The United Nations Secretary-General has praised Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi for his commitment in fighting terrorism saying Egypt is a “central player” in the Middle East.

António Guterres made these comments during a press conference in Cairo on Wednesday after meeting with Al Sisi while reiterating his commitment to fight terrorism.

The Secretary-General added that in addition to the fight against terror, political solutions to the crises in Syria and the wider region were important, adding that he fully supported the intra-Syrian negotiations expected to take place later this month in Geneva.

Referring to the international talks on Syria held earlier this month in the Kazakh capital of Astana, which resulted in an agreement on how to monitor the ceasefire effort started in December 2016, Guterres said the talks were an important contribution because they led to a ceasefire.

“But we consider that without a political solution, not only ceasefires cannot hold, but more than that the fight against terrorism will not be effective,” said Guterres.

“That is why we are so committed to making sure that the political process moves on and I hope that Geneva will be an important step in that direction,” he added in the press conference alongside the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry.

Guterres also made reference to the Security Council, saying that it was “very important to recognise that the United Nations will be what member states allow it to be”.

He stressed his personal commitment echoing comments in Dubai days earlier – to reform the UN Secretariat and help to create “effective coordination and accountability” in the different UN bodies to strengthen the reputation of the United Nations at a global level.

During the press encounter, the secretary-general also stated that there was “no Plan B” to the two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians: “Everything must be done to preserve that possibility.”

He also noted the situations in Libya and Yemen, calling for effective reconciliation and reconstruction to aid the people and the stability of the region.

Turning to Syria, Guterres noted that he has consistently said that the countries of the region that have been receiving so many Syrian refugees, as well as those from Iraq and from many other crises.

These countries of the region Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt have not had enough support from the international community in general, from Europe in particular. They lack support, both in relation to the refugees themselves and their living conditions.

Host communities that share with refugees sometimes struggle as their resources are quite meagre.

Stressing that refugee protection is not only the responsibility of neighbours, but of the entire international community, the UN chief said it would be important to substantially increase the number of refugees that are resettled into Europe and other parts of the world in order to show effective solidarity with the countries of first asylum.

– By ANA