By J Nastranis
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has made his “good offices” available for a peaceful solution to the looming “disastrous confrontation over Ukraine between Russia and Western countries of the NATO alliance”, pledging he “will remain fully engaged in the hours and days to come” and will “leave no stone unturned” in the search for ways to defuse tensions.
He told journalists from the UN Headquarters on February 14 that he had spoken with the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Russian Federation and of Ukraine. His message was clear:
“There is no alternative to diplomacy. All issues—including the most intractable—can and must be addressed and resolved through diplomatic frameworks. It is my firm belief that this principle will prevail.”
Mr Guterres is of the view that abandoning diplomacy for confrontation is “not a step over a line, it is a dive over a cliff”. In short, his appeal is: Do not fail the cause of peace.
In fact, there is no alternative to diplomacy. “The price in human suffering, destruction and damage to European and global security is too high to contemplate”, Guterres declared.
“I am deeply worried by the heightened tensions and increased speculation about a potential military conflict in Europe”, he noted in his first ever public remarks on the possibility of such a disastrous confrontation.
The United Nations Country Team remains fully operational in Ukraine. “I will remain fully engaged in the hours and days to come.”
The United Nations Secretary-General considers urged the full respect of the United Nations Charter that is “a fundamental pillar of international law”.
The Charter clearly states: “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.”
“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.”
The time is now to defuse tensions and de-escalate actions on the ground. There is no place for incendiary rhetoric. Public statements should aim to reduce tensions, not inflame them, the UN Chief declared.
He went on to say: “I welcome the recent flurry of diplomatic contacts and engagements, including between Heads of State. The United Nations Country Team remains fully operational in Ukraine. But more needs to be done, and I expect all to intensify their efforts.”