Denial of Palestinian statehood 'unacceptable', says UN chief

AFP , Saturday 20 Jan 2024

The right of the Palestinian people to build their own state "must be recognised by all", UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Uganda on Saturday.

UN Secretary General
Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres delivers his speech during the closing session of the 19th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Kampala on January 20, 2024. AFP


"The refusal to accept a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, and the denial of the right to statehood for the Palestinian people, are unacceptable," the UN leader insisted in the Ugandan capital Kampala.

Such a stance "would indefinitely prolong a conflict that has become a major threat to global peace and security; exacerbate polarization; and embolden extremists everywhere," Guterres warned.

"The right of the Palestinian people to build their own state must be recognized by all."

The UN chief's remarks come as Israel is carrying out a brutal war on the Gaza Strip that has killed at least 24,927 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The United Nations says 85 percent of Gazans are displaced from Israel's war and a quarter of the 2.3 million people trapped in Gaza are starving under Israel's siege, while the World Health Organisation (WHO) has deplored the "inhuman living conditions" in the small coastal territory.

On Monday, Guterres appealed for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

The United States, Israel's main ally and key supporter in its war on Gaza, has also recently reiterated its support for the creation of a Palestinian state.

In recent days, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reaffirmed his opposition to the creation of a viable Palestinian state, drawing criticism from his American ally.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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