Political Analysis

Secretary-General’s address to the National Defense College of Oman about Yemen and Syria

National Yemen
Written by Fakhri Al-Arashi

In his today’s presentation at the National Defense College of Oman, the Secretary-General of the United Nation Ban Ki-moon expressed his honor to be in Oman for the second time as Secretary-General.

“My remarks today will focus on how we can reduce the chances of another Syria, another Yemen” said Ban Ki-Moon. Conflict is taking a terrible human toll and all countries, all governments have a duty to do everything possible to prevent and resolve wars, from the great powers to the regional influencers and those who work quietly behind the scenes for the greater good

The mission of United Nations is to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” — in other words, to prevent armed conflict.

“Addressing the audience” Ban Ki-Moon discussed Syria and Yemen as a key examples for his presentation saying that conflicts often end around a peace table, not the battlefield.

We need to do far more to apply these lessons.
Look at Syria. Look at Yemen. The idea of a so-called “winner” in these conflicts has lost all meaning.
Everyone is losing.  And the biggest victims are innocent people, civilian populations.

“I condemn the violations of international humanitarian and human rights law that take place in these and other conflicts today” said Ban Ki-Moon.

Oman has been a critical partner as we try to bring peace to Yemen. Oman helped secure the release of foreign nationals held in captivity in Sana’a last September, and has opened its doors to hundreds of Yemenis needing medical assistance and temporary accommodation.
I particularly appreciate your support for my Special Envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, including enabling him to meet representatives of the parties to the conflict here in Muscat, ahead of peace talks in Switzerland late last year.

We now have to bring the parties back for a further round of talks. This is the only viable way forward.
On Syria, we have witnessed five years of horror piled upon horror.  Destructive geopolitical competition has made a bad problem worse.

At last, the States with the most influence on the Syrian parties have begun to focus on the hard work of ending this war.
They have formed the International Syria Support Group. The Security Council has spoken with one voice to call for peace talks, and laid out a framework for the process.
My Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, has worked tirelessly to bring the government and opposition to Geneva.
Progress will not be easy. But we have to start.
The path to ending conflicts may be long and hard. But determined diplomacy has helped end crises in this region.
Here in Oman, you hosted ceasefire negotiations between Baghdad and Tehran during the 1980s. This helped the parties find a way to end that devastating conflict.

“At this time when many are trying to sow division, I continue to be encouraged by Oman’s commitment to peace and its wide-ranging bridge-building efforts.  Together, we can address today’s threats and seize the great opportunities of our era” concludes Ban Ki-Moon.

More about the presentation http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=9430