The Middle East: time for a genuinely collective effort to fight terrorists (by Ambassador Yakovenko, for RT)

Tensions in the Middle East are increasing and the situation in many countries of this region is deteriorating dramatically. The region’s implosion does not meet anyone’s interests, except for extremist and terrorist groups.

The humanitarian situation in Syria remains a major concern. Despite all the serious objective difficulties, humanitarian assistance to the population in need continues. International aid agencies report a fairly high level of cooperation with the Syrian authorities. Difficulties with humanitarian access relate primarily to the ongoing fighting in the country, as well as the destabilizing activity of terrorist organizations.

In these circumstances, Russia’s initiative to create a united front of all forces fighting the terrorists on the ground and the countries capable of rendering support in this struggle is more relevant than ever. Only an inclusive political settlement and the eradication of terrorism can stop the bloodshed and give a chance to the restoration of normal life in Syria. That would help deal with situations in other countries, including Libya. The problem of illegal migration from Libya is a direct result of the “solution” imposed on this country from outside in 2011.

A peaceful resolution of the political crisis in Yemen is possible only on the basis of an inclusive intra-Yemeni dialogue between all political sides, under the UN auspices and without imposing ready-made solutions from the outside. Now it is a distraction in the fight against terrorists. Moreover, it effectively creates extra space for their destabilizing activity. As reported, ISIS and Al Qaeda are taking part in the fighting on the side of anti-Houthi forces.

The Middle East Peace Process remains at the top of the international agenda. Taking into account Israel’s settlement activity, the situation is deteriorating. The international community must use every opportunity to restart the negotiation process. It will succeed if both sides refrain from unilateral actions, including the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

Overall, the complex situation in the Middle East and North Africa confirms the need for an intensified search for political solutions of conflicts and multilateral diplomacy in the region, laying the necessary groundwork for an effective response to the terrorist threat. The terrorist groups are organized, now those they pose threat for need do the same.