Security Council unanimously backs UN chief’s peace offer in Ukraine in his first move

NEW YORK: The UN Security Council has expressed “deep concern” over Ukraine’s “maintenance of peace and security” and supported Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ efforts to find a peaceful solution, by making a unanimous statement for the first time on the conflict since the February 24 invasion by Russia.
Under the current monthly US presidency, the 15-nation council unanimously adopted a very brief presidential statement on Ukraine on Friday.
In the statement, the Council expressed “deep concern about the maintenance of peace and security in Ukraine”.
The presidential statement does not use the terms “war” or “conflict” for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but merely recalls “that all member states have a commitment, under the United Nations Charter, to settle their international disputes by peaceful means.” .”
The Security Council also expressed strong support for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ efforts to find a peaceful solution.
Guterres had briefed the Council on Thursday about his recent visit to Russia and Ukraine, where he met with President Vladimir Putin and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on April 26 and 28.
“I did not mince my words during my travels. I said the same in Moscow as I did in Kiev. That is: the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a violation of its territorial integrity and of the Charter of the United Nations. It must end for the sake of the people of Ukraine, Russia and the whole world,” Guterres had said.
Guterres welcomed the unanimous approval of the presidential statement, saying: “Today, for the first time, the Security Council spoke with one voice for peace in Ukraine. As I have said many times, the world must come together to silence its arms and uphold the values ​​of the UN Charter. I welcome this support and will continue to do everything in my power to save lives, reduce suffering and find the way to peace.”
The Security Council has requested the Secretary-General to inform the Security Council in due course after the adoption of this statement.
Speaking to reporters after the approval of the presidential statement, Permanent Representative of Norwegian Ambassador Mona Juul, along with Permanent Representative of Mexican Ambassador Juan Ramon de la Fuente Ramirez, said their two countries initiated the presidential statement.
“It is important that the UN Secretary-General has the full support of the Security Council for his efforts to achieve a peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine. The UN family and international and national partners are making heroic efforts to support the Ukrainian people .”
The Mexican envoy said the approval of the presidential statement “shows the Security Council’s unity in supporting the United Nations and the Secretary-General in finding a diplomatic solution.”
He added that both Mexico and Norway continue to call for an immediate cessation of hostilities.
“Preventive diplomacy and mediation have been at the top of Norway’s and Mexico’s horizontal priorities in our work at the United Nations.”
In his briefing to the council on Thursday, Guterres had said the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross are leading a humanitarian operation that is immensely complex both politically and security-wise.
The humanitarian operation began on April 29 and required massive coordination and advocacy with Russian and Ukrainian authorities, he said.
So far, two safe transit convoys have been successfully completed. In the first, which ended on May 3, 101 civilians were evacuated from the Azovstal plant, along with 59 more from a neighboring area. In the second operation, which concluded Wednesday evening, more than 320 civilians were evacuated from the city of Mariupol and surrounding areas.
Guterres said a third operation is underway but did not provide further details, saying: “It is our policy not to discuss the details of any of them until they are completed, so as not to undermine potential success.
“It’s good to know that even in these times of hypercommunication, quiet diplomacy is still possible and sometimes the only effective way to get results,” the UN chief had said.
In response to a question that the presidential statement, which comes more than two months after the start of the war, is a “short thank you to the secretary general,” De La Fuente Ramirez said the approval of the presidential statement “shows on at least a willingness to go that way.”
“Like we said, this is a very first step. And yes, I completely agree with you. It took us over two months. But there is always a day when you have to start and I hope this this day is.” De La Fuente Ramirez said.
Juul said the statement expressed “strong support” for the Secretary-General’s efforts to find a peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine.

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