On UN’s 75th anniversary, leader appeals for peace between major powers

Born out of World War II’s devastation to save succeeding generations from the scourge of conflict, the United Nations officially marks its 75th anniversary today 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.

The UN chief tells the mainly virtual 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.”

File: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks at an online video conference on Sept. 3, 2020 (Ministry of Environment Government of Japan via AP)

His appeal comes at an inflection point in history, as the United Nations navigates a polarized world facing a pandemic, regional conflicts, a shrinking economy and growing inequality.

“Climate calamity looms, biodiversity is collapsing, poverty is rising, hatred is spreading, geopolitical tensions are escalating, nuclear weapons remain on hair-trigger alert,” he warns, and technologies have opened huge new opportunities “but also exposed new threats.”

— AP

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