The United Nations has been criticized since the start of the war in Ukraine. The international organization will be absent and will not play any significant role, while the United Nations was established for this very reason.
Most of this criticism is directed – as usual – to the United Nations Security Council. Since Russia has veto power as a permanent member (like the US, China, England and France), Putin can easily block UN resolutions – such as calling for its military to withdraw from Ukraine.
Guterres under fire
But there are also criticisms of Secretary-General Guterres. He is accused of showing little of himself in the conflict. “The top diplomats at the United Nations have told me they don’t think it’s good enough,” says diplomatic expert Van de Royer. “In fact, he is not a pope as diplomatic as one of his predecessors, Kofi Annan. He lacks the moral authority for that.”
Van de Royer criticizes Guterres Thursday Ukrainian President Zelensky visits Kyiv. “Guterres did not condemn Putin’s invasion strongly from the beginning and did not declare his solidarity with Ukraine. Why does he now only go to Kyiv and not to Mariupol to show solidarity with the victims of this war? The United Nations is a symbol of peace and human rights but Guterres has so far failed to play this role.”
Relations between Putin and Guterres soured below freezing when Guterres said in February that the Russian invasion had violated Ukraine’s sovereignty, thus violating the UN Charter. A month later, the UN Secretary-General spoke of a “ridiculous war” that was “morally unacceptable, politically untenable and militarily meaningless”.
Since then, there have been rumors that Putin no longer picks up the phone when Guterres calls. Putin also ignored the UN Secretary-General’s request for a four-day ceasefire around Orthodox Easter. It makes today’s meeting hot. Van de Royer: “Guterres faces the most difficult task of his career: is he a world leader who can influence Putin? Or will he remain a gray bureaucrat who will join other failed visitors like Macron? In a sense, this is a test for Guterres.”
Diplomacy is useless
He himself does not have high expectations. “He can push for a ceasefire and more humanitarian aid. But Guterres’ chances are limited: Russia and Ukraine are not benefiting from diplomacy at the moment. The Russians haven’t won anything yet, and Ukraine has the wind militarily.” Now she gets a lot of international support and is struggling to survive. It’s a kind of deadlock. His visit comes too late.”
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