mutual interest.”

At the UNGA meetings a year earlier there was a high-profile series of meeting focused on the humanitarian situation in Yemen. The GCC and the UN secured a landmark series of funding pledges at conference under the title "Challenges of Political Solution, Humanitarian Action, Restoring Stability and Reconstruction".

The latest developments in the region included the efforts exerted by the United Nations to achieve stability and security, the settlement of existing conflicts, intensifying the efforts to provide relief aid to refugees and the displaced.

Officials involved said there are additional means to enhance the co-ordination and co-operation between the GCC and the United Nations on the table.

Mr Al Zayani is a key interlocutor with the UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths. The two men met last month for talks on the political and security developments in Yemen.

A spokesman for the GCC said the pair agreed the regional body had a role to play in ”efforts exerted by the UN envoy to make contacts with parties concerned with the Yemeni crisis in a bid to resume political talks leading to political solution for conflict in Yemen in accordance with the GCC Initiative [and Yemen’s] National Dialogue".

The discussions in Riyadh also covered Mr Griffith’s planned new efforts "to implement the Stockholm Agreement".

The UN secretary general has keenly followed the impact of the severing of diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain because of Doha's support for extremist outfits. Since the decision was made, Mr Guterres has repeatedly said that he was ready to support all diplomatic efforts “desired by all parties”.

The UN leader has during his tenure warned of the fallout of an “increasingly chaotic world order” on the Middle East and its residents.

Updated: September 23, 2019 10:36 AM

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