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Call for a “global order that works for everyone”: Secretary-General Guterres at the Munich Security Conference

In his opening speech at the Security Conference in Munich, UN Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated his call for peace and a modern global order.

Today’s global order simply does not work for everyone, Guterres explained. “In fact, I would go further and say: it’s not working for anyone.” Describing the global situation, Guterres said that the world was facing existential challenges but that the global community was more fragmented and divided than at any time during the past 75 years.

“Today, we see countries doing whatever they like, with no accountability.” As the Munich Security Report makes clear, relative gains through competition between countries are being prioritized over absolute gains for all through cooperation, warned UN Secretary-General Guterres. The Munich Security Report is published every year before the conference and analyses important security policy issues.

Crises are multiplying, linked to competition and impunity, said Guterres. A global order that works for everyone must address these gaps and provide solutions.

“If countries fulfilled their obligations under the UN Charter, every person on earth would live in peace and dignity,” he explained.

Conflict in the Middle East

According to the UN Secretary-General, the situation in Gaza is an appalling indictment of the deadlock in global relations.

Nothing can justify the unconscionable attacks launched by Hamas on 7 October, Guterres emphasized to heads of state and government from all over the world in Munich. And nothing can justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Israel’s military response.

An all-out offensive on the city would be devastating for Palestinian civilians who are already on the edge of survival, warned Guterres in his speech to the high-ranking conference participants.

“I have repeatedly called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and a humanitarian ceasefire.” This must be the foundation for concrete and irreversible steps towards a two-state solution based on United Nations resolutions and international law.

Summit of the Future for the challenges of the 21st century

Beyond dealing with immediate crises, such as in Ukraine, Sudan or Libya, we need to strengthen the global peace and security architecture to deal with today’s threats and challenges, such as the climate crisis, artificial intelligence or cyber weapons, Guterres further appealed.

He explained that the New Agenda for Peace, which will be discussed at the Summit of the Future in September, aims to update collective security systems based on a more networked and inclusive multilateralism for a world in transition.

UN Secretary-General visits Munich’s “Ohel Jakob” Synagogue

On Thursday, one day before the start of the Munich Security Conference, Guterres visited the “Ohel Jakob” synagogue at the invitation of the World Jewish Congress, together with Charlotte Knobloch, President of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria and former Vice President of the World Jewish Congress.

Knobloch and Guterres walked through the “Walk of Remembrance”, which holds the names of more than 4,500 Munich Jews who were murdered during the Nazi era.

During the visit to the synagogue, Guterres said that he considers the fight against anti-Semitism to be a “moral obligation” of every human being. People in Israel have the right to live in safety. This should not be questioned, even if one does not agree with the policies of the Israeli government.

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