PM Anwar calls for concerted multilateral effort by UN to resolve conflicts

NEW YORK — Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today called for a concerted multilateral effort spearheaded by the United Nations to resolve all the conflicts and humanitarian crises in the world, citing the problems in Ukraine, Palestine, Afghanistan and Myanmar as some of these.

He said the world is deeply polarised where major power rivalry unfolds with consequences that would negatively impact nations, especially the smaller ones, in regions of conflict.

“The upshot is that we are confronted with a geopolitical and geostrategic dilemma. While the major powers continue to assure that a binary choice is not being imposed, the reality for many is that it is the only choice offered,” he said.

Delivering Malaysia’s National Statement at the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at the United Nations headquarters on Friday, Anwar said he was worried such a situation will ultimately lead once again to a world where the masses are unrepresented and where the few rule over the many.

Citing the Ukraine-Russia conflict, Anwar said it underscores the imperative to make peace and settle differences amicably through negotiations.

“We cannot choose our neighbours, but we can choose to live in peace with them. And peace cannot happen without the cessation of hostilities by all parties. It is imperative for all parties to return to dialogue and resolve their differences through the negotiation table,” he said.

The prime minister said the world needs to find a solution to the conflict fast as the extent of the Ukraine conflict has radiated throughout the whole world, with food prices skyrocketing and leading to shortages and hunger, further malnutrition and despair.

Another conflict that continues to haunt the international community is Palestine where the politics of dispossession continues with a vengeance with more illegal settlements being built, stripping Palestinians of land that rightfully belongs to them, said Anwar.

“There is also flagrant hypocrisy in dealing with the issue of Palestine. The international community must speak up against the atrocities committed towards the Palestinians even as they so vehemently speak out against human rights violations, injustice and abusive regimes,” he added.

On Afghanistan, Anwar said Malaysia remains deeply concerned with the dire humanitarian situation in the country where drought has continued for the third consecutive year.

The prime minister said Malaysia is committed to continuing its existing people-to-people relations with Afghanistan, including through the provision of humanitarian aid, but called on the authorities there to reverse their exclusionary and discriminatory policies against women and girls.

“Denying their right to go to school is a violation of the teachings of Islam, not to mention the United Nations Charter and the multilateral framework of human rights. They are also profoundly detrimental to the future of Afghanistan,” he added.

Closer to home, Anwar said Malaysia is deeply horrified by the continued post-coup violence and instability in Myanmar.

According to him, the support of the international community, including the United Nations, is crucial to pressure the military authorities to reverse their course.

“In as much as the principle of ASEAN centrality dictates that the continued atrocities must end, Malaysia calls on Myanmar to immediately implement the ASEAN five-point consensus towards achieving peace and stability in the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, Anwar who is also the Finance Minister, also shared Malaysia’s efforts in dealing with the climate crisis to achieve the 2030 Agenda, the country’s roadmap under the Malaysia MADANI framework as well as several other global issues.

This is his first appearance as prime minister at the annual gathering.

This year’s theme for the General Debate is “Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Global Solidarity: Accelerating Action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals Towards Peace, Prosperity, Progress and Sustainability For All”.

The session was chaired by Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations, Datuk Dr Ahmad Faisal Muhamad.

Also present at the United Nations were his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail; Investment, Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz; Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa; and several members of parliament and government officials. — BERNAMA