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6 Feb, 2023 20:43

World heading into ‘wider war’ – UN chief

Nations need to “wake up” if they hope to preserve peace, Antonio Guterres has said
World heading into ‘wider war’ – UN chief

The world is closer than ever to a global conflict, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Monday. The global community is not even “sleepwalking” into “a wider war” but marches towards it “with its eyes wide open,” he stressed in a speech to the General Assembly.

“The prospects for peace keep diminishing. The chances of further escalation and bloodshed keep growing,” Guterres said, denouncing the lack of “strategic vision” and “bias” that prevent political decision-makers from taking steps in the right direction.

“This near-term thinking is not only deeply irresponsible – it is immoral,” he argued, adding that politicians and entrepreneurs became too absorbed with clinging to power and their business cycles.

The secretary-general also blasted the erosion of international law and order based on UN principles, which, according to him, led to the present sorry state of affairs.

“If every country fulfilled its obligations under the [UN] Charter, the right to peace would be guaranteed,” he noted, calling on UN members to “to transform our approach to peace by recommitting to the Charter – putting human rights and dignity first, with prevention at the heart.”

“We need to wake up – and get to work,” Guterres said, adding that 2023 had placed humanity in front of a “confluence of challenges unlike any in our lifetimes.”

The UN chief also pointed to the fact that scientists have moved the symbolic “Doomsday clock,” which reflects the potential annihilation of humanity, to 90 seconds to midnight – the closest it has ever been to a possible Armageddon.

The UN chief’s words came after the US and its allies vowed to send dozens of Western-designed modern battle tanks to Ukraine amid the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev. The Pentagon also announced supplying the Ukrainian forces with munitions that have a 150-kilometer range, adding that it would allow Kiev to use them as it sees fit.

Moscow has previously repeatedly warned that continued weapons supplies to Ukraine by the US and its allies risk further escalation that might spiral into a direct conflict between Russia and NATO.