EXCLUSIVE: UN's Guterres vows to back Palestinians on 'Deal of the Century' issue

EXCLUSIVE: UN's Guterres vows to back Palestinians on 'Deal of the Century' issue
Speaking exclusively to The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site, Antonio Guterres said that the UN remained committed to its resolutions calling for a Palestinian statehood based on pre-1967 lines.
3 min read
05 February, 2020
"Our position has not changed", Guterres told reporters at the UN headquarters on Tuesday. [Getty]
The UN's Secretary General has told The New Arab that the body is committed to a two-state solution to the Israel and Palestine conflict on the basis of pre-1967 lines, amid uproar over US President Donald Trump's "Deal of the Century". 

Antonio Guterres also told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site at a New York press conference on Tuesday that the UN was "very concerned" about the continued violence in Libya and called for international cooperation on the issue.

Guterres' comments come as US President Donald Trump's widely condemned Middle East peace plan continues to provoke outrage among Palestinians for its farcical conception of statehood.

The so-called 'Deal of the Century' envisions a Palestinian state void of sovereignty, with no military or control over its borders.    

When probed on where the UN stood regarding Trump's proposal, who unvieled it in Washington last week flanked by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Guterres' responded unequivocally that it would abide by international law.

"The UN guards the resolutions of its security council (UNSC) and international law concerning the question of Palestine," he said.

"Our message is clear: any plan must align with UN and UNSC resolutions and secure the approval of all parties involved. What we believe in and what we defend are clear. Our position has not changed." 

Read more: Libya rivals agree to turn shaky truce into 'lasting ceasefire', UN says

Earlier on Tuesday, Guterres had been adressing the Committee on the Excercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP). 

Established in 1975, the comittee is charged with forming a programme to promote the rights of Palestinians to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty and reports to the General Assembly annually. 

Guterres expressed concern for the continued expansion and acceleration of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, demolitions and seizures of Palestinian-owned property.

Trump's deal would allow Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as we as allowing Israel to annex around 30 percent of the West Bank.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Saturday that Ramallah was severing all ties with Israel and the US, including security cooperation.

Libya's 'scandal' 

On the situation in Libya, which is mired in chaos after warlord Khalifa Haftar, who controls the country's south and east, launched an assault to seize Tripoli in April last year, Guterres said he was "very worried", adding, "what is happening is a scandal".

World leaders gathered for a summit in Berlin last month committed to ending all foreign interference in Libya and vow to uphold a weapons embargo on the country in a bid to end the long-running civil war.

Yet Guterres labelled the meeting an act of collective lip-service.

"Various states arrived in Berlin and vowed to uphold UN resolutions to ban the supply of arms to all Libyan factions. Despite this, violations continue, and there is no adherence to cease-fire agreements," he said.

Guterres was hopeful, however, regarding the tentative outcome to Libya's 5+5 Military Comission meeting, calling the efforts of UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame the only piece of "good news".

The talks bring together five senior military officers from Haftar's Libyan National Army and five from forces aligned with the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.

According to Salame, the warring parties agreed to implement a ceasefire on Tuesday.

"The principle has been adopted from the first session. Now the question is what are the conditions," he told reporters in Geneva.

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