Secretary-General's remarks to the Press Stakeout - on Ukraine
14 February 2022
Delivered in New York
I am deeply worried by the heightened tensions and increased speculation about a potential military conflict in Europe.
The price in human suffering, destruction and damage to European and global security is too high to contemplate.
We simply cannot accept even the possibility of such a disastrous confrontation.
I will remain fully engaged in the hours and days to come.
I just spoke this morning with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and of Ukraine.
My message is clear: There is no alternative to diplomacy.
All issues – including the most intractable – can and must be addressed and resolved through diplomatic frameworks. It is my firm belief that this principle will prevail.
The United Nations Country Team remains fully operational in Ukraine.
As United Nations Secretary-General, it is my duty to appeal for the full respect of the United Nations Charter, a fundamental pillar of international law.
The Charter clearly says, and I quote:
“All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.”
“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
The time is now to defuse tensions and de-escalate actions on the ground.
There is no place for incendiary rhetoric. Public statements should aim to reduce tensions, not inflame them.
I welcome the recent flurry of diplomatic contacts and engagements, including between Heads of State.
But more needs to be done, and I expect all to intensify their efforts.
I have made my good offices available and we will leave no stone unturned in the search for a peaceful solution.
Abandoning diplomacy for confrontation is not a step over a line, it is a dive over a cliff.
In short, my appeal is this: Do not fail the cause of peace.