May 26, 2022

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The United Nations Council supports the peace efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in his first move

The United Nations Council supports the peace efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in his first move

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The United Nations Security Council on Friday unanimously adopted its first statement on Ukraine since Russia’s military action began on February 24, expressing “strong support” for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ efforts to find a peaceful solution to the 10-week “conflict.”

The short presidential statement approved at a very short council meeting on Friday did not mention “war”, “conflict” or “invasion” as many council members call it ongoing Russian military action, or a “special military operation” as Moscow refers to it. That’s because Russia, which holds a veto in the council, has blocked all previous attempts to adopt a presidential statement that would require consensus or resolution.

Instead, the statement “expresses deep concern with regard to the maintenance of peace and security in Ukraine” and “indicates that all Member States have undertaken, under the Charter of the United Nations, the obligation to settle their international disputes by peaceful means.”

“The Security Council expresses its strong support for the efforts of the Secretary-General in the search for a peaceful solution,” and requests Guterres to brief members “in due course,” the statement said.

During his recent visits to Moscow and Kiev, Guterres reached an agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to evacuate civilians, first and foremost from the besieged port city of Moribol in the southeast of the country and the Azovstal steel plant where the last Ukrainian forces are. They are held with hundreds of civilians in underground bunkers.

The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross have carried out two successful evacuations from Mariupol and the surrounding areas so far, and are now in Mariupol to organize a third evacuation from the steel plant.

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In response to the council’s statement, Guterres said: “Today, for the first time, the Security Council spoke with one voice for peace in Ukraine.”

“As I have said repeatedly, the world must unite to silence the guns and uphold the values ​​of the United Nations Charter,” the Secretary-General said in a statement.

Norway’s UN Ambassador Mona Juul and Mexico’s UN Ambassador Juan Ramón de la Fuente Ramírez, whose countries drafted the council’s statement, called it an important first step in diplomatic efforts to end the war.

“Millions of Ukrainians desperately need protection and humanitarian assistance,” Gul said. “It is important that the UN Secretary-General have the full support of the Security Council in his efforts towards a peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine.”

De la Fuente Ramirez said the unanimous adoption of the statement “shows that the Security Council is united in supporting the United Nations and its Secretary-General in finding a diplomatic solution.”

The council is mandated under the UN Charter to maintain international peace and security and has been heavily criticized since the Russian invasion for paralyzing and inactive.

Asked about criticism that the minimum permit took more than two months to be approved and is only supported by Guterres, the Mexican ambassador said there had to be a start somewhere. He said the approval of the statement “at least shows a willingness” to continue the Secretary-General’s efforts.

Guterres told the council Thursday that “in these times of excessive communication, silent diplomacy is still possible, and sometimes the only effective way to achieve results,” a point supported by the ambassadors of Norway and Mexico.

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Unlike the Security Council, whose resolutions are legally binding but can be vetoed by one of its five permanent members, resolutions approved by the 193-member General Assembly are not legally binding and cannot be vetoed.

This enabled the General Assembly to pass several resolutions, which have the effect of being a reflection of world opinion.

On March 2, the council voted 141 to 5 with 35 abstentions in favor of a resolution demanding Russia for an immediate ceasefire, withdrawal of all its forces, and protection of all civilians. Through a similar vote on March 24, it approved Resolution 140-5 with 38 abstentions blaming Russia for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and urging an immediate ceasefire and the protection of millions of civilians, homes, schools and hospitals essential to their survival. .

The General Assembly voted by a smaller margin – 93-24 with 58 abstentions – on April 7 to suspend Russia’s membership of the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, the United Nations’ leading human rights body, over allegations of horrific rights abuses by Russian soldiers in Ukraine. which the United States and Ukraine have described as amounting to war crimes.

In the next steps, Guterres is scheduled to pay a two-day visit to Moldova, neighboring Ukraine, from Monday “to express his solidarity and thank Moldova for its unwavering support for peace, and for the generosity of its people in opening their hearts and homes to nearly half a million Ukrainian refugees,” a spokesperson said. United Nations Stephane Dujarric.

Guterres called for the formation of a humanitarian committee comprising Russia, Ukraine, the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to coordinate aid deliveries and evacuations, and Dujarric said UN Humanitarian Coordinator Martin Griffiths will travel to Turkey on Monday to discuss with its authorities how they can support such. Initiative.

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