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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

UN chief calls again for immediate ceasefire, says destruction unprecedented

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UN Secretary General António Guterres has once again called for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and the unconditional release of all hostages.

Guterres made the call in his message to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Kampala, Uganda, on Saturday.

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Leaders of the 120-member bloc met amid deep global division, including rising geopolitical tensions, a climate catastrophe, widespread poverty and devastating conflict in Sudan, Ukraine and Gaza.

“Following the abhorrent attacks by Hamas on October 7, the total destruction of Gaza and the number of civilian casualties in such a short period are unprecedented during my term,” he said.

According to him, the UN was also affected, as 152 employees died.

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”Although aid workers are doing their best to deliver aid, they face constant shelling and daily danger, amid enormous limitations imposed by damaged roads, communication outages and denials of access.

“Meanwhile, disease and hunger are getting worse,” he said.

According to him, people are dying not only from bombs and bullets, but also from lack of food and clean water, hospitals without electricity or medicine, and grueling journeys to ever smaller strips of land to escape the fighting.

“This must stop. I will not relent in my call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

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“And we must do everything possible to prevent this conflict from spreading to the entire region: in the West Bank, across the Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon, and in Syria, Iraq and the Red Sea,” Guterres said.

The secretary-general said the refusal to accept the two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians and the denial of the right to a state for the Palestinian people is unacceptable.

“This would indefinitely prolong a conflict that has become a major threat to global peace and security, exacerbate polarization and embolden extremists everywhere,” he said.

The NAM was established during the Cold War, when leaders of newly independent countries sought a neutral stance and avoided joining either of the two major power blocs, led by the United States and the Soviet Union.

Guterres said the “swirl of uncertainty and instability” in today’s world offers new opportunities for countries and organizations to lead the way toward deeper cooperation and shared global wealth – the theme of the summit.

As global wealth depends on peace, requiring institutions that reflect today’s world, he highlighted the need to reform bodies such as the UN Security Council, which is “paralyzed by geopolitical divisions that block effective solutions.”

Recalling that the Non-Aligned Movement has long highlighted the issue, he said the UN Future Summit in September offered a unique opportunity to consider reforms and promote ideas to rebuild trust and strengthen multilateral collaboration.

”Meanwhile, countries are moving backwards in achieving sustainable development, another requirement for peace.

“People are hungry and communities lack access to basic services such as healthcare, clean water, adequate sanitation and education.”

Guterres reiterated his call to reform the “obsolete, unjust and unfair global financial system” so that all countries benefit, and urged governments to invest in education, health, nutrition and social protection systems.

In September 2023, world leaders meeting at the UN demonstrated their support for both a $500 billion annual stimulus package to boost sustainable development and his call to reform the global financial system.

At the COP28 conference two months later, countries launched the long-awaited Loss and Damage Fund to support nations most vulnerable to climate change.

However, contributions so far have been limited and developed countries have failed to meet many of their long-standing climate finance commitments, he said.

The secretary general, however, urged NAM that this year leaders fulfill these promises.

(YAYA)

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