United Nations

United Nations 6 Jan 2020

"The New Year has begun with our world in turmoil" said UN Chief António Guterres to the media


Media Stakeout by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on the recent rise in global tensions.

Secretary-General's statement to the press:

The New Year has begun with our world in turmoil.
We are living in dangerous times.
Geopolitical tensions are at their highest level this century.
And this turbulence is escalating.
Even nuclear non-proliferation can no longer be taken for granted.
This cauldron of tensions is leading more and more countries to take unpredicted decisions with unpredictable consequences and a profound risk of miscalculation.
At the same time, we see trade and technological conflicts that fracture world markets, undermine growth and widen inequalities.
And all the while, our planet is on fire. The climate crisis rages on.
In many parts of the world, we see many people frustrated and angry. We see increased social unrest and growing extremism, nationalism and radicalization, with a dangerous advance of terrorism, notably in Africa.
This situation cannot go on.
I have been following the recent rise in global tensions with great concern.
I am in constant contact with leading officials around the world.
My message is simple and clear:

Stop escalation.
Exercise maximum restraint.
Re-start dialogue.
Renew international cooperation.

Let us not forget the terrible human suffering caused by war. As always, ordinary people pay the highest price. It is our common duty to avoid it.
Thank you.

Remarks by António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General on "the unfolding crisis in northwest Syria and the terrible human toll on civilians".
We are all aware of the unfolding crisis in northwest Syria and the terrible human toll on civilians.

Nearly 900,000 people - the vast majority women and children - have fled in the latest fighting under the most tragic circumstances. Hundreds have been killed. Many have been uprooted multiple times. Young children are freezing to death.

The fighting is now advancing into areas with the highest concentrations of people - including the displaced - and threatening to strangle humanitarian lifelines.

International humanitarian law and the protection of civilians have been systematically ignored.

As the space for safety shrinks further - the potential for human suffering grows worse.

An estimated 2.8 million people in northwest Syria require humanitarian assistance.

Earlier this month we thought we would need to reach 800,000 people displaced by the recent and ongoing violence.

Now, something much greater is required.

We are revising our plans and issuing an urgent appeal to donors for an additional $500 million to cover the needs of the newly displaced people over the next six months.

Beyond the appalling humanitarian crisis, developments on the ground are making matters more and more dangerous.

The Idlib de-escalation zone was established in 2017 - and the subject of a further memorandum between the Russian Federation and Turkey in September 2018, the Sochi Memorandum.
However, by late February 2019 the arrangement began to falter, despite several ceasefire renewals in the subsequent months, most recently on 12 January.

For almost a year we have seen a series of Syrian government ground offensives supported by Russian airstrikes. This month there have been repeated deadly clashes between Turkish and Syrian Government forces.

All of this means that in addition to a dramatic and deteriorating humanitarian situation, we face now the risk of an ever-more serious confrontation with increasingly unpredictable consequences.

It is crucial to break the vicious circle of violence and suffering.

I have repeatedly called for an immediate ceasefire in Idlib to end the humanitarian catastrophe and now also to avoid an uncontrollable escalation.

I have conveyed this message publicly and directly to key actors.

In addition, my Special Envoy for Syria, as well as the Emergency Relief Coordinator, have repeatedly briefed the Security Council - including as recently as two days ago.

At my direction, my Special Envoy has also been in close and constant communication with all involved.

The message is clear: There is no military solution for the Syrian crisis. The only possible solution remains political.

This man-made humanitarian nightmare for the long-suffering Syrian people must stop. It must stop now.

Thank you.
The White House
Since Libyan renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar began his offensive to take the capital Tripoli, he has courted the West by saying he is trying to rid the country of, in his words, "terrorists".
But elements within Haftar's forces have been accused of sharing an ideology similar to the al-Qaeda and the ISIL (ISIS) group.
And the Madkhalis fighters have also been accused of war crimes.
Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford reports from Tripoli.
Video message by H.E. Mr. António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General on Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Sustainable Development Goals are the world's action plan for a fair globalization and a better future for all.

We have ten years to bring that vision to life — and we can only get there together.

That's why we have launched a Decade of Action to deliver the Goals.

To overcome poverty and inequality.

To combat the climate crisis and advance gender equality.

To build peaceful, just and inclusive societies, free of discrimination and hate, in harmony with nature.

Join us.  

Step up.  

Seize the moment.  

And let's work together to meet the Goals, move our world forward and leave no one behind.

Thank you.

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