Guterres was speaking to reporters a day after addressing regional leaders attending the 12th summit between the UN and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Avoid at all costs
“As I said at the summit meeting yesterday, we must avoid at all costs the division of the world economy into two parts, led by the two largest economies – the United States and China,” he said.
“Such a break, with two different sets of rules, two dominant currencies, two internets and two conflicting strategies on artificial intelligence, undermine the world’s ability to respond to the dramatic challenges we face.”
He said that ASEAN countries are well placed to bridge this gap, stressing that “we must have a global economy and a global market accessible to everyone. »
“Endless Nightmare” in Myanmar
The UN chief also reported on some of the issues discussed at the summit, including the situation in Myanmar which he described as “an endless nightmare for the people of that country, and a threat to peace and security throughout the region. »
Myanmar’s military seized power in February 2021 and since then the country has been in the throes of a political, humanitarian and human rights crisis.
Guterres said ASEAN has taken a principled approach to the issue through its five-point consensus.
Unified strategy needed
The plan was adopted in April 2021 and calls for an immediate cessation of violence, a constructive dialogue between the parties, the appointment of a special envoy, the provision of humanitarian aid and a visit to the country. of the special envoy.
“I urge all countries, including ASEAN members, to seek a unified strategy towards Myanmar, centered on the needs and aspirations of the people of the country,” he said.
Solutions for turbulent times
The war in Ukraine, the global energy and food crisis and the climate emergency were also on the agenda of the one-day summit.
“In these turbulent times, regional organizations, including ASEAN, are key to crafting global solutions,” Guterres told reporters.
The Secretary-General traveled to Cambodia from Egypt, where the UN climate change conference COP27 is taking place.
Climate solidarity pact
Mr. Guterres calls for a Climate Solidarity Pact for developed and emerging economies to combine resources and capabilities to defeat climate change.
He is also pushing for leaders to reach agreement on a financial mechanism to support countries that suffer loss and damage from climate-related disasters.
The UN chief will then travel to Bali, Indonesia, for the G20 summit of major world economies, which begins on Tuesday.
Recovery plan proposal
“My priority in Bali will be to speak out for countries in the Global South who have been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate emergency, and who are now facing food, energy and financial crises – exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and crippling debt,” he said.
Guterres wants G20 leaders to adopt a recovery plan to provide developing countries with much-needed investment and liquidity.
The UN is also working to ease the global food crisis by extending a landmark initiative to get Ukrainian grain back on the market and removing barriers to Russian food and fertilizer exports.
Answer the questions
The Secretary-General was invited to give his views on human rights in the ASEAN region and in the host country, Cambodia.
Although the situation differed from country to country, he stressed that human rights must be fully respected.
“Indeed, my call, and especially my call in a country like Cambodia, is for the public space to open and for human rights defenders and climate activists must be protectedand for the cooperation with civil society to extend,” he said.
The Secretary-General also expressed his concern for Myanmar, saying that systematic human rights violations there “absolutely unacceptable” and causing immense suffering for the population.
Hopes for the Indonesian presidency
Asked about cooperation between the UN and ASEAN to resolve the crisis in Myanmar, he said it was important for the five-point consensus to move forward.
Indonesia will chair ASEAN next year, and Mr. Guterres expressed hope that his presidency will see the development of initiatives towards this goal.
“We have to return to a democracy, to a transition to democracy. We must release political prisoners. We need to put in place an inclusive process, and I am sure that the Indonesian presidency will work hard next year in this regard.”
Peace in Ukraine
Guterres also underlined the UN’s clear position on Ukraine, again answering a reporter’s question.
The Russian invasion was a violation of the Charter of the United Nationshe said, and a violation of the territorial integrity of the country.
At the same time, he stressed that it is very important to create the conditions for a gradual restoration of dialogue that will lead to a future where peace will prevail, adding “not just any kind of peace – a peace based on the values of the Charter of the United Nations, and peace based on international law”.