Jakarta (ANTARA) - United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres praised the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as an important factor for unity in the current divided world.

"I commend ASEAN and ASEAN member states for their vital role in building bridges of understanding. ASEAN has been an important factor for unity in the divided world," Secretary General Guterres stated at a press conference on the sidelines of the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Thursday.

Guterres expressed concern about the world that he considered has been stretched to the breaking point by a cascade of crises, from the worsening climate emergency and escalating wars and conflicts, to growing poverty, widening inequalities, and rising geopolitical tensions.

"Therefore, we need cooperation on all fronts," he emphasized.

He underscored the need for ASEAN, as a multilateral institution, which can bridge differences and build understanding.

"We need this more than ever in a world that is increasingly multipolar and that requires strong multilateral institutions to go with it – based on equity, solidarity, and universality," Guterres remarked.

The UN secretary general praised Indonesia's national motto of "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" that he considered to be increasingly relevant in the current world situation.

"Bhinneka Tunggal Ika – Unity in diversity – is not only Indonesia’s national motto. It is the key to forging a better future for us all," he affirmed.

On the occasion, Guterres also expressed gratitude to the over five thousand peacekeepers from Indonesia and other ASEAN member states serving around the globe.

Moreover, he commended ASEAN’s constructive role on the peace front, particularly in working to defuse tensions from the South China Sea to the Korean Peninsula by prioritizing dialogue and promoting respect for international law.

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Reporter: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Editor: Sri Haryati
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