Guterres launches initiative for humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has launched an initiative for a humanitarian ceasefire in the war-torn Ukraine.

“Today I am announcing that in the exercise of my good offices, I have asked Martin Griffiths, the coordinator of our humanitarian work worldwide, immediately to explore with the parties involved the possible agreements and arrangements for a humanitarian cease-fire in Ukraine,” he told reporters here on Monday.

The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia has led to the senseless loss of thousands of lives, the displacement of 10 million people, the systematic destruction of essential infrastructure, and skyrocketing food and energy prices worldwide, Xinhua news agency quoted Guterres as saying.

“This must stop,” the UN chief said, adding that there must be a political solution.

“The solution to this humanitarian tragedy is not humanitarian. It is political. I am, therefore, appealing for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire to allow for progress in serious political negotiations, aimed at reaching a peace agreement based on the principles of the United Nations Charter.”

A cessation of hostilities will allow essential humanitarian aid to be delivered and enable civilians to move around safely. It will save lives, prevent suffering, and protect civilians, he said.

“I hope a ceasefire will also help to address the global consequences of this war, which risk compounding the deep hunger crisis in many developing countries that already lack fiscal space to invest in their recovery from the pandemic, and now face soaring food and energy costs.”

Guterres made a strong appeal to the parties to the conflict and the international community as a whole to work with the UN for peace in Ukraine.

UN humanitarian agencies and partners have reached nearly 900,000 people, mainly in eastern Ukraine, with food, shelter, blankets, medicine, bottled water, and hygiene supplies in the past month, he said.

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