Leading with a plea for implementation of the recent bilateral breakthrough to spare Idlib in Syria, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said his "overriding concern" is for international, multilateral diplomacy.
"I call on all the parties to implement the (Turkey-Russia) agreement with a strong commitment to the protection of civilians, and to ensure humanitarian access, adhere to international humanitarian law and work urgently for greater progress in the Geneva process," he said on Thursday, referring to the recent accord on buffer or safe zone in Syria, Xinhua reported.
It was feared a Russia-supported Syrian government attack on the last-stand, rebel-held Idlib would create a bloodbath among the 3 million residents.
The Syria remark was the lead item at a press conference Guterres held at the UN headquarters, a few days before the annual General Debate in the 193-member General Assembly where leaders from around the world will gather to speak their minds.
After citing in his opening statement a list of his concerns, the UN chief said, "let me note one overriding concern in our increasingly globalised era: multilateralism is under attack from many different directions precisely when we need it most."
"I will use my meetings and other opportunities next week to press for renewed commitment to a rules-based global order and to the United Nations, the world's indispensable forum for international cooperation," the UN chief said.
"The presence of 84 heads of state and 44 heads of government is eloquent proof of the confidence of the international community in the UN," Guterres said.