World\Middle East

No 'plan B' for Mideast two-state solution: UN chief

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-02-16 09:30

No 'plan B' for Mideast two-state solution: UN chief

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres attends a joint news conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri at the El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, February 15, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

CAIRO - There is no plan B for the two-state solution between the Israelis and the Palestinians to resolve the Middle East conflict and achieve regional peace, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a press conference in Cairo on Wednesday following his meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.

Guterres' remarks came while United States President Donald Trump said in Washington, during a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that the two-state solution is not the only one for the conflict and that the UN treated Israel "very, very unfairly."

The UN chief reiterated his statement at a lecture he later gave at Cairo University, attended by diplomats and students.

He referred to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict as "the mother" of the regional conflicts.

He also said that all necessary efforts must be made to preserve the two-state solution, adding that Egypt is a key player in resolving regional issues.

In December 2016, the United Nations Security Council endorsed a resolution demanding immediate and complete halt of Israeli settlement activities on occupied Palestinian territories.

However, the Knesset, Israel's parliament, approved earlier this month the "Regulation Bill" that retroactively legalizes about 3,850 housing units in dozens of outposts built illegally on privately owned Palestinian lands.

Israel is blamed by the international community for the deadlock of the peace process due to its settlement expansion policy that is rejected even by the US, its strongest ally.

With regards to other regional issues, Guterres expressed determination to move ahead with Geneva talks over the Syrian crisis and work on resuming national reconciliation and unity in Iraq.

The world's top diplomat said he will also be totally committed to support regional efforts for creating conditions to overcome the present crises in conflict-stricken Libya and Yemen.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in a joint news conference with Guterres that President Sisi expressed readiness to cooperate with the world body in all issues.

The minister also asserted that the international community cannot accept any preconditions from all sides to reach a settlement in Syria, adding that a peaceful solution that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people must be reached.

Meanwhile, Shoukry said he met on Wednesday with a delegation from the Libyan High Council of State, and the delegates praised the road map, which means a notable development that supports the legal institutions and the national army.

Guterres took the post as UN chief in January and he arrived in Cairo on Wednesday as the last destination of his first regional tour that also included Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar.

Guterres is scheduled to hold talks with Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit on regional conflicts on Thursday before leaving Cairo.

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