Amid mounting tensions in the Ukraine, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Friday that he still believe that military conflict in Europe “will not happen” – although if it did, “it would be disastrous”.
Addressing world leaders at the Munich Security Conference on Friday – amid an intense spike in shelling in eastern Ukraine by opposing sides and a concentration of Russian troops around the country’s borders – Mr Guterres said that it was high time to “seriously de-escalate” the crisis.
According to the UN chief, “there is no secondary option for the diplomacy talks and adding that the most rebellious, must be addressed through diplomatic frameworks.”
Citing from the United Nations Charter, which Mr Guterres supported as a fundamental pillar of international law, he stated that all nations “shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means, in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered”.
"We need a surge in diplomacy for peace, a surge in political will for peace, and a surge in investment for peace."
— United Nations (@UN) February 18, 2022
All parties should be “extremely careful with their bombast”, the UN Secretary-General continued, after noting that the threat to global security today “is more complex and probably higher” than during the Cold War.
During that period, Mr Guterres explained that safeguards and safety checks existed to allow nations to prevent crises by using “back-channels”.
Furthermore, he stated that many of those systems are o longer exist and most people trained to use them are no longer here”. he insisted, “miscommunication or miscalculation can make minor incident between powers, escalate out of control”.
More than 100 foreign ministers were also due to attend the annual meeting in the German city, although Russia’s foreign minister was reportedly not in attendance.
Turning away from Ukraine, the UN Secretary-General highlighted the increased unpredictability and fragility of the global landscape, including in Yemen and Libya.
As increasing inequality, there is a climate crisis, and the COVID-19 also threatens global security, the UN chief stated before encouraging all countries to step up support for solutions to these threats, as part of a surge in “political diplomacy will and investment for peace.
Urgent actions that were needed now to these “non-traditional security threats” included the full implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change to keep 1.5 degrees alive, support for the World Health Organization global vaccination strategy and global finance reform, “to enable developing countries to access the resources needed to support their people”.