Calling for a revitalized United Nations, Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco today urged the world body to confront separatist activities in northern Mali, where Islamic militants have seized control, sending more than 260,000 refugees to flee to neighbouring countries.
“Despite the sincere efforts exerted by countries in the region, including Morocco and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the contribution of the United Nations is needed in order to achieve national consensus, overcome the political crisis and confront separatist activities in the north (of Mali),” he told the General Assembly on the fourth day of its annual General Debate at UN Headquarters in New York.
“Only an independent, focussed effort on the part of the United Nations can help achieve those objectives,” he added.
The Prince stressed that given current changes in the world, the UN must be provided with the means it needs to tackle the challenges. “To this end, we have to expand the scope of the Organization’s action and revitalize its approach while preserving its principles and objectives so as to make it an active player in effective political governance and an instrument for equitable economic governance,” he said.
Referring to the crisis in Syria, where over 18,000 people have been killed since an anti-government uprising erupted 18 months ago, he called for “concerted efforts and decisive action” to bring an end to the violence and to lead to a political transition process involving a full spectrum of opinions.
At the same time, financial resources must be raised to meet the needs of the hundreds of thousands of Syrian who have fled to other countries, he said, as well as those internally displaced. According to UN estimates some 2.5 million people in Syria need humanitarian aid.
Turning to the Middle East peace process, the Prince called on the international community to change its approach by reconsidering its “intervention mechanisms and work methods” to ensure that direct negotiations are resumed very soon to achieve the internationally endorsed two-state solution of Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace within secure borders.
“This cannot be achieved if the fait accompli policy is allowed to continue,” the Moroccan leader said. “I have strongly condemned the Israeli scheme for the Judaization of occupied East Jerusalem, as well as the designs to wipe out the city’s spiritual and cultural identity and to change its demographic and urban features. Let me reaffirm, in this respect, that there will be no peace without East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.”
Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco is one of scores of world leaders and other high-level officials presenting their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends on 1 October.