The creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital would remove one of the most problematic issues in the region, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said in his speech to the UN General Assembly on Monday.
Al-Sisi added that such a move would also effectively eliminate one of the most dangerous pretexts for extremism and terror, stressing that “the recent events at al-Aqsa emphasize the need for a comprehensive solution.”
Earlier on, al-Sisi’s call in an AP interview to expand the peace agreement with Israel to other Arab countries was clarified by the Office of the Egyptian President.
Al-Sisi had, it said, been speaking about “peace between Arab countries and Israel on the condition that the Palestinian issue is resolved and a Palestinian state declared on 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital.” In the same interview, Al-Sisi said that “a solution to the Palestinian issue will change the face of the Middle East and bring great progress.”
Al-Sisi continued that countries throughout the Middle East need to cooperate in addressing the worsening threat of terrorism. He added that there is a need to grow the Egyptian army in order to tackle terror, saying that the military is a “stabilizing factor.”
On the topic of Syria, al-Sisi claimed during the interview that the civil war must not end with the division of the country, warning that the collapse of Syria will lead to the regime’s weapons falling into the hands of terrorists. If this happens, he continued, the danger will spread from Syria and “pose a significant threat to our region. This is what we fear.”
The situation in Syria has been the focus of attention in speeches at the UNGA. US President Barack Obama said, “We must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the status quo.”
“Let’s remember how this started,” Obama continued. “Assad reacted to peaceful protests by escalating repression and killing that, in turn, created the environment for this current strife. And so Assad and his allies cannot simply pacify the broad majority of a population who have been brutalized by chemical weapons and indiscriminate bombing.
“We must transition away from Assad and to a new leader and an inclusive government that recognizes there must be an end to this chaos so that the Syrian people can begin to rebuild,” Obama added.
“When a dictator slaughters tens of thousands of his own people, that is a matter…that affects us all,” he said. “Likewise, when a terrorist group beheads captives, slaughters the innocent and enslaves women…that is an assault on all humanity.
“There is no room for accommodating an apocalyptic cult like ISIL and the United States makes no apologies for using our military, as part of a broad coalition, to go after them.”
But, “military power is not sufficient to resolve the situation in Syria,” Obama explained. “The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict.”
French president François Hollande struck the same tone as Obama, saying that “Assad created the problem. He cannot be part of the solution.
“We cannot put the victims with the one who is killing them,” Hollande continued. He noted that 255,000 people have been killed in Syria, including thousands of children murdered by the Assad government. “They are not just fleeing war; for years they have been fleeing the Assad regime,” Hollande said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin took an opposing stance, saying that it is a “grave error not to cooperate with Syria against terror.
“Assad is the only one fighting extremist Islam,” Putin continued. “Only Assad and Kurdish forces are combating terrorists in Syria. The threat of terror is widening. We cannot permit these criminals, who have already shed blood, to come home and carry on.”