Talking to journalists at New York, Guterres singled out the arming of rival militias in Libya as crucial to a”vicious circle” which has been endangering peace and security globally, although he stopped short of naming the countries engaged with the present proxy battle from North Africa.
Guterres stated that Security Council answers on Libya – in which a civil war has been fought between Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, who directs the UN-recognised authorities in Tripoli, and General Khalifa Haftar -“were disrespected before the ink is dry”.
“I have to say I am deeply frustrated with what is occurring in Libya, and that I think that what is occurring is a scandal,” he explained. “We see airplanes coming, both to Misrata and also to Benghazi. We have not seen any appropriate stop from the disrespect of the arms embargo.”
Asked a range of occasions to name-and-shame the states defying a 2011 UN arms embargo – Gutteres said: “We needed a range of nations coming together in Berlin [which ] dedicated to not ship weapons or to take part in any manner from the fighting. Now, the reality is that the Security Council embargo remains broken.”
More broadly, Gutteres emphasized the continuing struggles in Syria and Yemen as additional proof that progress made on diplomacy by the end of 2019 was reversed in 2020.
Asked about the current Israeli-Palestinian peace plan printed by U.S. President Donald Trump – that has been greeted with widespread shock and derision, not by the Palestinians – and – Gutteres said the U.N’s place on the peace process remained the same.
“We’re completely dedicated to this two‑state alternative […] according to international law, according to Security Council and General Assembly resolutions and according to the boundaries of’67,” he explained. “So, it’s extremely clear what we think in. […] We’ve not altered our position.”
Turning to the danger of climate change, Guterres stated: “Another obvious vicious circle is exacerbating the climate catastrophe.
“As seas warm, ice melts, and we lose the very important support the ice sheets function – representing sunshine, thus further raising sea heating.
“As the ice melts as well as the seas warm sea levels rise and water disappears, fuelling ever-larger rain, threatening coastal towns and deltas.”