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September 22, 2020

On 75th anniversary UN chief appeals for peace

World

September 22, 2020

UNITED NATIONS: Born out of World War II’s devastation to prevent the scourge of conflict, the United Nations marked its 75th anniversary Monday with an appeal from Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to preserve the longest period in modern history without a military confrontation between the world’s most powerful nations.

US President Donald Trump was on the speaker list for the commemoration, but he did not speak. In a snub to the United Nations, the United States was represented by its acting deputy U.N. ambassador, Cherith Norman Chalet.

The UN chief told the mainly virtual official commemoration that “it took two world wars, millions of deaths and the horrors of the Holocaust for world leaders to commit to international cooperation and the rule of law,” and that commitment produced results. “A Third World War — which so many had feared — has been avoided,” Guterres said.

“This is a major achievement of which member states can be proud — and which we must all strive to preserve.” Guterres cited other major U.N. achievements over 75 years: peace treaties and peacekeeping missions, decolonization, setting human rights standards, “the triumph over apartheid” in South Africa, eradication of diseases, a steady reduction in hunger, development of international law and landmark pacts to protect the environment.

But today, he warned, “climate calamity looms, biodiversity is collapsing, poverty is rising, hatred is spreading, geopolitical tensions are escalating, nuclear weapons remain on hair-trigger alert.” What’s more, new technologies have produced opportunities “but also exposed new threats.”