UN council backs UN chief’s peace effort in its first action

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted its first statement since Russia’s military action began on Feb. 24, expressing “strong support” for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ efforts to find a peaceful solution to the “dispute” in Ukraine.

The short statement adopted at a very brief meeting Friday does not mention a “war,” “conflict” or “invasion” as many council members call Russia’s ongoing military action, or a “special military operation” as Moscow refers to it.

Instead, it “expresses deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine” and “recalls that all member states have undertaken, under the Charter of the United Nations, the obligation to settle their international disputes by peaceful means.”

“The Security Council expresses strong support for the efforts of the secretary-general in the search for a peaceful solution,” the statement says.

During recent meetings in Moscow and Kyiv, Guterres reached an agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the evacuation of civilians, first and foremost from the besieged southeastern port city of Mauripol and its last Ukrainian holdout at the Azovstal steel plant , where hundreds of civilians are also still living in underground bunkers.

The UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross have carried out two successful evacuations from Mariupol and surrounding areas so far and are currently trying to arrange a third from the steel plant.

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