The conflict in eastern Ukraine has put security and stability in Europe at risk and resurrected the ghosts of the Cold War, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said at an informal meeting of the General Assembly.
“Conflict in Ukraine has cost well over four thousand lives, endangered security and stability in Europe, and reanimated the ghosts of the Cold War,” the UN chief said on Thursday, summing up the results of 2014.
Other challenges which the international community has faced include the terror threat in the Middle East and the spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease, Mr. Ban said.
The UN chief also mentioned the continuing chaos in Libya, the lack of progress in resolving the conflict in Syria and the deadlock in the efforts to settle the Palestinian-Israeli crisis.
“The year 2014 also presented serious challenges to diplomacy and, indeed, our common humanity, as conflicts raged and extremism rose,” he said.
Although it was “a year of turmoil,” some important advances need to be recognized - namely the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons program and the recent announcements by the EU, the US and China aimed at reducing the risks of climate change, he said.
“We have a huge responsibility before us - but also a year of opportunity,” Mr. Ban said, adding that 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations.