UN Secretary General António Guterres Met Austria's President Alexander Van Der Bellen in Vienna

PeopleOther ♦ Published: May 11, 2022; 14:03 ♦ (Vindobona)

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres is currently visiting Vienna and met with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen. The main topic of conversation was the conflict in Ukraine and its international ramifications.

UN Secretary General António Guterres (l.) and Austria's President Alexander Van der Bellen (r.). / Picture: © Österreichische Präsidentschaftskanzlei / Peter Lechner/HBF

UN Secretary-General is in Vienna these days and visits among others Austria's Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen. The main topic will be the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, but also other important topics of international politics.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for an end to Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine during the meeting with President Van der Bellen.

"This senseless war must stop. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused massive devastation, destruction and suffering in the country.", said the U.N. secretary-general.

"This war will not last forever," said the U.N. secretary-general. The moment will come again for peace negotiations, and his office will be ready for that, "but that is not immediately on the horizon," António Guterres said. However, he said, in light of the dramatic loss of life and destruction in Ukraine, hope should never be given up.

The UN has focused primarily on the evacuation of civilians and the establishment of humanitarian corridors, António Guterres said concerning the fighting in Mariupol, that "there is still a lot of room for diplomacy here." In addition, Guterres stressed, that the UN wants to find ways to get food and fertilizer out of Ukraine and onto world markets.

Van der Bellen thanked António Guterres for his visit to Moscow and Kyiv, which was successful in regards to the situation in Mariupol.

Moreover, the federal president said that the threat of food shortages as a result of blocked exports would have "serious consequences." For the moment, he said, Europe has acted united and cohesively, and it is important not to split.

"It is part of the problem that we are kept in the dark about the war aims," the president said. He said he had the impression that Russia had changed its war aims. The march on Kyiv, he said, "has now become a southeastern bypass."

The neutral state of Austria will offer its mediation services as soon as the situation calms down so that lasting peace can be reached, said Alexander Van der Bellen. He added that the UN was "indispensable" for exchanges at the international level in numerous forums.

Both António Guterres and Alexander Van der Bellen cautioned against losing focus on the fight against climate change despite the conflict in Ukraine. The UN secretary-general warned that the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees could be missed.

Both dignitaries emphasized that a lesson from the war is that the sooner we divest from fossil fuels, the better we are protected against dislocation.

The phase-out of fossil fuels is accelerating under Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Alexander Van der Bellen. Nevertheless, climate protection can only be achieved by avoiding the replacement of gas and oil with coal and other fossil fuels.

In the meantime, the Federal President said he is uncertain whether the war will ultimately result in a positive outcome for climate protection. Nonetheless, environmental problems are likely to be postponed by the war.

Presidential Chancellery of Austria