The Dallas Morning News
Leader fears a wider war is coming
‘Doomsday Clock’ now set at 90 seconds until midnight, experts say
UNITED NATIONS — In a wide-ranging address, the United Nations chief warned Monday the world is facing a convergence of challenges “unlike any in our lifetimes” and expressed fear of a wider war as the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches.
Secretary-general Antonio Guterres said experts who surveyed the state of the world in 2023 set the Doomsday Clock at 90 seconds to midnight — the closest ever to “total global catastrophe.”
He pointed to the war in Ukraine, “runaway climate catastrophe, rising nuclear
threats,” the widening gulf between the world’s haves and have-nots, and the “epic geopolitical divisions” undermining “global solidarity and trust.”
Guterres urged the General Assembly’s 193 member nations to start looking “at what will happen to all of us tomorrow — and act.”
He said this year’s 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should serve as a reminder that the foundation of the inalienable rights of all people is “freedom, justice and peace.”
Guterres said the transformation needed today must start with peace, beginning in Ukraine — where unfortunately, he said, peace prospects “keep diminishing” and “the chances of further escalation and bloodshed keep growing.”
“I fear the world is not sleepwalking into a wider war,” he said. “It is doing so with its eyes wide open.”
The world must work harder for peace, Guterres said, not only in Ukraine but in the decadesold Israeli-palestinian conflict “where the two-state solution is growing more distant by the day,” in Afghanistan where the
rights of women and girls “are being trampled and deadly terrorist attacks continue” and in Africa’s Sahel region where security is deteriorating “at an alarming rate.”
He also called for stepped-up peace efforts in military-ruled Myanmar, which is facing new violence and repression; in Haiti, where gangs are holding the country hostage; “and elsewhere around the world for the two billion people who live in countries affected by conflict and humanitarian crises.”
Guterres also said it is time for nuclear-armed countries to renounce the first use of all nuclear weapons, including tactical nuclear weapons, a possible use that Russia has raised in Ukraine.
As for the global financial system, Guterres called for “radical transformation” to put the needs of developing countries at the center of every decision.