The bloodbath of Syria and the plight of the Palestinian people – two great Middle Eastern tragedies: General Assembly president

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Vuk Jeremic

Two great Middle Eastern tragedies persist before the eyes of the world: the bloodbath of Syria and the plight of the Palestinian people, President of the UN General Assembly Vuk Jeremic told the Fifth Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilization in Vienna on Wednesday.

He said that in his view, the way in which they are addressed will significantly affect the trajectory of the unfolding dialogue between civilizations.

And he cautioned that succumbing to the despondency of the status quo is a prescription for a disastrous future of growing estrangement and multiplying crises. 

“ The perpetuation of the civil war in Syria has become the most horrific humanitarian catastrophe of our times. It is unconscionable that for close to two years, the international community has failed to put a stop to the carnage.”

General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic called again for an immediate cessation of hostilities, stressing that it must be the foremost priority.

On the question of Palestinian rights, the General Assembly president noted that for nearly seventy years, the quest to fulfill the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people has remained on the UN's agenda like an open, bleeding wound.

He said this is one of the world's most fundamental wrongs—and it demands immediate redress.

Mr. Jeremic recalled the "historic session of the General Assembly, when the Member States voted by an overwhelming majority to accord to Palestine the status of a Non-member Observer State to the United Nations".

“ However, as it was made clear on that day by both sides, it is no substitute for the achievement of a just and comprehensive settlement that will enable Israel and Palestine to live side by side in peace and security.”

General Assembly President Vuc Jeremic expressed the hope that the stage will soon be set for the negotiations to resume in good faith, and for the reconciliation between two proud nations to begin in earnest.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’50″

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