The United Nations Chief has called for mechanisms of communication to be re-established between Russia and the United States to avoid any future escalations. Secretary General Antonio Guterres was reacting to the expulsions of Russian diplomats first from the United States and European Union allies and Moscow’s tit-for tat response over allegations Russia had a direct hand in the over poisoning of a former spy in the United Kingdom.
Guterres also weighed in on news that the leaders of North and South Korea would meet for the first time in more than a decade at the end of April. After 60 Russian diplomats were expelled from the United States earlier this week and its Seattle Consulate ordered closed, Russia announced similar measures expelling 60 US diplomats and closing Washington’s St Petersburg Consulate.
Guterres expressed his concern, “I am really very concerned, I think we are coming to a situation which is similar to a large extent to what we lived during the Cold War but with two very important differences. In the Cold War there were clearly two super powers with a complete control of the situation of two areas in the world. Now we have many other actors that are relatively independent and with an important role in many of the conflicts that we are witnessing, with risks of escalation that are well known.”
He called for a direct line of communication similar to the hotline introduced in the early 1960s to be established between Moscow and Washington in the event matters escalated to breaking point.
“During the Cold War there were mechanisms of communication and control to avoid the escalation of incidents to make sure that things would not get out of control when tensions would rise. Those mechanisms have been dismantled because people thought the world war was finished and there was no reason to have these kinds of precautions. I do believe it is time for precautions of this sort guaranteeing effective communication, guaranteeing capacity to prevent escalation. I do believe that mechanisms of this sort are necessary again.”
Guterres also welcomed news of a summit between North Korea’s Kim Jong-UN and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April. “ I was extremely encouraged by the recent visit of the leader of the DPRK to China and I think China is of course a very important contributor to a solution in this region and so I am very encouraged by the recent development, very encouraged by the announcement of the inter-Korean summit and I believe that in this world where unfortunately so many problems seem not to have a solution, I think there is here an opportunity for a peaceful solution to something that a few months ago was touted as the biggest danger we were facing.”
He also urged serious negotiations between North Korea and the United States to reach a peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsular.
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