UN chief highlights key role of Asean in finding peaceful solution to Myanmar crisis

NEW YORK, April 20 (Bernama): United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Monday for leaders in Asia to bolster efforts towards finding a peaceful solution to the crisis in Myanmar, highlighting the key role of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) in this regard.

Speaking during a Security Council meeting on cooperation between the world body and regional and sub-regional organisations, the top UN official underscored the relationship with Asean, underlining the bloc's important role in diplomacy, conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

"Today, Asean's role is more crucial than ever as the region faces an urgent crisis in Myanmar," Guterres said, reported Xinhua news agency.

In this regard, UN cooperation with Asean is vital, the secretary-general said, as the situation requires a robust international response grounded in a unified regional effort.

Guterres told the Council that his special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, is in the region and stands ready to resume dialogue with the military and others.

The Security Council debate, held online, focused on an issue which the secretary-general said has been a key priority since he took office four years ago.

Cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations has "grown exponentially" since its founding in 1945, he said, encompassing areas that include preventive diplomacy, mediation, counterterrorism, peacekeeping and promoting human rights, but also combating climate change and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UN chief provided examples of this partnership across several continents, showcasing how working together can support countries to manage complex political transitions and find sustainable solutions to political challenges.

In Sudan, for example, the UN-supported the African Union and Ethiopia in facilitating negotiations which led to the establishment of the transitional government.

"As we continue to support Sudan in its efforts towards democratic governance and an inclusive society, our collaboration remains essential," he said.

The secretary-general said strengthening UN partnerships with regional and sub-regional organisations is integral to his vision for "a networked multilateralism."

Despite the pandemic, he convened heads of regional organisations for a virtual dialogue last November, to shore up collaboration during crises.

"I am committed to pursuing an even closer engagement to promote confidence-building and dialogue, in conflict prevention, management and resolution," he said.

"We can only address our world's current and future challenges, including those exposed and heightened by Covid-19, through ambitious and coordinated multilateral action," said Guterres. - Bernama
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