Top EU Official Hails UN as Humanity's Unsinkable Compass

The United Nations

A top European Union (EU) official on Tuesday emphasized the crucial role of the United Nations in addressing global challenges, describing it as an "unsinkable compass" for humanity.

"The UN remains a landmark in the turmoil, a lantern in the thick fog through which we search our way every day, trying to look for a solution - it is a ray of light, a sign of hope," Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, told ambassadors at the Security Council.

He emphasized the need for reforms of the Security Council and the international financial institutions to better reflect the present realities: "The future will come anyway, so let us try to make it less bleak than our bleak present."

War in Ukraine

Mr. Borrell emphasized the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, citing Russia's violation of international law by launching its war of aggression against a sovereign State.

"Since the beginning of this war, which is an attack on the UN Charter, the European Union has shown its full solidarity with Ukraine and granting it exceptional economic, financial, and military aid," he said.

He added that the support, symbolized by EU's commitment to make Ukraine a member of the bloc, will continue.

"Because it is not simply a matter of preserving a fundamental principle of international law, that is the territorial integrity of sovereign states, it also reflects European determination to protect ourselves against the danger that Russia now represents for our peace and security."

A boy looks across his bombed out neighbourhood in Gaza.
A boy looks across his bombed out neighbourhood in Gaza.

Conflict in Gaza

The EU foreign affairs chief also voiced deep concern over the situation in the Gaza, stating that it is "just the tip of an extraordinarily serious conflict that has been raging between Israelis and Palestinians for almost a century."

Condemning the 7 October attacks on Israeli communities and Israel's right to self-defence, he added that this must be done in full compliance with international law and international humanitarian law.

"I don't want to teach anyone of you about what is happening in Gaza," he said, adding:

"This humanitarian crisis - it is not a natural disaster…it is man-made," he added, stating that aid deliveries via road are "being artificially closed, and starvation is being used as a war."

UNRWA, an answer to Palestinians' needs

Mr. Borrell stressed that UN entities, such as the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), World Food Programme (WFP), and the UN agency assisting Palestine refugees (UNRWA), in Gaza are the "last lifelines" for many.

"Yes, UNRWA is facing allegations, but allegations have to be proved - that is why they are allegations," he said, noting that the EU awaits, with interest, the conclusions of the Office for International Oversight Services (OIOS) investigation, an EU systems audit, and the independent review led by Catherine Colonna.

"But let me remind something, UNRWA exists because there are Palestinian refugees. It is not a present to the Palestinians, it is an answer to their needs," he said, stressing that one cannot make the refugees disappear by making UNRWA disappear.

In fact, the only way to make UNRWA disappear is by making those refugees citizens of a Palestinian state that coexists with an Israeli state, Mr. Borrell said, emphasizing the importance of the two-State solution.

People walk through Turgeau district, one of the neighbourhoods of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, most affected by gang violence.
People walk through Turgeau district, one of the neighbourhoods of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, most affected by gang violence.

Other crisis hotspots

The EU High Representative also expressed concern over several crisis hotspots, including Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Haiti, and the Sahel.

On Haiti, he emphasized that the skyrocketing violence by criminal gangs over the past weeks has brought the country to the brink, with ordinary Haitians to pay the price.

Commending regional body CARICOM for its intervention on Monday, he expressed support for the efforts for a Haitian-led political transition, as well as the broader objective of the security initiative led by Kenya.

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