Path to peace ‘forged by dialogue and cooperation’ Guterres tells Security Council 

Recommit to “dialogue, diplomacy and mutual trust”, Secretary-General António Guterres urged ambassadors in the UN Security Council on Monday, describing them as “the eternal tools of peace”. 

“The path to peace is forged by dialogue and cooperation,” and shaped by “a common understanding of the threats and challenges,” he said. 

On the ground in Ukraine 

Having just returned from Ukraine, Türkiye and Moldova, the UN chief recounted how he witnessed first-hand, the success so far of the Black Sea Initiative organized to ship grain and other vital food supplies for the rest of the world from Ukrainian ports, and noted another agreement for the unimpeded access of food and fertilizers from Russia, to global markets.  

“This comprehensive plan is crucial for the world’s most vulnerable people and countries, who are desperately counting on these food supplies,” he said, adding that “it is a concrete example of how dialogue and cooperation can deliver hope, even in the midst of conflict”. 

The top UN official called for “the same commitment to dialogue and results” at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, currently under Russian military control, reaffirming the UN’s logistics and security capacities to support a mission by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from Kyiv to Europe’s largest nuclear power facility. 

Divides, conflicts, instability 

From military coups to inter-State conflicts, invasions, and “wars that stretch on” for years, today’s collective security system is being “tested like never before,” Mr. Guterres spelled out. 

He drew attention to lingering differences between the world’s great powers, including at the Council, which continue to limit a collective response; humanitarian assistance that is stretched to the breaking point; human rights under assault; and a lack of trust. 

“Many of the systems established decades ago are now facing challenges that were unimaginable to our predecessors – cyberwarfare, terrorism, and lethal autonomous weapons,” observed the UN chief. “And the nuclear risk has climbed to its highest point in decades”. 

‘Diplomatic toolbox’  

The tools, which have presented another catastrophic world war “are more important than ever,” he continued; however, they need updating for “today’s rapidly deteriorating international peace and security environment”. 

We need to reforge a global consensus…to ensure collective security,” he said pointing to the mould-breaking Our Common Agenda blueprint for multilateral action. 

In addition to exploring “the diplomatic toolbox” to end conflicts, it also focuses on prevention and peacebuilding – including anticipating flashpoints and longstanding conditions that could explode into violence; harnessing human rights in addressing root causes of conflict; building trust between people sharing a common border; and collectively reducing risks from cyberwarfare and so-called lethal autonomous weapons.

Nuclear saber-rattling must stop – UN chief

Stem the nuclear menace 

“The Tenth Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) meeting this month must demonstrate that progress is possible,” underscored the top UN official, renewing his call that all States parties “demonstrate flexibility and a willingness to compromise across all negotiations”. 

“Nuclear saber-rattling must stop,” he stressed, pressing States to recommit to “come to the negotiating table to ease tensions and end the nuclear arms race, once and for all”.  

At this moment of “maximum danger for our world”, the Secretary-General emphasized that “humanity’s future is in our hands”, insisting that division be replaced with dialogue and diplomacy, to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.  

He argued that negotiation, compromise, and accountability are required for the future, attesting that as it represents the nations of the world, the UN is “humanity’s best hope to build a better, more peaceful tomorrow”. 

“As we develop our New Agenda for Peace, let’s show that we’ve learned from the lessons of the past”. 

Protestors in the United Kingdom demonstrate against nuclear weapons.(file)

CND/Henry Kenyon

Protestors in the United Kingdom demonstrate against nuclear weapons.(file)

Nuclear disarmament  

Gustavo Zlauvinen, President of the NPT’s Tenth Review Conference, encouraged the Council members, including those not party to the treaty, to recognize its benefits, resilience and adaptability. 

He warned that technologies are creating new levels of risk, including that of non-proliferation, which are a growing concern across all regions. 

Disarmament agreements must be “front and centre” for States signed up to the NPT, said Mr. Zlauvinen, adding that preventing any nuclear weapons use remains the top priority to reverse dangerous trends and eliminate the prospect of unintended launch.  

And for some States, he maintained that reducing the nuclear risk is no substitute for full fledged disarmament.