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UN Secretary-General António Guterres

United Nations:
 The UN Security Council has expressed “deep concern” over the “maintenance of peace and security” of Ukraine and backed efforts by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to find a peaceful solution, issuing a unanimous statement on the conflict for the first time since the February 24 invasion by Russia.

The 15-nation Council, under the current monthly Presidency of the US, unanimously adopted a very brief Presidential Statement on Ukraine Friday.

In the statement, the Council expressed deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine.

The Presidential Statement does not use the terms war or conflict for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, only recalling that all member states have undertaken, under the Charter of the United Nations, the obligation to settle their international disputes by peaceful means.

The Security Council also expressed strong support for the efforts of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the search for a peaceful solution.

Guterres had briefed the Council on Thursday on his recent visit to Russia and Ukraine, where he had met with President Vladimir Putin and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on April 26 and 28.

Throughout my travels, I did not mince words. I said the same thing in Moscow as I did in Kyiv…Namely that: Russia’s 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 entire world, Guterres had said.

Guterres welcomed the unanimous adoption of the Presidential Statement, saying today, for the first time, the Security Council spoke with one voice for peace in Ukraine. As I have often said, the world must come together to silence the guns and uphold the values of the UN Charter. I welcome this support and will continue to spare no effort to save lives, reduce suffering and find the path of peace.

The Security Council requested the Secretary-General to brief the Security Council in due course after the adoption of the present statement.

Speaking to reporters after the adoption of the Presidential Statement, Permanent Representative of Norway Ambassador Mona Juul, joined by Permanent Representative of Mexico Ambassador Juan Ramon de la Fuente Ramirez, said that their two countries initiated the Presidential Statement.

It is important that the UN Secretary-General has the full backing of the Security Council for his effort towards a peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine. The UN family and international and national partners are doing heroic effort to support the Ukrainian people.

The Mexican envoy said that the adoption of the Presidential Statement shows that the Security Council is united 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 cross-cutting priorities in our work at the United Nations.

In his briefing to the Council Thursday, Guterres had said that the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross are leading a humanitarian operation that is greatly complex both politically and in terms of security.

The humanitarian operation began on April 29 and required enormous coordination and advocacy with Russian and Ukrainian authorities, he said.

So far, two safe passage convoys have been successfully completed. In the first, which concluded on May 3, 101 civilians were evacuated from the Azovstal plant along with 59 more from a neighbouring area. In the second operation, completed on Wednesday night, more than 320 civilians were evacuated from the city of Mariupol and surrounding areas.

Guterres said a third operation is underway but did not give further details saying it is our policy not to speak about the details of any of them before they are completed to avoid undermining possible success.

It is good to know that even in these times of hyper-communications, silent diplomacy is still possible and is sometimes the only effective way to produce results, the UN chief had said.

In response to a question that the Presidential Statement, which comes more than two months after the war started, is a short thank you note to the Secretary-General , De La Fuente Ramirez said that the adoption of the presidential statement shows at least a willingness to move on that direction.”

“As we have said, this is a very initial first step. And yes, I fully agree with you. It took us over two months. But there is always one day you have to start and I hope this has been this day,” De La Fuente Ramirez said.

Juul said that the statement is expressing strong support for the Secretary-General’s efforts towards a peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine.

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