UNITED NATIONS – By Janet Ekstract – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres focused on issues of escalating international crises in his recent weekly address and said that conflict prevention and mediation are two of the most important tools at our disposal to reduce human suffering.
The UN chief pointed out the ongoing crisis in Venezuela that has reached a dangerous tipping point, requiring continual international efforts to seek peaceful solutions, negotiated by both sides. Guterres stressed that the humanitarian
impact is of major concern and stated that UN offices in Norway have been closely following the process. The goal, he says is “to find a peaceful, negotiated solution reached by the main Venezuelan political actors.” The secretary-general added thathe is always available to assist in this process.
Syria is another ongoing source of conflict that concerns the secretary-general. He reminded everyone that Syria remains embroiled in a continual cycle of “instability, violence and
suffering.” The UN chief stressed that no sustainable peace is possible as long as opposing parties continue their military operations there. The secretary-general warned: “Without a comprehensive political solution, based on this Council’sresolution 2254, that addresses the root causes of instability, Syria will never know stability or peace.
The UN chief spoke to the press as well as representatives of The Elders, former secretary-general Bank Ki-moon, former president Mary Robinson and Colombia’s former president Juan Manuel Santos.
Guterres reminded everyone: “When we act early, and are united, we can successfully prevent crises from escalating, saving lives and reducing suffering and fulfilling the most
fundamental mandate of the United Nations, as set out in the Preamble of the Charter.”