UN Chief Addresses Regional Leaders At ASEAN Summit

| Updated Nov 15, 2017 at 9:54am


United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and First Lady Honeylet Avancena to the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit dinner on 12 November 2017. Photo/UNIC/Maria Teresa Debuque.


Multilateralism and regional cooperation will be critical to a peaceful and prosperous future, the UN Secretary-General told Asian leaders meeting in Manila on Monday.

António Guterres was addressing the latest summit of regional body ASEAN, which brings together 10 nations.

ASEAN is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

The Secretary-General commended its leadership at both the national and regional level on strengthening resilience and reducing the risk posed by climate change and other natural disasters.

Mr. Guterres stated that he was "extremely concerned" by the threat of global terrorism and violent extremism, including in the ASEAN region.

He added that the UN stands ready to provide technical support to the organization and its member countries to counter terrorism and violent extremism, as well as to combat transnational crime such as human trafficking.

"The international community must raise the level of its response to all these complex threats. Multilateralism and regional cooperation will be critical to a peaceful and prosperous future."

The UN chief also used his speech to highlight the continued plight of thousands of Rohingya refugees who have fled violence in Myanmar for Bangladesh.

This, he said, could become "a potential source of instability in the region, and radicalization."

Mr. Guterres welcomed steps taken by ASEAN to respond to the crisis, adding that addressing underlying issues will be critical to reversing what he described as "this tragedy."

Dianne Penn, United Nations/GBCONLINE.