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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Hopes Ukraine War Will End In 2023

Guterres also urged Afghanistan's Taliban rulers to include all ethnic groups in government, to restore girls' rights to an education at all levels and women's rights to work and to end all terrorist activity on its territory

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The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said strongly hopes that the Ukraine war will end in 2023. 

In a wide-ranging end-of-year news conference on Monday, Secretary-General also said that the Iranian government should stop the crackdown on demonstrators and urged all countries to combat terrorist threats from the extreme right and the international community to tell Israel's new right-wing government that there is no alternative to the two-state solution.

He sees no prospect of talks to end the war in Ukraine in the immediate future and expects the already escalating military conflict to continue. But he called for everything possible to be done to halt the most devastating conflict in Europe since World War II by the end of 2023 – which he strongly hopes will happen.

Guterres also urged Afghanistan's Taliban rulers to include all ethnic groups in government, to restore girls' rights to an education at all levels and women's rights to work and to end all terrorist activity on its territory. In addition, he reaffirmed the United Nations' determination to pursue the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, saying that the international community must also follow this goal, which is critical for peace and security in East Asia and around the world.

The secretary-general also offered some words of wisdom to the administrators of all social media platforms, including Twitter: You have a responsibility to protect press freedom while also ensuring that hate speech and extremist views, including those of neo-Nazis and white supremacists, do not find their way onto your platforms.

In Ethiopia, he said, the African Union's efforts to mediate peace are cause for optimism. In Congo, Angola and the East African Community have led diplomatic efforts to establish a framework for political dialogue in order to end the crisis in the country's mineral-rich east. A six-month truce in Yemen paid real dividends for the people, and even though it was not renewed, there have been no major military operations, and flights, fuel and food deliveries continue.

Even in Ukraine, he said, the July agreements brokered by the United Nations and Turkey to restart grain deliveries from Ukraine and Russian food and fertiliser exports are making a difference.

Without an immediate prospect for talks, Guterres said the UN is currently concentrating on expanding the initiative that has seen over 14 million metric tonnes of Ukrainian grain shipped from three Black Sea ports by increasing exports and inspections.

He claimed that Russian wheat exports have tripled and that the United Nations is investigating the possibility of exporting Russian ammonia – a key component of desperately needed fertiliser – from a Black Sea port.

The United Nations is also keen on expediting the exchange of Ukrainian and Russian prisoners of war before Orthodox Christmas, which both countries celebrate in January, according to the UN Secretary-General.

Concerning terrorism, Guterres urged the condemnation of all forms of extremism, including neo-Nazism, white supremacism, anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred in Western countries and around the world.

He said this is clearly a threat and we must fight it with zeal. The recent alleged coup plot in Germany, in which more than 20 people linked to a far-right movement were detained, was cited by Guterres as just one example of the threat to democratic societies around the world.

The secretary-general also slammed Iran's crackdown on peaceful protesters, who took to the streets in September following the death of a 22-year-old woman detained by morality police and accused of not properly wearing her headscarf. According to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group monitoring the protests, over 450 people have been killed and over 18,000 have been detained.

We are witnessing massive human rights violations, which we strongly condemn, said Guterres, describing the Iranian government's actions as completely unacceptable. He said he raised the issue with Iran's president in September and the UN has continued to protest Iran. 

Concerning the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers known as the JCPOA, which former US President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018, Guterres stated that we will do everything in our limited sphere of confidence to ensure that the agreement is not lost.

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