International community should not take European peace for granted: Guterres
United Nations, Feb 22 (IANS) The international community should not take peace and prosperity in Europe for granted, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said here, warning that recent crises in Europe show that the continent remains at risk from new outbreaks of conflict.
The Secretary-General on Tuesday while speaking at an open debate of the UN Security Council on conflict in Europe, said that such conflicts are not only a tragedy for those directly involved, but they are also reversing development gains and preventing communities and societies from achieving their full potential and contributing to regional and global prosperity, Xinhua news agency reported.
The international community should not take European peace and prosperity for granted, Guterres warned, stressing that the transition towards a multipolar world is creating greater unpredictability and risk.
Referring to situations in Cyprus, the Balkans, Ukraine as well as other areas, the he highlighted that no single factor can be blamed for the emergence and continuation of conflicts in Europe.
He noted that in many cases, peace agreements are simply not being implemented.
“Whatever the causes may be, the inability of regional and international institutions, including our own, to prevent and resolve conflicts is seriously undermining their credibility and making it more difficult for them to succeed in future,” Guterres said.
He also noted that the UN fully supported the efforts within the Normandy Four, the Trilateral Contact Group, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Special Monitoring Mission, which repeatedly called for the full implementation by all sides of all the commitments under the Minsk Process, both in letter and in spirit.
He also urged all sides to give the highest priority to protecting civilians.
Meanwhile, the Secretary-General also noted new challenges and threats such as the phenomenon of populism, nationalism, xenophobia and violent extremism were both causes and effects of the conflicts.